Showing posts with label Parenting. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Parenting. Show all posts

Wednesday, October 25, 2023

Disqualifying Dad (An Unlikely Defense of John Piper)

John Piper is a well-known 77-year old Minnesota pastor and media presence with four sons, three of whom currently do not rock his spiritual boat. Barnabas is a pastor in Nashville, Benjamin a construction worker and Karsten a college English teacher. If either of the latter two are not believers in good standing at their local churches, we certainly never hear about it.

Yay for good parenting doing what it is supposed to do.

Abraham Piper is another story. The man even has his own Wikipedia entry and a TikTok following of over two million for his two pages, self-described as “a smidge of sacrilege” and peppered with salty language. Not a believer, and not only out and proud of it, but formally excommunicated to boot, and dedicated to taking shots at the faith and publicly mocking his father’s beliefs.

Friday, July 01, 2022

Too Hot to Handle: Objectively Bad

In which our regular writers toss around subjects a little more volatile than usual.

Here we are, Immanuel Can. It’s 2016, and our old pal Rachel Held Evans is once again raising spiritual issues of importance.

I had not realized that she and husband Dan are expecting a baby, but it does explain why her blog output is down to about one post a month. And if my recollection of raising children remains unimpeded by creeping senility, her writing output is likely to remain at an all-time low for the indefinite future, assuming it does not tail off altogether.

Friday, June 17, 2022

Too Hot to Handle: Faith and the Fatherless

In which our regular writers toss around subjects a little more volatile than usual.

Single motherhood is the new “normal”.

Government programs of various kinds have made possible a generation (or more) of children, many of whom know no father but the state. The Washington Post reports that by age eighteen fully half of children today will have lived some period with a single mother.

And increasingly, evangelicals are being called upon to aid, abet and even validate single motherhood.

Tom: IC, are there predictable consequences to growing up fatherless?

Wednesday, May 11, 2022


Jay Deitcher wants to create a new masculine stereotype, one that is empathetic and not “frigid”. When his wife told him she had a bond with their newborn son that he could never attain because men can’t bond with babies like women can, he was cut to the quick and determined to be the best nurturing father in human history and establish a bond with his son never seen before. So he cut his hours as a social worker, became a stay-at-home dad, cuddled and slept with the baby, and took him to events with all the local mothers and their children.

He also determined his son would not turn out to be some kind of traditional male stereotype. The gift of a baby coverall with footballs on it was hidden in a closet, never to be used.

Saturday, September 25, 2021

Mining the Minors: Amos (34)

It was 1966 when Pete Townshend wrote yet another generational anthem for The Who, this one intended as a tribute to the trendy, rebellious Mod movement in Britain. But its lyrics could just as easily have been applied to the hippies the band played to at Woodstock three years later, or indeed to any generation in history whose lifestyle choices made their parents shake their heads in dismay and speculate that society was just about to come down around their ears.

Townshend’s point was that while they might look a little rough around the edges, ultimately these young ruffians would do just fine for themselves. “The kids are alright” became part of the British vernacular, a euphemism for impending success.

Monday, February 01, 2021

Anonymous Asks (130)

“Should children be told Santa is fake?”

We can probably include the tooth fairy in this conversation as well. I think it’s fairly clear that if you pick up a Hebrew or Greek concordance, you will have great difficulty locating an equivalent for either “Santa” or “fairy”. The Bible does not address such questions directly.

So, I am trying to think back to my own childhood in a Christian home, asking myself how my parents handled this ...

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

On the Construction Site

Raising children is hard. Doing it right is harder.

Psalm 127 was written by Solomon, and contains several oft-quoted lines about parents and children. To the extent we know much about any of Solomon’s own children, it appears they had limited success in this world. Solomon’s son Rehoboam started his reign with twelve tribes calling him king and ended it with 2-1/2 ... not exactly what we would call an outstanding job performance.

That doesn’t mean Rehoboam’s father knew nothing useful about governance, but whatever Solomon did know, he passed on to his son imperfectly, as is so often the case.

Tuesday, July 03, 2018

Threshing Sledge and Cart Wheel

To the best of my recollection, I have never planted anything in my life. In an urbanized society where everything green you will ever need is already on the shelves of the local supermarket, I never had to. The plants I have cared for around the house from time to time were bought already potted and needed little more than the occasional watering.

I killed a few of those too, but that’s a different issue.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

How Not to Crash and Burn (1)

Wisdom is rare today: rarely understood, more rarely expressed, even more rarely followed.

