My wife and I are acquainted with a single mom with three children. Over the years the eldest girl left home and went away. The middle child remained and finally graduated from high school. Since that time, the mother has asked her to leave the home three times. I am sure that in every situation the two had their parts in their household strife. My problem is, what is our responsibility to her as a young sister in Christ? We do not have children and we never have. She lacks basic skills and we need a template to work with her through this troubled time.
Where do we start?
Are you looking to help the single mom or the daughter? I assume the young lady is over 18 since she has finished high school.
If it is the daughter, then the question is why is mom wanting her out of the house? Is the source of this information only the daughter's perspective or is it also the mother's?
Then there is the fact that I'm not certain what you and your wife are considering, but that might be why you are writing.
In general, the focus of all Christians should be to help their fellow Christians improve. "Therefore let us pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify another" (Romans 14:19). As an example, a person who will not work should not eat (II Thessalonians 3:10). Therefore, it isn't beneficial to a person to support them so they don't have to work. But we do help while looking for work, helping them find a job, helping them gain the abilities they need to hold down a job, etc. We've taken in young men with rules like:
- You have to finish your schooling, that will be your primary "job"
- While in school, you have to have a part-time job
- While you are unemployed, your job is to look for a job.
- While working, you'll pay "rent" (usually a ridiculously low amount, such as $50 per month).
We then insist on teaching them how to manage money, to have a savings account, and to work toward living on their own. Here are the "House Rules" we give to people whom we agree to let stay with us a while:
Rules of the House
Our primary goal is to see you get to heaven. Thus to encourage you to live a life pleasing to God we ask:
- You are expected to live like a Christian, which includes no drinking, no smoking, no drugs, no sex outside of marriage, no foul language, etc. “But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints; neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks” (Ephesians 5:3-4).
- You are expected to attend church services. “And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching” (Hebrews 10:24-25).
We also want you to have a wonderful life and our hope is that you find a godly person to marry and raise beautiful children. Thus to prepare you for the future we ask:
- You are expected to work on your education. “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction. My son, hear the instruction of your father, and do not forsake the law of your mother; for they will be a graceful ornament on your head, and chains about your neck” (Proverbs 1:7-9). Good paying jobs are easier to get when you have some education under your belt. Finishing course work demonstrates your ability to stay with a task and see that it is successfully accomplished.
- You are expected to work when you are of age. ”For even when we were with you, we commanded you this: If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat” (II Thessalonians 3:10). Though we are willing to supply the basic necessities, there will be things that you want for yourself. Items that are personal (not shared with the family) will be up to you to purchase. This is to get you prepared for living on your own and being responsible for your family. We also expect you to learn to save for the future. We also ask that once you have a job that you help with the cost of keeping you (we suggest $50 a month), which will help defray the cost of meals and other items.
- You are expected to keep your room and bathroom clean and tidy, not just on the weekend. You are also expected to do chores around the house as assigned. We also expect you to volunteer at times to help with the cooking, cleaning, and other tasks. When you are on your own, no one will be forcing you to do the basic things so you need to do them voluntarily.
- Because we have had problems in the past with ants and roaches getting into the house, we ask that food be eaten only in the kitchen and dining room and that everything is put away in containers. A snack once in a while in your room, because you are busy on some other project, is tolerable so long as everything is cleaned up and no food trash is left in the room – even in the trash can.
- We want you to be a part of the family because one day you will have a family too. “Blessed is every one who fears the LORD, Who walks in His ways. When you eat the labor of your hands, You shall be happy, and it shall be well with you. Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine In the very heart of your house, Your children like olive plants All around your table. Behold, thus shall the man be blessed Who fears the LORD” (Psalm 128:1-4). That implies you learn how to get along with other people in good times and bad. So when you are home, we expect you to keep your door open and window shades open during the day unless there is a particular need at the moment to close them. We expect you to interact with the rest of the family regularly. If you are home, we expect you to join the rest of the family at dinner.
- We want you to be healthy, so we will ask that you keep yourself clean, sleep at night and get plenty of rest, exercise, and eat a variety of foods. If you like a particular food item and want it more than just once a day, then arrange to buy your own supply.
- Young men are expected to keep their hair short and young women to keep their hair long. “Does not even nature itself teach you that if a man has long hair, it is a dishonor to him? But if a woman has long hair, it is a glory to her; for her hair is given to her for a covering” (I Corinthians 11:14-15).
- Wild clothing, hairstyles, or jewelry designed to call attention to a person are to be avoided. “In like manner also, that the women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with propriety and moderation, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly clothing, but, which is proper for women professing godliness, with good works” (I Timothy 2:9-10).
It isn't always successful. A lot of people are in a bad situation because they don't have a strong desire to live as God commands. So, I've had many quit because they rather not be responsible for themselves. But what has helped is knowing that even the quitters left better young men than when they came.
I don't know if taking this young woman in is the right answer, or just functioning as her aunt and uncle, giving her guidance so she can make good decisions. That is something you and your wife need to address with the more detailed information you have about the situation.