In this section you will find a list of books that are a great resource for every parent who's on a journey!
In this section we have articles written specifically by parents for parents who are living it out in the trenches with kids who have had it rough. We know what it's like, we hear you and we're here for you!
Accountability is crucial (not just required)! Sometimes the amount of things on your plate is overwhelming and we get that. Let us try to help by giving you a hub where some of our local meets are happening.
We will provide several links that can get you info on every meeting anywhere you may be traveling! Remember, it's always meeting time somewhere!
By: Ryan North - May 14, 2014
Some of my favorite works of art are Julian Beever’s sidewalk illusions. If you haven’t seen them they are truly amazing! He employs a technique called trompe l’oeil which is French for deceive the eye. He creates images that, when viewed from the correct angle, are optical illusions that appear to be three dimensional. It really messes with your mind.
Finding a favorite is a difficult task as you will discover by viewing 44 of his most famous works. I do have several that I like a lot and this one titled “Taking the Plunge” is one of my favorites.
So apparently art does imitate life because Beever’s art reminds me that things are frequently not as they seem, this is particularly true for our kids from hard places.
A lot of our kids have control issues. (Can I get an amen?) You know what I’m talking about. Every time we plan to go anywhere they have to know every single detail before we head to the car. What’s for dinner? They want us to run that that by them too. Trying to have a conversation with other adults usually involves them doing one of two things, eavesdropping from 10 feet away or inserting themselves directly into the conversation. I know you have things that you can add to the list too, but let’s move on.
So what to do?
We have to remember that the need to control every situation is fear based and cannot be changed without addressing the underlying fear itself. Most parents (myself included) choose to get into a power struggle with their kids, and as I have learned, no one really wins those.
Here are three things that we work on with our kids as we try to help him live a life free of fear.
1. Let them help
One of the great things about kids is that they love to help, and as they get older they are able to help more. Our six kids are divided into three groups. The “older” kids (ages 11 and 9), the “middle” kids (6 and 5), and the “babies” (20 months and almost 3). The older kids have more responsibilities than the other kids, not only because they are more able, but because they want more control.
They change diapers, they help in the kitchen (cooking and cleaning), they feed babies, etc. Not only do they love to help, but they thrive on being responsible for something.
2. Control their control
If giving them responsibilities is 1A, then controlling their control is 1B. So what does controlling their control mean? Simply put, we give them control of certain things in our home. The key is that we, as their parents, decide what they have control over. Kids, like adults, like being in charge so we are try to give them ownership of things that they can do and do well. It’s a win on multiple levels. We establish trust, remove some fear, they are in charge of something, and we get help.
The difference between giving them responsibilities and giving them control is this; the responsibility has to be done our way, things they have control over gets done their way within the predetermined boundaries.
3. Invite them into the conversation.
One of the things we are trying to get better at is including our kids, especially our oldest son, in decisions that affect our family. Sometimes we fall into the trap that decisions need to be made by parents and that children need to just tow the line. Yes, there are some very adult decisions that parents need to make, but there are many that don’t need to be command decisions.
Now, these decisions range from where we are going to dinner to where we are are going on vacation. Our son has a need to know what we are doing and if we include him we lower his anxiety and raise the trust between us.
Remember, controlling people are fearful people. Lower the fear and you will lower the need to control at the same time.
This post originally appeared on onebighappyhome.com
By Miroslav Volf
The first thing I saw was a tear–an unforgettable giant tear in the big brown eye of a ten-year-old girl. Then I saw tears in her mother’s eyes. In these tears, just enough joy was mixed with pain to underscore the pain’s severity: joy at seeing him, their three-month-old brother and son, and intense pain at having kissed him good-bye when he was just two days old; the ache that he, flesh of their flesh, was being brought to them for a brief visit by two strangers who are now his parents; the affliction of knowing that the joy of loving him as a mother and sister usually do will never be theirs.
