April has arrived, AKA NYC Conference month, and so has our latest preview of the NYC Conference breakout sessions! This one comes the lovely and talented Melina Smith, who will be giving her session at 2:30pm on Friday April 20th.

When I heard that the theme of Mockingbird’s 5th annual NYC conference was “Clear Eyes Full Heart: Honesty, Humility, and The Grace of God,” I knew that we would have to have a session which talked honestly about the family dynamic. We have all come from some kind of family, after all, and who doesn’t find themselves regularly reflecting on their childhood? Especially when we have children of our own… We compare our own parenting style to our parent’s style(s), and we long to be good parents to our children, hopefully avoiding the some of mistakes our parents made. But we all know how loaded with judgment this area of life can be.

As a mother of two young children, as well as a Behavior Therapist and counselor, I know firsthand how much joy there is to be found in the family experience and specifically the rearing of children. The freedom of the Gospel enables us to parent our children uniquely, that is, with a humility that is always ready to say “I am sorry” and “I forgive you,” as opposed to a more  authoritative approach, based on what your family “ought” to be (as opposed to who your family actually is). Many of us even mistakenly view our children as extensions of ourselves rather than separate individuals. This perception can lead parents to feel disappointment and shame towards themselves and their children. It can lead to the constant power struggles between parents and children, which leave us feeling helpless, angry, and distant when our children are not compliant or when they defy our “authority.”

What might family life look like through the lens of the Gospel? What role do trust, joy, and forgiveness play when it comes to the raising of children? These are just some of the topics we will discuss on Friday, April 20th at 2:30 P.M. I hope you can join me!