Parenting at the Movies

Y’all, I’m excited about this one: I had a guest post over at In the Quiver the other day! It starts like this:

We love to go to the movies as a family, but I don’t always love what we see on the screen. Sometimes my gut reaction is to cover my children’s eyes and ears until the scene passes, but that’s not always practical, especially now that they’re older and watch movies with their friends. Continue reading “Parenting at the Movies”

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Why We Let Our Kids Cuss at the Dinner Table

Our plates were full. We had said the blessing, and our forks were busy. We were talking about our day, like we usually did around the dinner table, when my seven-year-old dropped an F-bomb in the middle of her sentence.

I swallowed my steamed broccoli without chewing.

The look on her face told me she knew she’d done something…questionable. “Hey sweetie, where’d you hear that word?”

“What word?”

As if she didn’t know!

I made myself say it as casually as possible.

She answered just as casually, “At school.”

Of course. (I could probably have guessed which child said it, but we won’t go into that here.) I glanced at our four-year-old, then back to the older child. “Do you know what it means?”

“Not really. Is it a bad word, like the s-word?” (By which, she meant stupid.)

Um, yes! We talked about the definition for a few minutes, treading lightly toward the level of detail her young mind needed. Then someone changed the subject—thankfully.

We could have shut her down, scolded her for saying such a terrible word, and refused to discuss it. But what good would that do? We would have created something dangerous, something worth trying again.

Instead, we demystified it. We made it not-a-big-deal by explaining the word and why we didn’t use it.

Before you start busting out Bible verses on me, let me assure you this is where we always end up:

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. Ephesians 4:29

That little girl is fifteen now. She’s learning to drive.

In the intervening eight years, we’ve had several other inappropriate and/or disgusting conversations at the dinner table, in the car, and on the couch. We’ll probably have more in the next few years, too. At least I hope we do.

Here’s why we chose to parent this way and what I want my kids to know.

  1. My children can ask me anything, and they won’t get in trouble for asking it. I want to be their source of information because I speak from a Christ-centered worldview in an unchristlike world. That’s means sometimes we say words I would never voice on my own and talk about topics I’d rather not discuss. They will discuss these things with someone. Better that it’s me than their peers or the internet.
  2. I was a kid/teenager once, too. I know all the filthy language, all the rude gestures, and most of the dirty jokes. They can’t shock or offend me. (Okay, sometimes these days, my oldest child explains slang terms to me. I’m okay with that.) Therefore, I’ve already made the choice not to talk this way, and I have good reasons, which I will gladly share.
  3. Language becomes offensive in how we use it, not in the combination of letters. The F-word, the B-word, and the S-word have a history. They actually meant something in the past, but our culture has corrupted them. Other aspects of culture are corrupted as well. We can step back and talk about those things with our children, recognizing what glorifies God and what doesn’t, or we can create barriers to their understanding.

In the end, whether it’s bad words or dirty jokes, our standard is biblical. When we (and our children) know why certain words are off-limits, we can all make better choices about the language we use. When we make good choices about language, we’re already making good choices about our thoughts, and we’re on our way to making good choices about our actions.

That time my 7y.o. dropped the F-bomb at our dinner table and what I’ve been doing ever since. #IntentionalParenting sometimes means delving into #offensivelanguage, via @Carole_Sparks. (click to tweet)

Have your kids even busted out a “bad word” at an inappropriate time? Most have. We’d love to hear/read your funny story! Don’t forget to include how you handled it.

Do you have any good advice on helping our children understand and control their language? Please share in the comments below.

 

 

 

 

 

When Letting Others Help Raise Your Child is the Best Thing You Can Do for Him (guest post)

I already knew I wanted Vanessa to share with my readers here, but when she
wrote on her own blog about getting help for our children when they need it,
it was clearly time! I am so thankful she sat down in the middle of 
everything else and poured out her heart for us. This is long (even though 
I edited), so go heat up your coffee (or whatever) and then "listen" to 
Vanessa for a few minutes.

The first few times I said special needs, Autism or something similar, I brawled, I sobbed, I cried. I grieved actively (by which I mean I cried every day) for several months, then on and off. I’d be fine for awhile but then the grief would hit me for a few weeks, and I’d be a weepy mess again, just able to do the day to day things, and nothing more.

