In a three-week series that began on July 7, TV show host and philanthropist Oprah Winfrey began a Lifeclass special that addressed an issue nearly 21 million children in the U.S. face: growing up without a father.
Fatherless Sons, the first part of the Lifeclass special, aired on July 7 and specifically discussed the negative effects of sons not having a father at home.
“What so many of us see, who work with children, are a bunch of angry little boys,” Dr. Steve Perry, founder and principal of Capital Preparatory Magnet School, said on the show. “As soon as they can stand up and establish a sense of self, they are mad — really mad. And the problem is, they don’t know what to do with that.”
The show featured Iyanla Vanzant, inspirational speaker, author and TV personality; Geoffrey Canada, CEO of Harlem Children’s Zone; and Perry. They talked about how boys can learn to fill the void left by absent fathers, as well as different ways fathers can reconnect with their sons.
“Take a day off just for your son. Say, ‘Son, I can’t afford to do it, but I love you so much that I’m going to take the day off.’ These things will stay with a boy forever because [of] that connection that [says], ‘My dad loves me,’” Canada said on the show. “[It] doesn’t mean that they’re going to listen to you, doesn’t mean they’re going to do everything; they’re going to just believe that you love them.”
Other suggestions for fathers to reconnect with sons include picking up your son from school, cooking a meal together, showing up at graduation and teaching your child something you love.
This Oprah Lifeclass services will continue July 14 and 21 with a focus on "Daddyless Daughters."