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|Bonner A. Davis, Rev., Med - Remington, Virginia - USA
As Children's Pastor, I see many of the devastating affects of parenting philosophies today on the faces of children. Having been involved with GFI for over 10 years now, both as a parent and teacher of the material, I am convinced of its sound biblical approach to parenting. The final witness to this conclusion is not in the opinions of parents, doctors or professionals, but in the lives of the children themselves. The results I see are happy, well-adjusted, free-spirited children that are morally excellent.
Bonner A. Davis, Rev.MEd. (Remington, Virginia)
|David & Barbie Johnson - Glen Allen, Virginia - USA
My children are 16 and 12. When they were 4 years old and the other a newborn, my husband and I went through the Growing Kids God's Way course. The principals that we learned and implemented from that course have changed our lives and have been a testimony to those around us! Our kids learned very early on the "Interrupt Rule" and still, as a teenager and preteen, they utilize the rule that raises eyebrows and causes everyone to ask why my children have their hand on my arm!!!
One of the most powerful testimonies I have about our children being raised by the standards of Growing Kids God's Way happened last spring. We had just moved to a new state and we'd been in our neighborhood just a few short months. We had met most of our neighbors by having a "Dessert Social" to introduce ourselves!
Several weeks after that, our neighbor, a young mother and Buddhist, called me and said she had some questions for me. Her main question was, "What did we do to raise such respectful, mannerly and helpful children?!" How I welcomed the opportunity to share about the Lord and GKGW!!!! Shortly after that inquiry, I attended an event for GKGW alumni where I purchased the Baby Wise and Toddler Wise books for my young neighbor. She said she couldn't put them down once she started reading them! She was so excited about what she read that she enrolled in the "Toddler Wise" course that our Pastor's Wife taught at our church! She has implemented what she learned and I know her daughter will be a testimony down the road as they walk together with consistency! AND I truly believe that our Buddhist neighbor will come to know the Lord, as well!
Growing Kids God's Way has allowed us to raise awesome kids...we are enjoying the teenage years! And GKGW has allowed us to be a testimony to a world looking for answers!
Thank you so much, Ezzos!
David & Barbie Johnson (Glen Allen, Virginia)
|Lily - Hong Kong
(From a letter to Gary and Anne Marie Ezzo...)
This is a much belated thank you letter to you. I came to your three day lecture in Hong Kong in 2003 and through your words, my family has been brought to Christ.
I am a Grade 1 teacher with two children of my own aged 6 and 7. When I came to hear you talk, I was extremely disappointed with the behaviour of the older students at my school. I had lots of questions and they were unanswered by the secular "experts". In fact, their words had put a fear in my hear to the point that I do not know what to say to my students in issues relating to morals. There was a void of moral training at school, and I worried for my children who were growing up quickly.
Your words brought light into my life as a mother and a teacher. Everything you said at the lecture made so much sense. Since then, I had voraciously soaked up your printed words and studied the GKGW binder. There was an instant change in my family's outlook. My husband is very supportive because he liked the Couch time idea! In fact, it was the first time I read that a loving marriage is the first step to loving our children. It makes so much sense! The parenting training course I attended previously clearly "brought the world to the child" and the word "marriage" was not once mentioned. I am mad at those claimed experts with the Phds who has wasted so much of my time and made me follow their useless ways that never worked!
The tools you have given me is so easy to use and they really works. My all time favourite is the "Three Candy Speed", and the most indisposible is replying with "Yes, Mama", as well as the Monkey concept. My children has understood all, and I was able to carry through with your ideas.
Ultimately, I was reborn and found eternal salvation through your ministry. What I studied to benefit my children actually benefited me the most. My last two years had been busy with Bible studies, visiting Christian bookstores, and attending church activities. At the end of this month, I will be giving a testimony/advertisement for our church's effort to start a course on your GKGW for Chinese parents. All parents want the best for their children, but what can be more important than nurturing their spiritual growth? In this politically correct, media oriented world, it is so difficult to find moral principles. There is no need for people to reinvent the wheel, and God's age old advices work the best as it is clearly shown by you.
My children and I will pray for you and thank the Lord for bringing you to Hong Kong.
Yours in Christ,
Lily (Hong Kong)
|Kathy W. - Spring, Texas - USA
GKGW was instrumental in changing our family relationships for the better.
Some of the most powerful learnings for us included:
- My children's holiness is more important than their happiness
- Heart training is important in order to help children gain personal self-control; we don't just correct behavior - we explain why and explore what's in the heart
- Moral Training list provides a practical listing of scriptures to use in moral training
- Practical tips on how to handle whining and interruptions have been extremely valuable
- Five love languages study have greatly improved my relationship with my husband. Study of this area has lead me to read other Christian books.
- We emphasize first time obedience in our family - a biblically based concept...
