I have been a mother for 51 years and a grandparent for 27. I have been a nanny and a counselor. I have done many jobs with children and teens at churches I have attended. Nothing has impacted my views on parenting like learning from Dr. Jim Wilder and Life Model Works. I had never heard that there were ways to evaluate emotional maturity. I certainly never heard how the emotional side of the brain works from birth to old age.
A new definition of joy—“Someone is glad to be with me, regardless of circumstances and emotions”—was life changing.
I finally had words for why I felt so uncomfortable when I saw someone over stimulating a child until they cried. I saw how understanding the emotional brain and joy could help me calm myself and help others when they are overwhelmed. Relationships improved. I grew less afraid of conflict. The changes could go on and on.
When I think about helping parents, I have a passion for helping them prevent future problems, probably because over the years I have listened to many problems that came from not-so-good parenting. At least knowing how parenting affects a rapidly developing brain in the first two-three years of life and realizing how that development affects the future emotional, mental, and even physical health of the child, we might be able to walk a better path than many before us have walked.
Joy-filled parenting encourages us parents to improve our own relational skills, because much of the brain training with our children depends on what we parents already have in our own brains. We cannot “download” any skill we do not already have. We cannot help our children learn to love Jesus and go to Him for healing if we are not willing to get healed of past emotional wounds and grow in character and maturity. As I love to say, “More is caught than taught.”
No book, video or conference takes the place of an authentic joy-filled, peaceful, validating, comforting, loving, Jesus-filled home.
Granted there will be problems and sorrows and conflict, but through joy we can learn different ways to handle them. When we are glad to be together it helps us focus on the relationships involved instead of the problems. These were my motivating factors in writing the Handbook on Joy-filled Parenting and I sincerely hope every father’s and mother’s experience in raising their children is truly joy-filled!