It’s Just a Phase . . . So Don’t Miss It . . . but as a parent, if we’re honest, there may be a few moments here and there that we would like to miss.
Perhaps the temper tantrum in the middle of the grocery store where you deny that the child screaming on the floor is yours.
Or the snarky look your adoring teenager gives to a group of adults that makes you want to crawl under the nearest chairs.
We often wish our kids came with an instructional manual. One that would just tell us step by step what to do. And also a 100% guarantee that they will be a kind, functioning adult one day.
As parents, we question every decision. We second guess ourselves. And sometimes, we judge the parenting skills of those around us. (Don’t lie, I know you do it.) We wish someone would just tell us we are not alone, we are doing a good job, and we’ve got this.
Nothing is harder than having our child face new situations. When my son was entering Kindergarten, as silly as it sounds, I remember being so worried about whether he could successfully carry his lunch tray to his table without spilling it all over the floor.
Then when he went to middle school, I pictured him wandering all over the cafeteria looking for a place to sit.
We know that raising children is full of unexpected moments, but what if instead, they could be anticipated moments?
The Truth About Unexpected Moments
While we can’t necessarily take away all the stress of encountering new situations, maybe we can be a little more prepared for them – even if the conversations don’t go as planned.
One example is when you get ready for the dreaded “sex talk.” You literally read resources, talk to other parents, develop a plan on how you are going to initiate the conversation only for the conversation to go something like this . . .
You’re on a simple family outing with the grandparents and your two young elementary-aged kids. Suddenly, your 7-year-old son hollers from the back, ”Hey Mom, I know all about the S word!” So, immediately you deflect by saying, “You mean like sexy, like in that song?” And in reply, he says, “Nope! Just S-E-X.”
Let’s just say I ended the conversation as quickly as possible. But not before he confirmed that he did in fact know what sex was. And of course, he had to prove it by explaining what all “the parts” did. All the while, my parents were snickering in the back seat, and I prayed this all went over my sweet little 5-year-old girl’s head!
Was this unexpected? Absolutely.
Was it anticipated? Sort of.
However, that conversation led to years of conversations. Ones about dating, relationships, and respecting yourself & others.
Now as my son begins his senior year of high school, I laugh at some of my early worries as a parent. We think going from middle school to high school was hard when we were kids. But then we have kids, and the bubble we want to put them in – to protect them from all hurt – won’t quite fit through those school doors.
We need to be reassured that we aren’t alone. And, truth be told, most of the kids in that school have a parent at home, wondering and fearing the same things. We relive the newness of each new grade transition, and what we want more than anything is to hold on a little tighter.
And, that’s exactly where we as church leaders can show up in the lives of our parents.
What Parents Really Care About
I hate to be the bearer of bad news. But your parents are not lying awake on a Saturday night wondering what craft you will be doing Sunday morning or whether you will go with the animal crackers or goldfish. They are not even worried about the memory verse or Bible story you are teaching. Don’t get me wrong. I didn’t say they don’t care. They definitely do. But it’s not what’s keeping them awake at night. What’s keeping them awake is whether they have what it takes to raise these children God has given them. They are wondering whether they are making the right choices, dying on the right hills, being good enough for this job, and wondering if they’re alone in how they feel.
If we as leaders can come alongside parents to meet them in their everyday worry, then perhaps they’ll begin to hear the other truths we share.
The hope of Jesus and the story of redemption God is telling in each of our lives.
As Reggie puts it,“God is at work telling a story of restoration and redemption through your family. Never buy into the myth that you need to become the ‘right’ kind of parent before God can use you in your children’s lives. Instead, learn to cooperate with whatever God desires to do in your heart today so your children will have a front-row seat to the grace and goodness of God.”
So how can we practically come alongside our parents, knowing they are facing these challenges? We can equip them. As parents we don’t often know what we need until we need it. And when we need it, we are desperately scrambling to find it. As a leader, you have the opportunity to put tangible resources in your parents hands. Ones that will help them where they are and ones to utilize right when they need them. As you prepare for this school year, check out some of these resources so that you can help the parents in your church be intentional.
Parent Resources for Helping Parents Be Intentional
PARENT CUE APP
This app is by far one of the best resources we have. Part of helping resource parents is giving them what they need, when they need it. And the app is just that. It provides blogs, specific information for the phase their kid is in, and It gives them access to resources right where parents are already spending their time: their phone.
PARENT CUE APP PROMO KIT
If you are wondering how to introduce the Parent Cue App to your families, we just so happen to have this handy dandy Parent Cue App Promo Kit . . . for FREE!
Within the Orange Curriculum, we also provide Parent Cues, so that your parents can continue the conversations at home. For more info about our curriculum, you can try it today for free!
PHASE GUIDES & Phase Starter Kit
These resources will support you in helping parents with distinctive opportunities to influence their child at every stage. They will help parents make the most of these phases. AND . . . If you are looking for a way to introduce the Phase Project to your church, we have another FREE resource to help you do just that – The Phase Starter Kit!
ORANGE LEADERS RESOURCES
If you have not looked at the resources on Orange Leaders, you are in for a treat. It’s a treasure trove full of resources to help you influence parents and impact the families at your church. Resources like Cell Phone Contracts and Mental Health Resources. We even have a resource to help your Small Group Leaders learn how to Partner with Parents.
Raising children is full of unexpected moments, but with the right resources they can become anticipated moments.