Spring brings a lot of people outdoors to enjoy family time together. It also brings a lot of end of the school year activities where parents are either absent from their children’s lives or have passed away and grandparents are filling the roles in care-giving. The family dynamic has shifted away from what was once considered a nuclear unit to a now, extension of that unit in others stepping in to help raise children left in the gap for one reason or another. Although God designed the ideal model family system as parent and child, He knew that not everyone would be able to achieve that.
We live in a fallen world with many choices that bring many different consequences. Marriages dissolve, spouses leave the family or pass away and relationships suffer because of the change in dynamics. Because God knew in advance that humanity would be challenged by sin and consequences would enter the family system as a result, He also gave us the promise that “He can renew, restore, and rebuild that which is broken or destroyed”, (Job 5:9)
All over the world, the family system is growing and changing as life shifts people from one unit to another in effort to support one another by any means possible. Grand-families mean extra support, in wisdom through teaching and instruction, in economic assistance, and in day to day activities in raising children.
According to the Pew Research Center analysis of the 2012 Census Bureau data, 18% of families in the USA today now include parents, grandparents, uncles, and aunts all in effort together in raising children in the home. (Jean S. Barnes, Purposeful Parenting, 2012). That’s about 28 million assorted families all pooling their resources together to live under the same roof in the United States alone.
As Christians, we have a responsibility in training the children that have been left in our care, (Proverbs 22:6) but sometimes that leaves us wondering how to fill in that gap when people and resources may be sparse. That’s where your local Church can step in and help the family and assist in raising children.
How can church members assist parents in raising children?
Support the children in your youth ministry and congregation
Participation in presence is important when developing relationships with children. As you serve, take note of the children that may need extra support in their developmental securities and allow them to see your sincere interest in them by being present each week in your service commitments, such as choir, Sunday school, or other groups.
Have conversations with the child or children
Conversations will help them develop skills necessary in communicating effectively in relationships as they grow and allow them to experience other adults and interactions other than their parents.
Model appropriate responsibilities and self-discipline
This will help teach appropriate boundaries for both self and others in tasks and in socializing.
Pray for the children
Apostle Paul prays for the church, that God may give them “a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him” (Ephesians 1:17).