I’m excited to share my SOAR Conference 2018 Birds on a Wire experience — and Sex Talk resources for talking with Toddlers through Teens — with you! That’s a broad range of topics, but I’m better for learning it and I want to share it all with you!
The conference was held in Alpharetta, GA at North Point Community Church, on August 17 & 18.
This post includes Affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Learn more in my Disclosures page.
Birds on a Wire
If you’re a mom or you know a mom that may want Godly, practical advice and who wouldn’t mind feeling celebrated, encouraged and equipped in her parenting role, Birds on a Wire is something to look into! Karen Stubbs started this now international ministry out of her basement back in 2011. It meets a felt need by moms to have a place to be real, encourage one another and feel equipped in the spiritual and practical aspects of parenting.
Being a mom is an all in endeavor but we don’t always feel encouraged or equipped in our role.
I have attended Soar for two years running. Both times have provided a total reset for my mind, body and spirit. Taking a weekend break of this caliber is the epitome of self care! Learning about new resources and strategies, connecting with old and new friends and worshiping alongside 1000 other moms has long lasting effects.
Soar 2018 featured new content from Karen Stubbs in three main stage sessions. Attendees also selected 3 additional breakout sessions from an offering of deeply engaging topics for moms in every season of parenting.
My Soar Conference 2018 Birds On a Wire Experience
This year’s theme was Be Rooted. Be You. Be Intentional.
Here are my main takeaways from Karen Stubbs’s opening session on Friday night, “Be Rooted”!
Jeremiah 17:7-8 and 1 Corinthians 15:58 discuss being confident in the Lord, letting nothing move you and staying evergreen in times of heat and drought, knowing your labor is not in vain. All pretty relatable hopes and concerns for moms in the every day heat of parenting.
Different trees have different root types.
Pines have shallow roots and fall easily in a storm.
Bradford Pears are beautiful ornamentals. They look good on the outside, but their roots and core are weak. In a storm, the Bradford is known to split right down the middle.
Oaks are deeply rooted. This tree does not fear the drought or the storm. Oaks not only put down deep roots, they interlock beneath the ground with the roots of other neighboring oaks. It is a beautiful picture of how deep faith and strong community keeps us standing firm in a storm.
As moms we’re often moved to worry, fall or break by events and opinions, “expert” advice and our own children’s behavior. Our roots are what anchor us!
What type of tree are you?
A Pine; easily frustrated and under-confident, fearfully swaying in both big storms and daily struggles.
A Bradford; appearing pulled together in every way but truthfully knowing your roots and core are spiritually dry and brittle.
An Oak; strongly linked, leading and mentoring others through storms, never fearing tough times. Often an oak’s faith has weathered many a storm in order to achieve those deep, interconnected roots. Oaks fear not because they’ve seen God move.
Every Oak has been a Pine or Bradford at some point. There is no shame in identifying where you are and figuring out how to strengthen your roots!
Where do you want to be at the start of next summer?
Get connected in a community of other women. Nurture and be nurtured. Be intentional about doing life with your friends. Wherever you are, keep growing. Check who or what you’ve linked your roots. Invite other moms to your grove and consider leading a community group.
Connect with Birds on a Wire
Soar is slated to return to Alpharetta, GA in 2020.
Stay in tune with Karen Stubbs and Birds on a Wire with these links!
Soar Conference 2018 Birds On a Wire Breakouts
The Breakout Sessions were broad in topic variety. Each session I attended was poignant and thought provoking. I left feeling as though I had a true expert on the topic personally hand over tools, strategies and encouragement to everyone in the room. I definitely left Soar feeling more equipped as a mom!
Here are my takeaways from the Breakaway session that left me feeling most practically equipped for what's next. I'd love to hear your feedback! If we're going to have healthy talks with our kids, we need to be able to talk amongst ourselves first!
MORE THAN A “TALK”: TEACHING BIBLICAL SEXUALITY TO TODDLERS THROUGH TEENS ~ Anne Kerr
Our sexuality is sacred, purposeful, and powerful, yet one of the hardest topics to discuss. It is shaped over the whole of our lives, and our children’s sexuality is being shaped right now. Learn how to become a trusted ally to your loved ones, someone they turn to rather than hide from as they become more aware of their own sexuality and begin to face their own challenges in the current culture.
Takeaway: The biggest impact this session had on me was to see our role as that of a protective ally for our kids. Sex education should be way more than a one time conversation. Actively discussing Biblical sexuality with openness and compassion for our kids’ questions and concerns builds a trust we need them to have if we’re going to be their go-to on this important topic. Second to that impact, is that of banishing the fear of taking away our kids’ innocence by sharing too early. Parents should want to be the very first place kids hear about sex, porn and protecting their bodies.
Anne Kerr is the Founder & CEO of TrueNorth. I encourage you to check out her site and blog. Anne shared insight on several books and online resources for guiding conversations with kids. I’ve shared a portion of those below.
Sex Talk Resources:
God Made All of Me, by Justin S. & Lindsey A. Holcomb
Recommended for Ages 2-8
I purchased this book to use as a continued review with my 6 and 10 year old. Includes talking points for parents, including how to handle inappropriate situations between children, vocabulary to use and get rid of, and not making kids validate our emotions. I found these notes insightful and unique. “God Made All of Me” gives practical education on recognizing inappropriate touches and what to do. Parents can tailor conversation to match child’s age and use this resource as a guide when returning to the conversation over time.
The Talk: 7 Lessons to Introduce Your Child to Biblical Sexuality by Luke Gilkerson, Recommended for Ages 6-10
Gilkerson worked for 8 years as the Educational Resource Manager at Covenant Eyes, writing hundreds of articles and ebooks, teaching individuals and parents about dangers and temptations found on the Internet. This book offers insight into God’s plan for sexuality as a way to build trust that they can talk to parents and ask any questions they have, as well as empower kids to protect themselves from abuse.
What I love about this book is that it broaches very tough subject matter with grace and compassion, focusing on relationships of parents with their kids, and kids with God. Lessons are short and to the point, allowing time for discussion. Questions are included with each lesson and can be used to guide age appropriate discussion.
Lessons 1-4 introduce the basics of sex; difference in male and female anatomy, how babies are conceived and grow, and the intimacy created through sex. Lessons 5-7 focus on God’s beautiful intention for healthy relationships, as well as how sex can be misused.
This book assumes your child is already aware of good touches/bad touches. It delves much further into the topic of sexual abuse than I expected. Parents will more than likely feel uncomfortable and even alarmed using such direct talk with kids.
The repeated message of Anne Kerr and Luke Gilkerson rings in my ears though; the fear of sharing too much too soon often leads to sharing too little too late. I will stress that in the Notes section meant for parents, the statistics of sexual abuse against children hit me as far more alarming than this book’s lessons on abuse and the misuse of sex.
Parents will need to review any sex education resources in full and digest the material well in advance of talking with their kids. When you hit material that makes you uncomfortable, consider the consequence of waiting or not sharing your views on the topic.
Remember this book can be used verbatim as a script or simply as a guide. You are in control of language used within each lesson!
Additional Sex Talk Resources