Many of you who walked with us the past few years know of our struggles early on as parents. I can tell you how difficult our babies were, but words like colic, acid reflux, and food allergies don’t do it justice. A friend of Christi’s—who is also a grandma—once introduced her as “the woman whose baby has the worst cry I’ve ever heard.”
“The cry” and unknown food allergies that kept us up every 90 minutes through the night had Christi sobbing on the bathroom floor at 5am one morning because she had no idea how to console her own daughter.
In the middle of that, Christi experienced a loss of identity. Having two master’s degrees and career ambitions, her work now consisted of trying to wrangle our strong-willed first-born and calm our velociraptor-sounding daughter.
Perhaps that’s God’s sense of humor. To humble us in the very task we’re called to do so we don’t pull our britches up too high, thinking we’ve got it all figured out.
If you’re like us, you don’t need outside help to question yourselves as parents. The mainstream media, the so-called experts, and, yes, even family, have that covered, shaming our every parenting move.
During these early years I, as a husband, dad, pastor, and counselor, couldn’t believe raising a family was so complicated. If you’re a parent in the 21st century you’re flooded with options. You can’t even leave the hospital before you have to decide if you’re going to immunize your one-day-old little peanut. That’s not to mention the decisions “they” tell us we need to make over whether we should:
- breast-feed or bottle-feed.
- allow our kids to sleep with us or not.
- send our kids to public or private school. (Wait, shouldn’t we be homeschooling?)
- set specific schedules for eating and sleeping.
- spank or give time-outs. (No, time-ins are better, right?)
- let our kids cry it out, or comfort them.
- feed our kids organic foods with ingredients “they” say are the best for our kids. (Ingredients we can’t even pronounce let alone know for sure whether “they” are right.)
After counseling juvenile delinquents and troubled families for 14 years and doing my doctoral studies in attachment, I went back to the journals. I know parenting isn’t easy, but it had to be simpler. What I found was fascinating and revolutionary!
Two words kept leaping from the research: emotional safety. In every instance, emotional safety was linked to every major outcome we desire for our kids.
So having previously coauthored two books—God Attachment and The Quick-Reference Guide to Counseling Teenagers—I decided to write a new book—Safe House—to explain how both research and the Bible support a simpler way to raise our kids to become adults who “live, love, and lead well.”
That’s the journey Christi and I are on—taking our counseling experience and research and messily applying it in our own home.
I primarily coach families, and train churches and organizations (including families of military organizations like Joint Special Operations Command) on these principles, but I could not do it without the woman who lives this message within our four walls.
That’s why this post is our formal introduction of Christi into our online presence! Now that she’s off the bathroom floor and “semi-functional again” (her words, not mine), she’s the best cheerleader of people you’ll ever meet. If you follow us on Facebook, we are now: Dr. Josh + Christi Straub.
I could go on and on about what Christi brings to the table, but I think it’s best summed up by one of her mentees, “She’s real, down to earth, spunky, sarcastic, and doesn’t put on a face.”
That’s why I married her.
We’re so grateful for how many of you have recently chosen to journey with us. If you’re just getting to know us, our heart and mission is to walk alongside today’s families to bring together a generation of parents who support one another in raising kids who live, love, and lead well. We also desire that our generation have marriages we’d wish on our kids.
There are a few ways we’re doing this right now:
- We recently produced a Safe House 6-week Parent and Small Group Study – check it out – it teaches everything in Safe House and we think you’ll love it. [Click here for trailer!]
- If you haven’t already, we would be honored to have you join our growing community and weekly conversation on Facebook. Each week, we’re on Facebook Live talking about a topic relevant to today’s family.
- We also post daily morning prayers, dinnertime conversations, and bedtime questions for our kids on our Facebook page, Instagram, and Twitter. Life is busy. These little prompts help us get #parentingwins each day.
- Check out the Safe House book, too.
We’re also going to be adding much more in the coming months. Stay tuned – we’re excited!
Until then, know we’re praying for YOU and your family.
Josh + Christi