Saturday, April 28, 2007

Support for Families

Have you ever wondered if the politicians in Columbus and Washington, D.C. are aware of how many problems parents and families face in today's society? And, if they are aware, do they care or are we on our own?

We constantly hear about the BBBBBBillions of $$$ spent on spinach, a bridge to nowhere in Alaska and other pork, to say nothing about the Pentagon. But families are struggling every single day with divorce, trauma, out of wedlock children with poverty stricken single mothers. Is anybody trying to help us with some small amount of tax monies?

Yes, some people do care and have managed to strengthen families in Ohio. Go to and read about the Beech Acres Parenting Center that has received two grants to promote healthy families and committed couples. One of the grants is from Ohio and the other is from the Federal Government.

Beech Acres has a comprehensive set of programs to help parents and children and are managing these grants. Several local agencies develop programs alongside Beech Acres to also offer care, training and support for families.

The Committed Couples Workshops on June 2 and June 9 at Love and Faith Fellowship Church on Hopper Hill Road are being supported by the Federal Grant through Beech Acres. We are looking for 20 faith based groups in Clermont County and 20 faith based groups in Hamilton County to each send one couple to be trained who are already interested and active in helping couples and families increase their commitments to each other.

Funding for this project in Clermont County was partially provided by the Beech Acres Parenting Center & United States Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Grant: 90-FE-0100. In Hamilton County the funding was partially provided by the Ohio Strengthening Families Collaboration Initiative.

Committed Couples Training
Life Way Ministries
A faith based non profit 501 c 3 charity
11161 Kenwood Road
Cincinnati, 45242
Gary Sweeten, Ed. D.
Ron Peake,

If you are interested in attending or in sending a couple to be trained contact us. Anyone may attend but the grants only cover couples from Clermont and Hamilton Counties

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Photos of Committed Caring Leaders

Love and Faith Fellowship Church on Hopper Hill Road near Beechmont was the scene. Take a look at the caring people who want to learn how to help families with more effectiveness.

The Beginning of a Great Network for Family Life

Why would the Pastors and Leaders from 15 congregations and para-church groups take their very valuable time to meet on a beautiful day? It must have been an important topic. It was. To plan the June training sessions.
Researchers know that people who pray together stay together at much higher rates than those who do not get involved in church life. Many of the churches represented here already have programs for supporting and blessing couples and kids but they are keen on learning more and better skills. So, they are getting ready for the June 2 and 9 training sessions.
Do you want to be a better help to families? Let me know of your interest.

Training That Works

Are you looking for a place that will train you to actually help couples and families live together in peace and joy? Would you jump at the chance to learn how to teach communication and conflict management skills?

If you want to improve your skills and then pass it on to others we have the answer for you.

Oh, no! Not another boring lecture!!!

Nope, it is not another boring lecture. June 2 and June 9 from 8:30 AM until 12:30 we will teach you the practical skills of happy and healthy families. We call it TIPS Theory Into Practice for ordinary people who are already involved in working with families or who want to learn how to do so.

We need 20 congregations from Clermont and Hamilton Counties to nominate couples who are interested in supporting and facilitating healthy, happy family life.

If you are interested, call Ron Peake @ 513-(513) 260-0877
or me @ 300-5065

We will cover:

1. Causes of Divorce
2. How to assess the level of conflict in a relationship
3. How to stop destructive conflict and heal its pain
4. Words to repair a relationship
5. Communicating God's love and your compassion
6. The cost of divorce
7. What is normal conflict?
More, more, more!

It will be insightful fun and interesting but never boring.

Call quickly, the time is running short as we speak.

What Works

Have you ever been frustrated by the lack of insight about what really works with families? I have been frustrated many times.

I am a family therapist with a lot of experience as a teacher, professor and youth minister. I cannot count the number of times I was over my head and wondered why I was there. Where could I go to get something to help me help the families who came to me for "Expert Advice"?

There are all kinds of programs being offered by well meaning people. Not long ago I was invited to preview a program sponsored by a nationally known ministry to "Drug Proof our Kids". I attended but the very title of the thing turned me off. Before I had kids and counseled several thousand parents whose kids ended up in trouble I may have accepted that title without question. But not now.

I attended anyway in the constant hope that they had come up with something new and different to say. I long to see some program that really works. I am tired of the same old scare tactics that I heard when I was a kid. I want an approach that has positive research outcomes.

Unfortunately, I was disappointed and again just heard all the terrible statistics and saw the photos of addicted kids and the ravages drugs take on parents and their kids. But I already knew all that for I have seen it up close and personal far too many times.

No one shared any of the research on such "Prevention Programs". I have seen the research and frankly, they do not work very well. So, I am far too busy teaching skills that work to get involved any more in those that do not work.

