Letter to the Reader

Imagine a warm summer day.  You’re sitting outside drinking iced tea.  Your children are in the yard laughing and playing, seemingly without a care in the world.  They’ve got umbrellas out and they’re dancing in the water falling from the sprinkler.  You can barely hear the strains of BJ Thomas singing “Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head.”  What year do you think this is? 

As much as it sounds like the summer of 1970, you’re almost 40 years off.  These kids were at Camp Hopetown, the summer camp that we run for kids involved in our counseling ministry.  Allow us to introduce ourselves.  We are two counselors who work with kids and have been doing so for a combined experience of over sixty years (although most of those are Melissa’s.  My name is Sissy, and I was barely born when BJ was crooning about the falling raindrops). 

We are a part of a counseling ministry called Daystar. Our office is housed in a little yellow house with a big front porch. One seven-year old boy called it, “the little yellow house that helps people.” Our dogs, Lucy the Havanese and Blueberry, the Old English Sheepdog help us counsel the kids and families who come to Daystar. Our offices house eight counselors and see over 200 kids per week, between individual and group counseling. We offer summer camps and parenting classes both in the community and beyond. We believe in offering hope to families in any situation…and we believe in vintage values in this modern world.

Actually, we just like the whole idea of vintage in general. On most days, we have spiced tea brewing in our lobby. There is a checkers table in one of the waiting rooms, with typically two or three kids gathered around it. At our camps, the kids play chess, learn to waterski (not just wakeboard) and help cook the meals. We sing old timey hymns along with worship choruses and talk about the rich meaning behind the words. We even have Christmas at camp and take the kids to a town made up of one row of antique stores. They have three dollars to buy a gift for the person whose name they drew. The gifts are symbolic, like a boy who gave a counselor an old walking stick because he said she helped people stand who were struggling. We like vintage, and believe it brings out good in the lives of kids.

This book is broken down into three sections. In the first, which we call Modern Parents, we tackle a few of the topics we hear most often from parents in our counseling offices. We talk about technology, entitlement, respect, anxiety, and eating disorders, to name a few...issues that are coming at parents with more frequency and intensity than ever before.

In the second section, we introduce the idea of Vintage Values. We outline nine values including compassion, gratitude, kindness, patience, manners, and several others. We break each section down into children and teenagers and talk, not just about what those values look like, but how to specifically instill them in both ages. And in each chapter of the first two sections, we end with something called A Sunday Drive.

Do you remember going on Sunday drives with your family? After church and lunch, you'd pile in the car and just drive. You didn't have a time frame. You didn’t really have anywhere you were going. You just spent time together. We hope these chapters can serve the same purpose. In them, we give some practical suggestions you can do as a family to not just learn about but experience the ideas we’ve discussed in the previous chapter.

The last section of our books is called Timeless Truths. In it, we share some final ideas of not just what but who enables us to parent in these times. The job is daunting. We’re battling terrorism and technology, attitudes and entitlement like our grandparents never could have imagined. But you can...and often do. We’re guessing your imagination, however, causes you even more fear. What if I let her text and she sends someone an inappropriate picture? What if I let him spend the night out and his friend's parents don't watch him like I do? How do I shelter her and keep her from harm? Why is he acting like this?

We want this book to be a journey, for you and your family. We hope that, in its pages, you will learn more about your child and more about yourself. We hope that you will be reminded of truth and inspired to parent with more life and more freedom. Basically, our hope is that you’ll find hope—for who God is creating your child to be. And that you’ll close this book knowing a little more of the ultimate truth of God’s love in the life of your family.

Melissa Trevathan and Sissy Goff