I have often heard the African proverb “It takes a whole village to raise a child” being quoted by school teachers, pediatricians, and even pastors to reiterate to parents how important it is for them to never forget that they are not alone on their journey through child-rearing. Parents need other parents. As a matter of fact, people need other people! Our wise Creator designed us to be relational beings whose hearts are most satisfied when they are able to give and receive LOVE. This truth applies to both young and old alike.
As a mother, one of my greatest sources of encouragement comes from my family’s involvement together in our local church. This example was set for me from infancy by my own parents. The joy of attending church together is that it allows us to encourage each other and form deep bonds that will connect us and our children. We can rejoice together in personal triumphs and grieve together in times of mourning. We can also glean valuable insights and wisdom from the life experience of the older parents in our church.
My local congregation is blessed with a great team of paid staff and gifted volunteers who work together to provide ministry to all age groups represented at our church. The key to the success of these ministries is that we must take the biblical concepts that we and our children learn each week and put them into practice at home. Family prayer and bible reading draws us closer to God and to each other. When my husband and I share bedtime devotions and prayers with our daughter, we feel an intimacy that is unparalleled anywhere else. It is important for us to remember never to rely solely on the leadership at church to provide us with all that we need. Our individual relationships with Christ are critical to the success of both the church and our families. When those two entities function together in harmony, our children can feel the difference!
In the coming months, try praying together as a family every day. It could be in the mornings before school and work, or before bedtime at night. If your family does not attend a church in your community, try finding one where you can all get involved. The closeness and intimacy you will experience together will enrich your lives for years to come.
Emily Tolbert is a local native of Cleveland, Tennessee. She has been happily married to her husband Kirk for 10 years. They have a seven year old daughter named Lillian who keeps them smiling every day. Emily has served in various capacities at the International Offices for the Church of God of Prophecy since 1993. She is currently working full-time in the Financial Services department as the Assistant to the Accounting Manager. Her favorite pastimes are cooking new recipes in her kitchen, spending time outdoors camping with her family, and playing the piano. Emily and Kirk are longtime members of the Keith Street Ministries congregation where she volunteers for both the music and children’s ministry teams.