Father's Day is a time for celebration, but also a time for some serious reflection.

Why?

Because in too many homes, children are born and fathers are missing.

Statistics reveal that seven out of 10 black babies are born to single moms. Among whites, it's four out of 10. Not good numbers. In too many instances, the children don't have a chance. Most of the mothers will be economically handicapped for life.

Former President Bill Clinton put it this way:

"The real source of the (welfare) problem is the inordinate number of out-of-wedlock births in this country."

President Barack Obama declared ...

"Too many fathers are MIA. Too many fathers are AWOL. There's a hole in your heart if you don't have a male figure in the home that can guide and lead you and set a good example for you.

"What makes a man is not the ability to have a child -- any fool can have a child. That doesn't make you a father. It's the courage to raise a child that makes you a father ...

"We know the statistics -- that children who grow up without a father are five times more likely to live in poverty and commit crimes, nine times more likely to drop out of school and 20 times more likely to end up in prison.

"They are more likely to have behavioral problems, or run away from home, or become teenage parents themselves. And the foundations of our community are weaker because of it."

Chilling words ... frightening numbers.

Will we ever learn?

--

Studies show that mealtime is a good time for families to connect with each other.

The more often that families eat together, the less likely children will smoke, drink, do drugs, get depressed, develop eating disorders or consider suicide, the studies reveal.

Furthermore, the children are more likely to do well in school and delay having sex.

--

About fathers ... it was Mark Twain who revealed ...

"When I was a boy of 14, my father was so ignorant I could barely stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be 21, I was astonished how much the old man had learned in seven years."

--

Tomorrow, June 14, is Flag Day ... marking the day in 1777 when the Continental Congress officially adopted the American Flag.

Red, white and blue ...

Charles Thompson, secretary of the Continental Congress, explained their significance ...

White for purity and innocence, red for hardiness and valor, blue for vigilance, perseverance and justice.

--

Dentsply has honored the work of the Children's Home of York with a grant of $25,000.

Bret Wise, Dentsply's CEO, explained ...

"(Children's Home) is highly regarded for its 'Bridges' program which integrates academics and therapeutic services under one roof. This approach keeps children on track with their education and gives them the skills to lead productive lives."

Laurie Anne Spagnola, president of the home, established in 1865, notes ...

"Without such strong support, the Children's Home would not be able to continue impacting the lives of children in York County and beyond."

Columns by Hank Merges, a local writer, appear Tuesday and Thursday in The York Dispatch. Reach Hank at hmerges@yorkdispatch.com or 854-1575.