Earlier this week, we talked about how important it is to find other trusted adults who will have an influence on your children. We suggested several places to look: educators, people with interesting jobs, extended family members. While it might seem to just make sense that we’d want other voices saying the same thing we as parents are, our research shows that usually this just isn’t a priority.
In the State of the Church and Family Report we commissioned with The Barna Group, only a quarter of the parents said they place a high priority on finding other adults to speak into the lives of their children and teens. Of those who do, here are some of the ways:
• Connect kids with family members and grandparents
• Encourage involvement in church or a youth group
• Enroll in extracurricular activities, like sports or Scouts
• Participate in community service and volunteerism
Unfortunately, even when parents take these actions steps, they don’t go far enough. One-fifth are intentional about family connections. Ten percent actively encourage sports and clubs where coaches and leaders can take mentoring roles. Overall, only five percent articulate the importance of volunteering to help others.
Even though many parents responded that they want other adults to positively influence their children, they aren’t intentional about what it takes to make that happen.
Interestingly, parents who don’t regularly attend church are twice as likely as church-going parents to introduce their kids to a trusted adult mentor. And parents who do go to church are twice as likely as nonchurch-going parents to encourage their kids to volunteer.
So in light of the need to create space for others to meaningfully influence our families, what steps should we be taking to make sure multiple voices are saying to our kids they same things we want them to hear from us? Is it intentional, or is it accidental?
During the holiday season, opportunities for such interaction will happen naturally. How can you plan in advance now to turn those times around the tree into transforming moments?