Last night I attended the Uplift Families Conference, which was founded by Utah’s First Lady Jeanette Herbert. It was both uplifting and inspiring, and great to be in the company of such wonderful presenters who are admired and looked up to.
I was pleasantly surprised at all of the different topics of family life that were covered. This parenting conference didn’t just talk about how to relate better with your kids; each speaker covered a different challenge that each family and each parent faces while raising kids. Emcee Amy Nay from KUTV Channel 2 introduced the speakers, and even spoke a little bit and shared examples from her own life about making sure you write down the funny things and little moments with you children.
Mrs. Herbert spoke about her own family and the importance of eating dinner together as much as you can. Next week is National Eat Dinner With You Family week, and the First Lady spoke about the benefits of eating together as a family. Some of those benefits include better grades, lower drug usage rates and healthier eating habits.
“It’s all about families. It’s about those connections we have and those times we share,” Mrs. Herbert said. “Sharing dinner gives everybody a sense of identity.
Brad Barton – Masters Track and Field World Record Holder
Brad Barton was inspiring as he spoke about the challenges of life and his journey to attempt the world track record for his age division. After enduring a broken foot, a terrible fall while running, and many other obstacles, his philosophy is that “gritty experiences give you grit.”
He spoke about how powerful the words are that we speak, and if we want to change our story, we need to change our stories. He taught how to teach kids to be resilient by allowing them to experience the pain and inevitable challenges in life, give them a perspective about life, and help them to see their vision for life. By encouraging our kids to get in there and do something they’ve never done before will help them see their life vision.
He also spoke about giving our kids hope for the future and that we need to teach them that life does get better.
Carmen Rasmusen Herbert – “Discovering The Who In You”
A mother to four young boys, you may recognize Carmen as the 6th place winner of American Idol in 2003.
She spoke a lot about how we talk to our children, and that they believe the words we tell them. She gave personal experiences of raising her young boys, and how after telling her one son he was “acting like a bully”, he believed it and started acting like one.
We play a huge role in the development of our children’s self esteem, and that we are their first coaches and cheerleaders. It’s important for our kids to know that we are on their team no matter what.
Clay Olsen – Fight The New Drug
Co-founder of Fight The New Drug, a youth activist movement dedicated to raising awareness on the harmful effects of pornography through science, facts, and personal accounts, Clay Olsen spoke about the harmful effects of pornography and what it’s doing to the youth today. It affects the brain, the heart, and society as a whole.
Did you know that there is now scientific evidence that shows how pornography negatively affects the brain?! It rewires the neuro-connectors in the brain, similar to the effects of drug and alcohol addictions. If we don’t educate our youth, the industry will. It’s not as simple as “just stop, don’t do that”. It needs to be treated like any other addiction.
Pornography is not the same as it was twenty years ago, and increasingly gets more violent as time goes on. 88% of material in mainstream porn are physically violent and abusive to women. Like any other addiction, the addict needs to increase the level and intensity as time goes on, making it harder and harder to get away from that addiction and live a happy, healthy life.
Joshua Creek – musical guest
The attendees were treated to a special performance by Utah’s own Joshua Creek. They had many songs about family, both comical and serious, and my favorite performance from them was their song “I Love You Son”. A touching song about the forgiveness we need to give our children as they grow older, and even into adulthood we seek for that forgiveness as well as give it.
Lucy Delgadillo – “Money Talks”
When attending a parenting conference, you rarely hear speakers talk about money, yet it is one of the biggest challenges in raising a family. Your security with money dictates a lot of how stressful daily life is, and it should definitely be talked about much more than it is!
She gave tips such as thinking about how we feel about money and sharing that with our parenting partner. Set aside a non-stressful time to discuss money issues, and make sure it’s a timed discussion that doesn’t go on a long time.
Matt Townsend – “Parenting Like a Gardner”
Hilarious speaker Matt Townsend talked about parenting and related it to being a gardener. He gave personal experiences from raising his own children, and had the audience laughing at how funny parenting really is!
While we need to create the conditions for our seed to reach its ultimate potential and growth, the power lies in the seed. We need to know how to unleash that power. Like a gardener, in the end our hands will be worn out and calloused, but to see the seed that has grown into something beautiful is worth it.
We need to know our seeds, and realize that they are all different and need different conditions and care to grow. We need to nurture our seeds, and protect them from the weeds. Did you know that feelings of isolation can take seven years off of our lives?! That’s equivalent to smoking 15 cigarettes a day! We need to care for and love our children.
He ended with Aesop’s fable “The Wind and The Sun” and how we cannot force our children to do anything; we need to love them and be gentle in our parenting.
Stay tuned to the Uplift Families site and YouTube channel to watch these amazing speakers as soon as they become available, and browse videos from past conferences and other parenting related topics.
After a delicious, hearty dinner, attendees were able to browse exhibits of individuals around Utah that are doing many wonderful things to help uplift Utah families.
As an Uplift Families Blog Partner, I was asked to create a small display of how I am sharing my resources and talents to help Utah families become closer. The quote on the handout I shared explains a lot of how I feel and why I started Enjoy Utah. It’s so important to spend time with our families to create that bond that Mrs. Herbert talked about at the conference.
We asked many attendees what their favorite place in Utah / thing about Utah is, and it was fun to see all of the different responses. It’s amazing how many activities there are and places to visit with our families!
I was privileged to share a display table with Wendy Santiano from bedheadmom.com. Her focus is on honoring mothers for all they do, and that the sacrifices they make are beautiful. Each woman has her own unique beauty, and that needs to be celebrated.
“I started this site as a way to honor mothers for all that they do,” Wendy said on her site. “I wanted to show them how beautiful all the sacrifices they make each day—however unglamorous—makes them. It is so fascinating and beautiful that women sacrifice so much to raise the next generation, everything from their body and time to money and, many would agree, their sanity. Because it is such a challenge, I believe that they should celebrate it, so I started doing photo shoots of mothers with their bedhead and without any make-up on, just as real and raw as you could get, while talking about the joys and hardships of being a mother.”