Breeding Dysfunctional Families

Sam & Becky Trommler are committed to reaching this ‘Lost Generation’ with God’s love and truth through their campus ministry with Missions Door.  They need your prayers and support in this urgent endeavor.  For more information or to contribute to their support visit:   

Family watching television, c. 1958
Family watching television, c. 1958 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By Sam Trommler

 Dysfunctional Families breed Dysfunctional Children Breed Dysfunctional Families

We have been involved with campus ministry for 18 years. In recent years, we have observed drastic and detrimental changes in the lives of those entering college. These changes are primarily the result of the absence of Biblical truth in the lives of students.  But perhaps the second greatest catalyst for these changes is the dysfunction and breakdown of the family.

A traditional, functional family would be a home where two parents, a father and a mother, who are married, provide an environment of love, nurture and security for their children.  It is not a perfect family but it is a family that strives to provide the right environment for their children.

A Dysfunctional Family fails in one or all of these areas. The stories students tell us are sad and heart-wrenching.  Here are some examples:

  • A female student shares with us that she and her siblings have the same mother but four different fathers.  One night after our Bible Study she comes to us tired and in tears.  She has to be the mom to her younger siblings since there is no father and her mom is continually depressed.  She longs for a mom or dad who would love her.
  • One of our male college students had lived most of his life shuffled between parents and their new spouses.  From the time he was a child his parents have controlled much of his life.  This seems to be the major cause of his insecurity.  He has difficulty making decisions and has extreme OCD.
  •  A female student tells us that her parents are going through a bitter divorce.  She is concerned for her little sister and wants to stay with her wherever the court decides she should live.  She wants to give her sister some stability and help her through the adjustments.
  •  A 6’3” former high school football player, starved for a relationship with his father, said his dad comes home from work, lies on his bed and watches TV.  His dad never talks with him. He has even jumped on his dad’s bed just to get his attention.

More and more children grow up with no good experience of family.  Many of them are growing up in unstable environments, surrounded by uncertainty instead of the steadfast love of a father and mother.  Many are witnessing the breakup of their family at a very young age.

Insecurity is one of the primary affects we see from family breakdown.  Everything a child believed to be permanent is suddenly changed.  People they trusted to always be there for them and care for them are suddenly gone.  This insecurity manifests itself in fear, anger, social immaturity and a self-focus.  They tend to be incessant talkers or mired in a shell.  Socially and emotionally impaired, trying to be confident while fearful inside.

Some, having learned that they cannot depend on others, will develop an independent spirit that makes it difficult for them to trust anyone, including God.   Some will misguidedly blame God for the mess in their life.

They desperately seek to find love but with the world’s warped view of love.  We want to surround them with love.   We want them to be filled with the soul-freeing, heart-filling love of God, the Forever Father who will never leave them nor forsake them.

The good news is that the dysfunction that is becoming the norm in families in our country has created great opportunities to reach people with the truth and love of our loving heavenly Father.  A loving Christian home, based on God’s Word and God’s love, shines a bright light of hope to a generation that sees their desire for marriage and family as hopeless.

We have found some keys to reaching these young adults.

  •  They learn more through an interactive conversation or Bible study rather than a lecture.
  • They love to talk and share their story.  Thus, a listening ear can open a door to their heart.
  •   Empathy not sympathy lets them know that you understand and speaks to their heart.  Be quick to acknowledge their feelings but slow to give them your stories.
  • Asking the right questions will enable them to listen to themselves and see their need for God and His love.
  •   The Word of God is the key.  They need to come to know the true God of the Bible.  Their view of God tends to be a cultural conglomeration of half-truths, misconceptions and false teaching.
photo from missions door
photo from missions door

Our heart’s prayer:  “Father, we praise you for your everlasting love and faithfulness.  We pray for this lost generation for whom secular society provides no real answers, no real peace and no real love because our society has turned its back on you.  Lord, we pray that these lost children and their parents would see their need for you, would hear the Word that brings faith and would find new life as they surrender to your mighty love.  We pray that relationship with you would be restored and family relationships would be reconciled. To Your glory, in Jesus name!”

Note From Nikki: Write a prayer in the comments section for Sam and Becky Trommler’s ministry and all the kids they serve.


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