Winnis Chiang Newsletter
  Personal Note from Winnis
  Feature Article - Grow Yourself as a Parent
  Real Life Story - Jeanne Stenfort of CEF
  Free Training and Announcements - BASS Convention in Castro Valley
February 25, 2014
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March is almost here! Each year, I look forward to worship, fellowship and learning with thousands of Christians in the Bay Area at the BASS Convention. Ever since my friend Millicent took me there in 1992, I have been attending every year. Thanks to the encouragement and support from my mentor Jeanne Stenfort, I have been leading workshops at BASS since 2006. This time, I'm presenting "Parenting American Born Chinese" in Cantonese. Hope to see you there!

In so many ways, having a child really changed my life. I was forced to really grow up even though I was already a software development manager in the Silicon Valley. Having to take care of and develop a little child really got me thinking. My life was transformed when I started finding out what I didn't know. Amazingly, even now, as a grandmother, there is still so much to learn.

How about you? What has your parenting journey been like? May the feature article Grow Yourself as a Parent encourage you to face this wonderful challenge of parenting, whichever stage you are in!

Love, Joy and Peace to You!

P.S. I thought I would soon see Jeanne at BASS, but I was wrong.
Featured Article
Grow Yourself as a Parent

"Grown-ups never understand anything for themselves, and it is tiresome for children to be always and forever explaining things to them."
- Antoine de Saint-Exupery, The Little Prince

Imagine a baby shower where the guests bring a special kind of gift for the new parents.

Not baby clothes. Not strollers or cribs. Not even a single book on child-rearing. The gifts for the new parents? Self-awareness, self-love and self-growth as a person, as well as a parent.

If you feel uncomfortable with that last statement because it seems to focus too much on yourself, think twice and consider what Jesus taught.

"And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.' This is the first commandment. And the second, like it, is this: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no other commandment greater than these" (Mark 12:30-31).

As a Chinese parent, you probably care more about your child than yourself. Caring is good. However, remember the flying safety instruction to put on our oxygen mask before helping the child or elderly next to us. If you cannot breathe, you cannot help others!

Parenting is one of the -- if not the -- most challenging jobs on the planet. There is the awesome responsibility of raising and guiding another human being, of course. But it's the daily interactions between children and parents that can require almost super-human amounts of flexibility, patience and awareness. All the experts and all the books aren't there when it's your toddler who won't nap, your child who stole a valued toy from his best friend, your depressed teen who is desperately searching for answers, your adult child who can't hold down a job.

At one level, successful -- even joyful -- parenting is about listening to ourselves as well as listening to our children. It's a hands-off approach that brings the focus back to what we are feeling and experiencing, so that we don't unthinkingly rain anger and fear down upon our children. Being aware of ourselves helps us develop a strong "mind of Christ" or an intuitive sense of knowing what is best for us and our children in any moment. (And accepting that sometimes we really don't know yet!)

In his book "Sacred Parenting," Christian author Gary Thomas writes, "Our natural (but not necessarily holy) inclination to make life as easy as possible for our children, coupled with our focus on what we really want them to achieve, ultimately tells us parents what we value most about life. In what we stress with our children, we reveal the true passion of our own hearts."

One of the first challenges is to understand that old patterns -- often formed in our own childhoods -- can often rule our behavior as parents right now. For example, if our own parents tried to fix everything that went wrong, we may try to do the same with our children. But our children may need us just to listen to their fears and not jump in with our own fears and try to "fix" it all.

In the process, we allow our kids to make mistakes, and that means we can, too. And if we can forgive our kids and accept them in all their flawed glory, it can't be too big a jump to do this for ourselves.

As author Joyce Maynard writes, "It's not only children who grow. Parents do, too. As much as we watch to see what our children do with their lives, they are watching us to see what we do with ours. I can't tell my children to reach for the sun. All I can do is reach for it myself."

If you think you cannot do it by yourself, you are not alone. Who can give you hope, help and healing? Maybe as Christian parents, all we can do is to live out our new "Christ in us" life day by day, moment by moment!

Author's content used with permission, © Claire Communications

Real Life Story
One of my mentors, Jeanne Stenfort, has gone home to be with the Lord on February 15, 2014. The invitation to her memorial services quoted a very fitting verse.

"I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith" (2 Timothy 4:7).

Jeanne Stenfort is the beloved director of the Silicon Valley chapter of Child Evangelism Fellowship (CEF). She was also responsible for the Children Ministry and Early Childhood workshops at BASS. Even with cancer, Jeanne remained faithful in serving the Lord. Two years ago, on March 25, 2012, I attended a Ministry Reception in honor of Jeanne and saw my friend Millicent and the parents of my daughter-in-law there. I e-mailed Jeanne some photos the next day with these words.

"Dear Jeanne, Praise the Lord for who you are and what you have done in Christ. You have helped so many kids of all ages. Thanks for teaching me, encouraging me, and introducing me as a BASS workshop leader. You will always be my treasured mentor.

What a treat it was for me to sit with Millicent at your reception. She learned from you at least 10 years before me, and she recommended me to take the Teaching Children Effectively (TCE1) class in 1994 at the Salvation Army, San Jose... Both of you have trained me in children's ministries. Both of you have demonstrated faithfulness in the Lord and provided encouragement and support through the years. You blessed me and my family..."

Jeanne has touched and changed many lives. No doubt we will all miss her greatly. Please pray for her family and friends during this time of grief and loss. I'm grateful to have the chance to say to Jeanne what I wanted to say before it was too late. Pray that many will continue to press on sharing God's Word and His great Salvation to the children in Silicon Valley, and around the world.

BASS 2014 will be held in Castro Valley on March 6th to 8th (Thursday to Saturday) this year. I will be leading a "Parenting American-Born Chinese" workshop in Cantonese in Room N10 from 2:15 to 3:30 p.m. Visit for more information on general sessions and workshops. See you there!
Winnis Chiang Winnis Chiang is Founder and CEO of Parenting ABC, a company dedicated to teaching and coaching Chinese Christian parents from around the world how to make a difference in the lives of children, youth, and young adults. Her passion is fueled by the new life she received when she found Christ in 1989 after her marriage and parenting were no longer working. She specializes in helping Mandarin and Cantonese speaking parents to get along with, enjoy, and influence their American Born Chinese children.

Winnis is also a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in private practice in California. She holds a M.A. degree in Marriage, Family and Child Counseling from Western Seminary and a B.Sc. degree in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from U.C. Berkeley. Her former careers include being a software engineer, development department manager, stay-at-home mom, counselor of kids and teens at public schools, and children's minister.

Winnis and her husband (now a pastor) have been married since 1975 after only three months of dating. They enjoy their son, daughter-in-law, and two grandchildren!

Winnis Chiang, M.A., LMFT


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