Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Supporting Nontraditional Parenting

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Supporting Nontraditional Parenting

Article excerpt

Raising children with love and discipline is one of the world's most meaningful activities. Some would argue that it's the most important thing we can do to secure a better future. How grateful we can be, then, for all of the non-traditional parents who embrace children who aren't their own.

The grandmothers featured in a recent Monitor article are an example of that unselfishness (Jan. 2). Most of them are raising grandchildren left behind by family members who passed on or who are unable to care for them. These women attend a support group held at the Friends for Life office in Alexandra Township outside Johannesburg, South Africa. During their meetings they share their struggles, triumphs, and tips. The women featured in the article find it easier to keep going through life's difficulties when they have their group leader and friends to remind them of how strong they are. If the conversation begins to get bogged down in self- pity, the leader encourages, " 'Please, please, let's not forget how strong we are.' "

They also find encouragement in their faith, singing songs of praise, "I will never forget my God," and "Your child is my child." We, too, can sing our songs of praise to God, remembering our divine Parent's provision and generosity.

The desire to make a difference in a young person's life can motivate an individual to take on parenting responsibilities even when there's no personal obligation to do so. Whether we're deeply involved in helping a child or simply on the periphery, our prayers and assistance make a difference.

The basis for our prayers can be the fact that God is our Father - yours, mine, the adopted child's. The Bible has many references to God's fatherhood. The Lord's Prayer begins, "Our Father which art in heaven." When Jesus used this word for God, he called attention not only to God's role as Creator, but also as our source of comfort and supply. Putting "Our" before "Father" indicates that God's love is like arms opening wide and including everyone in an embrace. …

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