Thursday, December 20, 2007

Fatherless generation

I've been assisting the regular teacher in the classroom the last few days, by doing some teaching and helping students with classwork. At one point yesterday, the students were to be doing independent work while the other teacher and I walked around and answered their questions.

One young man was distracted from doing his assignment, so I approached him and started talking with him. At first we were only discussing school-related subjects, but the conversation soon turned to personal things.

"So, where are you from?" the 14-year-old asked me.

"I'm originally from Los Angeles," I replied simply, not wanting to get into my whole life story.

"What are you doing here?"

"God sent me." The youth got a knowing look on his face and said, "Oh, you're a Christian man."

"Yes, I am," I replied. The young man paused for a moment, then asked, "So are you single?"

"No," I answered, "I have a wife, three kids, and one on the way."

"Oh," he said with a slightly disappointed look. I was about to walk away after that. I didn't want to distract him any further from doing his work. However, my curiosity eventually got the better of me.

"Why do you ask?" I inquired.

"For my mom," he said.

At that point, I almost broke into tears. Now I really had to walk away. I've heard stories of people going to orphanages and being overwhelmed by the great need in front of them. How they wished they could adopt all of the children. I felt a small piece of that yesterday. I suspect this young guy's story is multiplied many times over at this school—and at schools across the country.

I pray that this young man and others of his generation will not repeat the cycle of previous generations. I pray that the hearts of their fathers will be turned toward them (Malachi 4:6). I pray that these teen boys will grow into passionate followers of Jesus and be lights in their families, local community and the world.

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