Kathy W. (Spring, Texas)
|Greg & Jen C. - Palmyra, NY - USA
My wife and I are now leading our 5th group of people through the course. It's great! We love every bit of the course, even the parts that point out where we fall short as parents, because the material is presented in such a way that encourages us to strive for God's best in our family! I suppose if I were to summarize it for a website blurb, I might say:
My wife and I were introduced to the Ezzos almost 10 years ago now, before we even had children. The thoughts they presented from Scripture on living life together as a family in such a way that people are drawn to our Father's love and His greatness rang very true in us. We have led several groups in the 18-week course now, and each time have seen amazing results not only in parenting, but in the formation of friendships that last. The curriculum is so much more than a "How-To" for parenting, it is a lifestyle built on knowing and loving our God with all that we are, and then loving all of those around us; and encouraging that desire in every member of our family. And as we love each other, and those around us, everyone who meets us or even sees us will be drawn to our Father, who draws all people to himself. We have been blessed as a family by the wisdom God has given through Gary & Anne Marie Ezzo, and have been equally blessed to pass that on to so many other familes. It is so rewarding when total strangers will go out of their way to comment on how courteous and friendly and well-behaved and even amazing our children are. What a great way to show people God's love!
Thanks for putting the site together.
Greg & Jen C. (Palmyra, NY)
|Kim C. - Texas - USA
I would be happy to share my testimony with you or anyone else about this ministry...and I have many times to many people. This changed my life and my outlook on parenting. It gave me "permission" to make my child mind. That may sound absurd, but in a society like we are in, people make you feel guilty if you make your child comply even with basic instruction. No wonder we have such chaos in God's world these days. It helped me to realize that God has charged me with a duty to raise loving, Christian children and allowing them to "run wild" as I had was no less than abdicating that God-given responsibility.
It also helped my husband and I to search our hearts for what we believe and helped us to grow closer as a husband and wife. My husband, who is much less "religious" than I, was drawn into this class by its practical, moral instruction....as a result ,it has strengthened his faith and has been a bigstep in his faith journey.
I have recommended this class to so many people. What an opportunity to reach parents, children...and ultimately change the future....
Please let me know if there is anything else I can do to support this ministry.
Kim C. (Texas)
|Vlad & Natasha - Russia
We are Vlad and Natasha. We are on staff with Vyborg Christian Church which is in Russia. We are the leaders of Worship and Family Ministries. The Family ministry in our church actually started from the Prep. for Parenting book. When we were expecting our first child in 1993, our ministry mentors, who happened to know Gary and Anne Marie and their family, gave us the Prep book and shared the parenting principles with us.
It was SUCH A BLESSING to our family! As we applied what we learned, people from the church started to ask "How did you do that?" question. And God gave us a dream of these parenting materials being translated to Russian.
So we started to pray about somebody who will translate and teach it here in Russia... God showed us those people :) We realized that we need to share what we have learned. Some time later we had a blessing of getting to know the Ezzos and then taking part in a GFI Leadership conference in 1997. Since then we've been leading parenting groups in our church, printing materials and sending them all over Russia and also to Ukraine, Germany and Israel to Russian speaking families. And we are thankful to our Lord for the blessings that He gives us in our own family and in others that we are ministering to.
Vlad & Natasha (Russia)
|Beth D. - Kansas City, MO - USA
The GKGW ministry had a profound impact on our family and, without it, I'm not sure what state of affairs we'd be in right now as a family. We had three children in three years and took the class after we had our first two. Our kids are very close in age and are quite a handful. (Aren't they all?) Prior to taking Growing Kids, we were using Time-Out as our primary approach to discipline, with very little success. We went into Growing Kids thinking we'd learn some practical discipline techniques. What we got out of Growing Kids was soooo much more. Essentially, we learned a new family philosophy, rooted in the Bible and grounded in God's clear direction. We learned how to make our marriage a priority and how to live up to a better standard in the way we treat each other and our children. We learned to ask for forgiveness and to forgive. We learned to make our words count and consider everything we say and do around each other and our kids. We learned to believe in the preciousness of others and use it as a guiding principle in how we treat each other within the family and the world-at-large. It's impossible to put into words everything Growing Kids meant to our family - - - the impacts were way over and above the principles of correction of our children. Not to minimize those aspects, of course, but those who haven't been through the entire course don't really understand how comprehensive it is in helping families learn how to build a Christian home.
Our children are not perfect and we could certainly always improve upon our consistency. But, our children say, "May I?"; they seek forgiveness from each other and reconcile with hugs and kisses; they know there are consequences for disobeying; and, perhaps most importantly, they know they have a mommy and daddy who:
- love each other dearly.
- are committed to each other and to them.
- love God and will always try hold our family to the standards of His absolute truth.
