To start the conversation here, I just want to throw out a very basic question - What is it that we want this blog to be? What sort of topics do you want to discuss? What resources are you looking for? What would you find helpful for this community to offer you? Hopefully this will help set the direction for where this blog heads over the next few weeks. So jump in, add your thoughts, and let's get this conversation rolling!

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posted by Julie at 8:08:00 PM |


At October 9, 2007 at 8:43 PM, Blogger soupablog

Amy and I have four beautiful kids — each has come along at a different point in our unfolding journey, and it shows. We need encouragement from other parents, down-the-road perspectives (from folks like the Lewins and Scandrettes), and resources to integrate faith and parenting that don't trade one dogma simply for another one.

oh, and we want to be joyful along the way. is that too much to ask?

-- paul & amy soupiset


At October 10, 2007 at 8:37 AM, Blogger Julie

Joy is always good! I am just at the beginning of this parenting journey with one 2.5 year old (and hopefully more someday). I am most interested in resources and stories from others.


At October 10, 2007 at 10:19 AM, Blogger Luke Navarro

Hello friends,
Christine and I have two daughters, one four this month and the other 20 months. Both of us work part time so that we can parent full time. We are looking to be part of a conversation where we can get and give perspective about raising our kids according to our values and faith. I don't think that there is a right way to parent, only a right way for each of our children. My hope is to share stories and learn from all of you so that I can better show my kids how to live in the way of Jesus.


At October 10, 2007 at 10:30 AM, Blogger One Voice of Many

I have had so many questions on how to teach my children about Christianity without just telling the stories the same way that I heard them as a child. Simply put, I don't want to continue to perpetuate the same confusion for them that we have spent the past year or so detoxing from. I'd love to hear from folks on a topic regarding how they go about discipleship instruction for their children.


At October 10, 2007 at 1:35 PM, Anonymous D.J. Whitmer

Count me in... We are raising a 12, 10, and 2 year old. I sit in church every Sunday thinking, do I really want my kids to thinking this way? I'd really like to pull the plug on the whole church thing... if it weren't for the relationships we and the kids had there. It is also very challenging to guide my oldest when everything I used to confidently believe in has slowly turned into a fog.

We are also a home school family. And here's a suggestion for everyone - get rid of the TV. We did last year. It's been great for our family. And we are all still alive and thriving. Ha.


At October 10, 2007 at 2:42 PM, Blogger Jemila Kwon

I'm dreaming of a parenting community where, as someone else said, it's not trading one dogma for another; rather a safe place for diverse parenting approaches to come creatively together so that each of us can synthesize something beautiful and in accordance with our children, gifts of God entrusted to us.

I go to the bookstore and it's always this kind of parenting dogma or that: scream free parenting or ferberizing; 123 magic or Dr. Sears, etc. Each comes from a philosophical perspective, not only on parenting, but on human beings and children in particular. I'd love to engage popular and ancient, new and familiar ideas without feeling pressured to be in a particular "camp" as it were.

I know each of my kids is unique and at ages 5, 22 mo and 6mo, already I can observe differences in how I approach each one according to temperament and their spiritual makeup. Of course there are similarities. And then as some else said, each come along at a different point in my journey and I would do some things different going back if I could.


At October 10, 2007 at 3:30 PM, Blogger Melissa

This is awesome. While my husband and I do not yet have kids, when we do have them we'll most likely be a part of a neo-monastic community, which I would imagine brings its own set of joys and challenges.

Anyway, I'll be lurking for awhile...


At October 10, 2007 at 4:15 PM, Anonymous D.J. Whitmer

P.S. My wife wants to know where to find the emerging homeschool blog/site. If you know of anything...


At October 10, 2007 at 7:19 PM, Blogger Steve K.

Hey Julie,

This is fantastic. I'm so glad this is happening. Becky and I have three kids -- Olyvia (born in 2000), Hayden (2003), and Elliot (2006). We are now officially "post-congregational" / "post-church" / "churchless" / whatever you want to call it. It feels a bit like the wilderness at the minute, trying to find our way, realizing that we'd outsourced the spiritual formation of our kids to the Sunday School just like everyone else (and how awkward it is now that we don't have that crutch).

My hope is to be a part of something intentional and missional right here in the community where we live, and that's what I'm working toward. I'm desperate for this kind of honest, open dialogue with other parents who are seeking to raise kids to follow God in the way of Jesus but without the traditional support network/structure of the institutional church (and the baggage that comes with it).

