Murdered Single Mom


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Six years ago, at about 6 p.m. on Christmas Eve, a seventeen-year-old young man murdered his single mom in the Florida community where I live. They had been having an altercation, and at some point, the young man grabbed a baseball bat, beat his mom, and stabbed her numerous times with kitchen knives.

From all accounts, the young man appeared to be a good kid and had not shown any previous signs of aggression. His baseball coach said the kid had a bright future and spoke well of him.

A friend of mine worked in the afterschool program with his nine-year-old sister. My friend reported that the young man was always kind and polite when he picked up his sister. His younger sister idolized her brother.

I am saddened for the family and our community, but more than sad, I’m outraged. Outraged that we have lost another young man. We have lost a single mom who was a middle-school teacher highly respected and liked by her students.

Why am I posting this message on a blog that educates children’s ministers and church workers about the child of divorce?

Because church leaders, children, and youth ministers need to be the first line of defense for kids whose parents are separating and divorcing. We should be the ones leading the way so that school teachers, coaches, community leaders, and extended family know how to help individual children and teens.

This means we must become knowledgeable about what divorce does to some children.

How many more school shootings will it take for us to get serious? How many more single parents will be murdered before we realize hurting children hurt others?

The shooter in the Colorado killings several years ago was a young man from a single-parent home. The teen who did the Sandy Hook School shooting in 2012 was from a single-parent home. When you research, you will find most distraught, young people who hurt others come from single-parent homes. I’m not saying all kids in single-parent homes have issues. What I’m saying is that many do, and there is not much help available.

What-if questions

  • What if these young people had been helped when their parents divorced?
  • What if someone had taught them how to get in touch with their feelings in a positive manner?
  • What if someone had taught them what to do with their anger and rage, so they could process the death of the once intact family?
  • What if someone had shown them there is a heavenly Father who will never leave them or forsake them?
  • What if someone had introduced them to Christ and helped them accept the Savior’s love?
  • What if the parent had a place to learn and be encouraged about how to be successful at parenting alone?
  • What if the some damage of this family’s divorce could have been healed when the mom attended a divorce support group?

The possible “what-if” questions are numerous. The answers affect every troubled child and teen in every community.

Here are four things you can do right away to make a difference:

  1. Find people in your congregation who will step up and mentor young people. It could be someone who will listen and model loving and kind attitudes. It might be grandparent-type people who take children of divorce under their wings and show them what Jesus love is all about.
  2.  Hold seminars educating church workers, schoolteachers, childcare, and afterschool leaders about effective ways to minister to and discipline hurting children.
  3.  Host peer support group recovery programs such as DC4K (DivorceCare for Kids) and The Journey: Divorce Through the Eyes of a Teen.
  4.  Sponsor groups in your church that support the hurting single parent, such as:



Single & Parenting

Isn’t about time churches took the lead in changing the world for the hurting children and the kids in single-parent homes?

This article is updated and adapted from an article originally published on the Kids & Divorce blog on December 17, 2013.


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8 thoughts on “Murdered Single Mom

  1. Linda.
    It’s time for the local church leaders to step up and speak about things like this. It should grieve us that we have allowed marriages to crumble and fail and yet the pulpits stay silent. Then when we see tragedies like this occur it should cause use to wake up and step into the gaps and reach families who are hurting. I truly don’t understand how believers can stand by and do nothing

  2. Pingback: Why Is the Pulpit Strangely Quiet About Divorce? - Divorce Ministry 4 Kids

  3. Pingback: Why Is the Pulpit Strangely Quiet About Divorce? - Hope 4 Hurting Kids

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