Sunday School Offers What Parents Want Most for their Children
By Billie Davis
When we focus on what parents are looking for, we can help them find it.
Most parents want help. I felt newly convinced of this as I viewed the amazing array of materials on parenting themes in a large bookstore. I counted 31 different periodicals and 875 book titles! Such a market exists because parents feel uncertain and are reaching out for advice on how to raise their children.
Looking at the book titles and article topics I noted many repetitions of certain questions and concerns. I found myself making a list of “what parents want for their children.” I realized with growing excitement that if the church would use its full potential we could do more than any other agency to help parents find what they are seeking.
Through Sunday School we could provide every item on my list of what parents want for their children:
1. A spiritual dimension
Even non-Christian parents express a remarkably consistent desire for their children to have exposure to teaching about moral and religious values. They sense that kids need a “spiritual dimension” in life to help them develop character and personality.
2. Positive Influences
Parents want their children to be protected from negative influences of media and social trends that devalue morals, to have healthy friendships and peer groups, and to have strong adult models.
Learning how to get along with others, resolving conflicts without violence, and respecting legitimate authority are major concerns. Parents want help with relating to teenagers, understanding them, and keeping their respect.
4. Caring, Sharing, and Giving
The popular magazines devote many pages to raising kind, caring kids, encouraging empathy, and discouraging selfishness. Parents ask how to get young children and teenagers to appreciate what they have and be willing to share with others.
Responsibility is a major topic in parenting literature. Parents want their children to be responsible for their own actions and learn to take the consequences for their choices. They agonize over questions of how to set limits and teach principles of right and wrong. They recognize that children are confused by too many temptations, that they need structure.
6. Discovery and Development of Talents
Children and young persons need opportunities for self-expression. Parents want them to use their natural talents and gifts in ways that contribute to healthy self esteem and afford pleasure to others.
7. Safe and Uplifting Recreation
Parents want a safe environment where kids, especially teenagers, can have fun without being pulled into temptations involving alcohol, drugs and sex. They ask about how to provide wholesome entertainment and social events.
A good Sunday School provides support and direction in each of these categories, and also offers parents what they need for themselves:
1. Support for Their Values
Parents need the outside reinforcement of having their children hear from others what the parents teach at home. No one can provide better support for parents than a respected Sunday School teacher.
2. Sharing With Other Parents
A major benefit of parenting classes is the exchange of experiences and ideas. Regular Sunday School classes can give parents this opportunity.
3. Parenting Helps in the Curriculum
Every teacher of adults should be aware of parents’ needs and look for opportunities to make lesson applications that are helpful to parents. Every teacher should pray for parents in the class and encourage them to express needs and ideas.
4. Prayer and Support in All Situations
Teachers should keep parents aware of the Sunday School as a partner. Be alert and sensitive to the needs of single parents and those with particular problems.
Sunday School is the Parents’ Best Partner
With God’s help we could make a CONTRACT WITH PARENTS to provide what they want for their children and what they need for themselves.
Billie Davis is an Education Consultant for the national Assemblies of God Sunday School Department. You can purchase her books The Dynamic Classroom, Step-parenting, People Tasks and Goals, or Equipping to Instruct through the Gospel Publishing House: www.gospelpublishing.com or 1-800-641-4310