Most people who teach students of any age can relate to that moment when they get stumped by an unexpected question. This seems to happen more often with children because they think so differently compared to adults. It is okay to be stumped, and even to say that you'll need to do some research; we just want to avoid giving adult answers to child questions. It is my hope that by talking through some of these tricky topics ahead of time, you will be less likely to get stumped. If there are topics or questions you would like me to address in future columns, please feel free to email them to me at the address provided below. You can always take your child to ask a pastor, teacher, or other minister, but it's a good idea to give that person a “heads-up” beforehand.
Published in 2008 Archives
Thursday, 17 December 2009 00:00


I mentioned previously that I have been taking my daughter Abby to the nursing home. This has turned out to be a spectacular success. She not only looks forward to these visits but also stays on the lookout for helping opportunities. Wherever we are, she notices people who are older or who have limited mobility. She will talk to them, hug them, hold the door for them, even engage in long conversations.

Published in 2009 Archives
Tuesday, 22 September 2009 00:00

FAITHSHAPERS: Family ministry

In my last article I suggested visiting nursing homes with children as a teaching method. There are many other forms of service ministry that children can participate in and learn from.
Published in 2009 Archives
Monday, 24 August 2009 00:00

FAITHSHAPERS: Making good choices

In my last article I gave some examples regarding efforts to teach positive behaviors to children.  We can’t focus all of our energy on preventing “bad” behavior and forget to nurture the good. Have you thought about the things you want to encourage in your children?  Do you make it a point to reinforce them for good decisions? 

Published in 2009 Archives

Welcome back from our trip to Bizarro World. Hopefully our tongue-in-cheek discussion of Bizarro parenting helped us all to see the unintended consequences of many parenting decisions. Now I’d like for us to return our focus to building virtues. Don’t forget that many children think “being good” means only staying out of trouble. “Goodness” must be an active, purposeful thing, not the absence of “badness.” So here are some ideas for raising virtuous children.

Published in 2009 Archives
Wednesday, 22 July 2009 00:00

FAITH SHAPERS: Parenting in Bizarro World

Our question of the day: “How can I make sure my children don’t make good behavior a habit?”

Published in 2009 Archives

Keep those questions coming, Bizarro parents. Our topic for today is, “How can I set up my children to fail?”

Published in 2009 Archives
Tuesday, 07 April 2009 00:00

FAITHSHAPERS: Being tough on kids

Sometimes I’m tough on my kids. Once my daughter was lined up to spend the night with her grandparents, but she disobeyed her teacher at school that day and I made her stay home.
Published in 2009 Archives
Thursday, 18 December 2008 00:12

FAITHSHAPERS: Teaching baptism (2)

So what is baptism really? Because of its importance in Baptist life, I fear that we sometimes overemphasize the role of baptism. Children tend to see things in somewhat mystical ways by their very nature, and symbolic rituals with deep, symbolic meaning are nothing short of fascinating. Even adults tend to think that the act of baptism means more than it really does.
Published in 2008 Archives
Thursday, 20 November 2008 00:11

FAITHSHAPERS: Teaching baptism

Because of its symbolic nature, baptism is very hard to explain to children. They often see baptism as some sort of magical event that draws their attention and activates their powerful need for inclusion. It is the duty of the church to approach the issue of children and baptism carefully and thoughtfully. It is easy to get excited that someone of any age desires baptism, but I think we can all agree that a baptism undertaken without understanding can become anything from meaningless to an outright negative. In this column and the next I would like to tackle what I consider to be the two most important issues related to children and baptism.
Published in 2008 Archives
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