Canadian Armed Forces Chaplain (Retired), Mike Adamczyk and his wife Eileen with Dr. James Dobson
At the end of a four-year military posting in Colorado Springs, a friend asked the Adamczyks if there was anything they hoped to do in Colorado before returning to Canada. Their only request was the opportunity to tell Dr. Dobson, face-to-face, how thankful they are for the guidance and hope he has given them over the years, first as parents, and now as grandparents.
On Thursday, March 30th, Eileen and Major Michael Adamczyk met briefly with psychologist, author, and radio personality, Dr. James Dobson, founder and president of Family Talk (and previously Focus on the Family) to share their appreciation for his ministry to families over the course of their lives.
Like many who come from troubled childhood backgrounds, the Adamczyk’s aspired to raise their family with a different set of values and experiences than those they had grown up with.
“Mike and I both came from unchurched, highly dysfunctional homes. As children, we experienced emotional abuse, neglect, exposure to immorality, and continual verbal affirmation that we would never amount to anything,” shares Eileen. “My father never talked-only yelled. My mother never talked. She was silent on all fronts. There were no words of love, no affectionate touches, no relational interaction.”
Her husband’s background was not painless either.
“Although he had a good relationship with his mother, his father had very little to do with him. Scarce times spent together usually ended in harsh words intended to remind a little boy that he was useless and would never amount to anything. As a teenager, his parents gave Mike a t-shirt which proclaimed, ‘Number 1 Useless Son’.”
“We looked to Dr. Dobson through the years for guidance to raise our children to be responsible godly people,” shares Eileen. “We gained confidence to train our children differently from how we were raised. Our marriage and family life were forged in a new direction through listening to Dr. Dobson over the radio speaking in such a loving and caring manner. I felt embraced with comfort, God’s love, hope, and godly counsel, and was overwhelmed with the extension of God’s love through Dr. Dobson. This was God’s father-heart exemplifying parenting as it should be.”
“As our oldest two children reached school age we heard radio interviews with Dr. Raymond and Dorothy Moore,” Eileen laughs. “We launched into home education with wide-eyed trepidation and ended up home schooling all three of our children through high school.”
“We decided early on that, because his counsel was based on God's Word, he could be trusted,” says Eileen. “Amid a barrage of voices telling us how to live, we settled on tuning into his guidance and instruction.”
The Adamczyks followed the guidelines of Dobson’s ‘Dare to Discipline’ book released in 1970 which was creating a controversial parenting standard for that generation of parents, by advocating for spanking as a correction tool for children up to eight years old. Following on the heels of the permissive ‘anything goes and everything allowed’ trends of the 1960’s-this return to common sense parenting was embraced by millions of readers who made the book an instant best seller. Many editions of that original book (and over a dozen other books which followed) have propelled Dobson onto a lifetime career championing for the family.
“We felt like pioneers with an essential "guide book" from Dr. Dobson,” Mike confides. “Our decisions were not always popular with our friends or family, but we were able to move forward without constantly questioning ourselves.”
“We took Dr. D's advice and took action - discipline- as soon as the set boundaries were crossed,” reflects Eileen. “Through the years people would tell us ‘you've got such great kids!’ We would smile and say, ‘Thanks, Dr. Dobson raised them!’"
“We’ve learned so much about the value of family by reading Dr. Dobson’s books and listening to his radio programs. Life is really all about the family unit. Work, things, ourselves, sports, and even making money, take a back seat to our largest priority-family. It's about raising children who will be effective for God's kingdom. Time, love, patience, investment, and instruction are essential elements to parenting which we learned from Dr. Dobson.”
“We also took his advice on how to keep romance alive in our marriage,” says Eileen. “We STILL go on dates, hold hands, and remain intentional about investing in our relationship. Recently, Mike took me on a date to IKEA-just because he knows how much I love to go there.”
When asked how they think Dr. Dobson’s message can benefit young parents today, Eileen explains, “There are even more voices these days trying to sway young parents, than there were when we started our parenting journey. Media is relentless, but Dr. Dobson is so wise and consistent with a no-frills plan for raising a family in this generation. His experience as a counsellor and parent/grandparent are proven and priceless. Our daughter has expressed to us how thankful she is that we had Dr. Dobson to guide us through her growing up years. Now that she is mother to four busy children of her own, she is glad that she has the same Family Talk resources to fall back on.”
“Mike and I thank God daily for our three amazing adult children,” says Eileen. “First, and most importantly, all three love the Lord and strive to follow God’s heart.”
Aaron is a technical advisor for a leading oil company in North America. His wife, Stacey, is a stay-at-home-mom who creatively fits home business into their active schedule. Aaron and Stacey have two beautiful little boys.
Bethany is a stay-at-home-mom to four busy and bright children. She lovingly supports her husband Jon, who is a pastor/church-planter. The Adamczyk’s especially enjoy how Jon and Beth are intentional in teaching God’s Word to their children on a daily basis.
Josiah is moving towards getting his Master’s in counseling with intention to help those who are broken, helpless and hopeless. His wife Sarah is just finishing teacher’s college and will begin her career as a teacher shortly.
“We thank God for Dr. Dobson. He gave our home stability and helped us apply God’s Word as we moved forward,” says Mike. “Now we look forward onto two new generations that come from our family tree. We are renewed. We are planted by the streams of water!” (Ps 1:3)
Major Michael (Mike) Adamczyk and his wife, Eileen, have been married for 37 years and have three grown and married children who have presented them with six wonderful grandchildren. After 30 years of service as a chaplain with the Canadian Armed forces, they are returning to Canada to enjoy their retirement years.