On Tuesday, Mike Rowe, host of “Returning The Favor” and “Dirty Jobs,” took to Facebook to defend fathers and fatherhood in general, pointing to the growing discontent with having a strong dad in the home.
In the post, Rowe highlights a comment by Angelina Jolie he suggests echoes the sentiment of too many people in our culture:
A couple years ago, when Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt were getting divorced, Jolie was quoted as saying, “It never even crossed my mind that my son would need a father.”
I was struck by her comment, and I remember wondering how many other Americans might share her view. At the time, I didn’t think many. But today, I’m convinced the number is significant. I’m also amazed at how quickly fatherhood has fallen out of favor. Can you imagine a celebrity – or anyone for that matter – saying such a thing just twenty years ago?
Rowe then cites facts and statistics about the negative effects of a fatherless home.
The facts seem pretty clear.
• 63% of youth suicides are from fatherless homes – 5 times the average. (US Dept. Of Health/Census)
• 90% of all homeless and runaway children are from fatherless homes – 32 times the average.
• 85% of all children who show behavior disorders come from fatherless homes – 20 times the average. (Center for Disease Control)
• 80% of rapists with anger problems come from fatherless homes – 14 times the average. (Justice & Behavior, Vol 14, p. 403-26)
• 71% of all high school dropouts come from fatherless homes – 9 times the average. (National Principals Association Report)
• 43% of US children live without their father [US Department of Census]
Is it really so surprising to learn that a majority of bullies also come from fatherless homes? As do a majority of school shooters? As do a majority of older male shooters?
Rowe goes on to ask readers to “consider the possibility that this thing we like to call ‘an epidemic of bullying,’ is really an ‘epidemic of fatherlessness.’ I also think it’s reasonable to conclude that our society is sending a message to men of all ages that is decidedly mixed”:
Think about it. On the one hand, we’re telling them to “man-up” whenever the going gets tough. On the other, we’re condemning a climate of “toxic masculinity” at every turn. If that strikes you as confusing, imagine being a fourteen-year old boy with no father figure to help you make sense of it.
Read Rowe’s complete post here.