A friend of mine was telling me this story the other day that really grabbed my attention. He was discussing Hurricane Katrina and a study that was done back in 2006. When Hurricane Katrina came in, it brought mass chaos. 175 mph winds. At least 1,833 people lost their lives. Houses, businesses, and any other structure that stood in its way was completely destroyed. It was one of, if not the most, deadly storm that the United States has ever seen. People today are still trying to recover from its devastation a decade later.
After the massive storm had come and gone, a bunch of people from the government went around and assessed the damage that was done. They noticed that, while every house had significant damage, some houses withstood the storm better than others. A few of these houses were salvageable and could be returned to normal with minimal work while the ones surrounding it were nothing but a pile of rubbish. They began to ask themselves one question,
"What is the difference between the houses that are still standing and the ones that are not?"
After a lot of investigating. they realized that the common bond between all the houses that stood was that they were built by the non-profit Habitat for Humanity. To many people's surprise, the houses built by volunteers withstood the storm better than the houses built by professionals. When further research was done to find out what made these Habitat for Humanity homes so durable, they came up with only one conclusion... Habitat for Humanity homes were built with a TON of nails.
If you have ever volunteered or been around people who build Habitat Homes, there comes a time in every project where people are standing around looking for work to do. Most of these people go to the person who is in charge of the project and ask for something to do. Almost always, the project manager will say "Go help nail something in." These hundreds of extra nails provided the support that the home needed when the storm hit.
Willing volunteers + lots of nails = a house that can withstand the storm.
This is the thing. We can't control the weather. Storms are going to come and they are going to do their damage. What we can control is how strong we build up the things that are going up against the storm.
Fatherlessness in America is a really, really big storm. If you think the absent father isn't affecting you, then you don't know the kids walking our streets at night and you probably don't know the young man sitting by your kid at school. It has done a lot of damage in our African American community. Kids without fathers are more likely to be poor, more likely to hooked on drugs or alcohol, and more likely to commit crimes. Our fatherless youth are less likely to do well in school and more likely to have physical and emotional issues. They are more likely to engage in sexual activity and create kids who are born into the same fatherless cycle that they are in. Youth without fathers have the highest chance to end up in jail. It is my opinion that the lack of a father in a young man's life is the biggest storm in America right now.
The question that we must ask is "What can we do about it?"
Well, you can start by hammering home one nail.
Hammer a nail to strengthen the foundation of a fatherless child. Be there for him. Mentor him and show him how life is supposed to be done. Show him that being a man isn't about shoes and money, but about dying to self and loving others no matter what.
Volunteer with our equipping program and be someone who will constantly show up in his life. Teach them how to work hard so they can provide for themselves and their family when they grown up. Let him experience the feeling of having someone be in his corner when no one else is. Let him feel the unconditional love of Jesus Christ by sitting with him and giving him the attention he desires.
Serve our wonderful single mother by being her community. Be a support system for her to go to when the going gets tough. Pray for her and be a bridge to resources when she needs help.
Be a part of our support team and help us grow to serve more schools and more kids. Pray for us. Open up doors for us. Connect us to resources that we can use to serve our community.
All of these actions are nails that can be hammered in to strengthen the young men without fathers in our community.
The storm is here. It has knocked down a lot of our houses and it is greedy for more. But I think there is something we can do about it. We can build houses that withstand the storm with just a little bit of effort, prayer, and love... one nail at a time.