The ministry that eventually became known as Growing Families International did not come into existence through human ingenuity. It was not an idea that moved from a scratch pad to reality, nor a social need Gary and Anne Marie Ezzo felt called to meet. Nonetheless, an empowering reformation in parent education began long before anyone knew what was happening. This is their story.
Divine appointments! No one really knows when one might take place or what it may look like. Life is going in one direction when a chance, (or divine) encounter redirects your steps in an entirely different direction. That unlikely crossing of paths with an old friend, a canceled flight, or that chance meeting on a hiking trail can each serve as the moment that changes the trajectory of your life.
For Gary and Anne Marie, such an encounter presented itself in 1984, when they agreed to meet with a young couple with a three-month-old, and a list of parenting questions. The two couples met weekly, sharing, talking, and working through parenting beliefs, priorities and practices. Soon the one couple inspired twelve others to become part of the learning experience.
Their excitement and enthusiasm attracted eighty additional couples, whose equal enthusiasm inspired two hundred, followed by six hundred, and then a thousand.
Three years later a parenting reformation was spreading from continent to continent; and eventually into sixty-five countries. The various curriculums that followed were translated in twenty-eight languages, impacting over eight million household.
From that very first meeting to the present, the Ezzos' life-giving, values based message has helped to foster a new and refreshing culture of parenting, where mothers and fathers feel informed, appreciated and empowered, and their children feel safe, valued and loved.
Today the global network has grown larger than any one couple, and new vibrant leadership teams are coming of age, carrying forward the Growing Families' message of hope, direction and encouragement to the next generation of new parents.
Stepping in to help lead these global teams are the video cohosts Rich and Julie Young. As a teaching couple, Rich and Julie are committed to life on life relationships, one family impacting another—not by convincing words, but by the compelling witness of morally beautiful children that validate each family’s experience.
As parents of seven children, they know how to help others instill within their children meaningful family values, and virtues, and then match those noble attributes with conduct and care shown to others.
As it is with the entire Growing Families' community, the Young's beliefs and teaching emphasis has everything to do with a single assumption on which the ministry's parenting advice flows. It all starts here: