For the last six weeks, we’ve been hosting a Parent Cafe class at the same time as our Wednesday night Kids Club program. We brew some coffee, pile everyone in a room, and encourage parents to swap stories, share concerns, and discuss a book they are all reading together.
We just finished up the book Parenting Beyond Your Capacity by Reggie Joiner (link in the resources below), and instead of wrapping things up, all the parents in the class want to continue! When the leader asked if I had any suggestions for another book, I knew just what to grab — my copy of Michelle Anthony’s Spiritual Parenting. I’ve been a huge fan of Michelle ever since my first trip to the Gathering in 2012, but even if I had never met Michelle, I still would have loved this book.
If you’re familiar with the Spiritual Parenting concept (or the philosopy behind the Tru curriculum by David C. Cook), you’ll know that there are 10 Environments which the book focuses on. These include:
1) Environment of Storytelling
Sharing The Big God Story with kids gives them an inspiring view of how God has been moving throughout history, even from the beginning of time, to save his people and bring glory to His name.
2) Environment of Identity
Giving children a true view of their identity in light of what God has done for them allows them to stand firm against the world. We are part of God’s family and He loves us dearly — dwell on that for a moment!
3) Environment of Faith Community
You’ve heard it said, “It takes a village” and thankfully, God has already provided our village through the local church. Learn how to partner with the faith community to bring a richness to your child’s faith.
4) Environment of Out of the Comfort Zone
As children are challenged to step out of their comfort zone at an early age, they learn to depend on God and strengthen their spiritual muscles.
5) Environment of Responsibility
In this environment, children are able to see what a privilege it is to be a part of God’s great work as they learn they are responsible not only for their own lives, but also for caring for others around them.
6) Environment of Course Correction
What do we do when kids deliberately choose to go against our house rules and the ways of the Bible? Course correction includes a season of pain, an opportunity to build up in love, and a vision of the corrected path.
…along with four other environments that are used to help raise children who love God and are conditioned to care for others.
This book has been encouraging to me as a parent and I’m excited to get it into the hands of other parents at my church. I love the concept of environments and the idea that we are creating a space for spiritual growth to happen, but we, as parents, are not ultimately responsible for that growth — God is, through the prompting of the Holy Spirit. Again and again, Michelle reminds readers to allow the Holy Spirit to work and to not be afraid of the things God may ask your child to do in response to His promptings.
Here’s a quick promo of the book:
So, if you’re thinking about a terrific resource to bring to the parents in your church — one that doesn’t reduce parenting to a series of checklists, but really acknowledges the ebb and flow of getting in step with the work of God — check out Spiritual Parenting. I think you’ll really like it.
Resources and Other Stuff to Check Out:
- Spiritual Parenting: An Awakening for Today’s Families (affiliate link, Amazon)
- Parenting Beyond Your Capacity: Connect Your Family to a Wider Community (affiliate link)