We are a nation in crisis. It’s not a gun crisis or even a mental health crisis. It’s a crisis of fatherlessness.

Each time we see such senseless violence unfold as the devastating shooting that made the small town of Uvalde a household name, we cry anew for policy solutions. But almost every such attack boils down not to who can buy what guns where, but instead to the devaluation and destruction of the family — especially the absence of strong fathers.

This Father’s Day, I’m praying for an end to the grim headlines we can’t seem to get away from. And I’m praying for a new generation of strong, virtuous men to embrace their role not only as men, but as fathers.

It comes as no surprise that the man who killed 21 defenseless children and teachers in Uvalde came from a broken home. He dropped out of high school, was on poor terms with his mother, and reportedly hadn’t spoken to his father (who lived elsewhere with his girlfriend) in weeks. Sadly, studies find that the vast majority of school shooters come from similar situations — scarred by abuse, neglect, addiction, crime, and the trauma of fractured relationships.

Each time such a tragedy emerges in the headlines, we’re shocked anew. We vow to do something — anything — to stop this from happening again. Yet each time, we fail to dig deep enough to find the real root of the problem.

It’s the definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.

As a state legislator, I love a good policy solution. I believe the government’s power should be limited but that it can be used for good. It’s incredibly satisfying when we can simply propose a new law that tidily corrects a previous oversight or misstep.

Of course, few societal challenges are that simple. But the pervasive sickness of sin and depravity that drives troubled young men to violence has a simple solution — though not an easy one.

We’ve allowed the cultural noise of wokeness, political correctness, and a frustratingly narrow view of justice to drown out the principles that have held human society together for millennia. We’ve allowed fleeting cultural whims to push aside the time-honored values of morality, virtue, and absolute truth.

In no better way are these virtues instilled than the family. Yet so few of today’s children grow up dreaming of becoming moms and dads — or even teachers, doctors, lawyers, or astronauts. Instead, they want to be TikTok famous. That’s if they’re allowed the freedom to dream at all rather than saddled with their parents’ and teachers’ crippling anxiety over climate hysteria.

The left cries havoc about “toxic masculinity.” But masculinity isn’t the problem here. In fact, we desperately need more of it.

Fatherless children are more likely to suffer abuse and neglect, engage in substance abuse, experience behavior and mental health problems, drop out of school, and commit crimes than their peers. Children with fathers in the home — including stepfathers and adopted fathers — are more likely to become emotionally and socially well-rounded.

This isn’t to say that kids with divorced or missing dads have no future. But it does mean that the left’s decades-long quest to tear down the family and belittle the role of men in society has clearly succeeded.

As a dad, I hope for better for my children. I certainly can’t claim to be a perfect man or even a perfect father — no man in this fallen world could — but I pray fervently my presence and attention in their lives leaves a lasting impact that so many in their generation lack. I hope my boys grow up knowing what it means to be a man who values virtue, courage, and compassion. I hope my daughter grows up knowing what a real man looks like — and that her worth isn’t defined by any man’s approval, even mine.

Fatherhood has tremendous power for good. It’s time we embrace the responsibility, for all our sakes.