Posts tagged "Parenting"

Play to Order and the Gamification of Parenting

Play to Order and the Gamification of Parenting

One of the most difficult and awkward things about being a youth minister was billing the events we would organize. We would tell kids about how much fun or profound something would be, hoping they would come, and we wouldn’t be lying. We knew the retreat/camp/outing would be a great time; they always were. But the second those words escaped your mouth (“the most fun you’ll ever have! the trip of a lifetime!”), they rang hollow. You could see it in the looks on the faces of whomever you were addressing. How fun could something be if you had to…

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Grace In Everyday Life: Parents and Children; Law and Freedom

A young man’s mother refuses, then allows, him go to see a show with an actress he’s always wanted to see – simple enough, right? Maybe not – from Within a Budding Grove, by Marcel Proust.

1448[W]ith my eyes fixed upon that inconceivable image [of the actress], I strove from morning to night to overcome the barriers which my family were putting in my way. But when those had at last fallen, when my mother… had said to me, ‘Very well, we don’t wish for you to be unhappy; – if you think that you will enjoy it so very much, you must go; that’s all;’ when this day of theatre-going, hitherto forbidden and unattainable, depended no only upon myself, then for the first time, being no longer troubled by the wish that it might cease to be impossible, I asked myself if it were desirable, if there were no other reason than my parents’ prohibition which should make me abandon my design. In the first place, whereas I had been detesting them for their cruelty, their consent made them now so dear to me that the thought of causing them pain stabbed me also with a pain through which the purpose of life shewed itself as the pursuit not of truth but of loving-kindness, and life itself seemed good or evil only as my parents were happy or sad.

-Marcel Proust, Within a Budding Grove, trans C.K. Scott Moncrieff

For a student of the complex human interior like Proust, forces of conscience andcommand are always at work. The parent here has authority, and the parent must guide the child into what’s best for him. This guidance may look like arbitrary command, which inspires resistance, but in the command’s absence, the narrator realizes his parents love him, and therefore he begins to approach the situation based not on a simplistic assertion of his freedom and desire, but instead gratitude sharpens his vision; he begins to see his parents not as authoritarians, but as those who have his best interests at heart. A new good and evil emerges, one in which loving-kindness is prime and their happiness of sadness calibrates what is best for him, too.

He ends up disappointed by the play, which isn’t surprising: this situation is partial and fleeting, serving more to illustrate a small corner of our relation to law, and nothing more. But it is also true-to-life, and it points to a transition from command to freedom which must take place before we can properly see the law for what it is. For now, it’s through a glass darkly, but sometimes a glimpse of a hand, a face, the traces of a gesture barely seen on the other side – a gesture of love – can give the slightest hint as to what’s beyond the smudged surface, and those rare occasions when it happens can be remarkable.

 

Another Week Ends: Negatively Positive Thinking, Bill W. and Dr. Bob, Love and Friendship, Fun Families, Facebook Sociology and Vonnegut’s Shapes of Stories

Another Week Ends: Negatively Positive Thinking, Bill W. and Dr. Bob, Love and Friendship, Fun Families, Facebook Sociology and Vonnegut’s Shapes of Stories

1. Think positive! The New Yorker this week pushes back against the “think I can” trend, famously espoused by Thomas the Train – and even in adult media, too. While it’s certain that confidence often sometimes helps (Seahawks defensiveback Richard Sherman self-imputed the title “best cornerback in the league” and subsequently grew into it), it tends to break down in the long run, ht TB:

According to a great deal of research, positive fantasies may lessen your chances of succeeding. In one experiment, the social psychologists Gabriele Oettingen and Doris Mayer asked eighty-three German students to rate the extent to which they “experienced positive thoughts, images,…

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Another Week Ends: Hoffman and Addiction, Parenting Confessionals, Harris v Haidt, Trite Apologies, Super Bowl Commercials and Transform(ers)ational Ministry

Another Week Ends: Hoffman and Addiction, Parenting Confessionals, Harris v Haidt, Trite Apologies, Super Bowl Commercials and Transform(ers)ational Ministry

1. Philip Seymour Hoffman, of Magnolia and, more recently, The Master fame, passed away this week in what the press generally called a “heroin overdose”. On the subject of addiction, it was painful and touching recalling his role in Owning Mahowny, and a moving reflection on Hoffman’s death comes from fellow Hollywood icon and recovering addict Aaron Sorkin at Time, ht BJ:

I told him I felt lucky because I’m squeamish and can’t handle needles. He told me to stay squeamish. And he said this: “If one of us dies of an overdose, probably 10 people who were about to won’t.” He meant…

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From The Onion: Area Child Disappointed to Learn Parents’ Love Unconditional

Finally, America’s Finest News Source tackles the antinomian controversy, ht MS:

NewYorker_ConditionalLoveIRVINE, CA—Saying he doesn’t even feel like trying anymore, 8-year-old Max Bledsoe expressed his strong disappointment Monday after learning that his parents’ love is unconditional. “I always thought they loved me because I’d actually earned it, but unfortunately it turns out that their affection is apparently limitless,” said a frustrated Bledsoe, wondering aloud the point of doing well in school, learning how to play the piano, and always going to bed before 9 p.m. if his parents were just going to keep on loving him no matter what. “Look at me: I just wasted the last three years of my life trying to win their approval by being a good kid. And for what? To get the love that was coming to me anyway?” Bledsoe added that he envied his adopted younger brother, who really has to work for his parents’ love.

Upending the Bird (and Sleepless Newborns)

Upending the Bird (and Sleepless Newborns)

Another humdinger from Ginger M:

On New Year’s Eve night, my husband and I hosted two other couples for dinner. In my husband’s family, it has been a New Year’s Eve tradition for all dinner guests to come with a question to ask to the table, preferably one pertaining to the previous year. “What was your most awkward verbal exchange of the past year?” proved to be quite humorous, but the question that ended our night was “What will you most miss about 2013?”. Two guests remarked, with nervous laughter, that they were going to miss the substances that they were…

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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…

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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…

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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,…

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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…

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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…

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