103. Faithwalker Lessons
Kathleen and I just returned from a conference called Faithwalkers. It was an awesome time, but it was in the Ozarks and it took 19 hours to drive there. I'm really glad our kids like each other. Not once did I have to yell, "Don't make me come back there!" They actually had a blast, and I think the travelling is one of their favorite parts of the conference. Jazi, our 15-month-old, did great. I'm not going to credit that to our parenting. Her behavior was nothing short of the absolute grace of God. I was a boy scout and I remember the motto: be prepared. I came with earplugs. Lots of them. I was ready. Thankfully, the screaming was minimal and I only used them for about 60 seconds once.
I've got a few thoughts today from the conference as well as some links that may be helpful.
One amazing part of the conference is that there were about 1,700 people there. Most of the crowd were college students, but there were also a lot of families. Many of these families sat through all the sessions with their kids sitting quietly beside them in the audience, or in the back on blankets. It's cool to see kids trained so well! Praise God.
I was moved to tears once with the worship. That was awesome. I was also nearly moved to tears by a handful of parents who did not know when their children needed correction and direction. I don't mean to be judgmental. It truly saddened me. Thankfully, God's Word can give us the wisdom we lack and I trust we are all growing in our walks with God. I'm glad those parents were there and I trust we will all grow in our parenting as our journeys bring us closer to God.
An old friend of mine, Bill Young, pastors a church in Salt Lake City. He spoke on the topic of passion. It was quite riveting. Click here if you want to listen to it. He showed a clip from Steve Irwin (AKA The Crocodile Hunter) who is a very passionate person. In the clip he said, "Humans want to save the things that they love." Of course animals were Steve Irwin's passion; he gave his life, quite literally, trying to get people to care about animals. That is the way we need to feel about God and the people that He loves. By no means should that passion for lives remain within our four walls, but man, I love my kids. And I want to save them. We need to be passionate about our families, men and women!
Speaking of passion, Mark Darling is one of the most passionate men I know. He has a huge heart for God, and for his family as well. Several years ago we went to a family conference where he gave some challenging and encouraging talks on parenting. He just posted these on his new website: gettingyourfamilytomars.com. I know you don't have time, but just start listening. Before you know it you'll be glued to it.
Rick Whitney is another pastor I respect greatly. In some ways Mark and Rick are just about at opposite ends of the personality scale. But both have won with their kids and have a wealth of parenting wisdom. It is cool to see that parenting successfully is not dependent upon having a certain personality type. Rick and his wife Neva gave a talk, along with Bob Hibbing, at the Faithwalkers conference called "Eight Principles to Follow to Win with Your Teenagers". It is great stuff. Make sure you listen to it.
Kathleen and I gave a talk called "Parenting in the Foundational Years." We discussed the areas of parenting that have been critically important to our family.
Kathleen did her own seminar called "The Toddler Years". I think she really has a knack for connecting with moms. At least she got all the women crying. I assume that is a good sign.
Our kids also went to a seminar called "Honor Your Father and Mother" by Mike & Rita Bergen. Needless to say, we thought that was a wonderful idea for a seminar!
I guess if you put all of this together you could have your own personal parenting conference. Actually that is not a bad idea. There are a few more parenting talks available on our website. I hope these seminars will be as much of a blessing to your family as they have been to ours.