Archives For Parenting

Dam building in Lauterbrunnen SwitzerlandWhat are your favorite outdoor activities as a family? Children need to play outside!

Dr. Al Mohler recently wrote an article, Nature Deficit Disorder — Is Your Child at Risk?, in which he expressed concern for children increasingly not being outside. A fourth grade boy from San Diego is quoted as saying, “I like to play indoors better, ’cause that’s where all the electrical outlets are.” Mohler writes:

This is our Father’s world, and we would do well to receive this world and enjoy it, while giving praise and glory to God for the beauty and bounty it contains. We understand that nature is not an end to itself, and we affirm that the creation exists as the theater of God’s glory for the drama of redemption. All this should help Christians to remember that we honor God most faithfully when we receive His good gifts most gratefully.

Christians should take the lead in reconnecting with nature and disconnecting from machines. Taking the kids for a long walk in the woods would be a great start.

Read more here.

Here are some of our families favorite outdoor activities. What are yours?

  1. Dam something up.  I’ve been damming up streams since I was 5 years old. Our all time favorite construction of a dam was in Switzerland. We spent hours on the dam in the picture.
  2. Run through the sprinkler or slip and slide.
  3. Put in a garden.
  4. Get a giant soccer ball. Our son Benjamin recently found a 6 foot soccer ball online. He has to use an air mattress pump to inflate it. It’s been a big hit with the neighbors. And it is strictly for outdoors!
  5. Burn something (responsibly)
  6. Play Street Hockey
  7. Swim

all under water summer 2001Copy of DSC02122 DSC_0045 DSC00989

HT: David Murray

Joe Carter:

This Sunday is the day Americans set aside to honor their fathers. Here are 9 things you should know about dads and Father’s Day.

1. After listening to a Mother’s Day sermon in 1909, Sonora Dodd of Spokane, Wash. wanted a special day to honer her father, a widowed Civil War veteran who was left to raise his six children on a farm. The first Father’s Day celebration, June 17, 1910, was proclaimed by Spokane’s mayor because it was the month of Smart’s birth.

2. The first presidential proclamation honoring fathers was issued in 1966 when President Lyndon Johnson designated the third Sunday in June as Father’s Day. Father’s Day has been celebrated annually since 1972 when President Richard Nixon signed the public law that made it permanent.

3. The rose is the official flower for Father’s Day. Wearing a red rose signifies a living father, while white one represents a deceased father.

4. Father’s Day is celebrated on the third Sunday of June in many countries in the world, including Canada, China, France, Greece, India, and Japan.

5. According to a 2012 poll from market-research firm Ipsos, most dads would prefer to either spend quality time with their families on Father’s Day (40%) or receive no gift at all (22%). Gift cards were a distant third, at 13%. . . .

Read the rest here.

Picture of the sign at the entrance of Auschwitz that reads Arbeit Macht Frei.Auschwitz survivor Victor Frankl explained why he stayed in Austria to face the Nazis:

Shortly before the United States entered World War II, I received an invitation to come to the American consulate in Vienna to pick up my immigration visa. My old parents were overjoyed because they expected that I would soon be allowed to leave Austria. I suddenly hesitated, however. The question beset me: could I really afford to leave my parents alone to face their fate, to be sent, sooner or later, to a concentration camp, or even to a so called extermination camp? Where did my responsibility lie? Should I foster my own brain child, logotherapy, by emigrating to fertile soil where I could write my books? Or should I concentrate on my duties as a real child, the child of my parents who had to do whatever he could to protect them? I pondered the problem this way and that but could not arrive at a solution; this was the type of dilemma that made one wish for a hint from Heaven,” as the phrase goes.

It was then that I noticed a piece of marble lying on a table at home. When I asked my father about it, he explained that he had found it on the site where the National Socialists had burned down the largest Viennese synagogue. He had taken  the piece because it was part of the tablets on which the Ten Commandments were inscribed. One gilded Hebrew letter was engraved on the piece; my father explained that the letter stood for one of the Commandments. Eagerly I asked, “Which one is it?” He answered “Honor thy father and thy mother that thy days may be long upon the land.” At that moment I decided to stay with my father and my mother upon the land, and to let the American visa lapse.

