Reading Time and Parenting

Here’s a link to a post by a fella named Jeff Gunhus.  He talks about his experience with reading and interacting with his kids.  This has been a struggle for me in the past.  I am seeing some light though.  And Jeff’s suggestions have been confirmation that we’re on the right path.  As an example, my son and I read for an hour yesterday.  And we can’t wait to read today.  (By the way, I’m posting on my site in order to leave a digital footprint for my son’s to have some resources as they grow.)

source:  https://www.amazon.com/gp/feature.html?docId=1002658351

JEFF’S 10 TIPS FOR REACHING YOUR RELUCTANT READER

  • Set up time to read with them. There’s always time. Sometimes you just have to carve it out of something else.
  • Have them read out loud. You’ll know better where they are getting hung up. Kids often avoid reading because they think they’re not good at it. Find out.
  • Read with a pencil. Underline words your reader has a tough time pronouncing or can’t define. Transfer to a separate page later.
  • Make them feel safe. Set the ground rules. Let them know that you didn’t know a lot of words when you were young. Confide that there are still words that you don’t know. There’s no judgment in the reading club.
  • Use books that are fun, easy reads at first. An author who ends each chapter with a white-knuckled cliffhanger helps.
  • Only let them read that book in your sessions. Make it special and use the cliffhanger to get them excited for the next session. Encourage a separate book to read outside the reading sessions if they are getting the bug.
  • Relate to the book. Figure out how your reader’s life relates to the characters. This helps critical thinking and makes it fun.
  • Write your own stories. They don’t have to be novels. But put your reader into the story, even if it’s just their name. Have fun with it.
  • Be consistent. Once you set this appointment, nothing can touch it. Nothing.
  • Have fun! This isn’t school, it’s supposed to be fun. You might be surprised. I didn’t expect to like the Harry Potter books but I loved them. Outside of writing Jack Templar, I had my own burst of reading. It was great fun and the more the boys saw me with a book in my hand, the more likely they were to do the same. The quiet mornings with my boys became some of my favorite times with them. I hope you can experience the same.

First Day of School: Prayers and Hopes

Many are starting school today (this week, this month).  We dropped our boys off and just like that, they’re off to learning and growing.  Here are some things I am praying and hoping for; not just for my kids but for all who are starting the school year.

*For Parenting Wisdom:  I am grateful for our teachers.  But I also know that our children’s education is our responsibility as parents and that it’s tough work.  So the prayer is one of humility, asking God to fill us with the wisdom needed to teach our children to be responsible, hard-working, playful, and thoughtful of others.

*teachers and staff members:  teachers pour themselves out so much every day.  Praying they would have the support needed to be the type of teachers that inspire and equip our children.  Praying that parents would get to know their teachers and see what their needs might be.

*a hope for building community:  it’s a hope of mine to build more long lasting relationships and community with parents.  In community we can give and receive support, help meet needs together, and impact the lives of our students and school.

*a hope for children to discover their talents and abilities:  the educational basics are great, we need them.  I also pray that students would discover their talents and abilities, and that we’d learn to value all the different types of ways students think and experience life.

*for those who don’t have educational opportunities:  I also can’t help but think of children (in the U.S. and abroad) who don’t have the opportunities to get the education they deserve because the country might be stricken by war, political upheaval, or poverty.

“Father, we ask to be parents that model Your love and grace to our kids.  We pray for our teachers and school communities–that they would become transformative communities of learning and compassion.  Amen”

The 12 Steps: A Tutor for Spiritual Transformation

The 12 Steps (a revised version posted below for Christian Spiritual Transformation) has been something I’ve been interested in for the last 5 years or so.  Dallas Willard and Richard Rohr (along with others) have used this machination as a means to surrender our lives to King Jesus and be transformed by the power of the Spirit.  My hope and prayer is for constant transformation in my life.  I am addicted to many things, none the least which include popularity and being right.

