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When You Have No Father Figure with Charles Opong – 015

In this episode of the Think Alpha Project, Charles and I delve into the Importance of a Father Figure in a child’s life, the psychological imprinting that takes place through childhood and adolescence, and how single mothers can put their best foot forward in raising their kids.

Charles Opong is a pastor, actor, researcher, doctoral professor in training, community organizer, father, and husband. He creates real-life transformation by helping troubled youth to live positive lifestyles and promoting the promise of a better future. He conducts this research at Pepperdine University through a foundation he created called The Father & Son Foundation, with a focus on ‘Fatherless African-American Adolescent Males and Their Connection with Academic Achievement’. Charles also has a clothing line, Chuck Jones, which pays homage to his own father through the brand.

Charles O

Key Topics

The Importance of Father Figures

  • There are frequently men missing in the lives of adolescents, but you can only go so far and accomplish so much without a male role model in your life.
  • A lot of gang members seek validation and are substituting that father figure role in a negative way.
  • Charles wants to minimize the cycle of fatherless youth and create more positive role models.
  • There is misrepresentation through the media that black males are on the streets, selling drugs, etc., but that is finally starting to minimize.


  • The identity of who you are going to be for the rest of your life can be set as early as age 5.
  • If your father isn’t around, you need to focus on finding a positive mentor, especially one that looks like you.
  • People can take advice more seriously and feel more connected to a message if it’s coming from someone who looks like them.
  • Charles feels that black men turned their back on him in his own past, and he wants to be the opposite of that for young people that he meets.

How to Move Forward

  • Women and men can both be nurturers and it’s important to have both male and female role models.
  • According to research, it tends to be easier for men to raise children. Single mothers can do their best, but also need to introduce their young sons to positive mentors.
  • There is incredible value in having the different dynamics in the adults in a child’s life.
  • The male role model doesn’t have to be in the household, he just needs to be present.

Charles Opong

Key Quotes

I know from psychology, that men, if they have an estranged or strained relationship with their father, it creates identity issues. ([15:47])

That’s a huge task within itself because you have one gender raising another gender. How can you tell me what to do, how to be in society, that a man should be telling me? ([22:04])

I think the greatest thing that a single mother, a single woman can do for her son, raising him, is that he needs mentorship. ([42:53])

You don’t have to be a pastor to help people get saved. ([1:08:35])


Connect With Charles On

Website | Instagram


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  1. Chrisbert telesford on 01/25/2018 at 1:28 PM

    Nice dialogue..need to get this on npr radio

  2. Chanda-louise O on 01/25/2018 at 6:19 PM

    Hi, this was a great episode. I appreciate your guests’ candidness. I also appreciate you highlighting some of the contradictions. I agree with him, in that it takes a man to a raise a man, true. However, his messaging about women was inconsistent. Also, what’s his basis for stating that men are more capable of raising children in comparison to women? From the interview, it sounds like women made just as much of a positive impact on his life as did his Dad. In fact, his Dad was the only Black man that held him down. Was there only 1 Black woman who supported him? Often I find that we gravitate towards the things that are not in abundance, and overlook the things in abundance in our lives. I’m at fault for that. I applaud his initiative and his purpose. Men do need male mentors. But the messaging that was coming across was at the expense of women. The two can and should compliment each other.

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