Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Empowered to Connect - TOP 10

Top Ten {Tuesday}
Road Trip with the gals.... what exciting places did we see? Things did we do?  Karen, Sam, and I (along with a lot of our SCC Adoption Group friends) attended the Empowered to Connect conference in Nashville, Tennessee.  From 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. both Friday and Saturday, we heard from gifted and talented speakers on how to best parent our children from "hard places."  Sound like fun???  Even though I didn't sleep much, my bum was sore from so much sitting, I cried quite a bit, and the topics were often heavy, I did have a great time.  Some laughs were had and great conversations shared, but most of all, I truly feel empowered!  I know I gleaned so much wonderful information that I hope to share with others and implement in my own parenting.  By the way, as a parent to both a bio and adopted kiddos - I suggest the TBRI® (Trust-Based Relational Intervention) model to everyone.  It is just great parenting all the way around.  Read The Connected Child and download the study guide Created To Connect: A Christian’s Guide to The Connected Child
Enjoy my Top 10!

1.  Dr. Karyn Purvis

Prior to going to this conference, I had read The Connected Child, articles on the Empowered to Connect website, and even watched Dr. Purvis videos.  However, there's something about hearing her speak in person.  The "kid whisperer" as she has been dubbed truly has the most mesmerizing and engaging voice.  In real life, she's a hoot!  As serious as our subjects were, I did laugh quite a bit.  Nevertheless, Dr. Purvis is a professional.  She backs up all she says with scientific research, but most importantly, she is a believer.  She is following her God-given calling and is passionate about bringing healing and voice to vulnerable children.  What a blessing she is to both the parents of and the children from "hard places."

2. James 1:27 - "In Their Distress" 

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. ~NIV

Most adoptive parents can quote James 1:27 as it is often our mantra, but we must truly embrace three important words... "in their distress."  We are not rescuing our children from "hard places"  instead we are answering a call to "enter in." In knowing this, Michael and Amy Monroe shared that: 
  1. This is not going to be easy.
  2. It will be worth it.
  3. You should not go this alone.
3. Giving Voice 

Children from "hard places" have been deprived of a lot of yeses and their voices have gone unheard. Dr. Purvis says, "The giving of voice is the beginning of trust."  How do we give voice?  Eye contact, gentle touch, a listening ear, and encourage children to "use their words" opposed to aggression.  Whenever a child uses their words with respect, we need to say "YES" if at all possible or be willing to offer a compromise. 

4.  Be Fully Present

Repeatedly, we were told we needed to evaluate our own past. Dr. Purvis is quoted, "You cannot lead a child to a place of healing if you do not know the way yourself."  Basically, we first need to deal with our own issues and stuff.

Then, as far as our children, we have to understand there is no healing without "being with."  Our children need and deserve our undivided attention.  When we are with them, we should be "with" them in all senses.  We all understand this one... intentional parenting.  In fact, I'd like to think that we all desire and long to be parents that are fully present.  However, as Amy Monroe pointed out, we're often entranced by rectangles.  Yeah, you know the ones... staring at one right now, aren't you?  Computers, TV's, iPhones, iPads, etc. 

5.  Practice the I.D.E.A.L. Response When Correcting Behavior

I – Immediate
D – Direct
E – Efficient
A – Action-based
L – Leveled at the behavior (not the child)

This was convicting.  As Dr. Purvis said, I'm often guilty of "going after a gnat with an elephant gun."  In other words, I often use the same response for an annoyance, nuisance behavior as I would a major infraction. The A of I.D.E.A.L. is something I must work to incorporate more.  There needs to be an action-based opportunity for a "Re-Do" especially since "motor memory trumps cognitive memory."

6. "I'm Sorry" for accidents, and "Forgiveness" for intentional wrongs.

I caught this wise tidbit from Michael Monroe during one of the Q&A sessions. I love this! There is definitely a distinguishment between an accident and willfull disobedience. To some the words may be mere semantics, but I definitely, like using different terms for varied situations. Forgiveness is a Biblical act that we all must practice... including forgiving our children, forgetting the offense, being fully present, and quick to return to play.

7. "When they are covered in their own stuff, they are still precious." ~ Dr. Karyn Purvis

When asked if she was ever afraid when working with a child/adolescent, Dr. Purvis responded, "NO!" She has always been able to see the preciousness of the child. She knows to whom the child belongs and the image in which he/she is made. She recognizes the "poops covering their tender hearts." It is no wonder why she is wildly successful in connecting and healing children from "hard places." I truly enjoyed the video clips she shared of some of her latest work with the highest at-risk teens (girls and boys) in a residential facility. When she was sharing candy, bubblegum, toys, and games with the youth, they sure didn't seem tough at all. They were longing for connection and voice.

8.  Stick Together, No Hurts, Have Fun

These were the three rules for the nurture groups that Dr. Purvis led.  I think these would work equally well for a family.  My family will stand by each other through thick and thin, protect one another, and hopefully, have the best of times.  PLAY is so important...  we have to play, play, play more together.


9.  "Exposed Brokeness"

I believe it was Dan Coley who coined this phrase when speaking of his past, but it applies to so many who shared over the weekend.  Some of the speakers had great tragedies in their past.  Others had the wrong motivation in adopting and/or parenting.  Some had to come to grips with and change their parenting style from avoidant or ambivalent to secure.  Then, there were all the issues involved in parenting children from "hard places."  Dan and Terri Coley, Lisa Qualls, and Debbie Jones all shared their personal stories.  Each one touched my heart, offered encouragement, and attested to the amazing Father to the fatherless we serve.  In an age where adoption disruption is unfortunately becoming more commonplace and acceptable, it was so encouraging and powerful to hear parents both on the other side and still in the thick of it firmly planted, standing by, and sacrificing for their children.  Praise God for their steadfast commitment and unconditional love!

10.   Anniversary Plans

Lisa Qualls shared that on a much-needed getaway for their 25th Anniversary, she had her husband watch 3 Karyn Purvis videos.  Haha - now, that's romance!  How convenient that I just so happened to win a copy of the TBRI® DVD a few weeks ago from her blog?  Our 10th Anniversary is only 3 months away... looks like my part of the celebration planning is done!  Hmmm... don't think Jon will go for that, but we'll be watching the DVD together soon.

1 comment:

Karen said...

Great summary & highlights, Angela!! I agree with your thoughts 100%. It was a blessing to join you on this trip, my brain & heart are full of much to reflect on and I look forward to finding ways to implement these concepts at home.