When our kids hurt and offend us

I came across this quote from Elder Thaddeus of Vitovnica's wonderful book Our Thoughts Determine Our Lives. I couldn't stop thinking about how it applies to my relationship with my kids. As soon as our mood changes, we no longer speak kindly to our fellow men, but instead we answer them sharply. We only make things worse by doing this. When we are dissatisfied, the whole atmosphere between us becomes sour, and we start to offend one another. No matter what people do or say to us, we must … [Read more...]

One (hard) reason God gives us families

I've not yet read Rod Dreher's new book The Little Way of Ruthie Leming, and I feel stupid for it. Frederica Mathewes-Green reviewed Little Way for the July/August Books and Culture, and it sounds like a piercing story. Here's my summary of Mathewes-Green's summary. Dreher grew up in a down-home family where people were practical and rooted. Intellectual and interested in faraway things, Dreher felt alienated and apart, feelings that became real as he left home to pursue a career in … [Read more...]

The one thing kids need to hear most from their dads

I read a story yesterday that drilled right through me. It's from a letter Montaigne wrote to a neighbor about the love fathers show toward their children. The excerpt is long. Forgive me in advance. You'll thank me when it's done: After the late Marshal de Monluc lost his son . . . he used to stress greatly to me, among his other regrets, the sorrow and heartbreak he felt for never having opened up to him. He had lost, he said, by that habit of paternal gravity and stiffness, the comfort … [Read more...]

Want to see how un-Christlike you are? Try raising kids

fathers don't provoke your children

If you're looking for a gauge to measure how un-Christlike you are, try raising kids. At least that works pretty well for me. In The Four Loves C.S. Lewis speaks of "the bad manners of parents to children." Ahem. Guilty. The other day I spoke harshly to my son. An hour later he was rude, and Megan corrected him. "In our home we honor each other with our words," she told him. And I had to interrupt and apologize right there, lest I make her a hypocrite. I had not honored my son in my … [Read more...]

Pat Robertson, Petraeus, and sexual infidelity

Pat Robertson, CBN

Groan. So here we have an unfolding scandal involving infidelity in the highest reaches of the U.S. military and intelligence community, and what does Christian broadcaster Pat Robertson say about it? Commenting on the affair of General David Petraeus and biographer Paula Broadwell, Robertson said it was "[a]mazing . . . that the affairs of the heart seem to catch these guys." But then he set up a string of mitigators: Petraeus was away, Broadwell was hot, so what can we expect? "I mean, … [Read more...]

Celebrating faithful mothers

Celebrating Mothers

The most obvious thing to do with mothers is to celebrate them. I watch my Megan day in and out striving to raise, nurture, encourage, protect, correct, and prepare our kids. It's a humbling thing to behold. When I say that I couldn't do it, I say the obvious. When I say that she does, I speak of the miraculous. God has a special concern for mothers, something apparent in both the Bible and the memory of the church, which tell the story of so many noteworthy mothers. Just start with the … [Read more...]

You get more of what you focus on

Slug Bug

My son Fionn and I play the drive-time game Slug Bug. The idea, if you're unfamiliar with it, is to identify as many Volkswagen Beetles as possible while out and about and thereby rack up points against your opponent. Right now I'm creaming my kid, I'm proud to say. Don't feel sorry for him. He used to win all the time. One thing I've noticed is that since playing, I see Bugs everywhere -- all the time. Red ones, blue ones, silver ones, yellow ones, avocado-green ones, white ones. They're … [Read more...]

The romance of commitment

The romance of commitment

Men are justifiably famous for lacking commitment, enjoying irresponsibility and freedom as long as we can reasonably stretch it, and oftentimes several yards past that. One manifestation of this artful dodge is that marriage ages have gone up and up in recent decades along with the cohabitation stats. … [Read more...]

How marriage works on you

How Marriage Works on You

I've written in the past about the mystery of marriage, how it transforms its participants. That's part of its very purpose, to conform us to the image of Christ and deepen our communion with God. I've still got a long way to go and, as they say, results may vary, but here are three positive ways that marriage to Megan has begun to change me. 1. Learning to love better The more circumstances require you to love like Christ, the more like Christ you become. That's the hope at least … [Read more...]

What a good wife gets you

Megan!

A smile when you step through the door A hug when you head back out Mercy when you don't deserve it An embrace when you really need it Someone who will pray for you Someone who will tell you no A friend to share the better moments A partner to ride out the lesser ones Laughter, affection, home Warmth, surprise, support Kind words, wise words, funny words Hard words, soft words, sweet words Welcome indulgence Necessary resistance Encouragement Astounding intelligence and … [Read more...]