Sand in the Gears

Archive for the ‘The Art of Parenting’ Category

A more perfect union

Monday, October 10th, 2016 Posted in Curmudgeonry, The Art of Parenting | 14 Comments »

“So, Dad, did you know Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are having a debate tonight?” “Yep.” “Are we watching it?” “Nope.” “Why not?” “For the same reasons we don’t watch German porn, or videos about how to treat gangrene.” “Dad.” “Also because I rented Jungle Book.” “Dad.” “Trust me—it’s ...

Listing

Friday, May 22nd, 2015 Posted in Faith and Life, The Art of Parenting | Comments Off on Listing

Here's an excerpt from my latest Image essay if you're interested: Isaiah returned to the scene of the crime to survey his work. It was a damned atrocity. Paint ran haphazardly against the grain, tacky pools of it collected on the ...

Letters to camp

Monday, May 18th, 2015 Posted in The Art of Parenting | 8 Comments »

My youngest boys, Isaac and Isaiah (10 and 7), depart today for a week-long summer camp, which is a cause for excitement on their part, and quiet trepidation on mine. "Keep your money in a stinky sock," I advise them. "If ...

The beast without

Friday, February 20th, 2015 Posted in The Art of Parenting | 14 Comments »

"Isaac's being a jerk," my seven year-old, Isaiah, says about his older brother. They have been sledding over new-fallen snow. "Why do you say that?" "Because he keeps knocking me off my sled." "Why do you think he did that?" I ask. I've been ...

Children and pornography

Monday, February 24th, 2014 Posted in Curmudgeonry, The Art of Parenting | Comments Off on Children and pornography

Some of you might appreciate my latest essay for Good Letters. Others of you may not like it at all. Maybe it's proof that I'm no less angry today than I was ten years ago, when some of you first ...

The ministering parent

Thursday, January 23rd, 2014 Posted in Fatherhood, The Art of Parenting | 16 Comments »

Do you ever look on your children, and wish they had better than you? Back when we were shopping my embarrassingly confessional first book, my agent at the time told me I needed a ministry to accompany it. She said this ...

The Cost of Calling: The Answer

Thursday, January 9th, 2014 Posted in The Art of Parenting, The Sermons | 18 Comments »

I come now to the question in my heart when I began: what can my sons say to a deceived and soul-sickened world? You might remember the story of a girl murdered that awful day in Columbine. As this story goes, ...

The Cost of Calling: Compromises

Thursday, January 2nd, 2014 Posted in The Art of Parenting, The Sermons | 16 Comments »

What is the cost of a calling? You can be called to be a parent; you can be called to be a plumber. But having a child, or picking up a pipe wrench, is not—in and of itself—to pursue a ...

The Cost of Calling

Thursday, December 26th, 2013 Posted in Fatherhood, The Art of Parenting | 12 Comments »

Many parents carry within our hearts—sometimes in a cramped and even despairing corner—a vision of what we hope our children will become. This vision lives deeper than our wish that they be doctors or NFL quarterbacks, deeper even than our desire ...

The professor in the home

Tuesday, December 17th, 2013 Posted in The Art of Parenting | 48 Comments »

Every month, money flies from my checking account to the education savings accounts of my children, because I don't want them to become hobos. This is one way I allay my fear the world will eat them up. It's a ...

Crafted

Monday, December 9th, 2013 Posted in Fatherhood, The Art of Parenting | 49 Comments »

My mother died while I was at the beach and so while my children spent their days on the shore, I spoke by phone with the many professionals who position themselves between the living and the dead. My thirteen year-old wanted ...

Imagination destruction

Monday, September 23rd, 2013 Posted in The Art of Parenting | Comments Off on Imagination destruction

The latest Conversations on Philanthropy is hot off the presses, and if you subscribe you'll soon have a copy in the mail. If not, however, and you're just dying to read my review of Anthony Esolen's Ten Ways to Destroy ...

Good guy or bad guy?

Friday, September 20th, 2013 Posted in Fatherhood, The Art of Parenting, The Sermons | 15 Comments »

One of my sons asked about an historical figure, or maybe it was some living politician whom history will soon forget. My son wanted to know whether this man was a good guy, or a bad guy. This is our most ...

Sheep and wolves

Wednesday, April 24th, 2013 Posted in Fatherhood, The Art of Parenting | 10 Comments »

Because I am a father I think about the parents of that boy torn to pieces, of his sister whose leg was taken. I think about those parents in Newtown, whose biggest Christmas purchases were coffins for their sons and ...

On the imperative of baby swaddling

Wednesday, September 26th, 2012 Posted in Fatherhood, The Art of Parenting | 6 Comments »

Hey you, with the crying baby. I understand that this little person is, in deeply emotional, psychological, physiological, theological senses of the term, an extension of your person. Please recognize, however, that this is not literally the case. In other words, the ...

