“It takes a family to raise a village.” Jennifer Morse
When a son or daughter looks for advice do they seek dad or an “ally”? When was the last time any of our children have asked for our advice? When we consider the alternatives available to today’s youth include state-controlled media, critical racists and drag queens in schools, indifferent clerics, a porn-infested virtual world, and compromised medical institutions, it’s of little wonder that so much despair and anxiety are increasingly present in their lives, when the father is absent not only physically, but also spiritually. These alternatives prey on youth with seductive promises, and yet, always disappear when children are raped and trafficked for sex, when kids experience the consequences of their young bodies having been mutilated or drugged, or when they were masked and imprisoned for nearly two years like the lepers of old. Isolation is a form of punishment in prison designed to bring submission from the disobedient criminal – governments all over the world along with obedient parents, submitted their own children to this treatment (for everyone’s safety, of course). Everyone’s safety, except the youth’s.
Let’s consider some factors: in some cultures, up to 70% of children do not live with the father, 90% of marriages in countries like Portugal and Spain end in divorce (this might partially explain the rise of cohabitation, which ironically, is itself a key predictor of future marriage failure), and the birth rate has dropped below replacement levels of 2.1 children per household. In other words, no father to be found, a mother working, and no siblings to interact with. But no worries, the state village awaits you…
Given this somber reality, what our youth need is….. another youth program! Some colouring sheets, with a little bit of mindfulness, lots and lots of sexual tips and talks, and a serving of “just be yourself” for dessert. If you’re a bit skeptical, just remember that if this doesn’t work, just give your child more colouring sheets, more mindfulness, more sex, and more dessert. This is how insanity works – you keep repeating the same actions but expecting different results.
St Francis De Sales, almost 400 years ago, had this to say about the elites: “Some people are proud and conceited because they ride a fine horse, wear a feather on their hat, and are expensively dressed, but who can fail to see their folly, for that if anyone has reason to be proud over such things, it would the horse, the bird, and the tailor!” Today, it might be a car instead of a horse, but same principle applies. Regarding the experts, he had this to say: “Then again, some look for the world’s respect and honour because they have acquired some smatterings of science, expecting all their neighbours to listen and yield to them, and such men we call pendants.” Seems like elites and experts have been around for awhile…
I don’t presuppose to have the answers to this issue, and no short blog can ever do just justice to the complexity of social behaviours of any age group, but I am not alone in seeing the direct correlation between fathers missing in action or missing altogether, and the rising suffering and loneliness experienced by the young. The decline in religion is not surprising either, for if a child does not experience love from the father here on earth, how can they come to know the Love from the Father up in Heaven? Paul C Vitz in his book “Faith of the fatherless – the psychology of atheism”, looks at the lives of various well-known atheists, and provides evidence for his defective father hypothesis. His argument is that one’s experience within our family, especially with the father, has deep implications on the children’s well-being and belief in God, particularly, the Christian notion of the loving Father. Nietzsche for example, lost his father, a Lutheran pastor, at the age of five. This is how he later described the event: “When I woke up that morning I heard weeping all round me. My dear mother came in tearfully, wailing, ‘Oh God! My dear Ludwig is dead!’ Young and innocent though I still was, I had some idea of what death meant. Transfixed by the idea of being separated for ever from my beloved father, I wept bitterly….I shall always have the hollow clangor of those bells in my ears… “. More recent examples, include Richard Dawkins (sent to a boarding school away from his parents, abused there at age 9), and Christopher Hitchens, who referred to his father, a naval officer, as “the Commander”, and later learned his mother cheat on his father with a former Anglican priest, eventually both committing suicide.
The loss of the father and/or other family members, does not of course necessarily lead to atheism. Saint John Paul II as an example, decided to take Mother Mary as his mother when his earthly mom died, and the memory of seeing his father praying at night, had a profound effect in him joining the priesthood. Not only did he lose his family, he lost his own country, first to the Nazis and then communists. With that said however, there is a clear connection between loss of faith, and the loss or absence of a father. Venerable Fulton Sheen warned, “…he who does not spiritualize the flesh, will carnalize the spirit.” Paul Vitz’s research provides ample examples.
In his book, “How to find your soulmate without losing your soul”, Jason Evert indicates through various surveys that two things above all else keep young men from commiting to marriage with a girlfriend: sexual intimacy with her before marriage, and cohabitation. Some males referred to these practices, as like test-driving a car before buying it. Not sure, if they also planned to a get a newer model in 10 years. This mundane and cheap view of marriage, seems to have coincided with the redefinition of marriage, which consequently, has led to the redefinition of parenthood (do the kids belong to the parents or are they property of the state as Spain’s minister of education recently asserted?). In the same vein, many predict that redefining child gender will lead to redefining pedophilia (i.e. “minor-attracted persons”). The whole Epstein episode, Ben Levin and Ontario’s sex curriculum, among many others, are just some of the more obvious examples of what’s to come. On this note I must add, where are all the libertarians?? Are they ok with a state redefining, recreating, controlling and governing relationships? The duty of the state is to protect natural marriage, since it preceded and does not require the state. When recently asked if all marriages are the same, a popular priest responded: “A table has four legs. A cow has four legs. Not the same.”
I do not know the secret to stable marriages, but I do know we can certainly do better than what the state offers (a paper) or lukewarm churches (nice pictures on wedding day). G.K. Chesterton on a visit to America said, “If Americans can be divorced for ‘incompatibility of temper’, I cannot conceive why they are not all divorced. I have known many happy marriages, but never a compatible one. The whole aim of marriage is to fight through and survive the instant incompatibility becomes unquestionable.” Responding to couples who are not able to conceive children, Venerable Fulton Sheen, drawing on Gen 2:18-25, beautifully said, “Not to every husband and wife is given the privilege of having a Pentecost of the flesh through the birth of a new physical body, but to everyone is given the companionship that God wills should be his lot on earth.” Sara didn’t believe it either, and look at the trouble that caused!
The call to marriage and fatherhood is a noble vocation, and like all good things, requires work, perseverance, and sacrifice. When we decide not to storm the beaches, the enemy will continue to seize more territory. Our children might need a Dunkirk out of the public school system, but the fathers can never surrender. Note that absence can happen even when physically present. Jordan Peterson illustrates this point, through the following experience he wrote on his 12 Rules for Life book, “I have also watched a couple, unable or unwilling to say no to their 2 year old, obliged to follow closely behind him everywhere he went, every moment of what was supposed to be an enjoyable social visit, because he misbehaved so badly when not micromanaged that he could not be given a second of genuine freedom without risk. The desire of his parents to let their child act without correction on every impulse, perversely produced precisely the opposite effect: they deprived him instead of every opportunity to engage in independent action….It was a classic example of too much chaos breeding too much order (and the inevitable reversal).”
Strong families make strong communities which make strong nations, but strong families, only grow from faithful and fruitful marriages. As you read this, my hope is that your heart is stirred to tell your wife today that you love her, that she is God’s blessing in your life. If it feels really awkward, the better! In my case, my wife lost her voice as I write, a golden opportunity or perhaps a sign from God that this is my time to speak! 🙂
Dear brothers, May God bless and strengthen your marriages and your children.
St Joseph – pray for us.
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