By Heather Smith
According to a study completed at Pennsylvania State University, 96% of children born to African American women under 24 years old have no fathers. Not only that, but 59% of women cohabit at least once by age 24. Most cohabitation are short lived, with approximately one in five resulting in a marriage.
What does that mean for the children? What does that mean for the millions of single mothers out there? What does that say about the fathers?
To me, these numbers represent a failing in the community to teach children what a family really is. Whatever happened to marriage? To taking care of your children, financially and more? What happened to one wife, one husband, for life? Is it out of fashion? Do the morals of our forefathers no longer apply to this generation? To the needs of children no longer require a nuclear family structure?
And why is the African American community the hardest hit? In that same study they found that only 66% of whites and 72% of Mexican Americans had unmarried births before age 24, compared to 96% of African Americans. Those numbers, yes, are still staggering, but nothing compared to the overwhelming frequency of unmarried mothers in the African American community.
Is it a cultural issue? An equality issue? An education issue? What is it that makes these unwed mothers so prevalent in our community? What is it that allows these fathers to abandon their children?
Part of that, I think, is our expectations. No one expects their sons to marry the women they impregnate. No one expects their daughters to marry before cohabitating. No one thinks that a fatherless child and an unwed mother are unusual occurrences. The very familiarity, instead of breeding contempt, has bread apathy. No one cares.
There are many reasons we should care. Children need father and mother. They need the structure. They need the stability. They need the love. And they are losing it, year by year, decade by decade, to apathy, hatred, and laziness. Why do you think the issues and problems in our culture continue to grow instead of get better? Why do you think children bring guns to school, teens join gangs, and adults choose to deal instead of work? They have no family. They have no stability. They have no fathers.
Anyone who thinks a father, a family, is not necessary to raise a good child is wrong. Oh, yes, children can succeed despite this disability, but that is like saying living without one eye is normal and expected. Yes, you can function, but there is something missing in your life. You are never complete, never whole.
It is the community that will have to act. We are past the point of waiting for things to fall back into place. There are no longer cracks but gaping chasms that must be overcome. Only together can we reunite the morals and foundations of the family.
Heather Smith is an ex-nanny. Passionate about thought leadership and writing, Heather regularly contributes to various career, social media, public relations, branding, and parenting blogs/websites. She also provides value to nanny service by giving advice on site design as well as the features and functionality to provide more and more value to nannies and families across the U.S. and Canada. She can be available at H.firstname.lastname@example.org.