Love Them Fiercely

More for the mommy-inspiration files, from Kim at Upward Call. I asked her if I could share this here, because it wasn't originally posted on her blog or written with mothers in mind. Instead, these were ideas she was mulling and had in mind for a younger group of Believers, those who are not yet parents. Still these were the words I needed to read and again turned my heart towards Christ and my children.

As a parent, I have learned a lot. As a parent, I have re-visited how I was parented and how I behaved as a child. Of course, sin mars all we do, and there were mistakes I made as a child that I wish I could erase. While Christ has forgiven me for them, they remain in my memory.

It is the same thing with being a parent. I am sure that someday, I will have even more regrets than I do already for things done and not done.

One thing I can say, however, in encouragement to you who have yet to be parents is this: encourage your children.

There is nothing more devestating than being a child who never gets any encouragement for what he does. Some parents will tell all their friends how wonderful their children are, but will never tell the child to her face. Some parents are full of criticism, condemnation, and rules that have no rational explanation, and the kid never know which way is up. I know that I have not always been encouraging as a parent. I need to daily, verbally, emotionally, and even with a hug, encourage my kids.

Kids who grow up with no encouragement may become people who don't encourage. Kids who grow up with unmerciful, legalistic rules may become unmerciful, legalistic people. I have been married long enough to know how difficult it is to shed the baggage from my childhood. Sometimes, without meaning to, we simply mimick parenting we received. Now, if it's good parenting, that's one thing, but all too often we repeat the mistakes of our parents. We need to pray to God for deliverance from ungodly parenting ways.

So, young people, when you become parents -- and that is not all that far in the future, you know; just think how fast the past ten years have gone and you will realize how fast the next ten are going to go -- ENCOURAGE YOUR CHILDREN. Tell them when they've done well. Discipline them IN LOVE AND WITH MERCY when they make mistakes. And love them fiercely.

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May 04, 2008  |  Comments (3)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Parenting Freedom

Each of you are just the right mother for your children. God gave your children to you--not as a possession, but to nurture and raise to His glory. I am not the one God chose to mother your child--not me, not anyone else. Your love and God's grace are what your child needs--regardless of what parenting books, websites, and ideas you come across along the way. You will have challenges, struggles, heartaches, as well as love, joys and successes!

Through it all, we learn to lean into the Lord. . . to trust Him. . . to turn to Him in prayer and humility and rest. . .

And we are free! Free from philosophies, free from rules. . . free to turn to the Lord and grow into the mothers He has called us to be!

I have found it freeing to learn and study and seek wisdom--both the direct revelation in the Bible as well as revelation in God's creation. One resource as we seek the Lord in our ministry of mothering is the website Parenting Freedom. This site is newly online, but the mother behind it has long been sharing mothering encouragement with me and others. I appreciate her willingness to learn, grow, seek the Lord and find freedom in parenting.

I encourage you to visit the website, be encouraged by the Scripture, be challenged by the research, and know you have freedom to seek the Lord as you nurture the children He has given you.



"If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples,
and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. . .
So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed."


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April 23, 2008  |  Comments (5)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Remembering Sean Paddock

Two years ago today Sean Paddock died.

A 4-year-old adopted child, Sean Paddock, was the victim of what we so often see within the Christian subculture--parents who want to do everything right, who seek to control their children, who listen to questionable advice. The result was a child who suffocated from being wrapped tightly in blankets to keep him in bed, so tightly that he couldn't fill his lungs to breathe. His body was covered with "layers of thin, long bruises -- old and new -- stretch[ing] from Sean's bottom to his shoulder blade."

Sean's adopted mother relied upon two-foot lengths of plumbing supply line and parenting books by Michael and Debi Pearl to keep her children in line.

God have mercy.


Sean Paddock.jpg


Related here at TulipGirl:
More Sadness on Sean Paddock
On the Pearls and Parenting
Pearls Po-Russki

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February 26, 2008  |  Comments (16)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Beautiful Baby Wearing

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photographer: xthylcaine


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January 19, 2008  |  Comments (4)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Chew on This

ChewyMom on Instant-Gratification Parenting.

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January 16, 2008  |  Comments (4)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Loving in the Face of Unloveliness

A reminder to lean into the Lord, especially when we and our children are both struggling.

For the Mommy-Inspiration Files.


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December 11, 2007  |  Comments (2)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Taking For Granted

jude is blue much of the day lately and has started waking at night and yelling for reasons unknown. his misery is hard to manage, annoying, laughable at times. it makes me wonder how God can stand all of our whining and moaning all of the time, thousands (not just one, two, three) of his children screaming, muttering their unintelligable requests, demands, accusations, offering a begrudging thanks because they feel like they have to, taking mercy and grace for granted day in and day out. it also makes me glad that God parents me better than i parent these kids in this house. thank you, God, for seeing only Jesus when you look at me, at jude, at us.

--mollie


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December 03, 2007  |  Comments (0)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

That Pregnant Glow

In the past few weeks, several close friends or family members have announced that they will be having little bundles of joy make springtime appearances, including:

Laura
Shelley
Amanda
Aliza
Heather

I'm thrilled. Sharing the excitement, the joy, the preparations. . . thanking the Lord along with them for their children.

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October 19, 2007  |  Comments (3)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Looking to Christ, Listening to My Mother

"And lastly, and I say this gently, as the parent of grown kids, knowing *insert parenting guru* is also the parent of grown kids: we have wonderful children--he does, I'm sure--and so do I. But without even knowing his children I can know this about them: they are not perfect. They hurt. They make mistakes. They struggle. They are prideful and overly simplistic at times; and crippled by shame and hesitancy at others. Yes--they are beautiful examples of human beings, his children (I assume), and mine (I know.) But they are not perfect. If they were, they would not be human. If it were possible to raise children to perfection, then God would have sent a parenting method, not Jesus. Our marching orders are not to raise our children by a method to be like *insert parenting guru* children. Our marching orders are to be Christians to and with our children."

--katiekind


I first posted this quote two years ago. This bit of inspiration is from a mother with three sons, who has given me a glimpse of the future with adult sons. Similarly, this week I read a transparent account of parenting mishaps and milestones from a mother with grown children and grandchildren.

Still, it is my own mother that continues to say the good things, the hard things, that I need to hear in my own life, for my own family. She gives me hope--in that the areas in which I struggle, she has already struggled through to the other side. In her life and mine, we have lived out the above truism, "[T]hey are not perfect. They hurt. They make mistakes. They struggle. They are prideful and overly simplistic at times; and crippled by shame and hesitancy at others. . . Our marching orders are to be Christians to and with our children."

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October 04, 2007  |  Comments (1)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Grace and Two Year Olds

A discussion started here:

"I've read Kimmel. But how do you do that with a two-year-old?"

A friend of mine asked me the question. . . She read Kimmel's Grace-Based Parenting. Appreciated what he had to say! But then she wonders, "How does that look in the day-to-day life of parenting a toddler?"

So . . . how do you answer that question?

Your thoughts?

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September 28, 2007  |  Comments (6)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Yeah. What She Said.

Quoting Devona, about Lutherama:

Discipline? Means of Grace?

I try not to meddle in the parenting of others. It’s their business, but I obviously have my opinions. I mostly have oppositions to the “Christian Parenting” giants who like to write books making generalizations about how to parent my child unto godliness, all the while knowing nothing about me. I don’t just disagree with their methods, I disagree with their theology and their lack of discretion. How do they know to whom they are teaching? How do they know their methods are being properly prescribed? And mostly, how can they not see that this method of “discipline” obscures the person and work of Christ when a parent cannot forgive their chid until there has been punishment for their sins? Are not our Christian children under the Fount of Grace as much as we are?

Here is a wonderful take on the topic over at Lutherama. Don’t just read my post on it. I have only skimmed the subject since she has done such excellent work, I would only be repeating, so make sure you click the link.


(Yes, I'm still Presbyterian.)

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September 20, 2007  |  Comments (13)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Cute Little C in Her Mei Tai

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Cousin A with Little C
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August 30, 2007  |  Comments (3)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Learning to Use a Mei Tai / Asian Baby Carrier Wrap

When my cousin was expecting her first baby, I told her I wanted to get her a sling or baby carrier. Since this was her first, she wasn't sure about which one to choose. Several friends recommended a Mei Tai-style carrier--especially since I was slow to get her this gift and her infant is now an energetic and mobile 9 month old!

So, I'm gathering links to illustrate how to use a Mei Tai / ABC carrier. Any recommendations?


Websites:
Mama Toto ABCs
Mama Toto Carrying a Toddler
The Baby Wearer Pouch Links
The Baby Wearer Benefits Links
The Baby Wearer ABC Links
Kozy Carrier Instructions
Wrap Your Baby
Nurtured Little One


Videos:
ABC Front Carry
ABC Back Carry
Pouch Carry
With an Bigger Child

(Link thanks to Devona, Kristen, Kurt, Renata, Suzi and Rachel!)

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August 29, 2007  |  Comments (12)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Whispers



...Be gracious in your speech. The goal is to bring out the best in others in a conversation, not put them down, not cut them out. Col. 4:5 (MSG)


Lord, my mouth....

I remember when these kids were toddlers and we would laugh when they mimicked our tone of voice or an oft-said phrase. They are mimicking still. A dozen times a day I hear my impatience, irritation, and lack of kindness coming out of my children's mouths.

Lord, make me gracious in the face of adolescent sensitivity. Gracious at the end of a long, hard day. Let grace be the substance that pours out of me when I am bumped and bruised, tired and worn.

Teach me how to listen to them, to hear what is not being said; to understand their hearts behind the words and frustration.

I pray that every time I open my mouth I'll be able to make Christ as plain as day to them.

Teach my Your ways, Father. I am listening.

--sparrow


I'm really struggling with my words and my tone, especially with my children. All of them, especially my oldest seem so vulnerable. I want to draw them close, but my tone is pushing them away. A mom I recently met said:

i love being a mother, but i'm not very good at it. . . . i used to take great pride in my "accomplishments" as a stay-at-home wife and mother . . . as my kids grew older, i realised that these things don't make me a good mother; i can practice all these ideals and still be ill-tempered and impatient and mean. . . . i grew tired of perpetuating the rounds of "self-congratulations". . . . i also realise that i was not truthful about myself . . . but, thank God, i've caught a glimpse of Grace. . . .i am moved by it, i am motivated by it. wait: Grace moves me, it motivates me. i'm still not a good mom, but God is still good to me and my children.


So here I am, struggling to show love to the ones I love most. Brokenhearted at the words of my mouth and the mediations of my heart. Tired, weary. Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

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July 10, 2007  |  Comments (11)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

One Anothering

For the Mommy-Inspiration Files. . .

The Blanket Commands

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May 03, 2007  |  Comments (0)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Baby Wearers! Win An Ergo!

I have a friend who is pregnant and I reallyreallyreally want to give her a carrier for babywearing. Some friends have compiled a list of resources for helping her learn more about babywearing and choosing what type of carrier she'd like.

And then Kristen alerted me to an opportunity to win an Ergo! While I've never used an Ergo, I have friends who love theirs. . . So, if I win, I have a new mama to give this front/back carrier.

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April 13, 2007  |  Comments (5)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

On Adoption

Congratulations to Jodi and family, on their child-to-be!

Also, Rebecca has some interesting thoughts to share on adoption, and ChewyMom points out the Gospel in unexpected places.

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March 23, 2007  |  Comments (0)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Discipline Conversation

I've transferred the comments from this post into its own post, in the spirit of encouraging the discussion on Reformed theology and positive, gentle discipline of children in the Christian home.

