Stenson tells parents how to raise children with virtue

GREENVILLE – An internationally known expert on family life says that faith is an important component of families. And, says James B. Stenson, it is his Catholic faith that keeps him working hard to strengthen families. Stenson will be the featured speaker at Family Fest 2003, held on the campus of St. Joseph’s Catholic School Nov. 14-15.

The Massachusetts-based Stenson has been writing and speaking about family matters for the past 10 years, and has spoken to groups in nearly every major city in the United States and in a dozen foreign countries. Prior to that, he helped establish Catholic high schools and was the headmaster of one for 12 years. He has studied families, he said, for 30 years and now knows what makes successful ones.

“People who have a strong religious faith raise kids who become fine people,” Stenson said.

Stenson speaks to parents of all faiths and none when he urges them to be leaders in the home and raise their children with “affectionate assertiveness,” and he offers other advice meant to help them win success in the long term. He said that all people of good will look at their children and see that they have to be raised with virtue. Stenson shows them how to do just that.

Some of his advice includes make dinner a sacred time; teach children indifference to being different; see your sacrifices (for the sake of your children) as an investment; teach kids to cope, not escape; be affectionate with your children; explain, don’t argue; appeal to your children’s sense of fairness and capacity to forgive.

“Parents succeed with their children when the kids grow up to become competent, responsible, considerate and generous men and women who are committed to live by principles of integrity — adults who bring honor to their parents all their lives through their conduct, conscience and character,” he said.

According to his Web site (, Stenson is an educational consultant who specializes in family life and family-school relationships. His third book about the family is called “Compass: A Handbook on Parent Leadership” and will be published this year. He knows from his experience what makes families strong; he has studied strong families over the years, he said, although he admits that his expertise “is still a work in progress” as he continues to study families and learn from them what works and what does not.

He has dedicated his life to helping families and does so because of a calling from his church.

“The Holy Father asked us to do whatever we can to strengthen the family, and I have heard from very many families that I have helped strengthen them,” the educator said. “My religion is important to me and is one of the reasons I’m doing this.”

James Stenson will share his treasure trove of advice for parents at Family Fest 2003. For information, call (864) 234-9009. Admission is $10.