Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Fatherless America

So I did a research paper for my Sociology class on children without fathers in their lives. Keep in mind a few things while reading this: 1. I wanted to get this finished as quickly as possible. Which means that I did not proof-read this. I merely typed it out and turned it in. Sorry if it doesn't flow or if there are grammatical/spelling errors. 2. There was SO MUCH that I wanted to put inside this paper. I could have easily written 20 pages on this topic, but I was only allowed 4 pages. So again, sorry if it seems choppy or un-flowy. Enjoy!

Intimacy between a Father and His Children

Some fathers are not present during their children’s lives. Some fathers are technically present during their children’s lives, but they may as well not be because instead they are abusive, bad role models or too consumed in their jobs to even notice their children. Today, American society continues to find itself asking the question, “Where are the fathers?” more and more frequently. That question should be followed by, “What effect is it having on their children?” or even more specifically, “What effect is it having on their sons?”

Children of abusive fathers suffer just as much, if not more than children without fathers. Fathers can be abusive emotionally or physically, either way will eventually take its toll on their children. Children of physically abusive fathers tend to be nervous and timid. Many children of abusive fathers say that they would wait until their fathers got home to determine their moods, which would in turn dictate their actions around their fathers (Gordon, pg. 55) Alcohol is a huge contributing factor in abusive fathers.

A staggering statistic says that “almost one-third [children of alcoholics] had been physically abused and one-fifth sexually abused…in 60 percent of these cases this parent was the father.” (Gordon, pg. 55) The statistic goes on to say that 40 percent of daughters of alcoholics who were physically and/or sexually abused by their fathers report spousal abuse in their families. This statistic was about three to four times higher than daughters raised in nonalcoholic homes without abuse.

Physical abuse is degrading to a child’s ego, but even more disheartening to a child’s ego is being verbally abused. The common saying, “sticks and stones can break my bones, but words can never hurt me” should be thrown out the window immediately. The deepest yearning within every child is to be accepted and loved by his/her parent. When parents call their children names, tell them that they are worthless or use hostile tones of voices, they are ruining their child’s self-esteem and causing their children to believe their words: that they are worthless. These feelings of shame do not easily leave a child. They remain with them for years after they were said. Philip Greven once said, “The feelings generated by the pain…are mostly repressed, forgotten, and denied, but they actually never disappear. Everything remains in our innermost beings.” (Gordon, pg. 56)

Intimacy is defined as “experiencing intense intellectual, emotion, and, when appropriate, physical communion with another human being.” Children who are verbally abused, conditionally loved, or completely unloved and unwanted by fathers tend to grow up feeling like they do not deserve the love of others. They grow up lacking true intimacy with their fathers and with the mentality that they are not worth love, nor can they ever be good enough to deserve love. It is a vicious cycle that tends to eat away at abused children later on in their lives, which make it hard to love their spouses and children, or for them to feel like they deserve the love of their spouses and children.

Sons need the most love and acceptance from their fathers. Daughters also need love and acceptance from their fathers, but it does not shape them into who they become. Sons tend to find their identities in their fathers. Rodney Atkins puts it well in his song titled, “Watching You.” The chorus goes as follows:

He said I've been watching you dad, ain't that cool
I'm your buckaroo, I wanna be like you
And eat all my food and grow as tall as you are
We like fixing things and holding mama's hand
Yeah we're just alike, hey ain't we dad
I wanna do everything you do
So I've been watching you (Atkins)

This son pays a lot of attention to his dad and his actions. He is his dad’s “bud” or his “buckaroo” and he has noticed that his dad eats all of his food at dinner time, and since he wants to be tall and strong like his dad, he is going to eat all of his food also. He has taken a liking to fixing things, which generally is perceived as a masculine job, just like his dad does. He has been able to see that his dad respects his mom and the son likes holding his mom’s hand and loving her just like his dad. He is finding his identity in his father. Children often times grow up confused and questioning themselves when they do not have good role models and fathers to look up to.

Equally as bad to being an abusive father, is being an absent father. Statistics of neighborhoods with fewer fathers are much higher in violence than neighborhoods with fathers. James Q. Wilson says that, “Neighborhood standards may be set by mothers, but they are enforced by fathers, or at least by adult males.” (Blankenhorn, pg. 31) Blankenhorn alludes to the fact that the usually generalized link between masculinity and violence should be thrown out the window. Instead the reason for more violence does not have to do with traditional male norms, but with the decline of traditional male roles in our society. If we want to see less violence, then we need to be seeing more fathers. (Blankenhorn, pg. 31)

Research has also shown that daughters of absent fathers are much more prone to being involved in early sexual activity and teenage pregnancy. An absolutely mind-blowing statistic says that “daughters of single parents are 53% more likely to marry as teenagers, 111% more likely to have children as teenagers, 164% more likely to have a premarital birth and 92% more likely to dissolve their own marriages.” (Blankenhorn, pg. 46) According to Beth Erickson, “Fatherless children are….twice as likely to drop out of high school, 2.5 times as likely to become teen-aged mothers and 1.4 times as likely to be…out of school and out of work.”(Erickson, pg. 68)