I'm planning on weighing in later, however we have a wedding this weekend and so my comments will be delayed. Briefly, though, I've found graceful, positive discipline to reflect the Gospel and God's grace towards me and my children.

Until I can join this conversation more fully, I recommend reading these previous, related posts:
Islam and the Rod
Charles Hodge and Parenting
Parenting and the Westminster Divines
To The Least of These
Prayer and Parenting
Adoption and Condemnation
Restoring Gently and Carrying Burdens

Continue reading "Discipline Conversation"

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March 16, 2007  |  Comments (41)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Babywearing Memories

Me with C6 in a Maya Pouch.
(Summer '01 -- I think he was about 6 m/o.)


I came across this picture tonight, and it brought back so many memories. That black T-shirt and my pouch were my "uniform" that summer. Everyday, I wore those. The pouch hung like a sash when the baby wasn't in it. I popped him in and out of it throughout the day. We were living in a "missionary village" in Florida--and everyone kept asking if we were headed to Africa because of the sling!

I gave that pouch away to one of the most alterna-minded Ukrainian mamas I know. (And I sort of regret it. . .) I'd probably have used it for a couple more years for extra snuggle times with the boys.

Now mamas have a lot more resources for babywearing:
Mothering By Grace
The Baby Wearer
Nine in, Nine Out
Wear Your Baby
DIY Slings

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March 08, 2007  |  Comments (15)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Welcome, Baby Boy!

Cradle of Love Bright.jpg

Please join me in praising our Lord for another baby boy for my friends Tara and Jorge. We've known each other since our oldest boys were babies together. I've cried tears of joy for her tonight, hearing of the birth of her third son, into his father's hands.

Birth art by Nancy Bright

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February 06, 2007  |  Comments (2)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Finger Puppet Nativity

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Ooooh! I love this hand made, fair trade nativity set! It's finger puppets for children to act out the Christmas story, made by Peruvian women through a fair trade program.

Update: The one pictured is out of stock, but there is a smaller finger puppet nativity set here.

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December 10, 2006  |  Comments (0)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

A Father's Heart

A father I know and respect shares some personal thoughts. . . and they are just too moving to stay hidden away on a small message board.


"Man-oh-man, is this painful reading this stuff over at that link. [referring to http://www.askdrsears.com/] Lots and lots of great advice, some of the stories and warnings are bringing back so many terrible memories of my childhood, and of my own parenting for far too long.

"My father loved me, and he provided a strict upbringing, with very strict rules and lots of encouragement to excel. But he also could not control his temper, and of the four children, I was the most trouble, behavior-wise. I was precocious, hyperactive, and VERY loud. My father's response was to beat me. Not constantly... not even regularly... but often enough. And he left bruises.

"His regular spankings were horrendously painful, and occasionally he lost control and beat me with his fists. I was the only one he treated like this. Thank God, he never lifted his hand against my mother. Amazingly, my father and I got along very well when I became an adult. I never talked to him about what he had done, and he never brought it up, either.

"I remember vividly the last beating I endured. I was fifteen years old and already much larger than my father. But I respected him too much to do anything to defend myself. I do not harbor a grudge about it, either -- but I do remember the pain and the fear.

"All that is water under the bridge -- but -- and here I must pause, because the tears are running now -- I continued the abuse with my first son. He was born in 1984, and he was a lot like I was as a child -- precocious, hyperactive, and loud -- and he was also extremely stubborn and defiant. As hard as I was to discipline, I had never been defiant.

"My behavior toward my son exacerbated all these traits. I tried to provide sound discipline, but I would often lose my temper and shout at him abusively. And occasionally, I slapped him upside the head. I did not beat him as my father had beaten me, and I never slapped his face, but I did spank him WAY too hard, WAY too often, and I did smack him in fierce anger occasionally.

"I tried and tried to control it, but it continued for fourteen years. Then I started reading Dr. Sears. And the more I read, the more I saw what I had been doing wrong, and what I could do to make it right. I wept for weeks over what I saw. Then I tried to talk to my fourteen-year-old son, and to ask his forgiveness. He was by then extremely angry and resentful. I really thought our relationship was entirely broken. My wife told me he once asked her, "How can you tell me to respect someone I hate?" I also remember how he would glare at me in defiance, no matter how hard or how much I "spanked" him.

"When I tried to talk to him to ask his forgiveness, all I could do was weep. He forgave me readily, but he probably didn't quite believe me. But I believe he has seen a big change. He is now 22, a senior in college -- ambitious and with a strong moral code. He and I are now quite close, although I believe it will never be as it could have been.

"As I said, this is causing more bitter tears as I relate it. But I hope there is one person reading this who may be helped. I did change -- with God's help and with Dr. Sears's advice. Thank God, I only spanked my sweet daughter twice in her life, and she seems to harbor no resentment at me for being too strict.

"I have a late last child -- eleven years younger than my daughter. He is now eight years old. I am "Mr. Mom" now, because of my disability, and that means I am his "homeschool" teacher. And we are having the time of our lives. My wife was the main teacher for our first two, while they were young; I took over when they were teens. But now I get to teach my little guy from the beginning!

"I confess I have spanked him maybe three times in eight years -- and every time I have regretted it. I am strict with him, but I am no longer abusive. I guess it helps that, while he is also precocious and hyperactive, he is much more compliant than his older brother. He and I are so close it's amazing -- and it shows me what it could have been like with my first son, if I had been different.

"Well -- sorry to unload on y'all like this, but when I started reading all that stuff from Dr. Sears this evening, it all came rushing back, and it really surprised me how strong the emotional reaction was. I love Dr. Sears and I will forever be grateful for his help in overcoming my abusive tendencies.

"I highly recommend his suggestions to you all. They will help you be a better parent.


I'm in tears.


(Originally posted at AwareParent.Net)

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October 10, 2006  |  Comments (2)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Charles Hodge and Parenting

This was originally posted in January 2004, my first month blogging. I was revisiting it today because of an online discussion about sin and family norms, children, and the place of the Gospel in our families. So, I'm reposting it today.

The other night I was skimming Charles Hodge's commentary on Romans and was just struck by how God relates to us as His children, and how I can follow that example with my children.

This is from the Crossway Books Classic Commentaries, page 189, commenting on Romans 6: 12-23:

"As no man is free from sin, as no man can perfectly keep the commandments of God, every man who rests on his personal conformity to the law as the basis of his acceptance with God must be condemned. We are not under the law in this sense, but under grace--that is, a system of free justification. We are justified by grace, without works.

We are not under a legal dispensation, requiring personal conformity to the law and entire freedom from sin, past and present, as the condition of our acceptance; but we are under a gracious dispensation, according to which God dispenses pardon freely and accepts the sinner as a sinner, for Christs's sake, without works or merit of his own. Whoever is under the law, in the sense just explained, is not only condemned, but he is bound by a legal or slavish spirit. What he does, he does as a slave, to escape punishment. But he who is under grace, who is freely accepted by God and restored to his favor, is a child of God living under his Spirit. The principle of obeying him is love and not fear.

Here, as everywhere else in the Bible, it is assumed that the favor of God is in our life. We must be reconciled to Him before we can be holy: we must feel that He loves us before we can love Him."


Reflections related to Parenting

"God. . .accepts the sinner as a sinner"
I know this to be true with God accepting me, and now I want to really just ACCEPT my children as who they are. I want to provide a "safe place to fall" for my kids, where they know they are accepted as they are, even when they sin. I know my parents have lived that out towards my siblings and me.

"What he does, he does as a slave, to escape punishment."
I don't want my children to be doing things out of fear, simply to escape punishment.

"But he who is under grace, who is freeely accepted by God and restored to his favor, is a child of God living under his Spirit."
This is the part of the passage that first drew my attention to asking how I can relate this to me and my children, copying God as my Father.

"The principle of obeying him is love and not fear."
Again, I don't want it to be fear of me or fear of punishment that compels my children to obedience. But of love. Just as, truly, my obedience (imperfect though it may be) to God is out of a desire to please Him and out of love.

"we must feel that He loves us before we can love Him."
I read a survey once that said something like 90% of kids knew their parents loved them, but only 30% FELT that their parents loved them. I want to really nurture my children, and have them FEEL loved by me and my husband.

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August 16, 2006  |  Comments (3)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

When Mommy Yells

Last night I yelled at the boys.

C5 was quiet for a few minutes, and then in tears told me "Mommy, it hurt my head and my heart when you yelled at me."


Lord, help me. . . Give me soft answers, gentleness, kindness and self-control. . .

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July 26, 2006  |  Comments (10)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

From Salon.Com: More on Michael and Debi Pearl

Lynn Harris, writing for Salon.com, seeks to understand and explain the parenting teachings and allure of Michael and Debi Pearl.

One of the things that has been interesting to me with the rising concern about the Pearls from the "mainstream" is to see how an "outsider" perceives the teachings that are quite standard within a specific Christian subculture. In referring to this subculture, I'm not speaking of the more broad conservative, evangelical subculture--but that which tends towards a more separatist, independent, "home" oriented.

While I've not fully identified with this specific subculture, I've been close enough to it to understand and see the motivations of those within it. Likely, many of you who visit me here at TulipGirl have been a part of that subculture or are close enough to those within it to understand it, as well. And while they have done admirable background work, it's apparent that Lynn Harris and Mandy Locke don't seem to quite understand many of the factors involved with accepting the sort of teachings the Pearls promote.

Intentions within this subculture are good, but what I've seen is replacing what is truly Biblical with ideals that build a particular subculture and set of values. Values which, in themselves, are not necessarily bad. But taken as a whole are elevated to a place of prominence within this subculture, at the expense of what is truly Biblical. At the expense of the Gospel.


(Related to this, read Christian Families on the Edge from CRI.)


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May 27, 2006  |  Comments (8)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

More Sadness on Sean Paddock / Michael and Debi Pearl

The autopsy has been released for Sean Paddock, the young adopted boy who was abused and who died at the hands of his mother. His mother had turned to Michael and Debi Pearl's parenting resources, and had been influenced by them.

From the article:

In the week before 4-year-old Sean Paddock's death, he refused to stay in bed at night . . .

That was when Lynn Paddock, his adoptive mother, began wrapping the child tightly in blankets to keep him still through the night, the report said. By the third night of battling the straying child, the bundling was so thick and so tight that Sean couldn't move.

Sometime in the early morning darkness Feb. 26, the 30-pound boy suffocated to death. Because of the constraint, Sean's lungs couldn't completely fill with air, eventually robbing him of oxygen, said Deborah L. Radisch, a pathologist with the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.


To my knowledge, Michael and Debi Pearl do not give specific instructions to wrap a child tightly in blankets if he in not "obeying" and is getting out of bed at night.

However, they do teach in their book "To Train Up A Child":

"If you have to sit on him to spank him then do not hesitate. And hold him there until he is surrendered. Prove that you are bigger, tougher, more patiently enduring and are unmoved by his wailing. Defeat him totally. Accept no conditions for surrender. No compromise. You are to rule over him as a benevolent sovereign. Your word is final."

They Pearls teach parents that they should use whatever force is necessary to restrain a child, to hold him there until he is surrendered. . . defeat him totally. Using blankets to do that isn’t specified in what I've read, but it definitely fits the "spirit" of what is taught.


The autopsy also showed other signs of physical abuse.

"Layers of thin, long bruises -- old and new -- stretched from Sean's bottom to his shoulder blade, the autopsy said. In addition to the binding, Paddock had been whipping the boy with a plastic plumbing pipe, Johnston County sheriff's deputies have said.

Investigators say Paddock had also been whipping Sean's 8-year-old sister and 9-year-old brother with the thin, flexible pipes. . ."


