Opinion

“The Streets Were My Father” and the Crisis of Fatherlessness in America

AMAC Exclusive

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As many on the left are seeking to replace the natural distinctions between fathers and mothers with unintelligible terms like “birthing people,” and the pages of publications like the New York Times and The Atlantic have recently downplayed or outright rejected the importance of growing up with a father, the common sense of the American People overwhelmingly disagrees. Today, 70 percent of Americans say they believe fatherlessness is the most urgent social problem facing our country. And the data supports their case: The Census Bureau estimates that one in four American children live without a father in the home. Meanwhile, according to the U.S. Department of Justice, fatherless children account for 63 percent of youth suicides, 90 percent of homeless or runaway youths, and 71 percent of high school dropouts.

Children who grow up with involved fathers are twice as likely to go to college and find stable employment after graduating high school, 75 percent less likely to have a teen birth, and 80 percent less likely to go to jail.

These arresting figures indicate that the left’s attacks on the institution of fatherhood have a devastating effect on the lives of millions of Americans.

Into this crisis comes a powerful new movie: the just-released film The Streets Were My Father, produced by Our American Stories and available to watch on SalemNOW. The film follows the lives of three Chicago men—each of whom speaks movingly of having grown up without fathers in broken homes—and their journeys from fatherlessness to faith, from prison to prayer, and from brokenness to redemption.

With fathers who were either abusive or absent from their lives altogether, Carlos Colon, Louis Dooley, and Leslie Williams turned to gangs, violence, and drugs to fill the gap left by their lack of a strong father figure. “I clung to the streets because it was all I had,” Colon shared. “The streets were my father.”

Exhilarated by the deceptive “high” of acceptance from their gangs, each man confesses that in his youth, he came to rely on the thrill of inflicting damage and pain onto others—starting with acts of vandalism and theft and eventually escalating to knifings, shootings, and murders.

“We were miserable, we had no fathers in our lives, it was like we were a pack of dogs,” said Colon. “We hung and clung together.”

Each man ended up being arrested, convicted and sent to prison. They describe how they initially felt forced to assimilate into the toxic—and often lethal—prison culture that surrounded them. Dooley recalls an immediate pressure to kill the biggest, most intimidating man in prison to earn the respect—and therefore the assurance of his safety—from his fellow inmates. Colon, Dooley, and Williams, like countless others in prison, found themselves resorting to fear and aggression to ensure their status and survival were maintained.

Yet what ultimately stopped each man in the film from continuing down the path of violence came not from gang pressure or prison guards, but from something they least expected: an invitation to pray. Though none of the three men had been religious at the time of their imprisonment and they reacted with skepticism to the idea of reading the Bible or attending a church service, it was ultimately through faith that they found their redemption. Williams, after proclaiming his belief in Christ and receiving baptism at his first church service, recollects the feeling of being “finally free.”

What their earthly fathers failed to provide, their Heavenly Father finally did. The battles each man had fought on his own seemed insignificant in the light of God’s grace, opening the way to futures for each of them that previously seemed unimaginable.

“Finally, I said to myself, ‘Enough is enough,’” Colon said. “I just wanted something different. I always talked about the void in my life, and I went to prison with a void, and I wasn’t bettering myself in prison, I was getting worse, and I remember thinking that I was tired. And I finally figured it out, what that void in my life was: it was Jesus. It was God. I needed him as my father, and he was always there. He was the one.”

The Streets Were My Father succeeds not only in highlighting the crisis of fatherlessness, but also in inspiring viewers to step in as a father figure for those who need it. Each of the three men in the film had their lives transformed all because someone cared enough to include them in their Bible study or their church service—to make them feel welcome and safe when no one else would.

As the lines between male and female and father and mother continue to blur in the national discourse, it is more vital than ever for Americans to recommit ourselves to ensuring that all children have a strong father figure in their lives—whether it be their biological father, a surrogate father, or someone else who can fill this irreplaceable role.

This Father’s Day, those of us who are fortunate enough to still have our fathers with us will take time to love and appreciate them. Those of us who have lost our fathers will no doubt take time to remember them. But let us also take a moment to pray for, support, and extend a loving arm to the countless men like Colon, Dooley, and Williams who have lived their lives without loving fathers of their own.

