A Single Mom on Father’s Day

Father's Day 2013 Super Hero Run in Sacramento, California

Father’s Day 2013 Super Hero Run in Sacramento, California

My daughter and son-in-law organized a Super Hero 5k run for Father’s Day. Over five thousand people attended last Sunday at 8 am. Naturally, as the father of the event organizer, I got conscripted to “volunteer” in the beer garden after the race. (Somehow I don’t think this qualified as a church outreach.) Anyhow, my job was to affix wrist bands on runners after the security officer checked their ID to make sure they were old enough to consume Pabst Blue Ribbon beer for breakfast. (When did Pabst become trendy?)

As runners filed into the beer garden, we gave the dads a ticket for a free beer in honor of Father’s Day. I asked one man if he was a dad. “Yes, several times,” he said. I told him he could only have one free beer no matter how many children he had. This prompted a howl of laughter from both of us. He nodded at a young lady who entered with him and indicated she was one of his kids. She was a cute girl in her early twenties. I jokingly told her: “Sorry, the free beers are only for dads today.”
“I’m a single mom,” she said demurely while shuffling in with her dad.

There was a tone of deep sadness in her response. I felt my heart break for that young mother. I’ve had a couple days to think about it and I’ve come to realize that Father’s Day can be a sad day for some single moms. Clearly, the most common turn of events that propel mothers (and fathers) into the role of single parent is divorce and abandonment.

These days, I hear the voices of many young Christians who believe the ramifications of divorce, and other social ills, are more harmful than the hot issue of same-sex marriage. Whether they are right remains to be seen. Nevertheless, our society has done a poor job assisting widows, orphans, and single parents. Sure, we throw a lot of government services at the problem, and the church helps a little, but the solution to the emotional devastation requires more than money.

I don’t have an absolute solution that will fix this problem. However, I’ve heard my fellow Christians say that Jesus is the answer. I believe that is true but I also know we have a cross to bear in the struggle against the ills of our society. For instance, I see a tremendous amount of immaturity in young adults. As a culture we don’t demand much maturity from our young people. Instead, young adults (especially men) apply the majority of their energy to the acquisition of skills that will earn them good money so they can have a good time. Maturity is much more than work hard play hard. For one thing, it requires you to exert a lot of effort to learn how relationships work while growing your commitment to remain in the trenches when the relationship gets difficult.

Until parents start to talk often with their adolescents about maturity and expect it from them, young people will struggle to break out of the make-money-and-have-a-good-time mindset. That mindset DOES NOT work when you enter a serious relationship, get married, and have children. I know because I was deep in that mindset during my twenties and thirties. And others suffered because of my immaturity. I was eventually able to gain a little maturity because of the example and admonitions of my parents, especially my father. So parent’s, don’t give up hope.

Now that I’ve preached at you young adults, here is a word of encouragement: growing up and acquiring maturity is tough but it feels great. It also does not mean you can’t have fun. Don’t expect that maturity will automatically come into your life as you grow older. I’ve known people in their fifties and up who never left the playground, metaphorically. Maturity must be valued and sought. Generally, young women are more mature than young men (except for the girls on Bridezillas). To catch up, I recommend that young men emulate the examples of maturity in the life of Christ and spend time reading the book of Proverbs. With a little more maturity in the minds and hearts of young adults, perhaps there would be fewer sad single moms on Father’s Day.

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Posted on June 19, 2013, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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