And more importantly, too many folks are dying from drugs and alcohol to waste my time attending seminars that only scare the people who are already scared. Programs designed by what Jesus called, "The Elder Brother Types" will never appeal to the "Prodigal Sons and Daughters" in the family.

Now we have information about things that are more likely to work in preventing AOD (Alcohol and Other Drug) Problems. The best bet can be called, ABC Prevention Programs. Asset Based Caring Prevention works best. Nothing is perfect but building Assets in the Parents, Adult Mentors like teachers, youth leaders and coaches and in the kids work the very best.

Do you want to find a place to find resources?

Try This is the web site of The Search Institute and it is a great place to find help that is practical, effective and cost effective.

A site for evaluating outcomes and reading about programs that work:

Friday, April 20, 2007

Of Men and Moths

A man found a cocoon of an emperor moth. He took it home so that he could watch the moth come out of the cocoon. On the day a small opening appeared, he sat and watched the moth for several hours as the moth struggled to force its body through that little hole.

Then it seemed to stop making any progress. It appeared as if it had gotten as far as it could and it could go no farther. It just seemed to be stuck. Then the man, in his kindness, decided to help the moth, so he took a pair of scissors and snipped off the remaining bit of the cocoon. The moth then emerged easily.

But it had a swollen body and small, shriveled wings. The man continued to watch the moth because he expected that, at any moment, the wings would enlarge and expand to be able to support the body, which would contract in time. Neither happened! In fact, the little moth spent the rest of its life crawling around with a swollen body and shriveled wings. It never was able to fly.

What the man in his kindness and haste did not understand was that the restricting cocoon and the struggle required for the moth to get through the tiny opening were God's way of forcing fluid from the body of the moth into its wings so that it would be ready for light once it achieved its freedom from the cocoon. Freedom and flight would only come after the struggle. By depriving the moth of a struggle, he deprived the moth of health.

Sometimes struggles are exactly what we need in our life. If God allowed us to go through our life without any obstacles, it would weaken us and cripple us. We would not be as strong as what we could have been. But, by making sure we know how to face and go through pain, discomfort and challenges we learn how to develop the mental muscles necessary to carry us through the real difficulties of life.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Research on What Works

There are many studies nowdays about how to prevent divorces. Some of the surveys show:

There are many studies providing ever-greater illumination of the causes or precursors of marital failure. Effective preventive interventions will, no doubt, address factors that are associated with increased risk in ways designed to lower those risks.

Survey Research

Some key studies tell us what couples think are the most important dimensions for helping them to build stronger marriages from the outset.In an important, large sample survey recently conducted in the Catholic Church, couples were asked many questions about their premarital preparation experiences. When asked what content areas were most helpful, the top three rankings went to the three "C's" of

communication (73.5% rated as helpful),
commitment (70.4% rated as helpful),
conflict resolution (67.2% rated as helpful;

Center for Marriage and Family, 1995.

Rated significantly lower were topics such as personality issues, finances, background compatibility, and career issues. The research from the Center for Marriage and Family at Creighton University also found that couples rated high for usefulness such topics as the role of religion and values, children, and the sacraments.

Many other topics were rated as useful, but the top six reflected the central role of the topics of communication, conflict, and a number of dimensions that one could say reflect the "bigger meanings" of things.

So, make sure the couples we marry have discussed the major issues in life like love, child rearing and faith. Also make sure they know how to resolve differences and conflicts. That makes for much better marriages.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Why Commitment?

Question: In this day and time of fluid relationships and a seeming lack of long term loyalties, why are we setting up a blog to focus on "Committed Couples"? Isn't that going to be a tough sell to many people, especially the younger generations?

Answer: Yes, it might be a tough sell.

Question: Then why try to sell it?

Answer: I am a family therapist who sees the wreckage's in the lives of both adults and kids that come from a lack of commitment.

Question: Give me an example or two.

Answer: Gladly. A very high percentage of adult diseases are correlated with the loss of a parent by death, divorce, drugs, imprisonment or mental illness. Highly committed couples manage to stay together and provide a healthier environment for their children, thus reducing diseases in those kids as they age.

Question: What kinds of diseases?

Answer: Not all diseases have been studied but ever one that has been shows a correlation with what is called, Adverse Childhood Events. Diseases related to smoking, alcoholism, drugs have an especially high correlation with the ACE markers.

Question: Is that the primary reason for you to promote Couple Commitment?

Answer: Not the only reason. A lack of Commitment to marriage, for example, tends to lead to almost instant poverty for mothers and their children. If we want to prevent poverty we must increase the percentage of healthy, committed couples.

Question: That is all the time we have. Maybe we can discuss these issues further.

Answer: That is a good idea. Let's return to this important topic later.