Sunday, June 01, 2008

Growing Kids God's Way

Let me preface by saying, I love my church. I really do. But like any relationship, there are times when we disagree. Gary Ezzo and his Growing Kids Gods Way is one such instance. My church supports and encourages his teachings. I abhor them.

Ezzo and his wife are under the impression that their program is the only program for Christian parents. They go so far as to assert that if you don't use their program you are not a true Christian and therefore will not raise true Christians. They misuse Scripture to fit their ideals. That alone is frightening in its totalitarian attitude. But even more frightening is their lack of authentic medical advice (for example, they discourage on-demand feeding and encourage a rigid feeding schedule). There ahve been reported cases of Failure to Thrive amongst babies subject to their teachings.

The Ezzos have been dropped from two churches, their publishing company and even Focus on the Family has distanced themselves.

If you want more information on the Ezzos check out this report from the Christian Research Institute:

I already burned some bridges two years ago when I sent an email to the head of the Children's Ministries about the GKGW programs. This July, they are coming to the church to teach their misguided parenting classes. I am not sure what I will do -- write another letter or just let my refusal to attend be my answer.


TulipGirl said...

Based on your post and location, I'm pretty sure I know which church you attend. . . One of the things most concerning about the GKGW/Ezzo/GFI teachings, is just how divisive they can be. . . I've seen in several churches how the teachings, especially the emphasis by Ezzo on "likemindedness," lead to much disharmony in churches.

You might be interested in this article, More Than A Parenting Ministry?

Considering your church's long affiliation with Gary Ezzo and his teachings, and their willingness to host a conference in spite of the controversial reputation. . . Well. . . I think that any concerns you raise will likely fall upon biased, if not deaf, ears.

That said, perhaps the pastors and elders in your church ARE unaware of the concerns surrounding these teachings. . . Perhaps they aren't aware of just how highly controversial the teachings are. . . Perhaps they've simply delegated the "parenting ministry" to others, and haven't considered the content and consequences of what is promoted?

I couldn't be (and haven't been) silent. But then again, any words spoken or action taken does need to be bathed in prayer.

Grace and peace,

Shawn said...

I appreciate your concerns. Because of the internet and some blogs that seem to make a living (notice they have lots of google ads) personally attacking the Ezzo's it is quite difficult having to decipher what is real and what is truth. As a Pastor at the church the Ezzo's now attend I would just give you a couple of comments:

1. Don't believe everything you read on the internet (even if its a PDF) Somehow when people think that if they link to PDF's that should make it official.

2. If you have issue with the Ezzo's parenting that is your right as a parent. In fact the Ezzo's whole philosophy is Parent Directed and they truly believe you as a parent are the absolute best judge of the best way to raise your children as long as it is Biblical. Stay Biblical and you will do well.

3. Trust your Pastors. I can tell you as a Pastor at my church BEFORE I was a friend of Gary and Anne Marie that our church investigated every claim, read every report, talked to lots and lots of people and actually read their books (which most of the opponents have not done - I know you have tulipgirl :)) I know your church and know that they put you and your children above any author any day of the week. Honestly if you don't believe that you might should look for another church. Pastors love the people and we seek to shepherd (protect) them. Trust them over a few bitter bloggers.

4. I can also now speak not only as a Pastor, but as a person who hangs with the Ezzo's and has seen the love they have for children (mine included) and the burden that they carry for parents in saying that the classes and books may not be for you, that's cool, but they are good people. The craziness that good people are attacking other good people really needs to end.

I hope this comes across in the way I intend which is love and just a friend wanting you to know that though they are public figures they are people. They hurt, they care and they love. I wish the Christian community could agree to disagree sometimes without hurting oneanother.

Thanks for allowing me my two-cents.

In Christ,

Shawn Wood

Yellow Rose Mom said...

Shawn - I would love to know exactly what kind of relationship the Ezzo's have with their 2 daughters? I have heard that they no longer have a relationship with their daughters. Afterall, they did move from California to Charleston to attend Seacoast Church ( ). Why in your retirement would you move to the other side of the US to be as far away from your children as you possibly can? Personally, my parents want to be CLOSE to their children and grandchildren at that age.

Quite honestly, I think that a church sponsoring programs like GKGW is horrible - the church has no business telling parents how they should parent their children - ESPECIALLY when it relates to how you feed them.

And Yes Shawn - I've read the books and I took the class. I've also talked to WAY too many parents who years into their parenting have abandoned everything Ezzo and regretted their decisions to follow it.

Yellow Rose Mom said...

Shawn - I do find this just HILARIOUS. You said " Trust them over a few bitter bloggers." - the opposition to the Ezzo's is NOT limited to "a few bitter bloggers" - if that was the case, then your church would have researched it like they did - come on - don't insult everyone's intelligence. And, just because the Ezzo's seem to be nice and have refuted what others has said doesn't mean their parenting curriculum is "God's Way".

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