So I'd really love this blog to be a place to find resources (articles, blog posts, books, videos, etc.), share resources, interact and share ideas, ask questions, get support.

I think it'd be really great if we could recruit some folks like Ivy Beckwith to participate as well. There was another guy in Atlanta (I think) who was doing an Emergent-ish blog for parents, but I can't remember the name of it now ... Anyway ...

If she has any time, I hope my wife would jump on here and post some of her insights on sexuality. She's currently studying for her Master's in Public Health, and she's actually already doing a blog specifically for parents to help them talk to their kids about sex: gettalking.wordpress.com (October is "Let's Talk" month, FYI.)

Thanks again for getting this started. I'm looking forward to seeing this grow!

Steve K.


At October 10, 2007 at 10:54 PM, Blogger The Mollinator

I'm on board too! I agree with what everyone has said, and could really just be happy lurking and gathering the wisdom of the group!


At October 11, 2007 at 3:27 AM, Anonymous Anonymous

I'm encouraged to see this blog and will be following along.

What do I want to see? Encouragement, sharing of ideas (big and small), and not a few drawings!

I'll be adding this site to my Parenting blog blogroll: http://paternallife.wordpress.com




At October 11, 2007 at 5:40 AM, Anonymous Anonymous

Julie - you're amazing (and I wish I'd been at Glorieta.)

Our kids are almost out of the proverbial nest, but it's been such a wonderful journey. As double PKs they've seen/heard some of the best and worst of "church."

I'd love to hear/offer more.


At October 11, 2007 at 7:08 AM, Anonymous Anonymous

I have two young boys under 5 years of age and look forward to be able to interact with others over parenting issues. One of the key questions for me is how to nurture their emerging spirituality. How do we teach them about Jesus, avoiding some of the pitfalls of conventional Christian approaches without creating new pitfalls of our own?


At October 11, 2007 at 7:37 AM, Blogger Feral Pastor

It all sounds good to me! I've got 10 and 6 year old girls and we are mostly churchless too. I'm eager to find:

Stories of great faith conversations you've had with your kids.

Ideas & struggles for living faith & justice in the 'burbs.

Things you've discovered that help your kids (and you!) develop a palpable sense of relationship with the God who's "really there!"

Ideas for involving kids in faith life gatherings in the home, as in house churches.



At October 11, 2007 at 7:46 AM, Blogger Julie

These are some great ideas.

I thought I should mention that if you are interested in being a member or being added to the blogroll please email me the request at julieclawson (at) gmail (dot) com



At October 11, 2007 at 8:28 AM, Blogger kim

My husband and I have a 9 year old daughter and a 4 year old son. We have been heavily involved in church ministry for many years. We are praying for clarity on feelings and convictions about our church, and for direction as to next steps for us. MEANwhile, we want to fight the inertia of suburban family life. Questions I can think of at the moment...
- discipling kids: are there kids' books out there than present Biblical stories in the context of The Biblical Story?
- fighting consumerism: what to do with the over-gifting thing at birthdays and Christmas?
- lifestyle: fighting the fear-based suburban norm of 'protect and provide at any cost'.


At October 11, 2007 at 8:43 AM, Blogger The Confessor

Jill and I have a 3 month old. We are concerned with developing spiritual practices as a family that can sustain our children without being dependent on some institutional form of christianity.


At October 11, 2007 at 8:54 AM, Anonymous KRyan

Tim and I have a 12 year old boy and a six year old girl. As PKs (I am an episcopal priest, as is my father-in-law), they spend a lot of time in and around the church and church folk. That can be both beneficial and damaging, I think. I am interested in the same sort of issues feralpastor and kim listed - justice amd the plague of consumerism. Also, raising kids with hearts and hands to serve Christ and God's world. And raising kids involved in the church without raising cynics.


At October 11, 2007 at 8:55 AM, Blogger dp

Love the thought of this and hearing how people are grappling with this. One thing that may differentiate our situation is that we love our church, and the church loves our kids (5 & 2). That said, it's been a few years since the church has had many young kids, though we're apparently in a bit of a baby boom.

How to stay focused on character and teach about Jesus in new ways would be some key points. Oh yeah, and that joy stuff that Mr. Soupiset mentioned!


