Thirty years ago, crime was out of control. Then came ‘broken windows’ policing. “If a window in a building is broken and is left unrepaired, all the rest of the windows will soon be broken.” Broken windows are “a signal that no one cares” – an emboldening message for those who would commit serious crimes. Criminologist George L. Kelling along with political scientist James Q. Wilson came up with the idea of “broken windows.”
It began in 1982 as a metaphor. A decade later, it became the operating philosophy of the New York City Police Department, where it helped transform America’s biggest city into one of its safest. As cited in William McGurn’s article, The Idea That Made America’s Cities Safer in WSJ (12/29/18), broken windows policing focused on preventing crime by maintaining public order, giving cops (and other authority figures) more discretion about how to go about it. It was an ‘upstream’ approach to policing that helped decrease the number of homicides nationwide by some 42% from the peak of 24,703 in 1991 to 14,249 in 2014.
Deacons must be husbands of only one wife, and good managers of their children and their own households. – 1Timothy 3:12. A solid marriage and family is seen scripturally as foundational for good management in the Church and in life. When a father leads spiritually by example, is engaged emotionally and prioritizes physical presence, relationships stay strong. This is an ‘upstream’ approach to fathering. Reinvigoration of churches on the fathering front is key for encouraging and equipping dads to be faithful fathers, dads that promptly repair ‘broken windows’ in their homes.
Broken windows in a man’s life result from wounds such as an unhealthy relationship with his dad, trauma incurred as a kid or as an adult, a job loss or stress in marriage. Wounded fathers can become overcomers that work hard to survive under stress but the broken windows get left unrepaired. Stress takes its toll – marriages fail, relationships are broken and broken relationships often lead to a broken faith. When fathers are marginalized, a generation grows up with more broken windows - alcohol, drugs, pornography and suicide. This is a call for churches to embrace an ‘upstream’ approach to fathering that encourages dads to address broken windows in life and in the home promptly for the sake of the next generation. Click HERE to see how to raise the bar for fathering in your church.
Prayer guide: Father, thank You for Your Son, the Word become flesh that walked this earth, lived a sinless life, obeyed You all the way to the point of death on a cross. He died, was buried and rose on the third day, conquering sin and death once and for all. He ascended back to You, having repaired the broken window of disconnect in relationship with You for all mankind. Now here am I, acting too weak to repair relatively such small windows broken in my life that impede and confuse a generation in need of relationship with You. Forgive me Lord. Grant me strength to address and promptly repair broken windows in my life and in my home. Shine Your Light ever so brightly over the home and through the family You have blessed me with across this new year. Amen.
A faithful father addresses broken windows in the home promptly.