Approximately 50% of kids won’t live in an intact family as God designed it – won’t learn the lessons God intended that family to teach. [After looking at stats from lots of sources, the best data seems to suggest that 1 in 2 children will live in a single-parent home at some point in childhood. This post isn’t about debating that number; it’s about the fact that a number anywhere near 50% demonstrates a massive problem – and that problem affects a lot of children.]
Of the approximately 50% of children whose parents do not divorce, a much smaller percentage will have a functional intact family, and a far smaller percentage will actually be part of a healthy, happy family.
And children of divorce (and I am a part of this large population) can tell you all they want about how their parents’ divorce didn’t affect them because they were young when it happened or their parents were civil or everyone was happier this way. But the subtext of these statements is: I still haven’t processed this. I’ve never seen a positive example, so I don’t know what I’m missing. The lessons they’ve internalized to make this feel okay are: Love is an emotion, not an action. It’s okay to bail on a situation if it gets hard. These lessons are incredibly damaging – and are made more damaging by the fact that the kids don’t even recognize these lessons.
The new “normal” way to grow up is a travesty, and it’s eating an entire generation from the inside out.
Think about this: Of the adult couples a normal kid knows, how many have marriages that even manage to appear happy? How many marriages in this child’s world are shining examples of what God designed for marriage? Very few. Far more often, I hear kids talk about not wanting to get married because of how miserable marriage makes you or how your girlfriend will stop sleeping with you when she becomes your wife or how when you get married your attentive boyfriend will stop paying attention to you. These kids haven’t been married. They aren’t talking about their own experiences. They’re talking about the experiences they’ve seen in the marriages around them (and the marriages portrayed on TV and in movies).
Another caveat: We’re not taking the easy way out here: blaming the media. The media would have far less influence on our children if the terrible marriages they saw portrayed on TV were contradicted by what they saw in the marriages around them. But they aren’t. The terrible TV marriages confirm what the kids see in the world around them. Ultimately, we don’t have control over programming. We do have control over our own marriages.
Of course, most young people still do want to get married. The problem is actually sadder than that. Very often what I see in my students is, in a way, worse than not wanting to get married because of how awful all the marriages are around them. Instead what I see is a sense of resignation. The idea that they’ll “settle” like everyone around them has. His wife will nag, but she’ll cook and clean and sometimes the sex will be good. Her husband will be distant, but he’ll provide a comfortable enough living for the family of 4 she has her heart set on. The fact that young people have bought into the idea of settling in marriages should break our hearts. We, as the generation ahead of them, have been such a poor example that they don’t even realize there’s something more. Something much more amazing that God has in store for them.
Before the next post, think about the kids in your life (your own or just kids you’re close to): How many amazing marriages (marriages that don’t settle) do they see in the lives of the adults around them? How can you be a more visible example to the kids in your sphere of influence?
Read part three: (becoming) a role model, part three
Click here for part one: (becoming) a role model, part one
Want to read more?
Start of the fully submitted series: (becoming) fully submitted
Start of the wife series: (becoming) a godly wife
Start of the stewardship series: (becoming) a good steward
Start of the wisdom series: (becoming) wise, part one
Start of the Proverbs 6 series: (becoming) closer to God through Proverbs 6
Start of the Christmas series: (becoming) peaceful
Are you a worrier? Try this post: (becoming) less of a worrier
So, I really liked the 30 days of thankfulness thing people have been doing on facebook and on their blogs. If I don’t do it all at once, though, I’ll forget something, so I thought I’d do all of it now, in honor of Thanksgiving week. (If you’re looking for parallelism in my grammar, you’ll probably find this post sorely lacking. Sometimes I list things I want to thank the person for, sometimes I list things I’m thankful for about that person. Sometimes I do a mix. Sometimes I probably do something else entirely. So, even if the mechanics are slightly sloppy, the sentiment is as honest as it gets.)
1. God: For every good thing, all the time (James 1:17).
2. Jesus: For saving me out of pure, undeserved love.
3. The Holy Spirit: For guiding me, consistently, without giving up on me.
4. Dan: For being a tangible example of God’s love for me. I may never understand why He chose to bless me so lavishly by making me your wife, but I will be eternally grateful that He did.
5. Mom: My first friend. The person I can call with literally any question. Thank you for always, always being there.
6. Dad H.: You never had to treat Michael and me like your own children. But you always did. Thank you.
7. Dad R.: I’m thankful that he’ll always believe in me. I’m awed by his dedication and love (for people, places, and ideals).
