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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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Parenting Confessions: God, Rivalry, and College Football

My family recently moved to Eugene, Oregon. Eugene is probably best known for the University of Oregon Ducks football team. Having moved from Chicago, I know that the Ducks are loved throughout the country for their high powered offense and flamboyant football jerseys. Here in Eugene people are obsessed with the Quack Attack. Nearly every car has a University of Oregon bumper sticker, almost everyone wears ...

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Book Feature Friday: Mickey Mouse, Mimetic Theory, and Saving a Villain

As a parent dedicated to mimetic theory, I know that the stories we tell our children pattern them in certain ways. Children have a remarkable capacity to learn not only reading, writing, and arithmetic, but also how to relate to others. Stories are particularly influential tools that teach children how to do just that. Of course, their learning potential can be patterned in relating to others in violent wa ...

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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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Why Rewards Backfire with Children: Advice for Teachers and Parents

What impact does grading or rewarding our children for their school work have on their motivation to learn? There’s a wide range of thought on whether or not external rewards motivate kids to do well. But I am a Montessori pre-school directress, and so I am firmly in the camp of those against using external rewards. Here are my reasons. According to Dr. Maria Montessori, children are born with an intrinsic ...

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The Hellish Dream of a Parent: Why CS Lewis Was Wrong about Hell and Free Will

At five years old, my middle child has developed a defiant pattern. A typical day runs like this: It’s time to get dressed. No. It’s time to put on your shoes. No. It’s time to go to school. No. It’s time to eat dinner. No. It’s time to go to bed. No. His defiance has apparently nestled its way into my subconscious because I dreamt about it last night. We were visiting my childhood house. My son was in our ...

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Parenting Confessions: How a Child Redeems the Sins of His Father

Parenting is hard. It’s damn hard. It happened to me again on Sunday morning. We just moved to Oregon last week and were about to try a new church. Our morning routine is pretty typical: we tell our children it’s time to get dressed. Our first and third child diligently put on their clothes, while our middle child finds a thousand and one ways to stall. Driving. Me. Crazy. Intellectually, I could sympathize ...

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Why You Should Pray Like a Six Year Old Boy

It was a proud moment in the Ericksen household. The five of us sat down for lunch and my six-year-old Boy said, Let’s pray. This is every pastor’s dream. Usually I have to coerce people into prayer. Now my Boy is offering to pray. With great pride and a smile on my face I said, Yes my Son. Will you lead us in prayer? He took a pensive moment and agreed. We bowed our heads, closed our eyes, and then … this ...

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