Turn picnic into true family feast

Octayvia Nance

PARENTING author Hettie Brittz aims to bring Port Elizabeth families closer together this Sunday as she closes off her national Evergreen Festival with a family picnic in Nelson Mandela Bay.

She invites all families to join her at the PE Hoogland Dutch Reformed Church in Charlo at 10.30am. Families are encouraged to bring their own picnic baskets but entrance is free.

Pretoria-based Brittz founded Evergreen Parenting and Tall Trees – organisations that train, educate and empower parents and teachers with advice and resources about childhood development. She said she started them to help people heal in their personal and professional relationships and even in their relationship with God.

She will be speaking at the 8.30am church service and then give a brief talk – in English and Afrikaans – at the picnic later in the morning, where families are encouraged to ask questions.

“The picnic has a festive emphasis on families being together and doing things together. I’ve decided that picnics are a fun way of involving all members of the family,” the wife of gospel singer Louis Brittz said.

Port Elizabeth Toddler’s Workshop owner and Evergreen Parenting facilitator Lynette van Wyk said all families would benefit.

“Hettie took the initiative to use spring as a way of encouraging families to celebrate the new life that is brought along with spring and decided that picnics are a fun way of involving all members of a family. She has a lot of experience and it will be worthwhile to attend. She will be there to give advice to parents who need it,” Van Wyk said.

Brittz said parents should remember their children were the real legacy they leave.

“None of our work or accomplishments, bank accounts or degrees will ever say as much about us, as our kids will say.

“I do a fair amount of women’s ministry with a focus on the overcoming of bitterness and fear after trauma. Having survived a rape during a house-robbery three years ago, I have a passion to see women restored and healed, so they can continue raising healthy children and being in happy and healthy marriages despite past hurts,” she said.

“Families act as incubators. Children are very rarely healthy, happy and hopeful for their future when the family is disintegrating.

“Poor communication due to a lack of interpersonal skills, parents who have not dealt with a painful past such as a history of abuse, and children who are so different from their parents in personality and interests that the parents reject them or force them to change.

“Stress caused by financial constraints, long-term illness of a parent, addictions, violence and unfaithfulness of one or both parents to their spouse and the like are the obvious things that destroy a healthy family.

She says she’s passionate about seeing families rebuilt and strengthened.

“My books, talks and courses are aimed to inspire, equip and bring families closer to the truths that bring true healing in individuals and relationships,” she said.

Her books – written in Afrikaans – are also published in English as Growing Kids with Character and Growing Kids through Healthy Authority.

Further information on the picnic from Eastern Cape Evergreen facilitator Lynette van Wyk at 083-793-3320

10 top tips for parenting

PARENTING specialist Hettie Brittz gives readers 10 fresh tips on being a healthy family.

  • Play often. It is important that families are able to enjoy themselves. It builds good family relations.(that is why we invite you to picnic with us!)
  • Eat dinners together. It is the most powerful preventative measure against teen addictions and other family issues.
  • Make simple and sensible rules. This makes family life easier and safer for both parents and kids of all ages.
  • Have a predictable rhythm or routine. This will teach kids that life should have a pattern and order to it.
  • Give each child and parent a well-defined role to play, and share responsibilities. This gives an opportunity for moms to rest too.
  • Raise your kids with the help of other families that share your values – it takes a village to raise a child.
  • Guard against three little monsters that turn into big ones: nagging, blaming, screaming (this goes for parents, too!)
  • Respect each other. Make this your main goal – respect each other’s space, time, privacy, dignity and possessions.
  • Learn to say “I’m sorry, it was my fault. Will you forgive me?”
  • Accept the unique personalities, ideas, preferences and interests of each family member. You may share DNA and a surname, but each one is unique.

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