“Peanuts, Candy, Popcorn! Get it before the Big Show starts!” Painted elephants, crazy clowns, roaring lions– the responsible ringmaster was hosting the show with charm and dignity. Sitting with my brothers and sisters in the Cow Palace in San Francisco, our eyes absorbed the delight before us.
Remember the trapeze artists high up in the air performing stunts, twirls, walking so courageously on the tight rope? While we would watch, breathless for their safety, we hardly noticed there was a net spread out in case of a fall.
Imagine having a safety net spread underneath your children as they are walking the tight rope of life, of growing up, of maturing.
After becoming a Christian and while I was growing in the Lord, the “Paul-Timothy” model was very alive in my life [it still is]. Older Christians were the stakes; I was the limp tomato plant. My naiveté, simply my ignorance of God and His ways, was my biggest obstacle. These “stakes”, the Christians who were older in the Lord, taught me and helped me through life circumstances.
As parents, we were very intentional in building intergenerational relationships. As our children have grown, we encouraged them, too, to find “Pauls” within the church community.
When our second child was in high school, there was a restlessness in him. He was searching and searching in some dangerous places. Out of the relationships we had built in the community, an older guy in the church community began to reach out to him, to be a friend, to help him through the turbulence, to help him find the personal God who loved and cared for him.
The family is part of the church community. The church community is the safety net that God Himself has provided. Build intergenerational relationships as a family. Encourage your children to find Pauls and build relationship.
Question of the week: How do you maintain unity with your family and your church community?
Last week’s question: How do you maintain consistency in your parenting?
Here are a few thoughts we have picked up through the years. 1) Stay involved in church and be accountable to someone in particular. The blind cannot lead the blind; the church helps you know where you are going as a parent. 2) Find parental models you can imitate and that you can talk to. Then. . . talk to them. 3) Fellowship with “cutting edge Christians” inside and outside your own church. Be connected to those who are growing and who are doing the will of God productively. 4) Always PRAY. Short little prayers, “on your knees” prayers, individual prayers, corporate prayers, PRAY!