By The Reverend Dr. Katie Snipes Lancaster
Ultimately there is no right way to be a parent. Sure we’ve all seen wrong ways to be a parent—whether in real life or on the news—but there’s no way to get an A+ raising a child. There’s no parenting report card. There are a thousand parenting philosophies for parenting topics ranging from potty training, to coping with anxiety, to talking about money or sex or God. And a parent told me sarcastically this weekend, “you know when they’re 18 and out of the house, your job as a parent is over” (just kidding we’re in it for the long haul). Frustratingly there are generational gaps in parenting, so we can’t lean on the wisdom of the past 100% of the time, and new parenting challenges—like how to navigate technology—mean we’re blazing a new trail every generation anyway.
In the long dance of being in a parent-child relationship, every parent needs time to get off the dance floor, and up on the balcony (to use Ron Heifetz’s analogy). On the balcony you can reflect on how things have been and how you’d like things to go in the future. On the balcony you can see what’s happening on the dance floor and figure out how you want to navigate the next dance.
We need chances to get out of the everyday of parenting, and into a deeper reflection on who we are as parents, and as people. We need parent-friendships, parent-mentors, people who are willing to be authentically vulnerable with us in all that is known and unknown, difficult, and demanding about being a parent. And as Christians, we need places where we can orient our parenting as part of what it means to be a person who seeks to live in Christ’s love and mercy and justice. Find a way to seek God-in-community this month as you continue to walk faithfully as a parent and a person of faith in this complicated, beautiful world. Here are three ways to join your Kenilworth Union parent-friends in community:
- Parenting and Faith: Fridays in October and November 9:45–10:45 a.m. (babies welcome)
- Beginnings: Monday 9:30–11 a.m. (babies 24 months and younger welcome, childcare available for older siblings)
- Parent Coffees: Occasional Fridays 8:30–9:30 a.m. at various local coffee shops (check schedule for location)