Are overprotective parents HURTING their children?

boy at adventure park

Last week, my 11-year old son asked if he could use my 18-inch chainsaw to clear dead trees out of our shelterbelt. In the deepest voice he could muster, he stated, “I’ve got that little hatchet you gave me, Dad... but it’s not quite cutting it.” (Not sure if the pun was intended.)One of the reasons we moved to "the farm" (2.39 acres) five years ago was so that our children could have a childhood outdoors, building forts, climbing trees, hunting rabbits, and reading books on blankets in the b … [Read more...]

Do kids need batteries to have fun?

Childhood wonder

“In nature, a child finds freedom, fantasy, and privacy: a place distant from the adult world, a separate place." - Richard Louv I helped out with a summer camp a while back. About three hundred children from Nebraska and Kansas met at Timberlake Ranch Camp for a week of canoeing, shooting bows, and running a ropes course. The campers and leaders share the space with about a hundred deer and about twice that many wild turkeys. A few days into the weeklong camp, I had supper with one of the ca … [Read more...]

Bored by too much to do

The girl with notebook

"I'm bored, Mom. Give me something to do!"The woman standing behind me at the checkout line of the hardware store handed her son her smartphone, and said, "Here...play with this."Children seem to be growing up bored today. And not because there is less to do, but because there are too many over-stimulating options. As a father (with a smartphone) of three kids (who all want smartphones), I think a lot about what I’m passing on to my children. A conversation with a friend recently drove t … [Read more...]

Can Saying “Yes” Create Bullies?

Young girl looking upset

I say no a lot as a parent. My son asked if he could watch the Broncos game with friends on Sunday. “Not tonight, Bud.” A few moments later, my 8-year-old daughter, the breadaholic, asked if she could have a third dinner roll. “Nope.” Later, all three of our kids asked if they could stay up late. “Not going to happen. Love you.”I'm not an ogre...I do also say yes quite a bit. The amount of requests I field every day gives me ample opportunities to employ both responses. But the point is: I’m … [Read more...]

Fathers…Superheroes or Superzeroes

Dads

“Would you tell me about your dad?”That’s one of my favorite questions to ask another person. Few inquiries surface strong feelings quicker. I’ve had people respond by turning fifty shades of red. Some have sobbed with disappointment. Others have come alive inside, smiling ear to ear as they tell me stories of the strength and compassion of their "old man.”I’ve never had anyone respond weakly to that question.I love the response that Tim Harris gave to NPR Storycorps. Tim lives in … [Read more...]

Helping Children Through National Tragedies

iStock_000008954993XSmall

“Did you hear that children my age probably died in that tornado today, Daddy?”Those were the first words out of my eight-year-old daughter’s mouth when I got home from work last night.I can’t imagine what it must be like to grow up in a day so filled with tragedy AND instant media coverage. When I was eight, I felt stressed about parent-teacher conferences, a bully at my school named Curtis, and selling Babe Ruth candy bars to raise money for my baseball team. My children are growing up … [Read more...]


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