Father Absence is in epidemic proportions, with the absence of a father or positive male role model more common that not in many western societies.
However it has not always been like this, not that long ago (in societal terms) communities were rich in the role of the father and healthy male role models. So how did this dramatic change come about so quickly?
The family unit was once much larger than it is today, in- fact in many instances large family units overflowed into small communities where children developed as part of a large and extended family. There were many fathers, many male role models, in-fact basically there were large groups of children, women and men at every stage of development.
This environment rich in its culture was basically a necessity of a mostly farming world that we lived in. Big families working closely with other large families helped ensure both prosperity and safety.
Here even when fathers left, either to hunt or accompany crops or produce to market there were always plenty of male role models, to fill the void and uphold the community culture and values- spreading the role of fathering within the community.
Fast forward a few hundred years along with four key events-
- The Industrial Revolution
- The First World War, and
- The Second World War
- The Nuclear Family
And society is a much different place.
The Industrial Revolution and its contribution to the absence of fathers:
A continuing move from farming and agricultural to manufacturing economies now means that populations are more and more urban than rural- a requirement of large factories thus it is no longer an advantage to have a large family-
The First and Second World Wars and their contribution to the absence of fathers:
The loss of life from these two wars is unimaginable, and difficult to define however popular estimates are that over 20 million people died in WW I and a further 71 million in WW II. Even though these figures include civilian deaths all estimates note an obvious heavy bias to men in the figures.
Two powerful issues that these figures fail to highlight are;
- The number of casualties beyond the numbers purely reflecting deaths, and
- The number of those who were unable to be emotionally available as a result of the trauma of their war time experiences.
The Nuclear Family and its contribution to the absence of fathers:
The shrinking family unit popularized in the west as a result of increased prosperity reduced in many ways the depth of positive male role models available to developing children. Although marketed and part of a strong community in reality the family units became polarized further limiting the community connection and availability.
These four factors in many ways have been the catalyst for the development of our current rates of fatherlessness with most western societies.