I am finally ready! I have been thinking about how to begin this blog for months. What am I going to write? Who is my target Audience? How often will I post? Well today is the the day. This is the first official post of the Parenting Boys Raising Men Blog. I am very excited to start this new endeavor and look forward to what may come of it. I am sure things will be revised and refined as I become more accustomed to this process but for now I feel pretty good about getting started. Let me begin by telling you a little about myself.
My name is Mark Vander Ley. I am a follower of Christ, a husband, a father, and a therapist. I am starting this blog because I am passionate about helping parents navigate the sometimes difficult path of parenthood. I have been working with teenagers and their families for over ten years in several different settings. I have worked in residential treatment, as a youth pastor, and as a residential and outpatient therapist. I hope to provide insight on a wide variety of parenting topics including culture, faith, discipline, relationships, therapy, and much more. In the years that I have been working with teens and their families several themes stick out as foundational for my life. I am passionate about Faith, Fatherhood, and Formation.
Whether it is the years I spent as a youth pastor or the time spent working for Christian counseling ministries faith has always been a big part of why I do what I do. I have a very hard time finding purpose and meaning in life without the direction of Jesus Christ. So, Although not every post will be centered around Christian parents and teens the foundational framework for all content on this blog will be grounded in a biblical worldview.
I believe that the highest calling for any man on this earth is fatherhood. I am thankful everyday for my wonderful children and wife. Fatherhood is the most important thing that I will ever do with my life. WOW!! this is serious business. So, my passion for helping parents navigate the path of parenthood comes from the core belief that fathers matter. I desire to share this passion with others, and offer resources, encouragement, insights, and advice for those who share the journey.
I believe the best way to learn is by doing. For years I have been injecting my work with parents and teens with opportunities to experience growth, change, and formation. This formation is powered by direct and intentional experience. This blog will be full of ways to BE a Formational parent. Formational parents create opportunities for their children to learn from experience, and to develop solid character and identity.
So, These three core values Faith, Fatherhood, and Formation will infect this blog to its core and my hope is that they will begin to infect your parenting in the way they have mine.