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Oprah's Lifeclass Facebook page
On Lifeclass, Oprah Winfrey spoke with Iyanla Vanzant, Geoffrey Canada and Dr. Steve Perry about issues facing children without fathers, as well as how to help fathers can reconnect with their children.

In a three-week series that began on July 7, TV show host and philanthropist Oprah Winfrey began a Lifeclass special that addressed an issue nearly 21 million children in the U.S. face: growing up without a father.

Fatherless Sons, the first part of the Lifeclass special, aired on July 7 and specifically discussed the negative effects of sons not having a father at home.

“What so many of us see, who work with children, are a bunch of angry little boys,” Dr. Steve Perry, founder and principal of Capital Preparatory Magnet School, said on the show. “As soon as they can stand up and establish a sense of self, they are mad — really mad. And the problem is, they don’t know what to do with that.”

The show featured Iyanla Vanzant, inspirational speaker, author and TV personality; Geoffrey Canada, CEO of Harlem Children’s Zone; and Perry. They talked about how boys can learn to fill the void left by absent fathers, as well as different ways fathers can reconnect with their sons.

“Take a day off just for your son. Say, ‘Son, I can’t afford to do it, but I love you so much that I’m going to take the day off.’ These things will stay with a boy forever because [of] that connection that [says], ‘My dad loves me,’” Canada said on the show. “[It] doesn’t mean that they’re going to listen to you, doesn’t mean they’re going to do everything; they’re going to just believe that you love them.”

Other suggestions for fathers to reconnect with sons include picking up your son from school, cooking a meal together, showing up at graduation and teaching your child something you love.

This Oprah Lifeclass services will continue July 14 and 21 with a focus on "Daddyless Daughters."

Abby Stevens is a writer for the DeseretNews.com Faith and Family sections. She is a recent graduate of Brigham Young University–Idaho. Contact Abby at [email protected].