Disclaimer: All these thoughts originated from my study of Orange. They are specifically taken from the Essence of Family teaching given by Reggie Joiner, and can be found in his book, “Think Orange.” This is a fantastic book, and if you work with churches to reach kids then this should be your Manifesto!
Five Essential Parenting Skills
5. Widen the Circle
Deuteronomy 6:4 Hear, O Israel.
Let’s back up to Deuteronomy 6:4, for a second. Have you ever noticed this? Moses isn’t talking to just one family. He’s talking to an entire nation of people. He’s talking to families! This is where the Children’s Pastor in me gets real excited. It is clear in Moses’ language that he is challenging the entire nation with these principles.
Over time your little cute 3 year old will begin to listen to you less and less. After only a few more years, that same child will begin to listen to others and give them more respect than they will their own parents. It’s only natural. While we want to continue to speak into our kid’s lives, we also need to prepare them to hear from others that support what we believe.
I’m constantly shocked at the amount of parents that come to me with teenage children and tell me how they struggle with them constantly to live Godly lives, then I find out that those same parents have done NOTHING to ensure that their teenagers have Godly influences in their lives. What can you do? Take in a Christ following college student to live in your home, make them attend youth services (of their choice if needed), introduce them to your spiritual mentors and encourage them to talk to people besides you about the things that puzzle them.
Parents need to become intentional about finding spiritual leaders and mentors for their kids. We need to be intentional about finding the right spiritual influences for our children, where they are hearing what their parents tell them, but in a different way and from a different voice.
I choose to Widen the Circle and make sure my kids have additional influences to guide them.