What we have learned about “The Problem”
Every day, at every BTM school meeting, we see the devastating personal impact that growing up without a dad has on a teenage boy, and ultimately on his community.
In 19 years of Boys to Men circles, over 6,000 teenage boys have shared the anger, sadness, and confusion they feel from growing up without a good man in their life.
Here’s what we learned from those boys.
Good men are not born. They are built, shaped and molded during their childhood and adolescent years by the adults in their lives. But what if no man is there to teach him, to be his role model, his guide?
The most important factor of whether a boy will thrive or struggle during his teenage years is determined by the quality of the male role models in his life. The most at risk boys have the most dysfunctional male role models.
Whether a boy’s father died, abandoned him or is emotionally unavailable, a teenage boy without a man to guide him will lose his way. Countless statistics document the fact that fatherless boys are far more likely to drop out of school, abuse drugs, join gangs or go to prison than boys with fathers.
No boy ever dreams of joining a gang, getting hooked on drugs or going to prison. Behind the macho facade of even the toughest gang member, is a good boy who just needs a man to care about him.