On April 7, we hosted our annual Parenting and Grand-parenting Conference. This year’s theme was about Emotions. We talked about identifying and labeling emotions so we can better understand what we are feeling and why we are feeling that way. There are 30+ words for our emotions. It goes beyond “mad … and not mad” (conference joke) and even beyond the basic 6. How many can you name?

The Bible is full of emotions. God has created us with emotions. Jesus Himself experienced and expressed many of these emotions. The more we understand how we are created by God, the more we can understand what drives our emotions, and then the more we can control (or regulate) our emotions and responses to be Godly responses rather than sinful responses.

At the conference, we learned much about the brain and brain development in children and teens by Dr. Jennifer Gorham (Clinical Psychologist), Dr. Laura Garofoli (Professor of Psychological Science), and Rocco Iannucci, M.D. (McLean Hospital/Harvard Medical School). Did you know that the brain is probably not fully developed until around age 25? Did you know that the front of the brain is one of the last developed and this portion of the brain helps control the judgment and decision ability? So the next time you ask “What were you thinking?”, know that they really weren’t thinking. It’s not their fault. Their brain really wasn’t there. That’s why God has given parents, grandparents, caregivers, mentors, pastors, and teachers to kids and teens. They need us to help them.

During the conference, we also learned about the use of music with our emotions by Susan Warren (Board Certified Musical Therapist). Did you know that musical therapists are clinically trained and use music to help strengthen the physical, emotional, cognitive, and social needs of individuals? Music just doesn’t affect our mood … it affects every part of us. So listen to all types of music, learn how to play an instrument, and sing all day. We also learned some very practical ways moms and dads can look at their own emotions in order to be emotionally engaged with their kids and teens from Ron Waddell, Jr (Legendary Legacies Fatherhood Initiative) and Bethany Dattolo (Children’s Ministry Director). They are watching and listening to you to know how to use emotions for life.

All of our presenters are not only talented in their areas of expertise but they are parents as well that understand real challenges of even applying what they already know. We need good information to make wise choices, but it’s not just about information. We must apply what we know to our real life situations in order to see transformation.

In case you missed or needed a refresher, we uploaded the conference speaker’s audio recordings (where available), their presentations, as well as links about their sessions below.

Dr. Jennifer Gorham – Plenary Session 1 | Session Notes Emotions Plenary_Gorham


Dr. Jennifer Gorham – Breakout Session | Session Notes Cultivating Emotional Intelligence_Gorham


Dr. Laura Garofoli – Breakout Session | Session Notes Cognitive Limitations of Emotional Responses in Children


Rocco Iannucci, M.D. – Plenary Session 2 | Session Notes Addictions and the Brain _ Iannucci