Abandoning children

Friday, September 21st, 2012 Posted in The Art of Parenting | 13 Comments »

The intellectual consensus seems to be that having children is miserable business. This consensus is built on shoddy thinking and shoddier statistics. The latest example is brought to us by Why Have Kids? author Jessica Valenti, who notes that in the ...

A pox on this house

Monday, August 20th, 2012 Posted in Fatherhood, The Art of Parenting | 3 Comments »

The last fortnight was chicken pox time for the Woodlief boys. I have acquaintances who are apostles of all things scientific and modern, and who are therefore appalled that my boys never received the chicken pox vaccine. It seemed like ...

Words

Friday, August 17th, 2012 Posted in The Art of Parenting | Comments Off on Words

Some of you might like my recent essay at Image's Good Letters channel. Here's an excerpt: "The vicissitudes of life may chink or scorch or even crack that die, but if your child doesn’t come with the self-restraint app, for example, ...

Homecoming

Tuesday, July 3rd, 2012 Posted in The Art of Parenting | Comments Off on Homecoming

Some of you may like my latest essay at Image Journal's section of Patheos, "Coming Home to Fatherhood." Here's an excerpt: "Or perhaps it’s closer to truth to say that nearly everything we do, so long as we love our children, ...

More than bread

Thursday, February 2nd, 2012 Posted in Faith and Life, Fatherhood, The Art of Parenting | Comments Off on More than bread

When we don't think we can control some things we take charge of what we can. This is why the functionary fastidiously maintains a constant distance between his stapler and his tape dispenser, and why the abused child has a ...

Possibility

Friday, January 28th, 2011 Posted in Fatherhood, The Art of Parenting | 7 Comments »

My work with non-profits over the years has given me the opportunity to sit down with a number of philanthropists. I'm just now flying home from visiting Tucson, Arizona, where I met with several people who have led very different ...

On Tiger Mamas, bad art, and the heart of a child

Monday, January 24th, 2011 Posted in Fatherhood, The Art of Parenting | 13 Comments »

My first thought, upon hearing of Amy Chua's now famous (or infamous) essay about the superiority of Chinese mothers, is that it's irrelevant to me. The odds that I will go out and father a child with a Chinese woman are ...

On the confessional parent

Monday, October 18th, 2010 Posted in The Art of Parenting | Comments Off on On the confessional parent

Susan Stiffelman writes at ParentDish about the indignation some readers of mamapundit felt upon learning that, in the midst of writing about parenting, she was privately coping with a teenaged son's drug addiction, which recently took his life: "The shame of ...

On parenting with a broken heart

Friday, October 15th, 2010 Posted in The Art of Parenting | Comments Off on On parenting with a broken heart

Leo has hydranencephaly. This is some of what his father has to say: "From the beginning he has asked me to put my desires to death, so to speak. What I want for him is basically out of reach. I find ...

The pedagogy of the fart

Monday, September 27th, 2010 Posted in The Art of Parenting, The Artful Life | 8 Comments »

Thomas Spence, president of Spence Publishing, has a must-read piece in last week's Wall Street Journal, titled "How to Raise Boys Who Read." He takes aim at the latest fad, which is to get the video-game and television-besotted little cretins ...

A father’s waning day

Monday, June 21st, 2010 Posted in Fatherhood, The Art of Parenting | 3 Comments »

As I write, there are nine minutes left in Father's Day, which is just right, given that every father I know feels like he has so much left to do, and just a scrap of time in which to do ...

“Looking at children was the real shocker for us”

Friday, May 21st, 2010 Posted in The Art of Parenting | Comments Off on “Looking at children was the real shocker for us”

U.S. children are posting sharp increases in drug use for chronic illnesses -- one-quarter of all insured children and 30 percent of adolescents, according to a health company study. A large portion of these are antipsychotic and diabetes drugs. What are we ...

There’s no program for fixing rotten

Friday, April 30th, 2010 Posted in Fatherhood, The Art of Parenting | 6 Comments »

The thing you run into, when you are in the business of saving the world from itself, is that there is no lever marked: "PULL HERE TO SAVE WORLD." It fascinates me to see intelligent thinkers reason out top-down solutions to ...

Finally, some good news on the parenting front

Tuesday, April 6th, 2010 Posted in The Art of Parenting | Comments Off on Finally, some good news on the parenting front

Mothers and fathers of America, give yourselves a pat on the back. And go out on a date. You must be exhausted.

GIGO

Friday, March 26th, 2010 Posted in The Art of Parenting | 2 Comments »

Husbands, for the sake of your wives' self-esteem, stop taking your kids to the park. That's one conclusion we can draw from this study. A possible flaw in its design: could it be that many fathers who pick up more slack ...