One bird alone is like a single parent alone



Starting in May birds from South America arrive in our area to nest. They nest along the causeway to Navarre Beach from May to mid-September.

I live in that area and walk the Navarre Bridge and causeway each morning during the summer months. I watch as these birds claim their territory and begin nesting. The black skimmers are fascinating to watch as they care for their eggs and then the little birds as they begin to hatch.

The black skimmers build their nests on the East side of the causeway. One day on my walk on the West side of the causeway I noticed one lonely black skimmer nested on the West side. There she sat all alone. She is an outcast from the rest of the black skimmers. I watched her for the past 3 months as she has faithfully protected her nest. Occasionally I would see another black skimmer assisting her. But only one black skimmer seemed to care about her and her nest.

This little black skimmer sitting alone in her world reminds me of many single parents in our churches. They come to church to nurture their young ones and to learn and grow in the Lord. If you look you’ll see them sitting there all alone. Occasionally another single person or single parent will come alongside to encourage them.

Mostly though the single parent attends church alone. Like the black skimmer momma bird they are fierce when it comes to protecting their children. Many keep their children with them in the church services simply because they don’t know the nursery and children’s workers. Sometimes their children have been with the other parent all weekend and the exchange just happened in the church parking lot. This single mom doesn’t want her kids out of her sight and the kids may be clinging desperately to the mom they haven’t seen in several days.

As the little birds were born and started to grow the black skimmers were diligent to protect their young. The Florida Fish and Wildlife also worked to protect them. They posted signs along the road saying, “DO NOT ENTER, IMPORTANT NESTING AREA”. The speed limit drops down to 20 miles and hour.

As I walked along I couldn’t help but think about the thousands of single parents in our communities.

  • What if our churches reached out to all single parents and walked alongside them as they raise their little ones?
  • What if single people without children and grandparents whose grandkids live in another state would reach out to help care for the young ones? Possibly even give the single mom or single dad a break occasionally by offering to care for the young ones.
  • What if churches set policies in place to protect the little ones in single parent families? They could do this by setting up policies in their church to protect all kids. They could keep all people out of the children’s area except the parents or guardians of the children in the classrooms. Many churches haven’t even considered the possibility of a kidnapping by a noncustodial parent.
  • Bird2Why don’t our communities “post banners” so to speak like the fish and wildlife group does in Navarre? Knoxville, TN is a great example of how a community has come together to invest in the single parents in their community. All denominational barriers have come down in the effort to support their single parents. Schools, childcare, low income housing, drug and alcohol agencies and any organization that might work with children or single parents have come together to educate themselves about this people group. Knoxville is making a difference because the community and the churches care enough to do something.

When I would approach the area on the East side of the causeway the first of the black skimmers would start squawking warning the rest of the group there is an intruder approaching. As I walked along the edge of the road, each section would squawk and a couple of the bigger birds would start dive-bombing me. They flew right at my face and at the last minute they would fly upwards to keep from flying into me. It was a very effective maneuver to keep people away from their baby birds. In other words they protected their community of birds.

The lone black swimmer on the other side of the causeway had no one to warn her of intruders. She tried to protect her little ones by diving-bombing any and all intruders but she wasn’t as effective because she wouldn’t get far from the nest. She was hindered because she was alone.

Most single parents in our country have no one protecting them and their little ones. They go it alone but let’s face it they aren’t effective at protecting their children from the woes of the world. Some of these woes are life threatening. All affect a teen’s future. Here are a few.

  • Involvement in drugs
  • Early alcohol consumption
  • Early sexual involvement
  • Teen pregnancies
  • Dropping out of school
  • Attempted suicides
  • Viewing pornography
  • Being lured into sex trafficking

The list goes on and on. It is overwhelming for two-parent families and even more so for the single parent family.

The biologist think the black skimmers have chosen the causeway between the land and the beach because they are protected from prey such as cats, raccoons and other animals that would be a hindrance to the little bird’s survival. This little section of land is a safe place for them.

  • The local church should be the protection for the children in single parent homes.
  • The church should be the safe place for these families.
  • The church should be the community of believers that cares enough to “swoop down” and warn intruders that there is protection for these families.

What is your church doing to help the single parent homes in your community?


This article is updated and adapted from an article originally published on the Kids & Divorce blog on September 17, 2014.

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