We owe most of this to the incredible fundamentals we learned in Growing Kids God's Way. Since leaving The Woodlands, we have lived in Chicago and Kansas City and have met other families who have had similar positive experiences with GKGW in other churches. However, I am friends with a Christian couple right now who have been openly critical of Growing Kids to me -- of course, they've never taken the class! I have not attempted to hard-sell them on Growing Kids. However, it's so funny . . . not too long after meeting us and getting our families together a few times, Natalie told me that she and Randy really enjoy being around our kids. They said, "We've never met anyone whose kids we actually enjoy being around." What a great defense of GK and how ironic that it came from one of the "nay-sayers."
Growing Kids is also one of the best small group studies I've ever been in (and we're always in at least one). We met wonderful people who were experiencing the same "trials and tribulations" and it was a tremendous blessing to be in fellowship with other Christian families. I miss the people we met and it saddens me to think that someone else may miss out on this great blessing we were able to be a part of.
In Christ's Love,
Beth D. (Kansas City, MO)
As far as offering any testimonials, I would suggest looking at the many lives that our Lord has been able to change through this ministry. As we have often joked, the class should be called "Growing Parents God's Way" because it can have such an awesome impact on the husband/wife relationship in the home. Needless to say, Kim and I have benefited greatly over the last several years by putting into practice the concepts GKGW taught, as well as by leading others through the curriculum at (church). I would guess that between 75-100 people have attended GKGW at (church), all as a direct result of you allowing us to attend the course through (church). As you may remember, (church) had some concerns over offering GKGW initially. We met with the church leadership (Sr. Pastor, his wife, and Director of Children's services) and agreed to have a seminary graduate (associate pastor of families) attend the Fall class and report any theological discrepancies or concerns. At the end of that semester, none were found and the course has continued to be offered at (church).
|Kim B. - The Woodlands, Texas - USA
Kelly and I wanted share with you how important the Growing Kids God's Way classes have been to our family. Since the fall of 1998, we have taken three of the courses in the series: Preparation for Parenting, Preparation for the Toddler Years, and most recently, Growing Kids God's Way. The information that we gained in each course has been invaluable. Nowhere else have I seen a biblically based parenting program that has not been influenced in some way by the prevailing cultural philosophies of the time.
This program focuses on the Bible and on God and encourages parents to do the same, and is endorsed by our pediatrician and several others in the area. A list of the blessings we have reaped as a result of taking these classes follows:
*We have developed a stronger relationship with God and a stronger prayer life, both individually and together as husband and wife.
*We have been able to prioritize our lives biblically, putting God first, our marriage second, and our children third.
*Our two children slept through the night very early, at 8 and 6 weeks, respectively, and were happy, easygoing infants/toddlers due to the use of a flexible routine.
*Our son, 3 1/2, understands that we consider others before ourselves and is already developing a love for the Lord.
*Instead of just training accepted behaviors into our children, we know that God, through us, is reaching their hearts little by little and day by day, so that they will grow into adults who love and serve Him.
*My sister, who just had her third child in three years, has also participated in this ministry in her town and is enjoying the same blessings.
Kelly and I also wanted to take this opportunity to thank both of you for all the time, energy, and commitment that you have put into this ministry. Our family is a God-centered family because of this ministry.
Kim B. (The Woodlands, Texas)
|Jim & Sonya S. - West Des Moines, Iowa - USA
What a joy and an honor it is to give a testimony for Growing Kids God's Way. Although we did not attend the classes at _______, we were led to the GKGW curriculum through _______'s ministry and began to teach it in our home. We have only been through the main curriculum twice and the Infant and Toddler curriculum's once and already we have seen great changes...not only in those attending the classes, but in our hearts as well.
The GKGW curriculum has not only freed us to parent within the confines of scripture, it has strengthened our marriage, challenged us to a closer walk with God, given us confidence in our parenting, brought unity to our parenting efforts and given us the opportunity to make life long friendships through the intimate class environment.
The first time this class was offered at our church, over 50 couples signed up for the class. There are now two leadership couples in our church holding classes both in the church and in a home environment. Our church attendance is at about 2500 people. With many parents today confused by so many worldly parenting styles, the need for this type of ministry is growing.
Even their Prep for Parenting course has changed the lives of believers and non-believers alike. The Hoey's, Dr. and Mrs. Rohlfsen, The Groves, and The Bermudez Family are just a few of those we know personally who tell me often how fortunate and blessed they are to have found these materials. Even my OB/GYN is considering giving their book "Babywise" to all of his new mothers!
Not only is the curriculum excellent, but the added support structure Growing Families International has put into place gives us a network of people to call when we have parenting issues that we need to discuss with someone. What an honor we feel to be part of this program.
Our own little girl is just 7 months old and we have already gotten comments from people about what a contented and happy child she is. It is really a tribute to applying the the knowledge that GKGW gave us.
