Monday, November 22, 2010

Helping parents

“For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up” -Eccl. 4:10

Every parent of every teenager needs help. None of us were designed to solo through this journey called parenting. We need to network, share and pray together with others in raising our kids.

Interview any jet fighter pilot and I bet they’ll tell you how much they enjoy flying their jet plane. But, as we saw in the classic Top Gun movie, a good pilot “never leaves his wingman.” Why? Because even independent, confident, self-sufficient pilots understand they need help. They need another pilot next to them to see what they can't see and to cover them when the combat get’s tough.

Moms and dads need each other too. But for some reason, when the times are the toughest, we kick into solo mode. When life is clicking along, we welcome others’ involvement, but when the trials hit and we need people the most, we tend to keep people at arms length and insist on doing it on our own. God must observe us, shake his head and think, “I’ve designed them to lean on me and each other, yet they lean on themselves.”

My wife, Jeanie, and I watched an old Steve Martin movie last night “Cheaper by the Dozen.” It’s a fun movie about a family of twelve, the parents’ drive for vocational success, and their choice of family over career. In the end, dad chooses to be a good dad over being a good coach. The movie is full of the trials and tribulations of a crazy family.

Thinking back on the movie, there were missing pieces. Not once in the movie did I see grandparents or friends helping the family raise their kids. Yes, they hired a babysitter, but they pretty much soloed it. I know it was just a movie, but typical of families these days.

Moms and dads take a deep breath and audit yourself. How often do you call on your friends to help you? Better yet, how often do you help your friends in their parenting? Perhaps it’s someone to just share a need or a prayer. Maybe it’s someone to help with driving. Maybe it’s a phone call to encourage a friend with a sick child.

Jeanie is so great at reaching out and encouraging young moms. She is a mentor at the Branson MOPS (mothers of preschoolers) and has a compassionate heart for young parents. She just delivered a meal to a new young mom on a Saturday night.

Let other’s help you in your parenting and, at the same time, be intentional about reaching out to others. It won't make parenting easy, but it will make it easier to know you’re not the only one on this crazy but wonderful parenting journey.

Besides, flying jets is a lot more fun with a friend.

By Eric Joseph Staples ©

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