Category: Parenting

Inside Out and a theology of Sadness

The outstanding new Pixar film Inside Out gives walking, talking personalities to the various emotions inside the mind of an 11-year-old girl named Riley. My favorite moment takes place about midway through the movie and involves Joy, a Tinker Bell-like sprite voiced by Amy Poehler; Sadness, a blue bespectacled blob voiced by Phyllis Smith; and Bing Bong, Riley’s imaginary friend, who has the conveniently…  [more]

Father’s Day and tree forts

Several weeks ago my oldest son told me, rather frankly, “I know you didn’t really have a dad growing up, so it’s not your fault that you don't know what you’re doing.” His words - as truthful as they were comical - inspired me to spend a few moments staring out the back door towards the slim forest that lines my property. There, amidst the eastern hemlocks and stands of poplars, is…  [more]

How marriage can still “work”

Even as Supreme Court justices hear the case for gay marriage, others question whether the institution of marriage in any form is doomed, warning of the coming “marriage apocalypse” and noting that marriage “doesn’t work anymore.” What’s interesting to me, as a Christian, is to think about what shifts in economics, culture and psychology have brought us to the point where marriage…  [more]

Can spirituality save our achievement-driven kids?

The capacity to subscribe wholesale to the American dream is often thought to be exclusive to adults. We rarely stop to consider the effects of a performance-driven worldview on youth. Yet the insidious tendency to compare ourselves with others, self-identify with our careers and make self-worth contingent upon productivity is as threatening to children as it is to adults. Lisa Miller, director of clinical…  [more]

Sex ed for Christians

Two years ago I sat in a parent-packed auditorium waiting to find out what our fifth graders would be learning in their first round of sex education. Since our family had just switched from a Christian school to a public one, I wondered what I’d hear. The night was tame enough, at least from the instructor. She assured parents our fifth graders really got “puberty ed” - all body hair, body odor,…  [more]

Raising narcissists: what over-approving parents can learn from Philippians 2

A study released this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found a strong correlation between parental patterns and the development of narcissism in early adolescents. The study found that childhood narcissism “is cultivated by parental overvaluation: parents believing their child to be more special and more entitled than others.” This is set in contrast to what the researchers…  [more]

Bringing pathos into the vaccination conversation

Do you think meat from genetically modified food is safe for human consumption? Do you think it is ethically acceptable to use animals in research? Do you think it’s safe to vaccinate children against measles? According to a new survey by the Pew Research Center, you likely answered in the affirmative to all three questions only if you are a scientist. The study found a wide gap between the beliefs of…  [more]

Why “normal Barbie” might not be the answer

Who knew a bunch of second-graders could make me so defensive about Barbie? You’d think I’d be past this. After all, I’ve had a lifetime of concerns about the plastic blonde. I’ve worried her famously out-of-proportion physique could lead to body image problems. I’ve recoiled when a talking Barbie declared that “math class was tough.” (Even though, honestly, I agreed with…  [more]

Kids these days: Parsing that interview with Jaden and Willow Smith

Just playing devil’s advocate here: maybe Will and Jada Smith are just like any other good parents who believe their children possess a particular brand of genius. Let’s be honest, if the New York Times style magazine wanted to feature our kids’ accomplishments and precocious personalities in an interview, we’d let them. Otherwise why are we all filling the Internet up with the videos, photos…  [more]

Three-parent babies? Let’s not forget about begetting

Every few months, a story pops up about a new frontier in reproductive medical technologies: so-called “three-parent IVF.” NPR recently reported on efforts in Britain to allow embryos created via this technique to be transferred into women’s uteruses, while a New York Times Magazine cover article last summer focused on whether the Federal  Drug Administration would approve human clinical…  [more]

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