Modern widows and orphans

June 17, 2009

in Acts of Service, Beyond the Marriage, Gifts

In many ways I think single mothers and their children are the widows and orphans of our day. Regardless of who was more wrong (husband or wife) and how you feel about divorce, the kids are innocent victims. What’s more, most problems single mothers face hurt their kids at least indirectly.

So, my Father’s Day suggestion to you is to find ways to help single moms and their children. How can you make life better and easier for these folks? Are there things that you, your family, or a group of men from your church can do to help out? What about all those things many women need a man to fix? If you do it for a single mother, either you fix something she could not afford to fix, or you save her the money she would pay to get it done.

Add your ideas as comments on-line – I’ll start with a couple:

One church I attended has a “single mom car fix clinic” every other month.  Among other things they did oil changes, fluid top off’s, and brake work for free. Seasonally they did AC charges or radiator flush and refill. On jobs they could not do, they gave a good idea of what was needed, along with suggestions of places where the ladies would be treated fairly.

When I was doing landscape for a living a single mother in our church moved into a house in late winter. I watched her yard and started to cut it when it showed growth. I put it on my regular schedule and did the yard weekly – without telling the woman I was doing it. Several months later she came home at lunch and caught me – she later told my bride she did not have the money for yard care ($100 a month, for 9 months of the year then and there), and thought God was keeping the grass short for her. My take is God was keeping it short – using me to be his hands.

When I was a teen our church had a fix-up weekend for a single mother in our congregation. The youth group showed up, along with more than a dozen men. I don’t know what all was done inside (plumbing and electric among other things). Outside a tree was removed, many overgrown things were cut back, and the entire house was scraped and painted.

5 comments
eppvolvo
eppvolvo

Don't get us wrong. We are all for helping and we do on a continual basis everyday. Giving advise, taking extra time to talk with single women, test driving their car to listen to little noises, making our familys wait after church while we check out a young mother's car, and doing extra work if the vehicle is in for repairs. Having to deal with single woman daily and all the emotions, hormones, and yes(pheromones) which sometimes reach out and grap you, a man quickly understands that he is not as strong as he thinks he is. Don't dismiss those of us who have to work with single women everyday as being overspiritual. If you would ask us, we have a wealth of knowledge, wisdom, and insight that would be a boost to any church that would be interested in starting such a program for single women. Personally, I would love to have a shop were all I would do would be to minister to the automotive needs of the less fortunate, but with talking with numerous churches over the years I have begun to realize it is not as easy as it sounds.

The Generous Husband
The Generous Husband

@ es1113 - A great point, your wife needs to be on board for your marriage and to avoid any confusion or problems. Doing a yard when the lady was not home, was a safe situation. Working in her home would be another thing. I'd think in that situation having one's wife there as well would be a very good idea.

es1113
es1113

i understand what the comments are saying, but there still seems to be more hesitancy than a desire to help. I like the quote about God was taking care of her grass. we often try to overspiritualize everything- if we spent less time telling people that God will help them, and help them, a lot more people would be in a lot better situation than they are now.

eppvolvo
eppvolvo

Very good advice on the comment that was first posted to this tip. I am in the automotive repair business and have been for over 20 years. I have spent years studying the single woman as a customr and she is one tough cookie to keep as a loyal customer. I echo exactly what the gentelman above warns about and I keep very good communication open between my wife and I about what happens at the shop and what it is like dealing with single women. As far as an auto clinic for single women. That takes a church with commitment and being very clear about the rules of such a ministry. It is not as easy as it sounds. When a church starts a ministry like this Pandora's box is opened. And if they do not have the forsight to understand what is coming their way the ministry will fail. I've watched it way too many times. Starting a ministry like this you have to have a very clear understanding of a woman's mind and why she thinks the way she does. I could write a book on how to deal with the single woman customer, both of successes and failures. I would hope a church would take a hard look at the joys and pitfalls of such a ministry before they made the leap. To end with a very positive note: The single woman customer is my best customer, my most loyal customer, and the customer who always pays their bill. But it took lots of years to figure out how to make this happen.

erikanderson
erikanderson

Guys, be careful with this one. Paul is right on, but one thing I learned in property management regarding single moms - make sure your wife is on board with this. Single moms are well-aware of their own status (being without a man in their life). Being a handy-man for her can be interpreted by her the same way you might interpret a suggestive look or smile or wink (i.e. flirting). Also, in our "entitlement culture" single moms can be VERY selfish when it comes to "nice guys wanting to help." She also may be looking for a "daddy for her kid." Yes, there are those who are grateful and genuinely blessed by what we do. There are others who are just trying to get everything they can for free. DO NOT EVER find yourself alone with a divorced woman! Also, keep your wife in the know. Be kind, but beware and be warned. EA

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