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TruthNotes

Timeless truth in a changing world

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Family life

Growing Out of Faith

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This morning I dropped my daughters off at school and they both walked in without looking back. This is quite a change from the beginning of the year, when my kindergartner would cling to me for dear life before I left. I had to walk her down to her classroom, help her put her backpack in her cubby, and give her a dozen hugs before leaving. After a few days of that routine, we shortened it so that her big sister walked her to the classroom, so long as I stood in the entryway where she could see me until she got to her classroom. Then when she got more comfortable with school and more self-reliant, I was able to wave at her from the doorway when she turned the corner to go to her classroom. And now she doesn’t even bother to look back. She’s on her own.

Continue reading “Growing Out of Faith”

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What Does This Mean? (Beyond Confirmation Class)

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I can practically sing “Phantom of the Opera” in my sleep. My son is in the marching band, and their program was “Phantom” this year. Besides the fact that he practiced it at home, we also have the advantage of living but two blocks from the school, and therefore we can hear the band when they practice outside. We heard “Phantom” every school morning, every Monday night when they had three-hour clinics, every halftime show for home games, and every weekend in October for competition.

But here’s the thing–the harder the competitions got, the more they practiced. You’d think by the time they’d done it a few times, they had the thing pretty well under their belts, but no. They worked on fine tuning the performance, sometimes quite literally. They held chords to figure out which instrument was out of tune. They played the same sixteen measures over and over to make sure everyone was stepping exactly where they ought. They needed to know every single detail about their part, and know it well. It was inspiring to observe their focus and dedication. And it’s a good lesson on what it means to live as Christians in the world.

Continue reading “What Does This Mean? (Beyond Confirmation Class)”

Caution: Work in Progress

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Had anyone stopped by my house yesterday, they would have been greeted by complete chaos. The kids and I were taking down the Christmas tree, so ornaments, boxes, storage bins, and strings of lights were strewn about the living room. Branches of the artificial tree were tossed around haphazardly. My two-year-old’s blocks and wooden train track pieces were mixed in with the Christmas stuff. One could hardly walk through the room, it was so cluttered. It was a total disaster. But that was okay. It was, after all, only temporary. It was a work in progress. Continue reading “Caution: Work in Progress”

Perpetual Children

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I’m ready to be done with the toddler years. I mean, don’t get me wrong–I love my toddler like crazy, but I’ve had a baby or toddler in the house for nearly 14 years now, and it’s starting to wear on me. I’m over fun surprises like a fire starting in the bottom of the oven because my toddler thought it would be neat to stuff crayons into those nifty holes down there. I don’t particularly relish finding pins scattered across my carpet after my toddler got into my sewing kit. I’m not keen on finding hot chocolate powder scattered all over the bed and floor during so-called “nap” time. I’m done with temper tantrums and potty training and sippy cups and inane conversations. It sometimes feels like my kids will be children forever.
Continue reading “Perpetual Children”

How to Raise Kids Who Care

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People lament that kids in America are selfish, irresponsible, and entitled; that a day without video games is unthinkable to most American children. So how can you raise kids who defy those odds? who care about others and want to help? who put others before themselves? By modeling this behavior yourself.

If you’ve ever wondered these things about your own kids, here’s an article I wrote for the website Raising Godly Children. It is possible to raise kids who care. It just takes some work on your part, and the article is full of suggestions to get you started.

Give Your Kids the Gift of Boredom

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At what age do kids learn to be bored? Is it something they develop on their own, or do we inadvertently teach it to them? I explore those questions in this article for Raising Godly Children, and although I didn’t plan it this way, it’s a great follow-up to my post from yesterday about going tech free.

Snacking on God’s Word

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Do your kids get a well-balanced diet, or do they snack throughout the day? What about their spiritual diet? Here’s an article I wrote for the website Raising Godly Children about the dangers of merely Snacking on God’s Word.

One Big Happy Family


This weekend was bittersweet for our family. My father, a pastor, retired after forty years in the ministry. The last twenty-eight of those years he spent at the same church in Michigan. He took a call there when I was in the fifth grade. I consider it my home church. It’s strange to think of my parents going anywhere else. But retiring is different for a pastor than for other vocations. If someone retires from an office job, say, there’s no need to switch churches as well. However, when a pastor retires, in most cases he leaves his church as well. This is difficult, because often that’s their support network and social circle. These are the people who have celebrated together in good times and pulled together in difficult times; people who worship together every week. Indeed, they are a church family. And it’s hard to say goodbye to such a family. Continue reading “One Big Happy Family”

When You Feel Like a Horrible Parent

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For anyone who has ever felt like the worst parent ever, this article originally written for and published on the Raising Godly Children website is for you!

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