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Children

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…

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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…

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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’…

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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…

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Ian & Blake’s Terrifying Top Fives: This Season’s Best Introductions to Horror For Kids

Ian & Blake’s Terrifying Top Fives: This Season’s Best Introductions to Horror For Kids

Welcome once again to Ian and Blake’s annual Halloween series about a genre that does what few others can. This month, keep your eyes peeled for weekly top-five horror lists–with blistering #hottakes below. Be sure not to miss last week’s installment of the series with October’s Creepiest Urban Legends, too!

5. Dead Man’s Bones’ debut album

I am constantly keeping my ears open for music that places me within the ambience of Halloween whether it be merely how the musical atmosphere hits me or if the lyrics explicitly find their inspiration in the season. However, finding music of this variety that I would feel secure in having my niece…

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A Confession About Children and Technology

A Confession About Children and Technology

I’ve tried to hold back from writing about screen time for kids. I’ve shied away from the topic because almost everyone I know allows their children to spend time on an iPad. I do not want people to feel guilty about their parenting choices. And I do not want to feel righteous about mine.

Recently, the all-knowing American Academy of Pediatrics said that children are spending 7 hours a day in front of a screen. Seven hours. That is more time than I spend in front of screen. And I write for a living. Worse than that, there is some discussion…

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On Rejecting Love and Little Brothers: From Thomas Merton

On Rejecting Love and Little Brothers: From Thomas Merton

The following is an excerpt from Thomas Merton’s The Seven Storey Mountain.

One thing I would say about my brother John Paul. My most vivid memories of him, in our childhood, all fill me with poignant compunction at the thought of my own pride and hard-heartedness, and his natural humility and love.

I suppose it is usual for elder brothers, when they are still children, to feel themselves demeaned by the company of a brother four or five years younger, whom they regard as a baby and whom they tend to patronise and look down upon. So when Russ and I and…

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T.S. Eliot on Gentlemen, Youth Groups, and “New” Morality

T.S. Eliot on Gentlemen, Youth Groups, and “New” Morality

A letter from TS Eliot was published earlier this week in The Paris Review, and by golly, it’s just too good not to reproduce in full here [ht @FredOSphere]. The context is Eliot’s personality-revealing essay “Thoughts after Lambeth,” which is worth its own post in the future for no other reason than the poet’s prophetic thoughts on youth groups circa 1930. I kid you not. Either way, Eliot is actually arguing for teaching youth chastity, humility, austerity, and discipline. These may sound like “law” to us, but for Eliot, these are the virtues that help human beings cope best with life under the curse…

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Pep Talks and the Gospel (In a Van Down by the River)

Pep Talks and the Gospel (In a Van Down by the River)

When I was growing up with my three siblings, my dad drove us all to school every morning, and picked us up every afternoon. There was a school bus, but he liked spending that time with us, and we liked it, too, and so we piled into his car on chilly Wisconsin mornings, and he dropped us off at our respective schools on his way to work.

Every morning, he gave us a rousing pep talk. I suspect it was as much for him as it was for us. On Mondays, the pep talk went something like this: “It’s…

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Back To School, I Mean Anxiety, I Mean School

Back To School, I Mean Anxiety, I Mean School

After months of swimming pools and sleeping late, the school year is upon us. For so many reasons, we rejoice in its arrival. The fall means that we get to reboot the family schedule. We buy a new day planner (if you’re a Technology Memaw like myself) and make dinners in the crockpot again. If you are lucky enough to go to one of those schools that requires uniforms, then by now you have spent a mortgage payment on tiny sailor dresses. It is all very exciting.

Also, the school year brings enough devilish anxiety to blow the roof off of…

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The Blessing of The Cursed Child

The Blessing of The Cursed Child

A quick disclaimer before reading: I will be giving a positive review of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. I will, in the words that follow, go so far as to recommend Harry Potter fans read it. So there. If you’ve already decided that the seven books will be the only books, that you will never touch the apocryphal supplements that come via screen or stage, I will not call you a pureblooder…that decision, to close eyes, ears and hands to some idea of magical purity–that’s entirely your decision. A rather pretentious one, I’ll grant, but your decision nonetheless. Everyone…

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Pick Up Your Pool Noodle and Follow Me

Pick Up Your Pool Noodle and Follow Me

I have two boys, ages 8 and 5, and they are delightful. No, really. They are. I think some people find that hard to believe, but they are what my parents’ generation would call “good kids”. I just call them easy kids. They get along with each other more than I thought possible for two human siblings, and they are generally kind, sweet kids. I would sometimes like to take credit for their behavior, but mostly, I’m just grateful.

The last two summers have been particularly great. We are in what writer Julianna Miner has dubbed “the sweet spot.” The kids…

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