It Looks So Easy On TV

It Looks So Easy On TV - Parenting Like Hannah

Photo by libertygrace0 Tiffany Terry

One of my favorite shows is Nineteen Kids and Counting (or is it twenty by now?).  I sit fascinated as I watch the mom, Michelle, seemingly breeze through her days raising and homeschooling who knows how many children. Talk about humbling! There are days when I can barely manage raising and homeschooling my one child. I can’t even begin to imagine how to multiple that by nineteen!

Television shows can make you feel either incredibly inadequate or in the case of those nanny shows, probably just a little bit smug. The true reality is that being a “good” parent is a lot of hard work. When I was pregnant with my daughter, I asked some moms of well behaved children their secrets. Ironically, two of them looked at me and said, “There are no compliant children.” Evidently they had worked hard for years to train their children to be well behaved, loving, young men and women. They told me parents of children who were less well behaved would look at them and sigh, “Aren’t you lucky God gave you a compliant child.” The reality is I have yet to meet anyone who received a child who was always perfect. There is a lot of work that has gone on in the homes of those little “angels” you sometimes see in public.

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In Praise of Snow Days

In Praise of Snow Days - Parenting Like Hannah

Photo by Chris Costello

For many of you, Christmas is a relaxing holiday at home with your family. For others, it is a whirlwind of shopping, baking, decorating and social commitments. What is supposed to be a holiday, turns into an event which would exhaust a marathon runner.

A few years ago, we had a beautiful snowy afternoon after the holidays. For those of you who live in more northern areas, you will probably be amazed that about a half inch of snow means at least one snow day in Atlanta. I have always suspected that during the winter, the school system is looking for almost any excuse for what we used to call a “mental health” day.

Scattered throughout the laws God gave Moses are numerous instructions for days and even years of rest. God knew people (and land) needed to have some time when they weren’t working and were made to rest. Farmers have rotated crops for years in order to let the land rest. It allows the land to remain fertile. I believe rested people are more productive as well. Regrettably, over the years we have basically lost the concept of any kind of Sabbath period. Even our days of worship are filled with meetings, showers, chores and errands after services.

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Books for Christian Teens Who Want to Change the World

Books for Christian Teens Who Want to Change the World - Parenting Like Hannah

Photo by D. Sharon Pruitt

Do you have a teen who wants to change the world? Thankfully, for all of its issues, our society is encouraging children to become more involved in making a difference in the world. As a Christian though, I want to make sure my daughter understands one very important principle the world does not teach. Souls last longer than bodies.

Serving the felt needs of people without sharing God with them, only helps them temporarily. We have done nothing to make sure they have an opportunity to go to heaven when they die. On the other hand, trying to share the Gospel with someone who is starving or in pain is cruel. How can they hear God’s love, when you aren’t even taking the time to get them some food or medicine so they don’t starve? Serving felt needs and sharing the Gospel should always be done together.

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Meaningful Worship Activity Bags for Children

Meaningful Worship Bag Activities for Children - Parenting Like HannahI love seeing a family sitting in the pews worshipping together for an entire service. I know what you’re probably thinking. If you don’t have any small children living in your house, you are thinking how annoying, wiggly and noisy all of those children are and how they disrupt worship service. If you have small children, you are thinking it has been awhile since I have tried to keep multiple small children behaving during a long service.

While both of those are valid points, in my last two posts, I have addressed why I think our children really need to be in worship with us. I have also thrown out some suggestions I believe will help all of us see our entire congregations as one large family worshipping together. What I haven’t shared is my secret bag of tricks, that will hopefully make the experience more pleasant and meaningful for everyone.

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Developing Family Friendly Worship Services

Developing Family Friendly Worship Services - Parenting Like Hannah

Photo by Allan Henderson

One of my favorite experiences while raising my daughter has been teaching her to appreciate art. She wasn’t born with an innate love of art and art museums. In fact, some of our first experiences were almost painful. I was even known to utter such enlightened sentences as “We may never get to Chicago again and you are going to see the American Gothic painting whether you want to or not!” or the equally popular “Look at this painting. One day you will learn about it in school and you will want to remember seeing it in real life!”

We continued to drag her through art museums all over the country and then one day the light clicked on in her. She asked (at a rather young age) if she could see a specific art exhibit in a rather obscure museum on the Mall in Washington, D.C. She was studying it and wanted to see it in person. Needless to say, we made sure we got to that museum. Fast forward a few years and she was actually nagging us on her first trip to New York City to get her to the Museum of Modern Art and to allow her a full morning to enjoy it. (She still whined about my need to stare at French Impressionists and Picasso, but at least she had developed her own favorites!) The pain in those early years was worth raising a child who loves art and enjoys art museums.

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Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. (Deuteronomy 11:18-19 NIV)