Why does one child from a home filled with advantage and intact parenting units thrive and another slip off the path so persistently?
One study of children from severely broken homes found a consistent factor for the children who stayed in school, delayed having babies, embraced apprentice or vo-tech opportunities. As Christians we might think it was "church" but it was not that exactly, although a loving church family might be the source of the "magic ingredient." The consistent common link for achieving kids was someone who believed in them and frequently told them so. It may have been a parent or grandparent, or other relative, it may have been a teacher (though current culture has made that fraught with danger for the teacher), a Bible Class teacher or Youth Director at a church, a neighbor or the parent of a friend or a mentor. But someone spoke truth to them of their status as a person of value and persisted in the relationship, asking how things were going, coaching, usually I suspect praying. Sometimes these young people had been included in family activities where they were treated with respect, first as honored guest and often eventually as family.
I recently met a high school student whose professional parents, at the height of productive and important careers, seem pretty unavailable to the student. He seemed like a very kind and able person, but he did remind me that any of us can experience loneliness and a sense of alienation during times of family distress and intermittent dysfunction like illness of a family member, financial collapse or social unrest.
Sometimes there is no understanding why a beloved child persists in bad choices, but a Seattle detective, often faced with these lost children (sometimes quite advanced in age) and the question of reclamation, found the questions claimed her heart. What she found is worth considering: What IF?