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Many of us have at least one person in our family who is a picky eater - generally, one of our kids. So how do you avoid feeding them nothing but peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for the entire duration of Lent when lentils and quinoa are not even an option? I tried an experiment with my kids, nieces, and nephew last year, and it worked pretty well. Let me explain.
When I was having my first child, I heard about many parenting books I should read. And I avoided them like the plague. After all, none of the "experts" agree on the best way to raise children. Some take the Old Testament stance "spare the rod spoil the child." Others go to the opposite extreme, "Don't spank children. Let them do what they want and they'll be just fine." And, of course, if you admit to using any particular form of discipline with your children, someone will be offended by your choice and have plenty of advice to give about why you're doing it wrong. So, long ago, I figured I'd just do what I thought best and muddle through as best I could. After all, that what's my parents had done, and my four sisters and I largely turned out okay.
When our son Adam was three years old, my husband Barry decided to start writing to him in a journal and then hand it to him when he turned 18. That time has come.
In fact, Adam’s 18th came and went, as did Christmas, but the finished product is now complete and shortly to arrive from the printers. Letters From Your Father is a beautiful testament of a father’s love for his son which makes me think of our Father in heaven and his love for each and every one of us.
“For in Jesus, my love for you is revealed.” John 17:26
“What shall we offer You, O Christ,
Who for our sake has appeared on earth as a man?
Every creature which You have made offers You thanks.
The angels offer you a song.
This past Sunday, I received a holy fist bump. Yes, I am serious, a holy fist bump. It was given to me by a nervous 8-year-old new altar boy. It is a story of raising our children in trust that the Lord will supplement our feeble efforts with his grace that overflows all that we can do or imagine.
"Venti iced chai with soy please." I pulled away from the drive-thru and pressed the straw to my lips before heading back out onto the highway.
Another moment of change is here. Fast forward two weeks.
Figure 1. Your little brother in his uniform all tidied, and brushed, and fed and sitting in his first grade desk with the top that lifts from the front. You had a desk like that, do you remember? He’ll fill that desk with new pencils, with two glue sticks and pink erasers. He’ll daydream a bit when the teacher talks, as you did, and then race out to the playground when the bell rings. He’ll come home from school dirty, and wondering where you’ve gone.
“Hey, want to read the Bible?”
If you asked a group of kids that question, you would not be very popular and kids probably wouldn’t be interested. Sadly, our culture and society want the Bible to be seen and not heard. The world wants to feed our kids fake food, not real spiritual nourishment.
And it’s working. Most Orthodox kids do not read the Bible on a regular basis. We’re failing our kids by not teaching them about the saints, parables, and miracles of this holy book. Look at what kids are surrounded with today. They need this in their life right now.
But, we can’t force feed it to them. We need to speak their language.
Here’s how we can do that:
“So, how many of you guys read the Bible at home?” I asked a Sunday school class full of 4th-6th grade kids about a year ago.
About ten pairs of eyes stared back at me, totally blank.
“You guys don’t read the Bible at home…?”
More blank stares.
Jeff Holton wrote “What to say when tragedy strikes” http://blog.myocn.com/home-and-family/what-to-say-when-tragedy-strikes.html and reading it made me think about how we think about and deal with miscarriage as women in the Church. It’s difficult and very common. It’s believed that one in four pregnancies end in a miscarriage, often before a woman might even be able to know 100% that she is pregnant. That was my situation.