Frankl’s parents and his pregnant wife died in a concentration camp. Apart from him, among Frankl’s immediate relatives, the only survivor of the Holocaust was his sister Stella.

 

The Plug-In DrugThe worst kind of drug is the one you give to someone else for your own benefit.

In her landmark book, The Plug-in Drug, Marie Winn argued that television is a dangerous drug because it is one that parents often give to their children for their own benefit. Winn wrote:

Surely there can be no more insidious a drug than one that you must administer to others in or to achieve an effect for yourself (page 15).

Do you hear what she is saying? Winn argued that television can be a narcotic that we administer to our children to buy us time while we try and get things done. According to Winn, the biggest danger of television is not the content – - -even if we watch the right things. Television does our thinking for us, it is a sedentary activity

I am not saying all television is wrong. Once when the flu visited our house (though uninvited); one of our children watched Anne of Greene Gables during recovery. It was a good thing.

But, let’s ask ourselves. Do we regularly administer videos, even good ones, to our children, in order to buy ourselves peace and quiet.

Do not let television be a drug that you administer to your children for your own benefit.

Reading to children is one of the most important things parents do.If you are a parent or grandparent of young children, at the very least watch the below video of Max Lucado reading aloud.

My younger sister’s children are the perfect age for Max Lucado’s new book, The Boy and the Ocean. I hope she reads it to them soon. While my sister doesn’t need me to tell her how to snuggle with her children and read a beautiful book. Still, as a pastor and author, and older brother, it’s fun to point out several aspects of Lucado’s beautiful story:

    1. Most important, the little boy isn’t named. By not naming the child, Lucado makes this a story for for all children. He invites children to insert themselves into the story, and they will. As sure as little boys and girls knew they were the run-a-way bunny, children who hear The Little Boy and the Ocean read aloud will picture themselves as the ones looking out their windows at the mountains.
    2. The descriptions of the beauty of God’s creation will invite more discussion with little boys and girls. God reveals himself in creation (Psalm 19:1-7). My nephews and nieces don’t have oceans and mountains outside their windows, but they have vast fields and the open sky. They know about big rivers and beautiful birds. So they can follow Lucado’s lead and write their own poetry about the greatness of God.
    3. The beautiful pictures will inspire children to “read” the book on their own. In a previous post, I shared why our family needs the below picture of my nephew: it’s good for the soul to know beauty is possible and real. Children love books with pictures. Their minds absorb the words of the story and when they put on their Elmo slippers and read them on their own, they will hear the story read aloud.

My nephew Graham loves books!


Enough from me. Maybe to start, show this excerpt to your children or grandchildren.  But finish by reading The Boy and the Ocean to them yourself!

“The Boy and the Ocean” – A reading by author, Max Lucado from Crossway on Vimeo.

What questions should teens be asking?What questions should teens be asking? Share your thoughts!

My wife, Jamie, and I love teenagers. I love being around them. We love watching them grow up. And here in our community we have many opportunities to get to know them.

Sunday night was a special treat. We had our first, “Hanging Out, Going Deep,” event at our house. It was our chance for the teens to tell us the questions that are on their minds. They had some great questions. A sample:

  • How should I help a friend who professes faith but is making poor decisions?
  • Why does the Bible teach there is a resurrection if those who die are already with Jesus?
  • Are we obligated to keep all the laws in the Old Testament?
  • How should we relate to someone in authority over us who makes poor decisions? One of the teens quoted Daniel 2:14 in response to the question. I was impressed!

There should be a place where teens questions are answered.

One of the parts of pastoral ministry I enjoy most is the chance to be around young people.Having said that, one of the challenges that young people should recognize is that they don’t even know all the questions they should be asking! Rather than placing all the burden of choosing the questions on the shoulders of teens, one of the things wise people should do is to point out the questions teens should be asking.