Source:  http://www.wheretoreach.us/12-steps/

  1. We admit we are limited and mortal; that we need help.
  2. Come to believe that Jesus is the cornerstone of God’s plan of bringing fruitful and lasting life—starting right now—to anyone who will come.
  3. Make a decision to trust everything to the loving direction and power of Jesus, God’s Christ.
  4. Make a searching and fearless inventory of the ways we are selfish or harmful to others or ourselves, as well as the ways we’ve seen God do better, or offer to do better, through us.
  5. Admit to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the full content of our inventory.   
  6. Become entirely ready to act in the opposite spirit of our wrongs, and be transformed in Christ’s likeness.
  7. Humbly seek to empty ourselves of our selfish agendas as Christ did, and ask God to fill us with his Spirit.
  8. Make a list of all persons we have harmed, and become willing to make amends to them all.
  9. Make direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
  10. Continue to take personal inventory and, when we are wrong, promptly admit it.
  11. Seek through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with the Father through his Son and Spirit, praying as Jesus teaches us to pray, and as the Spirit helps us in our weakness. 
  12. Having found real life and love and hope in Jesus, we try to give grace to all, ready to give an answer for our hope, and try to practice his ways in all our affairs.

 

Book Recommendation: “Untamed Jesus” by Gerhard Lohfink

I try to read others that are much wiser and smarter than I am.  This book falls under that premise and will be read shortly after I finish my seminary course this fall.  Based on Stanley Hauweraus’ review, there are 4 things that caught my attention:

1.  “Nazi rule in Germany was not some freak event but an indication that a deep moral failing was at the very heart of German life.”

2.  “This suppression of Paul’s message in the ninth through 11th chapters of Romans is what made the unsurpassed horror of Auschwitz possible. Christians’ suppression of Israel and the Jews has also meant that Christians misunderstand the character of the church.”

3.  “Jesus could not have founded a church because there had long been a church—namely God’s people, Israel.”

4.  “Jesus-taming strategies are designed to reduce Jesus to a gifted charismatic who at best can be identified as a gregarious social worker. Jesus is tamed by such descriptions because they conceal his claim to being the truth of God.”

http://www.christiancentury.org/reviews/2014-07/untamed-jesus

http://amzn.com/0814682642

Richard Rohr: The Dance of Intimacy

I’m learning more and more that intimacy is about knowing my identity found only in God (who is Love).  I must hear the words of belonging, belovedness, and blessedness from Love (God) so that I can have a self to offer in intimacy.  Sometimes intimacy is not happening because the other is not dancing.  They don’t have a healthy sense of identity as found in God.  So it causes them not to have a self to offer in order to dance.  Too often, we blame the other for our shortcomings or lack of self-worth.  Yet, we must return to the voice of Love to claim our self-worth in God.  The following is adapted from Richard Rohr’s Daily Meditations:


 

A relationship demands two. So the first step in the dance of intimacy is an appropriate sense of self. We all know stories about teenagers or even older people who give themselves away to another person in the hope of finding themselves. It never works, of course, but it’s not their fault. They must not have gotten those mirror neurons from the gaze of love to know who they were. So they think this handsome man or this beautiful woman is going to take care of me and is going to give me my identity.

In the story of Moses and the burning bush, there is first of all an allurement, a seduction and attraction, a fascinating experience (the bush that is burning but not consumed). Moses is attracted to it. Then Yahweh says, “Take off your shoes. Come no nearer.” God is not calling Moses to enmeshment or loss of his own self. Yahweh is telling Moses, “I know who I am, and you are about to enter into an experience of the sacred with me, but stand your ground. Come no nearer.” God honors the other as distinct. So love is not absorption, love is not a martyr complex where you let other people use you. When you know your inherent divine identity, you are truly ready to participate in the sacred dance of intimacy. And in the dance of love there must be at least two.

Adapted from Intimacy: The Divine Ambush , disc 2 and 4
(CD, MP3 download)

Gateway to Silence:
The gaze of God receives me exactly as I am.

 

Marriage Enrichment

“A happy marriage is one where there is a relatively high degree of mutual need satisfaction.  Conversely, an unhappy marriage has a high degree of mutual need deprivation.  If a relationship produces chronic, unmet emotional hungers, it will diminish the self-esteem of those involved, resulting in rejection, anger, and aggression.”

- Howard Clinebell

The Parenting Paradigm

Our parenting is a product of our upbringing.  Like it or not.  The gift of knowing this dynamic is that we can reflect and learn from it, as well as add new tools to our parenting tool belt.

I recently came across the following graph on parenting:

ParentingStyleDiana Baumrind, a child development psychologist, came  up with the graph.

What quadrant do you fall into?  I float between a few of them and am obviously striving for the “Authoritative Style”.