The Epidemic of Fatherlessness

The following is a guest post by Jacob Pippin. Jacob is an authentic Floridian laying his roots down in the beautiful, small town of Sanford, along with his wife and their three children. He is a graduate of Rollins College with a degree in Communication and Public Relations. His writings include the family, education, and the effects of progressive ideologies on our culture.

We are currently living in an age of The Great Epidemic.

Bombarded daily with limp-wristed shouts of selective outrage about things like systemic racism, white privilege, and toxic masculinity, we are told these plagues spread out like a blanket over our society. Inventions of victimhood is all the rage, literally. It is everywhere, hiding under every rock and overshadowing every institution. But there is a destructive force looming beneath it all, a true epidemic that is currently tearing society asunder.

The epidemic of fatherlessness.

Words that Kill

I come from a long line of failed fathers. My paternal heritage is one of abandonment, drunkenness, drugs, and jail. My father engrossed himself in crime and vices, like his father before him. His grandfather raised him in his home, while his own father laid around in a drug-induced stupor for most of his life. That apple didn’t fall from the tree at all; it rotted in place, but one seed was able to fall: Me.

My father and mother were never married and I was born out of wedlock. My birth certificate does not bear his name and he could not be troubled to be there when I came into the world. As a result, I bear my mother’s maiden name.

Their life was troubled. At times my father was abusive—physically at some points, but always mentally. He was a master at the art of guilt manipulation. This continued nearly until the day she died of cancer. I was almost 4. She was 26.

After my mother’s death, a short custody battle ensued between my father and my maternal grandparents. At the time, he was a jobless addict and was spurred on by his grandfather to step up to the plate for his child. The judge gave him an ultimatum: If you want your child, get a job and get sober. It never happened, at least the sobriety part. At that point, my grandparents were awarded temporary guardianship of me. It was never contested again.

Throughout my childhood years I would see him on occasion. He would come to our small church on Sunday evenings, sit in the back pew, and give me a hug and few bucks. That ended when he got arrested for stealing a case of beer from a 7-Eleven. After that I saw him maybe once a year on my birthday, but that eventually faded as well.

The last time I saw my father in the flesh I was 16. Eighteen years ago. I was walking home from a friend’s house, kicking up dust on our dirt road when I heard the screaming. When I looked up I noticed my father’s blue Chevy truck parked in front of my grandparent’s house. I did not catch the exchanges. He was screaming at them; they in return. It was one of those surreal moments in life, a moment that didn’t feel real.

As I made my way up the driveway, he stopped, looked at me and said, “There’s that bastard. Don’t you know you’re just a bastard?”

Those were the last words he ever spoke to me. His voice and those words etched into my mind, forever.

The Path of the Storm

Much of my childhood could be summed up by pain and Ritalin. Uncontrolled emotions carried me into my adolescence and young adult years. Anger, bitterness, sadness, indifference. I felt and lived with them all as they engulfed like a flood. It was the air I breathed. Most times I could keep things in check: a few punched out windows here and there helped dull my embittered heart.

I spent many years trying to ignore it all, trying to suppress the rage I felt. I would do anything the world offered me as a pressure release value. Anything.

Wrestling helped. Slamming other kids on their heads and throwing them across the mat felt good. For those moments, I felt in control of my world. Blood and broken bones were a small price to pay for relief. But unfettered rage always lurked beneath the surface.

But I am a bastard no more by the grace of God. Christ saved me and gave me a new heart, one with new affections. The old has been buried.

Fatherlessness Unfettered

Fast forward to the present. When I turn on the news and see the protests, the statues being toppled, and the smoke of private businesses that have been burned to the ground, I don’t see a progressive phoenix rising from the ashes of oppression.

I see the same rage I’ve known all too well. I see fatherless men who have found their sonship in the mob. Fatherlessness is a root of all kinds of evil if left to mature on its own. Statistics tell us that fatherlessness is the greatest predictor of violent crime and incarceration.

To ignore this fact in favor of some neutered view of reality, is a stupid denial of obvious reality. Grown men don’t cry over romanticized ideas of faux oppressional forces, but I have seen plenty do so when you ask them about their father.

We are witnessing the fruit of fatherlessness, with a stage four prognosis, and it has metastasized throughout the entire culture. This brave new world we are watching unfold will not usher in the utopia that many imagine—it will destroy everything in its wake. It doesn’t have plans to rebuild anything at all. Fatherless men were not taught to build, either in terms of homes or legacies. The feminized culture has emasculated them, both in mind and body, and taught them to do nothing but emote. Feelings don’t build civilizations. Blood, sweat, and sacrifice do.

Many of us were thrown into public school classrooms, told to shut the hell up and sit still, while women and effeminate male teachers taught us that we are but shadows and dust in the cosmos, nothing but chance acting on matter, with no end in sight. The ivory towers of higher education complete this neutering process of indoctrination. 

They tell us our masculinity is poison, that women are the future, and we have no recourse but to take gender studies courses to re-gentrify our masculine minds to one less aggressive, replete with soft pastel colors and queer-affirming sentiments. Are we really surprised when violence roams the streets? Sure, a few soft effeminates are created, but many reject the reorientation process in favor of Burn-It-All-Down approach. 

Men need fathers.

As Fredrick Douglas said, “It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.”

“It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.”

I needed my father. A father to discipline me, to celebrate with me in times of achievement, to correct me when I got out of my depth, to love me the only way a father can. The current cultural fallout is in fact a fatherless epidemic and the progressive culture is hell bent on keeping it that way.

