07 February, 2010


A recent survey from stated that almost 30% of Fathers would be willing to take a pay cut to spend more time with their children. And about 35% of 25 million American children live without their biological fathers. Is this a good thing? In one sense we may feel good that many Fathers would take a pay cut to spend more time with their children. But on the other hand, there are still so many children who are living without their biological fathers. What’s even more painful is that many of these same children will most likely have behavioral problems in school, be more likely to get involved with drugs of all sorts, and come in contact with the criminal justice system. And their social interaction with others will be difficult and, to a degree, hampered.

Many fathers who unfortunately live in low income communities are more prone to be absent from their children’s lives for many reasons. And one of the reasons, from personally speaking to them, is that they feel they could not provide for their children financially the way that they wanted to. As a result, some of them turned to illegal activities which they believed would have made a difference financially. But the end consequence was coming in touch with the prison industrial complex.

Most of these Fathers know that taking such a position was and is not an excuse or justification for them abandoning their children. Most studies indicate that the children’s biological fathers leave their children’s lives by the age of three years old. And at this age, most children are very impressionable and are influenced by what they hear and/or see in their environment.

A radio show host in New York City was speaking about the state of fatherhood when a young woman called in and pleaded to the listening audience:

“For all the men who are listening, please do not leave your children’s lives. They need you whether you know it or not. And they need you just like they need their mother. And because my father was not in my life, I became pregnant at 15 years old. And now my son’s father did the same thing my father did. He left. Now I’m raising him all alone with the help of welfare assistance. Please stay, love, and communicate with your children even if you’re not with their mother.”

The caller was crying through her whole statement which gave a glimpse into the pain and disappointment that she was dealing with, which will inevitably transfer over to her son if she does not get some type of counseling or closure.

But the damage will probably not stop there. It’s like a revolving door. The son of this woman caller will likely grow up despising and feeling angry at his father for not being there for him or his mother. And this can continue, if he is not properly educated about the dynamics of Fatherhood, well into his adult years – especially if he is to ever become a father.

In the words of author and Professor Cornel West, who stated:

“When a child is deprived of parental love, that youngster is able to grow up in an infantilized state . . . never developing a love of self, never developing the ability to reach out to others. This is a recipe for violence against oneself and against others, for anger and aggression remain raw and exposed, untempered by a commitment to anyone or anything. It is also a recipe for civil collapse.”

To promote father stability in their children’s lives, communities must begin to establish forums that convene regularly to have “straight-no chaser” dialogues about the issues surrounding Fatherhood. Fathers of all Walks of Life and professions should also be in attendance as participants. But in these forums, children should also play a role because they are the ones who are mostly affected by not having a father in their lives. As we know, the solutions that may come up may not be ideal or perfect but the effort of putting it into action is a start. As a community, we will have to persevere in the face of any oncoming difficulty that may be in opposition to creating such forums of Fatherhood discussions.

In each community, community leaders within these forums will have to mold helpers from amongst them to help fulfill and promote the solutions that deal with the issues of Fatherhood. Although some of us may be at variance ideologically, we must acknowledge and show deference for each other’s role in building stable family structure within our homes and communities.


“We, the young people, are the emerging keepers of a threatened planet. If change is to occur, we must be its eyes, its heart, and its conscience. The ethical and moral tasks that are entrusted to the G8 leaders ultimately affect all humans; therefore, together, we must have enough respect for the present and the future in which the young people are living today and will live in tomorrow. We urge you to listen and include our voices in your decisions. Act now!”
[Concluding Statement of the Declaration of Rome (]

We may not understand the music that our children – our future – our bridge to the future -- listen to. And we may not understand why MYSPACE, FACEBOOK, TWITTER, iPhones, and iPads seem to be their primary and preferred mode of communications and, in some cases, source of information. But it is important that we understand what influences and inspires our children and what they think, care, and dream about.

We must step back for a moment, view the world through our children’s unfiltered lens, engage them in continuous dialogue, and listen. What is going on in their world? When they look at the world outside of their immediate environment, what do they see? What is their vision for the world? How do they perceive themselves?

After reading the Concluding Statement of the Declaration of Rome which is reprinted above and extracted from the website of UNICEF (, it is safe to say that our children – our future – our bridge to the future – have an interesting view of the world and its problems. And they perceive themselves as “emerging keepers” of a planet which, in their eyes, is threatened.

The Declaration Of Rome ( was prepared by 54 children ranging in ages from 14 through 17 during the early days of July 2009 at a conference known as the Junior Summit 8 or “J8” ( in Rome, Italy. These children – “Emerging Keepers Of The Planet” -- from Brazil, Canada, China, Egypt, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, South Africa, the United Kingdom, and the United States were members of the “J8”.

On Thursday, 9 July, 2009, a group of keenly intuitive, intellectually engaging, and politically sophisticated children who individually and collectively refer to themselves as “Emerging Keepers Of The Planet”, traveled from Rome, Italy to L’Aquila, Italy and stepped out onto the world stage when they urged world leaders who attended the G8 Summit ( to consider and act upon their concerns.

World leaders were asked by the “Emerging Keepers of the Planet” to work to reduce greenhouse gas emissions; make funding available for green technologies to both developed and developing nations; establish an international financing mechanism for energy conservation and implementation of renewable energy resources; cancel the national debt of developing countries; deliver US$50 billion in development funding to Africa; create “End Poverty Bonds” which would be “transferred to micro-financing centers in developing countries” for the purpose of allowing local entrepreneurs to build and sustain businesses and create new jobs; and improve the quality of education by, among other things, providing free, regular retraining and periodic recertification of teachers. In the same breath, they asked for a seat at the “Table Of Humanity” so that they, in collaboration with the adults of the world, could help create key “pieces of the puzzle” to making the world a better and safer place for everyone.

Our “Emerging Keepers Of The Planet” have spoken.

Are we listening?


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