But since then I’ve been—and am still—broken. I’ve allowed God to do what He wishes in my life. In other words, I accept what has happened. I’m not fighting, and I’m not running in the opposite direction.

I’ve also been restored and refreshed and held in loving hands. He has walked with me and watched me…and He knows.

Three years ago, our son was diagnosed with Autism. He was 3 years old.

Before the diagnosis, he had already had speech therapy at home, then with our school district. They transferred him to the Early Childhood Program for the Autistic Preschool, where he received his diagnosis. When we received approval from the insurance, we transferred him to home ABA therapy (Applied Behavior Analysis) for 30-35 hours a week, and after being on the waiting list for a year and a half, we transferred him to a center-based ABA therapy.

This has been a long three-year process for all four of us. My husband and I have struggled and survived and thrived. My daughter has learned to live with a brother who constantly needs us and requires a lot of attention. She has matured and grown and knows how to ask for her needs and for attention from us.

Our little boy has a fun personality and a great sense of humor. Even with his rigidity and obsessions, he’s adaptable and easy going. I promise you that is not an oxymoron!

I struggled with my identity through all the changes and have slowly and reluctantly let go of what I expected to do and be for my son. I’m his mother, and love him to bits, and I’d go through fire and storm to keep him safe, but… BUT. Sometimes I don’t know how to help him. Sometimes I have no idea of what he wants or what he is trying to communicate. Sometimes I don’t know how to deal with him.

At such times, it’s annoying and embarrassing to know that others (who are not his mother) know better. Therapists who knew what to do walked in and out of my door daily for the two years we did home therapy. Most of the time (99.9%), they were younger than me. Frequently (90%) they did not have kids. And they still knew what to do.

Therapists have firmly and gently let me know that they will deal with his meltdowns (they did not want my son to run and hide behind me every time they asked him to do something). Therapists have explained what they did that worked (which I wouldn’t have know to try). When I was baffled, therapists told me “I think he’s feeling…,” and they were right.

Through this journey, I’ve learned to let them do what they are good at while I tried to step back. I’ve learned my boy still needs me as his Mom (He runs to me for comfort and security.), but I’m not necessarily the best person to help him with challenging behaviors. I’ve also learned that my daughter needs me as much as her brother, and so when there was a therapist at home to focus on my son, I’ve spent with her. I had to let go of my expectation of doing everything for both kids.

Right now, my son is at a center. I drop him off in the mornings and pick him up in the evenings like I was dropping him off at school. During the day he’s in the very good hands of several therapists. I get updates when I pick him up, but I’m not watching every minute of his therapy. I have options to go to the center and watch (with permission) a couple days a week, but so far I’ve only done that once!

Here’s where I think the therapists are helping to raise him. Children “catch” things and are not really “taught” everything. Do you remember telling your child a carrot was orange and an apple red? I didn’t for my daughter and she still knows the difference, but we had to teach my son such facts with pictures and 3-D objects, and it took several years. For him, everything needs to be taught: from body parts, to being kind, to looking when his name is called, to a myriad of things that make a child successful in society. He has taught himself things he is interested in, including alphabets, spelling complex words, numbers up to 1000 or more, and now colors and numbers in Spanish.

Everything he learns at therapy is designed to make him successful in society. When my daughter was five and six, she received stickers or a “good color” on the chart for listening, for obeying, for being quiet when she asked to be, or for sitting still/doing her work while the teacher helped someone else. She did not really receive stickers for her academic knowledge. It was her behavior that made her “a lovely child to have in class.” My son, her younger brother, will beat her for knowledge (he’s reading at a 3rd grade level and math is quite high as well), but for behavior he’s far behind.

He’s not the only one who’s been learning for the past three years.

  • I have learned it is all right to accept help from these (younger) therapists.
  • I have learned to let them teach him and me what to do, without it affecting my ego and my pride.
  • I have learned to be his mom and only his mom, while I am still my daughter’s mother and teacher in so many ways.
  • I have learned this is a season in which God has us for His Glory, as always.
    • It’s a season (even if it lasts all my life) in which He refines me and breaks me and molds me in His image.
    • It’s a season in which I take the comfort I have received, and I reach out to comfort those going through something similar.
    • It’s a season to mourn, yes, but also to rejoice.
    • It’s a season to acknowledge my weakness, and to lean completely on His strength.

