Member Spotlight: Beverly Parrish, The Transformed Family
By by Michael Miller · Nov 17, 2023
Beverly Parrish has learned a lot as a wife and homeschool mother, and she loves to share her experiences so other families can benefit.
“I have a heart for moms and sometimes I’m willing to say things that others aren’t willing to say,” she said. “Perhaps it’s because I’m older and I don’t have any more towers to build and I’m maybe a little more secure. I’m not quite so concerned that somebody might not like what I have to say, so I tell people the truth.”
The wife of Chris Parrish and mom of six boys and one girl serves as a:
- Mentor to homeschooling moms.
- Tutor to children with dyslexia.
- And a teacher with Chris on family life.
Helping homeschool moms
Beverly has spoken frequently at conferences over the years on a variety of homeschooling topics since mentoring moms new to the practice. She started more than 20 years ago working with an existing program called Smoothing the Way.
“I helped hold new homeschool moms’ hands through their first year of homeschooling and touched on all the topics that we knew were of great importance,” the woman from Houston, Texas, said.
But she also frequently hosted “moms’ night out” gatherings at her own home for direct mentoring.
“I have a real heart for encouraging families whose kids were sort of not tracking in the way other homeschool families were,” Beverly said. “In the early days of the homeschool movement, everybody needed to be ‘academically superior,’ and everybody needed to go to college and all that kind of stuff. And when you had a kid who wasn’t looking like they were going to track that way because they weren’t interested or school was just not their thing, there was quite a sense of feeling alone.”
That work with Smoothing the Way and the groups led to speaking opportunities at homeschool conferences for Beverly, where she had the opportunity to encourage even more families.
Learning to work with the dyslexia of several of her own children, though, led to another level of helping families: as a tutor and, again, an encourager.
Helping dyslexic learners
Over the years, she encountered families that had atypical learners, frequently because of dyslexia. She already knew how to encourage them because three of her own children had dyslexia. Then she learned how to directly help the students by becoming a Davis dyslexia correction facilitator, tutoring students through the method developed by Ronald Dell Davis.
While dyslexia is often defined as a learning “disability,” it can also be seen as a learning difference—simply a different way of processing information, a way that can also lead to great creativity and accomplishment. Famous dyslexics include scientist Albert Einstein, filmmaker Steven Spielberg, and inventor Thomas Edison.
Dyslexia mainly affects the brain’s ability to process the printed word. But supporters and teachers of dyslexics, like Beverly, see it as a gift in many ways. She said she has spent a lot of time at the booth for her Davis tutoring service “just counseling families who were discouraged and feeling hopeless and feeling alone because the journey was hard.”
“We just considered it such a privilege to be able to share that ‘Your kids are going to be fine,’” she said.
The Parrishes had heard “the gamut” of explanations, causes, and “fixes” for their son’s dyslexia.
“We’re like, ‘I don’t think you know my son,’” Beverly said.
Davis’ book The Gift of Dyslexia was key for helping Beverly and Chris understand what their son was going through.
“I thought, ‘Oh, my word, how did I miss this?’” Beverly recalled.
She said that parents of dyslexic children can approach helping those children in terms of “putting together a puzzle,” trying to understand how they think and using it to their advantage as they grow into adulthood.
“(Dyslexia is) a different way of viewing the world,” Beverly said. “We reassure them that they’re not ‘broken.’ When they start to learn the tools, they look up at me and say, ‘You mean I’m not stupid?’”
Family Legacy Conference
“Chris and I really want to come alongside parents and encourage them to create a vision for the legacy they leave,” Beverly said. “We were blessed to get good information from all different kinds of sources when we were a young family. We created a set of goals for our family, and then hung them on our bathroom wall for all these years and they directed our choices.”
As the Parrishes “look out at the landscape now of young Christian families, they seem very confused and lacking good information.”
So, the couple thought they would offer some biblical principles to help young couples chart a path for the legacy they will leave.
One thing the Parrishes stress is that the father sets the tone for the family. To help spread that message and its implementation, Chris holds a biweekly men’s group in the Parrish garage.
“They talk about the hard things that God requires of men,” she said. “The younger men, in their 30s, have a great desire to lead their families, but they don’t know what it looks like. They’ve never seen it. There’s nothing in the media that is at all appropriate as a model of what biblical leadership looks like.”
The men in the group learn that as a husband and father, “you’ve got to do the hard stuff, grow up, and do the things that are uncomfortable, serve your family by denying yourself sometimes and choosing what’s best for your family.”
“Families have been grateful that they got specific information instead of just ‘Teach your kids to love God.’ The understandable response would be, ‘Well, yeah, but how do I do that?’”
In the conferences, the Parrishes talk about evaluating your family’s situation and then creating a vision for your family that is practical.
“There’s confusion about, ‘OK, what can I do as a parent to direct my family?’” Beverly said. “Families have been grateful that they got specific information instead of just ‘Teach your kids to love God.’ The understandable response would be, ‘Well, yeah, but how do I do that?’”
The couple have hosted two conferences themselves but now are pivoting to being hosted by churches, which can take care of the details while Chris and Beverly provide the content.
The conferences include “really practical, biblically-driven principles for families” and offer a workbook to go along with the program. The main topics are headship of the husband in a family, creating a family vision, husband and wife as the central family relationship, and using family dynamics to build a foundation for your vision.
“A vision inspires people to work together toward a common cause,” Beverly said, “and it gives them direction for the choices that they make in their lives. It’s not about a set of rules. It’s about proactively setting ourselves in a certain direction. Not that we’ll ever arrive at the destination, but at least we’re going in the right direction.”