The World Congress of Families has been held in Prague; Geneva; Mexico City; Amsterdam; Madrid; Sydney; and Warsaw, Poland, but never in the United States — until now.
The four-day congress convenes for the first time in the U.S. at the Grand America Hotel in Salt Lake City beginning from Oct. 27-30.
We wrote an earlier column about our decision to accept an invitation to speak at the congress and are pleased that organizers have reached out to all parts of the political spectrum — to all who care about families. And speaking more locally, we believe this congress provides a unique opportunity for Utahns to hear from and associate with some of the world’s leading experts on a host of family related topics.
The official website calls the congress “the largest gathering of pro-family advocates in the world” and says “The World Congress of Families IX welcomes friends and people of goodwill from all nations to Salt Lake City for the premier global gathering of parents, youth, lawmakers, scholars, religious leaders and advocates united to affirm, celebrate and encourage the natural family.”
We particularly like the three verbs in that last part. We have the opportunity to speak twice at the congress, and we will be trying to "affirm, celebrate and encourage" by suggesting specific ways in which we all can better celebrate commitment, popularize parenting, bolster balance and validate values within families.
We would like to extend a personal invitation to our readers to attend the congress and the two sessions at which we will be speaking.
During the afternoon plenary session on Wednesday, Oct. 28, we will speak about how the world is turning away from families and how we can help to turn it back. And on Friday, Oct. 30, we will have nearly two hours during the longer afternoon forum session to present practical ideas on raising responsible kids and avoiding the Entitlement Trap.
But you certainly won’t be coming just for us! On Wednesday, guests will be able to attend general sessions and choose between three forums and eight concurrent sessions with topics ranging from “The Historical Importance of Families” to “The Eternal Importance of Mothers.” And on Friday, there will be a wide variety of other presenters, including a plenary panel on “Problems Facing Today’s Families Around the World.”
Day passes cost $30 and are good for admission to all plenaries, forums and concurrent sessions throughout the day. Visit wcf9.org for the full program and agenda for each day of the congress. And if you have the time, you can become a delegate for the full four days, which includes private concerts on Thursday by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and on Friday by The Piano Guys.
We know how hard most parents and grandparents are working on the micro challenges of keeping their own families strong and on raising good kids, and sometimes we feel like the last thing we have time for is some all-day conference on the macro problems of families across the world. But this congress will be more than that. There will be lots of practical ideas and insights that will help us with our marriages and parenting and that will help us better understand the world in which our children are growing up and the forces that can work against them in becoming the kind of people we hope they will be.
We especially want to encourage you to come and attend as ordinary parents and grandparents because it is our feeling that the more people who come to the conference not as experts, educators and scholars but as parents, the better the conference will be and the more good it will do in the world.
After all, it is we, as parents within our individual families, who have the most at stake here. And as parents, we are the only ones within reach of the real solution.
Because after all is said and done, there is only one way to save this world and to preserve our society, and that is one family at a time.
Richard and Linda Eyre are New York Times best-selling authors and founders of JoySchools.com who speak worldwide on marriage and parenting issues. Their new books are "The Turning" and "Life in Full." Visit valuesparenting.com or eyrealm.com.