He who made the heavens and the earth, made me in His image to reflect His Glory (Psalm 8). He made my son as well.

He who has plans and a purpose for me and created me in advance to do good works (Ephesians 2:10). He has a plan and purpose for my son too.

In John 9 the disciples asked Jesus about the man blind from birth. They wanted to know who had sinned, the blind man or his parents. Jesus replied, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him” (John 9:3), and then He healed the man. I hold on to this promise for my son. This happened so that the works of God will be manifested in him.

Asking for help, especially for our children in areas where we are deficient, is a blow to our self-esteem, our pride, and our identity. BUT. We need to find our identity in Christ alone. We need to look to Him to pat us on our back and say, “I see you, precious child. I love how hard you’re working. I know your sorrow. Lean into me, Take My strength. Accept help, it’ll be all right.” We don’t have to accept what society expects of us to do for our children.

Sometimes letting others help us raise our children is the best thing we can do for them.

When letting someone else raise your child is the best thing you can do for them. An #IntentionalParenting guest post from @VanessaSamuel85, via @Carole_Sparks. #autismspectrum (click to tweet)

As I told Vanessa when she first sent these words to me, this is one of the most raw and beautiful things I’ve read in a long time. I see her putting her foot down, standing firm on what is true of herself, her son, and our God. Send her a little encouragement in the comments below and/or connect with her via the links in her bio. If you’re willing, we would also love to hear (in the comments) how your life has been affected by Autism.

 

IP - Vanessa SamuelVanessa Samuel is wife to a pediatric specialist and mother to two children, one of whom is on the Autism Spectrum. Her family has lived in three different states for her husband’s work. She’s constantly putting down roots and pulling them up again. Her one Rock through it all, however, has been Her Savior. She loves writing. Through her blog she desires to help people discover the beauty and wonder found in Scripture, and so turn their eyes upon The Author.

Social media connections: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram.

 

Except for That One Kid

Your child comes home from the first day of a new school year. He sits down at the table, and you refrain from plying him with questions about every single detail. Instead, you focus on what’s most important to him: which friends are in his class.

He lists some familiar names.

You: “So you like everyone in your class?

Him: “Well, I don’t know a few of them, but I like the rest…except for Whit.”

He sighs. You sigh. You look at each other. “Whit” is a familiar name (that I picked entirely at random for the purpose of this example), but not for good reasons. Whit disrupts the class during reading. He cheats on math tests. He bullies and manipulates on the playground. He refuses to eat the cafeteria food then complains about his stomach growling during social studies. He tries to be friends in all the wrong ways. And he lies.

You sit down across from your child, stalling while you silently pray your guts out. How can you help him honorably deal with the difficult kid in his class?

I’ve faced this situation with my children in both elementary and middle school. I’ve learned the answers to the following four questions helped us show Jesus’ love to “that kid”—not always perfectly, but consistently.

4 Questions to Help Us Love “That Kid”

  1. What do we know about him?

Help your child remember things Whit has said in the past, situations he has faced, comments he may have overheard.

a. What is his home situation?

  • Maybe he plays video games from the time he gets home from school until 2am. That shows a lack of supervision and no set bedtime.
  • Maybe he faces older siblings who are bullies themselves.
  • Maybe there’s one parent/guardian in his home, and that person works all the time.
  • Maybe he’s in a fostering situation.
  • Maybe his home address keeps changing or he’s staying with grandparents “just for now.”
  • Maybe his family has constant financial concerns. I heard somewhere that one in five children now live below the poverty line in the United States.

b. Does he face learning challenges?

  • Maybe he’s dyslexic or ADHD.
  • Maybe he struggles with math or another aspect of education. Kids who “act up” are often trying to distract everyone from the fact that they can’t do the work.
  • Maybe no one has taught him how to sit quietly or how to study on his own.

c. Does he have a spiritual influencer, someone who shows him Jesus?

The answers to these questions will help us understand some of the reasons for Whit’s behavior. You’ll probably need to help your child connect the information with the issues behind it, as in the video game example above.

  1. How would you feel if your life were like that?

Help your child put himself in Whit’s shoes.

You might need to start: “If I were a kid and I knew my family didn’t have enough money to buy food, I would feel worried all the time, even at school. My stomach would probably hurt, and I would eat anything I could find, even if it wasn’t good for me. Or I might be embarrassed about getting free lunch, so I would pretend I wasn’t hungry.” Take whatever circumstances your child has noticed and help him imagine if his life were similar.

