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"LEADER" Online: Vol. 9, No. 1

Parents Speaking to Parents: the Families Talk About . . . Story

by David Rose, Producer

The Families Talk About... series started in 1993 as a collaboration between Dr. James Sayre and Rochester Area Community Foundation. Dr. Sayre, a pediatrician, had decades of experience working with urban families in Rochester, NY. Recognizing that some of these families functioned extremely well despite difficult circumstances, Dr. Sayre decided to create a series of videos that would share the wisdom of these families with a wide audience. He worked with the Community Foundation to obtain funding for the series, and then collaborated with my company, Rose Films, to produce the programs.

Dr. James Sayre with a patient.

Dr. Sayre designed the videos to focus exclusively on urban families who were successfully raising their children, and who were articulate about describing their parenting efforts. Each video features four or five families. Dr. Sayre decided not to appear in any of the programs since he felt that the families themselves are the most effective teachers. Each video contains in-depth interviews with the families, as well as scenes of them around their homes. The videos focus on the simple things each family does to insure that their children grow up emotionally strong and healthy. One of the intended side effects of the programs is to reduce violence in the home and on the streets by helping adults to be better parents. The programs are designed for discussion groups at parenting classes, community centers, churches, schools etc.

Families are selected for inclusion in the videos from various community groups, schools, doctors offices and individuals in the community. Each family is first interviewed without a camera present to see if they are interested in participating in the program, and if they would be a good fit with the programs themes. For each program, approximately 8 families are interviewed, with 4 or 5 appearing in the final video. Because the families all live in economically deprived areas, there have been many families who have dropped out of the videos because circumstances have simply become impossible for them to continue. An extreme (and very sad) example of this was when one father in the program was murdered by a neighbor; in another case a child died because of lack of appropriate medical care.

Dr. Sayre passed away in 2002, but his vision for the programs has clearly been a success. Sales of the Families Talk About… videos have funded the production of two new programs. We decided to produce Encouraging Positive Activities and Single Parenting because it was clear that these issues are so important to todays families. We learned, for example, that to many parents activities means sports, so we were interested in broadening that view. The new video describes many activities parents can encourage that are not sports-related.

As before, the new videos feature real families speaking straight to the viewer. This is a true testament to Dr. Sayre's idea that successful families could be the best teachers and role models for other families. It has been a privilege for us at Rose Films to be a part of the Families Talk About... series.

David Rose is the owner of Rose Films, Inc, and producer of the
Families Talk About... video series.


Reprinted from Leader magazine.
Copyright 2003 by Active Parenting Publishers, Inc.