On Saturday, May 9th, Chicago parents gathered at Metro Achievement Center in the West Loop for Midtown Educational Foundation's 15th Annual Parenting Conference: "Parenting: the Most Important Profession of Our Time."
Speakers educated current and prospective MEF parents on the importance of being leaders in their home. They emphasized creating an environment of virtue and discipline—always paired with love—where kids feel valued for who they are, not what they accomplish. Anna Cuevas and her husband, current MEF parents, came from the far southeast side, near the border of Indiana. Mrs. Cuevas acknowledged the long commute but commented, "It is worth it for everything we receive at Midtown and Metro. My daughter is in the 4th grade and my son will be in the engineering apprenticeship at Midtown this summer. I love the holistic approach that [MEF] takes toward educating my kids, and I have loved the parent program." This was their first time attending the conference, and they were very glad that they found time in their busy schedule for it.
Barbara Falk, an educator and lecturer specializing in empowering parents to raise children of character in today’s world, delivered the keynote address. She encouraged parents to coach their children in virtue—to have a lot of affection, yet to be tough sometimes, like all coaches need to be. She also emphasized the reality that “example thunders:” parents should focus on being a good example of character and virtue for their kids. Metro staff member Gemma Cremers observed that MEF parents take this challenge seriously by adding, “The fact that you are here on a Saturday, shows what a good parent you are!!” The keynote made a positive impression on the parents present, as one commented, “Ms. Falk was down to Earth. She consistently provided anecdotes [that spoke to] the realities of the problems I have faced as a parent. The advice was realistic and doable.”
Former & current staff members, MEF Board members, and long-time MEF friends led the six breakout sessions:
- Raising Confident Children: Self-esteem without selfishness—Brian Parker
- The Balancing Act: Freedom & Responsibility—Doug Hinderer
- Forgiveness: the Key to Happiness & Maturity—Tessa McEwen
- Secrets of a Strong Family—Shirley Hinderer
- Communication: Compassion, Understanding, Patience—Lupe Garcia
- Educating Your Child’s Mind & Heart—Arturo Baranda
The Parenting Conference is an annual event organized by Midtown and Metro’s Parent Program Coordinators who organize weekly classes and sessions for MEF parents.