At October 11, 2007 at 9:11 AM, Blogger Mike L.

Awesome blog concept! My wife and I have chosen to think outside the box about parenting by helping someone less fortunate through adoption. We are anxiously awaiting the arrival of our first child from China.

This decision is directly related to the theological shifts we have made as a result of our emerging conversations. I'm looking forward to getting some advice from more experienced progressive parents.


At October 11, 2007 at 9:28 AM, Blogger Jim Kane

This is a great idea... I believe that I am bridging several generations as a parent of 2 - one soon to be 12 and one soon to be 10, and I am approaching 50 and was raised by Christian parents who followed the Lord who are a part of another generation... so, I look forward to the posts here... the challenge as a minister is to not have my boys 'swallowed up' by the church and the ministry. My wife is doing a good job in this regard and it has helped me learn to integrate as well as separate...


At October 11, 2007 at 9:59 AM, Anonymous Diana

This is a great idea! Having three children at three very different stages of life, 17 yr. old, 10 yr. old and a 18 mos. old, often leaves me feeling fragmented. Working for a church sometimes feels like a strike against my kids spirituality. I'm looking forward to hearing stories and ideas that will help our family be authentic in our relationships and spirituality in the place we are in now.


At October 11, 2007 at 10:01 AM, Blogger sierrajuliettromeo

Wow. Where to begin? I was raised in various forms of church--born and baptized into a United Methodist Church, spent 13 of my most formative years in a fundamentalist cult led by Kim Jong-Il's long lost twin, spent happy college/post college years in a charismatic Vineyard church, late 20s in a 2nd gen Korean American megachurch-wannabe, and my early 30s churchless and in a perpetual state of doubt and questioning.

I'm smack dab in the middle of my 30s now, back in a Methodist church that's getting in on the emerging church dialog, married (for the 2nd time) to a recovering Catholic/taoist dabbler homebrewer, with a 3 year old daughter who I want to find God on her own terms, but I have no idea how that's supposed to work.

The other parents at my church are meeting this Sunday to discuss the direction of children's ministry at our church. A couple of us are familiar w/ Ivy Beckwith's book. We're leaning towards something Montessori-like, such as Godly Play. I guess this is good timing for me, personally, for an emerging parents blog to get input on how other parents include their kids into living out faith and relating to God and our neighbors.
Alright, I'm just babbling here, so here's what I'd be looking for from other Emergening Parents.

*Stories on how folks talk to their kids about spiritual matters so that it's not a dogmatic this-is-what-we-believe-and-don't-question-it kind of way but more conversational and organic.

*Family traditions/rituals that have meaning for folks

*For folks who are in a church, what positive things they've seen in worshipping with kids.

*Books for kids that will spark their imagination about God, nature, the world, the universe, people, etc.

*How we as parents and grownups can learn about God and faith from our kids.

I guess that's a start. Sorry for the superlong comment.

-Sarah in Chicago


At October 11, 2007 at 10:02 AM, Blogger Evan Lauer

I'm liking this. I'm been involved with Emergent stuff for years and I'm glad to see a focus on parenting and families.

Kelley and I have five great kids, 11, 8, 6, 2 and 7 months. We are praying about how we can move our church (I'm the Pastor) in the direction of a more family integrated ministry. We also home school our kids and have realized the duty and privilege of being the primary spiritual influence in our children’s lives. Our church has all younger kids at this point and we are praying about where we go with the whole "youth group" thing. Even as former youth pastor, I am in no hurry to just start up the traditional youth group stuff again.

Finally, I highly recommend "Family Driven Faith" by Voddie Baucham. He says it all way better than I ever could.


At October 11, 2007 at 10:30 AM, Anonymous Gail

I'm very excited you all have started this blog and look forward to reading the discussions. I'm a nonparent who works with children within a church and wants to NOT be a part of experiences and teachings the children will need to detox from later. I absolutely think that supporting parents who are trying to lead their children is the role to move toward, but many are still seeking Sunday school to impart knowledge (sigh), so I'll be reading this blog with an eye to things I might share with parents informally (including the blog address itself with those so interested), and I would welcome your thoughts about how a traditional church setting might help (or might have helped) you in your spiritual formation role. I would not trade the friendships I made in childhood and teenage years through the formal church programs, so the community certainly has a role to play in a child's spiritual development. And the adults involved in those programs showed me what love looks like. So how can a faith community support you, and support your children best, do you think? I'm all ears.


