My Daughter, the Encourager

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"Dad, did you have your meeting yet?" Sally asked Sean recently. Sean had mentioned the meeting earlier in the day, and Sally had remembered."Yes, I did," Sean replied."Good job, Dad," Sally said.Our daughter Sally is many things---curious, creative, compassionate---but one thing she has shown herself to be, time and again, is an encourager. It's funny, my parents always said that children who aren't spanked grow up to be selfish, spoiled, uncaring brats. Not so. I don't spank … [Read more...]

Stranger Danger?

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Last week I took Sally and Bobby for a walk. Sally was on her new, bigger bike. It wasn't actually new---it was Sean's twenty years ago, recently pulled from a barn and fixed up---but it was new to her, and it was the first time she'd been out on it. Bobby, age two, was on his pink car-scooter, which had been Sally's before him, a gift from one of my sisters. He operates it by using his legs to push off, similar to using two oars in tandem, and the speed he can achieve is truly impressive. He … [Read more...]

You Are Not Entitled to My Life

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Ever since reading her post about parents being "involved" in their adult children's romantic relationships, I've been bothered by a comment blogger That Mom left in her own comment section. In that comment, she condemned the "hands off" approach as unhealthy. Note that she's not talking about young children. She's talking about young adults. She argues that parents should be involved in every area of their young adult children's lives from careers to marriages.The thing is, I remember what … [Read more...]

Just Who Is Teaching Respect?

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I grew up in a (very) large Christian homeschooling family where children were expected to be "respectful." Or so I thought. Mainly this meant saying "yes sir" and "yes ma'am" and obeying your parents, and now I'm shaking my head at how shallow this is and everything it misses.A few weeks ago my two youngest brothers, still in elementary school, shamed my mid-twenties next-in-age sister for getting a tattoo. They verbally berated her and heckled here and generally sought to humiliate her. My … [Read more...]

Should Parents Be “Involved” in Their Children’s Love Lives?

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Blogger That Mom recently began a series on courtship. I don't know where she will take the subject as she goes on through the series, but I did want to touch on the premise she begins with---that parents need to be involved. The Necessary ParentWhen we attended Bill Gothard’s IBLP Basic Seminar back in the mid-80s, one of the topics he covered was dating. This was before he had moved into his courtship teachings and even before anyone we knew of had started discussing things like courtship … [Read more...]

What Is Real—and What Is Not

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Now five years old, Sally has been working overtime trying to differentiate between "real" and "pretend." She has finally determined that fairies and magic are not real. I'm not completely sure how she determined this, but it matters a lot to her right now. This is a natural stage of development for children her age, this desire to distinguish between "real" and "pretend." Still, part of me is a bit nostalgic. I liked her fantasy world in which fairies were as real as kittens. I mean, at one … [Read more...]

Talking to Kids about Social Services, part II

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I wrote yesterday about the fear of social services I received from my parents and from the wider homeschooling community. Once I grew up I realized that this fear was both irrational and counterproductive. Social services was not the enemy, and social workers do important work protecting children from abuse and neglect. Sure, social services isn't perfect, and they sometimes make mistakes. But what good does teaching children to be afraid of social services do? Absolutely none at all. When I … [Read more...]


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