“Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.” (Matt. 19.13-15)
Standing on this side of the audience at a Syezd feels very surreal after having attended in previous years, firstly as a single, then dating, engaged, and also married (all with the same guy of course!). My husband Terence was even the president of the Geelong Syezd in 2005, so in effect I have even been the First Lady of Syezd. Nowadays we are together parenting and raising our three little blessings- Maxim (5), Priscilla (3) and Faith (1), and I will go on to tell you how we came to view them that way.
To be honest with you, I was quite surprised when I was initially approached to do a talk at Syezd. Me? I thought. What do I have to offer? Especially to this age group? It’s been a long time since I’ve taken any sort of public front, so this feels somewhat confronting. Since having my children I have just been head down, plugging away in the trenches of family life with little fanfare or attention. It’s also a huge topic- marriage, parenting, children in the Church, where each of these could be a very comprehensive talk in its own right. I had to decide what to focus on, given the vast quantity and quality of resources available these days, and of course I needed to make it relevant. This talk was also written over many weeks pouring over countless books, blogs, online articles, cd’s, and tapping my own brain, usually very late at night, so hopefully it’s cohesive and you don’t fall asleep like I occasionally did during lectures. In any case, I was told they wanted someone who is ‘in the trenches’ so to speak, a “real” mum who could tell you what it’s like raising children in the world today. What is there to ‘tell’ I thought? I’ll just bring my kids in for the duration of my talk and let you guys take turns babysitting! But the talk also needed to inspire, motivate and be spiritually life-changing, wow! A tall ask for little old me, and all in just forty or so minutes, so here goes!