One Year Ago:
The Sparrows Nest staff surveyed community nonprofit and child development/family service leaders as we sought to refine our programming to most effectively fulfill our mission. It was shocking to hear that psychiatric help in elementary schools was among the top needs. This alerted us to a critical need for stronger families and support for young parents. The Bible speaks often about how family history can influence the course of a child’s life long after they leave home. Modern psychology is also pretty clear on how a negative environment a parent was raised in can negatively affect their children…and their children…and their children. This sounds so hopeless but there is good news! The blessings of God’s love can also be passed throughout generations.
Psalm 78:1-7 tells us:
“O my people, listen to my instructions. Open your ears to what I am saying, for I will speak to you in a parable. I will teach you hidden lessons from our past— stories we have heard and known, stories our ancestors handed down to us. We will not hide these truths from our children; we will tell the next generation about the glorious deeds of the Lord, about his power and his mighty wonders. For he issued his laws to Jacob; he gave his instructions to Israel. He commanded our ancestors to teach them to their children, so the next generation might know them— even the children not yet born— and they in turn will teach their own children. So each generation should set its hope anew on God, not forgetting his glorious miracles and obeying his commands.”
Our new model of a childcare cooperative is designed to break cycles of hopelessness and anxiety, and replace them with a legacy of love and confident parenting. We will be a safe place for both kids and parents to be nurtured and grow. My own family is a perfect example of the potential this model can have. My parents were raised in homes of abuse, poverty and other stressors. At the age of 19 my mom had already been married, had a baby and divorced, and my dad was her second husband- her second attempt at finding love and security. My mom and dad had no examples of healthy parenting, healthy relationships, or joy. That is, until one person introduced them to the church and they became part of God’s family when I was three years old. Now two generations beyond my parents are enjoying the blessings that come from knowing God, and blessing others in ministries through the local church and organizations like the Sparrows Nest. My childhood was nothing like my parents’ and my children have never known what it’s like to feel unsafe at home. My firstborn is preparing to marry a man who has committed to love, honor and protect her (and “their children not yet born”) both physically and spiritually. Three generations have “set their hope anew on God” and influenced hundreds of others because two young parents were touched by people of faith, and the course of their lives was turned completely aorund.
I pray every day, and I hope you will join me, that the Nest will continue to grow in its ability to give young families a legacy of truth, hope and love.