Links to Think

Links to Think: 08.05.13

August 5, 2013



Pause and Listen – My friend Johanna always shows her give for writing and thinking about life, but I enjoyed her short post on making sure we take time to pause and listen to what our kids are really trying to say. We had a similar experience (multiple times) with our oldest while living in Ecuador, and these thoughts are close to my heart. When our kids are going through transition, usually their “acting out” is a desperate plea for help, that we’ll miss if we think we need to squelch their voice, rather than listen.

“We arrived home later than usual one evening and were rushing to get the kids in bed as it was already past their normal bedtime. In the midst of it, my older two had a little bit of a conflict.

Frankly, I was surprised at Stefan’s response because he is normally patient with these sorts of things. And, really, the situation was fairly minor and he was clearly over reacting.

My first thought was to give him the, “buck up and deal with it” speech. This really wasn’t a big deal, we needed to get to bed, he was tired and just being overly sensitive.

Thankfully, something stopped me almost in mid-sentence. My instinct told me there was more to this than met the eye. After everyone got to bed, his sister fell asleep almost immediately, so I just laid next to Stefan without saying anything. I’d be there to listen if there was anything else he wanted to say.

Sure enough after a few moments of silence, it all spilled out.

And you know what? He had some very legitimate frustrations.”

“As I reflected on the incident later on, I realized how often I quickly dish out a command or reprimand without even taking time to pause and listen to my child. Yes, they are children. Yes, they need to be taught and admonished. But they are also people, and often, if we simply take the time to pause and listen for a moment, we might find out that there are some real legitimate feelings going on underneath the surface.

I’m so thankful that in that moment I paused and waited. I didn’t force him to talk because I know I never open up when someone is “forcing” me to. I just waited, and eventually I found out what was really going on.

We talked about ways to improve the situation. We talked about asking God to help us be kind and loving even when we are frustrated. (Though I did acknowledge that I have been struggling with the same thing lately.”

“Don’t forget the essential part in parenting of pausing and listening. It may surprise you what you learn.”

How to Live without Air Conditioning – It’s easy to write this from the comfort of my AC-cooled home, but definitely some interesting ways to consider how we could cut back if chosen. Incidentally, my dad insisted on only buying houses with a basement, and my husband and I are in the process of purchasing a home with a basement, as well. Of course, if you are stuck in a treeless, basement-less dwelling in a hot region, there’s not much you can do! (And I’m personally still a fan of AC! My oldest would need to live at a body of water to swim in or at a pool, as heat can wipe her out pretty quickly!)

“As anybody who’s been through this harrowing experience knows, living in most parts of America during the summer these days means being dependent on A/C. With temperatures regularly climbing past 90, we expect to be made thermally comfortable everywhere we go, including in the cars or subways we take to get there.

Since the technology was invented in 1902, and the first window unit was brought to market in 1939, air conditioners have become ubiquitous in the United States. Today, almost 90 percent of American households have one—as do the vast majority of restaurants, stores, museums, and office buildings. During weeks like the one we’ve just had, these places are sanctuaries: To walk into one after being outside is to be reminded how sweet life can be.”

“But all that magic chilling comes at a cost—something most people are aware of on a personal level, because their electricity bills are so high during the summer, but not so much on a global scale, which is really where the problem lies. In China and India, air conditioning sales have reportedly been growing by 20 percent per year; around the world, air conditioning energy demand is projected to increase vastly over the next decades. According to Stan Cox, author of the 2010 book “Losing Our Cool,” air conditioning in the United States already has a global-warming impact equivalent to every US household driving an extra 10,000 miles per year.

But although there are a handful of anti-A/C crusaders out there, the idea that we need to be using less of it hasn’t become a touchstone of environmental enlightenment, like recycling or hybrid cars. This may well be an indication of how deeply it has shaped our world: While we can imagine giving up plastic bags and Styrofoam, living without climate control seems unfathomable, especially during a heat wave.”

I Wonder If Sunday School Is Destroying Our Kids – If you have similar social media connection to me, you’ve probably already seen this article. But lots of food for thought. (I don’t think the issue being addressed by this article is so much Sunday School itself, but how and what is being taught. And judging by the 500+ comments, this is a good conversation to have!)

“Several years ago I met with a woman distraught by her son’s rejection of Christianity.

She said, “I did everything I could to raise him right. I taught him to be like the ‘heroes of faith,’ with the faithfulness of Abraham, the goodness of Joseph, the pure heart of David, and the obedience of Esther.”

She wondered why he rejected Christianity.

I wondered why it took him so long.

Here is how we destroy the gospel message

Look at almost any Sunday school curriculum. You’ll find:

  • Abraham was faithful, and God made him the father of a nation. So be faithful like Abraham.
  • Joseph was a good little boy (unlike his “bad” brothers), and God made him Prime Minister of Egypt. So be good like Joseph.
  • David had a pure heart (unlike his brothers), and God made him King of Israel. So have a pure heart like David.
  • Esther was an obedient girl. God made her Queen of Persia and she saved God’s people. So be obedient like Esther.
  • Finally, if we fail to be good, Jesus will forgive us (a “P.S.” tacked onto the end).

What’s so bad about these Sunday school lessons?

Nothing really. Except that they lie about God, they lie about these “heroes of the faith,” they lie about the Bible, and they lie about the gospel. Apart from that, they are pretty good. Oh, they also create “younger brother” rebels and “older brother” Pharisees.

Is the gospel our central theme, or is it a “PS” tacked onto the end?”

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