During this time of sheltering in, I pulled out the book, The Purpose Driven Life, by Rick Warren.
I had initially read the book in 2002.
Isn’t that who we are, people called to live a life of purpose? Do you know your purpose?
He writes on page 148, “Humility is not thinking more of others; it is thinking of yourself less. Humble people are so focused on serving others, they don’t think of themselves.”
What is our purpose?
As parents, we are always listening at some level to our children. That’s part of our purpose.
Part of the government’s purpose is to keep kids safe. Hopefully, that can occur in their home. When that’s not possible government needs to utilize the foster care system. Each state must develop placement resources that meet the needs of the children entering the foster care system. There are several levels of foster care, Kinship Care, Family Foster Care, Group Home Care, and Residential Care.
There is a Need
Across the nation, there is a shortage of family foster homes. Despite recruitment efforts, there continues to be a need for there to be more than enough foster homes.
See, more than enough homes would mean that there would be foster homes for youth despite their age, despite their circumstances. Siblings are able to stay together, instead of being separated. And older youth wouldn’t be sent to Group Homes.
Part of a Community
I asked an adolescent male recently about the voices he listens to. He listed a host of voices from those at school, those at the recreation center, those on the sports team, including coaches, those on television, and some on his internet game network. Moments later, he said, oh yea, I listen to my family.
Nestled in the community are foster homes. They are connected to other community resources like churches, sports teams, schools, recreation centers. Youth need to be nestled in foster homes so they can be a part of communities.
Being a part of a community shapes us all.
Our youth need reminding that they have a purpose. These youth need competent, caring, and nurturing adults, reminding them that they are leaders. Daily they are making choices to lead for good or for evil. As Joshua said, who will be there to remind them, ‘as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord?’ (Joshua 24:15)
Youth living in group and residential care are not living with a family in a home. These youth were born to be part of a family. Families shape you.
So, whose voice is in the ear of the 15-year old’s that are in the foster care system? Across the nation, there is approximately 21,029 youth in foster care. They represent 5% of the 437,283 children in out of home care.
Youth in foster care need fellowship and community. The Purpose Driven Life defines the nine characteristics of ‘biblical fellowship’:
- We will share our true feelings (authenticity)
- Encourage each other (mutuality)
- Support each other (sympathy)
- Forgive each other (mercy)
- Speak the truth in love (honesty)
- Admit our weaknesses (humility)
“When you look at the list of characteristics, it is obvious why genuine fellowship is so rare. It means giving up our self-centeredness and independence to become interdependent. But the benefits of sharing life far outweigh the costs, and it prepared us for heaven.” (page 151)
Help Them Know Their Purpose
All youth need access to biblical fellowship. All youth need to be interdependent with reliable and nurturing adults. Youth in foster care need biblical fellowship and interdependence on a heightened level.
When you open your home to a youth in foster care, you open them up to opportunities to hear your voice.
You help shape their world. Help them to know their purpose. You can be responsible for fanning that flame.