Last night was the last night of our Parenting Course and I thought that you might appreciate a review of how it went for us.
We advertised by word of mouth, in the community, at church, on Facebook and targeted emails. We were quite specific with who we advertised to because we ran it in our home and knew that not everyone would be comfortable going to someone’s house. In the end, it was Christa and I and one other couple.
It was so much fun. Each evening started at 8:00pm with snacks and coffee/tea and we aimed to start the video by 8:10 (sometimes we were successful). The video was about 30 minutes long and then we’d have a discussion time, refill our coffee and then by 9:00 we’d start the second 30 minute video. We’d finish the night with further discussion (the manuals had good leading questions), and we’d end the night by 10:00pm (though we often visited longer).
As we talked last night we all recognized that this simple course was having a positive affect on our parenting and marriage relationships. We were using HALT (hungry, anxious/angry, lonely, tired) to evaluate why kids or adults were upset, we were reflecting back statements that our children were making (so that we demonstrated good listening) and we were creatively looking for ways to spend time as a family.
You might wonder about it’s appropriateness with people who are not regular church attenders, would they feel that it was too “religious”? We found that faith was covered in an appropriate and positive manner. While the leaders of the course are professing Christians, they simply talk about how their faith helps them in parenting for about 12 minutes of the whole 5 hour course. Anyone with any faith or no faith could apply what was said to their situation. One comment last night, after the discussion of values, was, “I’m surprised that I don’t pray with and for my kids more often, since prayer is such an important value in my life.”
A great side benefit was to build stronger relationships with our friends in the course and we ate deliciously (thanks Christa).
HOW CAN YOU USE THE PARENTING COURSE?
In your home: invite neighbours and church friends to take the course with you. Make it a bridge between your neighbours and your faith (pick church friends who won’t embarrass you!)
In your church: build up the families in your church, in your geographical community or as an event to invite friends to. The course can pay for itself because it’s so good. Church members are likely to expect a discount but outsiders will recognize the value of this course and be willing to pay what it’s worth. We charged $25 for a single and $35 for a couple (each participant got a manual worth about $7).
In Sunday School: spread it out over 10 weeks and equip the parents of the children in your Sunday School.
In your local school: maybe the parent council would consider sponsoring a course to help the parents of the school gain skills. It could run during the day in the parent room (if your school has one) or in the evening (for working parents).
WHAT DID IT COST TO RUN?
All the materials are available through your local Christian bookstore or online at yourchurchzone.comCourse DVDs $63 Course Manuals $6 each Package of 10 Intro booklets $8 Snacks $3/person/week
HOW CAN YOU GET STARTED?
Contact me and I’ll get you pointed in the right direction. There are great coaches across Canada who’d love to help you and Elaine Young (the National Director for all Relationship Central courses) would love to help too.