Is there a kid in your neighborhood that is living without a father? Step up and fill that void. It made the difference in Gregory Slayton’s life. The businessman, author and diplomat tells Today’s Issues on American Family Radio that his father abandoned him and his brothers when they were young.
“He actually wrote a letter saying, ‘Boys, I’m leaving, I don’t want to hear from you again or see you again or have anything to do with you again for the rest of my life,’” says Slayton. “That was tough and not a happy time, but thankfully, we had a really wonderful Chinese-American Christian family that lived in our neighborhood and they kind of took me in, gave me my first Bible, really just loved on me a lot.”
Slayton says it was because of that family that he became a Christian. “Also, I saw a good dad,” says Slayton. He acknowledges that no dad is perfect, but he says this clued him into the power of fatherhood. “So, I took notes and studied fatherhood for 25 years because I knew I didn’t want to be a father like my American dad,” says Slayton. He used those notes to write Be A Better Dad Today: 10 Tools That Every Father Needs. “It’s about how to set the vision for you and your family, how to get the tools that you need to be an effective leader in your family and then the allies to make sure it’s a successful journey.”
Book aside, Slayton says the state of fatherhood in America is in a crisis. “Fatherhood failure is one of the top three root causes of virtually every single one of the worst pathologies that our young people face today, whether you’re talking about teen drug abuse or teen incarceration or teen suicide or teen pregnancy or teen literacy,” says Slayton. “Look at the research and you will see that those children who grow up without a dad are between 2 and 32 times more likely to have one or more of those pathologies in their lives because fathers are important.” Slayton says mothers are critical, but fathers are important. “It is something our society is forgetting at its own great peril,” says Slayton.
What if you are a divorced father and or absent because of work or military service? Slayton says you still have a big role to play in your family. “Today’s technology allows you to be active and involved,” he adds. “Now, if you’ve abandoned your family like my father did to me and my brothers, but you changed your mind and you’re saying, ‘That was wrong,’ you can get back involved in your children’s lives.” Slayton says it is going to require some real heartfelt apologies and tears, but your children will never have another father. “You’re the only father they’re ever going to have in terms of blood,” says Slayton.
One thing is for sure. When you are on your death bed, Slayton says no one is going to say, ‘I wish I would have spent more time at the office.’ “We’re going to think about our kids, our grandkids and many of us are going to say, ‘I should have spent more time with those kids.’”