Emily Stone, mother of four and a pastor's spouse, is a professor and license marriage and family therapist. She and her husband write about faith and life at www.stonewritten.com.
Articles By This Author
Spoonfed: Why We Need to Embrace the Messiness
I’m going to tell you something I do not do very well. But, only if you will not tell the other mothers because I have listened to them talk, and apparently I am the only one not very good at this. Deal?
I'm not good at helping my children learn to feed themselves. I totally get in the way. Let me explain.
Well, actually, there isn’t much about it to explain.
I don't like messes. So, I feed my children … for too long. I sit a bowl full of spaghetti in front of them, and I get a little panicky. I mean, have you ever found dried, crusted spaghetti noodles on the floor a week (or more) later when you're cleaning? And what about the slimy, greasy residue left on the plastic tray attached to the high chair? And then there's the highchair cover. I did not realize you could take that thing off to clean it until my second child was two. Wow. That was amazing — what I found under it, I mean.
Never mind the fact that most of the food gets on the child and everything and everyone else … not in their mouths.
And, I mean, I'm also very concerned about my child’s dietary needs. Seriously, I think that is the biggest reason I insist on feeding them well into their third year. (Did I just write that?) They need me. They need me to spoon that mouthful of spaghetti straight into their teeny little mouth. That way I know where it goes — there is no guesswork.
A New Year's Challenge in the Wake of Sandy Hook
The New Year is upon us and it is time for us to participate in the yearly tradition of setting new goals and listing our resolutions. Even if you deny it, I suspect that when that calendar year rolls over there is some part of your brain where you ask yourself a few questions … about things that you want to change, do differently, tasks you want to tackle this year.
We poke fun at the tradition mostly because we all do it and most of us will break resolutions within a month, but I still argue that the process itself is valuable. We had BETTER be investing time into goal setting for “where there is no vision the people perish” (Proverbs 29:18, KJB). Another translation says: “Where there is no vision the people are unrestrained” (NASB). Still another says: “Without revelation the people run wild” (HCSB).
Why I Let My Children Play With Elves
One of the great debates around Christmastime for Christians is whether to encourage or allow the belief in Santa Claus. I have friends and family on both sides of this debate, so I want to be careful here. I have a great deal of respect for the desire to keep the focus on Jesus and his birth at this time of year. I want to encourage that focus, too.
And, yet, I allow my children … I encourage them even … to believe in Santa.
We — my husband and I — don’t just stop there. We also have elves that visit our house every year during this season. Some would say that at best I am distracting from the message of Christ. At worst I am lying to my children.
The line between fantasy and falsehood is delightfully fuzzy during childhood. God created it to be this way and it is so important for a child to be able to play in this grey area.