The Curse of Fatherlessness – A Social Pandemic
Fatherlessness is a pandemic that is affecting the human race across the globe, regardless of race, culture, or community. This issue is prevalent in every generation, and it can be compared to Covid and the Spanish Flu combined in its impact.
This is no germ. It is not a virus. Neither is it a physical disease. It is a social, or better yet, a spiritual affliction. It does not kill the body, it kills the soul. It is a curse that spreads its tentacles through every aspect of a person’s being that it afflicts. It is the cornerstone of all social illness, unstable mental health and the absence of well-being.
Fatherlessness is not just absent fathers, it also encompasses fathers who did not care, did not love and nurtured their children. They are fathers who were suffering also from fatherlessness issues, incapable of fathering their children due to their brokenness. Fatherlessness comes from angry fathers, abusive fathers, and heartless fathers; put in any negative adjective you like. One could posit that an absent father is better than a present father with one of these nasty adjectives attached.
Not everyone will agree with this statement, of course, but then, one just needs to ask any who suffers anxiety, depression and an absence of well-being about their relationship with their father and you will find the root cause of all their troubles. One can simply compare the children, whether still young, teenagers and even adult children of those who had good fathers with those who had bad or non-existent fathers. It is as apparent as chalk and cheese.
This does not mean that people cannot overcome, negate and heal the afflictions of fatherlessness. With enormous amounts of love, acceptance, patience and the willingness of others to walk a road with the fatherless, the curse can be reversed. Usually, it takes a whole village, a community, a church, and a family to effect a cure for those who deep down inside hate and despise themselves, who through the lack of a father’s love cannot love themselves.
It is a long and difficult road, this curing of an almost incurable heart condition, both for the afflicted, but especially for those trying to effect the cure. It is way easier to just give them a doctor’s prescription, medicines to tuck away the feelings in some corner of the unconscious mind, drugs to control their behaviour, send them away to some institution or simply wash your hands of them and shun them.
Unfortunately, the easy way has become the norm or better still ignoring the problem has become preferable. How does one cope with a pandemic whose only cure is the long road of exceptional love, forgiveness and perseverance in what will always seem like a losing battle where every step forward seems to come with two steps back? There are simply not enough villages, communities, churches and families to meet what is becoming one of the most severe social crises of modern times.
And so, the fatherless generation is rapidly progressing into the majority over those who are fathered. A tipping point is fast approaching across society as a whole, including the leafy suburbs. One can get a prognosis of the effect this will have across society by even the briefest of glances at the not-so-leafy suburbs of inner cities and informal settlements where fatherlessness is rife.
It is here, where the gang has replaced the father, where heartlessness and cruelty are the social norms of society, where fear is ever present on the streets and social disorder is the order of the day. None of this is very far from the leafy suburbs where fatherhood is in decline and systematically being dismantled as the chief social cornerstone of society.
So, is the reality of fatherlessness as bad as labelling it a pandemic or a curse? The issues of fatherhood and the lack of it are well-researched within the realms of mental health, psychology and psychiatry. It is not a matter of debate, but rather of scope.
The foundations of any person’s mental, and social personality are all defined within the first seven to ten years of life. Those who are nurtured with love, who are cherished within the family unit, and who are disciplined fairly without being devalued mostly always end up stable people whose emotions are within the normal parameters between happy and sad. They can meet adversity with a positive spirit and have a way better chance of recovering from tragedy in the best possible way. They always carry with them the sense that they are loved, cherished and accepted.
Those who have the opposite, depending on the degree they experience are set for a troubled life. How much trouble is a simple equation? The more they were deprived of love and acceptance, the less they were cherished, and the greater the troubled life they would experience.
Of course, this is not set in stone. Some overcome despite the rule of thumb. Some who were deprived instead thrive and those who had it all fall apart, but these are the exception rather than the rule.
So, if you have gotten this far in reading this article, you may be asking what is its purpose. You may be asking why you should care if there is a fatherless generation sitting on your doorstep, troubled people on every corner.
Perhaps you are one of those who were loved and cherished and all is well with your life.
There is a saying, “There by the grace of God go I”.
Whether you believe in God or not the saying holds. It could easily have been you. And if you are young and starting a family, well in this world, you will need all the grace you can get for your children, whether it comes from God or not.
And, being loved and cherished, you can love and cherish those who are troubled around you. You are all they have. “No angel is going to greet them, it is just you and I, my friend on the streets of Philadelphia(paraphrased) as Bruce Springsteen sang in the movie Streets of Philadelphia.
Why should you do it? Social ills need social healing. Social ills are as infectious as a virus, as malignant as cancer and can be just as deadly as both. Only those who are socially whole and wholesome can effect social healing. Rejection can never turn into love but love will always overcome rejection.
How do you do it? One person at a time!
Who can do it? Anybody can, but sometimes it takes a whole village!
When should you do it? Now, before the fabric of our society crumbles into dust through our neglect!