So I turn to you for help. What questions should teens consider? I will be asking parents this question in person on Sunday. But it will be helpful to hear from you all before then!

One of my goals in Bound Together: How We Are Tied to Others in Good and Bad Choiceswas to encourage parents of rebellious children. As a part of doing that, I recommend the book, Come Back, Barbara. Below, Barbara Juliani gives a brief overview of her story which is the subject of this book. I highly recommend the book.

HT: JT

Keep the Bear’s advice in mind this weekend.

If your goal is to destroy your children’s imaginations, the below list is a good place to begin. I would probably put television and video games higher on the list. Christian parents are especially tempted to use quality programs as baby-sitters. But even if the content of certain programs is moral or Christian, it still does the child’s thinking for him or her. So I would add to the list of ways to destroy your child’s imagination:

  • Buy an I-pad immediately. Never require your child to sit anywhere without access to it.
  • Buy all the Christian videos possible. You can have your child watch them while feeling good about yourself as a parent.
  • Put either a television or a computer (ideally both) in your child’s room.
  • Do not read Marie Winn’s book, The Plug-In Drug. She will remind you that the most insidious sort of drug is the one you give to someone else for your own benefit.

Per Justin Taylor, here is Trevor Cairney’s summary of Anthony Esolen’s Ten Ways to Destroy the Imagination of Your Child:

1. Begin by rearing children almost exclusively indoors – give in to the threats of the outdoors, don’t risk allowing them to have unbridled experiences out of our observable space. Lock them up in classes and organized instruction and avoid giving them opportunities to run free.

2. Never allow children to organize their own worlds of exploration of that which is interesting or challenging—replace the spontaneous and child initiated and replace it with 7 days of structured activities controlled by others and a timetable that leaves no scope for exploration, time wasting, and contemplation.

3. Don’t risk allowing children to explore machines or encounter those who know and use them—privilege safety above all things, cut craftsmen from the child’s world, despise practical and craft knowledge, forget about the challenge and fascination of maps, diagrams and the like.

4. Replace fairy tales with cliches and fads—water down stories to remove the evil and violent, look for tales that ‘flatten’ and homogenize, replace fundamental truths with cliches and ideological manifestos.

5. Denigrate or discard the heroic and patriotic—remove fathers who are heroes, men who are warriors, lose sight of the ‘piety’ of a place like the Welsh uplands and coal mines of Richard Llewellyn’s ‘How Green was My Valley.’ Ignore the dignity of simple people and their ways.

6. Cut down all heroes to size—don’t allow a sentimental admiration of a hero, dismiss courage, beat from our boys any hint of hero worship. Instead grow men ‘without chests’ who spend hours on violent video games but never rumble in the back yard.

7. Reduce all talk of love to narcissism and sex – replace the music and tenderness of love in the Odyssey, or the poetry of Stephen Foster for a lost love, with a reduction of love to the mechanics of sex, “reduce eros to the itch of lust or vanity.” Replace the first pangs of curiosity of a boy for a girl, or a girl for a boy, with a bombardment of images of what love isn’t.

8. Level all distinctions between man and woman—just as individual personalities are washed from our classrooms, so too, reduce all differences of gender, and convince children that boys and girls are just the same.

9. Distract the child with the shallow or unreal—fail to encourage the child to hear and sharpen the senses before creating, abolish solitude and silence, fill the child’s life with the ‘noise’ of television, video games and other forms of banality. Don’t just give decibels of noise but rather, more importantly, mental and spiritual interference. Separate the child from the relationship of family, neighbours and friends and place them in after school care, preschools etc.

10. Deny the transcendent—deny the idea of God, ignore the mystery of faith and religion, ensure that unlike the ancients in the caves of Lascaux there is little opportunity to contemplate and create a veritable cathedral born of their imaginings. Do everything possible to erase any opportunity for your child to search out the inscriptions of praise on each human heart.