There are days as a parent when you just need to hand it off to your spouse. You give them that look that says, you take over or this child will end up grounded for three years. Greta does more than any of the other children to cause us to keep passing the baton back and forth. But what if there is no one to pass the baton to?
I know some recent single parents with young children. They have a lot going on. Suddenly they are responsible for everything to a much greater magnitude than ever before. They also desperately need that “Tag, you’re it” moment to pass the baton to someone else for a little while.
Single parents work hard and sacrifice a lot. If you know a single parent, especially of younger children, why don’t you find out if you can provide one of those moments where they can pass the baton to you for a few minutes? Offer to take their kids to the park for an hour. Find out their favorite treat and take them to get it. Find out what their parent is really struggling with right now, and find a way to reinforce and support the parent to those children during your outing.
By the way, it doesn’t matter why they are a single parent. Death, divorce, never married; it just doesn’t matter. Those kids till need mentoring and that parent still needs a moment to tag someone else to take over for a while.
I love it when young people embrace the real. There is so much garbage mixed in with everything out there it’s hard to keep up, but each and every day young people are choosing real stuff of substance over the superficial.
But if you think “real” is skirts to the floor and super long hair knotted up in a bun, you may be more irrelevant than you are real. While there is nothing inherently wrong with long skirts and hair in buns, it’s not the only “real” option out there.
I’ve had the privilege of meeting some real and relevant young people and those mentoring them. Yes there is modesty, simplicity, diligence, honesty, loyalty and hard work; but it’s also colorful, modern, vibrant and lived out passionately. I love these real young people and others love them too – because they are relevant.
I was home schooling my oldest son and we were doing a science project with magnets. The only problem was, we didn’t have the right kind of magnets. A simple trip to the store was planned and I studied the magnets carefully before deciding which to purchase. This is something that I would gladly let my dad handle whenever he was visiting, but that wouldn’t be happening anymore. Cancer came. Now I had to stare at the magnets and remember how my dad always insisted on quality and the right tool for the job. I chose the magnets based on what I believed my dad would have advised.
It has been nine years since my dad passed away, but I still miss him. I still miss what made him special and how he still fit into my life, even after I got married and started my own family. I came to the conclusion several years ago that a girl always needs her dad, no matter how old she gets. She always needs that father figure in her life.
Stop! Don’t lynch me yet. I know there are folks out there who had a rotten father, an absent father or didn’t even know who their father was. But I’m pretty sure that somewhere along your life’s journey, you developed a relationship with someone who became a father figure to you.
My husband is great and I love him dearly, but he’s not my dad. He was never supposed to be. So Karl continues to be my best friend, my lover, the father of my children and my partner in life, but not a father figure in my life. That’s his role to our children, not to me.
So what do I do? I stop, take a look around and thank the gentlemen in my church and my community who have been father figures to me since my dad’s death. To every man out there who took the time to be there for someone who wasn’t your own child – thanks. You’re a lot like my dad.