On Needing Sleep

Every generation and every culture has its own triumphs and makes it own mistakes. We can often see both the triumphs and the mistakes in our child-rearing practices. In the early parts of the 20th century, prevailing wisdom insisted that a child be picked up as rarely as possible and little physical affection given. From that, a generation of structured, emotionally detached parents emerged. Then we had Dr. Spock and the invasion of what was called “permissive child rearing.” Here,… Read more

Religious News: Homemakers and Hucksters

Sometimes just reading religious news brings up enough bile to act as a weight loss tonic. First, let’s start with this one: Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and its homemaking degree. In case you’ve missed it, check out this link. In truth, I’m somewhat in sympathy with the idea—homemaking does indeed need to be recognized for its value. There have been numerous estimates made of how what it would cost to replace the services of a full-time mother and home-maker, especially… Read more

The Information Cascade

I just read the phrase, “Information Cascade” and I find myself intrigued. An “information cascade” happens when one person answers a question wrongly but with a lot of confidence, the second person to answer it isn’t sure enough to disagree so goes along with the first person, and then the third person, who may indeed have the correct answer, decides to agree with the first two because he/she assumes that both can’t be wrong. Things just expand from there, with… Read more

The Controversy Brewing in Krum

We’ve got a brouhaha brewing in Krum, TX. Sounds like trouble in River City, folks. What on earth are we going to do about those people who live here but don’t speak English? Isn’t that just terribly rude and lazy? After all, we are educating their children at taxpayer expense. And yes, the above statement is a bit tongue-in-cheek. I’ve just re-read the letters to the editor in the Krum Star the last couple of weeks. In doing so, I… Read more

Thank You!

“Joshua, can you say, ‘Thank you?'” I wonder how many times I said this to my 16 month old grandson on my recent visit to Montreal. His parents and I are all seeking to instill in him good manners and what we hope will be a deeply ingrained and almost automatic response when someone does something for him. Please and thank you. Por favor y gracias. S’il vous plaît et merci. Bitte und danke. Prego e grazie. In any language,… Read more

Paperwork, Procrastination and Panic

Paperwork, procrastination and panic—they touch each other, each pushing the other to greater heights—or depths, depending on one’s perspective. And I, along with countless others, polished the art of procrastination to a mirror finish by putting off collecting my tax information until this past week. It all seemed so easy last spring. A simple filing procedure meant six more months until this moment. Six months! A lifetime, surely? Or perhaps just a fleeting moment. Certainly, my conscience was twinging in… Read more

The Call to Obedience

“If only I had faith . . .” When there is an “if only” statement, it is generally followed by a “then” statement. So what is the “then” that follows the “if only I had faith” statement? Here are some possibilities: “Then” my prayers would be answered. “Then” I would ace my exams. “Then” I would get well. “Then” I would win the lottery or get a raise. “Then” my children would be OK. “Then” I would find the love… Read more

Wishing Death or Wishing Life

An article in Time Magazine speaks of a well known writer’s crusade against anything religious. Here’s how it starts: Christopher Hitchens once devoted an entire book to portraying Mother Teresa as a phony, so perhaps Billy Graham got off easy when Hitchens described him, in a recent C-Span appearance, as “a self-conscious fraud,” who didn’t believe a word of what he preached, but was just in business for the money. The celebrated atheist, whose latest polemic, God Is Not Great:… Read more

Little Things Matter

I love reading advice columnists. Many letters from those seeking advice start with a phrase something like this: “My wife/husband/child/parent/significant other is charming, good-looking, adorable, nearly perfect in every way but. . . ”. The “but” often indicates some behavior, generally but not always done in private, that the letter-writer finds offensive or disgusting or horrifying or immoral or simply troubling and not resolvable. Sometimes the letter-writer just needs to learn some tolerance and lighten up a bit. Often, however,… Read more

From Dust to Dust

I was hurriedly running an errand when my phone began to buzz. Grabbed it and saw a text message from my youngest son with these cryptic words: “I am safe from the fire. No worries.” Now THOSE are words intended to calm a mother’s heart! Right. Heart rate probably reached 200 in those few seconds. I stopped the car, tried to phone him and couldn’t get through. A few minutes later, he reached me and said, “We think there was… Read more

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