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...]

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...]

Our ordinary, fascinating lives

The Scripture says that we are "fearfully and wonderfully made." The psalmist uses the phrase to talk about our origins, how we were "skillfully" formed by God. I think we can view the sentiment as more than that, however. I think we can take it as an invitation to view all of a person's life as fearful and wonderful."Marvelous are Your works," says the psalmist, and that includes us, not only our conception but our whole lives. God not only makes us but also sustains us. Our development … [Read more...]

Parenting as evangelism

If you have kids, you know that discipline is inescapable. Without discipline they will talk with their mouths full, smart-talk their elders, punch their siblings, wear their underwear three days in a row, play in busy streets, tease animals, ignore their homework, and tell off-color jokes.At least that’s what I did.Because children can be so foolish (childish?), Dr. D. Ross Campbell says that many parents “conclude that discipline is the basic and primary way of treating a child.” I gave my … [Read more...]

Why God gives us kids

A publisher and a rabbi walk into a kosher restaurant. . . .That’s not the setup to a joke. A few years ago I had lunch with Rabbi Daniel Lapin at the wonderful Grins Vegetarian Café in Nashville (then and maybe now the only kosher joint around). We talked about several different things, among them our families.“You know why God gives us children, don’t you?” he asked me.“Why?”“So that we’ll stop being children.”I’ve thought about that ever since and think it’s basically rig … [Read more...]

Encouraging belief

I’ve been thinking for a while about how to encourage belief in my two children, particularly faith in God, trust in his mercy, and hope in his provision. But all around me I see people losing belief, not only in these things particularly, but in God generally. Why?I don’t think it’s the new crop of media-savvy atheists and all their “persuasive” arguments. I know enough about belief and persuasion to know that most of the time people do not change their minds unless they they’re primed to do s … [Read more...]