Fatherless Generation: Redeeming the Story
Fatherless Generation: Redeeming the Story (Zondervan) by John Sowers offers an eye-opening, bleak, but ultimately hopeful look into a generation growing up without fathers playing an active role in their lives.
The first half of the book paints a dismal picture of fatherlessness in America. Thirty-three percent of youth—over 25 million kids—grow up without a dad. According to Sowers “the fatherless boy lives with the nagging accusation that he will never be adequate, never measure up, never really be a man.” And, “while our fatherless sons rage, our fatherless daughters decay. Driven by a crippling sense of unworthiness and a gnawing hunger for Dad, they are emotionally and sexually promiscuous.” Citing various sources, Sowers concludes: “The fatherless generation is accountable for most of the serious problems we face today…”
63% of youth suicides
71% of pregnant teenagers
90% of all homeless and runaway children
70% of juveniles in state-operated institutions
85% of all youth who exhibit behavior disorders
80% of rapists motivated with displaced anger
71% of all high school dropouts
75% of all adolescents in chemical abuse centers
85% of all youths sitting in prison
But there is hope. The second half of the book is an urgent plea for churches to invest in intentional mentoring programs. Sowers is currently the president of The Mentoring Project, which “seeks to respond to the American crisis of fatherlessness by inspiring and equipping faith communities to mentor fatherless boys.” He offers countless stories and statistics of boys and girls who made successful and healthy transitions from adolescence to adulthood. The common denominator was that they had mentors in their lives, showing them want it meant and looked like to be men and women. Understanding the daunting task of being a mentor, the book concludes with helpful and inspiring advice on how to engage the fatherless among us.
Sowers forces us to open our eyes to the devastating crisis of fatherlessness. It is pervasive. And because it affects everyone in some way, everyone should read this book. If you come from a fatherless background this book will help you to make sense of your situation. Youth workers should read this book in order to better understand how to serve the fatherless in their congregations and communities. And, finally, fathers should read this book to be reminded of the importance and challenge of being a faithful dad.