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It Takes a Village...

A few years ago, I asked my parents what they did to raise 4 children who love God and have a passion for people. As a young parent at that time, I was looking for the insider’s tip to successful parenting. My mom's answer surprised me a little. She said that their “success” in parenting really had more to do with the people they surrounded us with than anything they did. I’m not sure if I completely agree…I think they had a lot of input in how we all turned out, but I do think she was on to something. When I look back on my childhood, I can remember the friends, the coaches, the missionaries, the pastors, the small group leaders of high character and integrity that surrounded my upbringing. It’s not surprising that all of us “children” grew up to serve God in various ways in full-time vocational ministry. You see, the people who were in and out of our lives were more than just friends. They were influences. In my parent’s opinion, they were carefully chosen people who would help in child rearing. They were their village. I’m sure you’ve heard it said, “It takes a village to raise a child.” I couldn’t agree more, but I’ll take it one step further- Your village helps raise your child; therefore, it’s crucial you’ve chosen your village wisely. Aime and I are right in the middle of raising our six kids. Our oldest is graduating and our youngest is almost done with kindergarten. We’re trying hard to surround them with key influences…people with strong character and an outspoken call in their life to make a difference. Sometimes we seek out these people, but sometimes this means we have to make the tough choices to change some influences by changing where we spend our time. These choices can be tough in the moment, but payoff in the long run. Who is your village? Who do you choose to surround your children? What kinds of people have influence in their life? What things are they striving after? What can your children learn from these people? How are these influencers shaping your child’s character and values? These are important questions because chances are …your children just might grow up to look like them as much as they will you. One change a day! ~Joe (Guest Post from my hubby who is a pastor and marriage and family counselor)

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