(This column by Larry appeared in the Sept. 25, 2013, edition of the Denver Catholic Register.)
While visiting a child care center for low-income and homeless families in Denver, I saw a boy about 5 years old shy away from my approach and hide under a table. It took quite a while to coax him out.
My question was to the head of the center: Why? It turns out that such children, often being raised by single moms struggling to get by, may not have an attentive, positive male influence in their lives. What they've experienced with men may be the opposite: absent, threatening or even violent.
We hear a lot about "fatherless families," but when you see a child flinch at even the approach of a man, the numbing statistics take on a sad reality that demands a response.
Here's the plan. We need men in our community to step up and read with these kids, to play with them and just be with them in an environment that's safe. Then those children can experience something they don't see enough from men in their day-to-day lives: attention and security.
Our mission is to serve those with a need to receive and those with a need to give. Spending time with children in need is a great witness to that. For men called to this service, it will fill your hearts.