One of the toughest issues I’ve dealt with in my years in youth ministry is the absence of fathers for so many of my students. I grew up with my mom and dad and big hairy case of being sheltered, so I remember being pretty floored within my first few months on staff at a great small town church, when I was confronted with the fact that so many of the students I was working with didn’t know their dads. Unfortunately, what was foreign to me then has become a theme today. The particular struggles that are associated with growing up without Dad around have become all too familiar.
When I heard about The Mentoring Project several months ago, I was immediately excited about what they’re doing.
They’re connecting fatherless boys with churches whose men are mentoring them, showing them they matter to someone – showing them they matter to God. At that point, TMP was still preparing to launch a nationwide movement from their Portland base, so I signed up to stay updated on the progress (and hope to continue to learn more).
The president of TMP, John Sowers, has written a great little book called Fatherless Generation: Redeeming the Story that I just finished. I was offered the book at no cost in exchange for agreeing to review it on my blog. I’m still not sure why someone would give me a free book in exchange for telling 6 people about it, but I’m glad they did. And you 6 people should get the book and read it because I know you care about the next generation!
In all seriousness, this really is a great book. Sowers hasn’t just done a bunch of study of fatherlessness from a distance (though the book was born out of his doctoral dissertation, so he certainly has done his research), but he’s lived it – growing up without his father around, serving as a mentor for fatherless kids, and now leading an organization dedicated to mentoring fatherless boys.
He paints a sad (but real) picture of the toll fatherlessness is taking on our young generation. It’s tough to grow up without Dad, and many people never recover. But Sowers doesn’t stop there. He gives some very practical ways to redeem the story of the fatherless. By loving, modeling life, and coaching in well-developed mentoring relationships, the end of the story goes beyond the feelings of rejection and shame of fatherlessness. There is hope offered for the hopeless, because there is a Father to the fatherless. This book is a great motivator for those who want to do something to help reveal Him to those without Dads.
Check out Fatherless Generation online.