by Bob Wickizer

Living the Questions
Bob Wickizer
Isaiah 42:1-9; Psalm 89:20-29; Acts 10:34-38; Mark 1:7-11
January 9, 2000

At a recent lunch discussion among parents someone raised the issue of kids and especially teenagers whose parents have given up on them. In these situations very often the biological father is nowhere to be found and the mother struggles to raise several children in a small house with a high energy and hard to control teenager who is left largely to his or her own at school and on the streets. It's a recipe for trouble. Sooner or later youth without boundaries and youth without caring parents will be caught in the consequences of risky behavior and poor judgment. These youths, mainly boys, very often wind up in institutional settings where the state takes responsibility for their care and safety.

But there is a smaller group of youth that also end up in these same institutional settings. This group landed in an institutional environment because of risky behavior and bad judgment as well but that is where the similarity ends. For this second group, a mother and often a father and an extended family pray every night for their child. For this second group, a family at home loves, cares about and will never give up on their child.

Go to any institutional setting. Spend a little time there observing and you will find the difference both striking and heartbreaking. The majority of the youth committed to the care of the state fall into the first category. No mom, no dad, no brother, nobody will call them, write them, send birthday cards or just basically care about them. They spend their time wasting the present because without love they have no future. They are walking portraits of no hope.

But every now and then in your institution of choice, you will find the youth who has the blessings of a caring and loving family. Sadly these kids are the exceptions, but you can pick them out like a bright star in the sky. You may not be able to describe a ...

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