There are familiar images of parenthood that are beautiful, but one recently (of the three hands) made me think beyond the immediately obvious…..

It takes many hands to raise a child. Of course, the parents are the foundation of love and stability. However, there are many other people who come and go, some very briefly, some for longer. Yet importantly every kind word, every person who gives your child a listening ear, a smile, interacts in a caring way, encourages them, makes them laugh, takes a genuine interest…….. all these little things, as well as the bigger things, help you and support you as you raise your child and ‘feeds’ into the well-being of your child as they grow.

We are not all good at everything! My husband was brilliant at creative play with our four children. I loved reading to them and playing outdoors. Their grandparents had oodles of patience for games and took them on lovely beach holidays. Neighbours, friends from church, our wider family of aunts and uncles……every one planted seeds of goodness into my children, giving their time – sometimes just a few minutes, sometimes hours or even days!

As parents we ensure that those ‘hands’ involved in helping, teaching, caring for and encouraging our children have the same kind of values and morals that we hold dear, whilst also aiming to protect them from negative experiences and influences.

I am so grateful to the ‘village’ that had a role as we raised our children. May you find yours.