American fathers are causing future generations to be lost, unable to work or make decisions and unsure of themselves. America’s fathers are giving the government more and more reason to continue to put their money into prison systems, if only these fathers would have stayed in their children’s lives so that they could prevent their children from growing up in violence. More marriages would be saved because husbands or wives would not be so insecure with their spouses because they are still holding onto the lack of love that they were shown when they were a child. Because of the growing lack of intimacy between fathers and their children, America’s future generations are nothing but a bunch of cowards who can only hear the lies that their fathers spoke to them through their abuse, their silence or their distance. These children need fathers, or else American men need to grow up and take charge before it is too late.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Two Years Seems Like A Long Time

Two years ago, I graduated from high school. Two years ago I was dating a sophomore in high school. Two years ago, I felt like the next two years would take forever to happen. Two years later, it finally happened. The graduation of the class of 2009. (We're just friends now, by the way.) My main point is this: time flies. Holy cow, time flies. As I sat in First Assembly of God this afternoon watching the class of 2009 toss their caps up in the air, high school memories and visions of my graduation popped back into my mind. I remembered how much I wanted to be liked by the upper-classmen girls. I remembered how much I cared about my image. I remembered how I couldn't image life beyond high school-high school was life. And now I look at where I'm at today and how much times have changed. I hardly (if ever) see any of those upper-classmen girls whom I so badly wanted to like me. Of course, I still care about my image, but I'm pretty content with no make-up and not-getting-ready-at-all-days now. I realize now that there is life beyond high school (who would've ever thought?!). It's just weird. It's weird because that stage of my life is closed. Sometimes I miss it, sometimes I don't at all. It's weird to know that someday this stage of life will be over, as well. Because I view life currently the same as I did when I was in high school: it'll never be any different. But someday it will be. Someday. This is kind of just a rambling of thoughts. Anyway, so many of my friends are home for the summer and I love it!!! Best life ever!

On Friday night I went to Traver with my family and friends. My family discovered Bravo Farms there (cheese place and restaurant) and we just LOVE IT! It's such a fun atmosphere with great food and friendly staff. That was super fun. There was 19 of us-which is always great. The more the merrier!

Today was my last city league volleyball game. I was a coach with Brelle and Jessica. It was an enjoyable experience-better than the first year that I coached city league. One of the moms owns a boutique and blings out things such as license plate frames and cups, etc. SOOOO for our thank you gift we got a blinged-out Bubba Keg. Brelle, Jess and I have been eyeing those since we saw them! So we were pretty stoked about that.

Sheesh, I'm tired. Nighty night.


Sunday, May 10, 2009

For Such a Time As This

"For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father's family with perish. And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?" -Esther 4:14

I can honestly say that when I was younger, I never imagined that I would be where I am today. I never thought that I would be working as the Worship Director (organizer? substitute? I'm not really sure what I am.) at my church. I never thought I'd be living at home in Visalia at 20 years old. I never thought I'd be a city league volleyball coach for young girls. But here's the thing...God has called me to all of these things. I'm planning on going on a mission trip to Costa Rica in July. My team is composed of all girls, and you know what? I think God has purpose and reason in that. God put on my heart for me to come back home so that I could be closer to my family, especially my brothers so that I don't miss things about them growing up. He called me back home so that I could help out at the Calf Ranch and at church.

He called me to help out with worship at church. Why? I have no idea. Many days...many days I ask myself "what were you thinking accepting this job? Just quit now." This verse is a constant reminder that though I may not know why I have to put up with complaints and business, God has called me to this royal position in this moment in time. It's not going to be easy. It for sure wasn't easy for Esther. She put herself on the line for her people, but God gave her that higher calling. Although choosing to move back home or accepting a sometimes difficult job isn't nearly as crazy as Esther's decision of putting her life on the line, God calls each and every one of us to different lifestyles, occupations and places for his good and perfect timing.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Shout Out

First of all, I'd like to thank Pastor Joel for aiding me in the titling of my blog. He pretty much named my blog for me, actually. I was talking to Margery (secretary in the office at church) and Pastor Joel about how I wanted to start a blog, but couldn't think of a title. Pastor Joel stood there for a second, "Hmmmm....how about Bri's Bumblings? Like 'mumblings' except with a 'b'?" Well, as you can see, I decided that I liked it. Voilá....my blog is born. And, you might notice that my blog says things such as "Por Briána" and at the bottom it says "Leer Más." Yeah, I got this blog template from a Spanish website. The first means "By B" and the second means "Read More" if anyone is Spanish illiterate.

Secondly, what will this blog be about? Life, love and happiness. Mostly life, though. I just wanted a place to share my thoughts & update people on life.

That's it for now....I think I have Swine Flu (not really, but I don't feel very well). And I have a paper due tomorrow at 7:40 a.m. (which I haven't quite started on yet). Toodles.