Recently I chatted with Larry Fowler, Executive Director of Global Training for Awana. Larry recently wrote a book titled, Raising a Modern-Day Joseph: A Timeless Strategy for Growing Great Kids. I asked, “How can a ministry help parents raise modern-day Josephs?”
Wow–there could be so many responses, so let me mention three that I think are key:
1. Don’t let them off the hook. In other words, never stop talking about the fact that, Biblically speaking, parents are first responsible for spiritual training. Keep reminding them in every communication that you do, but of course in a loving, encouraging way.
2. Work on motivating parents. We do a pretty good job of making parents feel guilty, but what do we do to help them to want to raise their kids spiritually? Use both extrinsic and intrinsic–recognize, reward, celebrate, personally commend, challenge, and whatever else might motivate. I believe this is the missing piece; the Biblical pattern is clear, and there are certainly enough tools available. So why don’t parents use them? They’re not motivated.
3. Give them a target. Parents are so motivated when they have a target; just let them hear that their soccer player could star on a club team with more practice, and watch them respond. That’s why I talk about a modern-day Joseph so much: because the Old Testament Joseph story so beautifully portrays what we would like our kids to turn out to be once they leave home. Then, add intermediate targets–what children should know and become at two- to four-year intervals throughout their growing up years. Celebrate with and honor the parents who work with their children to reach those targets.
Larry Fowler serves as Executive Director of Global Training for Awana, an international organization committed to helping churches and parents raise children and youth to know, love and serve Jesus Christ. He is an author of two books and a speaker to audiences worldwide both inside and outside of Awana. Larry and his wife, Diane, have two grown children and seven grandchildren. The Fowlers reside in suburban Chicago.