This last week I read a really helpful book by Reggie Joiner and Carey Nieuwhof called Parenting Beyond Your Capacity. This is a straightforward book that offers a clear roadmap for parents who want to connect their family to a wider community of faith. And for parents who think that going at it alone is best, Joiner and Nieuwhof offer a compelling argument for the need to invite others into the circle so that our kids have the widest safety net possible as our kids grow into adults and explore a faith separate from ours. Parenting Beyond Your Capacity is kind of like a primer for parents to understand the Orange concept of parenting. Being an orange parent is understanding that "a parent's influence is best realized in partnership with a wider community." And that community is the church. If you are looking for a book to share with parents to help them understand the orange model of ministry than this book is for you. This book highlights 5 family values that are key for the long term spiritual health and maturity of kids and students.
Family Value 1) Widen the Circle: Pursue strategic relationships for your kids.
Family Value 2) Imagine the End: Focus your priorities on what matters most.
Family Value 3) Fight for the Heart: Communicate in a style that gives the relationship value.
Family Value 4) Create a Rhythm: Increase the quantity of quality time you spend together.
Family Value 5) Make it Personal: Put yourself first when it comes to personal growth.
If you are an "Orange" church than this book is key to helping parents understand what the orange philosophy is all about. "When you combine the light from a faith community (yellow) with the heart of a caring family (red), you exponentially expand your potential to make a difference in the life of a child." This is a book that outlines, inspires, and helps parents maximize their part.
Whether or not you or your church have bought into the orange philosophy, strategy, or curriculum, I have found that this book is a great resource for parents. Not only do the authors make a compelling argument for partnering intentionally to a faith community, they offer clear and straightforward guidance about majoring in the majors. Caring for the heart, quality time, creating rhythms and habits that communicate love and value toward their children.
And the best chapter is the chapter on making it personal. It is a kick in the pants for all parents and ministry professionals to make sure that it is real and alive in you as well. You can't pass on what you don't have, and if parents are going to maximize the potential for their own kids to love and follow Jesus some day, then it better be true in their lives as well.
To communicate these points, the authors share a ton of personal stories. They seem to have find that importance balance between sharing stories of struggle and failure so we know they are real parents and can relate to them, as well as stories of joy and success that inspire and give great ideas for parents to try within their families.
I think the best resource orange has put out there for parents is the family time chart. This chart is highlighted in family value 4, creating a rhythm. The basic idea is that parents can be intentional by using the different opportunities throughout the day to communicate different truths in different ways.
The break down the day into four times with each time having a distinct communication style, a unique role as we share a specific goal.
Time: Meal Time. Communication: Formal Discussion. Role: Teacher. Goal: Establish Values Time: Drive Time. Communication: Informal Dialogue. Role: Friend. Goal: Interpret Life. Time: Bed Time. Communication: Intimate Conversation. Role: Counselor. Goal: Build Intimacy. Time: Morning Time. Communication: Encouraging Words. Role: Coach. Goal: Instill Purpose.
This book is chalked full of clear helps and strategies to help parents maximize what the things that are already in their lives and come up with a realistic plan to incorporate the ones that are missing or lacking. As a parent who worries about instilling faith into my own kids and as a parent who doesn't do it well, I never felt shamed or beat up as I read this book, rather I felt encouraged and actually incorporated some of the tools I learned immediately.
I really enjoyed reading Parenting Beyond Your Capacity. As a parent I found it straightforward, clear, and convicting. But instead of being crushed by all I am failing at doing, this book offered great reflection questions and tips to pull it off. And the entire point of the book is that parents alone can not carry the burden of faith development all by themselves, they need others, they need the church.
My capacity is limited, but by implementing these values the capacity greatly increases. I look forward to passing this book on to parents in our church, and if you are a parent, I think this is a must read. As a youth worker, this would also be a great book to highlight or pass out at a parents meeting to help parents understand the importance of what you are trying to do at youth group and why they should help their kids get and stay connected.
For $10 it is a no brainer. (Especially when you make your church buy it)
What do you think of the orange philosophy? Have you read this book? What other books are out there that you have found as helpful resources for parents?
I am honored to partner with Orange in this philosophy of ministry. If you would like to know more about this philosophy and the tools that are used to leverage these two spheres of influence for the sake of our kids, check out whatisorange.org. And if you really want a taste, clear your calendar and join us in the ATL this spring for the annual orange conference. I hope to see you there!