Without GKGW we would be stumbling around in the dark, wondering what our efforts would produce in this child. Now we know we can, with God's help, raise her to be a light to the world, so the world will see Christ.
May the Lord Bless you with wisdom, strength, joy and peace,
Jim & Sonya S. (West Des Moines, IA)
|Eric & Patti G. - Des Moines, IA - USA
I thought I'd drop you a note to let you in on some of the ways my husband and I feel so blessed through what we have learned in Growing Kids.
1- We were brought up very differently and the format of GKGW put us on the same page as to expectations and discipline goals we have for our children.
2- We were challenged to grow in our knowledge of scripture to ensure passing along principles we want the kids to have in their minds from the get-go.
3- We have friends who went through the classes to discuss ideas with and to help us remember all that was presented and incorporate as much as we can handle.
4- It taught us to see all people as precious to God and to encourage our children to see that in others no matter where they may be in their relationship with the Lord.
5- Our children are a light to the unsaved and there are many ways to facilitate their growth that will help their light to shine brightly.
6- We made friends from many different churches and continue to stay in touch with most.
7- We feel GKGW is a bondage breaker (borrowed that from a youth pastor in the Denver area who offers this class to his church). It taught the basics of strong parenting and much more for those who want to go deeper.
8- It made me realize the importance of my example of living like Christ would have me because of the eyes that watch me every day and my need to seek the Lord for help in being all I can be as a follower and disciple of Christ.
Hope this helps to pass along the blessings of going through GKGW. I've read the article that attacked the Ezzos and their response and thought the Ezzos came out on top as to who handled the controversy in the most Christ-like manner. My view is that there is no perfect ministry and this may not even be the best, but it has been a huge blessing to us.
Eric & Patti G. (DesMoines, IA)
|Bruce & Beth L. - Dallas, Texas - USA
If we had to describe the GKGW class in short we would have to say it was phenomenal and life-changing. While it would take a dissertation to exhaust the things we could say to describe the positive impact GKGW has had on our family we would like to indulge in sharing with you some of the main highlights.
First of all, like most parents who attend the class, we went with the expectation of learning some sure fire techniques on how to discipline and correct our children so that they would be well behaved. Boy were we in for a surprise! Although discipline and correction were eventually covered, we were interested to find that the meat of the course focused on building relationships (with God, as husband and wife, with our children and with others) and on developing constructive/positive communication within the family unit. The most important lesson of course was on making God the focal point of our family. Though we knew conceptually that God should be at the center of our lives, we were struggling with what that really looked like in practice. GKGW helped us to understand how to build our home on the Truth of Gods Word and how to center our family around the Gospel of Christ. We are still in process on this but we are growing in Him each day.
Our children are not perfect because of GKGW. They still bicker with each other, do irresponsible things and even disobey their parents on occasion. But they are happier and more self-confident than they used to be. They are now less likely to experience arbitrary outbursts of frustration from Mom and Dad. They are beginning to grasp the "moral reasons why" of right and wrong.
They experience more consistency in discipline and more intentional communication and affection from their parents. They are learning to show respect and kindness to others as well as how to seek forgiveness when they have committed an offense. They are finding security and protection within limits and boundaries. Best of all they are growing in positive relationships with God and with us as their parents.
Similarly, GKGW has not made us perfect parents. We still fall into old habits and our weaknesses flair up more than we care to admit. However, GKGW has made us more intentional parents. It has helped us to grow stronger in our faith as we recognize our need of God's help in raising our children. It has helped us to grow stronger in our marriage by encouraging us to have "talk time" and to even go out on a date every now and then. It has helped us to focus on the heart issues of our children rather than on just the external behaviors. It has helped us to recognize and appreciate the needs, differences and special gifts of each person in our family. It has brought us to a place of humility as we are better able to recognize our failures and shortcomings. But best of all it has brought us to a place of hope, that despite our failures and shortcomings we can be the parents that our children need us to be by the awesome Grace of God.
In the years that we have been involved with GKGW we have been aware of the various critics and their arguments. Sometimes the criticism is launched by liberal media, sometimes it is from people who have a different parenting philosophy that leaves no tolerance for alternate views and methods, but more often then not it has come from good, well intentioned Christians who are simply misinformed. As prudent parents, we have taken the criticisms seriously and have investigated all we have come across. Not a single negative argument we have found can be substantiated following a review of GKGW materials and an understanding of the intent of the Ezzo's. The most concrete evidence for us though, comes from the experience we have had with GKGW in our home. There has not been even one negative consequence to us or our children as a result of the teachings we have received.
To our GKGW instructors and GKGW classmates: We cannot adequately express our gratitude for the time you have taken to be part of our lives and to shepherd us in the joys and struggles of parenting. Through laughter and tears, sharing and caring we have come know many of you as friends. You have empowered and inspired us in our walk with Christ and in this awesome task of bringing up children in the Lord. We love you all and if given the chance will sit with you again to continue our learning in "Growing Kids God's Way"!
