Two young girls wrote in to Heritage Builders and wanted Ann to address specific questions in regards to ministering to children from single parent families.
Her responses are thought-provoking and worth posting for others to read.
Here are their questions:
Thanks so much for being willing to help, we really appreciate it. Just to give you some context, our main idea for ministering to the kids in single parent homes was to send out a small quarterly magazine.
What are some similar emotions that kids in single parent situations probably share? For example, would they have anger, insecurity, rejection, or a sense of being un-loved?
What is the best way that kids (in general) receive encouragement?
What kinds of things might offend kids in single parent situations? For example, do you think it would be offensive to offer them a magazine labeled specifically for kids in single parent homes, or to offer to make dinner for them one night so they can spend time with their parents?
Do you think we could show God's love to them better by sending out the magazine, having events like Bible studies or movie nights they can come to, or doing random acts of kindness for them?
Now about the magazine... Do you have any suggestions on content, a program we can use to put it together, making it look appealing, etc.?
Do you have any other advice for us about working with these kids, the magazine, etc.? Any will be appreciated.
Again, thank you so much for taking the time out of your schedule to help us. We really value any input that you can give us.
And Ann's response:
my name is ann, and i am a single
mom who works with heritage builders on this
subject specifically. i hope these answers
will help you.
there are many things i don't know.
what age, generally, are you talking about?
what is the social-economic status?
do you do this full-time? i was deeply
touched by your passion and genuine
love for these single-parent kids. you
must be very special, and make a great
1. best way for kids to receive encouragement?
love. love. love. pick them up (one at a time
if you can), and go get ice cream together.
listen to them talk. about their day. about
their moms or dads. about hard stuff. maybe
letting them have your phone numbers so they
can always feel free to talk.
2. similar emotions single-parent kids feel
vs. all the others who live in two-parent houses?
it is easier today than it once was. today,
every l in 2-3 families is single-parent, so
children don't feel obviously disjointed and
separate from all the others. my husband
died 8 yrs. ago with cancer. i especially...and
still do...dread Father's Day. it makes the loss
feel so obvious. BUT, so much depends on the
mothers. some women can't imagine being alone,
so they hook up with men. bring them into the
home. etc. look at these kids you work with.
BUILD BRIDGES to the single parent. as you
work with the children, do something for the
3. should we cook a special meal so they can
spend time with both parents?
4.should we do Bible studies? random acts
again, tremendous ideas. not
knowing how old most your kids are, let me
tell you what i did when i was single, and out
to change the world for Jesus. i'd tell the guys,
who wanted to play on the basketball courts
in my neigborhood, "okay. no problem. BUT,
you have to spend 30 minutes with me in a
Bible study." i had all kinds of guys coming
to the Bible study, and then playing basket-
ball to their hearts' content. random acts of
kindness? you can never fail with this. just
be careful that you don't exhaust yourselves.
that you put into yourselves nurturing and rest and
love, or you will burn out.
5. the magazine?
i hope to meet you both
some day. you are so whole-hearted. creative
and passionate. a magazine is a BIG undertaking.
maybe once a month. each mag. should be clean
in its layout. simple to read. only three or four
pages. maybe featuring two kids an issue. pics
of them. what they love. then, it reinforces to each
one HOW special they are. most kids aren't into
alot of reading. school all day. homework to take
home. i know several women who produced beauti-
ful mags for kids, and eventually, the demand was
way down. not worth it for just a handful. how
about cards for the kids, from you? i'm a computer
idiot, but i receive cards, often. made, somehow,
online. OR, keeping a camera around, and each wk.
do a brief youtube with them in it.
6.clues to working with single-parent kids?
relate to them as if they are whole, and not
defective. divorce and death are not their fault.
what is each one's favorite candy or snack?
challenge them to DREAM BIG. to ask God
to plant a dream in them, and with all their
effort, and God's, never give up, and watch for
miracles. focus on them helping others. there
is so much healing when we give our lives away.
detach them from what they don't have, or can't
do. instead, help them to serve. to give. to
believe they can change the world. one person
at a time. our world is our neighborhood. i was
a youth director, once, out of college. big, wealthy
church. i told them God and i were going to
change the world, and if they wanted to join
me, they should meet me at the altar at 5:30 a.m.
on saturdays. prayer and breakfast (could be
fast food, with an allotment of how much they
girls, i wish my four sons (now, 20,21,23.24)
had had two gals like you in their lives. what a HUGE
difference it would have made. just remember: ask
God to make you creative. to give you ideas. and love
purely. YOU, both, ARE changing your world.
ann kiemel anderson
If you a have question and/or set of questions for Ann, feel free to email them to