The Big Picture Participants Guide

Join the Conversation:

Record thoughts and questions here that come up as you watch the episode.  Explore them later with the group.








Discuss the Episode

  1. In this episode, John and Don discussed how the parenting process shapes parents.  Have you ever considered parenting as a path of spiritual growth?  How has being a parent helped you “grow up"

  2. They also discuss how being a parent helps us understand God’s relationship with us.  What have you experienced as a parent that sheds light on how God relates to us?  How has growing in the grace and truth of the Gospel helped you be a better parent? 

  3. John and Don discussed some of the dangers or idols of parenting.  John names two of the most potent: viewing your children as a means to be happy and fulfilled, and the pressure to be a perfect parent and role model.  Why do you think these two pitfalls are so spiritually and emotionally lethal?  How do you struggle in these areas?  What has helped you?  Does your spiritual community help?

  4. Both structure and relationship are necessary ingredients of growth for children.  In your parenting style, do you tend to err on the side of structure or relationship?  What helps you maintain balance?

  5. John and Don discuss a “confessional model of parenting; creating an environment of grace, honesty, and vulnerability. How do you feel about sharing your failings and weakness with your children?  Have you ever tried something like the “stop, drop, and connect” concept that John recommends?  


Reflect on What Others Have to Say

Underline and mark ideas you would like to discuss.


Parenting is an interactive family process in which adults undertake a primary role in forming children in body (through conception and care), soul (through personality development and love), and spirit (through nurturing hunger for God).  Ironically, this relationship forms not only children but parents.  Children, without knowing it, help their parents to grow up.  So it is entirely appropriate to ask not only how the children ended up but also how the parents turned out!

R. Paul Stevens, “Parenting,” The Complete Book of Everyday Christianity


A vocation or calling is a life direction and service that is…a response to a divine summons…for purposes beyond our own personal fulfillment….parenting is a vocation because it is divinely constituted (Gen. 1:27-28), is accomplished in partnership with God, invites a life of faith and stewardship and is implicitly spiritual—a Godlike thing.  Parenting is a path to God, not a diversion from spiritual life…it is a spiritual discipline itself.

R. Paul Stevens, “Parenting,” The Complete Book of Everyday Christianity

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