A Generous Grace

ideas on practical spirituality and loving each other

Month: June 2016

Part II: 8 Strategies for Tackling Kid Drama (without Squashing Kids’ Emotions)

My husband and I have determined that our entire nuclear family struggles with self-control—so I post this week not from a place of mastery. I’m just writing from a family that is intentionally seeking strategies together so our reactions to emotions give love and life—rather than, you know, giving a wrecking ball. Make sure to offer your own ideas in the comments section!

Missed Part I? Get it here.

260H (1)5. Absolutely do NOT give in to manipulation, angry demands, or whining. Help them get to the core of what they want, and ask respectfully. It’s Psych 101: Giving in reinforces that their bad behavior works, like giving a bad dog a biscuit. Whining or disrespect means an immediate “no” to any request in our house, no matter how much I want to give what they’re asking for. Instead, I simply tell my kids they need to ask for what they want. Continue reading

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8 Strategies for Tackling Kid Drama (without Squashing Kids’ Emotions), Part I

My husband and I have determined that our entire nuclear family struggles with self-control—so I post today not from a place of mastery. I’m just writing from a family that is intentionally seeking strategies together so our reactions to emotions give love and life—rather than, you know, giving a wrecking ball. Make sure to offer your own ideas in the comments section!

Continue reading

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The Thing between Us

What if some good friend asked you, What’s that thing that most comes often between you guys in your marriage? You know, from your side of things.

What would it be?

CTYF2POOT3

Every relationship, I think, has one: that Thing that occasionally threatens to overcome what you were sure was stronger than death. Sometimes I think it’s like hugging someone with an arm stuck between, the elbow digging into both of your ribs; awkwardly, painfully.

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3 Reasons I Welcome Refugees (and Three Ways You Can, Too)

It’s World Refugee Day! Today I want to honor the struggle, courage, and hard work of refugees around the world who have so much to offer.

  1. Refugees give back.I’ll be honest with you: Some of my students have never sat in a classroom prior to their seat at Refuge and Hope. Their nations have been in unrest for too long. If you’re trying to stay alive, you usually aren’t sitting in school.

Many of them are learning to read for the first time. They are adjusting to a new culture and so many new ways of doing things; at least one of our Western-style bathrooms has a printed poster: Please don’t stand on the seats. They’re all learning English, business skills like computers or sewing or baking, and health skills. They’re taking Bible. Check it out here:

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Friday quotables #3/Freebie Fridays: FREE printable chalkboard art!

Elisabeth Elliot circumstances quote-page-001

Today’s quotable is from Elisabeth Elliot–with a free chalkboard printable of this anchoring truth:

The secret is Christ in me, not me in a different set of circumstances.

-Elisabeth Elliot

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The Scribbled Heart: Fear-parenting vs. Faith-parenting

Around the world, so many of us are grieving this senseless tragedy in Orlando, trying to make evil fit into a narrative that would make sense. Beginning on Monday morning, I’ve felt myself pushing against that gray, shapeless mass that is anxiety–for a number of personal reasons, not the least of which are these heart-rending events in my home country. Though I don’t feel my voice would add something unique to the reaction, after talking with our kids on Monday evening and praying together as a family, I found my friend Kristen’s post, Dear Kids: It’s a Sad Day in America, to be a good word.

My anxiety doesn’t compare to what many are mourning right now, and I continue to pray for Orlando families and churches. But perhaps you can identify with some of these thoughts as we confront fears of all dimensions.  -Janel

 

Parenting is…overwhelming sometimes pretty much all the time. Last night I recognized a sensation creeping over me with shadowy fingers, as my thoughts slammed into my kids’ schooling and implementing solutions for my son’s ADHD and appalling, heart-rending current events: anxiety. If I were to have drawn my heart, it may have looked like this:

scribble

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Guest post: Raising Christian Kids to Think

It was my senior year in my public high school; World History. We’d been assigned a debate with ties to Christianity in history. A lot of the brightest students from our school were involved. And here’s the brilliant logic that spiraled from my mouth: “So many people have given their lives for Christianity. They wouldn’t give their lives if it wasn’t true.”

The teacher swallowed and even rolled her eyes. My team, of course, was hung out to dry in the debate. Looking back, the flaw in logic was as clear as a Windex commercial: Who can tell all the people throughout time who’ve given their lives for lies?

Unfortunately, I stepped into a stereotype of Christians in that instance, which (God’s sovereignty aside, which it never is) affected the testimony I’d worked hard to cultivate among my unbelieving friends. In their eyes, I joined the ranks of the Christians who, for example, insisted Scripture supported the sun was not the center of the galaxy.

All that to say–I am pretty passionate about raising kids who can respond to life thoughtfully: and not just think well, but understand the heart questions the world’s asking. I want to demonstrate over and over and over that God and His Word are an anchor as deep as our culture’s most penetrating questions.

I’m jazzed to be guest posting again today on weareTHATfamily.com: Raising Christian Kids to Think. Hop on over and check it out!

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Thoughts on a few good men

I am okay, I think, with not being my sons’ hero. I am even more okay with this because that spot has been occupied by their dad—since, oh, I finished nursing.

My husband is a wonderfully different kind of Good Dad to my brand of Mom-ness. When we moved to Africa, one of his first priorities was a rug for the tile floor—for wrestling, of course. He’s the kind of guy who grabs the Nerf football every once in awhile when he gets home from work, who initiates a family dance party, and yet who leverages that rapport to turn a child by the shoulder, look them in the eye, and state calmly, You need to speak respectfully to your mom.

John and boys

I thought of him as I was reading this morning: “our calling [as parents] is to be the smile of God to our children, gladly spending and being spent (2 Corinthians 12:15) for our children’s deepest and most enduring joy.”

John and boys crazy faces

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If you’ve ever stood in the middle of African worship, it’s…well, it’s pretty hard to stand still.

As I first stood just mildly observing at our recent refugee center staff retreat, I marveled at the full-bodied–literally!–movement and singing: music that took over my heart, my body. I was, um, really dancing (don’t necessarily try to picture it…) to worship for the first time. Moisture leaked from the corners of my eyes. Perhaps you can see what I’m talking about:

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