It really does take a village to raise kids to become productive adults. There is no replacement for your role as the primary faith trainer in your home. However, studies have shown the importance of surrounding your kids with like-minded, caring adults. As parents, we have a responsibility to monitor who our kids hang out with and when they hang out. We schedule preschool play dates and park meets up so our kids can hang with their friends.
But, how often do we consider which adults we want our kids to be around?
As you think of being intentional about the other adults in your kids’ lives, here are four types of adults your kids should spend time with.
1. The Dreamer
Dreamers can open your kid’s eyes to something they may not see. I have a friend who is currently an assistant coach in the NBA. As I watch him from afar, I know that he has dreamed of being in the NBA and watching that dream come true has inspired me. When we allow our kids to dream and be around dreamers it gives them freedom to think about their future in new and exciting ways. The balance here is to let them dream but not become consumed in something that they may never achieve. Placing them around adults who have worked hard and made their dreams come true is a powerful tool.
2. The Fixer
Having friends that can fix stuff has two benefits. One, they can help you fix what’s broken. Two, they can help your kids learn new skills. Find someone that is patient enough to not only help you but to also show your kids at the same time. To this day, I remember how to trim hedges because one of my dad’s friends asked me to help him do landscaping one Saturday. He patiently showed me how to shape up hedges like a pro. Surround your kids with people who are skilled and willing to share their skills.
3. The Encourager
I often find myself intentionally encouraging my friend’s kids. As an Encourager, I genuinely want to encourage great things I see in people, especially in my kids and their friends. It is fun to brag on how awesome kids are in front of their parents. One day while my kids were playing at the park, a few of the boys were not getting along and I watched one of them reconcile what was going on. I quickly went over to the boy that was the peacemaker and encouraged him for his great work in resolving the conflict. Then, I shared with his dad about his ability to help everyone get along. Both he and his dad were encouraged. I certainly want to surround my kids with an encouraging adult that sees things in them that I may miss.
4. The Storyteller
Typically, the a storyteller is an adult that is a little older and more experienced in life. Storytelling is one of the most powerful ways we share life together and pass on a legacy. I have made it a point to ask that all of my kid’s grandparents and “church” grandparents share their stories of past experiences. It is a joy to hear my kids re-tell the stories they heard from long ago and how things used to be. This gives them a wider perspective of the world and an appreciation for what they have. An easy win would be to bring your kids to a senior adult event and have them sit and eat lunch with a table of wise adults full of stories.