One of the criticisms I hear regarding handbook time is that children do not come to club prepared with a section to complete. The complaint is that there is no parental involvement and yet there seems to be a disconnect between a desire for parental involvement and the implementation of it.
A chain is only as strong as its weakest link. If there is the slightest bit of pressure on the link, it snaps and the chain is broken. I see a weak link in many clubs as they “complain” about parental involvement. A link that is present in the chain, but with the smallest of pressure, it breaks in many clubs, and it is accepted while we still comment on the broken chain and lack of parental involvement.
What I’m talking about is parental involvement in the Awana handbooks. In the T&T handbooks, there was a section added several years ago, Section “0” in each Discovery and Challenge. It is called the Parent Page. A page for the parent to see what the child is learning, then signs indicting that they read it. It is part of the Discovery/Challenge and should be completed to earn the award, yet all too often, I hear of clubs who bypass that section at the slightest “stress”, or inability to complete it. That is the weak link in the chain, and it is broken.
If we cannot encourage parents to simply sign a section, then how do we expect to be able to engage them in helping their child prepare a section before club night? We’ve broken the chain at the slightest bit of pressure and do not expect, or seek, parental involvement.
I know there are clubs that handle the parent page well, and others who give into the stress and let that link break easily. I know every situation is different, but if we let that link break easily, then we are telling the parents that their involvement is not important and letting the clubbers know that their parent being involved is not important, because that section holds no importance and is simply bypassed.
So let me leave with this question, what message are you sending the parents? Do you want them involved, or is the message you are sending one that their involvement is not important?