Tonight I wrapped up a Strengthening Families Class at the Clackamas County Juvenile Department

Parenting Class

These crazies were my partners in facilitation.

We spent 8 weeks together with 5 families. Parents and teens all in need of some skills, tools and hope.

In the seven years that I have facilitated parenting classes the families all have one thing in common,

they are BRAVE.

They are brave why?

they admit they need help

they are unsure of what others will think of them,

yet they come

some are broken and discouraged at odds with their teen

yet they come

some parents are living with and struggling with addiction, job loss, homelessness, divorce, abuse

yet they  come 

some teens are failing school, cutting, stealing, addicted, being bullied

yet they  come

They are my heroes and I tell them so.

Tonight I told all of the parents they were brave, courageous.

It is easy as a parent to talk about your youth when they are doing well,

getting good grades, are the social butterfly or are excelling on a sports team.

When your youth is struggling

shame, fear and hopelessness can become a parent’s constant companion.

It takes so much more strength to admit you need help and to seek it out than it does to hide in shame.

They are searching for a place that is safe:

no criticism

no judgement

no “well I wonder where your teen got that behavior”? 

a place where they could be open and honest, to talk about the hurt & pain

tools and skills that they could try if they wanted to

And most of all they found friendship, they discovered they were not alone.

They discovered the gift of being with those who make them brave.

That in the “no judgement, no criticism zone” there is a space that fosters acceptance & kindness.

In my years of teaching parenting classes in school buildings, groups of people gathered  as they shared their stories with common kindness toward each other.

Having compassion for one another in the midst of their pain, frustration and shame. Supporting each other toward the common goal of restoration and building relationship.

I would train the facilitators that I worked with to be professionals who fostered acceptance and created an atmosphere for braveness.

Those of us who are Christ followers need to practice this type of professionalism.

Too often those who are in pain or are hurting we blame, criticize and often alienate them.

This is the professionalism that God has called us to:

” as God’s chosen people clothe yourself with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness & patience

Colossians 3:12

compassi

Be a person who sees with eyes of compassion,

acts in kindness

walks in humility

offers gentleness

one who is purposed in patience

And in doing so becomes one who makes others

Brave

Be ONE who makes others brave.

BE One who makes others Brave

Linking with Jennifer Dukes Lee