BOOKS| for single dads
A FATHER’S WALK| by Matt Haviland
THE DADDY GAP
Upon hearing the news that his father has gone to jail, a six-year-old boy poses the question of this generation: “Who’s going to take my Dad’s place?” The Daddy Gap takes an uncensored look at the distress so many fatherless families are in and provides desperately needed answers about how God responds to this question and how the Church should as well. Dawn Walker and Matt Haviland build a compelling case that not only are single parent families the “widows and orphans” of this generation, but that it is the Church, not the government, that should be responsible to care for them. Drawing from their own journeys as single parents, Dawn and Matt give heartfelt encouragement to these often marginalized families by sharing how God really sees them, loves them, and wants to heal and restore them. Full of rich insights and lavish grace, they also offer some hard truths about what redemption and restoration really require. Most importantly, they clear a path to help all wounded sons and daughters discover the Father they’ve always wanted and who has always wanted them.
About.com Rating [ FIVE STAR rating ] There is little doubt that our society is suffering from an epidemic of fatherlessness. We all know the statistics – higher incarceration rates, higher suicide rates, lower educational attainment, and lower achievement levels. We decry the need for more fathers to be home, involved and present, and the need for good male role models to fill the holes left by absent fathers. But now and again, we get a prescription for what to do about it. Authors Matt Haviland and Dawn Walker have written The Daddy Gap, which examines the difficulties caused by the dearth of fathers in homes in our society from a Christian perspective and offers solutions for families, communities and churches.
Coauthor Dawn Walker starts The Daddy Gap with her story of having her marriage struggles which resulted in her husband’s arrest and incarceration, the subsequent divorce and the difficulties of single parenthood. Her story is poignant and a good example of what is happening in millions of families and for millions of children.
Her personal journey led her to a stronger Christian faith and a ministry focused on single parent families and meeting their needs.
Matt Haviland, the author of A Father’s Walk, is also a single father who has founded a ministry that serves single fathers. Matt grew up in a fatherless home and made decisions early in his life to be fully involved in his children’s lives. He offers the perspective in The Daddy Gap of a boy growing up without the active involvement of a father, going through drugs, alcohol and illicit sexual activity until he rekindled his faith and found purpose in church, mentoring and ministering.
The absence of fathers, The Daddy Gap argues, causes young men to search without success for positive male role models. Consider the following:
First, nearly half of our young men are growing up with no model in the home to show them how to be a good husband or father. Second, most other definitions of manhood coming at them are not serving men well. The guys earning all the ratings on TV are either larger-than-life jocks, babbling idiots, or passive, feminized whiners. Or worse – hip, high-achieving guys who like to party and sleep with every woman in proximity. I don’t think men fully understand the impact that constant viewing of these poor examples implants in their minds and hearts. Matt specifically goes on to talk about other societal influences such as promiscuity, drugs, alcohol and pornography that are so destructive to marriages and families, and later shares his own story that interlaces all of these influences and that put him into the single parent world.
As Matt and Dawn share their experiences, their thoughts and prescriptions for filling The Daddy Gap have great credibility. The Daddy Gap focuses on several important elements for filling this gap in the lives of single mothers and children.
They suggest that a relationship with God and the Church can help fill the gap for all involved. Dawn speaks movingly of how her and her son’s relationship with their Heavenly Father fill most of the losses of not having a husband and father in the home, and suggest that loving and caring friends and family members can help as well. They also suggest that men confront the influences which tend to pull them away from Godly manhood and personal responsibility and stewardship and “man up” to their responsibilities. Turning to God, exercising faith and partnering with other men who have succeeded as fathers can bring strength to resist societal trends. They also suggest the important role that churches and the social sector can play in helping fill financial and emotional gaps and in providing good male role models in serving the single parents and fatherless in our neighborhoods and communities. Speaking of filling the gaps for single parent families, The Daddy Gap offers five important ways that men can step in appropriately:
Develop eyes and a heart for the fatherless Pick a few kids in your circle of influence to intentionally invest in Speak affirmation, encouragement, and blessing into the lives of fatherless kids at every opportunity Develop a team of mentors in your church to minister to the fatherless Share the book, this need and this vision with as many people as possible. The Daddy Gap is an excellent reminder of the importance of dealing with the issue of fatherlessness in our neighborhoods, communities and society. The social costs of fatherlessness are enormous and we can do something about it. The Daddy Gap is a call to action for all of us to be better and more involved and responsible fathers, to seek out and work with single parents and fatherless children, and to put our faith into action as we do so. The Daddy Gap is an important read for fathers and mothers, the clergy and the charitable as we confront and address fatherlessness – one of the most devastating social ills taking a toll on our families and our communities.