When dads disappear from the family scene, bad things happen. In New York, teens rove the street like characters out of the “Lord of the Flies,” writes Bob Herbert for The New York Times.
Herbert is responding to a group of teenagers who killed another teenager – and beat his friends – for an iPod on a busy street. Herbert writes:
There are plenty of youngsters who grow up fine without a father in the home. But that’s not a good argument in favor of fatherlessness. Most of the youngsters getting into trouble and preying on others come from fatherless homes.
Here’s why, according to Herbert:
Kids who grow up without a father never experience that special sense of security and the enhanced feeling of belonging that come from having a father in the home. So they seek it elsewhere.
This phenomenon is not limited to big-city life. Most of us know a wild teenager or two down the street. Sometimes we can directly connect that behavior to a missing parent.
Sums up Herbert:
I don’t have the statistics to prove it, but black kids would be tremendously better off if the cultural winds changed and more fathers felt the need to come home.
For me, it’s an easy call: Moms are crucial. Dads, too.
Postscript: Sometimes, troubled dads should disappear. I just discovered this story in the Los Angeles Times where a father used his 17-month-old baby as a shield in a shootout with police. The baby and shooter were killed.