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Who's in Your Village?

Parenting is not an easy job. In fact, raising a child can be one of the hardest jobs, anyone can do. Although you love your children with all your heart, parenting brings on suffering. Your children are not always going to listen or do as you say. Sometimes they need to learn for themselves right from wrong to not take life for granted. To raise successful, independent children the job requires love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and self-control.

I went to a leadership conference last week. One of the speakers talked about having a board of directors for your life. He explained that every great company or organization has a board of directors that supports the company's ideas, and mission. To find your board of directors you should use the fruit of the spirit to guide you. He asked us each to write down the fruits of the spirit:










Next to each word, he said, write a person's name that exemplifies that word in their life. He asked us not to use the same person for more than one word. Once we had done this, he explained the list would be our new board of directors. I loved this idea! I thought about how this could be helpful in parenting as well.

As I thought about this idea, I began to think that as parents we do not need a board of directors, but a village. This village is people who provide support, can relate to situations, and hand out great advice from lessons they have learned in life. This support group would be the village that you create to help support you as you parent your children.

Try the activity again, but this time when you write a person's name next to the words think about people that exemplify one of these qualities when they lead their children. Once you have complied the list, ask the people you listed to partner with you in parenting. Make them mentors to your children, and people you can be vulnerable with when you find yourself without answers on how to parent.

Your village could be friends, teachers, ministers, elders, family, or anyone who backs your parenting goals. Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 says, "Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may become overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken."

I like to think of these three strands for parents as the home, church, and school. You need all three to help guide your way as you raise your family. When one is missing, it will break. God made us for community and this is especially true when parenting. We cannot raise children alone. We must have a village of strong supporters, who will be there to back us, as we try our best to guide our children to be successful in the future.

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