Tuesday, August 21, 2007



Lack of support is a huge problem in our society. For example, I received the following from an individual while conducting research on families. "My parents did not support me in the activities that I was involved in. When I was grown I asked my mom why she never came to any of my games in high school. I played volleyball, basketball, tennis, track, softball and was on the dance team. She said that I never invited her. I never once saw my dad at anything that I did. They were detached emotionally and did not care about the activities that we were involved in. That was disappointing."
Our daughter Naomi once worked for an organization called Support Kids. The company has one main purpose- to track down deadbeat dads and get them to financially support their children.
This lack of support has grown to an epidemic stage. USA today reported, "While only 3% of Americans default on their car payment, 49% default on child support, and 97% of the defaulters are fathers." (USA Today, Thursday March 9, 1995, 11A). When my daughter and those she worked with tracked down these non-supportive fathers and legally forced them to start paying what they owed, an amazing thing often happened. Many fathers got involved in their children's lives in more ways than just financially.
In many new subdivisions, we often see small trees planted in the front yards. Usually they have two metal rods driven into the ground on either side of them with a wire attached to the trees for support from the wind. Our children are a lot like those small trees. They need support to hold them up. This support is especially needed when they are young. Our responsibility as parents is to be the steel support rods. Without the support rods attached, these small trees would be uprooted when the first strong wind comes. Children are in a highly dangerous situation until they develop their own strong roots. The word support has several , meanings: 1. to bear or hold up; 2. to sustain or withstand weight, pressure, strain, etc. without giving way, and 3. to maintain a person with the necessities of existence.
It is obvious that supporting our family has far deeper meaning than just providing for them financially. Family support means to attend their games, performances, talks, ordinations, ordinances, awards, etc. It also means to lift them when they are down and cheer them up when they are sad. Our role is to be a support to family members to keep them from falling. When parents do not support their children before their roots are deep, many negative consequences may follow. Consider the feelings of a young high school basketball player, who did not feel the support from his parents:
"I'm the star player on the school basketball team, but never once has either parent come to see me play. They're either too busy, too tired or can't get a babysitter for my younger sister. The crowds cheer for me, the girls hang around my locker, some kids even ask me for my autograph. But it doesn't mean anything if the two most important people in my life don't care." (the adolescent, F. Philip rice Allyn and Bacon, Inc. Boston, MA 1987, p.476)
In this case, the young man did not feel supported because his parents did not attend his basketball games. He, therefore, interpreted this lack of support to mean his parents did not care about him. Surely he was incorrect in his assumption; however, that is how he perceived it. Children can suffer from more than just physical hunger. There is an emotional hunger that they crave. Children often long for support from parents, siblings and friends. When this need is not met, serious consequences can follow.
When people go through the everyday trials of life, they need support from their family and friends. When they don't get that support, resentment can develop toward those who fail to give it.
How do you show your children support?


Shara Rust said...

I think providing support for each of your children will help them realize how special and important they are. By helping them understand how special and important they are it will help decrease the probability that the children will stray away from doing what's right. Our daughter is almost 2 1/2 now and to show her our support, we praise her for the things that she does right, for the learning moments she has, we encourage her to do/try something new, and if she does something wrong, we explain to her why it's wrong but let her know we still love her.

Anonymous said...

I believe that its important to tell your children everyday that you love them.......but don't make it just a routine thing that you do at a certain point every day all the time.....make it spontaneous so it keeps them guessing and feel like your thinking about it all the time not just when you hang up the phone.....