Mark 12:41-44 (NRSV)
41 He sat down opposite the treasury, and watched the crowd putting money into the treasury. Many rich people put in large sums. 42 A poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which are worth a penny. 43 Then he called his disciples and said to them, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the treasury. 44 For all of them have contributed out of their abundance; but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.”
As single parents we are dedicated (I would hope) to the well-being and raising of our children…I know it has been a major focus of my life these past 21 years…
However, no matter how much effort we put into being good parents, we may often feel as if we have fallen short, have not done a good enough job of raising our kids, have been too selfish, or not diligent enough. Especially during the teen years, when we may find our children running off in directions we do not approve of…we can feel as if we have failed to teach them how to avoid trouble and bad choices.
I have often felt as if I have not given enough to my daughter, have not always been a shining example of morality or a faithful follower of Christ, as she has seen the worst of me far more often than my best. However, when I find myself thinking this way, I need to force myself to stop…as it is not fair to put myself down for not being a good enough parent, for ‘allowing’ my daughter to stray off in a direction that was so damaging to her.
It helps if we remember the lesson of today’s Gospel reading…that no contribution is too small, that we all have something to offer each other! Like the woman in the temple, we too give whatever we can to those in our lives…and (for most of us) as single parents we have given a lot to our children, often more than we realize! Just that fact that we have stepped up to the plate and taken on the responsibility of raising our children as single parents has been a great gift to them, and to ourselves!
I have found that I have become a better person through being a single parent, and raising my daughter…even through the really hard times we faced as she went through her teen years, and had to deal with issues of addiction, both in herself and in those she loved and cared for! I believe that in raising our children, we too learn and grow with them, and find new sources of strength and faith in our lives with each new challenge we face, and each new triumph we celebrate!
For there is much to celebrate in being a single parent, even though it is not always easy, and we cannot always give as much as we would like…in terms of time, wisdom, or money to our children. If we share with them our love and support, we will build a closeness with our children that we may not have been able to forge otherwise, as we truly share our lives together! This bond is more valuable than all the money in the world…truly priceless, as it enriches all of our lives, and reminds us that while no one is a perfect parent, if we do the best we can, and do it in love, it is enough!
There is no greater gift we cam give our children than to for them to know that they are loved…even at those time that they are acting their most un-lovable! In sharing this unconditional love with them, we are sharing the same love that God has given to us through Christ: love without end, which will always be with us…as we are ALL God’s children.
Let us Pray:
Dear God, please help us to go easy on ourselves as single parents…remembering that no contribution is too small, not if we have given our children the greatest gift of all: our love, a reflection of the love you have shown us through Christ. Let us remember that we are all on our own journey in life, even our children, and that sometimes their journey will take them to places that are not good for them, that this is not our fault. Thank you for the love and support you have shown us, and for the blessing of forming a strong bond with our children, and the growth that we can celebrate together!