Parenting

How should a Christian respond to Banned Books Week?

Every year, book lovers and avid readers build up a head of steam about Banned Books Week. The purpose of Banned Books Week is to celebrate the freedom to read, and to highlight the importance of free and open access to information.

Parents who want to protect their children from harmful influences may sometimes challenge books with objectionable content, which causes a conflict between a freedom loving society and Christian values. How should a Christian respond?

Banned or Challenged?

The term “banned” is a little misleading. The American Library Association’s Banned Books List includes any book that is “challenged,” for whatever reason.

2019 reads

Why Children Should Volunteer

The first thing I want to say about volunteerism and “giving back” is that I don’t believe in such things as an “unfair advantage” or “luck.” If you as parents work hard to feed, clothe, and shelter your children; you love and nurture them, pushing them to be responsible, caring members of society; you spend time, energy and money to ensure they have a solid education so they can succeed in life—then you are a normal family.

What isn’t and shouldn’t be accepted as normal is neglectful, violent, or substance-abusing parents. Children aren’t “lucky” because their parents don’t beat them or there’s actually nutritious food in the fridge. This attitude makes neglect and abuse the norm, and it implies that inhabiting a loving home is some kind of magical “only if you are fortunate” thing.

We understand that all good things come from God, but many good things are a natural consequence of prudent behavior—sowing and reaping works just as well for the unregenerate as for those who are redeemed. The eternal reaping comes later, but that’s not what I’m talking about here.

1608 reads

Finding a Balanced Approach to Choosing Literature for Children

As Christians who endeavor to apply biblical principles to every facet of life, I think we sometimes err greatly when it comes to choosing literature on page and screen for our children:

  1. We view every instance of sinful behavior as an objectionable element and dismiss the entire story on that basis.
  2. We Christianize the characters, themes, and plot lines to “redeem” the story, regardless of authorial intent.
  3. We assume “classic literature” means “wholesome literature.”
  4. We leave teaching literature to the “experts.”

None of these approaches are accurate or useful. They represent faulty methods of literary criticism—permissivism, exclusivism, pragmatism, naïveté, and the postmodernist tendency to declare everything relative. Worst of all, they represent a lost opportunity to parent.

1136 reads

Adventures in Parenting: Trust

In my experience, one of the most difficult aspects of parenting is teaching my children about sin while not discouraging them.

While our firstborn was growing up, we were in church circles that placed an emphasis on teaching children about their sin nature and the consequences of sin. Sounds biblical and reasonable, right? However, the way this played out was to treat children like they were always being deceitful, always up to something, and couldn’t be trusted. Ever. I can’t tell you how many times I heard Psalm 58:3 quoted:

The wicked are estranged from the womb: they go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies.

This use of Scripture rubbed my husband and I the wrong way, but at the time it seemed to make sense. Kids are inherently selfish. They lie to get their way or hide their mistakes. They refuse to eat what’s on their plate, go to sleep at a decent hour, and go potty on the toilet instead of in their pants. They’re sinners, and deserve to be treated as such. Because Revelation 21:8.

Then it got worse—there was an actual file in the pastor’s office marked with every mistake, every failure, brought up again and again by teachers and the pastor whenever there was trouble involving kids in the youth group.

5402 reads

Nine Lessons I Have Learned as a Homeschool Mom

Emma and Kenny Krogering

We often think about homeschooling in terms of what it means for our children; the books they will use, what they will learn, and how to prepare them for a future career. However, now that I’m near the end of my tenure as a homeschooling parent, I think more and more about what I’ve learned about myself and my children.

Children need the freedom to grow as individuals.

As much as parents may talk about kids being unique and special, the temptation to compare them to other children their age is insidiously ever present. Our society has accepted the idea of chronological age as the best indicator of what-a-child-should-do-when, and Christians have allowed legalistic thinking to blur our vision of God’s path to spiritual growth.

1839 reads

Review: Finding Your Child's Way on the Autism Spectrum

Marylu and I have some longtime Christian friends, a Christian couple from the Chicago area. We were often puzzled by the husband’s behavior patterns—and so was he—until he was finally diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome. After his diagnosis, he began attending an Asperger’s support group. His behavior improved; he now monitors his responses and reactions.

Asperger’s Syndrome is part of the Autism Spectrum. Autism varies from high-functioning to low functioning, and research is ongoing. But the question arises, “How should Christian parents bring up their autistic children?”

Dr. Laura Henrickson points the way in her 144 page book, Finding Your Child’s Way on the Autism Spectrum. Hendrickson is uniquely qualified to write such a book: she had been a practicing psychiatrist, believes in biblical counseling (with an emphasis on personal responsibility), and successfully raised her autistic son. She views autism as a type of personality—with both  pros and cons. And she recognizes the contributions autistic people have and are making in society, referring often to autism’s chief contemporary spokesperson, Dr. Temple Grandin, who is one of many success stories.

1284 reads

Review - Biblical Worldview: Creation, Fall, Redemption

Originally posted at Proclaim & Defend, used by permision.

BJU Press recently released Biblical Worldview: Creation, Fall, Redemption, a new textbook for Christian schools. It’s intended audience is the twelfth grade and would be taught in a Bible or Religion classroom. The writing is geared for the high school level and often touches on such subjects as “What will you do with your life (now that you have this information)?” Those of us who approach the subject many years removed from high school may find these references nostalgic.

Mark Ward is the Lead Author for the book. Mark now works for FaithLife in Bellingham, WA. You can follow Mark’s writing here and he writes a monthly column in our FrontLine magazine. Mark informs me that he hopes one day that the book might be published in a trade paperback edition which would likely lower the cost and target a more general audience.

2614 reads

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