For nearly twenty years, Connected Families has been equipping and empowering parents to lead their families with grace. As a tumultuous 2020 comes to an end we are excited to introduce you to families around the world who are embracing the Connected Families Framework in their home. Connected Families is transforming, equipping, and inspiring families all over the globe!
Today we are excited to introduce you to Juan and Nita, Afrikaans parents of two young girls. They currently live and minister with LIV Village in South Africa. LIV Village is an orphanage that cares for vulnerable and orphaned children from all over South Africa. There are currently 196 children living on the premises aged 2 to 20 years.
The vision of LIV village is to Rescue, Restore, Raise, and Release the children that God has placed in their care through His grace and abundant love. This is why the village exists, and Juan and Nita work hard every day to make this vision a reality.
Join us as we see how Connected Families is making an impact through Juan and Nita at LIV Village in South Africa!
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How has Connected Families blessed you and your ministry?
I (Nita) heard about the amazingly helpful Discipline That Connects with Your Child’s Heart online course that Connected Families offers, but we did not have the financial means to enroll. We applied for a full scholarship and within one day we received a coupon to do the course for free. We are truly thankful for this wonderful opportunity.
The course has changed our mindsets, our hearts, our discipline approach, as well as our understanding of ourselves and how we interact with our children. We are so impacted by the course that we plan to ask LIV leadership if all the teachers and onsite staff can take the course. Most of the children in LIV village have experienced trauma and are hurting. They are in desperate need of a discipline model that all adults apply from foster mothers to staff members. A discipline model that connects the heart of the adult, who is in authority, to the child.
What has been the one major takeaway you’ve learned from Connected Families and how have you applied it?
I (Juan) am really learning to “Go Low, Slow, and Listen”. Every time I walk into a discipline situation it’s a chance to show God’s love.
Amongst many other things, I have come to understand that shouting, being loud, and dominating does not earn the respect and obedience that I desire from my children. When your child sees that you want to understand their heart, their underlying need, and coach them through that specific struggle then you see lasting fruit. This includes willing obedience, gentleness from both parents and children, connected hearts, and a joyful atmosphere in the home. It is amazing!
What is the primary culture in your family’s home? And in your community?
LIV village is a Christian organization. We are an Afrikaans family and we are mostly surrounded by Zulu families that live in the village. Zulu families have very strong cultural traditions and beliefs. These beliefs are formed around the presence of ancestral spirits (forefathers), known as amadlozi. They seek the favour of their ancestors through performing traditional rituals and sacrifices, especially at birth, death or marriage. Many modern Zulu families are Christian but, as in many parts of the world, they tend to mix their Christian faith with their cultural beliefs and rituals which makes for some challenges.
How does the CF framework fit with your culture?
It fits in perfectly with the culture and moral values of the village, because LIV Village is a Christian NPO that follows Biblical values. The Zulu foster mothers are also of Christian faith, so they adhere to these values. Because of their Zulu culture and upbringing, the practical outworking and application of these values can be challenging for some of the mothers.
In your experience, what has been the value of the framework from a cultural perspective?
In Zulu culture (the predominant culture in Kwa-Zulu Natal province) children are mostly seen but not heard. One strong value that is taught to the children is to be a hard worker in the home, kitchen, and in the field. This fits in nicely with the “You are responsible” level of the framework. That said, because of the challenges of daily life, it seems like there is little energy left for emotional connection between parents and children.
In LIV village, the children play outside in big groups everyday (after school) and have limited emotional guidance and input from their foster mothers. The foster mothers are trying hard to impart Christian values into their children, but not always from an emotionally connected place.
We believe that by equipping our Zulu care staff with practical ways to deepen safety and connection, their efforts to teach the gospel will be so much more effective! And by teaching the “You are safe” and “You are loved” portion of the Connected Families Framework we will impact the way we raise children in the village in a profound way!
Has Connected Families impacted your parenting journey? As 2020 draws to a close, we invite you to impact families with God’s grace and truth in the United States and beyond. Your year-end donation will equip and inspire parents all over the globe to lead their families with grace. With a donation of any amount you will receive a 2021 calendar for inspiration and encouragement!