Related here at TulipGirl:
On the Pearls and Parenting
Pearls Po-Russki
Biblical Relationships or Behaviourism
Children, Good and Grown


Offsite:
More News On Sean Paddock
On Perfectionism and the Pearls
A Switch or a Cross?
Authoritarianism and Isolationism Among Us (small type, worth the effort of reading)
The Pearls: The Basics, On Original Sin
To Train Up A Child Review
TTUAC: One Family's Experiences
Another Family's Experience
Chapter-by-Chapter Review of TTUAC
Avoiding Millstones
TTUAC Short Review

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May 10, 2006  |  Comments (12)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Children Learn What They Live

When I was growing up, we had a piece of driftwood hanging on the wall with the poem/wisdom Children Learn What They Live on it.

The version we had was a little different from what I find online, and traditionalist that I am, it bothers me I can't find one worded exactly as I remember it.

But it did start the same way, "If a child lives with criticism, he learns to condemn. . ."

Very little of raising our children has to do with "parenting" per say, or "parenting philosophies." It has to do with living our lives, dependent upon God, being sanctified day by day, and living in the moment with our children.

Jo(e) has a wonderful post about this.

(Link to Jo(e) via Moot Thoughts.)

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May 08, 2006  |  Comments (2)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

On Family Worship

“Were you formed for this world only, there would be some form to this objection, but how strange such an objection sounds coming from an heir of eternity. Pray, what is your time given to you for? Is it not principally that you may prepare for eternity? And have you no time then for what is the greatest business of your lives? To train your own children in the things of God?”

-Samuel Davies ( Southern counterpart to Jonathan Edwards in the great revival of the 1740’s)

(Via Ever Expanding)

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May 07, 2006  |  Comments (0)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

More on Michael and Debi Pearl

Meggan Judge, a mother in Alaska, wishes someone had stopped her from following Pearl's instruction sooner.

"Thirty times a day, I was striking my son. He wasn't even 2 years old," Judge said. "I kept waiting: Where is this joy we were promised?'"

She slowly gave up Pearl's methods three years ago after locking her son in his room one afternoon for fear that she would hurt him.

Years later, hearing of Lynn Paddock's story, Judge knows she's lucky. She suspects she could have been driven to such lengths if she hadn't met a community of other Christian mothers on the Internet who urged her to abandon Pearl's teachings.

"Without a doubt, I know I would have been capable of that," Judge said. "Anyone who says they wouldn't is a liar. I never knew I had anger issues until I started using his methods."


The NC News Observer has a feature on Michael and Debi Pearl, written by Mandy Locke, the reporter who has followed the Sean Paddock abuse/murder situation from the beginning.

While the Pearls declined to be interviewed, Mandy Locke has been very fair--and at times sympathetic--to them. Michael Pearl is the "a towering, rugged man with a fuzzy white beard that mesmerizes children." However, the article does go into some points of concern about the Pearls' teachings.


For further reading, I recommend the following resources.

Here at TulipGirl:
On the Pearls and Parenting
Pearls Po-Russki
Biblical Relationships or Behaviourism
Children, Good and Grown


Offsite:
On Perfectionism and the Pearls
A Switch or a Cross?
Authoritarianism and Isolationism Among Us (small type, worth the effort of reading)
The Pearls: The Basics, On Original Sin
To Train Up A Child Review
TTUAC: One Family's Experiences
Another Family's Experience
Chapter-by-Chapter Review of TTUAC
Avoiding Millstones
TTUAC Short Review

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April 30, 2006  |  Comments (11)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

For Birth and Fertility Junkies

The Illustrated Cervix


(Thanks, BetsyPage!)

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April 20, 2006  |  Comments (3)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

On Perfectionism and Parenting

Perfectionism

I read what Ann writes on perfectionism, parenting, and the Pearls. I understand her heart, her experiences. I know the need to lean more into the Gospel, for myself and my children.

And I say, Amen.

I encourage all parents, regardless of faith background or parenting approach, to read Ann's post.


Updated:
Along the lines of Ann's post, is Spunky's post A Switch or a Cross? Ann and other are involved in the comments, which are worth reading through and provide food for thought and reflections.

And to further understand how mamas are drawn to the Pearls' materials and then realize their harm, I recommend reading nutmeggmama's story and Anne's story.

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April 10, 2006  |  Comments (5)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

A rod is a rod is a rod?

It's just a little plastic tubing. . .


Related:
Rod/Shebet Study
Islam and "the Rod"
Our Homeschool: The Rod
Reading into the Rod Verses

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April 07, 2006  |  Comments (4)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Babies, Dependent and Demanding

"Unlike animals, which generally become self-reliant shortly after birth, the human infant remains dependent on others for a very long time. He comes into the world as a bundle of needs, relying totally on the warmth of human arms, watchful eyes, and tender caresses. Incubators and electric heat are merely a very inadequate substitute for human contact, and the touch of cold instruments can be torture. A baby requires the certainty that he will be protected in every situation, that his arrival is desired, that his cries are heard, that the movements of his eyes are repsonded to and his fears calmed. The baby needs assurance that his hunger and thirst will be satisfied, his body lovingly cared for, and his distress never ignored."

--Alice Miller, the opening paragraph of the preface to "Banished Knowledge"


"If you want to look at how infants point us toward the reality of sin, I think most adults need to quit picking at the sliver in the baby's eye and start with the plank in their own. Here's a secret, (very sarcastic tone), babies are so demanding because if they weren't, their selfish, sinful parents would let them starve rather than interrupt their own activities to feed and nurture them. Really, what would happen to most infants if they never fussed or demanded attention? I think most adults would leave them alone and only interact with them when it was convenient."

--Magan


"Can a woman forget her nursing child,
that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb?
Even these may forget,
yet I will not forget you.

Isaiah 49:15, via Heather

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March 30, 2006  |  Comments (7)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Heart of Discipline

A lot of this comes down to how the Gospel is viewed, and the position of Children in the Church and how the Gospel applies to Children.


I believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross not only for me, but also for my children. I believe that the Gospel applies to them as much as it does to me. I believe the Bible teaches this--and even Christ does. We all know the passage where Jesus says, "Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them. . ."


I believe Christ paid the penalty for my children's sins on the cross. When my children sin--I want to point them to the One who has already been punished for their sin. When my children sin (and they do--I do not have a weak view of sin)--I come alongside them, confront them with the ugly reality of sin in their lives, and help them repent. I pray that the Holy Spirit softens their hearts and enables them to truly repent. We pray together. We ask for God's grace to do the right thing.

I do discipline. I help them form habits of right behaviour. I teach them right from wrong. I correct them. One of the most powerful passages on child discipline in the Bible is Duet 6:4-7:

Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.


That constant presence is the heart of discipleship, the heart of discipline.


See also:
The Heart of Grace

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March 12, 2006  |  Comments (13)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Parenting and the Westminster Divines

From a recent Christian History Corner article:

In their teaching on the fifth commandment ("Honor thy father and thy mother … "), the Calvinist divines who authored the Westminster Larger Catechism (1648) extended the terms "father" and "mother" to cover all relations of "superior" to "inferior" persons. Like Benedict's rule, the questions dealing with parental responsibilities and failures reflects a balanced, wise treatment of the subjects of authority and discipline. . .:

Q. 129. What is required of superiors towards their inferiors?

A. It is required of superiors, according to that power they receive from God, and that relation wherein they stand, to love, pray for, and bless their inferiors; to instruct, counsel, and admonish them; countenancing, commending, and rewarding such as do well; and discountenancing, reproving, and chastising such as do ill; protecting, and providing for them all things necessary for soul and body: and by grave, wise, holy, and exemplary carriage, to procure glory to God, honour to themselves, and so to preserve that authority which God hath put upon them.

Q. 130. What are the sins of superiors?

A. The sins of superiors are, besides the neglect of the duties required of them, and inordinate seeking of themselves, their own glory, ease, profit, or pleasure; commanding things unlawful, or not in the power of inferiors to perform; counseling, encouraging, or favouring them in that which is evil; dissuading, discouraging, or discountenancing them in that which is good; correcting them unduly; careless exposing, or leaving them to wrong, temptation, and danger; provoking them to wrath; or any way dishonouring themselves, or lessening their authority, by an unjust, indiscreet, rigorous, or remiss behaviour.

I find this a striking passage. Parents, the catechism is saying, sin against their children when they "correct them unduly," "provoke them to wrath," or slip into any other "unjust … rigorous … behavior." Are you surprised, as I was, to see the tendency toward parental strictness (which I possess) decidedly not recommended or reinforced by these supposedly strict Calvinists? Frankly, as I read through this section of the catechism, I both said "ouch" repeatedly, and asked for God's grace to come more closely into alignment with the biblical standard.


I'm feeling convicted.

May God enable us to parent our children with wisdom and grace.


Reposted from June 2004. Because it's good, and I need the reminder.

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February 25, 2006  |  Comments (1)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Proverbs, Parellelism, and the Rod

A friend recently was talking with me about the "rod verses" in Proverbs and the importance of context for studying the Bible.

We can take the Bible seriously, without reading these verses as being symbolic--nor with it being prescriptive of hitting young children.

I believe that Proverbs is included in the 2 Tim 3:16 assurance that "All scripture [is] given by inspiration of God, and [is] profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness."

However, it is a Wisdom book, and the verses have less context around them to help clarify them, than others in the Bible. As John MacArthur writes of Proverbs that "These are wise sayings and truisms -- not necessarily inviolable rules."

And have you noticed, Proverbs appears to use quite a bit of hyperbole.

For example, earlier in the chapter that includes "beat him with the rod and save his soul from death", are the verses:

When you sit to dine with a ruler,
note well what is before you,
and put a knife to your throat if you are given to gluttony.
Proverbs 23:1-2

So when I read these "rod" verses, it's very easy for me to read them for the concept (don't be a glutton, faithfully discipline your child) rather than taking them as specific commands (slit your throat, beat with a rod.)


In these rod verses, the concepts seem clear when we look at the parallelism, for example:

"Withhold not correction from the child. . ."
". . .but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes."
". . .but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame."

These concepts are very much in line with what I think one of the clearest and strongest commands for us, both as people and as parents:

Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.

Duet 6:4-7

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February 24, 2006  |  Comments (17)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Submissive Parenting

As we grow in understanding of the Gospel, as we experience God's amazing grace towards us, it overflows into all relationship of our life.

Be encouraged!

I recommend Bryan Chappel's sermon, The Submissive Parent.


(Via Covenant Seminary Audio Files, via Monergism)

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February 12, 2006  |  Comments (1)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

William Gouge: Theologian and AP Advocate

Thanks to Lydia, Nathan's Helpmeet, who has drawn my attention to the works of William Gouge--specifically his pages upon pages of reflection on the Bible and breastfeeding. Lydia quoted a passage on cry-it-out and breastfeeding, but the section below really stood out to me.


Among other needful things, the milk of the breast is fit for young babes, and with it they are to be nourished. I think none doubt of the equity of this. It hath in all ages, and in all countries, been accounted the best food that can be for young babes. The metaphor, which S. Peter useth, taken from young infants [in the words, As new-born babes desire the sincere milk of the word (1 Peter 2:2)] confirmeth as much. So doth also the desire which such infants have to the milk of the breasts: and the ability, and promptness which is in them to suck: and God's providence in causing a woman's breasts to yield forth such milk: and the constant manner of nourishing little infants after this manner, commended in the Scripture: and [to conclude] the natural instinct which many unreasonable creatures have thus to nourish their young ones.

. . .

