I need some children to help me out, 6 to be exact. You will not need to say anything. (Provide as much explanation as necessary until the required number of volunteers stand at the front.)
Give each child/volunteer a giant letter to hold, in the correct spelling order, first letter on left. Be sure they hold it hidden close to their chest, to start.
In the Bible, Paul urges the Christians in Corinth to be good examples to others, to be a positive parental model of good values and loving and mature behaviour, both in public and behind closed doors. (Cor 1:11)
Using the word PARENT as our guide, I’ve gathered some parenting and god-parenting wisdom to share. So, thinking about parenting, I have had a bit of fun with the word PARENT. My great crew of volunteers will be helping out.
So how can we be great parents for our children?
What is the first letter in the word “parent”? [Congregation responds: P. If they are hesitant, ask them to call it out louder. Have some fun with this. Then child holding that letter turns it around and holds it up high for all to see.]
P – P is for Prayer. Pray for your child, to see God in your child and in every child, and pray for yourself to be the best parent you can be. P is for…Pray.
Option: P – is for Present: Be Present. As it says in Deuteronomy (31:6), “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” P is for… Present.
What is the next letter in the word “parent”? [Congregation responds: A. If they are hesitant, ask them to call it out louder.]
A – is for Affirmation: children need to know they are loved. Matthew reminds us to affirm in others a good character, skills and gifts. (Matthew 3:17) A – is for Affirmation.
What is the next letter in the word “parent”? [Congregation responds: R.]
R – is for Reasonable: set Reasonable limits. As Proverb suggests, establish good and clear boundaries. (Proverbs 16:25) And in those moments when you are not reasonable, apologize. Help your child know that sometimes you get it wrong, and sometimes you have to say sorry and make things right again. R – is for Reasonable.
What is the next letter in the word “parent”? [Congregation responds: E.]
E – is for Example – Be a good example for your children. Paul urges the Corinthians to model good values and loving and mature behaviour, both in public and behind closed doors. (Corinthians 1:11) E – is for Example.
What is the next letter in the word “parent”? [Congregation responds: N.]
N – is for Nice! Be nice, be decent to your children. Extravagantly show your children the love you have for them. Even when disciplining them, be considerate. Regardless of the choices they make, show them love.
Option: N – is for Now. Live in the Now! Don’t wait. Be present for your child Now, today, in this moment. Extravagantly demonstrate the love you have for them – by listening, by looking them in the eye, by turning off your mobile, by turning off the computer, by getting down on the floor and playing or cuddling up with a book, when you really would rather be doing something else. Now is the only time we have with our children. Don’t miss it. N—is for now.
What is the last letter in the word “parent”? [Congregation responds: T. ]
T – is for Teach. Teach your child right from wrong, especially from your own example. Be a good role model. Proverbs urges parents to teach your child to be a loving and generous human being, equipped to one day leave home with good skills, abilities, values and responsibilities (Proverbs 22:6)
Option: T – if for Training: Proverbs urges parents to equip train your child to be a loving and generous human being, equipped to one day leave home with good skills, abilities, values and responsibilities (Proverbs 22:6)
Don’t leave this responsibility for others, but share it with others. Share it with teachers at school, at church, at the sports centre. Share it with doctors and nurses. Teach your child so that they know how to nurture their mind, their body and their soul. T – is for Teach.
So, what must we remember as parents?…
A Parent … [Point to each letter being held. Pause long enough for the congregation to call out the word.]
A parent? ……Prays / Option: A Parent is… Present
A parent? ……Affirms
A parent is? ……Reasonable
A parent sets a good … Example
A parent lives in the … Now, and / Option: A parent is … Nice
A parent? …… Teaches their children. / Option: A parent … Trains their children.
May you, as parents of these children, and all parents gathered here today, faithfully step up to the responsibility with which God has entrusted you, and turn to the godparents and others whenever your task of parenting seems daunting. You are not alone.
A big thank you to you children who have been brave and helped me out up here. Please place your letter face-up on the floor (or lean against wall) so we can still see the word. Thank you. You may return to where you were sitting.
If many of the children volunteers are visitors to the congregation, presenting each with a simple thank-you gift can be appropriate, e.g. a simple bookmark about the church or with a Bible reading on it.