While I was in London last week for work, I was sitting in my hotel room one evening, getting ready to head out to dinner, when the news program did a story about the lack of male role models for children in the UK. The concern is that while the number of single moms is growing, the number of adult males in professional areas like teaching, therapists, or other positions where they would be working with children are dwindling. The news program seemed to highlight the fact that this was a difficult thing to talk about because there is an assumption that pointing out that having millions of kids grow up without any kind of male role model is somehow an insult to single moms. That is a problem, and being overly sensitive to people who point out the problem isn’t going to help solve it. Children, male and female, need appropriate role models of all types to develop the proper relationships and sense of themselves as adults.
One of the things the report didn’t talk about, but which I immediately thought of, is why are there so few men willing to work with children? Unfortunately, my own experience tells me why that is. Males who want to work with children, are automatically suspected of being pedophiles. I’ve seen the looks adult males get when seen in public with children that aren’t theirs, and I’ve seen the strange looks you get when you try to even attempt to volunteer to work with kids when you don’t have any yourself. Don’t have kids of your own but want to volunteer to coach a little league team? Good luck with that. Every parent out there is going to be suspicious of you. Heck, I’ve seen the suspicious looks given to me just walking around with my niece, who has blond hair and blue eyes and is obviously not blood related to me, let alone my nephew, who was adopted from Africa.
Unfortunately, we now live in a world where males seen with children without a female around, are suspects. Is it any wonder men don’t want to go into teaching? Is it any wonder why males without their own kids don’t want to volunteer to work with kids, whether it be Big Brothers or coaching sports? Why would you put yourself through that? The sad reality is, that the media has fed a frenzy leading us to fear strangers, especially adult males, when the vast majority of child abuse occurs within the family circle. How sad that when so many kids are suffering abuse within their family, they are meeting fewer and fewer people outside of the family who they might confide in.
So, even here in the US, as the number of kids growing up without fathers continues to grow, we’ll see more and more of them grow up without any one to model what is correct male behavior, and that is not going to help them lead successful, happy, and healthy lives as adults. We should do better.