Youth-Reach Houston residents during Bible study

By: Curt Williams, Founder & Executive Director

This past Monday night I had the Youth-Reach boys over to my home for our weekly Bible study. The study was on anger, and I began with some seemingly innocuous questions.

I asked them if they understood the difference between getting angry and being angry. They all affirmed that they knew the difference. I then went around the room and asked each of them, if they mainly became angry over given situations, or if they lived in a constant state of anger. All but one stated that they are, and remain, angry all the time.

With the horrific news coming from Uvalde, Texas these responses should concern us all.

If I look around the room at the faces of the boys we have here at Youth-Reach or think of the young men that we have at our Alabama campus, I see the potential for greatness and the potential for great harm. These guys arrive to us disaffected, rudderless and lacking in hope. They have been bombarded with images of wealth and privilege yet see none of this as attainable. The vast majority have been abandoned by the one man on the planet who should be there for them. They have learned to manipulate mothers with intimidation and girls to get what they want. Lacking a dad, they construct their personas from a hodge-podge of images drawn from athletes, rappers and actors. They possess a wealth of pride yet are poor in character and self-esteem.

Lured by the escape promised, they are drawn into the cults of drugs, alcohol and sex. They procreate without concern for their offspring and think nothing of thrusting more unwanted humans onto the rolls of welfare. With hormones raging and testosterone running through their veins, the rage only builds.

In speaking to my boys Monday night, many admitted that they live their lives one degree below the boiling point, and only the slightest friction can send them over the edge. Our culture creates them, then we wonder why they don’t act normally after being abused, abandoned, molested, and cursed.

Yet within each of them is one desire: They want to matter. I cannot see into the soul of the Uvalde shooter. I cannot imagine the pain that one must feel to be able to inflict such horrors on children and destroy so many families. I do, though, suspect that this young man lacked hope, lacked an involved father and lacked any real meaning. After 38 years of working with angry and troubled boys I can, without a doubt, state that I know he wanted to matter.

I am frustrated. It is so hard to get to the root of the problem because it is so deep and so well-rooted. I recently wrote a book on parenting, but it will never reach those who most need it most—the male population that has fathered tens of thousands of kids and then walked away. It will not affect a court system that routinely awards boys to mothers ahead of fathers. It will not affect a society that celebrates weak manhood and castigates strong men.

You want to limit or end school shootings? You want to also address poverty, teen pregnancy, rampant abortion, addiction, homelessness, illiteracy and violence? ENCOURAGE STRONG FATHERING!

That’s right. Argue with me all you will, but most if not all of society’s maladies can be linked to weak or absent fathers. Boys and girls need involved daddies. Boys gain their image of manhood, their sense of honor and their work ethic from a strong father. Girls gain their self-image from the way they are treated by their fathers and how they see their fathers treat their mothers. Regardless of gender, kids learn that they matter from their fathers.

As long as we fail to address the real crises, the horrors will continue. As long as we breed and cultivate angry young men, the death toll will rise. And as long as we blame the symptoms and refuse to face the disease, the societal cancers will remain malignant and aggressive. Our God presents Himself as FATHER for a reason, and when a nation ignores Him, goes its own way and dismisses His nature in the creation he brought forth, we can expect unending sequels to the horror show of Uvalde, Texas.