- (REUTERS/Phil Noble)
- (Photo: Reuters / Chris Helgren)
Christian leaders in the U.S. say Britain's mob violence should teach the West that strengthening families and fostering morals are not just a matter of tradition, but of social safety.
Glenn Stanton, director of family formation studies at Focus on the Family, says the destruction unleashed by UK youngsters reveals a moral breakdown that is rooted in the home.
"The London situation wasn't fueled and flamed by fatherlessness, but fatherlessness creates the kind of situation where ... things like this can happen," explained Stanton.
Fathers teach their children responsibility and boundaries said Stanton, who is the author of the parenting guide Secure Daughters, Confident Sons. For boys, in particular, fathers teach sons how to redirect their aggression.
"If fathers can't help young boys and young men move their aggression, their violence, if you will, their power in pro-social directions, it comes out in very anti-social, and actually very dangerous directions," described Stanton.
Young aggression has taken a very a dangerous turn in London. Teens and young adults took to the streets earlier this month, breaking into shops, looting and setting fires.
Dozens of young adults described by SkyNews network as mostly poor, products of single-parent homes and lacking direction have been arrested.
An 11-year-old was arrested in connection to looting. Chelsea Ives, 18, was arrested for throwing a brick at a police car. Ives was slated to be an ambassador for the Olympics next year. A 22-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of murder after a 68-year-old man attacked during a riot died.
Some blame social networking sites such as Twitter for the flash mobs that inflicted about $200 million worth of structural damage and resulted in the deaths of five people. As a result, some believe social networking sites should be blocked in times or rioting or other national emergencies.
However, Prime Minister David Cameron pinned the blame on the youth involved in the attacks and their parents during a television interview.
"The problem of that (the youth-led riots) is a complete lack of [responsibility], a lack of proper parenting, a lack of proper upbringing, a lack of proper ethics, a lack of proper morals," he told reporters. "That is what we have to change."
Christian Institute communications head Mike Judge agrees that families must be the focus of change.
"It is in the family that these values are passed down from one generation to another. It is in the family that these lessons [of respect for fellow human beings, authority and possessions] are instilled in people from an early age," Judge wrote in an August 9 editorial.
He defines family as a mother and a father who are committed to each other and to the raising of their children.
Stanton recognized that single mothers do their best to give their children these same lessons.
However, he noted, "When a parent is having to do the job of two parents, things fall to the wayside."
Mothers cannot do it all, Stanton said.
Freddie Scott II, assistant pastor of Word of Faith Christian Center in Nashville, Tenn., and author of The Dad I Wish I Had, said children have an innate desire to look to their fathers and seek their advice and example. When the father is missing, he says, children feel a void that can lead to unresolved emotions.
"If you have young people, who don't have a dad in the home, and you have this anger built up, this frustration built up, this rage built up; almost anything can possibly trigger someone wanting to act out on it," he describes.
When asked if similar flash mobs could occur in the United States, Stanton said they already have.
"We saw it in Los Angeles 10 years ago ... when the LA riots occurred; we saw it in Katrina," he said.
However, it's not too late to stop future violence, Scott said. He encourages men to step up in their marriages, families and in their communities to be a father to the fatherless.