Parenting Relationships and Friendships is a class offered through a Parenting with a Purpose initiative which has been in my heart and mind for several years. The goal is to offer a 90-minute class filled with stories, laughter, sacred conversations, and tools to grow in our relationships within our families, our community, and with Jesus. Information about prior classes can be found here.

Healthy and effective communication skills was the focus of Parenting Relationships and Friendships. We have a counseling center on campus led by an associate pastor and several counselors. They are the first responders of our local church when life happens that would leave a family in grief, chaos, uncertainty, and needing next steps. I wanted my parents to meet these gifted and trained folks before all that, ‘before-before.’ I wanted my parents to know they have access to resources provided by their church family to walk through whatever comes and before whatever comes, comes.

Class agenda – opening/greeting of the purpose and goal of the class
• Associate Pastor spoke of the intentionality of dialogue rather than lecture with small group scenarios and tending to a restored relationship over perfect behavior.
• Transitioned that the next 10 minutes would be really uncomfortable, but we’d be better after which led to the Counseling Center Counselor sharing about suicide: differences between mood swings and depression, warning signs, domain, length of season, etc.
• Last thirty minutes I led them through a Holy Listening Stone exercise with a small set of stones prepared ahead of time by my amazing assistant.
• Closed with my personal testimony of prayer for my children using Stormie Omartian’s Power Of A Praying Parent. This book has thirty short chapters with fabulous prayers to be claimed for your child(ren) for each day of the month. The prayer vocabulary and the systematic way to pray through your child’s seasons is made so much easier with a tool like this book. There are things that won’t happen unless we pray for them. There are things that may happen unless we pray against them. I don’t know any Christian who feels they have adequate prayer vocabulary. This is a must-have-parenting-resource.

Each participant was able to take away multiple handouts from the speakers, a pre-made set of Holy Listening Stones, and their own copy of Power of a Praying Parent. This I know: each Christian parent wants their child to love the Lord their God with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength AND love their neighbor as themselves. Let’s give them the tools to do it!

What are the tools and resources your local church can offer your families to battle the war for the hearts and minds of their children AND the children you influence in your world?

“Fools think their own way is right, but the wise listen to others.” Proverbs 12:15