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Mother’s Day Book Feature Friday: It Runs In The Family by Frida Berrigan

I am a stay-at-home mom, and I consider myself an aspiring peacemaker. It often feels like a strange, paradoxical life. At any given moment, when my mind is filled with the major challenges of the 21st-century world – a constant “war on terror,” environmental degradation, racism, sexism, and homophobia in all of their violent manifestations – my hands are filled with a squirming toddler demanding, and deser ...

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The Case for Child Labor

My grandpa was a Pennsylvania coal miner and a union man. He overflowed with gratitude for the unions that won miners shorter workdays, higher wages, and safer conditions. None of which could save him from black lung disease, which took his life before he turned seventy. But thanks to the unions, his widow, my grandmother, collected black lung payments from the government until her death. My grandmother tol ...

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Doing The Hokey Pokey For Lent

I’ll be doing the Hokey Pokey with my children today. It may seem like a strange way to observe Ash Wednesday, but bear with me. If you’re searching for a way to teach children some basic principles of discipleship, repentance and forgiveness, with some reference to the incarnation, crucifixion and resurrection to boot, this childhood favorite is an excellent resource. With a little modification, this song ...

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On Being a Good Dad: Mimetic Desire, Toys, and How Not to Love Your Neighbor

I consider myself to be a good dad. And that’s where the problem began. One of the main reasons that I consider myself to be a good dad is that I buy my children really cool toys…that I get to play with… Well, a few years ago I bought them a toy rocket with a launch pad. When I…err…I mean *they*…stomp on the pad the rocket launches 50 feet in the air! My status as a “good dad” increased last year when I bou ...

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Out of the Mouths of Babes: Sophie Saves God

“Teach your children well.” The words to this simple, beautiful song have been on a continuous loop in my head recently, perhaps due to my first-born daughter, Sophie, starting kindergarten! She’s growing up so fast! And like all parents, I sometimes wonder how well I am teaching her, how well I am preparing her for the challenges and transitions she will face in life. Most especially, I wonder and ponder a ...

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Rock, Paper, Scissors … GOD! – Children and a Nonviolent Reading of the Bible

Last April, my family moved to Eugene, Oregon. Eugene is located in Linn County. This is all you need to know that important fact: Linn County is the “Grass Seed Capital of the [FREAKIN] World.” Guess who is allergic grass seed? Yeah, that’s right. Me. My face has been a hideous mess of goopy sludge emanating from my nose and eyes. I’ve tried everything soothe my pain. Claritin. Allegra. Zyrtec. Nothing wor ...

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Everything You Need to Know About God You Learned from “Jesus Loves Me”

Preschoolers are cute. That’s my self-evident, undeniable thesis. Churches know this is true better than anyone else. Some churches even have a children’s sermon, where kids run up to the front of the sanctuary and the pastor asks them questions about faith. A discussion ensues and we are amazed at the darndest theological observations that children will make. We don’t have a children’s sermon at my church. ...

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Saved from Violence Part 1: A response to the Newtown tragedy

“Guns are why we’re free in this country, and people lose sight of that when tragedies like this happen.” Scott Ostrosky, Newtown resident, owner of informal shooting range, as quoted in the New York Times. “We can’t tolerate this anymore. These tragedies must end. And to end them, we must change.” President Obama, speaking at a Newtown, CT prayer vigil In the wake of the tragedy in Newtown, CT on Friday, w ...

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How Praise Fails Your Child

Madeline Levine’s article in this week’s New York Times Sunday Magazine “Raising Successful Children” about the risks of overparenting is incredibly insightful and I’d like to offer a supporting anecdote from my days as a Montessori preschool teacher. In my teacher training course, the instructor gave this odd bit of advice: do not praise the children. Don’t praise them when they show you their artwork or c ...

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