Heart Pondering

The ponderings of one Christ-following mom on raising preschoolers

Putting the Jesus back in Easter April 9, 2009

Filed under: Culture,Holidays — Susan @ Christian Mothering @ 10:13 pm

draped-crossthI have a close friend whose children are similar ages to mine, has worked in churches for years, and is a very intentional and thoughtful mother.  Huge blessing.  In response to my email query to several friends asking “Ideas for making Easter biblically relevant and celebratory for a three-year old?” she replied:

“I really want Easter to be very special/fun without being pagan, which feels difficult.  I have always felt like, in our culture, Easter is either Christian or fun.  Martha Zimmerman’s Celebrating the Christian Year is a great resource for lots of ideas on Christ-centered family traditions around holidays.  And she says that kids don’t have to get it the whole deal, per se.  I think that’s the liturgical take on things– that you let them live into the story over time, and ritual aids that process.   (more…)


Choices and consequences: some thoughts April 8, 2009

Filed under: Authority & obedience,Books,Choices,Communication and speech — Susan @ Christian Mothering @ 11:42 pm

The discussion about offering children choices, the topic of my last post, is often linked to the concept of consequences – specifically, the importance of kids learning from their own mistakes (and parents intentionally giving them the opportunity to do so).  Some parents may offer their children a wide range of choices from infancy specifically for this purpose, thinking,  ‘They’ll best grasp about how life works if I allow them to experience the results of their choices as much as possible.’

One fairly popular childrearing book, Parenting with Love and Logic, explicitly links choices and consequences in a way that strikes me as a bit problematic.   The book advocates a comprehensive parenting method positing that the best way to raise children is to always allow them to make and then live with their own choices.  How it works: “Two choices are given, both of which are acceptable to the parent and can be enforced if the child decides to do nothing… Any consequences come from the child’s decision, not the parent.”  Errant parenting strategies identified are over-loving, excuse-making “helicopter parents” and dictatorial, order-barking “drill sergeant parents.” The third option advocated by the book is a “consultant” parenting strategy: parents offer acceptable choices and then allow the choices’ consequences to silently do the teaching.

Discussing kids’ decisions and consequences with them is deemed “lecturing” and is advised against.  “Keep your mouth shut (after enforcing a consequence).  Allow the consequences to do the teaching….  We allow our kids to mess up, and we dn’t drive home the lesson of their misdeeds with our words; we never actually tell our kids what they have just learned. We believe telling our kids what to think is counterproductive.  Making enforceable statements and giving choices forces that thinking back on them.”



Children and choices April 6, 2009

Filed under: Authority & obedience,Bible,Books,Choices,Culture — Susan @ Christian Mothering @ 10:14 pm

The Paradox of Choice: Why More is Less is a book that argues convincingly that our society’s “overwhelming abundance of choice” in every arena – from clothes to foods to career to 401Ks – is less helpful than we’d imagine.  “Beware of choice overload,” the back cover summary reads, ” (as) too much of a good thing has proven detrimental to our emotional and pyschological well-being.”  Provocative read; I recommend it.

As I’ve been reflecting on it, I think the same basic concept may well apply with our toddlers and preschoolers. (more…)


Praying with preschoolers April 3, 2009

Filed under: Books,Prayer,Routine — Susan @ Christian Mothering @ 9:54 pm

prayg1A friend recently asked me what prayers we use when praying with our three-year old at bedtime.  She remembered the “Now I lay me down to sleep” classic and wanted to avoid it with her two-year old as the “if I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take” line had always freaked her out when she was a girl.  (And why wouldn’t it?)  There’s now a less fatalistic version of that prayer out there, as I told her, but there are other options too.

We use a short, customized evening prayer with our son that’s routine enough for him to know what to expect and allows him to chime in, but malleable enough that we can add in specific components that may be pertinent for that day — phrases like “heal so-and-so who’s sick” or “please help (our son) become kinder to our dog.”  Whatever may be relevant for that day. (We do a similar but shorter version with our pre-verbal 19-month old too.)  We will likely teach him the Lord’s Prayer soon and incorporate that into our evening prayers too. (more…)


The impact of an ordinary life April 1, 2009

Filed under: Blogging,Culture,For moms — Susan @ Christian Mothering @ 1:02 am

k1560977In a post I wrote today for a Christianity Today women’s leadership forum, I discussed the growing trend in our modern, digitized lives to measure life.  There’s a number tied to just about everything these days…  our email inbox, our cell phone rosters, our Facebook accounts, our blogger dashboards.  It’s increasingly hard to do anything without a running tally of how many people you’re interacting with or influencing. I wrote: “The technology that now structures so much of our lives is forever counting, tracking relentlessly.  And we who keep up with the digitized world tend to use the numbers as a means of gauging our day-to-day lives.”  Often to our detriment, since we usually only view ourselves as successful or when the inbox is full or the blog ranking’s high… And, more to the point, because the life of faith is not a by-the-numbers life.

So what does all this have to do with mothering?  A fair amount, actually.   I think stay-at-home moms can fall into the data-tracking trap as much or more than anyone, as many of us look to our “online lives” as a way of warding off alienation and connecting with the outside world.  I know scores of self-professed Facebook addicts (one being me, on occasion) and have read accounts of mommy-bloggers obsessing over their viewer stats (which I can also imagine doing).   Moms need to be as wary, if not more so, than the average American about this stuff. (more…)