I want to brag about my parents for a bit.
Their names are Mark and Lisa, and they are pretty spectacular human beings. They are steadfast, faithful people. They are the reason I have such a strong foundation for my faith. They have always worked hard, served everyone, and loved well. And they are the reason I truly understand the significance of community in parenting.
When asked about parenting, my parents usually say things like, “We did the best we could, we prayed a lot and trusted the Lord with our kids. We have great girls.” They typically don’t give much advice or share any kind of specific parenting technique or philosophy except this one time.
And because it was “this one time” I really paid attention. For it to be something so specific for them to share, means it had a huge impact on the way they parented.
They talked about community. Mom and Dad talked about the significance of having other people in your life that will encourage and support you and encourage and support your kids.
They talked about surrounding themselves with wise people who they trusted and saw following the Lord. And looking back on my life and my childhood, I see the value of community so strongly in my family.
They invested in the lives of others, and in turn, those people invested in my life and my sisters’ lives. The people that surrounded our family were the people that I went to outside of my parents for guidance about friends, boys, school, college, and marriage.
These were the people who helped set up my wedding and threw me showers. These were the people who came to my high school plays and daughter’s first birthday party. My parents chose their community well. They were wise as to who they let into the intimate space of their parenting and who they invited to invest into the lives of their children.
And when I look back on their example, I see that community was first and foremost significant to my parents as believers, and therefore was significant in their parenting. Community is imperative to the life of a follower of Christ.
We are called to unity and togetherness. We are called to serve one another sacrificially. We are called to be a witness to the world through how we love each other. We are called to bear each other’s burdens and do good to each other. We are meant to do life together.
I think we all know this and all want this, but community can be hard. And it can be a tender thing to talk about. I’ve been in seasons of life with a big community. I’ve been in seasons of my life where community has been scarce.
I’m in a season right now where my community is intimately small. Every season has its purpose, and every season of community, while it may not have always been easy, has been sweet. And I don’t know what season you are in or what community looks like for you, but I’ll just say:
- I think community is more something to be fostered than it is something to be found.
- You can create and cultivate community wherever you are, no matter what your space looks like.
- Pray for the Lord’s provision of community if you don’t feel like you have it.
- Pray for the Lord’s sustaining of your community if you do.
And in your community, here are a few things you can do to actively invite others into your parenting and into the lives of your children.
- Let people know how they can be praying for your children.
- If there is specific language you are using to help your child through something, tell your community so they can say the same things to your kids. One of my dearest friends knows exactly what to say to my daughter when she says anything in an unkind way, and I know exactly what to say to her son if he gets scared because we’ve shared those things with each other.
- Challenge yourself to share the things that are hard in parenting right now. You will most likely find you are not alone.
- I know we are all busy, but community takes sacrifice. Ask other parents what you can do to show up for their kids. When are their soccer games and dance recitals? Show up, and show support. Those kids will never forget it, and your kids will see what it means to support and celebrate others.
- Give your kids the freedom to go to other people in your community for help or advice. If my daughter decides she wants to garden one day, she’s not going to learn that from me. But I do know exactly who to send her to.
The most significant thing we can provide for our kids as we choose to not parent alone is other voices that will speak gospel truths to our children and show our kids the love of Christ. We also provide for them a safe space outside of us in which to be vulnerable, ask questions, and discover more about Christ and his love for them.
Community is integral to a rich and deep experience with the gospel, and at the end of the day, that is my dearest hope for my kids. That they would know the fullness of the gospel and love the Lord with their whole heart.
Looking for a community or someone to grab coffee with who is in a similar life season? We’d love to connect with you and get to know you better! Below you will find a few people that can’t wait to meet you, shoot us an email so we can make a plan!
Tyler OJ Campus
Teresa Ator: email@example.com
Bethanie Tayler: firstname.lastname@example.org
Tyler UB Campus
Max Heller: email@example.com
Chrisleigh Heller: firstname.lastname@example.org
Molly Pontius: email@example.com
Debra Kirby: firstname.lastname@example.org
Jess Kemp is a wife to her husband Jordan and momma to two little ones, Avenleigh who is a spunky and independent 2 year old and Quill who is a sweet and smiley 4-month-old (maybe older by the time you read this!). Jess also has a loved pup named Bax. Jess and her family live in Kannapolis, NC where Jess loves to try and catch up on sleep and celebrate her people every chance she gets!