Confession # 5: Guest Post: Our Kids Need Us More as They Grow Older…not Less (as I’d hoped)

Guest Confession: Tanya Pirtle, Emmaus House Board Member

ImageBack when I was a physically exhausted young mother with four children all under seven, a wiser, older friend named Debbie callously said to me, “When they are teens, they are going to need you more than they do now.”  How could these hyperactive, limit testing, trouble seeking, completely dependent human beings possibly need me more…ever? No way!  When my kids are teens, I was headed back to work full time…I was going to get my identity back. Surely there was light at the end of this tunnel.

Fast-forward almost a decade and as a mother of two teenagers, my good friend Debbie was 100% right. A talk about a lie with a two-year old takes about 2 minutes, whereas that same conversation with a teenager is a minimum two-hour ordeal. My two teenagers need me more now than they ever have. I am on call 24/7 for any dramatic issues that may erupt at any point (Be it 2 AM or in the mid afternoon rush of making dinner.) They require my undivided attention regardless of what I may be trying to accomplish at that moment with regard to my own responsibilities.  As I longed for their little fingers to let go of mine to take those first steps of independence, now I see myself wanting to say, “Wait, come back, you’re not ready.” Ready or not, at a certain age, adulthood sneaks up and you have to let them go.

My teens are embarking on the responsibility of adulthood where their lives and souls are at stake. Adulthood- where I will no longer be there to “monitor” every moment of their life, where the consequences for their actions can be life changing or even life threatening.

The teens of Emmaus House are in the same boat as my children except they suffer the seemingly insurmountable deficit of not having loving parents to guide them along the way. They are embarking on the rest of their lives knowing very little about how to survive the harshness of life in Haiti. They need education, life skills, confidence, and a passion for God.

As we embark on the mission of Emmaus House and God’s plan for our young adults, I was seeking counsel from a much older, wiser Christian man who has run an orphanage in Africa for years.  He said to me, “It’s tough raising money for those older kids. People don’t feel sorry for them anymore.”  He may be right.  People always seem ready to step up and give to a pathetic, dirty looking two-year old with flies swarming round (as seen on TV). However, a well-kept teen deceivingly looks to have their needs met. It’s a bit tougher raising money to help older children and young adults. Like me as a young mother, we are deceived into thinking they don’t need us as much as they did when they were younger. 

Just like our own children, the teens of CHCH need us now more than they ever have. The adult unemployment rate in Haiti is 80%. We are praying and working diligently to ensure that this will not be the case for our young people as they transition into the huge responsibility of life in Haiti. We are working to ensure they will be able to contribute to and work diligently for the church in their home country. We want to give them every chance to succeed. They need your prayers, your love, and your support just as much now, if not more, than when they were younger.

For more information on how you can support the Emmaus House, please see the Support Page or contact Hunter and Jillian at for more information.

Tanya Pirtle,

Emmaus House Board Member

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