It’s 7am, my son knocking on my bedroom door: “Mom, I need a Christmas shirt – do you have one I can wear to school today?”
Quickly, I run to my closet and dig through shirts, gym clothes, and unmentionables to find nothing; my insides stirring, I look up and see it – The Answer! Quickly, I leap across the living room and grab last year’s Santa hat and reindeer antlers draped on the mantle and rush to present them to my son; after a few seconds inspection he says, “… I guess that will work…” and walks out to his car, tie-dyed backpack on his shoulder and festive hat/antlers on his head. After we trade caring “Love You’s”, I hang for a second on the moment – a pause to watch him get in his car and drive away. I think about how he’s always been flexible with me, as if he just knows I am doing all I can for him, and for all of us. My mom-eyes fill with mom-tears, and I’m forced to let the moment go and rush off to work myself.
Last year, at our annual Christmas Banquet for Single Parent Advocate, our topic was heroes. We asked parents and children to identify the heroes in their lives.
Hero: a person who is admired or idealized for courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities
Families talked about their coaches, teachers, parents, and role models at work or in other places of their lives. Some turned to their faith and expressed God’s heroism, of course.
I cannot help but think about our children – the kids raised in single parent homes. There are so very many of them. 25% of America’s youth, in fact. These kids stick it out with their parents in overcoming significant loss, crushing economic challenges, and time crunches that keep them racing and sometimes on the sidelines at school and in life.
While there are many statistics that talk about the negative things that become of children raised in a single parent home, I have to say, that while those things might be true – there is an alternative occurring. It is very real.
Many kids raised in single parent homes overcome incredible odds and become incredibly successful, creative, responsible, and cooperative human beings filled with grace and resourcefulness. What a gift to us. Our children truly are our greatest gift. I acknowledge them for being brave, for never giving up, for always being understanding.
So, this Christmas, we may not be able to give the exact things we want to give, or our kids have in mind to receive. And this may really bother us, just like it did me when I couldn’t find a shirt for my son. If that is the case, I hope we can grow past it, and remember what heroes our kids are, and what gifts they are to us. I hope we are brave and ask for help in providing for their needs and wants from God and from area resources.
But I also hope, we are humble, and give them the gift of recognition – and acknowledge what is good in them. Give them the gift our time and attention. Listen to their hopes and dreams. And above all else, give them the gift of Faith, and fill them full of God’s Word and His promises.
- Proverbs 17:6 (NIV) Childrenʼs children are a crown to the aged, and parents are the pride of their children.
- Psalm 127:3 (NIV) Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him.
Stacie Poythress is a passionate leader whose personal journey through divorce and unemployment as a single mom drove her to serve families facing the same challenges. She began a Single Parent group in her own church. In 2010, she used her corporate and personal experience, amid her own fears and tears, to establish Single Parent Advocate. Stacie has since re-married and together, she and her husband, Steve; alongside their team, push forward to bridge the gap for single parents and their children. For more information, visit https://www.singleparentadvocate.org/
The Life of a Single Mom is a national, faith-based, nonprofit that exists to see that no single mom walks alone. To date, we have worked with more than 1,500 churches & community groups to start or improve a single mom’s support group in cities throughout the U.S. and beyond. We have a large array of books, curriculum, training materials, and online instructional videos to support ministry leaders who lead single moms. Our single mom programs focus on empowering single moms to grow spiritually, emotionally, financially, and parentally through a number of projects including: Single Mom University, Single Moms Across America, the National TLSM Single Moms Conference, and a variety of programs throughout the U.S. For more information, visit www.thelifeofasinglemom.com