The Chicago Friends Convention 2010 was just a perfect three days. I remember the convention in Philly and I as a parent came away from that one with such a wonderful feeling. My children, Gianna, 10, who stutters and Johnny, 8 who doesn’t stutter, were a little young to fully enjoy and appreciate the Philly convention, but the Chicago convention was totally different for them.

I never saw them enjoy themselves so much. My son and my daughter made friends that I think they will have for a long time. We as parents are going to make it a point to get together during the year. We have already planned a Friend’s barbeque in late August. It was truly the perfect vacation. I find myself thinking about the convention next year. The friends we made already plan to meet on Monday and spend time in Washington before the convention even starts.

We loved the way the hotel was set up. It was very family friendly. I felt totally comfortable letting my children wander the hotel with their friends. The key note speaker was unbelievable. What a story he told of his life, so inspiring. I find myself telling people at home his story and they look at me with amazement. Attending the convention put our whole family on such a high, I believe it will last the entire summer!

We would like to thank everyone who made this years convention the best vacation I have ever been on. I truly believe having a child who stutters has put our family on a different path in life. One that reminds me: if children live with tolerance, they learn to be patient. If children live with encouragement, they learn confidence. If children live with praise, they learn to appreciate. If children live with fairness, they learn justice. If children live with security, they learn to have faith. If children live with approval, they learn to like themselves. And if children live with acceptance and friendship, they learn to find love in the world!

I do not take credit for those beautiful words, but read them everyday from a card on my desk in the morning before I start my day.

So many life lessons are learned from raising a child that stutters that can apply to all children, those who stutter and those who do not. And in the end make us all better parents, brothers, sisters, sons, daughters, husbands, wives and friends.

Susan Parisi – August 2010

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