According to the U.S. Census Bureau, one-third of all American children are growing up without their biological fathers. Official U.S. data shows that 63% of youth suicides (5 times the average), 70% of youths in state-operated institutions (9 times the average) and 85% of children with behavioral disorders (20 times the average) are from fatherless homes. 90% of all homeless and runaway children are from fatherless homes.
These are facts we can all look up, facts we can all agree are daunting. My biological father was not in my life, maybe for the better. I deal with all of the trauma, mental health issues, and insecurities that come along with that circumstance. Also, I had a stepfather from the time I was around one until the time I was seven. This man was there for me and my mother at a time I know was crucial to our wellbeing. He cared for me, loved me, and in the short time we had together, he gave everything he could. I dream to be the type of man he was.
Unfortunately, this man was taken away from me in a motorcycle accident. I can not begin to express to you the toll that this took on everyone who knew him. He was the love of my mothers life, and since his death she has yet to marry. I was not only devastated but crushed. Here I was, seven years old and I had essentially lost two father. The death of the man who raised me also left me scrutinizing my biological father under a more critical eye. I had a father once, a great one, and now he was gone. That left a ripple effect revealing anger towards the father I had remaining. Please do not mistake me, I do not wish ill or harm to my biological father. However, after the loss of my stepfather I couldn’t help but see all the ways my biological father had fallen short.
This is not my pity party. I had a lot going for me, a lot more than many struggling through a similar situation today. I had a loving mother who devoted her whole life to raising me. Similarly, I had family support and coaches who took on the role of father figure. Together with many other forces willing me to succeed I was presented with great opportunities. I was able to channel a lot of the anger I had into sports, rocketing me to a pro football career. Additionally, I had my love for writing to deal with, or express the feelings I didn’t know how to.
Lots of children today don’t have what I did growing up. It’s people like me, who know the struggle intimately and can do something that I call to action. Many of my hours have been spent helping fatherless youth, but I would like to help on a broader scale. I have published a poetry book about my personal experiences growing up fatherless, redefining manhood and masculinity, identifying emotional trauma, dealing with mental health issues, and overcoming all the odds. Furthermore, I continue to write and produce work that gives a voice to fatherless children, and tell stories of how they can create meaningful and healthy male relationships. I am also open to ideas so please feel free to reach out. As a matter of fact, I will dedicate a whole page to my initiative on helping out. I would love any suggestions, recommendations, or constructive conversation around taking the next step. Children are the future and we must protect them.