Fifteen years ago, when our first son was born, we were living in a close community of friends who were also transitioning into the world of parenting. All of us were deeply yearning for a trustworthy roadmap for that joyful but sometimes harrowing journey. It soon became clear that, for a person of faith earnestly looking for sound advice on raising children, our options were limited. As a child clinical psychologist, Jeffrey began compiling helpful tools to share with us and his clients, and also to create resources that integrated sound knowledge of child development with Christian faith. For years he’s been pouring over parenting books, scientific research and scripture with equal passion.
Now further along in our journey as parents to three children, we can say that living at the intersection of science and faith has brought life and hope not only to our family, but to the many other parents and children Jeffrey has worked with over the past two decades. We’ve seen scripture illuminate and underscore scientific discovery, and we’ve found that understanding our kids wiring has revolutionized our relationship with them.
That said, we haven’t found parenting to be easy or clean-cut. In fact, it’s been quite a bumpy, messy ride. But that’s life. That’s humanness. And knowing the needs our kids were designed to have and how we can speak to those needs helps. It really does.
We hope the resources we’re sharing and creating will serve you well. We offer them to you humbly, as we have nothing mastered. Neither will you. And that’s ok. That may even be the point. It’s a process, not an outcome we’re aiming for.
And so let the intersection of science and faith lead you to this place first: choose to have a vision of parenting that is committed to seeing your child as a person in their own right, equal before God and unfolding alongside of you and with you. Allow yourself to breathe and release the idea that there is a wrong or a right way to parent. Instead, let’s offer our hopes and dreams and worries for our kids up to the God who holds them. The God of the wild and the wilderness, a God who is constantly calling us back to each other and on to love — a love that will not let any one of us go.
"Compared with all the parenting books I’ve consumed in my decade as a mom, this is the most insightful, encouraging, and relationship-changing one that I’ve come across. From easy, practical tips to deeper more thought-provoking passages, I finished this book feeling like I had a new blueprint for how to help my kids thrive. This book was the invitation I was looking for to really nourish my life as a parent."
— Claire Bidwell Smith, Author of Anxiety: The Missing Stage of Grief
Jeffrey Olrick, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist who specializes in working with children and families. After earning his M.Ed. and Ph.D. at the University of Virginia, Dr. Olrick completed a two-year Fellowship at the Mary Ainsworth Child-Parent Attachment Clinic and now has over twenty years of experience in a variety of settings, including residential treatment, the public school system, community mental health and private practice.
Amy Olrick is an author and a techie who has spent her professional life working with organizations to build social movements grounded in the ethic of love. Her work and writing has been featured in The Guardian and USA Today, and she is an advocate for the global life-saving work of Help Refugees.
As a mother of three school-age kids all with unique needs, this is the book that will be sitting on my nightstand to remind me at the end of challenging days that parenting is hard for everyone; and to reassure me that I don’t have to do anything extraordinary to be exactly what my children need. With all the parenting advice poured out in the world today, it’s so easy to feel unequipped, intimidated and guilty for what we’re not doing right. Jeffrey and Amy not only simplify complicated parenting truths into obtainable action; they support these truths with both science and their own relatable parenting stories that make you feel seen and inspired to start again tomorrow with the confidence that each new day presents numerous opportunities for you to connect with your child and be the parent you want to be. For anyone who’s ever felt lonely or unsure in parenting (isn’t that all of us?), this book is for you. Thank you, Jeffrey and Amy, for giving us a compass that will always lead us home.
— Kelle Hampton, author of Bloom: Finding Beauty in the Unexpected
Much of the way we’ve been taught to think about parenting focuses on what to do with our kids, rather than the unique, individual relationship that we have with them.
We believe it’s time to put aside our worries over whether or not parenting is something we’re doing well and ask ourselves a better question: