Karen’s math problem in this week's feature article is a startling reminder of how important it is for us to support parents as they nurture the faith of kids. Our 27.5 hours of Sunday school a year can’t compare to the time parents and caregivers have to invest in their own kids. Their father’s words, their grandma’s prayers, their mama’s values will live deep down inside kids and shape them for the rest of their lives.
So what can do to encourage these busy sleep-deprived saints that raise the kids we see in Sunday school? Here are a few ideas that I've tried:
- Pray for them. As you remember kids in prayer, lift up their families as well. Check in with parents to see if they have special prayer requests, and encourage kids to spend time praying for their own families throughout the week.
- Give them a break. It’s hard not to be frustrated with parents who don’t seem to care about getting their kids to church. Like you, I’ve planned a great lesson only to sit alone in an empty room. It doesn’t mean you’re a bad teacher. And it doesn’t mean they are bad parents. It just means that life is too busy. A little grace from you can go a long way.
- Share stories. Look for ways kids in your class are growing in Christ by using their gifts or expressing their faith. Give parents and caregivers something to smile about by sharing those stories.
- Set them up. Many parents feel inadequate leading devotions or prayer with their kids. Set them up for success with a free subscription to the Nurture newsletter. This resource from the CRCNA is sent out six times a year and includes weekly devotional ideas and family activities to spark faith talk. It’s a tool that even busy households can use. Subscribe for yourself and forward it on to the households in your church, or encourage parents and caregivers to subscribe on their own!
What is your strategy for supporting parents? How does your church encourage families to grow together in faith? Please share your ideas.