Local church hosting family conference

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SANDPOINT — In an effort to help families throughout the community live happier lives, the Sandpoint Seventh-day Adventist Church is hosting a “Sandpoint Family Conference” this week.

“They are doing it because of the importance of family,” said Maureen O’Kane, one of the keynote speakers for the event, adding that families are the “fabric of the community.”

The event, which will be held at the Bonner County Fairgrounds, will feature experts speaking about marriage, parenting and finances, as well as a kids program for the young attendees.

“They established (the conference) to build up the families and promote keys to happiness in their local community,” said Cinda Osterman, a parenting expert who is traveling from Michigan to speak at the conference.

Osterman said the event organizers asked her to give a parenting talk, which is titled, “Raising Happy Kids.” Her talk is split into four areas that will first look at God’s ways of disciplining a child versus man’s ways, as well as three ways to enlist the child’s will — getting the child to work with the parent and choose obedience. She will also have a two-part series on how to “train up a child.” Osterman said when her children were younger, she took in rebellious teens, so that is how she is approaching the training — the things that work, as well as the things that don’t work and can ultimately cause more rebellion.

“We do very little training when the child is little, and we don’t like what we’re seeing as they get to be teenagers and then we start putting on all that force and start treating them like they are little kids,” she said. “Then we actually do set up that rebellion, where as if we flipped it back over and do all of that major work when the child’s little ... It’s like when you plant a tree, when it starts growing wrong if you get it up right away it will go straight, but if you let grow crooked, it grows crooked. Once it starts growing that way and gets bigger and bigger, it’s almost impossible to get it to stand straight up again.”

Osterman has worked with young children, troubled teens, and parents needing assistance in raising children for 35 years. She holds a master’s degree in education and is a licensed through the Davis Method as a dyslexia facilitator and autism approach facilitator. Through her business, Training Gifted Minds, LLC, Osterman provides educational consulting, tutoring, testing, and correction programs for children and adults with right-brain learning issues, including dyslexia, dyscalculia, dysgraphia, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and autism.

O’Kane, who used to live in the Sandpoint area, will be in town as a keynote speaker for the event with her talk, titled, “Light, Life and Wandering Stars.” O’Kane grew up believing in evolution until she read a Bible for the first time at the age of 25. Since then, she has shared Scripture science programs at schools, campgrounds, women’s retreat, churches, conventions, and once at the Washington State Penitentiary.

A total of nine speakers are scheduled for a variety of talks on parenting, marriage and finances.

The conference begins today with registration at noon, followed by the first presentation of “The Truth about Happiness” by Jamey Houghton, a Colorado pastor who will serve as the first keynote speaker for the event. The conference will resume Thursday-Saturday, with full days of presentations from 6:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. The presentations will continue with two speakers on Sunday and the conference will end at noon. The full presentation schedule, registration and other information can be found online at sandpointfamilyconference.com.

Each presentation is free and open to the public. There will be free child care available, with a “creature feature” each day. At 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, for example, the kids will have the opportunity to meet Ruby the pig. O’Kane, who is also helping to organize the children’s program, said she has been told Ruby is “quite the charmer.”

“She does tricks and the kids are going to get to feed her ... what pig doesn’t want to be fed by 40 children?” O’Kane said.

Mary Malone can be reached by email at mmalone@bonnercountydailybee.com and follow her on Twitter @MaryDailyBee.

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