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Susan Wanderer has worked with families in kids ministry for 20 years, with the last ten years serving as Kids Minister at Mount Ararat Church in Stafford. Susan and her husband Ed reside in Fredericksburg and have three amazing kids who joined their family in 2011 and who fill their days with adventure. Come join the conversation over at www.susanwanderer.com 

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My Stomping Grounds

Parenting can be complex. Who knew a pint-sized child or an acne-prone teenager could induce such a wide range of emotions from parental units?

Not to mention… we are the first generation of adults to dip our toes into several parenting arenas:

  • Smart Phones
  • Social Media
  • Online Safety
  • Constant Connectedness
  • Online Pornography
  • Online Predators
  • Sexting

As a Kids Minister, my door has families enter often who are desperate to know how to navigate this digital, highly sexualized, constantly connected generation. I sometimes am able only to offer a listening ear as we seek to navigate this virtual world together, creating a plan as we journey along. 

The above list doesn’t even mention all of the “normal” parenting challenges or victories: friendships, extracurricular activities, puberty, education, cultural challenges, etc…

But here is my top recommendation: Don’t Do This Alone!

Parenting is hard and we need a village: A group of people that will sit knee to knee with us and help us pour wisdom and support into one another and into these tender topics and issues.

My husband and I have a small group of folks from ourcChurch who we do life with each week.  We meet on Tuesday nights. The kids load up in the basement of someone’s home and play until sweat is dripping from their faces. The adults are cozied upstairs sipping coffee, munching on desserts, and chatting about life.

When someone has a heartache, another family who has Been-There-Done-That is able to swoop in and offer advice or at least a listening ear. It is helpful to know we aren’t on an island trying to solve this parenting puzzle alone.

A circled-up-group-of-adults helps to lessen the anxiety, provide (sometimes comic) relief to hear other similar parenting stories and give much needed support in this crazy-busy-life.

Our small group also offers our kids two very important essentials:

  1. A group of kids to play and interact with each week, who grow and change together as their seasons of life grow and change.
  2. A group of adults that will pour into the life of our kids. A greater impact is leveraged when other adults that we trust invest in the life of our child.

Win. Win.

I encourage you… especially if you are in a hard season of parenting, to find a village. We are all better together. Go find your people… and circle up! 

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Pouches' Community Corner

Pouches is ready to kayak on the beautiful Rappahannock River. She’s also ready to learn more about how she can protect the river’s health using the Friends of the Rappahannock new River Report Card, sponsored by a surprise grant from the Community Foundation of the Rappahannock River Region (CFRRR).

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