At October 11, 2007 at 10:38 AM, Blogger Judy Niemi Johnson

I thought I would share from another perspective...my husband and I just saw our two oldest children, ages 22 and 24, married off this last year. Our youngest is a senior in high school. We have tried these last 24 years to raise our children with an emergent approach to their faiths. Each child has embraced, and struggled, with their faith in different ways. It has been a joy to watch, encourage and explore spiritual formation together.

I come from a wonderful Catholic background and have worked in evangelical Baptist churches for 22 years. My husband was raised in a fundamental Baptist church, became Catholic, and now is a spiritual director and retreat leader. It has been an interesting journey.

It is possible to develop faith practices for the family that are life-giving and foundational for a lifetime. It is possible to still have deep conversation with your children about matters of faith after they have become teenagers and young adults. It is possible participate, or not participate, in church life and help your children develop healthy approaches to God, religion, faith and spiritual practices.

I just wanted to be a voice of encouragement to you all as you explore this together.


At October 11, 2007 at 11:03 AM, Blogger sierrajuliettromeo

To Judy (in the comment above):

Thank you so much for your encouragement. I think the stories you have to share are what I personally would want to see on this blog.


At October 11, 2007 at 11:19 AM, Blogger Tony Myles

I'm very interested in the metaphors we each use as families to help our kids grapple with God-sized truth. Likewise, what resources out there are good at teaching a holistic understanding of the Bible and Christianity.


At October 11, 2007 at 11:30 AM, Blogger jason

Great site! My wife and I have a 3 year old daughter and we resonate with the problem of raising her to love Jesus without all the trappings of modernist X-ianity. Here's my two cents:

1. It would be nice to find out where other parents are in the country/world so we might be able to network

2. My wife is a parenting guru and an excellent writer (as I am sure many others are too) It would be nice to see submitted article from families on what is/isn't working for them. This would be a bit more formal than a blog response. More of a community reader...or something like that.

Again thanks this site is a great, deeply needed idea

Jason, Brandi, and Bella (Phoenix, AZ)


At October 11, 2007 at 11:44 AM, Blogger Joy

Wow! I am really looking forward to seeing this get going.

I am mom to 5 children, ages 6 to 18. We are a homeschool family, formerly of the legalistic variety. I've read a lot of Dobson and have been through Growing Kids Gods Way... but have almost completely rejected those standards of parenting. I am 2 years into emerging and a year OUT of the church. Yeha!! This is SO the next step in my journey...


At October 11, 2007 at 12:10 PM, Anonymous Michael Howes

I'm the father of a sixth grade boy and a first grade girl. Their mom and I divorced in two years ago after 12 years of marriage. So I'm interested in insights from other single parents, especially other non-custodial dads.

I really resonated with all the folks trying to figure out how to nurture kids to love and follow Jesus, without just handing down the unhelpful stuff we received from our spiritual contexts. That's me too. My daughter sings "Father Abraham" in Sunday School, and now every time I hear it, I flash on Chris Seay, "Father Abraham...was a pimp...a pimp was Father Abraham..."

I'm also a youth pastor at a United Methodist church in the mega-affluent burbs outside DC, where I am the designated "emergent" guy - a label I did not sign up for. So I am way interested in connecting my students with the poor and helping them detox from "stuff will make you happy."

This fall, I started facilitating a parenting group. It's going really well. A big concern for me is helping parents see themselves as the most influential people in their kids' lives spiritually, and return the locus of spiritual formation to the home, a la Deuteronomy 6, as opposed to dropping the kid off at church for a double shot of Jesus, or calling in a clergy "expert" to help in a family crisis. As you can imagine, progress on this is not swift or easy.

Also, and who am I to judge, with my iBook and my Accord, but a lot of my parents are doing the American burb affluenza nightmare, with a side order of Jesus. So they need to detox as well.

Don't have anything figured out, and parenting is the toughest thing I've ever done, so all insight gratefully accepted...


At October 11, 2007 at 2:41 PM, Blogger Candice

I feel so hopeful! Why haven't I been connecting with you peeps all along.
I was raised in a very strict dogmatic church (COC) and spent years detoxifying my love for Jesus. (I missed him so much!) However I love what I am hearing on this blog. We go to a neat new church where I feel like my unorthodox self is embraced occasionally, and tolerated often. I feel frustrated about the lack of books and stories for emerging families, so you know what? I'm going to try to WRITE some! Let's get creative!
My kiddos are 8, 6, 4, and 2. My hubby is enrolling in college with the hope of becoming an emerging preacher. (His journey has been so interesting and cool to watch.) I am seeking a degree in musical composition.
I am excited about this site!
Peace and Blessings!


At October 11, 2007 at 5:22 PM, Anonymous laryn

I'll be subscribing to the RSS feed here...interested to see what comes up. I will be a first time father in under two months!



At October 11, 2007 at 5:23 PM, Blogger Susan

a couple of resources to suggest:
1.The Way of The Child:helping children experience God- upper room publishing. For children 6-11, designed for small groups, but could be adapted for one-on-one use.
2.the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd a Montessori-based program,used primarily in Catholic & Episcopal congregation. this link gives a bit of an overview: http://www.cgsaust.org.au/ best is to go observe if you can. It begins with 3yr olds and goes up to 12yrs. Early years are about Jesus' life & parable.child-directed, easily adapted to all denominations, liturgies, etc. Lots of prep. work, many people use it in their homes.
Both of these programs are experiential, and support each child's own perceptions of God, while helping the parents or other guiders how to do that(ask 'wondering questions, etc)"lesson plans' do not have planned outcomes of knowledge or facts.


At October 11, 2007 at 5:57 PM, Blogger lisa carlton

Bob and I have two daughters ages 11 and 19. We have been part of the traditional church culture and had a two year messy stop at episcopal seminary. This experience was tough for each of our girls in different ways. Now we are attending an organic faith community with less structured programs. I keep wondering how we as parents are supposed to pass faith to our kids. I love the idea of learning from others.

Our family has found ritual to be very important.
Thanks for organizing this blog!


At October 11, 2007 at 8:13 PM, Anonymous Cynthia

whew, I thought for a moment that I would be the only one with adult children. We have nine children ... 23 yod, 20 yod, 18 yos, 16 yod, 15 yos, 13 yos, 12 yod, 10 yos and 8 yos ... and one grandbaby due any moment now.

I am looking for ways to communicate to my children about God that don't include the fear that motivated me for most of my parenting years. I have been participating in the emerging conversation for a couple of years now and honestly, it has left me feeling quite inadequate in the spiritual aspects of parenting. Before, I just followed the formulas ... yeah, like that worked. Now, I am not looking for something to work ... I am trying not to perceive my children as my project. I want creative ideas to love, live and learn with them.


At October 12, 2007 at 7:18 AM, Blogger Judy Niemi Johnson

Perhaps we could organize the blog this way: ideas to use at home, to use in traditional church settings, to use in home churches, and published resources suggestions. Would that be helpful?


At October 12, 2007 at 8:32 PM, Blogger Leilani

I'm intrigued. For some concrete suggestions, I'd love to see conversations and ideas and success/failure stories on the following topics:

1) Language. How do we speak to our children with language about God that we actually believe in (instead of falling back on cliches).
2) Prayer. How do you teach your children that prayer is not all about asking and receiving (a common pitfall for adults as well)? With our oldest daughter, at almost three, we currently only pray about things we are thankful for, including attributes of God. I’m uneasy about heading into intercessory territory. And plain bewildered about most of it, as I'm just feeling my way personally and don't have language to express these new thoughts. (There is language again).
3) Helping children realize that spirituality happens OUTSIDE of church, not just in its carefully defined realms. I am anxious that our children be more devoted to a faith community (that would be people) than to a church structure. How to make this clear when we are a pastoral family and mired in church structure?
4) Schooling. Public, private, parochial, or homeschool? Looking beyond just education and socialization, but also towards our duty as Christians to be involved and influential in the community (and I’m not speaking about the church community).

Etc. etc.

I am super interested in concrete examples and ideas, things that I can actually try, and not just talk about.

Looking forward to it!


