Conversations that create stronger families | Amy Johnson

Remember that old children’s rhyme — I’ll use my name and my partner’s name: “Amy and Eric, sitting in a tree, K-I-S-S-I-N-G. First comes love, then comes marriage…”

You know the rest. Here are some conversations worth having about a couple of those topics — but first, the prequel: puberty.

Think back to your own growing-up years. Did you have:

• Solid information about what was going to happen to your body and emotions during adolescence?

• A support system?

• Freedom to ask any question you had about all the changes your body was going through?

• Reliable resources for truthful answers?

Are there things you want to be different or things you want to reinforce for your own children?

You’re in luck. For Girls Only, the long-standing Seattle-area program that is part of Great Conversations and sponsored by Seattle Children’s Hospital, will return to Federal Way in October, thanks in part to a co-sponsorship by Communities In Schools of Federal Way.

The program is geared toward girls ages 10-12. It gives girls and their moms (or significant adults) an opportunity to come together and learn all about body and emotional changes in puberty in a fun, entertaining, and informative way.

Our inaugural class this spring got rave reviews. I’m honored to be on the faculty and teaching this class in our community. Please join us. You can register at www.greatconversations.com.

The two-part class will run from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Oct. 2 and 9 at the Federal Way High School Little Theater. Registration is required.

Now onto marriage. One hot political topic this year in Washington state is the freedom to marry for all people. It’s likely your children and teens will hear about this issue from peers, on the news, while on the Internet or using social media.

Whether you like it or not, your children are going to hear about this subject, so take time to let them know what you think about it.

The PRIDE Foundation is reaching out to parents and groups willing to host house parties to have conversations about marriage for same-sex couples.

Their guide “Families for Equality: A Conversation Guide on the Freedom to Marry in Washington State” is available by contacting info@pridefoundation.org.

In the guide, the foundation addresses talking points on why the freedom to marry is important to all families in Washington state, common myths about marriage for all committed couples, and ways to engage your community to have meaningful conversations about the topic.

In the Federal Way area, Wayside United Church of Christ will host a “No Matter Who You Are” event 6:30 to 8:00 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 27, to provide a forum for conversation about marriage for all committed couples.

“We know that this issue can be confusing and heart wrenching, so we want to do everything possible to help bring about reconciliation and healing within our community," said Kim Larsen, open and affirming representative for Wayside.  "One of the ways we can do that is by providing a safe and caring space to discuss these difficult issues with each other."

There is no charge to attend. However, RSVPs are appreciated to (253) 838-0915. Light refreshments will be provided.

If you are willing to be a parent ambassador and host your own house party, contact laurie@pridefoundation.org. You can also sign up to attend an online webinar from noon to 1 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 25, to learn about becoming an ambassador.  There is no cost. Please RSVP to Laurie to attend.

Get talking, Federal Way, about these substantive and important topics. Communication creates stronger families, and stronger families create a stronger Federal Way.


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