Parenting

Family Gatherings, Graduation Parties, and Graduation Plans

By: Sean Scott

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This past Sunday we acknowledged quite a few graduating seniors at Redeemer. That means a lot of graduation plans, finding tickets for family, planning parties, and not to mention, remembering to not trip on stage as they receive their diploma. It is also a big time of transition for parents. I can only imagine what it must be like for our seniors’ parents seeing their child standing tall on graduation day while simultaneously having the images of their baby in their arms for the first time after they were born.

 

I am a brand new parent, and maybe that’s why I have paid such close attention to our families as they have approached and are navigating through this season of change. It’s hard not to dream and imagine what our daughter will be like, what she would have accomplished by the time she graduated high school. I have prayed for our families with graduates, that they would hold on to the promises of God that he has them in their hands, that his plans for their lives are far better than anything they could have come up with themselves.

 

As I was doing some reading on the subject, I stumbled across an article from Melissa Kruger on The Gospel Coalition. I had to stop reading after the first paragraph my first time around, unable to make out the computer screen through tears. But I came back to the article because I realized Kruger wasn’t simply attempting to make the reader cry. She has processed her feelings and opened herself up in vulnerability to write about this stage of life. The article is titled “Graduation: Grief and Gratitude,” and she captures her experience in a succinct yet helpful way.

 

Even if you are not a parent, your children are too young to say the word diploma, or have grandkids, give this article a read. There is good wisdom about not only philosophy of parenting, but how to process bittersweet transitions in life. I feel encouraged having read this article, that the Lord uses such transitional periods to bring himself glory because often, we find ourselves with no options but to run to him for comfort in the face of our grief, as well as overflow with joy as we express our gratitude for the ways he has shaped and molded these precious children.

 

Here is just a sample of Kruger’s words:

 

“I haven’t just lost my cuddly baby with chunky thighs and infectious laughter. I’ve gained a daughter taller than myself with a heart for Jesus that overflows to every person she meets. While we used to look at her in wonderment of what she’d become, we now look at her in amazement of who she is—which happens to be a much kinder person in every way than either of her parents. We fully recognize that what her genetic code didn’t offer her, the Spirit produced in beautiful ways.”

Read the rest of the article here

 

 

Raising Teenage Girls

By: Brad Rogers

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I distinctly remember trying to read our ultrasound technician’s face to know the moment she could tell the gender of our baby.  Rachel and I knew we would be happy with a boy or a girl; and in all of our conversations, Rachel never indicated a preference one way or the other – at least not that I can remember. However, for me, I knew deep down I had a slight leaning towards a boy because I envisioned playing catch in the back yard with him and coaching his sports teams.  I have no idea if I have ever admitted this before now.  Then, I saw just the slightest change of expression on the face of our technician and quickly confirmed, once again, that we indeed wanted to know our baby’s gender.  She then let us know that “It’s a girl.”  I was excited, hoping that this girl would wrap me around her finger. But, all of our previous conversations had not prepared me for Rachel’s clear, yet not drastic disappointment.  Seeing I wanted an explanation from her she said, “She’s going to be a teenager.”  I was dumbfounded.  Our daughter was 19 weeks away from bursting forth into our world and I was concerned about changing diapers. Rachel was concerned about walking with her daughter through the troubled times of teenage life.  We had just gotten matching cell phones from Cingular wireless so there is no way we could anticipate just how complicated the teenage years might be for our daughter. Fifteen years have passed, and I now have the experience of several years of ministry working with teens.  These are trying times, but God and His truth about how we are to live still applies.  In this linked article, seasoned mom and biblically astute, Jen Wilkin offers much wisdom about entering into the lives of our teenage girls that we might help them navigate the drama that so often circles them.  She writes to help us lead our daughters into speaking the truth, owning sin, and asking for forgiveness. Whether you have teenage daughters, minister to them, love those who do, or are just looking to grow in these character traits and skills we should all seek to obtain and practice, this article is for you.

 

Read the article here.

 

We Can Learn from the College Admissions Scandal

By: Brad Rogers

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While it would be easy to decry “those people” involved in the current college admissions, for those of us with children, it’s a good time to reflect on our own parenting.  What are our goals for children?  In what ways are we working towards those goals?  In what ways might we be sabotaging our own goals?  For Christians, it’s always good to ask what heart idols (things I love more than God) might be submarining my parenting?  Might I have some of the same loves (idols) that those involved in the college admissions scandal are displaying?  Kara Powell clearly articulates what should be the goal of Christian parenting. In the linked article, which appeared in Christianity Today, she helps us answer some of the above questions and could help many of us set a new direction in our parenting or re-set a direction that has steered off course.  

