widen your circle
Mom and Dad – get ready to swallow a tough pill – here we go – A time will come when you and your child will need another adult in their life besides you. Did you catch that….I’ll write it again, “A time will come when you and your child will need another adult in their life besides you.”
Now before you leave this page let me ask you a quick question? How many contacts do you have in your phone? Weird question, huh? Go ahead and look……
I have something like 700 contacts in my phone. You might have double that, or half that. My friend Josh has like 3,000. It’s just the world we live in.
But even if you only had 100, you wouldn’t really know each of them well. Not deeply. Not personally. You couldn’t. Our relational span just isn’t that big. If I were to be honest, there are really only about three to five that I call or text all the time. These are the handful of people closest to me.
These few folks know me inside out…my good points and not so good ones. My dreams and my struggles. My favorite and least favorite things. They’re the ones who are not only great friends, but great advisors.
I’m sure you’ve got those people too.
But do your kids?
When your kids need to talk, who do they talk to? I mean beyond their friends and beyond you as a parent? Friends are of limited help. As a former youth pastor friend used to say, “Sometimes the last thing a 16-year-old needs is advice from another 16-year-old. And sometimes the last person they want to talk to is a parent.”
I’m sure there are parents who say, “My kid will always want to talk to me.” But let me ask you something, did you tell your parents everything? Exactly!!
So who do they go to? To whom can they turn?
I would encourage you to spend some time over the next few months identifying people your kids can build a trusting relationship with. My guess is between small group leaders, neighbors, family friends, uncles, aunts, grandparents, coaches and teachers, you will find a few who will be willing to spend a little one on one time with your child periodically.
Widening the circle doesn’t have to be a sneaky parent move. Let your kid in on the conversation by brainstorming people your family knows best. Then answer the questions: What can each person do well? What can I learn from them? How can they help me? How can they be a part of our family’s circle?
As author Reggie Joiner states in his book Parenting Beyond Your Capacity, “You are the most influential person in your child’s life, but do your kids (and yourself) a favor and widen the circle of influence with trusted adults. When that day comes, you want to make sure the right people are in place to support your kids.”
I am thankful for some great family members and some wonderful friends that continually pour into both my boys.
They come to sporting and church events.
They take them fishing.
They play basketball in the drive way with them.
They coach their teams.
They sit by them in church.
I could go on and on…..
Simply put, their actions say, “I am here for you.” And my family is better because of their influence.