A South Carolina mother drives her car into a lake leaving her boys inside
to drown. A Texas mother is convicted of stabbing her young son to death. A
teenage mother waits in a New Jersey hotel room while the father of her
newly born baby allegedly picks up his son, wraps him in a garbage bag, and
literally throws him away. No one may ever know exactly why these
unspeakably tragic events happen.
According to sociologists, however, a feeling of isolation may be a
contributing factor to the alarming increases in child abuse, drug
addiction, and crime in general. When connecting to a computer halfway
around the globe is as easy as clicking a button, connecting to another
human being in a time of stress may seem impossible. No one experiences
this isolation more than a young mother.
Mentoring programs, whether in the area of business, such as Junior Achievement, or those common in
churches formed to help young mothers, are
becoming popular because of their success. Carol Kuykendall, vice president
of educational resources for MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) International,
wasnt exactly sure what she had to offer when she first began meeting with
a young mother-to-be at her church.
After raising three children to adulthood, Kuykendall, author of the new
book, A Mothers Footprints of Faith (Zondervan, 1997), knew many of the
experiences that awaited the young woman. So she began to share her stories
and how God strengthened her faith during the difficult times. This is the
strength of a mentor; to be able to guide a younger member of society
through the trials of life with actual firsthand knowledge.
The prevalence of teen pregnancy may be due in part to a young girls need
for love. She may see a baby as a more lively version of the dolls she once
played with. But an older, more experienced mother can tell the teen the
messy truth. Babies dont give love, they take it. And they take changing,
and bathing, and feeding, and never when its convenient. And no amount of
book learning or classes can fully prepare a teen for reality. As
Kuykendall says, That assignment of carrying an egg around for two weeks
in a Life Skills class in high school didnt prepare me. Eggs dont cry.
Many will argue that people will do as they please, in spite of others
experiences. History proves this is true, but there is another strength
that mentors have. They can teach and try to prevent mistakes, and they can
support and help work through mistakes. A mentor is the one who can say
Heres my experience and how I dealt with it, and I can support you while
you go through it.
Ideally a young persons mentors are his parents. Unfortunately, in a
society filled with selfish interests and broken families, this isnt
always an option. Christians have a God who provides the perfect example of
understanding and love. "God walks alongside us and holds up just enough
light to help us take one small step at a time," says Kuykendall. If only
someone had been in that New Jersey hotel room to share this truth.
Editors Note: Excerpted from Learning From Others Can Prevent Tragic
Mistakes by Angela L. Weaver (Zondervan Publishing House, 1997), available
at local bookstores or by calling 1-800-727-3480.