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Restoring the American family: A key to greatness


“The reason there is so much violence and chaos in the black precincts is the disintegration of the African-American family.”

With this statement, Bill O’Reilly, on Fox News the night of July 22, began to recast the national conversation about the plight of inner city blacks from a race problem to a family problem.

“Right now,” O’Reilly said, “about 73 percent of all black babies are born out of wedlock. That drives poverty. And the lack of involved fathers leads to young boys growing up resentful and unsupervised.”

The importance of fathers, all fathers whatever the color, has been underscored by a number of clerics including Dr. Robert Lewis, pastor at Fellowship Bible Church in Little Rock for many years and founder of the international Men’s Fraternity.

Speaking about all men–black, white or any other–Dr. Lewis said “the absent father wound is an ongoing emotional, social or spiritual deficit that is ordinarily met in a healthy relationship with a dad.”

Without a dad in the picture, men, and women, too, turn to gangs and other unhealthy substitutes to fill the father role with often disastrous results.

“For the many men in our society who suffer from the wound,” Dr. Lewis says, “the results can be negative and enduring, A general sense of pain and anger can build in a young man. To numb the pain, he may engage in extreme behaviors or addictions.”

I can attest to this from first hand experience. I drank alcoholically for 20 years, some of that time as a father, to try to deal with the pain of my insecurities and anxieties, and my three sons suffered because I was often emotionally and sometimes physically unavailable to them. As a result, they, too, turned to alcohol and other drugs as teenagers with almost tragic consequences.

At age 50, in 1979, I went to my first AA meeting, began to follow the 12 Steps and became a Christian. Shortly after that my wife and I joined Fellowship Bible Church and met Dr. Lewis who gave us some badly needed marriage counseling. Later I attended Robert’s first series of Men’s Fraternity meetings in a vacant shopping center store.

The original goal of the men’s fraternity classic series was “to provide timeless truths and practical insights to help men become the men God intended them to be.” It is now part of the curriculum base that supports the more comprehensive “authentic manhood movement,”a subject for later discussion.

Over the succeeding years, my sons completed college, raised families and have had successful careers. One is a lawyer. One is the founder of a successful Hawaiian restaurant chain. And one is a tennis teaching professional.

Commenting on the devastation of the addiction problem, O’Reilly said “Go to Detroit and ask anyone living on the south side of the eight-mile road what destroyed their city. They will tell you it is narcotics. They know addiction leads to crime and debasement.

“The thugs who sell hard drugs, no matter what color they are, deserve to be put away for long periods of time. They sell poison, they sell a product that enslaves and kills. They are scum,” O’Reilly said.

O’Reilly also took the entertainment industry to task, stating that it “encourages irresponsibility by marketing a gangster culture, hip hop, movies, trashy TV shows to impressionable children.”

Grammy award winner black rapper L’ll Wayne (Dwayne Michael Carter) is a case in point. His thoughts on drugs, life and the family, include the following:

“When the truth hurts I pop pain pills.”

“My ex wanna work it out. Bitch try yoga.”

If you want more of L’ll Wayne’s world view, go to his web site. It is rich with examples.

On the other hand, if you want to hear the work of some of the finest popular entertainers God ever produced, both black and white, here are a couple of  ITunes recommendations from my own collection of nearly 300.

Count Basie and Frank Sinatra at the Sands (a black and white collaboration of epic proportions): “Where or When”

Lionel Hampton, Oscar Peterson, Ray Brown and Buddy Rich: “That Old Black Magic” and “Just One of those things.”

Lena Horn: “Watch What Happens” and “Darn that Dream”

Duke Ellington: “Take the A Train”

Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald: “Our love is here to stay”

Coleman Hawkins: “The man I love.”

Sammy Davis Jr. “Hey There”

Ahmad Jamal: “ Tangerine”

The mission of “authentic manhood’ is “to inspire and equip, to step up and live lives of truth, passion and purpose. Way too many men are simply confused about life. Instead of being the positive difference makers they were made to be, confused men just create problems.”








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