David Thomas Returns to Covenant to Offer Insights, Guidance

During the Covid-19 shutdown, many of our kids “went to school” at home, which meant hours spent in front of the computer and much time spent alone. This year, most of our kids are back in class. They are once again walking the halls of their schools – seeing friends and teachers. The adjustment/re-adjustment has been challenging for many.

David Thomas, Director of Family Counseling at Daystar Counseling in Nashville, Tenn., will present “Rhythms and Resilience in Kids after Covid: What Now?” at Covenant at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 23. Parents of kids from 2 to 12 are invited to attend. Dinner for attendees, free childcare and free dinner for the kids will be provided.

“We have all been through a lot in the past 18 months and I want to come together and offer you some encouragement, some hope, some practical tools as we navigate forward as families,” Thomas said.

What To Expect

The goal of the evening is for parents to learn to talk to their kids about Covid and other tough issues, according to Children’s Ministry Director Christy Milam. “We want parents to walk away with the ability to have healthy conversations, and not to bury or push aside the things kids are feeling. As parents, I think we have a tendency to encourage kids to put on their big girl or boy pants. It’s a disservice to our kids to not let them feel all the feelings and to walk with them through this.

”Thomas’ therapy practice has been active throughout the pandemic,” Christy said. “He has had a frontline view of how kids are reacting. He helped his patients deal with isolation, staying home all the time and not going to school – all of these firsts that were the result of the pandemic. And he’s helping them as we re-emerge and start socializing again.”

In his recent engagements, Thomas has touched on the effects of the pandemic. At Covenant, he will tailor his entire presentation around that subject. “He’s creating this specifically for our audience,” Christy said.

Thomas will cover a broad base of what we are seeing in kids, and the things that parents should be looking out for. “He’ll talk about everyday ways parents can promote resilience in our kids in order to overcome some of the red flags,” Christy said.

As for the kids at Covenant, Christy and her team haven’t seen a lot of change as they returned to church activities. “Because I know the kids so well, I can see some differences. A few kids who were super social have backed off a little; a couple will stay with their parents and go to worship rather than attend Sunday school. Separation anxiety from parents is happening more with older kids, but we’re not seeing worse behavior.”

Thomas will speak for 90 minutes. After that, he’ll break the audience into groups based on the ages of their kids. Each group will discuss specific questions, and he will circulate around the room to provide his insights.

Covenant parent January Pfiester has her space reserved. “I’d probably listen to David speak no matter the topic, but I definitely look forward to hearing any tips we can implement so our children come out of this pandemic in the best way possible and we emerge from this as better parents and families.”

More about Thomas

Thomas is an expert in child development. “He knows what makes kids tick at various ages and he also knows effective ways for parents to communicate with their kids,” Christy said, recalling his 2019 presentation at Covenant. “He knows what words to use so your kids will actually hear you. He can help with communication strategies regardless of your child’s age.

“But what he really does,” Christy said, “is give you confidence. He’s so motivational! When you listen to him, you feel like you really can do the things he suggests. The information he shares is really approachable, and it’s all based on fact and developmental stages.”

Christy said therapists at Daystar are often ahead of the curve. When he and colleague Sissy Goff visited in 2019, they were having conversations about anxiety and girls. At that time, the average onset age for girls’ anxiety was 7. Just three years prior, girls’ anxiety was starting, on average, at 10. “His information is not happy stuff,” Christy said. “Thomas talks about the hard parts of growing up.”

Covenant Parents Recommend

Covenant parents are eager for Thomas’ encore. “I enjoyed his presentation so much,” January said of his 2019 visit.  “He was very engaging. I laughed and cried during the presentation. He touched on specific topics that were relevant and spot-on to things happening in our household. I remember him having such a kind, compassionate outlook on tough parenting topics that it made me want to sit down and chat more with him.”

Church member Med Luckett follows Thomas in several platforms. “Thomas’ book, Are My Kids on Track?, was recommended to me. After reading, and loving the book, I found the book’s Instagram account, Raising Boys and Girls, and a podcast also called, Raising Boys and Girls. The book, podcast and Instagram account identify milestones for kids’ emotional, social and spiritual development. They give practical strategies to use when kids face different challenges. It’s so great to hear ways to help my children. When I’m feeling ‘stuck’ with struggles my children are facing, I am encouraged by David’s practical strategies.”

“I look forward to hearing David talk about ways to support my kids during this uncertain time,” Med continued. “After a year and a half of fear, disappointments and unpredictability, I want to learn ways to parent intentionally.”

Covenant is able to bring in the high-profile Thomas, in part because of a partnership with Laity Lodge. “We find that we have a good overlap with some of the people that they serve. Because of their location, they don’t often host shorter events. Working together keeps our costs down and enables to us to bring in speakers like Thomas,” Christy said.

Thomas is eager to return: “I’m excited to head back to Austin, Texas, a city I love, to have the privilege to spend time with Laity Lodge and Covenant Presbyterian families.”

Don’t miss out! Register and get more information about the Oct. 23 event here.