  1. How can we pray for Whit?

Let your child lead out on this one. After he thinks about life from Whit’s perspective (no. 2), he’ll probably have some amazing insights into praying.

How can we pray for ourselves as we spend time with Whit?

You’ll think of many Christ-like qualities, but you can start by praying for kindness, patience, and the ability to show friendship even when he acts out.

  1. In what other ways can we show Jesus’ love to Whit?

Brainstorm ways your child—and your whole family—can be generous toward Whit and his family without embarrassing him or drawing attention to his situation. It starts with the way your child interacts with Whit at school, but there may additional possibilities. I’ve spoken to teachers privately and made donations of school supplies or lunch money. I’ve volunteered to help with reading in the classroom. We’ve invited our Whit to birthday parties.

Perhaps most importantly, remember this won’t be a one-time conversation. Continue to encourage your child and follow up regarding how he deals with Whit. Join your child in praying for Whit.

Your child can to do more than endure a school year beside “that kid!” It takes some courage—on our part as much as our child’s—but he (or she) can grow in Christlikeness and represent Jesus to this child who may have no other Jesus influence in his life.

Who knows, they might even become friends.

Your child can do more than endure a school year beside “that kid.” 4 #IntentionalParenting questions to help him/her learn to love even the difficult ones in class, via @Carole_Sparks. #backtoschool (click to tweet)

Do you have some suggestions for helping your school-age child deal with the difficult kid in class? What’s a good Bible verse to supplement these four questions? Add to the conversation below. We would love to hear from you!

The Message Behind Our Manners

Our inquisitive children ask many tough questions about why we must behave the way we do (i.e. manners)…

  • Why shouldn’t I talk with my mouth full?
  • What must I use a fork and knife?
  • Why do we knock on doors and wait to be invited inside?
  • Why do I shake hands with people I don’t know?
  • Why do I say “hello” and “good-bye”?
  • Why do I have to say “please”?

Like me, you’ve probably answered with some variation of “Because that’s what we do.” This statement is true, but perhaps it’s incomplete. In truth, manners are cultural. What’s appropriate in some cultures is anathema in others. (I may write a children’s book about this one day.) But manners are more than social/cultural expectations. Manners are biblical!

From 1 Corinthians 13:5, love…        does not dishonor others. NIV

is not rude.  ESV

does not act unbecomingly.  NASB

does not behave rudely.  NKJV

From Philippians 2:3, in humility…         value others above yourselves.  NIV

                   count others more significant than yourselves.  ESV

                   regard one another as more important than yourselves.  NASB

                   let each esteem others better than himself.  NKJV

How does using manners help our children?

Manners teach patience. We wait for someone to open the door when we knock. We finish chewing and swallowing before we speak. Small applications of patience make the bigger tests easier to manage.

Manners teach thoughtfulness and thankfulness. Keeping our mouths closed to chew shows we know others don’t want to see our half-masticated food. Our unprompted “thank you” shows we’ve recognized the other person’s generosity toward us. When we consider the comfort of others, we’re beginning to learn empathy.

What do our manners say to those around us?

Manners convey the other person’s value. When we use the fork for green beans—even when we struggle with it—we show respect for others at the table, who don’t want to see our messy fingers. When we shake hands after an introduction, we’re saying that person is worth our attention.

Manners show respect—for others and for ourselves. When we wait until a break in conversation before we speak, we demonstrate that we value the other person’s thoughts above our own. When we refrain from slurping our soup, we’re recognizing everyone else’s desire for a quiet meal.

Is it super-important that our children use the right fork for their salads (if they’ll even eat salad)? No. To be honest, some days I would rather eat my green beans with my fingers, too. But teaching our kids to make the effort in small things leads them to respectful attitudes and actions when the consequences are bigger.

In Intentional Parenting, the Gospel informs everything we do, including our manners. When we frame our explanations (our answers to the “why” questions) in terms of the Gospel, we help them understand that faith affects all of life. When we teach our children to say “please” and “thank you,” even when we show them how to eat with utensils rather than their fingers, they learn more than these practical actions. Our children learn how to demonstrate love and humility toward the people around them. They learn how to act like Christ would act in our culture.