God hath given to women two breasts fit to contain and hold milk: and nipples unto them fit to have milk drawn from them. Why are these thus given? to lay them forth for ostentation? There is no warrant for that in all God's word. They are directly given for the child's food that cometh out of the womb; for till the child be born, there is no milk in the breasts: anon after it is born, milk ordinarily floweth into the breasts: yea a great part of the meat which they eat turneth into milk. They make this admirable work of God's providence to be in vain, that dry up this spring, and suffer not their children to partake of the benefits of it.


--William Gouge, On Domestical Duties


Related:
Martin Luther: Theologian and Cloth Diaper Advocate
John Calvin: Theologian and Lactivist
Breastfeeding and the Bible

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January 19, 2006  |  Comments (16)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Neat Noonie News!

I made the short list on The Lactivist blogroll! Thanks, Jennifer!

And in recognition of that, here are some of my favorite writings on breastfeeding:

The Original Noonie Page

A Few Of My Favorite Things 2005, 2004

Play Ball! (Militant Breastfeeding Cult)

Breastfeeding and Babywise: The Realities, The Practicalities

Contented Cows Give Sweet Milk

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January 11, 2006  |  Comments (5)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Life, Theology, and Motherhood

A must-read post from ChewyMom.

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January 11, 2006  |  Comments (2)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

I Thessalonians 2:7-8

7 But we were gentle among you, like a nursing mother taking care of her own children. 8 So, being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us.

I Thessalonians 2:7-8

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December 17, 2005  |  Comments (2)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Martin Luther: Theologian and Cloth Diaper Advocate

Now observe that when that clever harlot, our natural reason... , takes a look at married life, she turns up her nose and says, "Alas, must I rock the baby, wash its diapers, make its bed, smell its stench, stay up nights with it, take care of it when it cries, heal its rashes and sores... ?

What then does Christian faith say to this? It opens its eyes, looks upon all these insignificant, distasteful, and despised duties in the Spirit, and is aware that they are all adorned with divine approval as with the costliest gold and jewels. It says, O God, because I am certain that thou hast created me as a man and hast from my body begotten this child, I also know for a certainty that it meets with thy perfect pleasure. I confess to thee that I am not worthy to rock the little babe or wash its diapers, or to be entrusted with the care of the child and its mother. How is it that I, without any merit, have come to this distinction of being certain that I am serving thy creature and thy most precious will? O how gladly will I do so, though the duties should be even more insignificant and despised. Neither frost nor heat, neither drudgery nor labor, will distress or dissuade me, for I am certain that it is thus pleasing in thy sight...

God, with all his angels and creatures is smiling--not because the father is washing diapers, but because he is doing so in Christian faith.

--Martin Luther


Last week we read of John Calvin's breastfeeding advocacy. I'm beginning to wonder if this is going to turn into a series on Great Theologians and Attachment Parenting?

(Via Carol, via Cheryl.)

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December 11, 2005  |  Comments (12)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Parenting Reminders.

"Remember they are little."
--Carol

"Remember they are space aliens."
--Hubby

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December 10, 2005  |  Comments (1)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Children in The Pew: The Practicalities

Over at the Heart to Hearth blog, there are several recent posts with principled and pragmatic ideas about worshiping together with our children during church services. Read the full posts, and be encouraged!



Jesus said, "Suffer little children
, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 9:17 NASB). Little children are loved dearly by God, and it's good to bring them to Him and to worship Him, but we should keep in mind that it's our job as parents to come alongside and guide them and teach them and help them learn in ways that will help nurture their trust and love in God our Father, our Abba Daddy.

--flowermama


Our expectation when we attend worship service is that we are worshipping as a family. I expect to be actively parenting in the pew. I expect to miss some of the sermon at time. I expect my children to whisper questions to me or my toddler to need to nurse. I expect that this is a process, a journey that will take time. I expect that my parenting cannot stop in the pew. When I have that expectation, I can joyfully minister to my family in the most intimate environment of all….worship!

--Quietspirit


Related Links:
Children in Congregational Worship
Children in Church
Family Worship

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November 17, 2005  |  Comments (4)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Our Happy Slavic Bubble

Each of our boys has come to me in the past week or so just breaking down in tears. They were convinced that they had no friends, that the rest of the family doesn't like them. . . Normal kid growing-up stuff, but for them it was the end of the world.

I'm sure I'm not the first person to make the analogy, but being a parent is like having an exposed nerve from the day your child comes into the world. Worse, there's absolutely nothing you can do to cover this nerve up. When they hurt, you hurt, and there's so little you can do to prevent it. Having lived and been homeschooled in Ukraine for most of their lives, this is their first year in the 'real' world. I miss our happy Slavic bubble.

--Hubby


This is something I've resisted writing, resisted sharing. Yet, here it is. It hurts to see our children struggling so much. It hurts when they know God loves them and we love them, but they don't *feel* that love around them.

We had a stranger yell at R6 at the grocery store the other day. Unjustly. The adrenaline surge, fight-or-flight. Mama bear showed up.

Aunt Laura from Kyiv is going to (hopefully!) be spending New Year's with us, in true Ukrainian fashion. T7 said, "Aunt Laura is one of my five most favorite people in Ukraine. First Babushka, then Aunt Laura & Aunt Fluffy. . ."

It helps that the elementary principal and the guidance counselor both have spent many years overseas and many years working with MKs. They've kept a special eye out on our boys. Been reassuring about what they see at school. For the most part, it seems like school is less stressful for the boys when they are there. But they feel safe and secure at home, and so they share all their struggles and sadnesses with us. Which is a good thing. Just a hard thing.

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November 15, 2005  |  Comments (12)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Semi-Pelagian Parenting 101


(And no, this is not another critique of the Pearls.)


Semi-Pelagian Parenting 101

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October 10, 2005  |  Comments (9)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Breastfeeding and the Bible

Spring Nursing, Mt. Monadnock Susan Wadsworth.jpg
Spring Nursing, Mt. Monadnock
Pastel and Pencil by Susan Wadsworth


"For you will nurse and be satisfied
at her comforting breasts;
you will drink deeply
and delight in her overflowing abundance."

For this is what the LORD says:
"I will extend peace to her like a river,
and the wealth of nations like a flooding stream;
you will nurse and be carried on her arm
and dandled on her knees.

As a mother comforts her child,
so will I comfort you;
and you will be comforted over Jerusalem."

Isaiah 66:11-13


The Bible is full of imagery of breastfeeding and nurturing mothers. What can we learn about God's design for breastfeeding? Start studying with these articles by Cyndi Egbert and Nancy Campbell.


This post is part of a World Breastfeeding Week 2005 series.

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August 07, 2005  |  Comments (1)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Loves Me Like A Rock

When I was a little boy,
And the devil would call my name
I’d say now who do,
Who do you think you’re fooling?
I’m a consecrated boy
I’m a singer in a sunday choir

Oh, my mama loves, she loves me
She get down on her knees and hug me
Like she loves me like a rock
She rocks me like the rock of ages
And loves me
She love me, love me, love me, love me

When I was grown to be a man
And the devil would call my name
I’d say now who do,
Who do you think you’re fooling?
I’m a consummated man
I can snatch a little purity

My mama loves me, she loves me
She get down on her knees and hug me
Like she loves me like a rock
She rocks me like the rock of ages
And loves me
She love me, love me, love me, love me

And if I was president
The minute congress call my name
I’d say who do,
Who do you think you’re fooling?
I’ve got the presidential seal
I’m up on the presidential podium

My mama loves me
She loves me
She get down on her knees and hug me
Like she loves me like a rock
She rocks me like the rock of ages
And loves me
She love me, love me, love me, love me

Words & Music by Paul Simon

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June 13, 2005  |  Comments (3)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Biblical Relationships or Behaviourism

This is written by one of the "older women" God has put in my life. I'm copying it here, so I can find it easily to reread when I need it.

Behaviorism is not a biblical means of dealing with PEOPLE. God has given people mental, emotional and spiritual faculties, a conscience, emotions, etc, and His Word shows over and over again that it is through those avenues that He reaches us and disciplines us and it is through those avenues that we are authorized to reach others and teach and discipline them. Here are some examples--observe the lack of Pearl-style training and instead the presence of grace based discipline:



Quote

"we proclaim Him, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, that we may present every man complete in Christ" --Col 1:28

"Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another..." Col 3:16

"Fathers, do not exasperate your children, that they may not lose heart" Col 3:21

"We proved to be gentle among you, as a nursing mother tenderly cares for her own children, having thus a fond affection for you, we were well-pleased to impart to you not only the gospel of God but also our own lives, because you had become very dear to us....you are witnesses and so is God, how devoutly and uprightly and blamelessly we behaved toward you believers; just as you know how we were exhorting and encouraging and imploring each one of you as a father would his own children so that you may walk in a manner worthy of the God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory."--1 Thess 2: 7 and following

"we request and exhort you in the Lord Jesus, that, as you received from us instruction as to how you ought to walk and please God (just as you actually do walk) that you may excel still more for you know what commandments we gave you by the authority of the Lord Jesus."--1 Thess 4:1-2

"We request of you, brethren, that you appreciate those who diligently labor among you...and we urge you, brethren, admonish the unruly, encourage the faint-hearted, help the weak, be patient with all men...."--1 Thess 5:12 and following

"In pointing out these things to the brethren, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, constantly nourished on the words of the faith and of the sound doctrine which you have been following." 1 Tim 4:6


And so on, and so on. In fact the very existence of the Bible itself is an example of grace-based discipline. God COULD have made it so that we didn't have a Bible, we just had bolts of lightning hit us when we got out of line. In a world like that, there would be no need of a Bible.

In the above examples, perhaps someone would say that it doesn't apply because Paul is teaching the churches how to disciple adults in the community of faith, but I believe that this emphasis on teaching, encouraging and admonishing is an EXAMPLE of the biblical relational model for teaching and learning, and although he is not discussing (for the most part) a parent/child situation he is discussing the situation of how people in some kind of spiritual authority are to disciple the rest. But notice too, when motherhood and fatherhood do come up in Paul's discourse, his tone and language does not change--and mothers are held up as a known example of gentleness, fathers are held up as known examples of patient instruction.

If we fail to notice and appreciate Paul's "grace-based" model, perhaps it's because it is too familiar and we take his level of civility and restraint of power for granted.


Thanks, katiekind. My continual prayer is to understand and integrate God's grace and the Gospel in my inner and external life.

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June 12, 2005  |  Comments (6)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Parental Growth and Development

"I read a paper on the stages women go through as they "acquire the parental role" and not surprisingly, idealism and perfectionism fit into the picture early on. I remember when I was going to be a perfect mother. . ."

I recognize myself in much of what katiekind writes. Read more on mothering and the stages of parenting over on the Yellow Porch.

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June 09, 2005  |  Comments (1)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Pragmatism and Parenting

This is another great post from Chief-Executive Mother, on parenting and the heart of the Gospel.

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May 17, 2005  |  Comments (1)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Thank a Midwife!

Today is International Midwives' Day.

I've had great midwives through the years, and want to thank them here.


Carol Wolfson and Cheryl Hollifield, Florida

Veronica Wagner, California

Alisa Voss, Texas

Tavish Brinton, South Carolina


Many thanks to you, and may you and your families continue to be blessed as you serve and nurture mamas.


(Via The Mommy Blawg.)

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May 05, 2005  |  Comments (3)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

What Every First-time Mama Needs to Know. . .

Written by a fourth-time mama. . .

BERYL'S POSTPARTUM GUIDE FOR FOURTH-TIME MOMMIES

Essential Equipment:
One crib-for baby not to sleep in because he'd rather sleep with you, he doesn't want to take a nap right now, etc.
One car seat-for all those places you wanted to go after the baby was born, only now you'd rather stay home and take a nap.
Two arms and a lap-for cuddling baby.

