The Need for a Good Father
Several years ago, rangers in the Kruger National Park in Africa needed to thin the elephant population. They decided to send a large number of elephants to other parks. Because of the size of the elephants and the difficulty in transporting them long distances, it was decided to only send juvenile elephants and adult female elephants. Adult bull elephants were just too large to transport.

All seemed to go smoothly until rangers at a National Park in South Africa--the new home of the first shipment of elephants--began to discover dead white rhinos. At first, they suspected poachers. However, upon closer investigation, they discovered that the rhinos still had their precious horns, which was the usual target of poachers. Additionally, they were not killed by gunshot wounds but by deep puncture wounds.

To discover what was happening, the rangers set up hidden cameras throughout the forest. What they found astonished them. The culprits were bands of young, aggressive male elephants. They would knock down a rhino and then gore him to death with their tusks.

According to zoologists, this kind of behavior is unheard of in elephants. What could have caused this abnormality in their behavior? The rangers speculated that it was the absence of the leadership of adult bull elephants. They knew that in normal circumstances, the adult bulls kept the younger bulls in line.

To test their theory, the rangers brought in a number of older bulls. Sure enough, in a short period of time the older bulls let the younger ones know that such brutal, cruel behavior was unacceptable. Within weeks, the harassment of other animals in the park ceased. The young bulls were photographed following the older bulls around and imitating their more appropriate, civilized behavior.

So what Stephen, what does that have to do with us? Simply this: what happened to the elephants is happening in our society today. According to the data from the United States census (from 2000), nearly 22% of American children are being raised in a home where there is no father! I suspect that number has not gotten any smaller in the last seven years. Do you think this has a negative affect on those children and our society in general? Absolutely it does.

My intent is not to criticize the effort that single-parent mothers make. Sometimes difficult circumstances are unavoidable and one must simply do the best she can. But, that being said, it is an undeniable truth that children need strong male leadership in the home. Boys especially need a male role model to develop properly. I believe many young men today act like animals because they have never really had a father to guide them and direct them to maturity! The ever growing size of our prison populations attests to this fact. The difficulty school teachers have controlling their students also attests to this fact. I don't believe the lack of good fathers in homes is the only factor contributing to the increases in the prison population and problems in the classroom, but I do believe it is a significant factor.

When young men grow up in broken homes that are dominated by women, they are not as likely to acquire a stable relationship to male authority. This negatively affects these children and certainly leads to larger issues in society. When there is no solid father figure, chaos is likely to reign sooner or later!

Several Bible passages come to mind on this subject: Proverbs 22:6 - "Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it." If a proper foundation is not laid while they are young, it will likely never be laid. Clay that is soft can be easily shaped, but such is not true once it hardens. Ephesians 6:4 - "Fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord." Ultimately, fathers are responsible for bringing their children up in the ways of righteousness. This responsibility should not be casually discarded or pushed upon a woman. Finally, fathers must heed the wisdom of Proverbs 19:18 - "Chasten your son while there is hope, and do not set your heart on his destruction."