The Thinning of the Cortex

by Paul Louis Cole

Giving a child a loving father is the greatest way you can provide for your nation’s future.

A normal person would never purposely put a child in harm’s way, break a child’s heart or shatter a child’s dreams. But consider the following:

  • Fatherlessness is one of the leading indicators of a child experiencing poverty.
  • A child is five times more likely to live in poverty without a father in the home.
  • Poverty is the leading indicator of a child doing poorly in school.

Neuroscientist John Gabrieli at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has made startling discoveries about the brain’s outer layer, the cortex, which affects memory, attention, perception, awareness, thought, language and consciousness. He found consistent differences between the cortex of the brains of low-income children and high-income children.

Lower income children developed thinner cortices and scored more poorly in standardized testing. Neither ethnicity nor cultural context made a difference. What was always the difference was poverty. They’ve called it the “income achievement gap.”

Today, Christian Men’s Network (CMN) is leading an initiative in Belize, a desperately fatherless nation, called the Global Fatherhood Initiative. The leaders in Belize aren’t from MIT, but they discovered Gabrieli’s outcomes long ago. They just say it this way, “A hungry child cannot learn.”

The children in cities right in the US and elsewhere—our next generation—are literally being intellectually choked and neurologically diminished by the level of poverty they live in. The chief indicator? Fatherlessness.

To combat the crippling effect on children, the Global Fatherhood Initiative is more than just a men’s movement, though that is functionally important. The Global Fatherhood Initiative is literally about rescuing the lives of millions of children by reaching the hearts of the fathers.

If we in the Christian Men’s Network succeed in reaching 100,000 men, we’ll impact the lives, hearts and minds of 300,000 children. If we can reach 1,000,000 men, we impact 3,000,000 children, and so on.

Add up the numbers—it all adds up to this. God has given us a mandate to reach men—to build strong fathers, strong families and strong churches. If we turn back, if we do not go after this, we sentence a generation of children to diminished lives, shattered dreams and broken hearts. Christian Men’s Network ( is committed to move forward with the Global Fatherhood Initiative to save the next generation of children.


Paul Louis Cole ( is one of the world’s leading experts on men’s issues, character maturity and personal life expansion. An author, church planter, and former business professional, Cole co-founded Christian Men’s Network in 1977 with his father, Edwin Louis Cole, the “father of the Christian men’s movement” and currently serves as it’s president, reaching men in 138 nations and connecting over 160,000 leaders.

On Saturday, October 31, Christian Men’s Network along with Paul Cole will host a local Champion Men’s Event right here in Central Ohio, from 9:30am to 1:30pm and tickets are only $15.  You can find all the details here. 

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