I slowed down to watch a family of quail scurry across the street in front of my car. Mom was leading the troop of seven babies with Dad bringing up the rear. I watched her scout out the safest route and imagined her telling each one to hurry up while Dad protected their backs from danger. It occurred to me that if either quail parent had been missing, those babies might not have made it. There is a lot of discussion on the relative value of fathers in the home now that single women are choosing to have children. Obviously, children need a loving mother, but the best situation for boys and girls is to have both a mother and father – just like those baby quail. I have watched single mothers as they struggle with the various roles that fall on them. They encounter exhausting and frustrating challenges — often with no relief in sight. We no longer live in the same little town with grandmothers, aunts, or cousins to call on for help. The demands of both a job and home require more hours than are in a day, especially if you want some sleep. But the physical is just one aspect of raising children. It is also important to remember that children learn very different skills, roles, and emotions from each parent. This presents a huge challenge for a single parent to fill in the missing gaps. I know many women do not choose single parenting but divorce and death have left many as the sole caregiver for their children. It is tough—in fact, it is more than tough! When discouragement hits, remember that God has promised to be the Father to the fatherless. Psalm 68:5 He knows the dangers that your little one or even your teens will encounter and promises to protect them. Like an eagle that rouses her chicks and hovers over her young, so he spread his wings to take them up and carried them safely on his pinions. Deuteronomy 32:11 (NLT)Parenting is the biggest challenge we face because the results last for generations. So, Moms and Dads, be the front and rear guard for the family God has given you. Don’t forget that you are not alone—Your Heavenly Father is just a prayer away. He will protect YOUR back.