As a proud father of four, Father's Day is like no other day of the year. Aside from the new ties and day of pampering, it's an emotional time to reflect on the tremendous impact that my father made on me.
My dad was my coach, my disciplinarian and my enforcer. The thought of growing up without him is unimaginable.
3 MONEY LESSONS TO TEACH YOUR KIDS OR GRANDKIDS Unfortunately being fatherless is a sad reality for millions of kids across America, with 73 percent of African-American kids being born out of wedlock.
The fatherless numbers for whites and Hispanics have also nearly tripled over the last 50 years. I personally understand the real impact of this statistic after having to raise children in this very same scenario.
Though I was blessed to have the means to travel and provide resources, it can never make up for the impact of a father’s constant presence in the home with a child.
Many children without dads bear the burdens of some of the most pressing issues facing our nation. Fatherless kids make up the vast majority of our children who die from overdoses and suicides in America.
HOW PARENTS STRUGGLE WITH CHILD CARE AS CORONAVIRUS RESTRICTIONS EASE I am an ordained minister who works in prisons across America. Every time I walk into a prison to teach my class I am reminded of the reality of fatherlessness in America.
A child with my no dad in his life is 20 times more likely to end up in prison.
This chilling statistic resonates with me as I counsel several inmates who are making appeals to get their prison sentences reduced.
Every single time that I am contacted by a family member who is fighting to get their child out of prison, it always a mother, wife or girlfriend.
I always find myself hoping that I will be contacted by a father. And once the fathers are locked up, they rarely have the option to even take a class or program behind bars that will help prepare them to be better fathers once they are released.
Like most systematic issues, our state and federal prison budgets are impacted by unions and special interest that seldom prioritize programming that could heal our broken fatherless men behind bars. Working with at-risk youth, the reality of missing fathers remain the same. This past school year I sponsored a county-wide parenting program for the families of the at-risk youth in my county.
We launched this program by rewarding parents to attend by offering gift cards in addition to a weekly comprehensive professional parenting program. The content was amazing and I found myself learning so much, too, about ways to become a better parent. But when I looked around the room, I quickly noticed that I was the only father in attendance.
It was an eye-opening experience for me and soon the mothers and grandmothers in attendance openly shared their need to have male influence in their children’s lives.
I literally held tears back as I listened to mother after mother discuss the difficulties they have handling young boys without having a father figure.
To make matters worse, many fathers like myself who actually want to be full-time dads are held back by archaic child custody and child support legislation which systematically opposes granting equal parenting opportunity to willing fathers. Today our nation struggles to heal from our post-slavery realities of racial oppression which have led to systemic disparities for people of color. These disparities are undeniable when you think about a child being 5 times more likely to live in poverty if they are fatherless.
Our government welfare laws carry household income restrictions that discourage fatherhood. Most parents cringe when they learn that 71 percent of American high school dropouts are fatherless.
Our public school systems spend more money per year per child on education than many of their elite private schools' counterparts, while dropout rates continue to remain disgustingly high for black males in urban public school systems around America. Every Father’s Day I pray for societal solutions to help make Father’s Day a truly happy day for all Americans. Not only for stronger fathers in the flesh but also a renewed focus on establishing stronger relationships with our Father in the spirit.
Hopefully, this op-ed encourages at least one family to make an effort to embrace a fatherless child whose life you can change.
This is what Christ instructed us to do.
As I near completion of my years of research for legislative proposals that offer systematic solutions to address fatherhood in America, I pray that our nation’s leaders will be able to set aside political divides and special interest group influence in order to finally pass a comprehensive piece of legislation to address this National Crisis that plagues our must underserved Americans.
Jack Brewer, is a former NFL safety and 3x team captain who played for the Vikings, Giants, Eagles and Cardinals. He is the co-host of the digital podcast “Level Headed” with Mike Lindell and Jack Brewer. He is a devoted philanthropist who served four years as an Ambassador for Peace and Sport for the U.S. Federation for Peace and Development at the United Nations. Jack is a former Investment Banker and current Professor at the Fordham Gabelli School of Business where he is the Program Director for the Athletes and Artist Executive MBA program. Brewer is an ordained minister who works in prisons across America. Follow him on Twitter @JackBrewerBSI.