Posts tagged "Parenting"

Under Pressure on Modern Family

I was recently thinking how ABC’s Modern Family just isn’t as good as it used to be (for me) and that I kind of watch it out of duty nowadays. And then, BAM! They produce probably one of their better/best episodes ever. It revolves around high school anxieties, SATs, and college admissions: “Under Pressure.” The theme is certainly timely since this is the time of year many high schoolers start hearing back from college and university admissions offices. The unquestionable hero of this episode? Claire Dunphy. You have to watch the entire clip below to find out why:

Cruzin’ to the Future (One Coloring Book at a Time)

Cruzin’ to the Future (One Coloring Book at a Time)

Recently a news story has surfaced about a certain Ted Cruz coloring book. Cruz to the Future (get it?) has already sold out of its second printing. And just in case you’d rather not feast your eyes on that brand of politics, the same St. Louis based coloring book company has published a similar illustrated diddy for fans of Occupy Wallstreet.

What struck me about this endeavor wasn’t really the politics of it so much as it was who the politics were intended for. The coloring book company has made it clear that these publications were not intended to be gag…

Read More »

Another Week Ends: Helicopter Parents, Love (Not Actually), Llewyn Davis, Joe Jonas, the Inner-Hamlet, and Why?

Another Week Ends: Helicopter Parents, Love (Not Actually), Llewyn Davis, Joe Jonas, the Inner-Hamlet, and Why?

1) A week past Black Friday, we’re well into the holiday shopping and the family travel bargaining, and so it’s no surprise that this is also when we find a slew of family sociology on the internet. Exhibit A: Slate’s piece on the Millennial Anxiety and the Helicopter Parent. In it, therapist Brooke Donatone explains that soaring rates of college- and post-graduate-aged depression and suicide, as well as the more general epidemic of “adultescent” anxiety, has a lot to do with conflict-fear, and the 20-something’s unpreparedness for disappointment and failure. Over-parenting is the cause of these “crash landings” to the…

Read More »

The Dopamine Thrill of Winning and Suspended Animation

The Dopamine Thrill of Winning and Suspended Animation

Did you get to check out The Atlantic piece DZ quoted in last week’s weekender, “Parents Ruin Sports for Their Kids by Obsessing About Winning”? As soon as I read it, I knew taking a closer look was inevitable this week in Mbird sports!

DZ was right, the title is anything but subtle. In the piece, Lisa Endlich Heffernan admits to her own proneness to turning athletics into an avenue for performancism, not just for her child but for herself:

Every sports cliche you can think of, I have uttered: teamwork, respect for the coach, being part of something bigger than yourself,…

Read More »

Another Week Ends: Biker Church, Wrens Resurrection, Deadend Cool, Helicopter Fans, Lady Susan, Superficial Updike, and Daily Show Grace

Another Week Ends: Biker Church, Wrens Resurrection, Deadend Cool, Helicopter Fans, Lady Susan, Superficial Updike, and Daily Show Grace

1. Right off the bat, an amazing video (on multiple levels), which happens to feature the coolest pulpit I’ve ever seen. We need more of this:

Biker Church from Lucid Inc. on Vimeo.

2. All evidence above to the contrary, “coolness” can be a very cruel mistress. In fact, in terms of identity markers, I would argue it’s even more oppressive than “taste” (under whose umbrella it often falls). Meaning, unless you’re Steve McQueen (or Robert Capon), coolness is nearly impossible to pin down. But that’s also what makes it so fascinating of a subject to write about, or, in Mbird…

Read More »

Book Review: Kimm Crandall’s Christ in the Chaos: How the Gospel Changes Motherhood

Book Review: Kimm Crandall’s Christ in the Chaos: How the Gospel Changes Motherhood

I did not believe Kimm Crandall when she wrote in her recent book, Christ in the Chaos: How the Gospel Changes Motherhood, “This book will not weigh you down with another list of things to do but aims to free you by reminding you of what’s already been done for you” (14). Come on. Being a book geared towards moms certainly elicits a list of some sort. Doesn’t it? Actually, what I’m confessing is that Kimm has done the one thing I thought would never happen in literature geared toward and for motherhood: she’s written a book that is truly…

Read More »

Stray Takeaways from Arrested Development Season 4

Stray Takeaways from Arrested Development Season 4

1. Is Arrested Development a Christian show? At the risk of over-criticizing, if it weren’t, they probably wouldn’t have botched the ending the way they did. We all wanted les cousins dangereux to find love at last, but instead we witness a series of falls, especially with Michael and George Michael, up ’til now the show’s everymen/heroes, sinking further and further to pursue their own justification, most notably in a girl who thrives off neglect (see Always Sunny’s “DENNIS System” – but actually don’t). But perhaps the ending is so abrupt and disconcerting because Hurwitz is trying so much to make a point that…

Read More »

Another Week Ends: New Atheism and the Church, Jonah Lehrer on Redemption, Empathy with Batman, Wiman’s Incarnational Faith, End-of-School-Year Mothers, Billy Joel, and Eurovision

Another Week Ends: New Atheism and the Church, Jonah Lehrer on Redemption, Empathy with Batman, Wiman’s Incarnational Faith, End-of-School-Year Mothers, Billy Joel, and Eurovision

1. First off, Larry Taunton at The Atlantic has spent the last few years working through the whole “New Atheist” thing from the perspective of traditional Christianity, in particular listening (!) expansively to many committed, thought-through atheists. A nice round-up of his observations appeared this past week, with lots of food for thought, ht EB:

