My husband, Aaron, and I became parents in March of this year and we felt as prepared as we possibly could. My undergraduate degree is in psychology, when I was growing up my job was always as a babysitter, and I’ve spent the past ten years working in children’s and student ministries. I’ve basically had as much exposure to children and parents as a person could possibly have without being an expert in the field.
But in the past three months, Aaron and I have looked at each other and asked, “What do we do?” roughly a million times (maybe more).
Parenting is an incredibly nuanced journey, with probably a thousand ways to do it right. The absence of a one-size-fits-all parenting strategy can be incredibly freeing and incredibly scary all at once. As parents, we can get all the information possible and then ask God for his wisdom in how to parent each of our children.
It’s my firm belief that every parent wants to be a better parent (I know I do!) and to do that we need each other. This July, we’re hosting a speaker series for parents called Raising Parents. The reality is that we’re all in the process of growing up and learning. We want to provide the space for parents to gather, to be challenged and encouraged on our parenting journeys. And it’s important that we do that together. As a parent of an infant, I need to be in community with those of you parenting older children. Fisher (our son) will be 5, 12, 18 years old in the blink of an eye (or so you have all told me) and so I need your wisdom in this season even though our children might be vastly different ages. This is what community is and why it’s important for us to gather together.
The three weeks of Raising Parents will cover:
Training in the Early Years. There may not be a more intense season of life than when your children are all young. Young children require all of us all the time and these foundational years are setting the course for our family’s culture. Judy Ann, our speaker on this topic who holds a PhD in Family Studies, is a firm believer that what parents do today has the potential to greatly affect the decisions their children make tomorrow. This talk will focus on how we can make our homes a sanctuary, a place where our children have a sense of belonging, security, and the opportunity to simply be a child.
From Controlling to Coaching. Or what it looks like to move your kids “out”. Culturally, the “age of accountability” is getting older and older but is that helpful for our children? How do we as parents raise children who can make good decisions (on their own) when they leave us? This session will focus on when and how to transition your parenting technique from controlling to coaching as you move into the teenage and adulthood years with your child. Mike and Cheryl Bastian are long-time Summit partners with eight children and twenty-seven years of parenting experience. They are passionate about equipping parents to love, teach, and lead their children.
Technology Awareness & Boundaries. Technology isn’t going away (and I don’t think we really want it to!) so how do we keep our children safe and train them how to wisely use it? Mark is a husband, father of two teenagers, and a professional software engineer. He is focused on keeping up with the latest trends as they pertain to our children and their use of technology. He is committed to sharing practical, easy to implement solutions for protecting children.
I’m very much looking forward to what I can learn from each of these speakers as well as how I can be in deeper community with other parents at Summit. I hope you’ll join me.