Toys:
One father and several siblings will keep a baby entertained practically forever.

Clothes:
For a summer baby: five dozen diapers and six undershirts.

Housework:
Delegate and ignore.

Privacy:
Stand in the baby's room and say, "It's a poopie diaper-who wants to help me change it?" You'll have instant privacy as every family member disappears.

Sex:
Set your alarm for 2 am and make it a quickie.

Diapering:
Put one half of the baby's diaper in front, and the other half in back. Fasten it at the waist with something. It it falls off, you did it wrong.

Feeding:
Put the breast and the baby in close proximity to each other. They'll make contact.

Meal Preparation:
Serve only meals that can be prepared with one hand.

Marriage Counseling:
With the ratio of children to parents at four-to-two, you have to get along, or the kids will win!


I read this years ago in Mary Pride's "All the Way Home," and singing mom helped me find it again.

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April 30, 2005  |  Comments (16)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Restoring Gently and Carrying Burdens

At this stage in my life, so much of my reading and studying is filtered through the perspective of mothering. This includes my studying of the Bible and theology. I find the deeper I dig into God’s Word, the more light it shines on my life--and how I ought to mother.

Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted. Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.

Galatians 6:1-2


“Brothers. . .” This passage is written to Believers. As parents, God has given us special responsibility towards our children. But they are also our “brothers” and in the Covenant.

Kristen recently wrote,

We went to Ash Wednesday services at the beginning of Lent with Kate at the episcopal church around the corner (we missed liturgy) and when the priest put ashes on her little forehead, it really made an impact on me. As much as I am her mother, I am also her sister in Christ. This has been really helpful to me in thinking through parenting issues. Most Christians wouldn't serve wine to a fellow Christian who was a recovering alcoholic. Why do they discpline their children and then set them up to do the same things again?


In his commentary on Galatians, Martin Luther clarifies that “caught in sin” is not speaking about doctrinal errors, “but about far lesser sins into which people fall not deliberately, but through weakness.” As our children are learning right from wrong, they will sin. As they are growing through various stages of development, they will have greater or lesser control over their impulses.

Luther goes on to say, “is caught in imply being tricked by the devil or sinful nature.” Sinful nature, temptation, weakness, developmental stages--remembering these sins of our children are part of their weakness helps me respond to them with compassion.


Luther states, “Paul therefore teaches how those who have fallen should be dealt with--namely those who are strong should raise them up and restore them gently.” I don’t always feel “strong” or “spiritual.” Often I feel weak and struggling myself. But it is my responsibility to raise my children and be strong for them. We have no trouble with the idea of parents being a “mama bear” protecting her young child. I also want to be strong spiritually to correct them gently, to be the “mama bear” to help my children when they are struggling with sin.

It’s interesting to note that this passage is immediately proceeded by the admonitions to walk in the Spirit and the list of the fruit of the Spirit-- love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. These should be on my mind as I restore my children gently.

Luther reinforces the idea of this passage reminding us of “the fatherly and motherly affection that Paul requires of those who have charge over souls.”


What does “restoring gently” look like? Luther explains, “when they see that those persons are sorrowful for their offenses, they should begin to raise them up again, to comfort them, and to mitigate their faults as much as they can—yet through mercy only, which they must set against sin, lest those who have fallen are swallowed up with depression.” And “. . .gently, and not in the zeal of severe justice.”

To be honest, at times I’ve had Christian mothers advocate some child-training approaches that seemed to have more of the “zeal of severe justice” than how Luther describes the Holy Spirit’s correction, “mild and pitiful in forbearing.”


After restoring gently, we are told to “carry each other’s burdens.” I see this, in light of mothering, as an especial entreaty to know our particular children and their particular weaknesses.

One of my sons is insecure around lots of guests--and he has responded in the past by getting very loud, climbing on furniture, and even hitting a guest. I've found that to carry his burden means I prepare him beforehand for our guests, and I hold his hand when they arrive, until he is comfortable and calm. Another son is prone to lash out at his brothers when he is angry. Bearing his burden has meant praying with him and for him, helping him recognize when he feels anger rising, and giving him strategies to deal with that anger without hitting. And it has meant letting him know it’s good to come to me and say, “Mommy, I’m angry” so I can help him not sin in his anger.

Also in this encouragement to carry one another’s burdens, it strikes me how wrong it is to follow the child-training technique of placing a child in a situation of temptation--to test him and see whether he can withstand it (or be punished.) This method is encouraged by some for training toddlers and preschoolers, and seems to be very contrary to bearing the burdens of temptation.

Luther also comments on this passage that sometimes in bearing with one another, things need to just be let go--“These people are the ones who are overtaken by sin and have the burdens that Paul commands us to carry. In this case, let us not be rigorous and merciless, but follow the example of Christ, who bears and forbears these burdens. If he does not punish them, though He might do so with justice, much less ought we to do so.”


“And watch yourself, or you also may be tempted. . .” For parents, I see this as a two-fold warning. First, to be gentle, not be angry—the caution here illustrates how very easy it is to slip into being harsh.

And also I see the warning not to be tempted to pride. When we become concerned about appearing to be “good parents” it is easy to slip into correcting harshly, minutely. This is one of the areas in which I struggled a lot, especially when my children were smaller. And especially when we were guests in churches and people's homes. I felt pressure (from myself even more than others) for my kids to be perfect and "prove" we were worthy to be missionaries. That pressure tempted me both into pride in my children's good behaviour, as well being overly picky and correcting unnecessarily.


The end of these verses is “in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” As Martin Luther said,

“After Christ had redeemed us, renewed us, and made us his church, he gave us no other law but that of mutual love. To love is not to wish one another well, but to carry one another's burdens--that is, things that are grievous to us, and that we would not willingly bear. Therefore, Christians (parents!) must have strong shoulders and mighty bones, so they can carry their brother’s weaknesses. . . Love, therefore, is mild, courteous, and patient, not in receiving, but in giving, for it is constrained to wink at many things and to bear them.

Footnote: Quotations are from the Crossway Commentary series, Martin Luther on Galatians. Luther's commentary is also available online, in a variant translation.

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March 21, 2005  |  Comments (20)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Rocket Scientists and Tiny Babies

You could take it as an insult, but God does not credit us with being rocket scientists when it comes to taking care of the next generation. Instead he pre-programs caregiving behavior on the part of mothers AND he pre-programs babies to elicit caregiving from their mothers. An obvious example is how a nursing mother's breasts gush milk in response to hungry-baby sounds. Just in case she can't figure it out from the way her baby is frantically mouthing anything that gets near...her breasts start to tingle and next thing she knows, the front of her shirt is milky. It is not the most subtle of hints. But considering how tiny and vulnerable babies are, it's a hint to heed. This milk-ejection reflex subsides after the first few months of nursing. By that time a nursing mother and her baby have sync'ed up well and the mother knows her baby's subtlest signs of need for nursing.

But it doesn't stop there. . .

Read the rest over on the Yellow Porch.

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March 20, 2005  |  Comments (1)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Prayer and Parenting

We Pray

Simple – we pray. Daily… hourly if need be. We pray for the grace to be a good mom, to raise them up the way He would have us to do. We pray for wisdom, mercy, strength, tender ears, receptive hearts and good choices. We pray when things are going great, and we pray when things have just fallen apart.

From Carla Rolfe, Reformed mama of 7


I remember when I was a teen, hearing my Mom mention how important prayer had become to her, as a parent. I heard it, thought I understood it, but didn't really grasp it. And for the first several years of being a mother, I prayed--but didn't rely upon it in the midst of parenting like I do now.

In situations with my children that need correction, my first response is now pulling my child on my lap to cuddle, and praying--either silently or with my child.

It's amazing how quickly and effectively that stops misbehaviour, calms us BOTH down, and prepares us to easily address the problem.

My Mom was right. Praying is the key to parenting.

(Added: Rebecca is writing a series on prayer this month. I strongly recommend her Praying for your Children. Also see Spiritual Ingenue's Prayer for my Children.)

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March 05, 2005  |  Comments (6)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

On Birthin' Babies

Jenn and Carmon are writing on various aspects of birth, safety and homebirth. I recommend them for anyone who is "in the family way."

Like Carmon, I want to be sure mamas know that,

While I’m a strong advocate of home birth, I am not so dogmatic that I think poorly of women who have their babies in the hospital. Most of my friends have had their babies in the hospital! I’ve also lived long enough to learn that the ideal may be something to strive for, but God sometimes has different plans.


Birthing resources online:
Parenting Decisions: Birth Comfort Ideas
GCM: Cradled in Our Womb Resources
Carmon's Top 10 Birth Ideas
Knitted in the Womb
Birth Well Doula
ChildBirth.Org


(Btw, I just remembered that Hubby wrote a run-down of our birthing experiences. Just remember while reading them, they are from a guy's perspective. . .)

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March 04, 2005  |  Comments (0)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Transitions and the TCK

Notes to self
from the essay Transitions and the TCK
by Jean M. Larson
From Raising Resilient MKs



Successful Adjustments: Four Cornerstones

1. Parental Relationships

    a. Worldview
    b. Relationship with each other
    c. Showing affection
    d. Problem-solving techniques
    e. Sharing responsibilities
    f. Leisure time

2. Child’s Perception of How He is Valued

    a. Key: not whether child is valued and loved, but whether child feels valued and loved.
    b. Love communicated, not simply loved
    c. Verbalize love
    d. Spending unhurried time (especially during the harriedness of transitions)
    e. Playing
    f. Listening
    g. Allowing child to voice opinions
    h. Involve child in decision making.

3. Child viewing what Parents are doing is valuable

    a. Perception of meaningful work
    b. Child understands need for adjustments

4. Practical and Persistent Faith

    a. “A parent’s persistent faith provides a hopeful perception of life for the child.”
    b. Balance: “God will provide.” And “God enables us to help ourselves.”
    c. Hope and transition


The Process: Children given the freedom and context to “process” the transition—talking, feeling, thinking, sharing with others, understanding, finding meaning in change, etc. Allowing children to experience and express feelings. Necessary to move into re-engagement stage.


Transitions: Five Phases

    Phase 1: Engagement
    Phase 2: Leaving
    Phase 3. Transition
    Phase 4: Entering
    Phase 5: Re-Engagement



RAFT Technique for Goodbyes

    Reconciliation
    Affirmation
    Farewells
    Think Ahead

Websites to Remember:

Families in Global Transition
Interaction International
MK Connection
Youth Compass
TCK World
MK Links

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February 25, 2005  |  Comments (5)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Quote of the Day

I've always known I have exceptionally smart children--after all, my lost brain cells had to have gone somewhere.

-Jenn, Knitted in the Womb

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February 12, 2005  |  Comments (1)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

For the Mommy-Encouragement Files

This whole vulnerable essay is worth reading, especially on days we’re really struggling. No one part can be pulled out and quoted, so go read the whole thing.

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February 09, 2005  |  Comments (2)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Everybody in the Band Appreciates Mom

"Brothers Max and Nick Reynolds, drummer Ben Brister, along with the not-pictured duo of bassist Scott Davis and Reynolds patriarch Reg, are Social Bliss, your friendly, neighborhood rock-alt-country-punk-cumbia-Tex-Mex-sometimes-even-blues-but-never- George-Strait band." --BuzzTexas.Com

Their mom is a friend of mine (and proud orange-scarf-wearer!)

