Sharon and I just returned from a special lunch in South Central LA. On my way to South Central, I had no idea what this week’s blog was going to be about. After my special lunch at Chuck E Cheese, I had my answer.3 years ago, we came into relationship with a young teen mom. When her daughter was an infant, we “adopted” her on behalf of our life group at church. That meant we celebrated her birthday, gathered supplies from friends and delivered them to her now and then. As time went on, our relationship grew. Sadly two years ago, we discovered she was pregnant again with a different dad. This broke our heart, but of course did not prevent us from surrounding her with love and support.
At 18, our adopted teen mom now had two kids, no H.S. education, no family to help, welfare dependence, immature and non-existent Baby-Daddy’s, a drug addicted mom and no visible way out of this downward self-perpetuating cycle. When baby #2, was an infant, she approached Sharon and I and asked us if we would be her God Parents. When I asked her why she wanted us to do this, she said that “If something ever happened to me, there is no one else in my life that I can trust with my kids.” So, we agreed to be the God parents of her kids, but we really see our increased role as parent figures to our teen mom as well.
Sharon and I do the best we can to provide guidance and a bit of tangible help. Today we took them all to a Chuck E Cheese for lunch and games. This is a completely unattainable “luxury” for them as she lacks the necessary transportation and money to pull it off. We spent $40 on tokens and exchanged them for $4 worth of trinkets (not a bad business model). It was our pleasure. However, I found myself fighting back tears most of the time.
My tears were connected to just how hard our teen mom’s life is. Her circumstances which she was born into, sent her down a tragic path. Of course she has made some unfortunate choices along the way, but she has had ZERO positive influence, support and role models in her life. She has been mistreated, neglected and even abused. It’s a wonder she is doing as well as she is!
I had a brief moment with her at lunch while Sharon was chasing both girls. I looked her in the eye and told her I wanted to say something to her. She got a serious look on her face and listened. I told her that she was a precious masterpiece that God had created. I told her that there have been and will continue to be guys hanging around who don’t value her like that. I told her she was valuable and deserved the very best. I urged her NOT to settle for any guy who was not ready, willing and able to treat her as such. She had a huge smile on her face, nodded her head and in a quiet voice said, “OK.” I then said, “Don’t forget this.” She shook her head.
I am more aware than ever of the important voice we as men have in the lives of younger girls. I am not her biological dad, but I am her functional one. You too have important relationships with young girls who are not your own. You may have a niece, daughter in law, granddaughter, neighbor or friend. You can bless them with strong words of affirmation. Please don’t withhold the blessing you have to others just because you are not blood related.
“Like” this project on Facebook at Myfatherdaughter.com for lots of pictures and conversation around this fun topic.