Winnis Chiang Newsletter
  Personal Note From Winnis
  Feature Article - How Well Are You Listening?
  Real Life Story - Tributes To Jeanne Stenfort Of CEF
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March 11, 2014
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I always enjoyed worshiping at BASS. This year, our worship leader came with a band, but he still led many songs with familiar words such as, "This is all my hope and peace, nothing but the blood of Jesus."

From the general session and workshops I attended, I am reminded what is important in the eyes of God as we respond to His call to serve.

"He has shown you, O man, what is good;
And what does the Lord require of you
But to do justly,
To love mercy,
And to walk humbly with your God?" (Micah 6:8)

I thought about Jeanne a lot as I walked around campus, because I was used to running into her at BASS when I turned a corner or walked into a room. What a blessing it is to know such a special person who listened to my feelings, thoughts, and needs! Even though Jeanne was a director, teacher and trainer, she listened. Read the "Real Life Story" to learn more.

So how well are you listening? Don't miss this important skill you can use to help your children (and other young or not so young people). Take this simple quiz in the feature article to find out, and let me know if you need help.

Love, Joy and Peace to You!
Featured Article
How Well Are You Listening?

When our children come to us with a problem, we usually want to help them. So we console, interpret, advise, distract, or praise. Other times, we feel we must teach our children, and so we interrogate, lecture, moralize, or order. And probably more often than we'd like, we respond angrily -- blaming, criticizing, ridiculing, shaming, or withdrawing.

However, all of these responses are problematic -- whether with our children, or with the adults in our lives. They often serve to stop the communication of real feelings and the development of individual solutions. Take the quiz below, adapted from the classic Parent Effectiveness Training, by Dr. Thomas Gordon, to assess your listening skills.

1. I let my children feel their difficult feelings, knowing that comments such as "Everyone goes through this" deny the strength of their feelings.

2. I try to listen for the need beneath the words and respond to that.

3. I make it a point to check in to see if I've understood something in the way my child intended it. When I do, I try to keep my own feelings, opinions and guidance out of it.

4. When my child tells me something, I try to respond with either noncommittal phrases (such as "I see" or "Is that so") or with an invitation to say more (such as "Tell me more" or "Go ahead, I'm listening").

5. I notice that when I listen to my children's problems, rather than make suggestions or give advice, my children often come up with their own excellent solutions.

6. When I hear my child out fully, my child is often much more willing to listen to my thoughts and ideas.

7. When I let my children express their feelings openly and completely, the feelings often seem to disappear quickly.

8. I really want to hear what my child has to say; if I don't have the time to listen right at that moment, I say so and make time for it later.

9. I've learned to trust that my children can find perfectly good solutions to their problems on their own.

10. I understand that my children are separate, unique individuals, and that their feelings and perceptions are not necessarily the same as mine.

11. When I stay away from moralizing, interpreting, ordering and advising, I find that I learn a lot more about my children. Sometimes, I even learn from my children.

12. I know that just listening doesn't always bring about immediate change and that it's sometimes OK to leave things on an inconclusive or incomplete note.

13. I understand that listening to children express their feelings can help them accept a situation they know they cannot change.

Authentic communication with our children (and friends) has rewards more valuable than a pot of gold. Real listening may be the rainbow bridge we need to get there. If you scored fewer "true" answers than false, you could probably benefit from improving your listening skills. Don't hesitate to e-mail or call.

Author's content used with permission, © Claire Communications

Real Life Story
As I mentioned last time, Jeanne was in charge of the children's tracks at BASS. She saw the potential in me and encouraged me to lead workshops. Her secret of helping so many Christians grow is to patiently listen to their dreams, fears and doubts. How can you help someone without first showing them that you understand and accept them just the way they are?

Every year, I ran into Jeanne at BASS. Most of the time, we could only exchange brief sentences before heading different directions. One year, she came into my classroom (even though I was teaching a workshop in the Asian track) and asked how I was doing. I knew she was busy, but she lingered on to listen, even long enough for James to take a photo.

On March 2, 2014, James and I attended the memorial service of Jeannie Stenfort. The sanctuary was packed, and so was the gym at the reception following the service. Jeanne loved and she was well-loved. Jeanne and her husband were married in 1962, and they had four children and nine grandchildren. At the beginning of the service, a few of her grandchildren played a piano prelude. Three of her grandchildren read her eulogy.

Her first experience in CEF was in 1972 with 5 Day Clubs, and she started weekly Good News Club in her home. She continued with this work and became the CEF Director of Silicon Valley in 1983. Not only did she teach children at CEF clubs and at her church (her favorite age to teach at church was the kindergartners), she also trained teachers to teach. Everyone knows her work and passion for children receiving Christ as their personal savior. In 2004, she received the National CEF President's Award in recognition for outstanding achievement in the ministry of CEF.

Jeanne faithfully taught children of all ages for more than 40 years and have touched and changed so many lives. Here are highlights from the sharing that day:

"Mom demonstrates patience, faithfulness, and peace every day in our home."

"When I met Jeanne, I was 19... She saw potentials in me that I did not see!'

"She was a soft-spoken leader."

"Jeanne saw potentials in people."

"Jeanne taught and exemplified that (1) she loves God. (2) She loves her neighbors as herself. (3) How to suffer with grace (when she was battling cancer for the last six years)."

"Jeanne saw God-given abilities in people."

"My wife's priority is God, her devotion, CEF, and our family!"

"Jeanne is my hero! I have watched (1) Her unfailing love of her husband -- he could do no wrong in her eyes -- and her family. (2) Her unfailing commitment to the Lord by taking on challenges and leadership roles, even though she was a shy and retiring person by nature. (3) Her commitment to children and passion to lead them to the Lord."

"Jeanne has showed us that time is precious and only what is done for Christ will count. She never complained and never stopped working!"
Are you worrying about one particular young person in your family or ministry? Are you discouraged by the interaction between the two of you? Do you feel disappointed and hurt when he/she says you don't care? Would you like to discover his/her God-given abilities and potentials?

I am offering one F.R.E.E. 50-minute confidential consultation at my Saratoga office (near the Tien Dao Christian Bookstore). To enter into the drawing, please e-mail by 11:59 p.m. on 3/16/14 (Sunday).
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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