They want Daddy State to be the shoulder we cry on. But Daddy State is impotent to give us the discipline and moral fortitude we need in order to be men. We need men of courage who have been sharpened by other men with the same resolve. We need men that fear God.

Robert Dabney once said, “No man could be called brave for advancing coolly upon a risk of which he was totally unconscious. It is only where there is an exertion of fortitude in bearing up against the consciousness of peril, that true courage has place.”

“No man could be called brave for advancing coolly upon a risk of which he was totally unconscious. It is only where there is an exertion of fortitude in bearing up against the consciousness of peril, that true courage has place.”

There is peril in our midst. We who are men and fathers know what God requires of us. We are called to lead our homes, to love and lead our wives, and to raise our sons and daughters in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. If we will not, the culture will. Now is not the time to abdicate our responsibility.

Men and fathers, may we not be content to sit back when our gallantry is being tested, to sit idly by while this impotent, cultural phoenix attempts to rise to steal the minds of our future men.

As Doug Wilson once said, “Christians are a race of dragon-fighters. Our sons are born to this. Someone ought to tell them.”

That someone is us.

Photo by Randy Colas on Unsplash

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18 comments

  • Eric what a great article! You are very good at what you do and I couldn’t agree more. I hope to cross paths with you again sometime. Keep up the good work.

    • Thanks Victor! Hope you and your family are doing well. Cheers!

  • This took me back to my childhood in more ways than one. I recall hearing somewhere that smell may be the sense that is most strongly tied to memory. When I read this I could smell fatherlessness, it smells like cheap-beer, stale cigarette smoke, and sweat.

    I’m growing increasingly certain that the only men who will stand up against the forces of chaos are those with deep scars. Those scars make it impossible for them to be bought. Most of the effeminate young preacher-boys in the Reformed world these days grew up in upper-middle class suburban homes. A disturbing number of them were actually home-schooled. They’re looking for acceptance from the gatekeepers of a debased culture and they’re more than willing to publicly denounce any hint that solid fathers are the basis of culture. Only guys like Pippin will go down telling the truth whether people want to hear it or not.

    • Excellent insights. Wow.

      “I’m growing increasingly certain that the only men who will stand up against the forces of chaos are those with deep scars. Those scars make it impossible for them to be bought.”

      I never connected my scars, or men like Pippin’s, w/ the desire to see father rule and order restored to a world of chaos. But it’s absolutely true.

      We need men who can’t be bought. We need men w/ the marks of Christ, the marks of the Father’s discipline & love.

    • I appreciate that Mr. Wiley. You’re right, that sensory stuff sticks with you, I can almost taste the dust that I kicked up that day.

      I firmly believe there are some character qualities that can only be sharpened through adversity, seeing the pits of human depravity instills in many a desire to fight for that which is good, they know how dark the world can be.

      Thank you again for your comment, your books have blessed me too.

  • While I agree with the author that boys need their fathers, let me add that girls do too.

    I don’t appreciate the broad strokes used to paint women in this article. Not all women emote. Not all women want to see their little boys grow up to be spineless and effeminate. There is a lot that women can teach boys about being men. And men can teach girls something about being women. Some of the strongest and toughest people I know- including my own mother- are single women. Some grit their teeth, roll up their sleeves, fix stuff in their homes, work full time, and strive to raise their children in godly homes without men.

    Give some credit to the godly, abandoned women who by the grace of God raise their families alone.

    • No disparagement to the women who stepped in to fill the gaps is meant by the post. That said, every child needs a father. It’s an irreplaceable role. I think that’s what Jacob is getting at. He’s not disparaging women in the least—except for those who want to destroy fatherhood altogether.

  • This was a very moving and important article that I intend to share with many other folks.

    One segment of Jacob’s life I would like to hear about is how he got out of the cycle he was born into. Who were the people in his life that showed him there is a different path to take? How did Jacob taking that path happen?

  • Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD. And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.

  • Wow Jacob what a powerful story you have written from your own life experience. Thank you for the courage it took to share it. Keep in the good fight brother and appreciate that wife of yours. I’m praying for you that all that anger and rage you’ve experienced will be turned into a great passion for the Lord and His work.

  • Thank you for having the courage to share your own story. That said, I think your opinion still comes from a place of privilege and refuses to hear the outcry of pain from a hurting community. My email is in my comment, so feel free to reach out. I wouldn’t mind having a civil discussion about this.

  • This goes to the unresolved issue I had with Wilson back in the 1990s on an old Reformed email ‘List-Serve’.

    “As Doug Wilson once said, “Christians are a race of dragon-fighters. Our sons are born to this. Someone ought to tell them.””

    No Doug, don’t tell them…show them!

  • I’m wondering why the comment “effeminate male teachers”? Are men not gifted and called to teach? My husband is a teacher and has lived out the gospel to scores of students over the years, providing godly counsel and example to those boys and girls who don’t have a dad.

    • Key word there is *effeminate.* Boys need male teachers, but those with masculine virtues. Unfortunately, as Jacob points out, many male teachers are effeminate. This is a sin (1 Corinthians 6:9).

    • I say it because in many cases it is true, especially in my case. And note the emphasis is on the “effeminate” male teachers. Of course, there are exceptions but it doesn’t make the rule. I have been a classroom teacher for nearly six years and many of my students are fatherless. I got into the profession wanting to be father in the gates in my community. I know how the system works and who runs it. Unfortunately, my time is almost up because there are forces I cannot content with any longer and stay faithful. So I hope you see I do not say what I say flippantly, I meant what I said. Thank you for your comment.

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