Not to be alarmist or anything, but we do have a crisis of family in our community. This is the gift of modern “civilization.” Let me tell you what I see. Because I am sure you see it too. Everyday, after school, kids get off of the bus. Perfectly normal, yes. But where do those kids go? Do they go home? Some do. Some stay out, go down to the park, to friends’ houses, or they simply roam the streets, looking for something to do. Where are the parents? Not at home. They are working. They are out, often with no option but to leave their kids to fend for themselves. These kids, roaming unsupervised, are allowed to do anything they want, to go through backyards, church lots, and responsible to no one. Will there be any discipline of these kids? Not if the parents are too tired to give it.
Is this the parents’ fault? Not entirely. Many of these are single parents, who must work these long hours to support the household, to pay the bills, to make ends meet. Why are they single? They are single because a husband, a wife, a boyfriend, or even a girlfriend have walked out and abandoned them because. Life with them was too “difficult” too “stressful” and “they just couldn’t take it anymore.” Everyone has heard these words at one time or another. But somehow some couples manage to stick it out, while others fall apart.
The reasons for this abandonment are legion. When all is said and done, we have single parents trying to help their families survive with what Minimum Wage is willing to pay them. It’s not that these parents don’t care, it’s that they have no energy left-over to care. What energy they do have is making supper, ordering the kids to be quiet, and off to bed. I’m a parent. I know how much energy is required, even demanded to “raise up a child in the way he should go.” A single parent doesn’t have anyone to talk to. They have no one to lean back on. So, yes, many will take up the next boyfriend or girlfriend willing to give him or her an ounce of concern. We have adults in our community so starved for affection that they will take up with anybody, settle for anyone to give them that affection. Have they lost their senses? No.
As adults, we are hungry, and this is the necessary stuff of life that we need. Marriage was designed by God to fill that niche, to satisfy that need for intimacy and affection in a healthy and loving relationship with someone of the opposite sex. When marriage ends in divorce, when marriage is avoided altogether, parents suffer, and children, just as we see it today, roam the streets looking for affection, attention, from anybody. This is the reason for nearly every problem we have in our community. The Breakdown of the Family. If our families don’t function, our community doesn’t function.
Is there hope?
I believe so, or I wouldn’t be in the ministry that I’m in. Obviously, the correct Sunday School answer is Jesus. But what does that mean for hurting families? That means a community of faith like the church that will reach out and will embrace these hurting parents, will support them and strengthen them. That will give them hope for tomorrow through our Savior Jesus Christ. That means reaching out to the kids of your community and giving them guidance, leadership through the rocky years of adolescence and beyond. It will require the members of your community that are Christian to reach out to the families that aren’t. And that begins with you.
In order to avert this crisis, we’ve got to begin where we can do the most good for the moment, at home.