The Importance of Forgiveness for Kids

help my kids forgive each other

Let’s talk about the Biblical importance of forgiveness for kids! Imagine this very common scene with me: Olivia and Jack are playing together. They squabble, as kids tend to do when doing anything together. During the fight, Jack whacks Olivia on the head and Olivia starts crying. A few minutes later, the fuss has calmed down, and Jack says to Olivia, “I’m sorry for hitting you.” What does Olivia say? 9 times of 10, Olivia says “it’s okay”. Is that really what she should be saying at that moment? “It’s okay that you whacked me on the head? Go ahead, do it again anytime, because hey, it’s okay!” If you’re anything like me, you’ve coached your kid to say this at least once, but really, the words are meaningless, aren’t they? Assuming that “next time, I’m gonna kick your teeth in” isn’t a reasonable alternative, what should be said instead? I Forgive You. “I … Read More

The 10 Best Christian Picture Books (for your WHOLE family!)

The 10 Best Christian Picture Books

As the Director of Children’s Ministries at my church, I have scoured the Christian picture book world over the past 12 years, looking for excellent books to recommend to “my” families. As a mom, I have read bazillions of library books and learned which ones truly engage children. As a writer, I have sluiced through hundreds of the top books, both Christian and secular, figuring out what makes them good and why kids like them. You, dear reader, get to take advantage of my years of research! What follows is a list of THE best Christian picture books on the market today. In fact, if you bought all 10, I have no doubt that you would have a fantastic library of books that your kids would come back to repeatedly, and that you would enjoy reading to them. Now, I know there are a lot of great books out there. … Read More

3 things we must do to protect our kids online

protect my kids online

This week, my husband and I attended a movie called “Over 18”, which is a documentary that talks about the harmfulness of the porn industry, particularly to children and youth. We both came away from the film rather discouraged. It’s a big system, designed to create addiction so that it can make more money. Studies show that 90% of boys and 60% of girls have been exposed to internet pornography before 18. Say WHAT? I just want to put masks over my little boys’ eyes forever. The most powerful testimony in the movie was the 13 year old boy who became addicted to pornography at age 8. ← That’s not a typo. Age 8. And it all happened on the computer in the kitchen while being homeschooled by his loving Christian parents. These were not negligent parents. They were normal, loving parents, just like you and me. And their boy … Read More

The one parenting goal you don’t want to miss

One parenting goal

“Can I ride home by myself?” he asked, eyes pleading to let him have this freedom. He was 8. We were at the park near our house. There were only 3 smallish roads to cross, but still, my mama-heart beat faster than I would have liked. Images of broken bodies raced through my mind, along with the sound of squealing brakes. I shook my head to dispell the thoughts – my son was not my sister. So I swallowed and nodded. Parenting is like… I have heard it said that parenting is like flying a kite. When they are young, you keep them close, but as they grow, you let out the line little by little. If you let it out all at once, giving them too much freedom, they’ll get tangled in the briars of life. But if you never let go, they don’t learn to fly on their own. … Read More

The Top 9 Things Every Mom of 3 Boys Needs You To Know

One mom's humorous take on what it is like to raise 3 sons

3 boys can be a lot of work, but there are significant perks to this mom-job! If I had a dollar for every time someone said one of the following things to me when I’m out with my 3 boys, I’d be living on a private island right now: Are you trying for a girl? You must be busy. *look of extreme sympathy* Frankly, I love my 3 boys to bits. They are each about 2 1/2 years apart. The eldest has a surprising wit that alternately leaves me rolling on the floor and rolling my eyes, but also has a big, sensitive heart. My middle guy is the best helper I’ve ever met, and even in early elementary is a real ladies man. The littlest boy is sneaky, but every time I catch him doing something bad, he turns on the most dimpled smile and gets out of trouble. … Read More

When your child believes the lies of the enemy

My two oldest boys get on each other’s nerves something fierce these days. Recently, however, the fights were different. Tensions were high because of a deep mistrust that had burrowed itself into the mind of my eldest. Every word spoken and every action taken by his brother brought him to the brink of a tantrum because he felt like his brother was “out to get” him. During a particularly hard day when everyone in the family had gotten frustrated with his attitude, he wailed to his dad, “I feel like everyone is against me” and it finally clicked. My little boy was believing lies. You see, we have this enemy who wants to devour and destroy anything good in the lives of our boys. He does not want them growing up with a strong bond of brotherly love, and he will do what it takes to tear that bond apart. Lies were … Read More

fighting FOR our strong-willed kids instead of against them

hard-to-handle

Let’s swap “stubborn kid” stories, shall we? I’ll tell you about the time a friend asked my 3-year-old to help clean up a communal play area…and he soundly ignored her after repeated attempts to get him to help. I was mortified. I’ll tell you about all the nitpicked meals that have gone in the compost because a certain picky eater would rather go to bed than touch his food. Or the time this child refused, REFUSED, to go to Sunday School. The same Sunday School his mother is in charge of. Yup. He was so rude to his teacher, I wanted to hide in a corner, not go stand in front of the group and teach them about God’s love! Then there is the child that still refuses to speak at almost 3 years old. Can we talk about the screaming, the foot-stomping, and the slamming doors? Or perhaps we … Read More

my boy wore nail polish: questions about gender roles and boxes

On gender roles and boxes

I only own two colours of nail polish: dark purple and silvery blue. About twice a year I paint my toenails because, well, FLIP-FLOPS! So one day when I was doing my toes, I offered to jazz up some little boy nails as well. They were quite thrilled about their spiffy new fingertips, and Cubbie was all over it as well when he got home from school. He was pleased as punch about his pattern: his right hand and left foot were blue, and the left hand/right foot were purple. He was pleased as punch until the next day when he got on the bus and two of his friends (one boy, one girl) emphatically told him “that’s a GIRL thing!” He was embarrassed and upset when he got home, but it sparked some interesting conversations. My husband, great dad that he is, reminded Cubbie that the most important thing about any … Read More

How to be an introvert parent…without killing your children!

How to be an introvert parent

The basic definition of an introvert is someone who needs to be alone to recharge their internal batteries. Of course, being a parent rarely gives one a chance to be alone. Many hilarious posts have been written about escaping from children in the bathroom, and of course, all parents can identify. But for the introvert parent, the struggle is even more real! So how on earth can one be a good parent when your very temperament demands space, both mentally and physically and family itself demands closeness, both emotionally and physically? The following are some of the things that have worked to bring sanity and joy into our own family…without needing to run away! 1) Expect that I will be stretched. Parenthood changes me, refines me. Yes, it is hard when my kids want desperately to do something while I’m in the middle of putting together theological thoughts. Sometimes they have … Read More

the misunderstood introvert

Article on raising an introverted child.

My eldest son has a hard time being with people for long periods of time. He gets rather squirrely: acting out, hurting others, grabbing toys. It drives everyone crazy, and I have often found myself trying not to be embarrassed when with friends. As a studious student in everything about him, I have recently realized that he is an introvert. Introverts NEED alone-time to recharge. They are typically quieter in social situations because they are processing the conversations inwardly, not audibly. Many introverts have the habit of thinking of what they are going to say before they say it, which we need more of in our world, but also means conversations tend to move on before the introvert can have their say. They like to think, they like to be alone. But they are not necessarily shy. In fact, many not-shy introverts are mistaken for extroverts, which is why I … Read More