Want to change your life? Be a mentor to a child who doesn’t have a positive male role model. Here’s how!
Let’s talk generosity of spirit!
You don’t have to be a biological parent to provide the wealth of benefits a male brings to a fatherless home. What’s more, serving as a positive role model will likely give you as much satisfaction as it does the child you mentor if not more.
It’s too easy for us to sit back, read or watch the news and commiserate about the lack of fathers in so many U.S. homes. The numbers are of epidemic proportions. Empathy and compassion are worthy, but passive and ineffectual by nature.
The consequences to children, particularly boys (but girls as well) raised in a home without a strong male influence are staggering. From dropping out of school, the need for increased public assistance, gang violence, drug involvement and the inevitable incarceration — to mention just a few. It’s a never ending vicious cycle.
The cost to society and our most vulnerable members is virtually incalculable.
As a Good Men Project reader you are clearly an educated and interested individual who understands and is aware of the impact on children when no father is present.
There’s the obvious feelings of abandonment, loneliness, anger, and the lack of a positive male role model for whom to turn for advice.
Perhaps the saddest part is the loss of potential. What an amazing amount of talent goes unrealized. So many young people who could make countless contributions to society never get the chance. And the solution is not difficult. Or it shouldn’t be for an allegedly enlightened nation.
I’ve pondered how I would have turned out had I been raised in a single family home despite having a wonderful and well educated mom. What course might my life have taken?
Moms who fulfill a dual parental role are to be lauded. Many with little formal education work double shifts simply to put food on the table. And there are other incredibly self-sacrificing mothers.
One a close personal friend has worked the graveyard shift for eleven years so she could send her child off to school and be home when he returned in the afternoon. She’s sacrificed virtually her entire social life to ensure availability to her son.
Let’s get down to business!
Think how easy it will be to bring a bit of happiness and joy into a youngster’s existence.
How will your life be impacted if once every two or three weeks you spend a few hours on a Saturday as a companion to an elementary or teenage boy? Perhaps he can also call you on the phone or text you as the need arises.
If you’re affluent you can take him to a major league ball game, eat hot dogs, drink soda and spend a few exciting hours. Money a little tighter, you could go bowling during ‘non-peak’ hours. Cash flow almost negative… how about visiting a park tossing the pigskin and eating an ice cream.
The bottom line is — there’s no valid reason short of health issues not to serve as a mentor.
I’ve just mentioned a few ideas. It’s often hard to know what to do or how to get started. The great thing is there’s plenty of assistance available. Contact a local social services agency in your neighborhood and they’ll be happy to hook you up where you can be of help. Or check out this Google link with lots of information. Get creative. Become part of the solution!
There’s so much conjecture talk, pontificating and hand wringing. They serve little value.
It seems everyone wants to talk about the problem, but few commit to taking action.
When it comes to young children and adolescents personal interest and active involvement trumps all.
Tangibly demonstrate your kindness and concern. Just commit. At GMP we talk about the evolving role of men in today’s society. Evolve and get active.
You’ll feel great and make a wonderful contribution. What an incredible win-win for all!
This time next year Father’s Day will take on a new meaning for you and the youngster whose life you’ve impacted. Carpe Diem!
An earlier version of this article appeared at the Huffington Post. Reprinted with permission.