Stop Taking Jeremiah 29:11 Out of Context: It’s one of our favorite verses—but we’ve gotten it all wrong. – Thomas Turner of International Justice Mission writes a helpful piece for Relevant Magazine. Although he’s addressing the use of Jeremiah 29:11 specifically, his emphasis is relevant for any out-of-context Scripture we’re tempted to use in our offering of platitudes.
“It’s written on graduation cards, quoted to encourage a person who can’t seem to find God’s well and doled out like a doctor explaining a prescription: Take Jeremiah 29:11 a few times, with a full glass of water, and call me in the morning. I think you’ll feel better.
“‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future’” Jeremiah 29:11 tells us—possibly one of our most beloved, yet most misunderstood, verses in the entire Bible.”
“When it comes to reading the Bible, we can sometimes be so familiar with the words on the page that we read them, but we don’t really understand them. We see the words and hear the words, but we don’t make any sense out of them. Familiarity can breed laziness, and so many of our misunderstandings about the scriptures happen because we are too familiar with the passage to look it with fresh eyes. If we would come to the Word of God with fresh eyes more often, we would realize that some of our most common interpretations of Scripture passed down to us don’t make much sense when viewed within the context of the passage.”
“Even more important than our decision about which college to attend, which city to move to or what job offer to take is the future hope of the Kingdom of God foretold by the prophets and fulfilled in the reign of our now and coming King. In this way, the promise of Jeremiah 29:11 is bigger than any one of us—and far better.“
Katy Bowman and the Biomechanics of Human Growth: Barefoot Babies – Katy Bowman (whose contributions to biomechanics to have helped me to resolve some of my ongoing pelvic floor problems) collaborates with Nicole Crawford for an article about children’s feet development.
What we do as parents plays a crucial role in how these loads alter tissues. Many of the devices that we parents use regularly to make things more convenient play a role in this alteration. Some babies and toddlers spend just as much time in cribs, playpens, car seats, strollers, and high chairs as they do crawling around and getting into trouble. This certainly makes life easier for the caregivers, but does it have any effect on development? Katy noted the relation between these devices and more permanent biomechanical issues:
“Physical human development is phenomenal stuff. A baby comes out really soft. And I just don’t mean their skin! Their ‘bones’ aren’t really bones yet and how they move – specifically the initial loads placed on their body – can determine qualities like bone shape. When it comes to babies, most people are familiar with the “flat head” effect as a result of too much on-their-back time. But this bony adaptation to the environment happens all over the body, not just to the skull.”
“Over the decades, there has been a myriad of baby-devices created; things that make dealing with a baby more convenient. But a lot of these items affect human development in different ways, by altering the load types or load frequencies to the baby’s tissues. The results range from delayed milestones, which aren’t necessarily a huge deal, to more permanent changes to hip sockets and gait patterns.”
“The shape their bones take as they firm up is a result of the loads and geometry of their body while they are loaded. Which means the positions they cycle through daily, the position of their body relative to the gravitational force, and the quantity of load-time will set the shape of their pelvis, the quality of their hip mobility, the muscle development in their feet, legs and core – which all affect their lung inflation. The stability of their knees. I could go on and on. And about this, I usually do. So much of what people battle against in their adult body stems from the strength profiles and movement patterns they developed in the first few years.”
That’s not to say that your child has to go barefoot all the time. As Katy noted, “Going barefoot all the time isn’t very realistic for children, especially if they live in the Urban Jungle. You can, however, pick shoes that interfere less with development.” To conclude, here are five tips from Katy for choosing shoes and strengthening the feet:
- Don’t put your child in heeled shoes. Even a little heel.
- Let summer time be foot-freedom time. This is the time when kids are outdoors more often, so Katy suggests swim shoes as a summer shoe. They’re cheap, flexible, and breathable too.
- Choose shoes that are super flexible. Looking for minimalist shoe ideas for your kids? Katy provides a great list in this post.
- Play foot games with your kids to encourage motor skills and healthy foot development. You can find some examples in this post at Katy’s blog.
- Massage your child’s feet for a few minutes before bedtime.