In the grip of faith,
Bruce and Beth L. (Dallas, TX)
|Mark & Susan L. - Texas, USA
Our family has benefited from these classes in ways that are too numerous to try to condense in a short note but here are our thoughts:
Mark and Susan L. (Texas)
- There is a great need for biblical based parenting instruction. As parents our greatest challenge is to pass the gospel to our own children. GKGW is based on biblical truths and provides a foundation that doesn't change with each generation of society or world views. Something other than the latest idea from our popular culture on child rearing, which changes all the time.
- GKGW courses are a hands-on type class with practical examples and exercises that help you to apply what you have learned versus other materials that are often too high level to figure out how to implement.
- Participating in GKGW classes has helped us as a couple to define goals and values for our family and to develop a game plan early in our children's lives. We have discussed things as a couple that otherwise would not have been brought to light until a crisis. Planning ahead and having a vision of where we want to lead our children, versus being in reactive mode.
- GKGW classes have given us a resource base of other parents to talk with who are facing the same challenges in raising their children. Mark became involved in a men's group that met for breakfast periodically to discuss GKGW with other dads who had attended the classes together. GKGW was one way that we got "connected" at WUMC beyond church services.
- GKGW guidelines on discipline are consistent with other recognized authorities (Dr. James Dobson and Tedd Tripp). The GKGW material puts more of emphasis on considering the context of the situation versus these other sources.
- GKGW courses helped to strengthen our Christian character as individuals and as a couple. The GKGW curriculum helped us by providing a suggested roadmap to helping develop Christian character in our children.
- The benefits of Prep for Parenting/Prep for Toddler guidelines are immense. Our children go to sleep at bedtime without delay, stay in their beds, and sleep all night (both started this by 8 weeks of age). This has been a tremendous blessing for the entire family, and something that would have taken much longer had we not gone through GKGW and Prep for Parenting. This early stability in their routine and sound sleeping patterns are essential to both our children and our mental well being!
- Of course as with any book or course material, if taken out of context or followed without thought to the overall parenting situation, parts of the program could be poorly implemented. However, the benefits of having the knowledge presented in GKGW curriculum is priceless! The classroom environment and tapes provided good opportunities for discussion and sharing on personal experiences that were beneficial from a support standpoint.
- We feel very fortunate that this program was available through WUMC, otherwise we would have never heard of GKGW. We are thankful for the dedication of those at our church who have given their time so generously to share this vital ministry.
|Karen H. - Republic, MO - USA
Because of a close friend's prayers and recommendation, Shannon and I started the GKGW parenting classes before we even had our first baby. We came into the classes with no real plan as to how we were going to care and manage our new infant. I guess we just thought you instinctively would know what to do. The curriculum suggested in Preparation For Parenting gave us SUCH a wonderful start with our new baby. I can't even imagine what kind of parents we would have been without the wisdom presented in these materials. Don't get me wrong, we wouldn't have been "bad" parents and our son would still be alive today, but I can honestly say he wouldn't be the delightful, joyful boy he is today. I say that because through this class we learned to use our own common sense in managing his infant routine, but were also given such good instruction on how to allow our baby to get such good sleep and establish healthy eating patterns. We also learned such wonderful ideas that helped him learn focusing skills and ways to communicate at an early age which helped us better meet his needs. All these things I know is what made him SO happy and to this day a healthy, happy, well adjusted, smart little boy. I say these things to not sound like a proud(which I am :) ), bragging mother, but because I want God to have ALL the glory in what He has shown us through the GKGW teachings. I know His hand was in my husband and I being introduced to these parenting classed. Not only has it helped my son and daughter, but it has made such an impact on my own Christian walk. I know that what ever Godly traits I desire in my children, I must have myself and that only comes from seeking and serving the Lord on my own.
My husband and I also took the GKGW class last spring. Once again I learned so much about my own walk with the Lord and how crucial it is to be spending time with Him in order to be a Godly parent to my children and wife to my husband. It has made our home a home with structure and Godly principles. There is no doubt in my mind that God's work and plans have been in this ministry. It has given me such peace and confidence as a parent and I am so thankful we have been able to attend these classes. Words can never describe how GKGW has truly blessed our family, our marriage, and the future of our children's lives.
Karen H. (Republic, MO)
|Cindy O. - Conroe, Texas - USA
They way I heard about this wonderful class was by way of Tom Reed. I was in the operating room arena, scrubbing my hands to go in and assist with open heart surgery when Tom approached me with such enthusiasm that he was bursting at the seams to be able to share with me what he had just learned from the class they were attending. He was so excited that he was being equipped with God's tools for parenting. I talked with my husband and we signed up for their class ASAP! Our daughter was 9 months old and another child was on the way. We found that GKGW was and is a great guideline for Biblical parenting.
