On Saturday, November 2nd, Circle of Hope got together to celebrate Village Parenting Day. There was a fall-themed festival with games, pumpkin painting, apple bobbing (which no one was brave enough to try on the first crisp morning of the year), a pie contest and, of course, a bounce house (because a party ain’t a party without a bounce house). It was beautiful.
We needed to bring to our consciousness the fact that our children and parents are swimming in the water of mutuality. We know that our children need more love than just two people (or one) can give. So we build a village around Jesus that is really a new chance at family. No matter our experience of our family of origin, Jesus can heal. He helps us into a new sense of family that is not just for our own needs or the needs of our children if we have them. Jesus is making us into something bigger.
The thing we need that Jesus makes is trust. With Jesus, we can risk vulnerability—bolstered by our faith. With Jesus, we can weather the conflict—strengthened by our commitment to reconciliation. With Jesus, we can learn to rely on one another by living our life together—motivated by our desire to be a visible community that demonstrates God’s love to the world.
The trust that Jesus makes makes stuff—we set up childcare swaps where parents trade babysitting duties, instead of hiring someone to watch the kids (which can be really scary!). We share advice and resources for parenting formally in our collection (like this one), online on our parents listserv, and face to face, of course (that’s our favorite). We create community beyond school for our kids (my kids’ best friends are part of the church). We invented the wildly successful Baby and Kids Goods eXchange (Free BGX), a compassion team that helps hundreds of people share gently-used kids clothes and other goods. We have several other kid-centric compassion teams, too. We started a business to take care of children, Circle Kids (that’s how invested we are in the children!).
When you live in such wonders it can get kind of commonplace. We needed a day to realize, remember and celebrate that WE ARE IN THIS WATER! We said to each other and the new friends who joined us, “Do you see this life?!” It’s like we have gills and we had to discover them again.
Oh, and we’re looking for more swimmers!