During the interview, the young man confessed to a crime that no doubt would send him to prison. I turned the recorder off, interview over, case solved, I had done my job. Even though I was certain that I knew the answer, I ask the young man anyway. I ask, "Son, where's your dad?" His head dropped, and I could see tears falling onto his shirt -- he could not speak.
I've seen this far too many times. Tears now were in my eyes. After a couple of minutes, I ask, "How long has your dad been gone?" I wiped my tears. After another minute or so he said, "I see him once a year, maybe twice."
It is always at this point I get mad, not at the young man, but at the real criminal who left him years ago. I meet with his mom and through her tears, she blames herself and ask what she should have or could have done differently. She said she had worked two jobs most of the time, just for the two of them to survive. It is then we handcuff him and have him transported to jail. She cries. He is only 18 years old. I'm still mad and heartbroken all at the same time.
Now, is the young man responsible for what he has done? Yes. Does he have to answer for what he has done? Yes. Do all boys go astray without a father? No, and I fully understand that. Some of the finest young men you could ever meet had a father who was worthless. And sometimes it is the mother who walks out, I get it. And sometimes a crazy woman will run a good man off, but the father does not have to leave his son or daughter! I get all of that, every bit of it! I just know for over 36 years I have witnessed countless young men in that same guilty spot and the absolute -- without any question -- most common denominator in all of those young men's lives was that they had a father who did not play a part in their lives. So sad and terrible.
I wished the whole world knew, and especially fathers, what children truly need and what they don't need. What they really need will never fit under a Christmas tree, nor can you purchase it at any Walmart. They need a mother, yes, but fathers, they need you! Fathers, they need you! They need a daddy that they can count on! They need a daddy who loves them and shows them that he loves them and is there for them every step of the way! They need a daddy who will teach them how to get along in this life and how to treat others.
Think not that I think that I raised my children with perfection, no. "And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and the admonition of the Lord" (Ephesians 6:4). "Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged" (Colossians 3:21). Children should not have to be taught to behave by our criminal justice system, they should be taught that from their parents, who learned themselves from the Word of God.