Whether you are new to having your small group or have had them for a few years, you know how challenging it can be to get to know the parents of your kids. Things are chaotic. Kids are coming and going like mini tornados. And if you do get chance to say hi or formally introduce yourself, it feels superficial. You are partnering to help their kids follow God and yet you feel so disconnected to them.
After a while it seems like it really doesn’t matter. You might even think that if the parent doesn’t try to get to know you, what’s the point of trying to get to know them? If you are a small group leader of the same age year after year, you may feel like it’s pointless. You are only in the lives of these few kids for a year. Why invest in getting to know their parents as well?
Well, parents can help grow your relationship with your few in deeper, more meaningful ways. They know what they enjoy, what they struggle with, what’s going on in their lives and their families’ lives. Getting to know a little about your kids through their parents can help you understand them better. I had a child who was always very happy. One week she was moody but I shrugged it off thinking she was having an “off week”. After a couple weeks her mom told me that her husband was going in for heart surgery. She wanted to let me know in case her daughter mentioned anything about it. After that I understood her behavior. I was able to bring it up to her and have a great conversation about how she felt and what she was going through.
I have realized that you don’t want to get to know the parents of your kids only when tragedy happens. It’s also very uncomfortable finding out things your kids are doing and needing to report them to their parents when you don’t know them. I am beginning to learn how important it is to partner in a real way with parents. It can be intimidating, but once we understand how, it should become our mission to gain and maintain a relationship with them.
With this said, a very easy way to start is by sending out an email to the parents introducing yourself and your desire to meet them. Ask them to introduce themselves when they drop off or pick up their kids. If you could go to any sports or programs your few are in, their parents will love seeing your support, and they can’t help but come over and talk with you. You will be amazed at how much better you can lead your small group, pray for them and relate to them by having a relationship with their parents!
How have you successfully connected to parents?