Fixing The Roots

Spots, yellowing, white mold, and mildew are usually signs that your plant needs some care. These external symptoms indicate that the roots are affected and need care. This is when alarm bells start ringing for every plant parent. The heavily invested will go to great lengths to ensure that their plant recovers. Others will look ruefully at what could have been and then move on with their lives. 

If I were to draw a parallel to society from the plants we own then, single-mother families, orphans, and widows are the symptoms of a sick society. But what is tearing apart the fabric of our society is fatherlessness. I saw this with my own eyes in my 20s. I saw boys grow into drug-abusing men who couldn’t hold on to a job in so many different contexts.

The statistics from various studies conducted on fatherlessness make for grim reading: 

  • Children in father-absent homes are almost four times more likely to be poor.
  • There is significantly more drug and alcohol abuse among children who do not live with their mother and father.
  • Children of single-parent homes are more than twice as likely to commit suicide.
  • 71% of high school dropouts are fatherless; more likely to be excluded from school, more likely to leave school at age 16.
  • Adolescents in single-parent families and stepfamilies were more likely to engage in delinquency.
  • Being raised by a single mother increases the risk of teen pregnancy, marrying with less than a high school degree, and forming a marriage where both partners have less than a high school degree.

A simple analysis of these stats shows us a common thread running through our societal issues. Poverty, crime, drug, and alcohol abuse, physical, emotional, and mental health, low educational achievements and teenage pregnancy, and early sexual activity all stem from the issue of fatherlessness. Yet we seldom hear anyone speak about it.

We invest millions of dollars every year (as we rightly should) to alleviate the symptoms but never examine the root cause of our society’s sickness.

Every year, millions of families come apart at the seams, because a man doesn’t want to stay to fight for his wife and kids. But maybe that’s all he has seen. What if he doesn’t know what it looks like to be a dad who’s consistent, and shows up for his family? What if he’s never had a role model to look up to and all the father figures he has had have failed him? I’m not making any excuses for men but, we need to ask ourselves how we can grow from here. This is where we hit pause and collectively course correct. The entire world can only gain from men who stay to fight for women and children.

But what can we do? How do we help men? The simple answer is to have other men become role models for the younger generation. It is easier said than done. It takes a lot of effort and commitment to stay the course and help young men make better decisions in their lives. Men are conditioned to think that it is weak and ‘sissy-like’ to show any form of vulnerability. So, we often play a game of cat and mouse with one another. We wait for the other man to be vulnerable before we let our guard down. Maybe it’s time to show that we are human after all, that we all make mistakes, and that there is room to grow and learn from them. Maybe, it’s time to fix our roots.

By Mark Balachander

Mark Balachander has been engulfed by a vision to see the transformation of society by working towards the empowerment of fathers and young men. He lives in India with his wife, Srithi Abhinitha, and his two kids, Nolan & Norah.

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