As a young boy, I experienced the trauma of my family being torn apart. I was so young that I barely have memory of some occurrences, yet because of the trauma of my family being ripped apart, I hold onto extremely vivid memories that largely deal with pain. At the age of five, my biological father left me and my mother. By all accounts of the events that took place following his departure, my dad was fooled by emotions and lust, paired with a lack of commitment, principles and integrity. My father found another woman and left the family he started for a family that three other men helped create, as this woman he chose had three young children from three different fathers.

It seems as though we need to revisit the very ways of life that laid the foundation of our great country. It is not who we are that makes this country so great, it is who our ancestors were.

Initially, my father forced me and my mother to leave the humble apartment that I once knew to be my home; the home that contained my bed, plus a few toys. My mother tells me, and although I can’t remember, we were temporarily homeless, only possessing our clothes and an old cargo van that was formerly used for beer transport. In hindsight, it wasn’t a bad vehicle to reside in, given the large area in the back that lacked bench seating, allowing ample room to stretch out and make a bed.

I have never experienced the level of fear as I felt when my father left. And there were a lot of things to be fearful of as I grew up amidst pervasive and violent crime; break-ins, burglaries, robberies, murder, kidnapping, and so on. I remember clinging to anger for my circumstances, which provided me a sense of empowerment during those years.

I was raised in the impoverished area of Albuquerque, New Mexico, where those who were living in poverty often boldly expressed their dislike or disdain for their unwanted circumstances. That anger was redirected into violent activities, typically paired with the use of alcohol, drugs, or a combination of all three. This violent expression of hate, unhappiness, and anger created a difficult environment in which to grow up.

You can actually use the divorce rate in a given area to predict its level of crime,” according to University of Chicago’s sociology professor, Robert Sampson.

As a result of my surroundings, my grades dropped drastically, and I was constantly pulled out of class to speak with school counselors about what I was going through. I didn’t know how to effectively communicate to the counselors that what I was feeling was a deep sense that this fatherless situation I found myself in was wrong and profoundly destructive. I didn’t know how, as a young child, to look up at a grown up and express the feeling that a portion of me had died. I believe it was these years that made me hate being vulnerable or having to depend on others. There was so much strife that followed my father’s decision to live for himself, but looking at the world we live in, I was far from being a unique case. Based on the following statistics, we see that broken families are an epidemic that produces consequential wrath, born from breaking apart what was meant to be together.

Divorce rates in the United States, per the Divorce Statistics Organization, show that we are seeing marriages failing at a rate of about half. Incredibly, we see the power of the “slippery slope” in divorce, as the rate of divorce increases with each divorce that actually occurs. With a fifty percent chance of divorce in a first marriage in the United States, that number jumps to just under seventy percent for those who have already experienced a divorce. And, sadly, for those who have endured two divorces, the chance of having a third is over seventy percent (Divorce Statistics, 2010).

In an online article, Psychology Professor, Raymond Bell, of Lehigh University said, “Psychological, physiological and socioeconomic factors contribute most to crime in society (Linton, 1991).” Bell goes on to point out the sad fact that 70 percent of the individuals locked up behind bars come from broken families. Bell points out the tragic realities of these individuals’ early trauma and ways they are brought up cause significant consequences. He says, “Dysfunctional families and physical, mental and sexual abuse lead to psychological problems. Coping with these problems often leads to drug use (Linton, 1991).” Bell continues in laying down the unheard truths in that, “Eighty percent of inmates are learning disabled, 50 percent are illiterate and 70 percent have no vocational training (Linton, 1991).”

It is not that people lived perfect moral lives before June 25, 1962, but it is that they possessed readily available material that encouraged the pursuit of excellence, selflessness, sacrifice, big-picture thinking, moral decision-making, and love of thy neighbor as an everyday reality.

In a separate article, “Divorce: Ignoring the Cost,” published by The Heritage Foundation, Edwin J. Feulner, PH.D. urges readers to “Consider the link between crime rates and family structure. You can actually use the divorce rate in a given area to predict its level of crime,” according to University of Chicago’s sociology professor, Robert Sampson. Sampson studied 171 U.S. cities with populations above 100,000 and found that the lower a city’s divorce rate, the lower its crime rate (Feulner, 2000).

Members of The Heritage Foundation reviewed data and found that “those who grew up without fathers in the home were two to three times more likely to commit crimes (Feulner, 2000).” The article concluded with the idea that the greatest response to much of the unnecessary sadness in the world is keeping our families together and preserving the union of marriage.

Another advocate for families and marriage and educator on the incredible destruction that comes from broken families, is Dr. James Dobson. Dr. Dobson, within his book “Bringing up Boys,” states that “Chief among the threats to this generation of boys is the breakdown of the family. Every other difficulty we will consider has been caused by or is related to that fundamental tragedy (Dobson, 2001).” The incredible value that marriage and family bring fourth is not foreign knowledge to one of the most powerful organizations in the world – the United States Military.

