Many of Tony Pierce’s football players miss their fathers. Pierce, assistant football coach for Alabama State University, has founded Fathers in Touch to encourage absent dads to return to their children’s lives.
He started with a call to a player’s father, Ronald Stephenson, who’d been in and out of prison, reports the Christian Science Monitor.
Right then, Stephenson made a commitment to be a better dad. That call changed Pierce, too. He realized those without devoted fathers didn’t need mentors or advice. They needed their dads.
Pierce is a married father of three, says the pain of loss doesn’t end.
“I met pastors and judges whose fathers had abandoned them,” he says. “There were people in their 50s and 60s who were still hurting. I thought, ‘Why is our society afraid to call up a dad and say, “What are you doing? Your child is hurting. Why aren’t you there?” ‘ “
I’ve met many sons of absent fathers, especially when I was reporting on poverty. They all vow never to walk out on their own children. But it’s very hard to be a responsible father when you’ve never had a responsible father.