Category: Parenting

Shopping the gender-neutral toy aisle with Jesus

As I lay snuggled under our gender-neutral down comforter the other night, I pondered Target’s plan to remove gender labels for its toys and bedding alongside a Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood blog post expressing dismay over the decision. I wondered where in the Bible it says that boys should have “their” toy guns and plaid bedding clearly identified for them, as that post implies. As my…  [more]

Mourning Mark Zuckerberg’s miscarriages in the shadow of Planned Parenthood

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg announced on Facebook (of course) the good news that he and his wife, Priscilla Chan, are expecting a baby girl. He also revealed that the couple experienced three miscarriages before this pregnancy and expressed the desire that sharing their story would give hope to others in similar circumstances. “Most people don't discuss miscarriages,” he wrote, “because you…  [more]

You named your kid Atticus?! Relax

We knew we wanted our son to have a Swedish first name. One that would balance out the very Spanish last name he’d carry through life and would pay homage to the Swedish half of his gene pool. And so my husband and I created a list, culled from the Internet and my grandmother’s family records. We weeded out ones we couldn’t pronounce or spell and ones deemed just too weird. (Sorry, Torbjörn.…  [more]

Asking hard questions about embryo adoption

As I scrolled through my Facebook feed this past Father’s Day, I saw photos of married dads, divorced dads and single dads; of dads caring for their biological children, adopted children and stepchildren. I saw, in other words, the diversity of families in contemporary America. Families today are created and configured in ways that would have been unthinkable just a few decades ago. This diversity is due to…  [more]

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]

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