Tag Archives: Growing Families USA

New Online Parenting Classes

It all started with a little boy named Kyle.  His parents had asked me and John to babysit, even though we had no children of our own and had no idea what to expect.  They explained that Kyle was very predictable and assured us that it would be an easy way to earn a few bucks.  They were absolutely correct.

Kyle’s parents laid out the whole evening for us when we arrived.  We would give him his last bottle of the night, keep him awake to play for a while, and then when he got cranky, it was time to put him down for the night.  They explained that he would lay in bed and cry for just a few minutes and then would fall asleep and we probably wouldn’t hear from him again.  We could spend the rest of the evening watching a movie, and that’s exactly what happened.

How did they know this about their son?  Were they just incredibly “lucky” to have been given an “easy baby”?  Or was it something else?

Turns out it was a program called “Preparation for Parenting” (aka “Babywise”).  And when we found out that we were expecting our first child, we knew that we would be signing up to take the same class.  And when Joshua was born on 6-14-02, we applied the same principles that Kyle’s parents had and Joshua turned out to be another “textbook” baby.  He slept 8 hours at 5 1/2 weeks and 12 hours at 8 weeks (and still does, at 17 years old, when given the opportunity).  🙂

We went on to take “Preparation for the Toddler Years” and “Growing Kids God’s Way” and then started leading classes at our home.  We were surrounded by like-minded parents, not only those who came to our home for classes, but also with fellow class leaders who got together once per month for dinner, training and fellowship.  Everyone’s kids played together at these monthly gatherings and our community grew stronger together.

Jordan Rose was born in 2006 and she was not the “textbook” baby that Joshua and Kyle had been.  However, the fact that she wasn’t sleeping helped us to figure out that she had food allergies.  If we hadn’t known what was “normal”, it would have been much more difficult to figure out that something was “abnormal.”

In 2007, we moved from Clawson to Clinton Township and continued to lead classes.  But it seemed that it was getting harder and harder for families to find babysitters, carve time out of their busy schedules and fight the traffic to get to weekly classes.  In 2011, we opened a bait and tackle store and it became impossible to keep leading classes with John working two jobs.  So, we stopped leading, but we kept applying the principles we had learned and occasionally we were able to attend National Conferences held by Growing Families International.

2018 National Family Camp. So thankful for all that we have learned from Gary and AnneMarie Ezzo. Our family wouldn’t be who we are without you!

In 2017 and 2018, we attended the National Family Camp in Carlinville, IL.  In 2018, they announced that all classes would now be available for free on their brand new website:  https://growingfamilies.life .  That was a beautiful step in the right direction, but something was missing.  Watching videos from the comfort of your own home is great, but what about the community of like-minded parents?

Well, just 2 weeks ago that issue was solved.  Now you can join a Growing Families class from the convenience of your home (or anywhere you are) using a phone, tablet, or computer:  https://growingfamilies.life/find-a-class-home?rq=Find%20a%20class

“Participants watch each week’s video lesson prior to class time and then come together online using the Zoom® group meeting platform.  Class time is dedicated to discussion, questions and answers, and additional teaching from experienced, certified class facilitators/mentoring coaches.”

Yipppppeeee!!!  No more issues with babysitters, busy schedules and traffic!  🙂  Below, I’ve listed upcoming classes available as of today, 8-20-19.  Please use the following link to find the most up-to-date class info:  https://growingfamilies.life/on-line-find-class-by-course?rq=On%20line%20Find

And while you’re waiting for your class to start, check out the on-line videos here: https://growingfamilies.life/parenting-video-master-page

Scroll down that page to get to “Most Popular/Viewed Short Segments” for information on  the interrupt courtesy, couch time (preventing childhood insecurities), the five minute warning (encouraging first time obedience), gaining self control (folding hands), emotional touchpoints (love languages), choice addiction (“Red cup, blue cup”), bribing, threatening and repeating parents (“Are you listening to me?”), encouragement for dads, potty training and much more.

Here’s a little preview of what you’ll find there:


Blessings to you and your families.


Preparation for Parenting

  • Thursdays beginning October 17, 2019 at 7pm EST

Babyhood Transitions

  • Tuesdays beginning August 6, 2019 at 7:30pm EST

Toddlerhood Transition

  • Tuesdays beginning September 3, 2019 at 8:30pm EST

Tree of Life, Part 1

  • Sundays beginning September 8, 2019 at 5:00pm EST
  • Mondays beginning September 16, 2019 at 8:30pm EST

Growing Kids God’s Way

  • Tuesdays beginning October 15, 2019 at 7:00pm EST

Speak Life

I did some secretarial work for John this morning and he thanked me.  I answered with “my pleasure” and it reminded me of the mission trip that Joshua and I took to Costa Rica in 2013.  Most of the time when we said “Gracias” to someone in Costa Rica, they answered with “Mucho gusto”, which means “gladly” or “my pleasure”.  But occasionally we would say “Gracias” and we would hear “De nada” in response, meaning “no problem” or “don’t mention it”.

It struck me that “mucho gusto” or “my pleasure” felt like a “positive” response and “de nada” or “no problem” felt like a “negative” response.  Subtle, but significant.

TobyMac released a song called “Speak Life” at the end of 2012, but I just started hearing it a couple weeks ago.  At the end of his music video, he quotes Brennan Manning from the book “Abba’s Child”:

“In every encounter we either give life or we drain it; there is no neutral exchange.”

There is a poster at Shelby Middle School where The Eastside Vineyard Church meets every Sunday morning.  It says, before you speak, THINK.  Is what you’re about to say:


Gary and AnneMarie Ezzo from Growing Families International have said this for years in the “Growing Kids God’s Way” curriculum and in the new “Parenting from the Tree of Life” curriculum.  You can speak life or speak death to your children.  You can say, “Don’t spill your milk!” or you can say, “See how carefully you can bring your milk to the table”.  You can say, “Don’t be mean to your sister” or you can say, “What would be a kind way to answer your sister?”  You can say, “Don’t run!” and “Stay off the grass” or you can say “Let’s walk” and “Let’s stay on the sidewalk”.

But it’s not just children that this applies to, it’s everyone.  Every encounter can be used to inspire.

“Raise your thoughts a little higher,
Use your words to inspire,
Joy will fall like rain,
When you speak life with the things you say.”

-TobyMac “Speak Life”