As a result, we live among people with a chronic inability to connect the dots; to discover where and how the choices they made at various points in their lives have inexorably rung in the consequences they experience and bemoan today.

In a ward full of patients, we are desperately short of diagnosticians.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

The Myth of Ideological Neutrality

Hmm ... which one is neutral?
I remember a time very, very long ago when this sort of thing may actually have gotten traction between my ears:

“As an open-minded nonreligious parent, it’s important to me that my daughter make up her own mind about what to believe — independent of me, independent of her grandparents, independent of her friends and neighbors. I want her to learn about various systems of belief, and about science and evidence, and then decide what seems right to her. If she changes her mind along the way, that’s fine! As long as it’s her own inquisitiveness and independent thought that prompts each change of heart.

You’re with me on this, right?”

No, but Wendy Thomas Russell is not alone in her desire to step back and avoid unduly influencing the way her child forms her beliefs about religion.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Too Hot to Handle: Objectively Bad

The most recent version of this post is available here.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Too Hot to Handle: Faith and the Fatherless

The most recent version of this post is available here.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

‘Leftist Utopia’ and the End

In a blog post aptly entitled “I’m Sorry, But Your Utopia is Just a Little Creepy”, David Thompson assembles a series of rather ominous quotes and links on the modern family.

First, from Anthony Daniels (or ‘Theodore Dalrymple’ if you prefer), doctor and psychiatrist, on observations arising out of his practice in England:
“In the course of my duties, I would often go to patients’ homes. Everyone lived in households with a shifting cast of members, rather than in families. If there was an adult male resident, he was generally a bird of passage with a residence of his own somewhere else. He came and went as his fancy took him. To ask a child who his father was had become an almost indelicate question. Sometimes the child would reply, “Do you mean my father at the moment?” Others would simply shake their heads, being unwilling to talk about the monster who had begot them and whom they wished at all costs to forget.”

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

When God Says No

As a parent, I try to be fair and generous with my children, but just the same, there are times when I say no to their requests. And not just the kind of requests that are foolish, extravagant, or ultimately harmful — sometimes I find myself saying no even when what they’re asking of me is harmless or even potentially beneficial to them, just because I’m too tired or don’t have the money or simply don't feel like it.

But God is not like that.

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

A Further Thought about Screaming Kids

One thing I neglected to mention in today’s post that my parents did which, as I’ve gotten older myself, has begun to make perfect sense to me, is that they established control over their children early.

I think maybe once you’ve shown, through consistent reinforcement, that the war is won, you don’t have to fight it every single day.

I don’t remember NOT respecting my parents. I remember disagreeing with them, sure, but not being prepared to outright defy them to their faces.

On one occasion later on in my high school days, my father and I were having words in the hall by the front door as 9:00 a.m. drew closer and closer. Wanting to put an end to his lecture, I announced that “the government says I have to be at school, so we’ll have to deal with this later”.

My father simply replied, “Well, **I** say you need to stay here and finish this conversation”.

I was several inches taller and fifty or sixty pounds heavier than my father at that point. There was no physical contest to be had. But guess who got his way? It wasn’t me.

That battle was won long before I remember it even going on.

Screaming Kids and the Harvest of Righteousness

I’m fairly emotionally robust, a product probably of both nature and nurture. I’d like to think I’m not completely insensitive, but it takes a fair bit to hurt my feelings, let alone do any kind of serious damage. I can’t imagine what someone would have to do to me to cause permanent harm to my worldview, self-image or confidence. (My family may, of course, wish to offer their own take on any spirit of self-congratulation that sneaks into such a self-assessment.)

But that’s not true of everyone. It wasn’t even always true of me. In Grade 5 when I first encountered bullies (or more accurately, they first encountered me), I was insecure, terrified and conflict-avoidant. Mostly I was perpetually astonished at the intensity of their venom, which as far as I could tell was directed my way for no reason at all. I walked miles out of my way to get home from school without being pummeled silly.

Nowadays, at least in Canada, bullying in school is frowned upon and a token effort, at bare minimum, is made to manage it. When I was a teen, there was not much you could do except fight back (if you were able) or run for the hills. Taking your sad tale to a teacher or principal didn't accomplish anything positive, something I learned rather quickly.

But even being bullied is merely a manageable annoyance if you have a good home and a loving family to retreat to.

The really emotionally destructive stuff happens at home. No stranger or acquaintance can hurt you like a loved one can.