Happy Fathers Day! From whom to whom?

According to a recent census report, 24 million America children will go to bed tonight in a home where their biological father is not there. That means one third of children are living without their dad present.

The future even looks more bleak. The Center for Disease Control recently reported that about 40% of American children were born out of wedlock in 2007. Even more now.

According to prominent African-American economist Walter Williams, the rate of fatherless black children is now an astounding 70%. By contrast, Dr. Williams notes that in 1950, only 18% of black households were female-headed.

But wait, there is more bad news. Gallup Survey found that 64% of young adults 18 to 29 think that having a child out of wedlock is morally acceptable.

So what?

That means most of those children will be reared without a positive male role present. That is difficult on children of all ages, but especially teens. That is the period of life when youth are developing their maturity mentality and need discipline. The word discipline and the word disciple come from the same root meaning to train or teach, not necessarily simply to punish. Many young moms who head homes work diligently at disciplining their children. They do a good job of providing mother style discipline, but the male type is different. A child needs both types. A child reared in a fatherless home is twice as likely to end in prison before age 40 as one reared in a home with sound male discipline.

A young woman who grows up in a female-headed home is seven times more likely to have a child out of wedlock.

Having both parents in a home affords security. Their love relationship provides a model of what love really is. It sets a standard of what loyalty is when stick-to-it-ness is the norm. That trait is carried through life by the child in all endeavors.

Having a godly father helps a child understand God by modeling a loving earthly father. I had a your coach tell me he was repulsed by the idea of a loving God. He could not understand the concept because of the father he had who was everything but loving.

Those who have or had a good dad like me learn what it means to fear God. My dad was a man’s man, strong and consistently exacting, moral and affectionate. I feared him. It wasn’t a dread or apprehension. The type fear I had was based on admiration and respect for him and his standard. I knew his standard for me was based on love and knowledge of what was good for me. He wanted my best. My fear was of disappointing him, not punishment. I knew that not living up to his standard would break his heart and I feared doing that. I wanted to please him. Doing so was to my advantage. The same with our Heavenly Father.

One of the delights of my life is being the father of two delightful daughters. They and my wife are the delights of my life. I feel for the male who robs himself of the blessing.

I want to commend those young mothers who are having to rear their children as a single parent. Their role is a challenging one and they deserve our support, prayer support above all. I want to compliment those good fathers who fulfill their role.

To all good dads, HAPPY FATHERS DAY.

The Rev. Nelson Price is pastor emeritus of Roswell Street Baptist Church in Marietta.