I've learned a lot from both her and KatieKind (another musical mama.) I want to encourage my boys to be the people God created them to be, following their interests and developing their gifts. And I want our home to be a place where they feel safe when they are struggling.

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February 04, 2005  |  Comments (2)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Mothers' Little Helpers

For 4+ years I avoided family and parenting books like the plague. Once bitten, twice shy. Instead of books, Hubby and I discussed ideas and theology, pragmatics and principles. I asked my Mom and MIL for advice; bounced ideas off of other mothers in the thick of things with little ones; sought wisdom from the older moms who had been there, done that. I related every theological point I studied to parenting. I made mistakes and had successes.

All the while, I did a lot of loving up on and praying for my boys.

Finally last January I dove in and read four parenting related books.
Families Where Grace is in Place
Relational Parenting (On sale: $2.99!)
Heartfelt Discipline
Biblical Parenting

I hesitate to recommend any parenting materials. Christians are well-meaning but seem to be vulnerable to getting caught up in legalism, rather than applying the Gospel in their families.

Each of the above authors emphasize that there is no "program" to replace a lifestyle of discipleship, relationship and love. These books are not prescriptions for parenting, but provoke thought as we work out the answers to the question, "How can we apply the Gospel of Jesus Christ as we raise our children?"

While I find much that is worthwhile in these books, I have reservations about them as well. When reading any parenting materials, it is important to be willing to search the Bible, apply theological thinking to family relationships, and look at what we can learn by observing God's creation. This help us focus on relationships and parenting by the Spirit, rather than getting caught up in man-made rules.

I intend to write my own reviews of these books in the coming week. Until then I encourge you to read the Amazon reviews and the discussion in this post.

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January 31, 2005  |  Comments (14)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Adopted and Accepted

"When we realize that our adoption is permanent, we have the courage to celebrate our identity by looking and acting like our Father. We recognize and love our brothers and sisters because they look and act like Him, too. But even when they fail to have a family resemblance, we love them because our Father loves us when we fail to resemble Him. . .

But God does not just give us a list of house rules [referring back to the "one another" verses] He gives us grace to follow the rules. His Spirit produces the fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control that enables us to act like our Father. And our Elder Brother intercedes for us before the Father's throne." --Susan Hunt, Heirs of the Covenant

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January 29, 2005  |  Comments (5)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Kids vs. Marriage

"A deeper problem I have with the advocacy of date nights is the underlying message behind them. Invariably the message that is clearly stated . . . or subtly alluded to is that children are a hindrance to the marriage, and parents must be regularly separated from the children to maintain a healthy marriage. . . . I think setting them up as adversaries to the marriage is unhealthy. The Bible states that children are a blessing. But far too often I think that in Christian society we don’t really see them that way. We see them as "in the way" far to often. . . "


While I personally enjoy date nights with Hubby, I think Jenn is right on in her essay Children vs. the Marriage?

I have heard teachers and writers too often encourage antagonistic relationships within families--parents vs. children, husband vs. wife. (Gary Ezzo springs to mind.) While I don't believe these teachers or parents are desirous of that outcome, their ideas set people up for interacting in controlling, conflict-ridden ways within families.

Wouldn't it be great if the Church encouraged adults to embrace attitudes ones of "We're all on the same team! We're in the same Body of Christ!" within their families?

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January 18, 2005  |  Comments (11)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Mothers and Babies and Bloggers

[It is] so rewarding and satisfying to my mother heart to know I have been created to meet my baby's needs.

Babies were born to be breastfed.


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January 17, 2005  |  Comments (0)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Love in the Family

More for the Mommy-Inspiration files. . .

You cannot spoil anyone by truly loving them (meaning always doing what is best for them, not what is expedient or easy). Loving means meeting needs as you see them. And that can and does include the important skill of delaying gratification and learning to live WITH your fellow human beings, all at appropriate ages.

If love is your motivating force, you will be able to enjoy a relationship with your family from birth to old age. That isn't to say all will be rosy, but at least you will know that your motivation is on track even when your practice is a bit out of whack for a time. I remember telling my oldest when he was 12 that he could always trust my motivation was love for him even if things didn't always seem that way in the moment.

I try to live that every day, to love and act from love all the time. And even when I fail at it from time to time, I know where the mark is again. . . .Just live, love and be loved. We only get this moment right now... --Patti, Mom to 9 in Ohio

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January 15, 2005  |  Comments (2)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

The Bible Guide To Sex and Marriage

Top 10 Biblical Ways to Acquire a Wife
This is satire.

Christian Sex-Ed, Repressed Authoritarian Style
This isn't.

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January 14, 2005  |  Comments (2)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Get Off Your Butt Parenting

My friend Joanne, aka The Happy Homeschooler, has been updating her Positive Discipline Resource Center website. If you've heard the phrases Get off Your Butt Parenting or Pass the Bean Dip, you've already been introduced to Joanne's common sense and witty style of encouragement. It's worth the time to surf and be inspired.

For more Mommy inspiration and ideas, check out:
Parenting Decisions
The Family Corner (The Prewetts)
Gentle Christian Mothers

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January 10, 2005  |  Comments (6)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

To Fix or Depend?

"God's job is to fix and to change. Our job is to depend, serve, and equip. This is the work of grace."

I read Jeff VanVonderen's Families Where Grace is in Place last January. I found myself nodding as I read, seeing so many of the conclusions I'd come to through studying theology and discussions with friends. Only Jeff VanVonderen had these thoughts organized and drew upon his experience counseling with families.

It's very true, as JVV points out, that we have been

". . .taught to gauge spiritual success by outward performance standards, and not . . .been shown the internal steps that lead to real, from-the-heart-out empowerment and transformation."

Fast forward through a rough year, and I'm rereading the book. However, instead of nodding in agreement with his ideas, I'm recognizing myself and my own struggles in life. I'm seeing how much I still strive to measure myself and my spiritual "success" by outward standards. How much I don't daily turn to the Gospel of Jesus Christ and draw upon His grace.

In this coming year, I desire to learn more to lean into God, draw my strength from and depend upon Him. And may His grace flow out so I can serve and equip my husband and children.

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January 04, 2005  |  Comments (12)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Adoption and Attachment Resources

A friend of mine was asking me the other day for which resources I've found online concerning adoption and attachment. A good friend of hers is in the process of adopting an infant, and has been encouraged by church friends to use Gary Ezzo's "Babywise" manual with this adopted child. It's hard--I have an Ezzo-mama friend whose son was dx'd RAD, and an adoptive mom friend whose older child was dx'd RAD.

While one cannont conclusively say that "CIO/Ezzo --> Attachment Problems," there are many resources that indicate the parenting ideas expoused by Ezzo do undermine the development of parent/child attachment. Sadly, these parents do love their children dearly, even when their actions may be preventing a strong and healthy attached relationship.

Attach-China
Attachment Disorders
Adoption and Attachment

Here at TulipGirl:
Loving Families and Reactive Attachment Disorder
Mommies, Babies, and Chemistry
Different But Equal

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January 02, 2005  |  Comments (2)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Babies Need to Cry

Babies need to cry.
It develops their lungs.
They learn they are not the center of the universe.
It teaches self-control later.
It helps them sleep.
It's hard to let them cry, but in the long run it's worth it.
It releases emotions so they are more peaceful.

These are common myths used to reassure mothers that it is good to let their infants cry. These justifications are often used by those reassuring mothers using Babywise or other sleep training ideas.

More research was released this week in the November issue of Archives of Disease in Childhood that further indicates that these myths are not based in infant biology or physiology.

"Babies who cry a lot for no apparent reason may be more likely to have problems later in childhood, according to a study by American and Norwegian researchers.

"They assessed the crying patterns of 327 babies at six and 13 weeks of age and whether the babies' crying was caused by simple colic. The children had their intelligence, behaviour and motor abilities measured when they were five years old.

"The study found that children who had continued prolonged crying (not due to colic) beyond three months of age had intelligence scores nine points lower than other children. . .

"Prolonged crying in infancy was also associated with hyperactivity, poorer fine motor abilities, and behaviour and discipline problems later in childhood. . ."

This corresponds with other findings that link "crying it out" with later neurological problems. Remember, however, that this study was not looking for whether the crying caused these later problems.


Related Reading at TulipGirl.Com:
Loving Families and RAD
Mommies, Babies, and Chemistry
Nutrition and Brain Dev't

Elsewhere:
Full text of Archives of Disease in Childhood article
Zero to Three: Brain Wonders
Harvard Review on Babies Crying
Stress in Infancy
Bonding and Attachment Discussion at GCM
Woman to Woman

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November 05, 2004  |  Comments (14)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Mommy-Encouragement

When I'm having a rough-mommy day, I intentionally seek out articles online that provide some encouragement and inspiration. I have several articles bookmarked and Psalms highlighted that I reread when I need a little lift.

Saturday I came across a blog post that fits that category.

When my kids were toddlers, I had an intense longing for a peaceful place to sit quietly and recharge my batteries. Though I was not a Christian, I thought that a morning in church might be the ticket. I imagined a church where light from a stained glass window would pool over me, and a choir would sing and people would talk about God and it would be vague but comforting, and then I would go home ready to face my rambunctious boys again.

Read the rest of KatieKind's post on finding peace mixed with the realities life. This particular story means even more to me since I know KatieKind, and see her in a very Titus 2 way since her boys are grown or nearly so.

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November 01, 2004  |  Comments (0)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Snapshots

"If I had a choice of only one memory to hold onto for the rest of my life, it would be an evening such as that; all my children together, their voices mingling and separating, and me listening in., satisfied and joyful; they were all home." --Rachel Ann
"And it is amazing how different four children can be, right from the get-go. They are all so amazing. They are like four different musical instruments that make beautiful music but are each extremely difficult to tune and each have a different tuning mechanism." --Jon Barlow
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August 12, 2004  |  Comments (1)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

World Breastfeeding Week: August 1 - 7

Exclusive Breastfeeding: the Gold Standard Safe, Sound, Sustainable

wbwaf.jpg


Check back each day this week for world news, information, art, and inspiration in support of World Breastfeeding Week and noonie-mamas everywhere!


Update: Also blogging about World Breastfeeding Week 2004
Bag and Baggage
Starbellys
My Domestic Church
Marsupial Mom
Mungo's Mathoms
Curmudgeonry
House of the Chakram
Breastfeeding News Weblog

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July 31, 2004  |  Comments (4)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Quick and Easy Potty Training

I found Rebecca's potty training advice to be spot on.

Just something for you new and soon-to-be mamas to bookmark for later.

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July 27, 2004  |  Comments (2)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

A New Baby Girl!

Congrats to Mike and Kristen on little Kathryn!

I have a friend, Jean, who is mama to six children. She has always been one of the most encouraging mamas I know. Whenever anyone in our circle of friends (online, mostly) had a baby, she'd bake a cake to celebrate with her family. It was something we always looked forward to. *grin*

About six months ago, I couldn't think of anyone I knew expecting a little blessing. And now I'm waiting along with Lenise, Carol, Jeri, Jordana, Crystal, Anya, Tenn, Ange, Dawn and Samantha.

(Ack! There are a couple more, too--but my mommy-brain isn't remembering as I type this. . .)

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July 03, 2004  |  Comments (0)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

To the Least of These

In times when there is grievous sin, never forget that there is more grace in Christ than there is sin in your heart and your child's heart combined. In Christ there is a way back from the far country of a life style even for children who have given full expression to heart depravity." --Sinclair Ferguson


Update: Carol has more on this.

