From Wednesday through Friday this week I’m at the D6 Family Ministry Conference in Frisco, TX. The D6 Conference exists to help equip church leaders to lead and care for families within the context of the local church. The conference is based on the philosophy of Deuteronomy 6:4-9, and seeks to help families succeed in generational discipleship.
The conference includes a combination of main stage and breakout sessions. Over the next few days, I hope to capture some of the highlights of the sessions and share on the blog. In this post, I’m sharing what I learned at Day 1 of D6 in one breakout and three main session talks.
How to Address Sexual Boundaries with Screens, Brian Housman (Breakout).
- Brian wrote a few books on screens and technology (Tech Savvy Parenting and How You Always Meant to Parent) and runs the website Tech Savvy Parenting.
- Among other topics, Housman talked about the role of the parent in guarding the heart of their children from the dangers of screens, technology, and sexual immorality. While I can’t protect and hide them from everything, one of my main roles as a parent is to guard their hearts and instruct and guide them through temptation and sin.
- After sharing some discouraging statistics about the prevalence of texting and sexting, Brian talked us through how to respond when our children see something their brains and hearts might not be able to handle well. He shared that as parents when our children see something inappropriate, we should respond to them with grace and understanding. Avoid blame and shame, but set up new boundaries, accountability, and expectations moving forward.
Sandcastles, Snorkels, and Scuba: Deepening the Shared Space With Your Kids, Dr. Ron Hunter (Main Stage).
- Ron is the D6 Conference Director & CEO of Randall House Publishers.
- He talked about how parents can best connect with their children and shared an acronym using the word T.A.L.K.:
- Try to connect. For example, instead of getting frustrated with your teenager for play video games all day, ask them if you could play with them or sit next to them on the couch. You can ask your child to train you in how to play, or you can simply sit next to them and watch them play.
- Ask questions. One of the most effective ways to connect with anyone, including one of your children, is to ask them questions. For instance, ask how you could pray for them. And then at the end of the day, ask how everything as a follow-up. And when they respond, you get to:
- Listen. Sometimes we do well on this, other times can be a huge struggle. Regardless, ask good questions and then pay attention to what they have to say as you listen to however the respond.
- Konnect. Yes, it’s spelled wrong but finishes the acronym well. Make the effort to connect with your child at the heart level.
Discipleship at Home, Christina Embree (Main stage).
- I loved Christina’s honest confession: we can’t do it all. We get overwhelmed with the house, jobs, bills, relationships, and much more. And then we know we’re supposed to disciple our children in addition to all the above. The task to do it all well is overwhelming for any parent.
- Christina encouraged us to think through how discipleship can occur with our children, all day, every day. Not just in the formal sit-downs, but even more so in the mundane moments like car rides, shopping trips, and even in essentials like brushing our teeth!
- Discipleship is not about doing more – it’s about inviting Christ into what we’re already doing.
The Day Your Baby Comes Into the World, The Skit Guys (Main Stage).
- I always look forward to seeing The Skit Guys at D6. Wednesday night they did a skit about the time when you first meet your baby on the day they’re born. As always, they were hilarious but included some great nuggets of truth in the midst of the humor.
- Sometimes our kids are a surprise, but they’re never a mistake
- Life is God’s idea and our responsibility. We’re also God’s ideas, and never a mistake.
Things I Wish I’d Known Before We Became Parents, Dr. Gary Chapman (Main Stage).
- In all my years of ministry, this was the first time I’d heard Dr. Chapman teach in person. He is, of course, the author of the 5 Love Languages, which has sold over 11,000,000 in English alone. Amazing.
- His talk Wednesday night on Things I’d Wish I’d Known Before We Became Parents was my favorite session of the night. I loved the honesty and practical wisdom. The books sounds great, and I might pick it up to see what I can learn even after 13+ years of parenting.
- I took copious notes during his session, but this part was my favorite (not verbatim, but as best I could capture it):
Here is the most sobering question I ask myself: What if my children turn out to be like me? What if they handled anger like I handle anger? Treat their spouse like I treat my spouse? Drive their car like I drive mine? Have the same work ethic like I do? Talk to others like I do? Handle conflicts like I do? Respond to drugs and alcohol like I do? What if their relationship with God mirrors mine? What if they handle money the I handle money and treat inlaws, kids, and others like I do? Our children are more influenced by our model than by our words.
I enjoyed Day 1 of D6 and am excited to head out the door for Day 2!