It seems simple, right? Getting a job will fix everything! At first glance, this may appear to be the right answer, but as you dig deeper, does getting a job really address the teen mom’s issue, or does it create more problems?
Have you ever sincerely considered what it would be like to walk in a teen mom’s shoes? What if she doesn’t have a supportive family to help with childcare? What if she can’t get to an employer because where she lives doesn’t offer transportation, and she doesn’t have a car of her own? What if getting a job means she no longer qualifies for medical coverage for herself and her child? What if every dollar she made would have to be paid to the person watching her child while she works?
All people’s lives are complicated, including teen moms. Offering to place a band-aid on a gaping wound won’t help it heal properly. TMCI wants to see teen moms succeed as mothers, students, employees, personally and spiritually, as whole people. By providing the Four Cornerstones of the TMC Program, we have the opportunity to:
- Address her employability in LifeSkills Workshops
- Tackle the financial complexities of childcare or transportation through our Incentive Services
- Remove small and large obstacles in her path by Setting Goals
- Provide encouragement and consistency through one-to-one Mentoring
Teen moms are not the only people who struggle to do what WE think will make their lives better or easier. Have you ever received counsel from a friend or family member that was easy for them to say but incredibly hard for you to do? Did that help or hurt your relationship? Unless we’re willing to consider their lives and stories may look very different from our own, we won’t earn the opportunity to have a voice in their lives at all.
Jesus told his disciples: “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:34-36)
Does telling teen moms – or anyone – to “just get a job” demonstrate this kind of love to a watching world? As followers of Christ, shouldn’t we be at the forefront of extending grace and mercy to those around us because we understand and value how much we’ve been forgiven of and lavished on through Jesus Christ? We are His ambassadors to a watching world. Our lives should be a sweet fragrance to those with whom we interact. The overflow of our grateful hearts to God will display love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23). God has been so patient and kind to us; shouldn’t we do likewise with our neighbors, coworkers, and teen moms?