Have you ever tried to do something you knew virtually nothing about? Something that someone important expected you to know how to do? With an audience? Full of critics? How did you feel?
If you are like most people, you probably tried to fake it at first. If you were industrious, you might have even read a book on the topic. Chances are though, if it were something complex – even reading a book left you with more questions than answers. As everyone watched, you begin to make mistakes or hesitate. You may have wanted to cry or run and hide. Perhaps you reacted in frustrated anger. Very few will admit their weaknesses in a high stakes situation like that and ask for the help they really need.
The parents of your students probably feel like that a lot of the time. It probably seems to them they are one of the few parents that doesn’t have all of the answers. Of course, all of the vocal criticism they hear only adds to their feelings of inadequacy. And just like in our scenario, few parents are willing to go to an older, more experienced parent and admit they need help. They may go to a peer, but it’s hard to know if the peer knows any more than they do for long term success.
You can help the parents of your students – even if you don’t have any children of your own. Here are some great ways to be supportive of parents.
- Give verbal encouragement. Did little Johnny go out of his way to serve someone? Did sweet Amy show not only knowledge, but an understanding of a passage of scripture? Let the parents of your students know when their kids do something positive. You would be amazed how much a little encouragement will help a parent.
- Work with parents when there are issues with a child. For some reason, when children cause problems in class, the dynamic can quickly become parents versus teacher. While it should never be that way, it is even more destructive when it involves Christian teachers and parents. Remind yourself you are on a team with the parents of the student to help that student develop a strong spiritual foundation and grow to their godly potential. Work with those parents and don’t treat them like they are the enemy. The results will almost always be better for everyone.
- Give them free resources. Print off some of our free printable parenting resources and send them home with your students. Find a way to send home free NIrV Bibles for families who can’t afford them for their children. Sometimes a free resource can give a parent something they need to be more successful in their Christian parenting. http://teachonereachone.org/printable-parenting-resources/
- Encourage them to sign up for Christian parenting blogs. Our Parenting Like Hannah Blog provides several posts a week with ideas, tips, encouragement and challenges to help parents. They can sign up to have new posts delivered to their email – so they won’t miss any. They can also search by topic for past posts in areas with which they are struggling. The great thing about online Christian Parenting blogs is that if the blog is giving godly advice, parents can remain anonymous but still get the help they need. http://www.parentinglikehannah.com/
- Give them the information they need to continue teaching your lesson at home. Whether it’s a parent letter, an email or a link, giving parents the scriptures, learning objectives, topics for home discussions and additional activities they can do will improve the chances parents will reinforce what you tried to teach your students in class.
- Encourage them to join the Parenting Like Hannah Community on Facebook. It’s free and they must click “ask to join” (They will be approved quickly.) Once they have access, they can find daily Christian parenting challenges, links to blog posts and other resources. Make sure they know to go into group preferences and choose that they want to see every post from Parenting Like Hannah Community or the posts will not appear in their feed after awhile. https://www.facebook.com/groups/parentinglikehannah/
It will take a little extra time and effort on your part to encourage the parents of your students. Encouraging parents in their efforts to Christian parent against culture will help them do what they need to do to help their kids develop strong spiritual foundations and reach their godly potential.