Salt & Light: A Guide to Loving Northwest Indiana

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This intergenerational poverty effect persists even after adjusting for the original differences in family income and poverty during childhood.�22 Single parents and their children certainly can be successful, and many are; however, they must overcome a range of obstacles in order to truly ÅV\YPZO ;OPZ PZ ^OLYL JO\YJOLZ OH]L H tremendous opportunity to help. Some single parents are begging for help from the local church.23 Churches have a unique opportunity to provide encouragement, teach parenting skills, offer the spiritual mentorship needed to overcome life’s trials, HUK OLSW ZPUNSL WHYLU[Z ÄUK H WYHJ[Pcal place in the church family.24

EPaX^db 2WP[[T]VTb U^a BX]V[T ?PaT]cb Some of the hardships faced by single parents in Lake County include ÄUHUJPHS JVUZ[YHPU[Z PKLU[P[` JYPZLZ [YHUZWVY[H[PVU PZZ\LZ HUK KPMÄJ\S[PLZ with relational networks and supports. 5X]P]RXP[ 2^]bcaPX]cb As noted above, many single parents Z[Y\NNSL ÄUHUJPHSS` 0[Z OHYK [V ÄUK QVIZ [OH[ HYL ÅL_PISL LUV\NO [V ^VYR around the schedule of parenting demands and still pay a reasonable wage – not to mention one that of-

MLYZ OLHS[O ILULĂ„[Z MVY ZPUNSL WHYLU[ families.25 Single parents regularly strain to balance the schedules of their children against the demands of their employers. The types of jobs that most single moms work in do not provide an adequate family income, so it’s KPMĂ„J\S[ [V RLLW [OL MHTPS` WYVNYLZZPUN economically.26 As Andy Farmer observes, “Single-parent families typically have constant, legitimate material needs—needs that aren’t solved just by a bag of groceries or a check.â€?27 8ST]cXch 2aXbTb 0U THU` JHZLZ P[ÂťZ KPMĂ„J\S[ MVY ZPUNSL parents to identify with others. Many single parents must perform the duties of both mother and father for their JOPSKYLU 0[ JHU IL KPMĂ„J\S[ MVY ZPUNSL parents to identify with other parents who are married, and it can be just as hard to relate with single individuals who do not have children. Farmer observes, “A single parent wrestles every day with a basic identity problem: Am I a single person ^OV OHZ WHYLU[PUN YLZWVUZPIPSP[PLZ& 6Y am I a parent who basically lives in a single person’s world? It’s tough to be both all the time.â€?28 It can beJVTL LZWLJPHSS` KPMĂ„J\S[ PU WSHJLZ VM worship. Many churches do not offer

single-parent support structures, leaving single moms and dads searching to associate with individuals in similar situations.29 CaP]b_^acPcX^] 8bbdTb Many single-parent families lack the means necessary to travel throughout the county, whether it is for jobs, after-school activities, or to utilize childcare. This was a recurring theme in many community stakeholder interviews. To make matters worse, many towns have stopped public transportation due to budgetary constraints.30 The effects of not having the proper means of safe and reliable transportation can be devastating on a single-parent famPS` 0[ÂťZ KPMĂ„J\S[ [V THPU[HPU LTWSV`ment if a single parent cannot get to and from work. AT[PcX^]P[ =Tcf^aZb P]S Bd__^ac It can be tempting for a single parent to withdraw from close relationships HUK Ă„UK JVTMVY[ PU ZVSP[\KL 31 Yet isolation can be disastrous for single parents. Parents who are stressed, overwhelmed, and isolated tend to make poor decisions for themselves and their children.32 Many times single parents do not have a pastor, counZLSVY VY L]LU H ILZ[ MYPLUK [V JVUĂ„KL in.33 As emphasized in the story of BX]V[T ?PaT]cX]V }