You can read the article here.

It Takes a Church to Raise Our Children

By: Dan Seale

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As Debbi and I boarded the airplane for China we knew our children were in good hands, they were with our church family. We had entrusted our three daughters to our church family so we could meet and bring home our 4th daughter, AnGrace from China. This is one of thousands of times our church family has loved and cared for us and our daughters over the years. I am forever grateful to Redeemer Presbyterian Church, Knollwood Presbyterian Church and Crossroads Community Church for pointing my children to Jesus. Thank you.

It takes a church to raise our children to know and follow Jesus. No parent should be alone in this holy calling. The church can and should play a significant role in the spiritual formation of our children. Rachel Rogers shared this article with the staff and I want to share it with you because it so closely mirrors our personal experience. I hope this article will encourage those of you who are parents to be sure to welcome other adults into the lives of your children. I hope this article will encourage all of us to find a way to show and tell the children of Redeemer, Jesus is the one true Savior and He is worth loving, trusting, and following all the days of our lives. Remember, you are making an eternal impact through the way you love and serve our children at Redeemer. Keep up the good work and excel still more.

You can read the article here: The Church Loved My Daughter to Jesus by Scott Slayton

Bringing God into Everyday Conversation with Your Children

By: Brad Rogers

If you are a follower of Jesus with children in your home, you may find it difficult to bring the reality of who God is into everyday conversations with your children. I know I struggle in this area.  Sometimes, it is because I don’t want to force a conversation or say the wrong thing (yes, even as a minister I have this fear).  We can also fear the eye rolls and irritated disinterest our children may have.  However, on the flip side if we neglect to do this, we may unwittingly show our youngsters that following Jesus has very little impact in our daily life.  Not only may this lead to our children feeling God is irrelevant, it could also make it easier for them to believe that this God who they have never seen is a fantastical figment of our imaginations as they grow older.   In “Make ‘God talk’ an Everyday Part of Family Life,” Julie Melilli gives some ideas on how to bring the reality of God into everyday conversation with your children.  Admittedly, there are some aspects of her exact words that I think might feel like you are throwing God in your child’s face.  We do always need to be careful not to be overbearing and so exasperate our children.  We certainly don’t want to give them the felt impression that God commands us to be overbearing with our children, which we can do if we are sinfully disrespectful of their personhood (possibly without meaning to or realizing it) while telling them God commands us to be this way.  However, the idea of what she communicates is important.  A fear of being overbearing should not silence Christian parents all together on a topic we claim is of utmost importance in our lives.  As parents this is an important enough matter that we should be willing to be a little unnatural or awkward in bringing God into our conversations with our children until we become more natural.  Julie Melilli’s article could be the kickstart and encouragement you need.  If you are a Christian parent with children in your home, it is a fairly quick read that is worthy of your time.

Read the article here.

 

 

First Day Tears

By: Rachel Rogers

Watching my babies grow up into the school-aged children they are now has been both my greatest joy and my sorrow. I’ve often wondered at the squeezing in my heart every time a new milestone is reached. These milestones are times to celebrate, but why does my heart ache and why do my tears come? Babies crawl and then run, teeth fall out and braces go on, training wheels come off and backpacks go on…this is the way it is supposed to go, so why does my heart resist? Why do I long for those chubby cheeked toddler years while simultaneously declaring I would never go back? Why do I cry on the first day of school every year?

I am not sure what first drew me to Jen Wilken’s article, “The Truth About Pain in Childbearing.” My days of giving birth have come and gone and I don’t need to read someone else’s article to remember the pain!  But I love this article. She put words to feelings and ideas my heart has had but could not express.  “As the years unfold,” Jen says, “we begin to understand that we have been introduced to the great truth of pain in childbearing, a pain we naively believed would be confined to labor and delivery, but that visits us at every transition we nurture our children toward: the measured inhale, the steady exhale, the mighty push. And separation.” Apparently, I was one of the naive!

Jen goes on to describe simply and beautifully the profound sanctification process that every mother’s heart goes through as we welcome little ones and shepherd them through life’s transitions.  If, like me, you have ever swallowed tears at what should be happy moments, like the first day of school, this article is for you.  Read it here.