Dr. Rozario Slack dropped a jigsaw puzzle on the table and told the eight men sitting around it to put it together. Without asking questions, the men started their task, but it wasn't long before some realized pieces were missing.
"Even when everybody makes his contribution, there's going to be a big hole," said Slack, pastor of Temple of Faith Deliverance Church of God in Christ.
Then he smiled and revealed two missing puzzle pieces in his pocket.
The pieces represent fatherhood, he said.
Slack told the eight participants of "The World Needs a Father" initiative the analogy underscores the importance of fatherhood. The fathering initiative was begun in February 2011 by South African minister Cassie Carstens.
The initiative calls fathers to their God-given responsibilities, brings healing to boys and men whose fathers were absent or abusive and initiates programs for the growth of father-son relationships, according to www.theworldneedsafather.com.
Kemmer Anderson, a teacher at McCallie School, said he uses the training to be a better mentor to his students.
"We want to make boys into men and men into fathers," he said.
He said several men in the group are motivated to be better fathers by experiences they had or missed with their own dads.
The goal is to train 18 men in the male mentoring program and have each of those men mentor 10 other men. The organizers also want each of the men to influence 10 boys with the values of fatherhood.
A lot of social problems, such as poverty and wayward youths, are a result of the lack of fathers, said JaMichael Jordan. He has no children but says he wants to mentor other youths.
"We want to put fathers back in every household," he said.
The World Needs a Father website states that 85 percent of children who exhibit behavioral disorders come from fatherless homes.
After discussing the importance of fatherhood and the importance of seeking God for direction, Slack introduced the men to Devin Jones, the father of four daughters ages 14 to 8.
Jones went to the piano, and the girls sang "This Little Light of Mine" in four-part harmony.
Then Slack explained how Jones is an example of a man who has invested time in his children.
Jones told the group how he intentionally is present in his children's lives and is committed to them.
"But it's not easy all the time," he said.
Contact staff writer Yolanda Putman at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6431.
Yolanda Putman has been a reporter at the Times Free Press for 11 years. She covers housing and previously covered education and crime. Yolanda is a Chattanooga native who has a master’s degree in communication from the University of Tennessee and a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Alabama State University. She previously worked at the Lima (Ohio) News. She enjoys running, reading and writing and is the mother of one son, Tyreese. She has also ...