At October 14, 2007 at 5:34 AM, Anonymous Michaela

I have never done this before. Joining in a blog. Very emerging. We are rebuilding our own faith lives without a regular church attendance which has been liberating for us as individuals and as parents but I am not sure where we have left the kids. I notice a few folks say we don;t want to take the kids through something we had to detox from, but fact is whatever we as parents do our children will make up their own minds up about how good that choice was when they look back, and the best we can do is live our own lives with integrity and hope that rubs off. Still, the question was what do we wnat from this site? A connection with some other parents just for encouragement will be great. Something positive not just what we don;t want. Also we have the added element of being a rural Scotland so books, webpages, etc are very important to us!


At October 15, 2007 at 12:15 PM, Blogger Lisa

So, I'm slow to join in the conversation here. Mark and I have 3 kids ages 13, 12 and 10. We happen to homeschool them and enjoy one another very much. We are part of a small neomonastic (I guess) community called Seven in San Francisco. I have a passion for families and kids and hope to encourage others on this journey.
Our kids have not participated in children's programs or traditional church since they were very small (3,2,1). This was uncharted territory for us and I had many moments of questioning and concern along the way. They seem to be doing well, though. : )
I look forward to the conversation!


At October 15, 2007 at 1:10 PM, Anonymous brandon

I'm really excited about this blog. Perfect timing too. My wife and I just had our first on 27 September. I'm feeling pretty clueless. As a former youth pastor, I actually look forward to my daughter being a teenager, but what do I do before then??? =)

I look forward to finding ways to encourage our kid(s) to participate in the missio dei with their unique gifts and talents at every stage in their development. Crikey, that sounds great, but again, what the heck does that look like?? I think this blog will be a great way to collaborate with other like-minded pilgrim parents in it all!


At October 20, 2007 at 6:34 AM, Blogger Andrea C.

Hi! I am excited about interacting with all of you over topics I thought no one else was thinking about!

I have 2 daughters aged 2 and 3 1/2.

I would like to hear from parents who are really trying as a family to engage world cultures and faiths in the emerging conversation. Parents who are really grappling with what it means to be a follower of Jesus in the context of a “multicultural” society and a “global village”.

I am not talking about, “Oh how cute, my child is making a Ramadan lantern, a Hanukkah menorah and a Christmas tree. We are so trendy and with-it!”

I am not talking about, “Let’s expose our child to all religions and when she gets older she can choose the one she wants.”

I am not even talking about being prepared to answer spontaneous questions like, “Why is that lady all covered in black?” or “Why can’t Nehru eat hamburgers?” although that is a part of it.

I am talking about clinging to the hope that Jesus has something to say to this broken world and that if he truly is the Lord of the Universe, then he has something to say to us through other cultures, and through us to other cultures.

Is anybody thinking about this in relation to raising young children?


At October 31, 2007 at 2:57 AM, Blogger caustin580

Thank you! This blog is an answer to prayer. I hope to start a network of home churches sometime in the near future, and the biggest challenge is how to include/interact/train/discipile the children.

I want to move away from focusing on the literal emphasis of the biblical stories and onto the truth behind the stories. I need a way to teach that won't require the unraveling I have had to do on my own for the last 5 years. I am hoping this blog will be a resource for that.


At November 5, 2007 at 10:21 AM, Anonymous the_guiding_hand

Hello happy searching blog members. I have really enjoyed reading your passions and desires. It is conforting to know there are so many conciencious parents out there who feel that special drawing of the spirit to help their children make room in their heart for their creator. My husband and I are currently raising 3 children ages 10, 7 and 6. I home school as well, feeling it is a fantastic opportunity to learn how my children think, because when I know the process of their thinking skills, it provides me with more resources to teach them about the things that are greater and more incredible than anything they could ever desire. It is nice to see others feel the same way. So, I see lots of introductions, but few specifics. Perhaps posing a few of the problems that entangle us we might draw solutions that have helped other families in a similar situation. It is just food for thought. Seeing I am new to the blog, I would appreciate enlightenment on the topic "emerging parents": What does "emerging" mean to you? and Why does it appeal to you? I guess I am trying to figure out if this term applys to me. Thanks . . . The_Guiding_Hand


At November 5, 2007 at 11:28 AM, Anonymous the_guiding_hand

In Response:


You were asking for a method that helps you teach the truth behind biblical stories without having to undo what you have. This method works with any story for that matter. When I was in my 20's I stumbled upon a way of analyzing a situation or story or a problem, that has stuck. It is simply changing my perspective.

Instead of feeling I must know the answer and teach it to the children, I found asking them a question instead of providing them with the answer helped develop their own thought, and with forethought, wise examples can be shared to gain insight on how others have made choices when dealing with a similar question.

