Recently I was able to spend some time with two teenage friends , Mollie Grub and Kati Rusin. We took a late night trip to Taco Bell where they educated me on the intricate complexity of the late night menu; it was a necessary lesson as soon I will have a teenager of my own.
Why would a couple of teen girls want to hang with an almost 40 year old? Food helped, I’m sure, but we also attend the same church. I have introduced myself to these girls, asked them about their lives and received countless hugs from them. In short, we value each other enough to pursue a relationship. We may not be of the same generation, but we share a common faith community. We can share how God is moving in each others’ lives.
Kati and Molli gave me a lot of good instruction that night on how to be a better parent when my kids get their age. They reminded me of thoughts, feelings and fears in that stage of life. They loved me like a sister and encouraged me; I hope they feel the same. I am trusting that God honored our love for one another and am believing the best.
Kids Community just started a recruiting drive that presses families to open their circle by encouraging multi-generational friendships. Families who recruit five multi-generational friends to work with their kids once a quarter can win a free family dinner and a subscription to Thriving Family magazine. The drive is about valuing each other and pursuing Godly relationships across generations.
The trick to not forgetting is to act intentionally. It is important to model in the Christian community. Inclusion and inviting can be risky. Rejection is a fear that satan uses. Are we intentionally looking for, praying for and pursuing multi-generational relationships as a leading from the Holy Spirit?
The Amplified Bible quotes 1 Peter 4:9 this way: “Practice hospitality to one another – be hospitable, be a lover of strangers, with brotherly affection for the unknown quests, the foreigners, the poor and all others who come your way who are of Christ’s body”
Parenting Tip: Make a prayer chart with the following divisions: middle schooler, high schooler, college student, young professional, new married, new parents, single professional 30-50, empty nester, 50-70 year old, and elderly friend. As a family look for one name in your neighborhood, work, school or church to fit into each area. Pray for these people together as a family and encourage one another brainstorm ways to pursue relationships with them this year. Ideas could be cards, phone calls, dinner invite, service project, event invite, hug, sit next to them at church.
Family Service Project: Make cards and take them to the local nursing home. Did you know that extended care facilities offer an easily assessable mission field in every city. Think of it as the crossroads of real life and the need for comfort. It also is a great place to practice manners with young children and teens – handshake, saying their name, looking into someone’s eyes, responding appropriately, and practicing thank you.