- Special Sections
- Public Notices
The Bedford Christian Fellowship focuses its attention this month on the struggles of children, women, and men living in what has become known as single-parent households.
Single-parent households result from both personal choices and unplanned circumstances including having a child when single, becoming a guardian of a child, divorce and death. Statistical evidence shows that having potential for personal safety; completion of education; achievement of financial security; and mental, developmental, and psychological well-being is more challenging for members of single-parent households.
Child abuse in the United States increased 134 percent between 1980 and 1998, in step with the accelerating rate of children affected by divorce and sole parenthood as reported by researcher Barry Maley. Maley’s writing includes, “ee we must be waryee of assuming that all sole-parent families, stepfamilies, or cohabiting couples are inevitably risky for children, or that married natural parents are an absolute guarantee of safety and happiness, for this is clearly not so. What does seem to be the case is that, on average, the risk to children increases as we move away from an environment in which the biological parents of the child are marriedee”
The Index of Leading Cultural Indicators reports that never-married mothers experience twice the rate of domestic abuse than married, divorced, or separated mothers and also suffer much higher rates of violent crime. Also, the poverty rate for children of single mothers is 45 percent, compared to 6 percent for children living with both parents. Not surprisingly, a child born and reared outside of marriage is six times more likely to receive welfare than a child raised in a two-parent home. In addition, compared to children who grew up with both parents, children who grow up with only one of their biological parents are:
— Three times more likely to have a child out of wedlock themselves,
— 2.5 times more likely to become teen mothers,
— twice as likely to drop out of high school,
— 1.4 times as likely to be out of school and unemployed, and
— far more likely to experience a variety of mental and developmental problems, including depression.
A study of 6,400 boys over a 20 year period found those who grew up without fathers were two to three times more likely to commit crimes resulting in jail time than were those who grew up in traditional families. A number of studies confirm that almost 70 percent of inmates in juvenile correction facilities are children of single-parent homes.
Also, 72 percent of America’s young murderers, 70 percent of long-term prison inmates, and 60 percent of rapists come from single-mother families.
A significant and rising number of Americans appear to regard childbearing as gratification to the adult rather than a duty to the child or to society. Personal fulfillment, not the best interest of the child, determines many adults’ decisions to make choices that lead to single-parent households. We of the Bedford Christian Fellowship believe experiencing a personal relationship with Christ – receiving a new heart and a renewed mind – moves individuals beyond the selfish nature. We believe God can prevent or solve all problems, including those that arise from single-parenting situations.
We encourage every person in Bedford City and County to join with us in daily prayer that the Lord might lead our community to address the challenges of single-parent households and to help reduce the potential risks and provide individuals more chance for reaching full potential. Pray for those who counsel, teach, and minister to these families.
We know from personal experiences of our members that prayer is powerful. In addition to asking for your commitment to pray daily on this topic, we invite the entire Bedford community to join with us on 9/11/08 for a prayer breakfast where we will together lift to the Lord many of the problems facing our community. We recognize there is no single human solution, so let us place our trust in Christ to lead us to act on the solutions He reveals to us.
The Bedford Christian Fellowship is an ecumenical group of Christian men who meet monthly for prayer, fellowship, and mutual support. For more information about the Fellowship, you may contact them in care of 1109 Park Street, Bedford, VA 24523. If you have a need for daily prayer support we suggest you call the Upper Room Toll Free Prayer Line at (800)-251-2468.