Proverbs 27:17 (NLT) says it well – As iron sharpens iron, a friend sharpens a friend. We cannot survive very long without food, water or oxygen. Too little vitamin C can be harmful. Jumping out of a plane without a parachute is suicidal. All of these are laws of nature and life that cannot be ignored or cheated. In the same way, we need each other. Parents who isolate themselves from others struggle greatly. Moreover, our kids will only benefit by being involved with a diverse smattering of people. That is, we cannot provide our children with everything they need! Realizing this can cause us pain, feed any lingering self-esteem issues we might have and make us jealous when our kids turn to others. Yet the difficulty we face in embracing the above truth is easily offset by the effectiveness, power, encouragement and support of true community.
Some questions to ask ourselves as parents are:
** Are we involved in a cell group or small group where any question can be asked, where accountability takes place and where people are encouraged to use their spiritual gifts?
** Do we regularly attend weekend services?
** Do we have a mentor that we can go to at any time? Do we mentor someone?
** Do we regularly discuss with our mate issues related to parenting?
** Are we and our families connected to a wide variety of people, with different life situations (i.e. financial status, type of career, cultural background)?
** In connecting our kids to others, are we monitoring who the primary influencers are in their lives? Is this influence positive or negative? Key: as the parent, we should always be the primary influencer! Are these connections helping our kids where we cannot (i.e. a male role model for a child whose father is out of the picture)?