#1 – They worry. A Lot. I asked a few of my friends to share with me what they worry about as parents. Here are a few of things I heard:
- Shame! It’s such an enemy and I know I can’t protect them from the world forever.
- Am I giving him enough opportunities? How hard should I push him?
- The election!
- That they will get hurt … physically, emotionally, mentally, and/or spiritually.
- Straying away from God and church as an older teenager and adult.
- FEAR that is crippling my child.
- Children soaking up all the uncertainty of our world.
- The fact that many of our preschoolers and children always get things their way.
- I have two boys 18 and 20. I think encouragement is a must with males; they will have down times. Prayer for how they walk through life! We must prepare the child for the road and stop trying to prepare the road for the child!
- I’m not enough.
- Worrying about them leaving for college; every little thing that I can help them with now! Who’s going to be there for them? What am I going to do with all this emptiness once they leave; what if they miss me as much as I miss them … What if they don’t … Ugh.
- Fear that we are not protecting them enough … vs. protecting them too much.
- Having a teenager old enough to drive. Scary!
- Who they choose as friends. So very important to run with a good crowd. Especially in high school!
How you can help: Equip parents with Scripture after Scripture after Scripture that will help reassure them of God’s control of this world, of His help in time of need, and of His love for their kids. Remind parents of Scriptures they can share with their kids to help prepare and deal with the world around them.
Pray with and for families in your ministry. Call parents and ask for specific ways you can pray for them and for their kids. The more you ask, the more they’ll be willing to share with you.
#2 – They’re not sure about leading their own children to Christ. Many of the parents of kids in your ministry feel ill equipped when it comes to leading their own children to Christ. They, themselves, may be new Christians who weren’t brought up with parents who modeled and led the way. Although they’d love to do it, they’re just not sure how. They may be thinking: “What if I mess this up? What if I don’t say it right? How will I know if he’s ready? I don’t have all those Scriptures memorized!”
How you can help: Give parents the greatest gift you can ever give—the tools and the confidence they need to be the ones to lead their kids to Christ. Hold a class outlining tips, giving Scriptures, and time to practice sharing their own salvation story. (Don’t be surprised if a parent in your class actually accepts Christ while trying to find out how to share with his child!)
#3 – They’re way past busy. I tried to think of a better word to describe this, but really, there just isn’t one. Today’s parents (and their families) are way past just being busy. It’s more like busy to the 9th degree. Between work, sports, practice, other extracurricular activities, homework, housework, PTA, errands, etc., etc., they have little time left for true “family time.
How you can help: Don’t over schedule families in your church. Make sure that the programs you offer have a purpose and are in line with the mission of your church. As you plan, keep in mind school schedules as well as schedules from other ministries in your church.
#4 – They’d be happy to help. Sometimes people don’t know you really need them until you tell them. (I know, how could they NOT know you need them, right?) Even though they’re busy, they’d still like to be part of the church “experience” with their kids.
How you can help them help you: Don’t make blanket announcements in church or in the bulletin. They don’t work. Ask parents personally … face-to-face if possible. Many times, parents feel as though they have nothing to offer to your ministry. Help them know specifically how they can help. It may be by leading a small group, making food, writing cards, helping in VBS—any number of things. Just let them know what!
#5 – They put you on a pedestal and believe you’re the expert. Parents believe that you are in the position you’re in because you know what you’re doing. That’s why they go to you for all kinds of advice. That’s why they expect so much of you.
How you can help: Don’t take this wrong, but I hope that scares you a little—maybe even a lot. Because you’re held to such a high standard, not only by parents, but more importantly, by The One Who called you, make sure that you’re taking care of your own spiritual needs. Take time to equip yourself with God’s Word; place hedges of protection around yourself and your family; humble yourself and be real; surround yourself with godly people who will hold you accountable.
Lastly, parents want you to know they appreciate and love you. You may not realize it, and they may not think to tell you as often as they should. But they do! Thank you for all you do for kids and God’s Kingdom!
Klista Storts serves as an Editorial Ministry Specialist for Lifeway Kids. Klista has a passion for equipping leaders to share the love of Christ and lay foundations for conversion in the lives of kids.
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