Scriptures are being quoted and then a design to apply these principles was given. Our children are living testimonies of how important GKGW is in their life. I my opinion, GKGW is the instruction book that you never got from the hospital when you were discharged with your new baby. You get manuals on care seats, swings, baby beds but no detailed manual was available for what God had to say about parenting. These instructions don't stop at the toddler years either. They carry you through the teens years too! My husband and I pray for the Ezzos on a regular basis for God to continue to bless other families with this material.
Steve and I felt that God wanted us to bring this valuable tool to our church. We have been teaching it ever since 1997. Our home church is [name] Many of our young staff have gone through this. They are the ones making sure we can continue to share this with others in our church. They want their kids to play with like minded kids. What a wonderful common denominator.
Please keep in mind the context of the material and how many lives have been changed by the Ezzos commitment to God. I have to ask you, when you read the scripture do you pick and choose or do you look at the context with which it was written?
I needed this class. If I parented according to my parents history it would not be good...
In Christ's name,
Cindy O. (Conroe, TX)
|Hans & Star M. - Texas, USA
Thanks again for sharing your wisdom with us through the GKGW class. Star and I were truly blessed by the teaching of the Ezzo's. We have read several books and heard many teachings on parenting, and the Ezzo's seemed to tie everything together in a very practical way.
I just wish we would have taken this class earlier. A couple years ago, some of my friends warned me not to get involved in the GKGW class for some doctrinal reasons. I respected their advice, so my wife and I decided not to get involved in GKGW.
We started attending FOTW in March of 2000. We were surprised to hear the staff really encourage everyone with kids to enroll in a GKGW class. This urged me to re-think my decision to not take the class. After digging a little deeper into the reasons my friends gave me in opposition of GKGW, I decided that the only way that I was going to approve or reject the GKGW ministry was to take the class myself. Through much prayer, my wife and I decided to take the class starting in January 2001.
We went through this class with a discerning spirit, and frequently asked God to show us the truth regarding the Ezzo's and their teaching. My wife and I are not Bible scholars, however we did not find any doctrinal issues that would prevent us from taking a GKGW class again.
Is the curriculum perfect? No.
However, is any teaching perfect besides the infallible, incorruptible, Word of the Living God? I believe that there is only one authority that we should use to measure whether something is true or false - The Bible.
My wife and I took the class ready to test and approve (Or Reject) the foundation for which the Ezzo's based their parenting principles (1 John 4:1). We walked away approving...
Thanks again for your commitment to change this Nation in the most effective, and probable way...through the family.
Hans and Star M. (Texas)
|Sue K. - Texas, USA
As I have told you in the past GKGW has done more for my marriage, family and spiritual life than any other book, bible study or class I have taken. It is simply the most comprehensive perspective on biblical parenting with practical application that I have encountered. It is a clear teaching of God's plan for families and when I follow it, it is amazing how well it works. Yes, some may think it radical, but Christianity is radical. It goes against societal norms. It has given me answers to problems my peers are still searching for. I don't know where I'd be today without it. Jeff and I took the class in 1997 and we are still using the principles today...
Sue K. (Texas)
|Hank & Sherry - South Carolina, USA
The Growing Kids Gods Way program has truly changed our family for the better. God has been working in our home and we believe that he has been working on us directly through the learning tools provided in Growing Kids Gods Way (GKGW) and the programs leading up to it. The one thing that Sherry and I each continue to repeat is how much our relationship with God has changed over the past two years. The second most significant change that has occurred is our husband-wife relationship. We have found peace and solid direction in the GKGW program.
We came to the Prep for Parenting program by what we thought was an accident. We had never heard of the program. Sherry became pregnant in 2002 and we had started looking for guidance on parenting. Sherry saw a class in the church Small Group Book titled "Preparation for Parenting". We agreed that it would be as good of a place to start as any. Now we know that God put that Small Group Book in Sherry's hands and lead her to the right page. We took Prep for Parenting and realized immediately that this was exactly what we needed. What we did not realize was how our lives would be changed by Prep for Parenting, Prep for Toddler, and Growing Kids Gods Way.
The common thing that Sherry and I realize is how much more we value our relationships with God. We have both become more diligent in our praying, Bible reading and witnessing as a result of GKGW. We have both come to realize that in order to be a better parent we must first become better children of God. Sherry said that the saying that Gary uses in the video "you will only be as good of a parent as you are a wife" could easily be replaced with "you will only be as good of a parent as you are a Christian". That is not something that Sherry would have said two years ago. Now she believes it and tries to live it. I have found myself actually looking at people with a different attitude on Friday morning during my drive to work simply due to what I learned on Thursday night in our GKGW class.
