Parenting Value: Widen the Circle

In my first blog I talked about a few reasons why I decided to write Fishing Promises. I mentioned the book Parenting Beyond Your Capacity, by Reggie Joiner and Carey Nieuwhof, playing a large part in my decision. I also mentioned that I was planning a review for everyone. So with permission received from The reThink Group, I am doing just that.

Parenting Beyond Your Capacity discusses five family values. I will be covering each of these values over the next five weeks. This week I will be talking about the first family value: Widen the Circle.

Reading that value’s heading, what comes to mind? What does “Widen the Circle” mean? If you think it means inviting people strategically into your children’s life to influence them, then you’re correct.

But what’s the importance of strategically inviting people into your children’s life? Well, on page 62 the authors say, “Regardless of your stage of parenting…a time will come when you and your children will need another adult in their lives beside you.”

That is so true. I have heard more than a couple of stories from one family that is blessed with 5 children and a grandchild. Their stories of how they widened the circle before this book was even written are inspiring. The family’s stories, along with this value, are proof enough that widening the circle is needed, and it works.

Knowing from personal experience, teenagers listen to some of the dumbest things their peers tell them to do, right? Smoke this, take that, you can whoop him, I bet you can’t get her, etc., the peer pressures go on and on. Having godly influences in my life as a teen probably would have helped me be a better son and brother.

On page 72 the authors say, “The goal is for you to pursue strategic relationships so another adult voice will be speaking into your son’s or daughter’s life, saying the kind of things you would try to say as a parent.”

Dads, when your teenage girl is at a guy’s house, he’s talking her into some immoral activities, do you want her girlfriends at school who’ve had multiple partners to be her influence? Or a godly woman who helps her find her true worth in Christ? She may not listen to you and her mother, but maybe the godly woman’s words will come to mind in the heat of the moment.

How about your son? When your underage son is handed a beer, who’s voice do you want him to hear? After all he may not listen to you. Even if he does drink that beer, he’s too afraid to call you, who do you want him to call? Obviously you don’t want him driving.

These examples may seem extreme to some of you. Others of you have or are living through a similar type experience.

To effectively widen the circle you have to be intentional, especially when your children are young; the younger the better. The authors’ words is something that motivated me, “The goal is to have other trusted adults in the lives of children before they need them so they will be there when they need them.”

My wife and I are being strategic for our son’s circle widening. We are actively involved in the small group ministry at our church, we serve on Sunday mornings, we pick who we want to be around our son. There are plenty of great people we may never engage, but that isn’t the point, after all you cannot engage everyone you meet. The point that there are certain people we want to engage with. Not only do we want to widen our son’s circle, but we want to help other parents widen the circle for their child(ren).

I will leave you with a question from the book that I invite you to answer, especially if you raised kids.

What are you doing to encourage your child’s relationships with people outside the home? (p.64)

If you’re a parent that has grown children, what did you do to encourage outside relationship? What wisdom would you share with parents of younger children?

Please leave me a comment below. Share this post with your social network too, the more wisdom we share, the better we become.

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