Those seeking help from a Contact Mom may only have a quick question, while others may be looking for a mentoring relationship. As a Contact Mom who is sharing God’s love by sharing her life to a needy world, we know you take this responsibility seriously.
As Contact Moms we must always depend on God’s wisdom to truly help someone. “If you need wisdom – if you want to know what God wants you to do – ask Him and He will gladly tell you. He will not resent your asking. But when you ask Him, be sure that you really expect Him to answer, for a doubtful mind is unsettled as a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind.” (James 1:5-6 NLT) A wise Contact Mom is one who prayerfully seeks God’s wisdom as she is listening to a mom share with her.
Proverbs 18:13 tells us, “He who answers before listening – that is his folly and shame.” And we are cautioned by the wise King Solomon, “The heart of the righteous ponders how to answer.” (Proverbs 15:28) A wise Contact Mom is one who carefully listens and one who carefully answers.
Have you ever marveled at the way Jesus answered people’s questions? Often He would answer their question with a question. Sometimes, he would tell a story or a parable. Regardless of what method He used, He would always get to the heart of the matter and make the person asking the question think. Jesus had a great ability to focus in on the intent or heart motive of the question. Interestingly, the person asking the question was not always aware of their motive or true need. Regardless, each person walked away either changed or challenged in some way.
As a young man, we find Jesus in the Temple “…sitting in the midst of the teachers, both listening to them, and asking questions.” (Luke 2:46b). The scene with Jesus, Mary, and Joseph ends stating that he grew in wisdom, stature, and favor with God and man. Jesus developed skill in listening and asking questions of the teachers. A wise Contact Mom is one who asks questions to get to the root of the issue the mom is dealing with.
- Pray. While listening to the Mom’s question, ask God to help you understand what she needs to hear in terms of encouragement and advice. Pray that your words in sharing with her will be God’s words, and trust Him to give them to you.
- Listen. Avoid having distractions that disrupt your concentration while on the phone, or while reading parenting questions that come to you via email. Listen carefully to what the mom is saying, and what she is not saying.
- Be careful in your answers. If you receive a call that comes when you are in a hurry or busy, wisdom would dictate scheduling a time to chat that is more convenient for you. Take a moment to explain to the Mom that you want to give her your undivided attention and the timing right now is not the best for you. The same principle will apply when responding to e-mail questions; they too need your full attention. Refrain from providing ‘pat answers’ as we know it is not always ‘one size fits all’. Each case has its own unique set of circumstance and context. It is also important to remember that the Mom is counting on you to give advice that will help her change the way she is handling the situation with her child(ren).
- Ask questions. The problem a mom shares with you generally has a root. Your answer needs to be related to the root, or the problem will soon return.
- Ask the Basics. Before answering even the simplest question, consider asking the ‘who’, ‘what’, ‘when’, ‘where’, ‘why’, and ‘how’s’ of what is going on in the home. Asking these questions will help to reveal if the family is in a transition – Is there a new baby in the home? Is Dad stressed with his job? Are they moving or have they just moved? Are they building a house? Often, parents don’t think about the many ways a transition causes stress in the lives of their children, which is then manifested in what appears to be a behavioral issue.
- Ask About the Fundamental Principles. Unfortunately we can never assume a family is fully applying the fundamental principles they are learning through the GFI parenting curricula. As a result, there is a concept worth repeating – “Our questions need to direct parents back to principle.” A stressed mom wants a practical answer that will fix the problem now! She is often not thinking of principles such as routine, First-time obedience, training their children in honor and respect and the preciousness of others. Her focus is: “I just want to get through the day.” The responsibility of the Contact Mom is helping a mom find the basic principle that deals with the root of the problem she is dealing with. Once the root problem/issue has been defined, as a Contact Mom you can now help the mom work through a manageable goal broken down into ‘doable’ parts.
- Write Down the Key Points. The ‘Contact Mom Log Sheets’ have been created for this purpose. Be sure to include any information that will assist your Coordinator, should her counsel be needed, to help determine what is going on with both the mom and particular situation. For example, if the mom is not being consistent with her baby’s routine, be sure to write that down. Also, document any concern you may have regarding something a mom is or is not doing with her child.
Note: Some additional resources to assist you in thinking through fundamental principles related to the GFI parenting curricula include the CD, “Getting Back to the Basics” from Christian Family Heritage and the Mom’s Notes presentation, “Fundamentals in Biblical Parenting” (in Volume 3). Included in this presentation are 10 basic fundamental principles that are often overlooked along with suggestions for implementation.
A Contact Mom, when praying about her response, asking questions, carefully listening and graciously responding, will receive the blessing of knowing she has helped a family in a powerful way. Scripture reminds us that, “A man has joy in an apt answer, and how delightful is a timely word!” (Proverbs 15:23).
When handling a referral from a mom who mentions a medical condition or asks about a medical concern, please think through the following:
It is the role of the Contact Mom to:
Be supportive of the advice that a mom is receiving from her physician.
Refer the mom back to her physician for needed clarification.
Help the mom formulate questions to ask her physician.
It is NOT the role of the Contact Mom to:
Give medical advice.
Make negative comments about the advice given by the mom’s physician.
Make judgmental statements concerning certain health conditions of a child. (For example: Mom says her child has ADD)
Give personal opinions about such topics as birth control, circumcision, immunization, etc.
As a ministry, CFH is fortunate to have Contact Moms who are certified to answer questions regarding infant reflux/GUR/GURD, lactation concerns, working with children with Down’s Syndrome and other special needs. For those referrals contact your Coordinator or ‘Ministry Support’ at CFH.
