New Here?
     
Children

Denzel Washington plays Troy Maxson and Viola Davis plays Rose Maxson in Fences from Paramount Pictures. Directed by Denzel Washington from a screenplay by August Wilson.

Fathers, Sons, Law, and Grace in August Wilson’s Fences

My mother and father always attempted to instill into me and my brothers an appreciation for culture. Mom was and remains extremely well-read in classic literature, hailing Steinbeck as her favorite; she enjoyed foreign cinema and took me (while in the womb) to an Ingmar Bergman film festival; she could reference renowned plays and decided to middle-name me after Neil Simon; and her record collection lined the living room perimeter containing everything from Funkadelic to Simon & Garfunkel, Temptations, Barbara Streisand, The Police, Rick James, etc…

But I think the most significant (though at the time not fully appreciated) exposure came…

Read More > > >

The Mother I Was Going To Be

The Mother I Was Going To Be

Parenting is full of “I never thought I’d have to do/say/clean that” moments.

“Don’t touch your brother’s pee.”

“Please don’t put that necklace on the dog.”

“How did these fingerprints get there?”

I was not going to be the mom that made a separate meal for her kids. I cook delicious food! And it’s kid-friendly! They can eat what we eat, or go to bed hungry!

And then I had a kid who would not, could not eat, and woke us up all night long because he was hungry. And so, with torture like that, I surrendered, and my white flag was in the shape of…

Read More > > >

What Kids Can Teach Us About Screens

What Kids Can Teach Us About Screens

Devorah Heitner, who was interviewed on our podcast back in October, recently wrote an interesting article on the themes from her book, Screenwise: Helping Kids Thrive (and Survive) in Their Digital World. The kids in the piece demonstrate quite a grasp of the ambiguities and pitfalls of constant connectivity.

Heitner’s stance is that children are “digital natives” – this is the water they grow up swimming in. While generous towards their sometimes excessive usage, she also recognizes the hand of the Law in the social media landscape. Here, she addresses the tight-rope walk of curating an appealing online self-image: “Middle school…

Read More > > >

My Best New Years Eve(r)

My Best New Years Eve(r)

In downtown Milwaukee, there’s a Starbucks attached to an ice rink where every winter, you can drive past and see families, singles, couples, and kids of all ages gliding in graceful rotation over an artificial frozen pond. The sight evokes the kind of Americana sentimentality one might feel upon seeing a Norman Rockwell painting or a 1980’s Speilberg film. It just looks like the thing to do – the thing you ‘ought’ (read Law) to do in the winter, in the Midwest, with your wife and kids…especially during the holidays. It seems so inviting to sit with a cup of hot coco or…

Read More > > >

Mom Goggles

Mom Goggles

One of my favorite shows on television is The Goldbergs, which is a sitcom about a family in the 1980s. The mother, Beverly (Wendi McLendon-Covey), is ridiculous not only in her 1980s-ness (jazzercise, big hair, shoulder pads, mom jeans), but also in her single-minded devotion to her family. Her love for them often seems to travel only in a one-way direction. Her husband is apathetic. Her children are teenagers and embarrassed by her smothering affection. But she doggedly loves them anyway, in spite of herself and in spite of their protests. In one episode, her children accuse her of having…

Read More > > >

“Mother and Child”: Calling BS on the Expectations of “Silent Night”

“Mother and Child”: Calling BS on the Expectations of “Silent Night”

I used to love how the carol “Silent Night” captured my image of the season: peaceful, expectant, hopeful. Then I became an adult, and a parent, and Christmastime became anything but serene. I found myself singing words like “all is calm, all is bright” while looking around at other faces, wondering, “Does anyone else believe this nonsense?” When God saw fit to give me my own swaddled baby boy–then another–I related to Mary more than ever and felt that someone must speak up for her, because if I know anything about Christmas with a newborn (and I do; my kids…

Read More > > >

A View From the Back Pew – Carrie Willard

Our next video from the OKC Conference comes to us from the remarkable Carrie Willard. We guarantee you’ll never think of school uniforms the same again:

On Being Eleven, I Mean Twenty-Eight

On Being Eleven, I Mean Twenty-Eight

A few months after my daughter was born, I began preparing her and myself for my return to work and her start at daycare. I printed off the twenty-six pages of registration forms for her school, and I sat myself responsibly at our dining room table with my newest Precise v5 black pen (these details matter) to begin filling it all out. In the very first line, marked “Parent Names,” I automatically began writing “Nancy and Rob…” and then paused. This form, this requisite piece of paper was not asking for my parents’ names. Embarrassingly, I realized that actually, I…

Read More > > >

The Myth of the Happy Parent

The Myth of the Happy Parent

This one comes to us from our friend, Samuel Son.

We just threw a sixth birthday party for my third and youngest (and last) child. It got me thinking that in the last ten years of my life, raising three tiny human beings, I had been tempted to drive away to Costa Rica–or the bordering state–drive off a cliff or jump in front of an Amtrak more times than I can count. I don’t remember my existence before the kids. Those years of freedom appear like foggy dreams. I don’t remember the last time I had two straight solitary nights, or went…

Read More > > >

What You Should Say to Your Children: Shield the Joyous

What You Should Say to Your Children: Shield the Joyous

Nearly every news source in our lives right now is highlighting the question, “What do we tell our children?”

The morning shows have brought in psychologists. Photos have been posted of disappointed little girls crying. People are trying to simplify concepts like systemic racism and economic insecurity so that their second graders can “understand.” Good luck with that.

My advice is to tell them as little as possible.

It is easy to overexplain life to children. My favorite example is when a 3-year-old asks where babies come from, and the well-meaning parents launch into awkward detail about human genitalia. When they’ve finished their…

Read More > > >

And I Mean to Be One, Too

And I Mean to Be One, Too

We’re approaching All Saints’ Sunday, which is the anniversary of both of my sons’ baptisms. We baptized them as infants, placing their entire bodies carefully and lovingly into water prayed over by my husband. After he washed them in the holy water to baptize them, he anointed their heads with oil and marked them as Christ’s own forever. I cannot even think about those baptized babies without getting weepy, not out of sentimentality, but for the sheer power of the words spoken over them that day, and for the promises we made on their behalf.

Why did we choose All Saints’…

Read More > > >

A Mama’s Grace in a Culture of “Do”

A Mama’s Grace in a Culture of “Do”

My daughter turned one a few weeks ago, and as is apparently the case whenever I throw a party with cupcakes at my house, I learned something about God’s grace.

Amidst making banners and hanging monthly pictures and Amazon Prime-ing multicolor tassels to hang from the mantle, I found myself reflecting both on what it means to celebrate my daughter, and on her growth and development. The “big O-N-E” tends to serve as a chance to throw a blowout party (we made it!) and as a clear marker for a child’s development: Can she wave “bye bye” yet? Can she stand on her…

Read More > > >