My husband, Russ, and I have eight children, ages ranging from 8-23. Our parenting has radically changed over the years.
We are now DARING TO PARENT.
I will make an extremely important point about why it had to change, but first,
Russ and I are blessed to have several go-to priests. Their hearts are set on God and they have a relentless pursuit of all that is good and holy.
They are also fun and we love to hang out with them.
Russ and I had a priest friend over for some deep red wine and good conversation awhile ago. He is a man that knows our secrets yet loves us anyway. Sort of like Jesus.
As we talked, I was struck, as always, by this priest’s profound love of God. But something else happened while we were sitting on our deck. When I would bring up something that had been on my mind, he would listen, then he would clarify in the light of Church teaching. What he said always made sense.
I looked at this man, a compassionate doctor of souls, and a lightning bolt struck my brain; I realized that he was not born with this educated, full heart. SOMEONE HAD TAUGHT HIM.
I may have told him that. I hope it didn’t come out as, “You weren’t born this wise,” but it may have.
Father explained the process. Becoming a priest involves EIGHT YEARS of spiritual direction, character formation and education. EIGHT YEARS. Priests do NOT just fall off of a turnip truck.
Okay, parents, I am going somewhere with this.
Good, strong priests, like we have in the diocese of Wichita, are carefully formed, through years of study, prayer and ON PURPOSE guidance. It is not about having one conversation about God and being done.
So how can we, as parents, think that merely living a moral life will somehow magically form our children into responsible adults that make great decisions?
Russ and I used to think that. We truly did. We thought that just LIVING a Catholic life would be enough. We thought that embracing “Theology of the Body” would transform our children into mini popes or at least a Christopher West.
We went to Mass. We had an Adoration Hour. We prayed together as a family.
We lived our faith.
Yet our children struggled in our sexually-saturated world.
And the fall-out? THEY pulled away from God because of their own guilty feelings.
This is the reason we changed our parenting:
Spiritual gifts are mighty hard to receive when someone is closed in on themselves in an addiction.
I won’t go into the Deep Valley of our Parental Guilt, but we had a choice to make once we realized that our children were struggling in their faith life because we had not prepared them in any way for the battle they had to face.
This is what we changed:
We are now DARING TO PARENT ON PURPOSE in the realm of our children’s spirituality AND their sexuality. Our goal is to intertwine and integrate God’s plan for Life and Love into the fabric of our lives.
We talk. A lot.
OH MY STARS. ALL HAS CHANGED.
I love the relationship that we now have with our children. It’s truly different than it was, and for that I am grateful.
Then my kids told me I needed to teach other parents how to talk effectively to their children. I resisted for about thirty seconds. I actually feel like this is one of the reasons that Lori Doerneman was born. I love this topic of life and love.
In the fall, my oldest child, Eric, and I created an online course for parents. We called it “The New Kryptonite” and we invited friends to join us and help us in its development.
They came. We created. We all learned.
From that experience we went back to the drawing board and rewrote almost every talk. It is written for Christian parents with a deeply Catholic perspective. It is based on years of study and theology from people way smarter than me, meaning you get more than just Lori’s thoughts. Bonus for you.
AND we listened to our beta group. They said, no matter how much coaching they received, they still found it difficult to talk to their child about porn. So we have taken the most difficult subjects and have made them appropriate for the 11-14 year old category.
So parents don’t have to “start the conversation” if they feel uncomfortable. They can push play, listen and learn together and THEN talk with their child.
The subject matter IS intense, but Eric adds perspective and humor. We laugh more than is appropriate, but you know what? Our laughter helps us delve into the muck. It keeps us sane.
We will be filming “The Parenting Dare” this weekend, Friday-Sunday, June 23-25. We will be staying at The Spiritual Life Center, an awesome QUIET location here in Wichita.
Please pray that the Holy Spirit will be all over our work. Please, please, please pray for the spiritual protection of my family. This course is geared to expose the lies of pornography and to help parents guide their child away from that lure. I know we are in enemy territory. Thank you for your prayers. A million times, thank you.
Our official launch date for The Parenting Dare is August 1, 2017. We are excited.