Our manners convey love and humility toward the people around us. #Manners matter in #IntentionalParenting, via @Carole_Sparks. (click to tweet)

Do you have any practical tips on helping our kids learn to “mind their manners?” Any other thoughts on why—or if—manners are important? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below!

 

For 21 interesting meal-time do’s and don’ts from around the world, check out this slideshow: https://www.thedailymeal.com/travel/burping-good-manners-and-other-etiquette-surprises-around-world-slideshow. I found it while researching this topic.

Recommended reading: A Smart Girl’s Guide: Manners, from American Girl. Here’s a quote from the introduction:

“A girl who chooses to use good manners is telling the world she believes that other people matter as much as she does.”

Who Needs You More?

As a writer, there’s nothing better than when someone says they connect with something I wrote. Jann (who will be our guest blogger next month here at Intentional Parenting) recently reached out to me in this way. She identified with a piece I wrote for Pastor’s Wives and asked if I’d share it with her readers as well.

As usual, I had more to say than what I’d said the first time, so I wrote a new piece for her using some of the same elements as the original piece.

If you’ve ever struggled with #MomGuilt (or #DadGuilt), this post is for you! Click the link below to read it, then be sure to leave us a comment over there or come back here and let me know what’s on your mind.

Who Needs you More, Mom?

What’s Your Superpower? (guest post)

Sometimes you meet a person, and you think, “This person is fun. I want to hang out with them.” That’s what I thought when I met Beckie Lindsey at a writer’s conference last year. I quickly discovered that she laughs easily and loves quickly. But don’t let that fun persona lead you to think she’s a lightweight. Beckie can pack a theological punch, as you’ll discover in this super-special guest post!

Come on, admit it. There are superpowers you’d like to have. Maybe when you were a kid, you ran around the house wearing a makeshift cape. No worries. There is no judgment from me. I used to tell my brother and best friend that I was half-cat. It’s fun to envision what life would be like if we developed superpowers of our own. Would you have superhuman strength? Fly? How about reading minds?

Comic books, movies, and cartoons have depicted our fascination with superheroes and their superpowers. As parents, we’d love to have superpowers—or at least we’d like our kids to think we do. Continue reading “What’s Your Superpower? (guest post)”

Emotion Management 101

The Scriptures tell us to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind” (Luke 10:27). The heart, in Hebrew as well as English, refers to the “seat” of our emotions; that is, the part of ourselves from which our emotions spring. So how do we love God with all our emotions? And how do we teach our children to do the same?

  1. The three-year-old boy can’t operate his bubble gun. After about twenty seconds of trying, he throws it onto the ground in frustration.
  2. The four-year-old girl doesn’t want to lie down for rest time. She screams and kicks, refusing to comply.
  3. The six-year-old boy wants the brown crayon while another child has it. He breaks four other crayons because he can’t get it.

These are sinful actions, no doubt about it. But let’s be careful to distinguish the actions from the emotions. Depending on the age of the child and other factors, discipline may be appropriate for actions springing from certain emotions, but let’s never discipline our kids for feeling angry, frustrated, or other so-called “bad” emotions.

Consider:

  • God is emotional. He loves; He is pleased by things; He gets frustrated (e.g. the Hebrew people in the wilderness, Exodus 32:7-10).
  • Jesus experienced everything involved in being human—including emotions: He loved, He wept, He got angry—and even acted on that anger (Mark 11:15-17)! Yet He never sinned (Hebrews 4:15).
  • We humans, created in the image of God and patterning our lives on the example of Jesus, are emotional beings.
  • The Bible never says, “Don’t get angry.” Rather, it says, “In your anger do not sin” (Ephesians 4:26).

Clearly, the experience of strong emotions is not automatically sinful. The sin associated with emotion comes from one of two issues. Either sin causes the emotion (e.g. selfishness leads to impatience), or we respond to the emotion in a sinful way (e.g. hitting someone in anger). For our concrete-thinking children, let’s focus on the second, more tangible issue: responding to emotions.

Responding to Our Emotions

When we experience a negative emotion, we have three response options. (I’m not a psychologist. These are just my observations.)