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June 27, 2004  |  Comments (1)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Parenting and the Westminster Divines

From a recent Christian History Corner article:

In their teaching on the fifth commandment ("Honor thy father and thy mother … "), the Calvinist divines who authored the Westminster Larger Catechism (1648) extended the terms "father" and "mother" to cover all relations of "superior" to "inferior" persons. Like Benedict's rule, the questions dealing with parental responsibilities and failures reflects a balanced, wise treatment of the subjects of authority and discipline. . .:
Q. 129. What is required of superiors towards their inferiors?

A. It is required of superiors, according to that power they receive from God, and that relation wherein they stand, to love, pray for, and bless their inferiors; to instruct, counsel, and admonish them; countenancing, commending, and rewarding such as do well; and discountenancing, reproving, and chastising such as do ill; protecting, and providing for them all things necessary for soul and body: and by grave, wise, holy, and exemplary carriage, to procure glory to God, honour to themselves, and so to preserve that authority which God hath put upon them.

Q. 130. What are the sins of superiors?

A. The sins of superiors are, besides the neglect of the duties required of them, and inordinate seeking of themselves, their own glory, ease, profit, or pleasure; commanding things unlawful, or not in the power of inferiors to perform; counseling, encouraging, or favouring them in that which is evil; dissuading, discouraging, or discountenancing them in that which is good; correcting them unduly; careless exposing, or leaving them to wrong, temptation, and danger; provoking them to wrath; or any way dishonouring themselves, or lessening their authority, by an unjust, indiscreet, rigorous, or remiss behaviour.

I find this a striking passage. Parents, the catechism is saying, sin against their children when they "correct them unduly," "provoke them to wrath," or slip into any other "unjust … rigorous … behavior." Are you surprised, as I was, to see the tendency toward parental strictness (which I possess) decidedly not recommended or reinforced by these supposedly strict Calvinists? Frankly, as I read through this section of the catechism, I both said "ouch" repeatedly, and asked for God's grace to come more closely into alignment with the biblical standard.

I'm feeling convicted.

May God enable us to parent our children with wisdom and grace.


Update: Carol and Ange have added their thoughts on this.

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June 26, 2004  |  Comments (2)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Kangaroos, Breastfeeding, and Churches

It's long been known that premies benefit from "kangaroo care," skin-to-skin responsive contact. The April issue of Pediatrics published new information. "Research in full-term newborns found more good results. The newborns that had kangaroo care shortly after birth slept longer and were mostly in a quiet sleep state compared to those who didn't have it." Read more in laymen's terms or in the technical version.

Last week, a church in Australia banned breastfeeding by mothers during playgroup, for the inane reason that it "might offend passing tradesmen or ethnic groups."

Thankfully, other churches encourage breastfeeding mamas. I remember when we visited Marco Island Presbyterian and I saw an invitation to a monthly La Leche League meeting held in the church nursery. If churches don't embrace the way the Creator designed mothers and children, who will?

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June 23, 2004  |  Comments (29)  |  TrackBack (2)  |  Permalink

 

 

Nutrition for Brain Dev't

"How often do we, as adults, need to eat to keep up our metabolism? Doctors recommend "six small meals a day" to keep up our energy, to repair tissue, and we don't even have to worry about making synaptic connections or growing and developing at an exponential rate the way infants do! . . . I have a real problem with someone telling mothers that their newborn, the baby with a stomach the size of its fist (look at a newborn's fist!) is supposed to do all that work off feedings that are spaced three hours or more apart." --Dy

The size of an infant's stomach.
Nutrition and early brain development.


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June 10, 2004  |  Comments (7)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Contented Cows Give Sweet Milk

"Oxytocin. . . which is released by the pituitary gland, is the hormone that stimulates the mother's letdown. . . This is a wonderful hormone that has a calming affect upon the mother. Every time the milk 'lets down' she experiences a feeling of relaxation and calm and sometimes sleepiness comes over her. God is good. When we do things His way, we get His benefits. He knows that mothers need this calming hormone and He has graciously provided it for us." --Nancy Campbell
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May 29, 2004  |  Comments (7)  |  TrackBack (1)  |  Permalink

 

 

The Swing

How do you like to go up in a swing,
Up in the air so blue?
Oh, I do think it the pleasantest thing
Ever a child can do!

Up in the air and over the wall,
Till I can see so wide,
River and trees and cattle and all
Over the countryside--

Till I look down on the garden green,
Down on the roof so brown--
Up in the air I go flying again,
Up in the air and down!


From Child's Garden of Verses

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May 26, 2004  |  Comments (8)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

How the Other Half Thinks

Hubby has been writing a lot lately about our family and parenting.

Parenting is a (Mixed) Blessing

Mixed Blessing, but a Pretty Cool One

Homebirthing and Other Evangelical Tribal Customs

Kids and the Big City


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May 25, 2004  |  Comments (0)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Modern African Mothers

Emily Wax's article about marketing strollers in Kenya is worth the full read.

"There are customs from a hundred years ago that are not relevant today for Africans. Our challenge is to pick the good from the bad," said Carol Mandi, managing editor of EVE, an East African women's magazine. "But carrying on your back, well, that is just a wonderful custom that keeps the baby emotionally stable and lets the mother feel bonded. We can't stop being African women just because we are suddenly thrust into the modern world. What next? They will tell us to stop breast feeding in public? No way."

Honestly, you need to read the whole story.

Thanks to The Liberal Media for e-mailing me about it. *grin* He knew it'd be one that sparked my interest.

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May 19, 2004  |  Comments (6)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Free Groceries for Life

A mother-friend of mine wrote this analogy which illustrates how scheduled feedings work against the way breastfeeding works. A good read for breastfeeding and expectant mothers. And for the scientific side of things, read this article.

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May 17, 2004  |  Comments (0)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

A Thing of Beauty is a Joy Forever

BreastFeedingMuseumReSized.JPG

(From Breastfeeding News via Jordana)

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May 15, 2004  |  Comments (7)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Mommy-Encouragement

Happy Mother's Day!

I've found the articles at Gentle Christian Mothers to be a wonderful resource through the joys and struggles of mothering.

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May 10, 2004  |  Comments (4)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

When I get home. . .

"When I get home, I thought, I’ll tap dance for Sidda and Little Shep and Lulu and Baylor and feed them peanut butter and bananas and we will talk about summer. We will talk about Spring Creek, where the sun beats down so hot on the pine needles that when you step on them they release a fragrance so pungent that you want to pick them up off the earth and tuck them inside your clothes, just to bring that piney smell in closer to yourself. I will roll on the clean rug with my babies and tickle their backs, and I will tell them stories about sailing through raging storms in a boat I built myself. We will play Columbus and journey together to worlds unknown. When I get home, I will dump that G-d- Ford sedan. By hook or crook, I’ll have a new Thunderbird. When I get home, I will hug my four babies. I will hug the man I have married. I will do my best to give thanks for gifts, strangely, beautifully, painfully wrapped."

From "Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood" by Rebecca Wells
Chapter 25, when Vivi comes home and embraces her life.


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April 01, 2004  |  Comments (6)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Can you not see?

I am alive
I have a name
My hands and feet
clench and stretch.
My eyes are blue and my hair a mahogany brown.
Dimpled cheeks and mother’s hands.
I have an in-y,
not an out-y just like dad’s.
And a pinky finger longer than most, just like grandma’s.
A laugh and cry and sigh and song to sing.

I am alive
Can you not see?
Hidden behind the veil of tissue and warmth


Read the rest.

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March 30, 2004  |  Comments (3)  |  TrackBack (1)  |  Permalink

 

 

Baby Care Info in Russian

These are online resources recommended to me by a breastfeeding supporter in Kyiv. My Russian isn't strong enough to have screened all the info at these sites, but I trust that they will be helpful for mothers.


Baby from Conception to 1 Year by J. Tsaregradskaya
Ребенок от зачатия до года

Baby Book by W and M Sears in Russian
Ваш ребенок. Все, что вам нужно знать о вашем ребенке - с рождения до двух лет


BF-friendly Parenting Board

www.mother.ru has a Russian LC

BF Articles in Russian

www.detki.de lots of good info.
D.W. Winnicot's book

Continuum-Concept related


livejournal communities for moms, in Russian:
http://www.livejournal.com/community/malyshi
http://www.livejournal.com/community/lyalechka

Интересуются Вы этой книгой?
«Как научить младенца спать всю ночь» Гари Эззо / Эццо?
Вы должны читать Ezzo.Info.


Thanks to lactation counselor and mom of three, Victoria Lyubarsky.

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March 29, 2004  |  Comments (0)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Islam and "The Rod"

Middle East Media Research Institute has just released a report on Islamic Shar'ia law related to wife-beating.

In January, Sheikh Muhammad Kamal Mustafa, a Muslim cleric in Spain, was sentenced for publishing his book "The Woman in Islam" which includes the application of Shar'ia law as it relates to wife-beating.

One of the interesting points brought up in this article is the various interpretations of what the rod is and how beatings should be administered. For instance, in Mustafa writes,

"The [wife-]beating must never be in exaggerated, blind anger, in order to avoid serious harm [to the woman]." He adds, "It is forbidden to beat her on the sensitive parts of her body, such as the face, breast, abdomen, and head. Instead, she should be beaten on the arms and legs," using a "rod that must not be stiff, but slim and lightweight so that no wounds, scars, or bruises are caused." Similarly, "[the blows] must not be hard."

Please pay attention to the description of the rod, "must not be stiff, but slim and lightweight so that no wounds, scars, or bruises are caused."

This is the same wording used by some Christians about the type of rod that should be used when punishing children. For example, Gary Ezzo teaches that children ought to be "chastised" with a "biblical rod" which he describes as "somewhat flexible, not stiff or unbending" instrument (GKGW, p.220). Ezzo families sometimes describe this being a wide strip of rubber tubing, a rubber show sole, a thin razor strap, or a large glue stick.

Michael and Debbie Pearl similary suggest that "a light, flexible instrument will sting without bruising or causing internal damage. Many people are using a section of ¼ inch plumber’s supply line as a spanking instrument."

Credenda Agenda suggests, ". . .wood seems the obvious choice. Look for something about a cubit long that flirts with flexibility, but be sure it's strong enough. . ." Volume 14, Issue 4

Both Ezzo and Pearl call for immediate obedience from children, followed by "chastisement" with the rod if they don't comply without delay.

At least the Muslims show more patience with their wives--beating with a rod is the third step in "wifely discipline." The first is gentle verbal admonishments and the second is being removed from the marriage bed.

From the photos in the MEMRI article, the Muslim's "small rod" is a bit bigger than a glue stick.

SmallMuslimRod

However, the photo of the "large rod" seems to be much closer to a shebet, the type of rod that is referred to in Proverbs.

LargeMuslimRod


For further reading, I recommend Laurie Moody's study on Biblical Discipline and Joan Sewell's study Suffer the Little Children.


Update: Though taking a different angle, this story is also being talked about by The Commissar, Chris, DhimmiWatch, Matt, John , Allah and Marsupial Mom.

(Via schoolraider)

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March 20, 2004  |  Comments (20)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Poetry of Playing

A Good Play

We built a ship upon the stairs
All made of the back-bedroom chairs,
And filled it full of sofa pillows
To go a-sailing on the billows.

We took a saw and several nails,
And water in the nursery pails;
And Tom said, “Let us also take
An apple and a slice of cake;”—
Which was enough for Tom and me
To go a-sailing on, till tea.

We sailed along for days and days,
And had the very best of plays;
But Tom fell out and hurt his knee,
So there was no one left but me.


This evening the boys had a blanket thrown over their jungle gym, and pillows and boxes piled around it. Definitely the very best of plays.

Tonight while snuggling with R5, I read R.L. Stevenson to him. These poems colored my growing up years, and it brings such joy to share them with my children.