At the root of any elite unit within our armed forces, are men and women who possess sound minds and have a firm foundation with an affective support group; a family unit that empowers their abilities to defend and fight for our nation. Lieutenant Commander Nate Christensen, who acts as a spokesman for the Pentagon, expressed the importance of marriage and healthy relationships. Lt. Commander made claim of this fact when he stated, “The health and well-being of service members and their families is a priority (Bushatz, Feburary).”

By all accounts, when we engage the topic of marriage, divorce and broken families, we speak of matters that are greatly affecting our world by how it influences our greatest treasure and value, that being our youth, our children. Divorce is, without a doubt, one of the biggest social problems we face, and the impact we are experiencing from it has not received the attention that it most certainly deserves.

So there it is, we have the problem, we have the statistics to prove it, we have those with positional authority and educational background that are warning us and encouraging us to live a life of commitment to our families. But the question remains, what can our society do in order to encourage the healing of marriage, increase the commitment of sticking together, increase loyalty, and in turn, increase our countries “profit margins?”

So my question is, with the positional authority of our government, our entertainment, celebrities, local politicians and business moguls, how are they using their influence to guide a culture, a society, laws and decisions within the US Supreme Court?

Perhaps we should reconsider how we are allowing our country to be shaped by passive influence. Author, Pastor, and Public Speaker, John C. Maxwell, states, “The sum of leadership is influence.” So my question is, with the positional authority of our government, our entertainment, celebrities, local politicians and business moguls, how are they using their influence to guide a culture, a society, laws and decisions within the US Supreme Court?

Should you spend a few moments flipping through the channels on television, you will find a host of programming that presents sexuality, murder, adultery, cheating, lying, stealing, cursing, offending, attacking, while celebrating inanimate objects, and encouraging others to do so while selling you and telling you that this new thing is what is lacking in one’s life.

We are, as a society, being influenced, constantly receiving a barrage of suggestions and many are not of any value. Perhaps the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), could tighten up areas that have gone astray, ensuring harsher penalties for “wardrobe malfunctions” and cursing. We could also benefit from having more educational and uplifting media available. This area is great need of review and overhaul.

Tax breaks and incentives for families would facilitate a great financial relief and also a benefit to encourage a higher regard for marriage. As a young soldier in the United States Army, many of us looked at marriage as not only a way to obtain closeness with our significant others and have a family, but also to experience the benefit of obtaining a home, moving away from bunk mates, and obtaining a housing allowance and dependent pay.

These benefits clearly provided additional creature comforts and quality of life for those who married, and with the value we have learned that marriage and divorce play in society those benefits were rightly provided to those who wished to add value with their commitments to our country. With the divorce rate lowering year by year in the military, perhaps we should watch this “controlled group” and the methods that are used to encourage family and commitment. Stars and Stripes touched on this very subject in their article called Military Marriages Show a Surprising Level of Resilience, stating, “Despite enormous stress on military families from repeated wartime deployments and long periods living apart, service marriages are showing a level of resilience that social scientists can’t yet explain (Philpott, 12).”

In June 25, 1962, the U.S. Supreme Court declared school-sponsored prayers unconstitutional in the case of Engel v. Vitale. Along with kicking out prayers, it seems as though we kicked out the teaching of morality. I argue that this is exactly when our children’s upbringing began to change. I propose it was the direct influence our courts exercised (U.S. Supreme Court declared school-sponsored prayers unconstitutional in the landmark case Engel v. Vitale) that has since changed the overall feeling within this once family-rich country.

It is not that people lived perfect moral lives before June 25, 1962, but it is that they possessed readily available material that encouraged the pursuit of excellence, selflessness, sacrifice, big-picture thinking, moral decision-making, and love of thy neighbor as an everyday reality.

As a copy of a copy is of lesser quality than the original, I argue that with each passing generation we are seeing morals passing along with them. It seems as though we need to revisit the very ways of life that laid the foundation of our great country. It is not who we are that makes this country so great, it is who our ancestors were. And, until we come to terms with self-sacrifice, and the painful pursuit of right living, we will never end the destruction of our families and ourselves. The greatest change comes from within, and when one changes, many see that there is a real and ever-present opportunity to do the same as leadership is, in fact, the sum of influence.

Divorce Statistics. (2010). Divorce Statistics. Retrieved from Divorce Statistics: http://www.divorcestatistics.org/

Dobson, J. (2001). Bringing Up Boys. Carrol Stream: Tyndale Publishers, Inc.

Feulner, E. J. (2000, August 28). Divorce: Ignoring the cost. Retrieved from Family and Marriage: http://www.heritage.org/research/commentary/2000/08/divorce-ignoring-the-cost

Linton, B. (1991, November 15). 70% Of Criminals Are From Broken Homes, Expert Says. Retrieved from The Morning Call: http://articles.mcall.com/1991-11-15/news/2826825_1_inmates-psychology-professor-raymond-bell

Philpott, T. (12, April 12). Military marriages show a surprising level of resilience. Retrieved from Stars and Stripes: http://www.stripes.com/news/military-marriages-show-a-surprising-level-of-resilience-1.174275

Save

Save

SHARE
Coach at Up-Armored Warrior, Deputy Sheriff at PBSO - Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office, Co-founder at Up-Armored Law Enforcement Officers, Studied Criminal Justice at Lynn University

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here