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By Gina McClain

I grew up watching The Brady Bunch. As part of our after-school television line up, Brady Bunch reruns were a favorite past time for me. From Marsha’s broken nose, to the infamous broken vase incident. . .I loved the Brady family. There was a simplicity to life portrayed among the Brady’s. Raising six kids can’t be easy no matter what era you raise them in. But Mrs. Brady had an advantage that every parent needs:

the “Alice Factor.”

You see, Alice was equally invested in the Brady clan. You didn’t have to go far to see that she cared as deeply for the Brady kids as if they were her own children. When they hurt, she hurt. When they struggled, she struggled. And when they fought. . .well. . .she settled it. Alice had a subtle way of revealing the right perspective when Mike and Carol were simply missing it. As creative sitcom writers would have it, Mr. & Mrs. Brady had a trusted sounding board they could turn to for a listening ear and a source of wisdom.

With the antics that take place in my home, sometimes I wonder if I’ve got sitcom writers secretly feeding my kids ideas on how to test the limits of my parenting. And just like Mrs. Brady, I need an ‘Alice’ in my life. I need someone in my life willing to listen and wise enough to tell me the truth. Though there are plenty of people I could choose to confide in and find solace. . .solace is not always what I need. I need wisdom.

I’m a better parent when I invite others to invest in my parenting. When I intentionally seek out those that are proven to be trustworthy and wise. When I give them opportunity to take a peak into my heart, see my fears, speak into my life and give me guidance. When I invite them to ask me hard questions and hold me accountable. We call it Widening the Circle. Inviting others to invest in our children so our sons and daughters have other voices that shape and determine the direction of their lives.

Take a look around you. Who do you know that is willing to speak truth in love when no one else will? Who’s wisdom is rooted in God’s Word rather than the fluctuating opinions of our world. Who won’t back down because they love you enough to apply pressure when needed.

Do you have the “Alice Factor” in your life?

Gina McClain is the Children’s Ministry Director at Faith Promise Church in Knoxville, Tennessee. Gina is driven by the idea of equipping parents for the journey of teaching their kids how to follow Christ. Based upon her experience as a mom, she identifies with the everyday challenges parents wade through. Gina and her husband, Kyle, have three kids, Keegan, Josie and Connor.