Instead of being a teacher, I demonstrate to them that I am a learner just like them. That life is a process of learning and discovery. ( I call it my wild adventure with God!)That God has blessed us to be together to learn from each other, more things about Him.

A lady I met at a seminar gave me a series of questions that has stuck for more than 20 years! It is pertinant to old and young and grows with each individual in every walk of life. The 3 questions are:

1. Is it best?

2. Is it right? and
3. Does my heart really want it?

I found that simplifying it into three characters worked for my very young children. In fact, my first litter of 3 (that have since grown and are living lives of their own,) still use it. We call it King Will. He represents your will, the seat of all choices, the one who will say yes or no to any choice (and we know that every step we take in this world is governed by a choice)

Now King Will is a very wise man. He has three advisors.

1 is Common Sense. Mr. Commom Sense always asks, "Is it "? His other advisor is

Mr.Conscience. Mr. Conscience always asks, "Is it right?" His third advisor is the most challenging member of the group, for

Mr. Hearts Desire sees so many sides of a story that sometimes, his view doesn't make much sense, nor is it always right, but his influence holds alot of sway in every choice. (Therefore it is essential to have the heart going in the right direction!) Often, Mr. Hearts Desire must look to the heros in his life to help him get his heart right. (This is where Jesus, Daniel, Joseph or a host of other great men can help Guide Hearts Desire to making Good and right decisions that will make him feel joy and gladness at the man/woman He/She is becoming).

During the course of a day, we would encounter difficulties. Many times I would find emotions at a heighted level where common sense and conscience could not be heard. I opted to write down the offense from each participants view and put it away until worship/family time, in the evening. After singing and reading our favorite stories, I would haul out the cards and lay them in the middle of the group. I was always amazed at the hush in the room when those cards appeared.

Then I began a King Will story repeating the events from the perspective of an angel talking to God or another angel about the event, always having one of them bring up What did the King say? He left it up to His advisors? What did Mr. Conscience Say? What about Mr. Common Sense?

and then there was Mr. Hearts Desire . . ..

This is where I voiced the childrens views of what happened. (right or wrong) We gently conversed about what might have happened if . . . they had reacted differently. (I would usually ask, What would Jesus have done?/ Joseph, Daniel . . . all my favorites have done?) Bu the end of the evening, we were on the reconciliation mats and were able to go to bed without any hurt feelings. Of course, I love to tell stories, so this was easy for me. I do not ever remember going to bed with a negative mood. My kids still use it.

We also developed a set of principles that we built upon as we grew spiritually. We started with the principles of the ten commandments and used them as a guide to what we could become. (I even made them guide marks per foot on my grow chart where we measure the kids.)

Another thing we used frequently was the Thought Garden. This helps us to figure out exactly where we were in a problem, so we could figure out how we could solve it. It really broke it down for us. The kids would often remind me to pause and think of where I was in a trial . . . out of the mouths of babes!)

I drew flower buds and stems and would lay them out on the floor individually as I explained.

First I laid out a stem and said, "Thoughts grow into" . . .

Then I laid out a flower on top of it and said, "feelings". "And

Feelings grow into?" I laid out another stem beside the first,

"actions", I placed a flower on top" and

"actions grow into?" I laid out another stem

"Habits" I placed the flower on top and

"Habits grow into?" , I lay out another stem,

"Our Character" flower on top and

"Our Character determines?" I lay out the final stem.

"Our Destiny" I place the final flower.

From this perspective, we can descide who we want to be, what kind of a person, and trace it backwards to know what kind of habits we should be forming, what kind of actions, feelings and thoughts we should be choosing.

This method ed my family to decide for itself what kind of input the 5 senses needs in order to become what we desired to be.

I always figured that if you do not consciencously make a choice, one will be made for you by circumstance.

These things really helped our family through many notable trials in our lives, helping us to avoid negative feelings by looking on the good side of things. I still use these tools with my last litter, and for myself. I hope they will be helpful to you. The_guiding_hand


At November 23, 2007 at 2:11 AM, Anonymous Jesus is the Word made flesh

The fascinating thing about this entire conversation is it's dearth of God's Word. Do you REALLY want to know how God would have us raise our children?

2 Timothy 3:15-17 ..."and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work."