Over two years have passed since I was a children’s pastor at a local church. Yet since I’ve returned to that same church as a regular parishioner, opportunities have presented themselves to serve occasionally with children and youth, to pray for and encourage friends, both long-time and new, and especially to re-engage parents in conversation, albeit as a friend, rather than as a pastor.
I love parents. They’ve embarked on a risky journey of blessing and occasional terror. They know the joys of first experiences in their children’s lives, and the fright of unexplained illness or frustrating rebellion. On its best days, it is a hard job. Then add to all the life stuff the awareness that it is their responsibility to disciple their own kids. Sometimes it helps to have a listening confidential ear to process it as they seek God’s direction and the best way forward.
In 2009 I wrote my doctoral dissertation on this very topic. If you are a premium member of Kidology you may download it for free here. I essence, I advocate as a starting point in engaging parents the practice of conversational parent coaching. For a synopsis of how I did this, you can view the currently inactive blog I used as one point-of-contact with parents here. It is loosely based on the work of Karl “Kidologist” Bastian, who produced and sells his Leadership Lab #4: Partnering With Parents. on the Kidology website.
I’ve learned that when it comes to their children, most parents want what is best for them. This is true whether the parents are Christian, Muslim, Athiest, Agnostic, and so on. While at first some may be hesitant to talk about their stuff with a pastor or trusted friend, the inevitable crises we all experience eventually can soften their hearts, causing them to be more open to a conversation.
And that is all it really is at its core: a conversation. One person listening and asking helpful questions; the other sincerely dealing with the real issues they and their family face. I’ve done this with single parents and with couples, always with the aim of encouraging and blessing them.
I invite you to become a member of Kidology and download this free resource, plus taking advantage of all the other great discounts and free content. You may even discuss the content with me on the forums here.