The joy and the pain of those tears led me to a repentance of sorts. My image of mothers who place their children for adoption was not as bad as my image of the fathers involved, but it was not entirely positive either. I could not shake the feeling that there was something deficient in the act. The taint of “abandonment” marred it, an abandonment that was understandable, possibly even inescapable and certainly tragic, but abandonment nonetheless. To give one’s child to another is to fail in the most proper duty of a parent: to love no matter what.
Somewhere in my mind, a famous verse from Isaiah colored the way I was reading birth mothers’ actions: “Can a woman forget her nursing child, or show no compassion for the child of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you” (Isa. 49:15). A good mother, I thought, ought to be like Israel’s God, absolutely unable to “give up” her child (cf. Hos. 11:8).
But a mother is not God, only a fragile human being living in a tragic world. So why think immediately of abandonment because she decides to place her child for adoption? The tears of our son’s birth mother and the actions which, like a beautiful plant, were watered by those tears, suggested that my view of at least some birth mothers may be not only mistaken but also morally flawed. I needed to repent and alter the image.
Later, as I was reflecting on those tears, I came across a passage in Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics. “Witness the pleasure that mothers take in loving their children. Some mothers put their infants out to nurse, and though knowing and loving them do not ask to be loved by them in return, if it be impossible to have this as well, but are content if they see them prospering; they retain their own love for them even though the children, not knowing them, cannot render them any part of what is due to a mother.” The text comes from Aristotle’s discussion of friendship. He employs the example to make plausible that “in its essence friendship seems to consist more in giving than receiving affection.” For Aristotle, a “birth mother” manifests the kind of love characteristic of a true friend, a love exercised for that friend’s sake, not for benefits gained from the relationship.
“It is hard to know that you have a child in the world, far away from you,” wrote our son’s birth mother in her first letter to us. It is hard because love passionately desires the presence of the beloved. And yet it was that same love that took deliberate and carefully studied steps that would lead to his absence. In a letter she wrote for him to read when he grows up, she tells him that her decision to place him for adoption was made for his own good. “I did it for you,” she wrote repeatedly and added, “Some day you will understand.”
She loved him for his own sake, and therefore would rather suffer his absence if he flourished than enjoy his presence if he languished; her sorrow over his avoidable languishing would overshadow her delight in his presence. For a lover, it is more blessed to give than to receive, even when giving pierces the lover’s heart. My image of birth mothers had changed: “she who does not care quite enough” has become “she who truly loves.”
When we parted, a smile had replaced the tears on the face of our son’s birth mother. Now it was my turn to cry. Back at home, with him in one arm and an open album she made for him in the other, I shed tears over the tragedy of her love. Despite an intense affection for our son–no, because of such affection–I thought there was something profoundly wrong about his being with us and not with her. In a good world, in a world in which the best things are not sometimes so terribly painful, he and she would delight and thrive in each other’s love.
The encounter with our son’s birth mother left an indelible mark not so much on my memory as on my character. She helped me articulate what it means to be a good parent. A vision of parenting that was buried under many impressions and opinions emerged clearly on the horizon of my consciousness. I ought to love him the way she loved him, for his own sake, not for mine. I must not pervert my love into possession. I can hold onto him only if I let go of him.
But how can I let go of him whom I long so intensely to hold? The only way I know is by placing him in the arms of the same God from whom we received him. I remembered another deeply pained woman–a woman who suffered not so much because she had to give away her child but because, like my wife and me, she needed a miracle to receive a child. It was Hannah, the mother of Samuel. She was given the child she so desperately desired because she was willing to let go of him (1 Sam. 1:11).
Even those of us who will not set our children “before God as Nazirites,” as Hannah did, will love them best if we hold them–in God’s arms.
Miroslav Volf is the Henry B. Wright Professor of Theology at Yale Divinity School.
COPYRIGHT 1998. Reproduced with permission from the August 26, 1998 issue of Christian Century (www.christiancentury.org). Originally posted on Tapestry.com
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Especially for those who have given children or are about to enter the adoption process.
Especially for those getting to know their children better either after a difficult time apart.