Friday, 18 January 2013

Parenting Course at St Paul’s Camberley

St Paul’s are currently running their first “Family Time Parenting Children” course, developed by Mark & Lindsay Melluish from St Paul’s Ealing. The course aims to help explore how to raise children within a framework of unconditional love. Eight couples are among the first to sample this 8 week trial, led by an experienced team from St Paul’s Camberley.

St Paul's Parenting Course

Gilly, Richard, Karen, Gael & Penny – The Parenting Course Team at St Paul’s Camberley

The team are Gilly Rowett (Parish Nurse at Frimley Baptist), Sandra Higgins (St. Paul's  Parish Nurse), Richard Mead (a local deputy head teacher), Karen Kendall (Partnership Development Officer for Camberley Churches Together), Gael Brodie (heads up all children and youth work) and Penny Willard (Pastoral  Assistant).

My wife and I are fortunate enough to be on the trial course, now into it’s second week. There is a fun and informal atmosphere. The tea, coffee and biscuits before the start is a real winner, along with chatting to other parents. Personally, I love the format, which is DVD clip based, with plenty of breaks to discuss questions from each clip between your partner, or the wider group. One of the valuable things about the course for us as a couple was hearing how other parents handle specific situations, and pooling our experience. It’s also good to discover we aren’t on our own, no parent is perfect, and we shouldn’t beat ourselves up about making mistakes. In fact Becca (also on the course), said: “It has also been a relief to hear from all the other delegates that we all find it hard to get the balance right - and all spend lots of time feeling guilty about getting it wrong!”. Another good discovery Becca got from the course is about “… the concept of time and that children really do need time.  The description of grandma who just takes time with children was very striking.  When the world constantly tells us we need to fill both our lives and our children's lives with business, in fact what children want is to go on a walk of 100 metres which takes 2 hours so they can look under every stone, analyse every leaf and talk to you about it in the process.”

The whole team came together because of a passion for parenting and a need to share God's values and love for the family.  They decided on using the “Family Time” parenting course because many of them had previously been introduced to it, and Richard had already led the course.

Penny said: “We wanted to run our first course with familiar faces, so chose St Paul's. We are hoping to run a second course at St Paul's in September but also intend to take it to other churches and to local schools - but let's see how this first course goes before rushing too far ahead.”

If you do get a chance to book on it, I’m sure you won’t be disappointed. The St Paul’s Camberley team add real value to this DVD based course, and provide a warm, friendly, relaxed and safe environment to talk parenting.

For more information on activities and events at St Paul’s,  check out the website stpaulscamberley.org.uk.