Mimi Bullock writes:
Ecclesiastes says, “A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” How true is that when it comes to raising Christian children? Parents could do it on their own but what if they had dedicated ministers on their side? It’s a possibility and all you need to do is build those relationships. So what are some secrets to relationship building? How can you create stronger ties with parents and grandparents?
1. Be present. I’ve learned that just saying, “Call me if you need me,” won’t help me build relationships. I had to learn to be present. Go to the birthday parties. Visit kids in the hospital. Go to the ball park to see them play! Be a part of their life. That’s crucial to relationship-building.
2. Be available. Once parents begin to depend on you for advice/help/encouragement, be available for an unscheduled coffee or a meeting. Answer your phone and be available!
3. Be consistent. Consistency is the most important part of building relationships with kids and parents. Everyone needs a vacation but largely you have to be consistent. That means consistent with your availability and with what you have to offer. For example, if you offer in-office counseling on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, do your best not to change that to Mondays and Fridays. Be the rock of consistency in a family’s life. I know, it takes dedication but it’s worth it.
4. Be a friend. If you want to build relationships with people, you have to be willing to enlarge your circle of friends. Be a friend.
Other Tips That Help Build Relationships
Let the parents set the pace. You can’t force a friendship and in some cases, you might not be welcome. It takes two to build a relationship.
Don’t make judgements about lifestyle. You’ll find that some parents swear, smoke and maybe even dress in appropriately. You have to see past that and be a good influence. Don’t judge, don’t correct. Be a friend. People have to want to change.
Read more from Mimi by following her blog at Tools for Kids Church.