Slowly, a composite sketch of American college-aged atheists began to emerge and it would challenge all that we thought we knew about this demographic. Here is what we learned:

They had attended church

Most of our participants had not chosen their worldview from ideologically neutral positions at all, but in reaction to…

Read More »

Another Week Ends: Techno-Fasting, Google Glass, Tiger Babies, Missional Burnouts, Serrano’s Backfire, Powell’s Joy, and Family Tree

Another Week Ends: Techno-Fasting, Google Glass, Tiger Babies, Missional Burnouts, Serrano’s Backfire, Powell’s Joy, and Family Tree

1. First off, a timely rejoinder to our many social-media-is-making-us-lonely posts from Paul Miller on The Verge, entitled “I’m Still Here: Back Online After A Year Without Internet”. As the title suggests, Miller unplugged for a solid year, partly as an assignment to try to discover how technology, and the Internet in particular, had affected him (and us) over time. He reports that while the experience was initially incredibly freeing, he eventually found himself right back where he started, i.e. his new habits became just as constraining as the old ones. In theological terms, you might say that Paul’s story…

Read More »

Thou Art My Beloved Child: Parenthood for Prodigals

Changing things up a little, here’s one of the breakout sessions from the NYC conference, Matthew Schneider’s discussion of grace as it relates parenting and adoption in the fourth season of NBC’s Parenthood. Highly recommended, regardless of whether or not you’re a fan of the show. Just be sure to have some tissues handy. Quick note: the first three clips can be heard but not seen. All the others should be fine. You can view the missing footage in episode two of the fourth season, “Left Field” (22:51-24:40, 27:20-18:05, 34:40-36:25).

You may download the audio of this recording by clicking here.

Dad Is Fat: Jim Gaffigan’s Refreshingly Honest New Book on Parenting

Dad Is Fat: Jim Gaffigan’s Refreshingly Honest New Book on Parenting

Comedian Jim Gaffigan just wrote a book: Dad Is Fat. It’s a not-so-serious (but therefore very serious) book on parenting, and the publisher actually sent me an advanced copy to review here on Mockingbird—hence this post. (Can I just take second to revel in the fact that this is the first advanced copy I have received to review. Thanks.) The book will be released for sale tomorrow, May 7th. You can read my previous ruminations and some helpful background on Gaffigan and his comedic talents here, but you might already know him as “the Hot Pockets guy.”

My overall response is that…

Read More »

Another Week Ends: Forgiveness, Giving Trees, Therapists, and Aging with Grace

Another Week Ends: Forgiveness, Giving Trees, Therapists, and Aging with Grace

1. Forgiveness and apology seems to be a theme in the news as of late, or at least it was prior to Monday’s heartbreaking news from Boston. CNN’s belief blog highlighted the story of one man’s quest to forgive and restore the man who killed his brother when they were teens. I found the story enlightening as it ping-ponged between the two poles of forgiveness by grace (the victim’s brother) and forgiveness by works righteousness (the recently released killer). Quote: “I think for me, forgiveness will come in doing good works, trying to help others. But as far as forgiving…

Read More »

Previously on Parenthood: Another Breakout Session

Previously on Parenthood: Another Breakout Session

For the session I’m hosting—“Thou Art my Beloved Child: Parenthood for Prodigals”—we look at instances of surprisingly unconditional grace, mercy, and compassion (i.e., love) in the family context as seen in the TV show Parenthood. My emphasis is more on parenthood-the-topic than Parenthood-the-show so that anyone, whether a regular Parenthood viewer or someone who has never even heard of it, can follow and enjoy the discussion. That said, I use Parenthood for my illustrations because I myself am obsessed. If you’re uninitiated, it is one of the most honest and psychologically in-touch shows currently out there, which is no…

Read More »

Short Story Wednesdays: “A Father’s Story” by Andre Dubus

Short Story Wednesdays: “A Father’s Story” by Andre Dubus

This week, we turn to Andre Dubus’s “A Father’s Story”, available here.

“Ethics demands an infinite movement, it demands disclosure. The aesthetic hero, then, can speak but will not.”

-S. Kierkegaard, Fear and Trembling

On July 23, 1986, Andre Dubus pulled over onto the side of the road to help a couple of strangers, male and female, having car trouble. An oncoming car swerved and was about to hit them; Dubus pushed the woman out of the way and, as a result, was hit himself and remained confined to a wheelchair for final thirteen years of his life.

As we saw with O’Connor’s lupus…

Read More »

Another Week Ends: Townes Van Zandt, Hyper-Parents and Filial Competence, Jane Austen, Visible Signs (That You Were A Youth Group Kid), Girls, Christian Athletes, Jonah Lehrer Proves Himself, More Ash Wednesday, St. Paul, and Beck

Another Week Ends: Townes Van Zandt, Hyper-Parents and Filial Competence, Jane Austen, Visible Signs (That You Were A Youth Group Kid), Girls, Christian Athletes, Jonah Lehrer Proves Himself, More Ash Wednesday, St. Paul, and Beck

1. Over at Internet Monk, a thoughtful Ash Wednesday article explores singer/songwriter Townes Van Zandt’s legacy in relation to the way Americans process death, depression, powerlessness, or other ‘negative’ emotions:

Of course we live in a culture of death — because we are human, and human beings die, and human beings often choose ways that lead to death rather than life. My question is how we deal with this fact.

…We the people will watch violence and death on our TV screens and computer monitors, but we continue to hide our dying ones away in hospitals and nursing homes. We spend the vast…

Read More »