Thursday, March 23, 2006

"Dad" Problem in Minnesota & America

After listening to a talk radio show from Minneapolis the other day, I was inspired to write the following letter. Let me know what your feelings are about this issue. ~ Beef

March 22, 2006

Mr. Al Malmberg
WCCO Radio
625 Second Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55402

Dear Mr. Malmberg:

This morning (Tuesday, March 21st) I heard with interest the discussion related to the shooting in Uptown. It was spirited and very revealing, but most of the solutions offered are “after the fact” solutions and they seldom work.

I feel I am qualified to comment since I am an 18 year veteran property manager who has been assaulted on the job by the street thugs we deal with every day. Street drunks, beggars, scam artists and thieves.

What we have in America and Minneapolis is a “Dad” problem. Look at the facts:

Out of Wedlock Birthrate for the US

Year Black White

1965 24% 3%
1990 64% 18%
2000 68.5% 27.1%

Data from The Brookings Institution Policy Brief #5 “Analysis of Out of Wedlock Birth in the United States” and Governmental Data from CDC using NCHC data. (Please note: even though the Black rate is higher, the White out of wedlock rate is increasing much more rapidly than the Black birthrate.)

We, as men, wield the biggest influence on our children. It is sad to say, but many of us have let our “penis” do the decision making in our lives. We need to reach the Dads of the world.

Many fathers are not involved in the lives of their children. I met a nurse who worked as an intake nurse at a drug treatment facility for seven years and in seven years she only had one person come through with their original two parents still as a family unit.

The only solution I see is a spiritual transformation, but I don’t believe the church, as it is now, is the solution.

What we say to people today is “When you get your life cleaned up and your problems straightened up, and you act like us, come to church.” In reality they never come. The clear call for Christians is “to go”. So we need to go where the men are and minister to them.

Most of us are self-consumed in our own expensive hobbies or pursuits. And seldom, if ever, become involved in someone else’s life. Until we get up out of our comfort zone and bring some discipline, direction and accountability to men, the problem will not go away. All our half-hearted, but well intentioned, efforts will fall on deaf ears.

You may be saying, talk is cheap, what has Jerry done?

In Cokato, Minnesota last year, 10 men met to reach out to other men. We meet for Bible study in the back of an excavation contractors shop. Men are invited by other men. Men come-as-they-are from work; they do not have to worry about messing up someone’s living room. Men share when they realize no one else is listening; namely, children and wives. They want hard-hitting truthful help. Many said they would not come to a traditional church setting.

Today we have 30 men coming; many are recovered drug addicts and alcoholics. Most of us have not had a positive father figure in our lives. Many have said they did not know how to be a good father and husband. We are mentoring one another and learning much more ourselves along the way.

Change will not occur until we (all of us) get up and become involved in another person’s life. This type of commitment cannot be maintained by our own effort. The only solution is spiritual transformation.

We need to go to the front lines and be there for one another. This hurting world needs help and we, as men, are best equipped to meet the need.

We do not need any government funding, no committee meetings, and no big organization that needs funding. We need self-sacrifice and dedication, accountability, and a new vision. Today these things are sadly lacking and we are paying the price for it on the streets of Minneapolis.

Keep up the good work.

Jerry Seehusen

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