Why Your Kids Need Five Other Adults in Their Lives
by Carey Nieuwho
I have something like 1,300 contacts in my phone. No doubt, 1,300 is a crazy number. You might have double that, or half that. It’s just the world we live in.
But even if you only had 100, you wouldn’t really know each of them well. Not deeply. Not personally. You couldn’t. Our relational span just isn’t that big.
But there’s also a “favorites list” on my phone, as there probably is one on yours. On that list are the people who are one touch-of-the-screen away from a call or a text. My favorites list is much shorter. In fact, there are less that twenty people on that list. If I were to get even more granular, there are really only about five that I call or text all the time. These are the handful of people closest to me.
These five know me inside out…my good points and not so good ones. My dreams and my struggles. My favorite and least favorite things. They’re the ones who are not only great friends, but great advisors.
I’m sure you’ve got those people too.
But do your kids?
When your kids need to talk, who do they talk to? I mean beyond their friends and beyond you as a parent? Friends are of limited help; sometimes the last thing a 16-year-old needs is advice from another 16-year-old. And sometimes the last person they want to talk to is a parent. I’m sure there are parents who say, “my kid will talk to me.” But let me ask you something, did you tell your parents everything? Exactly!.
So who do they go to? To whom can they turn?
I dream of a culture in which every child has five adults, other than their parents, they can talk to about the important stuff. Like school. And girls. And parents. And the future. And God. And faith. And their problems.
If you were fortunate when you were growing up, you might have had someone you could talk to other than your mom or dad about the big stuff and the little stuff. Maybe it was a coach who took an interest in you, a teacher, a neighbor, a grandparent, or an uncle who always seemed to have the time for you. If you had someone like that. you know what a difference those relationships can make.
That’s why I wanted my kids to have at least…
five other adults in their life guiding them and giving input.
five people who know their hopes and dreams,
five people who know their quirks and good points.
five people they can talk to honestly about what’s really going on in their lives.
five people who can offer wisdom when life gets confusing.
five people who care about them and pray for them.
My question is simple: who are your kids’ five? Who will they text and who will they call when they don’t know what to do?
If you don’t know who those five are, you’re not alone. But you can change that. Soon.
I would encourage you to spend some time over the next month identifying people your kids can build a trusting relationship with.
My guess is between small group leaders, neighbors, family friends, uncles, aunts, grandparents, coaches and teachers, you will find a few who will be willing to spend a little one on one time with your child periodically.
Ask them if they’ll spend some time getting to know your child or teen, and even pray for them regularly. And then watch what happens.
If every child and teen ends up with five adults on their phone’s favorite list, we might indeed be raising a wider, more secure, more grounded, more Christ-centered, more joyful generation than we’ve seen in a long time.
And if you’re still not convinced, I have a simple question. Don’t you wish there had been five other adults in your life growing up that you had a great relationship with, trusted, and could talk to?
I do. Which is why years ago, I sat down with my sons and drafted theirs. It’s a different world out there. And it can be a better world.
About the Author:
Carey Nieuwhof is the lead pastor of Connexus Church and author of several books, including Parenting Beyond Your Capacity (with Reggie Joiner) and his latest book, "Lasting Impact: 7 Powerful Conversations That Will Help Your Church Grow." Carey speaks to church leaders around the world about leadership and parenting. He writes one of the most widely read church leadership blogs at www.CareyNieuwhof.com and hosts the Carey Nieuwhof Leadership Podcast where he interviews top leaders each week.