The night’s theme was “The Family Table,” which emcee Tom Johnson said underscored the organization’s commitment to help local families.
BICC is a nonprofit organization that provides various services for local children and families. Its programs include Starfish, which helps parents of young children learn how to parent well, and Transitions, a program that helps parents and adolescents strengthen their relationships with each other. Others include a mentoring program and a youth leadership program.
All programs focus on helping people better their personal relationships — including family ones.
“I don’t think there’s anything that helps ensure success more than a family,” Johnson said.
After Brenda Hughes, executive director of BICC, thanked all the sponsors, the night’s speaker took his turn.
Dressed in black overalls over a tuxedo-worthy white shirt and black bow tie, Chuck Jackson blew a party noisemaker as the “Happy Birthday” song played in the background before beginning his speech.
After questioning the audience about how they would answer certain questions, he spoke about the disconnect between older and younger generations, using cellphone text message speak as an example of a breakdown in communication.
Jackson recalled his father telling him stories of how he would go everywhere with his own father. Jackson said it used to be common for children to spend a lot of time with their elders, but that trend has gone away.
“We got off track,” he said.
Jackson then explained models for parenting that lean toward two different extremes. One model is strict, focusing on the child following orders and suppressing their feelings. The other model focuses on a child doing whatever feels good to them, allowing them to “follow their own path.”
Both models have their problems, and Jackson said a middle ground approach is ideal.
While parents do not need to be so harsh that they drive their kids to rebel, they need to establish the idea that there are consequences for bad actions, and be firm enough to enforce them. Allowing them to just “follow their own path” is not firm enough to teach kids how to develop their own morals, he said.
“We’ve got to stand for our core American values,” he said. “Tonight, you and I have some decisions to make.”
Jackson said Christians should look for ways to help foster healthy family lives.
He referenced John 19:26-2,7 in which Jesus is dying and addresses his mother and his friend, telling them they should think of each other as mother and son. Jackson pointed out that God had called people to step in and help families even if they were not their own.
“We can become family by choice,” he said.
Whether someone helped the family of someone else or their own, Jackson stressed involvement in organizations like BICC that focused on bettering families — and, in turn, the community.
Jackson said his Grandpa died of cancer last year, and it was after that he realized it was his turn to play the leadership role in his family that his grandfather once did. He said he believed many in attendance at the dinner could do the same.
“It is our turn now,” Jackson said.
He encouraged everyone to continue to support BICC and its programs, because helping families would have a big impact on the community.
Hughes said after the dinner that she was “amazed” at how BICC has helped people over the years.
“It’s been a wonderful journey so far,” Hughes said. “We’re so grateful to God and the community for all that’s been accomplished.”
The programs offered through BICC continue to grow and change.
BICC has increasingly focused its efforts on helping local families stay intact, and she said work will continue to make sure families stay strong.
“We’re moving into a phase of greater impact that we believe will help families in the community,” Hughes said.
For more information about BICC, visit its website, www.bicc-inc.org.