Reading as Parenting

Laura_Muntz_Lyall_-_Interesting_Story_-_Google_Art_Project When we think about parenting, the word “books” probably isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. But reading to our children is a fundamental aspect of parenting little people, though we rarely talk about it in the context of raising children.

Most of us are already reading to our children. It is something that mothers in particular already do, whether it’s the classic bedtime story or another scenario. Thinking carefully about reading to our kids can help us do it better in a way that will help us and them better steward the gift of intellect that God gives each one of us. John Stodt said that “the secret of holy living lies in the mind.” Books help us steward our children’s minds because it is what we know and understand that drives and directs how we feel and what we do. Reading out loud to our children is a potentially a powerful parenting tool when it is done intentionally and biblically. Here are five reasons to read out loud to our kids. Continue reading

Of Course Courtship is Fundamentally Flawed

early dateSo is dating. So is marriage. That’s because the people in all of these situations are sinners, so anything they touch will, in some way, be damaged by sin. But blaming “courtship” (or your Vision Forum straw man version thereof) for “dragon” fathers, spineless spinsters, and poor young men who are getting crushed by the courtship machine seems extreme. At the very least, it indicates the need for an understanding of the biblical concept of covenant headship. The arguments in this article are so fundamentally flawed, one has to wonder what sort of homeschooling education produces this logic, or what social bubble spawned the idea that “courtship dads” are more abusive than others. Caricatures are simply not helpful; here are some counter points that may help clearer thinking about courtship. Continue reading

What Are We Teaching Our Daughters?

200px-Knitted_pinksquareMaybe I’m not reading broadly enough, but there seems to be a heavy emphasis in the reformed community on passing domestic skills on to our daughters. Many authors and bloggers stress that, along with the quiet and gentle spirit, we need to be enabling our daughters to be fabulous homemakers. Now, that’s great. This generation of young men just might have wives who are Martha Stewarts from day one. That’s a blessing for those husbands.

But for mothers, the pressure to teach our daughters how to budget like Dave Ramsey, clean like a Dutch housewife, and cook like Julia Child seems to be mounting as the church recovers a high view of homemaking and motherhood. Homemaking internships with older women, books on money, and classes on crocheting are strongly encouraged; mothers whose daughters are “behind” in these areas carry an extra burden of mommy guilt. Perhaps this is especially true amongst home schoolers. Continue reading

Dear Young, Christian Husband With a Job and Healthy Wife Who Wants a Baby

keene-mass-empty-bassinetI’ve never met you—I don’t think your wife has, either, so sorry to break into your day like this. A friend of your wife’s asked me to write and tell you something. Your wife has been trying to tell you for a while, but so far, it doesn’t seem like you can hear: your wife wants a baby.

“Wants” might not be the right word; it might make her desire seem less serious. Did you know that your wife spends a lot of time crying about this – when you’re not around, because she doesn’t want to upset you or disrespect you? She calls her friends up when she needs to talk about this and they do their best to comfort her, but it’s really not much. She avoids the baby section of the grocery store because one time she went through it and ended up sobbing in the parking lot without the groceries. She is not being a suck. She is suffering. Continue reading

A Parenting Priority

princeton 001“Parents’ first responsibility is to inculcate in their children a sense of absolute duty (not to say love) to Christ and His Church. However much children are sent to Church, and however much pleasure and help they get out of it, the whole may be lost if, on reaching teenage years, they are allowed to put lesser duties, even pleasures, before Christ and the Church.

What recreations and amusements children are permitted to enjoy is a very difficult matter for parents to decide, and needs guidance from God. It is a matter, not only of where we allow children to go, but when. The real test of whether our pleasures are right or wrong is when they happen to clash with Church. What then do we do? I have little fear for any, young or old, whatever pleasures they allow themselves, who, when a clash occurs, put Christ and His church first. But it is a deeper question than pleasure. It is not merely Christ versus enjoyment, but Christ versus self. When we have some special call upon our time which concerns our personal advantage, what is it that suffers? Is it our work, or our leisure evenings, or our attendance at God’s house?… Continue reading

Preachers’ Daughters (2)

new-windsor-pewWhat I’ve heard about the latest reality tv show isn’t encouraging, let alone edifying. Thankfully, there are teenaged preachers’ daughters who aren’t doing drugs, getting drunk, pregnant, and ruining their father’s reputations. Some of these young ladies, from different denominations, countries and families, answered a few questions about being pk’s for our second post in this series. We have left out their names to give them privacy. Their answers give insight into what it’s like to have dad as the preacher and give everyone some encouragement: there are many godly pastor’s daughters out there!

Would you marry a pastor?

1. “This is something that I have thought about a lot actually and have had pretty mixed feelings about. In some ways, I would like to marry a pastor as I think that it would help me to go deeper in my faith and having grown up in a pastor’s home, I have experience and knowledge that would hopefully enable me to be a blessing to a pastor. However, growing up in a pastor’s family has also opened my eyes to the amount of spiritual and emotional trials that many pastors deal with on a regular basis. Continue reading

The Pastor’s Kid (1)

510px-Hasenclever_The_Parson's_ChildrenMy Dad is a pastor. Same for Grandpa, uncles, brothers-in-law, and husband. Growing up in a family of pastor’s kids (there were six of us, plus cousins) has given us a different experience than many of our peers, simply because dad was a minister. From not having him in the pew with us on Sunday, to going to every funeral and wedding in the congregation, our growing up years were shaped by his calling.

I haven’t seen much written on the pastor’s kid – pk’s tend to be tight-lipped, sometimes rebellious. So in the next couple weeks, we’ll be posting about different aspects of being a pk. Our hope is to give pk’s encouragement, give their parents some insight on a child’s perspective, and open up the topic for discussion in families.

Last week I was on a panel about growing up in the manse. Future pastor’s wives submitted questions ahead of time, and then a mix of pastor’s children answered. We’ll start this series with some thoughts I jotted down in preparation for that evening. Continue reading

Self Denial and Evangelical Parenting

On the weekend I was talking with a mother of teenaged girls about the statistic that 80% of evangelical, college age kids have premarital sex. Obviously, there’s a problem, and this mother was concerned for the future of the church.

People have pointed out the theological and ecclesiastical reasons for this stat: evangelical kids often come from churches that do not clearly teach biblical patterns of marriage and sexuality, and many teens leave church when they move out of their parents’ home for university or work.

Those are problems, certainly. But there may be an even more fundamental issue here: a lack of self denial for Christ’s sake. Continue reading