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Parent communication: you're doing it wrong.

Confession: before I was a parent, I was so judgy (that's a word, right?) At the end of a church service, we would always give parents a "take home sheet." You probably know the kind that I'm talking about. It's a printout that tells parents what their kid learned in children's church and how to continue the conversation at home. Sounds like a great idea! But then I would see all of the take home sheets in the trash or littering the church floor and I would think, "Sheesh...parents just don't care!" Fast-forward. I've got 3 kids now. If you slide open the side doors to our minivan and look inside, here's what you'll see: a floor littered with toys, sports equipment, and 6 month old french fries. But look closer and you'll see something else. It's a crumpled, dirty, unread take home sheet. But I care! I really, really do! So why didn't I spend the time to read the take home sheet? I think this picture sums it up:
It's a screenshot of my email inbox. Every single one of those emails is from a teacher, or a principal, or a band instructor, or a coach, or an activity leader. And if you look at any flat surface in our kitchen, you'll see stacks of papers that have been sent home from school, or sports, or church. It's a good day if I even read a fraction of the information I'm given. What I didn't understand before I was the parent to 3 school-aged kids is that parents are drowning in a sea of information. They need their own team of data analysts to sort through the tidal wave of emails and take home sheets. So when you hand them that sheet of paper at the door of your KidMin, it will most likely get lost in the shuffle. That doesn't mean that the take home sheet is dead. There's a way that we do take home sheets in the GO! curriculum that will almost guarantee parents will look at it, but I'll share what that is next week. What it means is that you have to be a lot smarter about the way you communicate with parents. You can't keep on using the same ineffective methods and hope that they'll start to magically work for you. They won't. So what are the smarter ways? What if I told you there was a way to communicate with parents that would get 90% engagement within the first 3 minutes. And what if I told you there was another way that would get 100% engagement with unparalleled impact. Would you want to know what those ways are? Of course you would. And I'll tell you what they are in 2 weeks. (I know...I'm cruel like that!) In the meantime, just know this: Parents care. They really do. They want to hear from you. They want to know what's happening in the spiritual life of their kid. They want to partner with you to make Jesus the center of their family. So don't give up on them. They need you!

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