“I’ve often felt vulnerable, which is sometimes hard but has also provoked me to listen actively to the experiences that the people before me are sharing, enabling an atmosphere of equality.”
At Enfield Baptist we are currently running our second and third Kids Matter parenting groups. Our journey to this point has been both an immense challenge and an absolute blessing. So far we have directly engaged with 18 families (representing 44 children), not including those of us on the team who have also been impacted significantly by every group.
At the outset, I felt led to choose Kids Matter as a resource for our church because it dovetailed with our various existing groups that reach out to families in the community during the week; and I was particularly attracted to its accessible discussion style. In my experience, professionally and personally, there are plenty of voices around telling us how to parent and the result is a noise that mostly discourages and confuses us rather than help us with the mammoth task of parenting.
Thankfully, Kids Matter allows space for parents to reflect on their family context and encourages them to recognise the aspects that are going well alongside some problem-solving, in a safe setting with others in the same boat. The result is a realisation that although their situation is unique, they are not alone in it. This approach has been met with thoroughly positive feedback from the parents who have attended groups, and the solidarity they have found in sharing this journey together has really encouraged them.
As a facilitator, I am constantly stretched to trust God to give me wisdom as I seek to support the families we meet, and the team around me is invaluable in helping make this endeavour possible (particularly my group helper Sarah, who is also trained as a Kids Matter facilitator). Every group is different and no two sessions are the same. I’ve often felt vulnerable, which is sometimes hard but has also provoked me to listen actively to the experiences that the people before me are sharing, enabling an atmosphere of equality.
I would not say Kids Matter is always easy but the rewards far outweigh the difficulties and with God’s help it is indeed possible to do this role well, however inadequate we sometimes feel ourselves, as parents.