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Bill on the Hill
3 months ago

I must say both PaulE & Max’s comments struck a nerve in me…I will just add without fathers in a young person’s life, life more times than not it seems becomes a life of emptiness, sometimes to the point of hopelessness… Right up until very recently, the BLM message was the delusion of getting rid of or destroying the ” nuclear family “. They have recently removed this from their website & only for political correctness purposes imo.
The BLM organization is & continues to be a extremely dangerous, Marxist driven group that stands hand in hand with ANTIFA, in essence they are one and the same…One only needs to look back at the past ( 18 ) months of violence to the extreme, rioting, pillaging & now murder added to the atrocities by primarily young people in our nations cities…I’m seeing many black youths in this with white youths thrown into the mix too as well as some Hispanics. I can’t help but wonder, how many of these troubled young people have grown up WITHOUT a father or a father figure in their lives?
In summary, is it possible these disturbed young people come from established homes with mothers & fathers that truly support & love them?…
Bill on the Hill… :~)

D.P.
3 months ago

This boils down to one thing….and it has little to do with race….it is about your father, his father, and the father before him…..the legacy of unrighteousness from generation to generation. My father taught me as did his father, as did his father, and as I did to my children, who have children of their own. The lesson was the same…..God first, Family second, everyone else after that…..today our culture has become, me first, me first, me first……God and everyone else be dammed. The article speaks of the miracle of grace from God for those men who turned things around…and are now in a position to help others do the same…..but the damage is already done….with fatherless people lost to their own means. While we cannot put all the blame on fathers who do not take responsability for their acts, (there are women out there who have the same problem as mothers)…a large part of the blame does fall on them, and their fathers who were absent or useless, and the father’s before them. Leave God out of this and you have the present disaster in the works. No solution, no matter how high sounding and “good” will succeed without God. Just look at the cultures who have abandoned God for self, and see what is in store for this nation.

D.P.
3 months ago
Reply to  D.P.

Addendum, get a copy of the book “Red, White, and Black” by Larson….and see just how the
black community has been systematically destroyed as a culture of family…..and this by their
supposed caring leaders.

wayne
3 months ago

The selfish left here are a cancer with their mindless ideology. Each and every one of them should be held responsible for putting these mongrels in office. They have no shame and the world will pay the bill for their destruction on the civil society. Guaranteed !!!

aluminum head
3 months ago

4 must read books by every American:
The Unseen Hand – The Creature From Jekyll Island – The Real Lincoln – Lincoln’s War.
No one from the ( D ) communist party of America will ever fool you after that.

aluminum head
3 months ago

A retired Chicago police officer once said that 80% of the black males he arrested, in his career ( on the street ) came from fatherless homes.

CoachT
3 months ago

Thanx for this Article I can’t even imagine ???? Soli Deo Gloria! So encouraging to read of humanoids humility n fear of the LORD bringing about the riches of grace, adoption into God’s family, and eternal life. Moving…

Don J.
3 months ago

Great Article. So True. Yet, mainstream tries hard to blame all that is happening on everything else but the truth. Fatherlessness is a Major ISSUE. But how comforting to know that in the midst of so many prodigals out there, in which I was one also, A longing and crying out for direction and guidance lead me to discover God as my father, thru a small one on one bible study in the book of Genesis. It’s been a great and challenging journey, and He has been so faithful. God longs to embrace his children, but gives them free will to decide. The prodigal son in the new testament tells it all. There is HOPE!!!! Happy Father’s day. DJA

Barb
3 months ago
Reply to  Don J.

God bless you for this testimony Don J.

PaulE
3 months ago

Look no further than LBJ and Democrat controlled Congress enacting the so-called Great Society and War on Poverty programs for why the black nuclear family fell apart in this country. Before LBJ’s initiatives for creating the modern day welfare state that intentionally made the father figure redundant and essentially unwanted as in many cases it disqualified receipt of welfare and other government checks, the black community was reflective of every other race in the country in terms of a mother, father and children making up the nuclear family unit. After 55 years, the notion of a single parent household making up almost 75 percent of the typical black families in this country has become institutionalized. Another Democrat “success” exactly as LBJ envisioned it for keeping the majority of the black community dependent on the Democrat party.

Democrats refuse to acknowledge their role in creating this problem and Republican politicians have largely been too cowardly to speak the truth for fear of either “not being liked by the media” or “offending some independent voter” who wasn’t going to vote for them anyway. We can keep dancing around the root cause of the problem for another 55 years or we can have a sane, rational national conversation about what it will take to reverse this situation that the Democrats created in the mid 1960s.

aluminum head
3 months ago
Reply to  PaulE

LBJ was just as horrible a monster as “Honest” Abe. They both maintained unnecessary wars, butchered Americans needlessly, and used the black race to THEIR advantage.

Max
3 months ago

Nice article about the nation that has fallen into despair by the lack of leadership in the family and home when the father is absent or doesn’t care. The support of Prison ministries is a must for every believer whether for men or women so their lives can be turned around and returned to the care of the FATHER in Heaven.

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