Monthly Archives: June 2007

why should children be nurtured in faith?

My aunt recently confessed that she thought she and her husband were too rigid in their faith when their children were younger. She said, “the kids would probably have gotten just as much from an occasional Sunday picnic as they did from attending church.” She recognized and admired that her adult children had more “balance” in their lives and more flexibility in raising her grandchildren.

My son had to go to church because I was a pastor and he couldn’t stay home alone. When I no longer preached every Sunday, we still attended regularly, but not religiously.

Why should you nurture faith in children?

1. The Creator of creation desires to be worshipped.

2. The Creator desires to be in relationship with humanity.

3. Church provides a disciplined avenue for worshipping and showing gratefulness to God.

4. Human beings were not meant to be alone.

5. A spiritual community is a great source of support and accountability.

6. Faith is a road map for the meaning of life, in all circumstances.

7. Through faith, we find hope and good news for all


Making your child go to church…

When you are a pastor, it’s a good idea if your child goes to church with you. I am sure everybody understands that the pastor tries to set an example for other parents.  After all, if the pastor can’t get her or his kid to church, all the other parents are off the hook too.

Getting children to church when they are young, is not a problem, at least it wasn’t for me. My young son accepted it as a normal part of the routine on Sunday mornings. Since I was in the pulpit and single, there were several families that would have him sit with them. He was loved and cared for by many.

Fast forward to the teen age years. It was my experience, that getting a teenager to church is where the real challenge lies. The junior high years were not too difficult, because there were several cute girls at church that were always interested in him. He loved the attention.

At about 15 and 16 years of age, there was a bit of rebellion. He wasn’t so sure that he believed all that church stuff… and I said that was okay. God would still be waiting for him, if he changed his mind. That lasted a couple of Sundays.

It happened that my son loved to have breakfast at McDonalds. When he was elementary age, we started the ritual of eating at McDs before church. When the girls became less interesting, he still liked McDs. He knew that if he missed church, he missed breakfast… so sometimes that was a motivation to attend too.

As he became an older teen, I appealed to his reasoning. I explained to him, that all week, he and I were doing separate things, he with his friends, I with my work. Worship was one family activity we did together… once a week. I was no longer in the pulpit and I enjoyed sitting with him. There were times, when this 17 year old would lean his head on my shoulder and go to sleep! Yes… right during church! I was a bit surprised… but loved it. There were choir members who loved it too… they probably wished their teenagers would do the same! Since I missed so many times of sitting with him in church, it was a precious, tender time.

When my teenager was too tired to go to church, there was one final principle that I held to. I understood being tired and needing a morning to sleep in. However, if he was too tired to go to church, he was too tired to do anything else that day. The days that he didn’t go to church, he couldn’t go to friend’s house, a movie, etc. It didn’t last for more than a Sunday or two. Sleeping in to miss church meant sleeping in and missing other activities too. Before long, he was back to attending church and knew the day held many more opportunities.

No home to come home to…

After making a popular Midwest city our home for ten years, new employment would require my partner and I to move farther west to a new state.

Besides missing the liberal lifestyle of this smaller city, I felt horribly guilty that my son would not have a home to “come home” to. He was in the military and I prepared him in advance, that it was likely that we would have to move, when either my partner or I found a new job. I told him, that I felt terrible that he would not have a home to visit when he wanted to come back to see his friends. When I finished apologizing, my 20 year old son didn’t whine, didn’t try to make me feel guilty, but simply said, “that’s life, mom. Things are always changing.”

While my son didn’t get high marks in school, he gets high marks for understanding the twists and turns of life. Gosh, I love that kid!

Raising a sensitive guy…

When I was raising my son, I wanted him to grow up and be a sensitive guy. It was okay with me if he cried, which he rarely did and he always claimed that “it didn’t hurt.”

When he was about 9 or 10, I decided to start a new morning ritual while driving him to school. I had hoped that he would remember it someday and pass it along to his children.

This is what I wrote and said to him everyday: “Be strong and gentle, brave and kind, be the best BJ you can be, with body, soul and mind.”

BJ got married this past February, before leaving for his second tour of duty to Iraq. This big, strong Marine in his dress blues, started to become very emotional as his bride came forward to meet him. The tears ran down his face as his bride joined hands with him.

He pulled it together to be able to give his vows. When it was all over, he cried while hugging his mom, his mom’s partner, and his grandmother. He seemed to be doing fine until his mom stood up to toast the newly married couple.  Again the tears flowed.

I have never seen my son cry so much in his life. I still can’t get over it. I don’t know why I am surprised when he turns out like I had hoped he would be!

Oh yes, he gave me a gift after the wedding. It was obvious he was excited. It was a beautiful, cherry wood jewelry box, with this engraving: “Be strong, mind, body and soul.” Gosh, I love that kid.

DRP ©2007

Some things I learned from my dad…

1. Daughters are important too.

2. Daughters can do anything.

3. A daughter can operate logging equipment.

4. A daughter can play sports.

5. A daughter can ride a motorcycle.

6. A daughter can drive a snowmobile.

7. A daughter can mow lawn.

8. A daughter can change oil in a car.

9. A daughter can operate a boat and motor.

10. A daughter can help her father in the shop.

11. Its important to go to church.

12. Its important to be involved in your community and make a difference.

13. How to be funny.

14. How to be tolerant of your spouse’s quirks.

15. How to have fun.

16. How to enjoy life.

17. How to show love to your family.

18. How to acquire the respect of your family and friends.

What did your dad teach you?

A dad, a daughter and her power tools…

My dad and mom had three daughters and I am the one with the power tools. Maybe because I was the oldest, or the only one interested, Dad showed me how to run his power tools. Imagine… a woman that knows how to operate power tools!

This was in the late 60s and I wonder if my dad ever thought of himself as a feminist! It was amazing to me that my father was willing to share this knowledge and it didn’t matter that I was a girl! He showed me how to operate the drill press, grinder, the radial arm saw (my favorite), the table, saber and skill saws.

I would help him when he needed an extra pair of hands when he was trying to fix equipment. It was important to learn the names of different wrenches so that I could hand him the proper one and size when he asked for it. He was a self employed logger in the north woods. Machines and equipment would break daily. I didn’t like getting dirty, but I treasured the time with my dad.

Later in life, there were several times when dad and I would decide to stop at Menard’s or Home Depot and “just look around.” We didn’t’ really have to be purchasing something, we just found it enjoyable to look at what was available, new tools, new supplies for building. Better than being in a candy shop as we use to say!

My dad made his transition to everlasting life this past December. I thought of him when I installed a new rack for the garden hose yesterday. I could do it because Dad taught me. He taught me that I could do the unconventional. Women could do things that had been reserved for men, in the past.

Dad taught me confidence. I could enter a male dominated school and profession, I could adopt a child, I could provide for my family. There was something powerful in learning to operate power tools.  I’ll always be grateful to dear dad for his support and encouragement.   ©2007