The church has been a dynamic support to the African American community, but I believe it can do better. With churches on seemingly every corner in some communities, they have been successful at delivering services and support to African American women and children. But they have fallen short-far short-in reaching out to and engaging African American men. And without these men, they are missing a key contributor to the overall health of the African American family and community.
Elyce Wakerman's father died when she was three. Her loss propelled her to study the plight of young women who had grown up without a dad in their lives. In her book Father Loss, Wakerman surveyed over 700 women who had lost their fathers by either death or divorce during childhood. Wakerman was eager to find out exactly what a father contributes to his daughter's well being.
Fatherly rough-and-tumble play has many developmental benefits for children, particularly boys. Research shows that physical engagement—like wrestling, roughhousing (when not carried to an extreme) and warm, playful interaction—helps boys learn to regulate and control their behavior, deal with a range of emotions, and adapt to a variety of situations.