Remember “Father Knows Best!” Those tapes may no longer exist. It has become fashionable to suggest the role of the Father as outdated, irrelevant and virtually needless, at least after conception. High visibility women shop for a sperm donor for their child rather than look for a life-time mate with whom they will raise and care for a son or daughter. The whole cultural landscape has changed.

25% of all fathers have disappeared by the time a child is born – the tragic consequences of growing up fatherless are now just now being studied. A few years ago, the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology announced that a father by his positive presence in the life of a daughter simultaneous with a caring relationship with the girl’s mother was a major contributor to the delay of puberty! And social entanglements that were emotionally and socially problematic.

The study concluded that “early pubertal maturation, risky sexual behavior” and early pregancy stemmed in part from “low paternal (fatherly) investment.” Another independent study, confirmed that the biological clock in girls that speeded up sexual development was turned on more quickly in the absense of a caring and protective father. Child Development magazine reported a striking corollary discovery. When the biological father was absent and a stepfather or unrelated father figure, the mother’s boyfriend, was present, that was an even more determinative factor in early maturation.

Maybe God was right. Maybe we need fathers!

The number of kids involved in premarital sex is staggering. A University of Missouri study focused on the kids that remained abstinent in Youth Risk Behavior Survey conducted for the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. They called these kids “sexually resilient.” And they recognized that they live in a cultural environment in which “peer and media messages make early sexual behavior appear attractive and normal.” Yet, these kids have resisted the temptation to indulge. Why?

700 kids were a part of the survey, grades 8 – 10. The most common reason given for abstinence was “fear of the consequences of premarital sex” including pregnancy, disease and parental discipline. The latter reason is an old fashioned idea. The second most frequent response was more telling – “conservative values.” These kids had an anchor for their lives, a clearer and more developed moral defense system. They were empowered to say, “No!” They were capable of walking alone, of standing alone, of swimming upstream. Their values found roots in their faith. For them, premarital sex was wrong. It was a settled issue.

The kids who held such values were more likely than their peers to come from intact homes – with both biological parents. These kids are at lower risk for pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease. They are kids with faith!