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March 19, 2004  |  Comments (4)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

When Mother Reads Aloud

When mother reads aloud the past
Seems real as every day;
I hear the tramp of armies vast,
I see the spears and lances cast,
I join the thrilling fray;
Brave knights and ladies fair and proud
I meet when mother reads aloud.

When mother reads aloud, far lands
Seem very near and true;
I cross the desert's gleaming sands,
Or hunt the jungle's prowling bands,
Or sail the ocean blue;
Far heights, whose peaks the cold mists shroud,
I scale, when mother reads aloud.

When mother reads aloud I long
For noble deeds to do--
To help the right, redress the wrong,
It seems so easy to be strong, so simple to be true,
O, thick and fast the visions crowd
When mother reads aloud.

From "Favorite Poems, Old and New"

(For Carmon, long overdue)

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March 12, 2004  |  Comments (1)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Why Nerds are Unpopular

Carol has a series of posts that she has recently written, spinning off from Paul Graham's essay "Why Nerds Are Unpopular."

Whether a homeschooler or a school-building-schooler, Carol's posts are good fodder for thought as we seek to nurture our children as they grow into the people God created them to be.

Post 1: one of my opinions regarding public schools. . .
Post 2: never considered myself a “nerd”, but nor was I “popular”.
Post 3: school robbed. . . me of BOOKS.
Post 4: popular kids were being trained to please.

(FYI, I haven't read the original essay yet--just Carol's thoughts.)

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March 11, 2004  |  Comments (0)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Soccer Moms and Baseball Babies

"Play BALL!" It was the Little League T-ball All Stars game. I was number 17--the littlest on the team and the last to bat. I glanced into the stands, and was reassured to see my mother smiling at me and nursing my baby sister.

I wrote about these vivid and early memories of my mother and little sister a few years ago.

Just today, I came across this article by Elizabeth Pantley and marvelled at how these early interactions among mother, baby, and siblings can make such a profound impression. And how love and nurturing are passed along in our every day family interactions.

My three older children all play baseball, so Coleton and I spend much of our springtime at the ballpark. His first baseball season he was five months old. Since I was a coach on my daughter’s team, Coleton spent his time in the dugout and on the field nestled in his (team-colored) sling, watching the action and listening to the cheers, chants and noise of the play. Between swings at bat the girls would often pass him around from one to the other, entertaining him and trying to make him giggle.

I encourage you to take time for some mommy-daddy encouragement by reading Baseball Babies and Play Ball.


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March 03, 2004  |  Comments (5)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Try a Little Tenderness

While I was getting my hair cut, a man and his son walked in. The little boy was not yet three, and had wispy blond hair. The stylist prepared for the little boy by putting a booster seat on the chair.

When the family was finished getting off winter coats and hats, the father told the stylist that he didn't want the booster seat. Instead he sat down in the chair himself, and gently pulled his toddler onto his lap.

The boy fussed for a moment when he realized he would be getting his hair cut. I couldn't hear what the father was murmuring, but it calmed his son down quickly. The stylist put the cape around the little boy. The father was in uniform--militsia or military, I'm not sure. He didn't care about getting clippings on it, as long as his little boy felt safe.

Throughout the haircut, the father had his hand held on the boy's forehead and over his eyes, to prevent hair from getting one his face. From time to time, I saw him brush away stray bits from the son's nose and cheeks.

I was like being in a Norman Rockwell photo, and I was so touched by that father's tenderness.

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February 17, 2004  |  Comments (11)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Mommies, Babies, and Chemistry

Today I came across this facinating article about The Chemistry of Attachment, by Linda F. Palmer. My mother was asking me more about Reactive Attachment Disorder this week, and this article touches on the oxcytocin/cortisol impact on infant brain development. The wonderful way God has designed mothers and babies continually amazes me.

Here are some quotes from the article, of the creative chemicals that connect us.

Oxcytocin

Under the early influence of oxytocin, nerve junctions in certain areas of mother's brain actually undergo reorganization, thereby making her maternal behaviors "hard-wired."

Persistent regular body contact and other nurturing acts by parents produce a constant, elevated level of oxytocin in the infant, which in turn provides a valuable reduction in the infant's stress-hormone responses. . . the resulting high or low level of oxytocin will control the permanent organization of the stress-handling portion of the baby's brain-promoting lasting "securely attached" or "insecure" characteristics in the adolescent and adult.
When an infant does not receive regular oxytocin-producing responsive care, the resultant stress responses cause elevated levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Chronic cortisol elevations in infants . . .are shown in biochemical studies to be associated with permanent brain changes that lead to elevated responses to stress throughout life,

Vasopressin

Released in response to nearness and touch, vasopressin promotes bonding between the father and the mother, helps the father recognize and bond to his baby. . . It has gained a reputation as the "monogamy hormone."

Prolactin

. . .prolactin is released in response to suckling, promoting milk production as well as maternal behaviors. Prolactin relaxes mother. . . so she has no strong desire to hop up and do other things.

Opioids

Babies need milk, and opioids are nature's reward to them for obtaining it. . . The first few episodes of sucking organize nerve pathways in the newborn's brain, conditioning her to continue this activity.

Prolonged elevation of prolactin in the attached parent stimulates the opioid system, heightening the rewards for intimate, loving family relationships. . .
Once a strong opioid bonding has occurred, separation can become emotionally upsetting, and in the infant possibly even physically uncomfortable when opioid levels decrease in the brain, much like the withdrawal symptoms from cocaine or heroin. When opioid levels become low, one might feel like going home to hold the baby or like crying for a parent's warm embrace. . .

Norepinephrine

Norepinephrine helps organize the infant's stress control system

Pheromones

Newborns are much more sensitive to pheromones than adults. . . . Through these, baby most likely learns how to perceive the level of stress in the caretakers around her, such as when mother is experiencing fear or joy. . . .body odors and pheromones can only be sensed when people are physically very near each other.

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January 31, 2004  |  Comments (4)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Different But Equal

I just got word that Patty McLaughlin's new book has been released, Different But Equal : Adoption Education and Preparation Manual.

We were blessed to know the McLaughlin family when we lived in Florida, and were treated to some of the Chinese cooking they brought home with them, along with their daughters.

If you are considering adoption, I encourage you to order this manual. Patty has been a great encourager to me, both when we lived nearby and even now through e-mail. I'm sure you will be blessed by the information she has gathered on preparing for adoption.


(Oh, and it is her oldest son who is responsible for the Courtship Pick-Up Lines Hubby posted. . .)

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January 26, 2004  |  Comments (0)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Memories of Church

Earliest Memory. I have two: wailing and clinging to my mother at nursery school (which was located in our Congregational church) and sitting on my maternal grandmother's lap, reading cloth Bible books. -- the 100th Sheep

Oh, what a poignant illustration of why we need to think through family worship and how to include our children in corporate worship.

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January 23, 2004  |  Comments (1)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Superfluparents in the Church

While this troublesome trend is apparent in the culture at large, it is even more disturbing when it makes headway in the Church. Superfluparents is how Joanne diagnoses the problem she sees in many churches, including her own.

The condition is characterized by a gradual decline in parental authority, a deterioration of the family unit as socialization vehicle, the slow give away of each aspect of the child's life to someone/someplace else. Advanced stages of the disease are shown by children who care more about peers than parents, parents whose "dealing with children" muscles have atrophied due to lack of use. . .

God has called us to worship corporately, as families. He has made our children part of His Covenant. Why does it seem the Church so often rushes to exclude them from worship, in the guise of "ministering" to these little ones?

Beal Heights PCA's Infants and Children and the Word of God offers a positive approach that helps families worship together, meets the needs and noises of little ones, and provides for guests.

And for the practical side of corporate worship with very small children, Jeri has some great ideas.

Update: Marsupial Mom adds to this discussion.


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January 21, 2004  |  Comments (9)  |  TrackBack (2)  |  Permalink

 

 

Charles Hodge and Parenting

The other night I was skimming Charles Hodge's commentary on Romans and was just struck by how God relates to us as His children, and how I can follow that example with my children.

This is from the Crossway Books Classic Commentaries, page 189, commenting on Romans 6: 12-23:

"As no man is free from sin, as no man can perfectly keep the commandments of God, every man who rests on his personal conformity to the law as the basis of his acceptance with God must be condemned. We are not under the law in this sense, but under grace--that is, a system of free justification. We are justified by grace, without works.

We are not under a legal dispensation, requiring personal conformity to the law and entire freedom from sin, past and present, as the condition of our acceptance; but we are under a gracious dispensation, according to which God dispenses pardon freely and accepts the sinner as a sinner, for Christs's sake, without works or merit of his own. Whoever is under the law, in the sense just explained, is not only condemned, but he is bound by a legal or slavish spirit. What he does, he does as a slave, to escape punishment. But he who is under grace, who is freely accepted by God and restored to his favor, is a child of God living under his Spirit. The principle of obeying him is love and not fear.

Here, as everywhere else in the Bible, it is assumed that the favor of God is in our life. We must be reconciled to Him before we can be holy: we must feel that He loves us before we can love Him."


Reflections related to Parenting

"God. . .accepts the sinner as a sinner"
I know this to be true with God accepting me, and now I want to really just ACCEPT my children as who they are. I want to provide a "safe place to fall" for my kids, where they know they are accepted as they are, even when they sin. I know my parents have lived that out towards my siblings and me.

"What he does, he does as a slave, to escape punishment."
I don't want my children to be doing things out of fear, simply to escape punishment.

"But he who is under grace, who is freeely accepted by God and restored to his favor, is a child of God living under his Spirit."
This is the part of the passage that first drew my attention to asking how I can relate this to me and my children, copying God as my Father.

"The principle of obeying him is love and not fear."
Again, I don't want it to be fear of me or fear of punishment that compels my children to obedience. But of love. Just as, truly, my obedience (imperfect though it may be) to God is out of a desire to please Him and out of love.

"we must feel that He loves us before we can love Him."
I read a survey once that said something like 90% of kids knew their parents loved them, but only 30% FELT that their parents loved them. I want to really nurture my children, and have them FEEL loved by me and my husband.


Update: Carol adds some of her thoughts on this subject.

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January 20, 2004  |  Comments (5)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Romans 6:12-23

This is the passage that provoked my thoughts on parenting when reading Charles Hodge's commentary on Romans.

"Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its lusts, and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace.

What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? May it never be! Do you not know that when you present yourselves to someone as slaves for obedience, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness?

But thanks be to God that though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed, and having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness. I am speaking in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh.

For just as you presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness, resulting in further lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness, resulting in sanctification. For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness.

Therefore what benefit were you then deriving from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the outcome of those things is death. But now having been freed from sin and enslaved to God, you derive your benefit, resulting in sanctification, and the outcome, eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord."

Romans 6:12-23 NASB

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January 20, 2004  |  Comments (2)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Ronia, the Robber's Daughter

The fact was that Lovis liked to sing while she was having her baby. It made things easier, she insisted, and the baby would probably be all the jollier if it arrived on earth to the sound of a song.

When Hubby reported his book finds this week, he neglected to mention the treasure I came across. Years ago, my friend Rachel told me how much her family liked Astrid Lindgren's Ronia, the Robber's Daughter.

I wasn't prepared, though, for how the opening paragraphs capture the sheer joy and amazement that accompany the birth of a child.

"I've got a child! Do you hear me -- I've got a child!" "What sort of child is it?" asked Noddle-Pete over in his corner. "A robber's daughter, joy and gladness!" shouted Matt. "A robber's daugther -- here she comes!"
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January 17, 2004  |  Comments (6)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 


 
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