Our marriage relationship has been improved through our learning in GKGW as well as our taking and facilitating previous classes. We have realized how important our marriage relationship is to our family's future. We have become much better at communicating with each other as well as praying together. We never prayed together other than asking God to bless our food prior to getting involved in these classes. Our home is also a living example of what couch time can do for a child. We love to go on dates and were thrilled to have this program reinforce our desire to continue to grow our relationship with each other.
The GKGW program is a great building block for any family. It is amazingly clear to see how important GKGW is when looking around at the direction of so many people in our society. GKGW is contrary to everything that society teaches our educators and parents. GKGW is fundamentally the opposite of what Sherry was taught in her training to be an educator and to work with children. We believe that GKGW is balanced, rounded, common sense, and it speaks the truth. We love the fact that our child stands out in a positive way. We are pleased to hear compliments from strangers concerning our child's behavior. Better than that, we believe that God is pleased to have other people affected in such a positive manner by our child's actions. The most important thing that we believe is that our children are much more likely to grow up and accept the Lord Jesus Christ as their personal Savior as a result of the growth that our family is experiencing from Growing Kids Gods Way.
We thank God for bringing the Ezzos into our home.
Hank and Sherry, South Carolina
|Charlie & Donna Weaver - North Carolina, USA
When our daughter was born, she was much different than our easy-going son. Her personality is very loud and independent. She has quite a defiant spirit. We loved her, of course; but she was a whole new challenge! Enter Growing Kids God's Way (Let the Children Come, the Virtuous Way). We needed new strategies for dealing with new challenges never faced before and Growing Kids provided allot of the answers. This is not to say that we absolutely agreed 100% with everything the Ezzos said. Some ideas we adapted a little to fit our parenting style. We also are not sheep. We had our own ideas about how to handle certain situations. The key was to have scripture to base all decisions on and allow the Holy Spirit to direct us. On some issues, even we were skeptical. For instance, we thought it preposterous that reinstituting "couch time" would make our daughter stop waking up in the middle of the night (something she had suddenly started doing). But the first night after she witnessed us sharing personal time as a couple on the couch (which didn't do our marriage any harm either), she stopped getting up in the middle of the night and has not done so since. Some of the information in the GKGW material is very humbling. Sometimes it's difficult to be reminded of the awesome responsibility we have in raising our children. But being a Christian means wanting to please God. We want God to be pleased in the manner with which we love and raise our children. More than that we want children who will love and serve the Lord. We believe Growing Families International has provided us with the tools to make that happen. We enjoy the success we have found in their programs. Almost daily some stranger or acquaintance comments on how "wonderful" and "well-behaved" our children are. In this age of out of control children, as seen on the Dr. Phil show and Nanny 911, we are happy with the knowledge we gained through GFI. We are thankful for their priceless advice and excited to continue using their strategies in the raising of our children.
We understand that this testimonial may be made available to the public over the internet. We hope it inspires parents, both new and old, to explore the opportunities there are to raise happy, loving, respectful, obedient children. We are not employed by GFI, nor are we class leaders or in any way affiliated with GFI. We are just parents who appreciated some helpful strategies. We freely release our full names and addresses (both email & street) and welcome any questions or comments.
Charlie & Donna Weaver
|Dude H. - Texas, USA
My wife and I have attended several of the GKGW programs and have utilized the principles extensively in our home. Although we may not have been 100% successful every time, the GKGW curriculum was instrumental in helping us determine how to deal with and raise our children.
The curriculum and the classes also provided us with a forum to discuss the challenges of parenting and creative and scripturally based methods of teaching our children the basic principles of biblical ethics. Furthermore, the classes also afforded couples the opportunity to connect (or re-connect) on the basis of how they would parent their children. It was as much a marriage workshop as a parenting workshop.
While I am aware of the controversy that surrounds the Ezzos and the GKGW program...Christianity has never been a popularity contest, it has always been about morals, values and an individual's relationship with Christ.
Dude H. (Texas)
|A Mother - South Carolina
Growing up I was the product of a divorced household of dysfunctional parents. One was absent and one was both emotionally and physically abusive. In fairness to them, I'll say that my parents were also both the products of extremely dysfunctional families with absentee or abusive or emotionally distant parents. As I grew into adulthood, married, and wanted to have a child, I feared repeating the past. My most fervent desire was to put an end to the multi-generation pattern of poor parenting.
Everyone I know has always said, "Don't worry, it comes naturally. You'll know what to do, Mothers are filled with instincts - just listen to your baby and yourself." Well, what those folks didn't know while saying that to me is just what would most likely "come naturally" to me would be a tendency towards abusiveness, but I knew it.
I knew that without prayer and tangible help too, that I would not be the parent I wanted to be. I did a lot of praying and I began participating more in church. A certain degree of peace came over me about my parenting and my desire to have a child. I knew my husband came from a great family, and I trusted that with his help and God's that I would be all right.
