"But how can you live and have no story to tell?" Fyodor Dostoevsky
It’s unfashionable to say it these days, you risk the wrath of SJWs and others who cannot abide the institution. But the research is clear, the evidence robust and well-documented. Marriage is a good thing for society, especially for the well-being of children. It’s axiomatic that kids need stability, routine and boundaries. This is especially the case with boys.
Underpinning this is the unstated truism that marriage is not for the married people. It’s for the children. It provides a proper place for kids to grow, to test boundaries within boundaries. It gives them a safe haven. I would argue that marriage ties the ropes of life together, intertwining the strands to provide the anchor for a child. For the parents, it allows sexuality a place to integrate into our lives in a trusting way. Never forget though, that once you have children it’s not about you. It’s about them.
In the West, it's accepted that all families are equal. Barney the Dinosaur even sings about it. I can understand the need not to offend, but, the evidence is clear. Single parent families do not in the main have good outcomes for kids. Especially the boys.
My own interest in this area grew from my interactions with delinquent kids. These were usually boys, who’d committed crime. They came before me for a ‘caution’ rather than make an appearance in court. This offered them an opportunity to correct a mistake without the stain of a criminal record. What struck me, time and time again, is that these kids came from single parent families. Usually with the father absent. Mum was working hard to keep the kid in school, dressed and fed, without a man in the household. On occasion, a Grandfather or Uncle was around. When that was the case the outcome for the kid was usually better.
The research I found supported my observations. Boys need a male father figure. The male figure’s job is to set the boundaries, check conduct, whilst providing a useful role model. The boys without that male figure drifted and some found their way into gangs. With testosterone pumping and no restraint, you have a dangerous cocktail. The gang became the 'father' with frightful outcomes.
If you don’t believe it, look at the data. In the U.S. 71% of high school drop out are fatherless. Then consider that 85% of the youths in prison are fatherless. For runaway children, the figure is 90% fatherless. A recent study found that preschoolers not living with both of their biological parents are 40 times more likely to be abused. In the U.K. 91% of single parents are women. Boys in those families are nine times more likely to commit crime. That's costing the economy an estimated £100 billion a year.
A 12-year study at Yale found that the presence of a father increases a child’s IQ. This is supported by work at Newcastle University, which looked at 11,000 British men and women. It gets more interesting when you consider health. A study of 5,000 young people found a father's absence damages telomeres - vital pieces of DNA that protect cells. Having an absent father through divorce shortened telomeres by 14 per cent, while a death shortened them by 16 per cent. Shortened telomeres have been linked to premature aging and cancer. The so-called ‘Dad deficit’ cripples a young boys chances in life. The data is clear and unquestionable proof of this impact.
The lefty feminists can’t accept any of this. They bury their heads in the sand. Then they concoct weird theories that have no rational basis. On occasions they will go to extraordinary lengths. Denying the science, shouting down alternative views. It's all about sustaining a dogma that damages children and our society.
Within a stable marriage, boys and girls find the environment to grow. In the U.S. roughly 40% of children being raised today are in a home without a father. The effects are staggering. Father absence causes increases in mental and behavioral disorders. Criminal activity and substance abuse soar. On the other hand, when children get raised in a healthy marriage, they see and experience the lasting benefits of a strong family.
Many on the left reject this. Citing their ‘opinion’ that its wrong to label and be judgmental. And yet first-rate scientific inquiry, not second-rate social theory, destroys them. They hinge a diversity agenda on such mumbo-jumbo. In researching this piece I scanned various articles from feminists talking down the merits of marriage. In only one instance did I find a reference to the children. The left is blind to the issue of the impact on kids of single-parent families. In my view this is pure selfishness.
In no way do I wish to denigrate those single-parents who do a marvelous job. They deserve our respect. Nor do I opine that couples must remain in a failing marriage. That misery can be as bad for the child. I'm asking that people understand the consequences of the choices they make. Never forget, life is a compromise. Plus, the inescapable fact is the greater obligation is to the child you brought into this world.
What is gratifying is to see that schemes such as ‘Operation Breakthrough’ have such a positive impact. Hong Kong Police officers, serving and retired, run this volunteer programme. It engages formally wayward young men and women in various sporting activities keeping them focused and occupied. But more important, and never stated, is that the cops become the surrogate fathers. BJ Smith, Danny Lawley, David Grant and many others provide positive role models. This male influence is so important to developing self-esteem and recognising potential. To date, the scheme has produced outstanding results. Participants going on to serve in the Fire Services and other agencies.
The ‘Breakthrough’ crew deserve our praises for this sterling work. At the end of the day, this is true 'service to the community.'
Walter De Havilland was one of the last of the colonial coppers. He served 35 years in the Royal Hong Kong Police and Hong Kong Police Force. He's long retired.