8. Tonya: I’m thankful for how much she loves my dad. I’m also continually amazed by her kindness.
9. Mike: It isn’t lost on me that he’s a big reason Dan is such an amazing man. I’m so thankful that he was the kind of man I’d want Dan to grow up to be like.
10. Marla: I’m very thankful that she so graciously let me be Dan’s wife without any of the jealousy or competition that so often characterizes mother-in-law/daughter-in-law relationships. She’s an amazing example of selflessness and generosity.
11. Michael: Much of what I could say about him would embarrass both of us pretty terribly. So, let’s just say, he was an amazing brother to grow up with. To watch him go from crying because he thought a snipe had bitten me (he was in Kindergarten, I used ketchup, it was mean and hilarious, I got in trouble) to letting me sit on his lap and cry when some boy broke up with me was pretty amazing. (Sorry ‘bout the snipe thing, bro.)
12. Gina: It would take a lot for me to think someone was good enough for Michael. But she is. It was amazing by how seamlessly she (and her two sweet girls) fit into the family. It’s like they were made to fit!
13. The girls (and soon the boy!): My first niece, Livi! And two wonderful additions, Caybree and Lexi! And I’m thrilled that we’ll soon be welcoming a little gentleman into the mix! Watching my brother be such an amazing father to these girls has been a huge blessing.
14. Mark: The only sibling I ever shared a room with. The Orris to my Blanche. One of my very best friends.
15. Matt: I’ve loved him since the night he was born. I’ve loved watching him at every stage. Being his sister is an experience I am constantly grateful for. Thank you for being you, Matt.
16. Alanna: We look quite a bit alike, so I like to think that if I had been cooler, taller, better at sports, prettier, and more outgoing, then I would have been a lot like her in high school.
17. Sarah: Some of the funniest lines I’ve ever heard have come out of her mouth. And she is one hard-working girl.
18. Bryan: Bryan gives the best hugs.
19. Carly: Sometimes I take a picture that isn’t blurry. I will never, however, take a “Carly picture.” And I love that she uses this skill to bless so many people in so many ways.
20. Brett: The Parks sibling I felt most welcomed by first. Thank you for that, Brett.
21. Corinne: Sometimes I plant some flowers in a pot on my porch. Sometimes I remember to water them. One time I sewed a blanket. Corinne cans her own food (from her own garden). Corinne can make shoes. I am continually amazed at the way she uses the natural gifts God has given us.
22. Daniel: I know that if I asked he’d give me the shirt off of his back. And it would be big enough that I could use it as a tent, so that’s a bonus. I’m not special, though. He’d give it to anyone who asked. That’s just who he is.
23. Sara: I am continually amazed by Sara’s patience and the unfettered love she has for people. She is very clearly carrying on the proud tradition of the Goldsberry women. The world is better for it.
24. Kevin: We probably would have been really good siblings. (Well, “good” in one sense, I guess.) I’m really glad we get to be siblings-in-law now.
25. Emily: I’m thankful for Emily’s honesty. I’m thankful for how much fun Emily is. I’m thankful that she treats me like a sister in the most complete sense of the word.
26. Nieces and Nephews: I love hearing all the adorable stories about this crew. I imagine those will just keep coming as they creep nearer and nearer to their teenage years…..
27. Grandma Lestine: She always amazed me with her sophistication and grace. I really thought she was the finest, fanciest lady I knew when I was little. (Oh, heck, I still think so!) She has been a wonderful example of determination, love, and loyalty.
28. Grandpa Bob: Everything a grandpa should be. He always had the best jokes and riddles and plenty of quarters. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve also come to find out, he’s a really good man.
29. Grandma Peggy and Grandpa Damon: I’m thankful that they so warmly welcomed Michael and me into the family and for their continued generosity!
30. Extended family and friends: This covers an amazingly large number of people with whom I have a huge range of relationships (aunts, uncles, cousins, friends). In each case, though, I am thankful for the influences they’ve been on my life and Dan’s life.
31. Bonus! The fact that I can list over 30 people for whom I’m thankful is something I am humbled and overwhelmed by. So, I’ll take this back to the top of the list. Thank you, God, for numbers 2-30!
To jump to this week’s (prayer) warrior wednesday, click here: thanksgiving pww.
To read the wife series from the beginning, click here: (becoming) a godly wife
To read the fully submitted series from the beginning, click here: (becoming) fully submitted