A couple of weeks ago I was surfing through the options on Netflix to find a movie to watch and I ran across an older movie called "Rivers End". I downloaded it to our laptop and began watching a pretty cool story. The story was about a young man, seventeen years old who a year before lost his father in an accident. In the movie the young man becomes lost and troubled. He starts dressing all gothic and by the worlds standards becomes quite a punk. He has no respect for authority and basically becomes an out of control teen with no direction in his life. At one point, in a fit of road rage he runs his truck up on the curb and drives down the sidewalk to pass some slow motorists in the small west Texas town he grows up in. He ends up knocking over a US Postal mailbox and with that the town Sheriff who is also the boys grandfather is forced to handle the situation. The boy has no respect for his grandfather and views him as an old washed up cowboy. But sternly the old sheriff gives the boy an option to show up in court and take the punishment that the law hands down or to take a 60 mile canoe trek down a wild and scenic river....by himself.
Choosing the latter the boy sets off on his wilderness trek with a canoe, a few supplies, a stack of cassette tapes and a walkman. The cassette tapes are recorded instructions from his grandfather. The tapes are full of information on how to make it down the river safely, how to catch fish and cook them over a fire for food. How to set up shelter, what to watch out for along the river, and a general guide to help mentor the boy through this journey. He also includes some life lessons about respect, common courtesy, how to live a reposible and powerful life, and how to take responsibility for his actions. He includes words of wisdom on becoming a man and affirms the boy of his love and admiration of him.
It is a beautiful story and really cool to watch as the boy transitions from a scared angry teen into a respectful and confident young man by the end of the story.
At the end, after the boy conquers the river and makes ammends with his grandfather and his mother the boy becomes the narrator of the story and makes this powerful statement.
"Freud said that the most poigniant loss any kid could experience is the loss of his father.........17 million kids know that this is true..........Well, I hope they know a cowboy."
I mentioned the movie was old. It was set sometime in the early 80's. Now days there are over 25 million kids under the age of 18 growing up in fatherless homes. That is nearly 40% of kids in this country. 72% of adolescent murders are committed by fatherless kids. 60% of rapists come from fatherless homes. 67% of prison inmates come from fatherless homes. 70% of juveniles in reform institutions are fatherless. Fatherless kids are 30% more likely to abuse alcohol and other drugs, they are twice as likely to drop out of school, 11 times more likely to exhibit violent behavior in school, dramatically more likely to commit suicide, and more likely to engage in early sexual activity.*
We have a problem in this country. And this country needs good men to step up and lead these lost kids. There are mentoring movements taking place all across this country to try and help. And we are trying to get on board and help make a small dent here at Faith in the Field. It is our heart to want to help as many of these kids as possible. But we need help!
Last week I wrote a blog about our youth program materials that will be coming out in the next month or two. I mentioned that the program is for fathers to lead their sons on a spiritual journey using our outdoor pursuits as a back drop for the kind of adventures that will really strengthen the bond between father and son. It will also create a platform for a father to speak spiritual truths into a boys life and validate him on becoming a man of God.
Well, the program can be used to lead and guide and a fatherless boy as well. To take an interest in a young man's life, and lead him into this kind of adventure is going to be such a powerful way to change the course of a young man's life.
But we need you. We need to get the word out. We need to raise up mentors. We need to raise up funds. We need help finding land access and opportunities for these mentors and young men to get out and have quality experiences fishing and hunting in God's great outdoors. We need gear donated to help them have a good time and take the financial burden off of single moms and the mentors who step up to lead. We need prayer....and lots of it. We are hoping to get churches and mens ministry groups together to start building this program in their churches or cities.
This is no small undertaking. We need your help. We need others who are passionate about defending the cause of the fatherless in their communities. This is not just our heart....this is God's heart to care for the widow and the orphans, to love the least of these.
Men- You are so powerful! You can make a difference. Helping reach one lost boy will change the face of entire family histories. You have so much to offer!
I pray we can find some cowboys!
If you have any interest in being a part of this revolution email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Faith in the Field is a 501c3 non-profit organization.
*Statistics sources from National Center for Fathering; US Department of Health and Human Services; US Justice Department; National Principals Association; US Census Bureau; Fathers in the Field website.