Both the “On Becoming…” series of books that are available in stores and the Childwise-parenting course available through GFI are geared to the pre-believer. Therefore, it is best not to assume that parents who have read these books or taken the Childwise class have a personal relationship with God.
CFH provides the following guidelines to help in your response to the pre-believer:
- Pray, asking God to open the door for you to share with the ‘pre-believer’ about Him.
- When sensing the opportunity is there, say something like, “Personally, I have found that it is helpful to pray when situations like this happen with my children. May I pray that you will be provided the guidance and wisdom to work this through with your children?” Asking if you may pray for someone is the first step towards sharing Christ with her. As a result of your request, she may then share that she is a Christian which is wonderful! As a follow-up, consider asking if her husband shares her beliefs and what church they attend. Her answer will provide further insight into their faith background. You may want to share about the GFI parenting classes, (most “On Becoming…” readers are not aware of classes) and if she is interested, let her know that you will be happy to contact GFI and find out if there are classes in her area.
- In a follow-up conversation (email) consider asking if you can pray with her regarding implementation of the plan of action the two of you put together. If she appears hesitant to pray, then simply say you would be willing to pray for the situation before ending your conversation. When responding by email, simply include the prayer at the end of your response.
- Continue to pray asking the Holy Spirit to confirm the right timing in sharing the Gospel with her. Two great tools to have on hand as resources to assist you in leading someone to Christ are: The Four Spiritual Laws tract by Campus Crusade and the CD, “Sharing the Good News” available through CFH.
As a Contact Mom consider being proactive by asking a Mom to call/email you in 3-4 days providing an update on the progress she is making. However, if you do not hear from a Mom, and especially if you have some concerns, it is a good practice to personally follow-up. By making this contact, whether by phone or email, will provide an opportunity to see if she is following the counsel provided and to determine if additional assistance is needed. Often, once a situation is resolved, the referred mom doesn’t think to update her Contact Mom. Also, if a certain mom is continually on your mind, consider that as a prompting from the Holy Spirit and contact her. Be positive and encouraging!
There are times when there is an issue you may not feel confident in handling or there may be a clash in personalities with a particular mom; as a result, you think it would be best to have another Contact Mom work with her. In this context, contact your Coordinator; explain the situation and request another Contact Mom referral. It remains your responsibility to call/email the mom back with the new Contact Mom’s information. Graciously explain to her that you think another Contact Mom would be better suited to help with her question(s). As a courtesy to the newly referred Contact Mom, CFH asks that you contact her and share the counsel that you have already given to the mom. Please avoid passing on any negative comments regarding the mom to the new Contact Mom.
It can be very frustrating when working with a mom who whines, complains, and is not making any progress but expects that you fix her situation.
When this occurs:
Refer to your log sheet and review the advice already provided. Graciously find out what has been done with the counsel previously provided. If her response is “nothing”, gently ask why and let her know that until she is able to work on the counsel already given her, it is difficult to move on. (The practical reason “why”: if the mom is unable or unwilling to lay the foundation, no further advice provided will be heeded.) You may also consider taking a different tack by focusing on some of her personal needs rather than her parenting, and by attempting to find out “why” she is having difficulty implementing the suggestion previously given. Lastly, encourage her to give the plan of action you both agreed on another week (you may have to remind her of it) and then contact you again. Remind her that parenting is hard work – there are no quick fixes! Be sure to document the follow-up contact on your Log Sheet.
Should she follow-up stating that it still isn’t working, request that she email you with what she has attempted to implement in the previous week. If she states there is nothing to send, help her to understand that it helps you to see the day-by-day happenings in her family. Encourage her to give it another week, documenting things, (Such as, what time the kids get up, go to bed, how they spend their day, how many times did the parents have couch-time, what behaviors did they discipline their children for each day and what consequences were given for those behaviors, etc) and then send the information to you. Do make sure your mom understands you need time to review the information she shares and that you will respond in a day or two. Spend time reviewing her comments, prayerfully considering what is or is not being communicated, asking the Holy Spirit to provide you the discernment and wisdom to see the missing piece.
It will be helpful to find out if she has had input from other Contact Moms or her class leader. If she has, ask if she has implemented any of the suggestions they provided and did those seem to work for her?
If you sense there may still be unresolved issues, be sure to log it and contact your Coordinator for additional suggestions.
Remember; as you seek wisdom for the right answer the Holy Spirit will guide you. Never assume that a lack of action has been a time of futility. We don’t know which words are falling on fertile soil, and it may take months or years to bear fruit. We don’t know or see the vast amount of poor parenting advice or poor parenting examples a person has to wade through, before being able to apply biblical wisdom & counsel.
As much as CFH attempts to make sure a mom seeking help is not “shopping around” for the answer she wants to hear, there are times when a mom will ask for another Contact Mom because she doesn’t like the advice she has already been given. Please bear in mind, just because it wasn’t liked, doesn’t mean it was bad advice. Therefore, a Contact Mom may have a mom referred to her who has already shared with other Contact Moms or her GFI parenting class leader. If this is the case, what is being told to you is the moms perspective of what she thought she heard from the Contact Mom/class leader she was first working with. Remember, as a Contact Mom you are a part of the Christian Family Heritage Ministry Team and should not evaluate with the mom you are working with whether or not the prior advice was appropriate or not. For accountability purposes, ask the mom for the name or names of those who have already given her advice and apprise your Coordinator or CFH of the matter. If you have concerns about the advice given, you can also discuss this with your Coordinator. Remember there are often several vehicles available to deliver the principle. It is best to be careful not to be judgmental.