ParentingThoughts

Helping you leverage your influence

“Parenting is always frontier…you get through the terrible two’s and then all of sudden it’s adolescence.”

Fine China vs. Everyday Dishes

I recently heard Carey Nieuwhof (Pastor of Connexus Community Church and author of Parenting Beyond Your Capacity, (a book I hope to review on this site.) frame the nature of most families conversations around God in an interesting analogy.  He compared the way parents/children, brothers/sisters, even husbands/wives talk about God to “fine china”.

I remember vividly the times in our home growing up when my mom brought out the fine china.  It was an event full of ceremony and fanfare.  They were in a special cabinet and when they came out, immediately, everyone was on edge and felt the need to be a bit more formal.  They came with a set of expectations about how to act.  We would carefully and anxiously eat our meal, doing our best to maintain good posture and proper manners.  Of course, they had to be carefully hand washed, dried, and put away to be brought out again a year later.

In comparison, everyday dishes are a normal part of life.  Sure, sometimes they are ignored in place of the ease of paper plates, but for the most part they are a part of every meal, every conversation, every day.  Even though they are just as fragile as the other dishes, we aren’t afraid to use them and take the risk of allowing them to interact with our daily lives.

I’m curious – in your family, do spiritual conversations feel like pulling out the fine china?  Does everyone instantly become anxious, nervous, and a bit more formal?  What would it take to move the conversations around God and life out of the special cabinet and into the daily rhythm of your day?

I’ve often wondered why it’s easy for me to pray with friends and strangers, but difficult to go before the Creator with my wife?  Or why in our families these conversations can feel, well…awkward.

Hopefully this blog will provide us with resources and space to consider how in our homes, we can treat God less like fine china and more like the everyday dishes.  God wants to be a part of our everyday life.  He wants to show up all the time.  He doesn’t require the ceremony and fanfare we often feel the need to conjure up.  In fact, God is present in our every day moments, maybe we just need to begin to acknowledge Him.

Feel free to interact with these thoughts in the comments below.

Social Media and Our Kids

I wanted to share an email I recently shared with some friends.  I plan to follow it up with a recap of a parent workshop we did on this topic.

“Fellow parents of young kids!  I’m sure you think about this often as well, but I’ve been asking myself this question a lot lately.  “What is it going to be like when our kids have cell phones/iPads/etc?  How are we going to enable the good and restrict the bad that comes with it?”

I ran across this kickstarter campaign on a blog I’ve been reading lately.  I don’t know them and I’m not giving any money.  But I love the concept and it made me think about some things.

First, I realize I constantly have a cell phone in my hand, so from an early age, my girls have seen that modeled.  I think they think that the phone is a part of me.  When my youngest sees my phone laying around the house, she quickly and urgently brings it to me.  “Dad!  You’re phone!”  As if I’m incomplete without this piece of technology.  She’s two!  What have I already taught her about life?

Secondly, I need to figure out how to have a “no technology” time in my house.  I need to begin to model it now, for their sake, but for mine as well.  The same blog where I found the above talks about having a technology basket.   Check it out here and let me know what you think.

Finally, I read that cell phone/internet/screen time is coming up more and more in counseling sessions between married couples.  I know my wife and I have often made comments towards each other regarding this.  It’s not lost on me that I’m typing this on a screen and that many of you may reply to this with an email tagged at the bottom “sent from my iPhone”.  Technology is a great tool and it’s here to stay.  I just want to make sure I’m using it and it’s not using me.

Just food for thought as we prepare for our future.  I’d be curious your thoughts on all this.”

This email brought about some great conversations and I hope it gives you some ideas to begin to interact with your own relationship with technology.  For those of you who can join us April 14th.  If you can’t make, I will post a recap of what we cover in the seminar.  Until then, what, if any, practices does your family have in regards to technology?  When it comes to regulation, what’s appropriate to allow and disallow?

Welcome!

Welcome to Parenting Thoughts!

I’ve been working with youth and families for over 10 years.  During this time, I have interacted with a lot of content related to parenting, adolescence and spiritual formation.  Here are my goals for this site:  1) to wade through this information so that you don’t have to and 2) to bring you the best of what’s out there.

I hope to introduce you to simple, practical ideas that you can easily implement into your already packed life.  On the other hand, I hope to bring you philosophical, big picture ideas that will inspire you and cause you to evaluate what you’re currently doing.

Here’s a few things I believe:

Parents don’t have a lot time to think about anything besides what needs to be done today.
I have two daughters – 4 and 2 years old – and I’m already parenting out of reaction.  I don’t have time to get ahead of the curve.  These kids are constantly moving and growing. My wife and I simply try survive one day at a time.  I imagine your in a similar boat.

Parents don’t want more information or activities.  Parents want better information and they want activities that matter more.
Let’s face it, there is a lot of information out there and it can get overwhelming.    If you google the words “great parenting” over 233 million results pop up.  “Top 10 things to being a great parent…”, “Secrets to being a great parent” or “A How to Guide to being the best parent you can be” are waiting for you and the amount of options can be overwhelming.  If you’re like me, you look at the list and then go back to what you were doing.  That being said, my wife and I want information that matters and helps us accomplish our goals as parents.

Parents have tremendous influence with their kids even if they don’t realize it.
In my years of student ministry, I’ve interacted with many parents who are exhausted and feel that their years of influence are behind them.  This simply isn’t true!  You have tremendous influence and I hope to help you leverage that influence in your relationships with your children.

So, what do you say?  Shall we get started!  Wherever you find yourself in the parenting journey, we hope to help you on your way.  It has been my joy in my professional life to walk alongside many students and families and I can’t wait to do the same for you.

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