While I was pregnant, I heard about the Ezzo parenting classes. Many of my beliefs about the introduction of a child into our home and into our marriage were echoed by a friend who had taken the first class. I called XXXXX [Church] and was lead to the Young's.
We've now taken three classes... And to be truthful, I am amazed what they've done for us. I know to an absolute degree of certainty that I would not be the Mother I am without the classes, and that my daughter would not be the child she is without them. (Not that either of us are even near to "perfect," but I think we're doing pretty good so far.) And as an added bonus, the classes have even been of benefit to my marriage. The battle most of my friends have in their marriages as parents is that they and their husbands are often not on the same page--some aren't even in the same book. But in our household, we are blessed to have read the same books!
I can't thank the Ezzos ... enough for what they've given to my family. We are blessed beyond belief with a child we adore and others do too. And we are blessed to have a degree of certainty about how we are parenting when most folks are worried and uncertain.
May God bless and keep the GFI family and the small group leaders, so that His will and His teachings may be shared in the most important job on earth--that of parenting and raising future believers.
|Wang Hong - China
|Shane Goins - Virginia
(From a letter to the Ezzos)
I just wanted to send a note to you to tell you Thank You. My wife Wendy and I are so grateful for your ministry. Growing Families International has become a vital part of our lives. What you two do is more than teach parenting classes, you mentor people in a lifestyle.
Wendy and I were ministering to children in our church and the parents of the children we were ministering to took a parenting class named Growing Kid's God's Way. As the parents were completing the course we noticed a tremendous difference in the children. So we thought the next time the class is offered we would take it, so that we could stay current with what the parents were teaching their children at home. Well time came around and the class was offered again and we enrolled. We had only been married for two years and had no children. Wendy had a plan of being a career woman with one child, and I thought well we would definitely both work and have twelve children. As we were taking the course we noticed that at first there wasn�t a whole lot about being parents in this course, it really dealt with us as individuals and as parents. We decided to just stick it out and here the whole teaching. Looking back what a major decision that would become. When we finished the course we felt empowered to become awesome parents. All of the teaching just made sense. The best way for me to describe it is that it is all the common sense of parenting wrapped up into one package. We then became parents of a son. So we turned to you again with Prep for Parenting. Wow, what a course, what a God send. Wendy and I have taken every course you offer and have been facilitating courses for ten years now. What a difference it has made. We are a one income family, we have four children, and we are in the process of adopting two more. Wendy home schools our children and they are thriving. Our house is peaceful. People are always commenting on how strong and loving our relationship is with each other. When we are out and about town people comment on how awesome our children are. Not only are they well behave but how well they can interact with adults and how mature they are.
When we came into our marriage we brought a lot of baggage, but with the teaching of your courses and the biblical insight that you share in these courses our marriage has flourished. When looking back we are so very thankful for the truths that you have shared with us through your video series. Wendy and I have talked many times how we would not have survived in our marriage or our parenting if it had not been for you two. I know that you do not want to take credit for anything but it is because of your obedience to God in developing these courses that my family and thousands of others are strong and healthy today. I personally want to say;
THANK YOU !!!
Shane Goins - Virginia
|Mrs. Pena - California
I cannot begin to tell you how many times I have been in a public place and someone has come up to me and said, "your children are so well behaved, how do you get them to be that way?" The reason is that we took a Growing Kids God's way class twelve years ago when our eldest child was two. The class was a God send. Joshua was wild, completely out of control, and we had no idea how to handle him. Then we met a couple who began telling us about the class and when we saw their children we immediately said, "we want that". The class transformed our family. Suddenly, we had structure and guidelines and weren't just "winging it" as most parents do. Our children learned to obey, not just because they had to, for fear of punishment, but because we were winning their hearts.
Today we have a wonderful, loving family and people are always saying that we have amazing kids. We tell them we don't. Our kids are normal kids who have simply been taught to honor and obey their parents, and the bottom line is that God has done the work in our family and the tool that He used was "Growing Kids God's way."
We have our critics. There are people who say we are too rigid and we should let kids be kids and that we are depriving them of an enjoyable childhood. But we have very happy kids. A while back my husband saw a light on late one night in his study and went to see who was up. It was our oldest son Joshua. When my husband entered the room Joshua was sitting at the desk with his Bible open and he was crying. My husband immediately came to him and asked what was wrong. Joshua smiled and said, "I'm just so happy."
We have happy kids - happy, obedient, godly kids. They are far from perfect (but then, so are we), but they are a joy and a delight to everyone who knows them.
Despite the criticism, despite the conflict, I will gladly recommend this curriculum. It changed our lives.
Mrs. Pena - California
(Some comments have been edited for space and clarity. Most are shown exactly as they came to us.)
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