As part of our year-end “Where Are They Now?” fundraising campaign, we are checking in with families who have been utilizing the Connected Families Framework in their homes. What do these families look like 5, 10, or even 15 years later? Today, we meet Bob and Lori Freeman and see how Connected Families has helped shape the culture in their home, and even become part of their “DNA”, for the last 18 years! (Note – the first picture is from a Connected Families service trip.) Enjoy and be encouraged!
When our girls were younger (Haley-5 and Sarah-8) we began to learn the Connected Families principles. Since then, it’s become a part of our family’s DNA. We learned how to make sure our girls feel safe and loved no matter what by asking them for forgiveness when we had wronged them. We would also sometimes say, “I love you.” right in the midst of misbehavior. (Try that just once and see your child’s mind blown!) Instead of a tug-of-war at the door handle trying to get them to stay in their rooms for time outs, we began acknowledging their points of view, with gradually calmer, more productive discipline interactions.
We never did any of it perfectly, however. I remember Sarah looking at me one time, during an argument we were having over schoolwork, and yelling, “I AM NOT YOU!!” in her frustration. In spite of tough moments like that, our children still seemed to learn and understand our hearts.
One of the biggest tests of our parenting wasn’t about homework, though. It was when our daughter, Haley, began to question her faith as a young adult. She had been a camp counselor several summers in a row and began to be keenly aware of saying “Christian platitudes” to the campers, while questioning her own sincerity. She began to wrestle with the very core of her faith – was it even real? In our angst, our first impulse was to give her strong, classic answers to questions she wasn’t asking us. But instead, we went to our “Foundation” and knew God would give us peace, even when she was struggling. We focused on connecting and expressing confidence in her own process, and then let it rest (and prayed!). As she worked through her challenges she came to a place of owning her faith in Christ in a deeper way. She is now growing in her knowledge of God’s word in an in-depth Bible study.
We continue to be a very intense family, but more often than not our intensity expresses itself in love. After spending a weekend together recently, Sarah sent us a group message that ended with: “I love you all so much, my heart is exploding!” Today, our girls are 23 and 26 and Sarah, who is engaged to a wonderful Christian man, has chosen Haley to be the Maid of Honor in her wedding. It brings me to tears when I think of how different our family is because of Connected Families!
We thank God for leading us to Connected Families and we thank them for answering the call.
Connected Families has never promised a “quick fix”, but instead, a lasting fix. As you can see by the Freeman’s story, our resources and principles are things that can positively transform your family (and even become part of your family’s DNA) for years to come!