When you were growing up, do you remember saying to yourself, “I will never do this to my children!” And now that you have children, you find yourself either doing the same thing, or trying to find the balance between what your parents did and the opposite extreme?
I remember feeling discouraged and isolated when my daughters were young.
I was a family doctor, for crying out loud. I should have known what to do! But learning about theories and child development wasn’t enough when I was in the trenches of family life.
I took a parenting course, Redirecting Children’s Behavior, from one of my favorite patients, Teresa Hall, a woman with five children who I respected and admired.
That course gave me an opportunity to do things differently, using intention and values as my guides.
My children and my husband could see and feel the changes.
Because of what I learned, we made it through missteps, mistakes and misadventures with the grace to forgive, to move forward with clearer understanding and to grow in love together.
A year ago, I teamed up with Ana Maria Schmidt and Elise Wallace, both long-time local parenting instructors, to create the nonprofit Parent and Family Enrichment Center in order to make positive parenting tools readily available to everyone.
We are located at 771 Lane Allen Road in Lexington, and in our first year, served many appreciative parents.
Workshops are held at our office, and also in libraries, schools and churches – even in private homes.
The most popular offering is The Redirecting Children’s Behavior course.
We also publish a bi-monthly newsletter with links to articles, useful tips and an updated event calendar. (Newsletter info: (859) 333-3053, firstname.lastname@example.org or www.enrichingfamilies.org.)
Through donations, grants and fee-for-service, we will become a self-sustaining organization.
Our vision of “World Peace by way of the Family” is a journey of baby steps, realized together by sharing everyday tools with everyday parents.
Donations are accepted on GoodGiving.net and through Razoo.com. We are gearing up for our first Kentucky Gives Day – a national day of fundraising – on Dec. 1.
Our organization is unique because it focuses on strengthening bonds in all families by enriching the lives of parents so they can nurture and care for their children.
We offer preventive medicine to help families stay connected and strong in a world where disconnection and discouragement are all too common.
As one dad commented, “I see it as an investment in the future, and much less expensive than an hour of therapy.”
Lesley Iwinski is a Lexington mother of three grown children, a family physician and Executive Director of The Parent and Family Enrichment Center, Inc. and Growing Peaceful Families.