  1. We can act out. The child in example 3 above broke crayons because he didn’t know how to practice patience.
  2. We can stuff the emotion back down inside ourselves. This often happens if we shame our children for feeling a certain way. Eventually, all those swallowed emotions will probably cause the child to explode. I’ve seen this happen with my own kids.
  3. We can handle the emotion responsibly. People (children and adults) can’t do this without training.

Handling emotions is a learned skill, not something we’re born with. How can we teach our kids to manage their emotions well?

Build Vocabulary

First, we must build emotional vocabulary through observation and experience. For our younger children, we name it: “Noah, you’re feeling angry.” Or “Sarah, you’re feeling sad.” Or “Mommy is feeling frustrated.” Say it out loud. Ask your child to say it out loud.

We follow the feelings statement with why. “You’re feeling angry because the bubble gun isn’t working for you.” “…because your friend can’t come play with you today.” “…because I’ve told you all to pick up your toys five times already and you haven’t done it.” (Maybe that last one is just me.) If we model this verbal acknowledgement, our children will learn to do the same.

Offer Action Steps

Next, we must offer concrete action steps for managing various emotions, e.g. “When I am angry, I can do ten jumping jacks to calm down or I can take a deep breath and back away.” The actions you offer will depend on the child. I suggest you give two acceptable options. Choosing will help your child feel in control of the situation. Offer action steps for the positive emotions, too. “When I am happy, I can sing a song or I can skip across the yard.” Keep the options consistent if possible. If little Noah always has the same two options for managing his anger, he’ll soon learn to choose even before you offer the options.

Lots and lots of praise would be appropriate when she successfully manages a difficult emotion on her own!

Play a Game

To introduce this new way of managing emotions, play charades with your child/children. First, the parent models the emotion and the child guesses. Once the child has named the emotion, give a reason one might feel that way. Say for example, “I am sad because my friend forgot my birthday.” Next, model various positive and negative ways to manage that emotion. (Use options your kids might use.) Ask your children to decide if each way is acceptable. When you’ve settled on at least two healthy ways to deal with the emotion, ask each child which one he/she would choose for that emotion.

After your children understand the game, let them model various emotions and responses. Make sure to discuss each response.

How do we love God with all our emotions, not just the positive ones? We handle them in a way that brings Him glory. We take them under control and learn to manage them–and teach our kids to do the same–so it’s clear to everyone that we love Him.

#Emotions themselves aren’t sinful. It’s how we handle them that counts. Let’s teach our children some emotional management skills. #IntentionalParenting via @Carole_Sparks. (click to tweet)

What practical ways have you found to help your children deal with their emotions in a way that honors God? We would all love to hear some “best practices!”

Want more? Check out this post from Desiring God for more on handling emotions as a Christ-following adult.

 

The Method Drowned the Message

It feels like yesterday when my firstborn would climb onto my lap to read a book. Well, I read. She turned pages–sometimes too quickly. One day, she brought me this book about a sad sheep. (I can’t remember why the sheep was sad.) I liked to do voices when I read (still do!), and I voiced the sheep as if he was horribly upset. After about three words, she turned around with a look of horror on her face and tears in her eyes. Before I could react, she burst into tears and pushed the book away. I’m not sure we ever read that book again.

The method of my delivery drowned out the message of the story.

Twelve years later… Continue reading “The Method Drowned the Message”

A Hero for Everyday Evil

From early on, our kids dress up as heroes and champions. Then at some point, they grow out of all their costumes–both literally and figuratively–as their thinking shifts from pretending to real longing. They want to be someone heroic, important, or noble.

Check out this conversation I had last year with our son, who was eleven at the time. The Holy Spirit helped me say what he needed to hear, and it was so precious to me that I wrote it down the next day.

It starts like this…

“I wish there was a war, so I could do something big—like Anne Frank or Alexander Hamilton.” My eleven-year-old paused from his self-imposed evening journaling. “That’s why I’m writing this. One day, when I’m important, people will know about my childhood.” He had that childish look in his eyes—that look of potential, when anything imagined really is possible.

I sent up a silent, millisecond prayer. How could I bring him into reality and encourage him at the same time?

You can read the rest of our conversation over at Just18Summers. Then leave me a note there or come back here to comment. I’d love to hear how you encourage the little heroes in your home!

Our kids may never be famous heroes but they battle evil every day. Let’s encourage them to face it with confidence! #IntentionalParenting via @Carole_Sparks and #Just18Summers, @michelleinspire. (click to tweet)