Reflection on Raising Kids

Your Children Are Not Your Children

A daily devotional by Molly Baskette and Ellen O’Donnell on July 31, 2019.

Train children in the right way, and when old, they will not stray. – Proverbs 22:6 (NRSV)

daily-devotions-morning-worship

The poet Kahlil Gibran said, “your children are not your children…you may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.”

Easy for him to say—Gibran himself was childless. But he makes a fair point. Child development research underscores the power of temperament, or what we like to call nature, the idea that each child is born fully a person already: cranky, happy, confident, anxious, mellow, intense, introvert, extrovert. Nurture can shift and shape nature but attempts to change it fundamentally tend to go awry.

Proverbs says parents should “train their child in the right way.” This probably doesn’t mean making our children over in our image, projections of our unmet needs or unfulfilled dreams. Try instead: getting to know the child God has gifted you—their “grain,” as if they arrived an uncarved block of wood that Life will gradually reveal. We are a tool in the hand of the Divine, working with that grain to help them become who God intends them to be. Going against the grain wrecks the wood and frustrates the Carpenter.

This is good news: you can’t take all the blame if they turn out to be biters, boasters, or voters loyal to the other political party.

This is also bad news: it means you have limited control over who and how your child will be. You’re there to love your children, support them, set an example, and curb their worst impulses, but you can’t “make” them. That part’s already done. They are their own people, on their own path. Or is that also good news?

Prayer:

God, help me to get to know and love my child in all their fullness, as You made them, and as they are becoming.

Family Pool Party Sunday 7/14

pool party

Happy July in NH!

The best days of summer are upon us and we would love to share in the fun with you and your family. Children of all ages are welcome… please come and splash around and hang out.

Host: Rhonda, Dave, and Lauren Young

Date & Time: Sunday, July 14 from 12-4 PM

Address: 470 Cutts Ave., Portsmouth NH

RSVP here!

Rhonda and Dave will supply hotdogs and hamburgers, as well as non-alcoholic beverages for the party. Please bring something to share (an appetizer, a dessert, a snack, a bottle of wine, something else for the grill…) as well as your beach towels and bathing suits! If you need to get in touch with Rhonda, her number is 693-682-1392.

Serve and Celebrate!

All St. John’s Youth are invited for an afternoon of service, song, and fellowship starting at 3:00pm. Here’s the schedule for tomorrow:

3:00pm – Cooking for Cross Roads – we’ll prepare a meal to send to the Cross Roads shelter.
4:00pm – Youth Choirs rehearse – youth singers will practice for an hour while others finish preparing the meal.
5:00pm – Dinner
5:30pm – 6:00pm – pick-up

Cooking for Crossroads
Kids & volunteers cooking for Crossroads

All are welcome to join when they can for as long as they can.

Peace,
Nathan

May 11th Family Night

Hi SJC Families,

What a wonderful school year we’ve had as a St John’s family. As our program year comes to a close, we wanted to gather our families one more time before heading into “summer schedule.” Here are the details:

When: Saturday, May 11

Time: 4pm-whenever

Where:
The Haight’s House
7 Newington Road
Greenland, NH

Bring: an appetizer, a side dish, or drinks – click here to sign up

Dinner: we will have hot dogs, hamburgers, bratwurst, etc. for the grill

What: We will also have a campfire and s’mores for the kids. Dress for outdoor play!

Palm Sunday

palm sunday
Palm Sunday by Evans Yegon

Children & Youth will meet at 9:30 in the normal locations. At 10:00, all children and youth will join the processional in church to help bless and distribute palms to the congregation. This is an exciting entrance, and we are joyfully anticipating the kids’ involvement. It may cause a little extra chaos, but parents should know that we will still run on the same schedule:

  • 9:30AM Kids’ gather for Sunday school/Youth group
  • 10:00AM Kids’ join processional, then return to small group spaces with adult leaders
  • 10:40AM (approx) Kids’ return to their families at the time of the Peace
  • 11:00-11:30AM Cherub choir rehearses in Choir Room

PLEASE NOTE: There will not be a service Sunday this week as previously planned. All youth should go to their normal Sunday meeting place.

**Choir School students are called to gather for robes at 9:15!**

Wed. April 10 UPDATE

Tomorrow, Wednesday April 10th, we will host youth for:

  • Cooking for Crossroads at 3:00-5:00
  • Junior Choir at 4:30-5:30

All those in the choir are encouraged to join the cooking crew in the kitchen until we begin a shorter rehearsal at 4:30.

There will not be any fellowship time or dinner served this time, so please plan your pick-ups accordingly! 

Thank you so much!

 

April 2019

Overview for April 2019:

Nursery & Sunday School/Youth Group will run normally all Sundays EXCEPT Easter

Easter Sunday, April 21

  • Nursery is open for first service 8:45AM – 10:45AM
  • No Sunday School
  • Easter Egg Hunt immediately following first service (approx. 10:15)

Youth choirs sing at BOTH 9:15 & 11:00 Easter services!!

Don’t miss the Choir School students singing on Palm Sunday, April 14!

 

The Spiritual Child by Lisa Miller, Ph.D.

As a mother and the director of our children’s program at St. John’s, I am a seeker of wisdom and truth regarding the spiritual lives of children. I have made mistakes, and I have looked inward to discover my spiritual breaking points, where old wounds never healed properly. I recall as a child feeling so sensitive to a critical word. Early on I began the process of internalizing struggles that I felt would be judged or worse, made fun of. I was horrified of displeasing the adults in my life. Over many years, I created versions of myself that would work well in different scenarios. As an adolescent, it was such a lonely, heart-aching time… and I had loving parents who gave me the world. I had special gifts and talents that were celebrated. I had a church community. And yet… something within my spiritual self was tamped down, ashamed, scared. I wasn’t free. I wasn’t connected to God in a way that was truly life-giving.

I ponder this reality… the combination of circumstances that made it impossible to talk to my parents about what my heart was SCREAMING about. I just let my heart scream, determined to shush it. Determined to figure it out on my own.

I did not figure it out on my own. Shocking, I know. I continue to learn and grow in my spirituality, and I am so grateful that God brought me to St. John’s. Finding in my work an outlet for spiritual, professional, and personal growth is an unbelievable blessing. That child who ached for affirmation and shushed the messages from her heart is still here, but now I’m looking at my own children and the children of this community, and I know we can do better.

Recently I found a wonderful book about the spiritual development of children and teens, and I highly recommend it to you:

The Spiritual Child: The New Science on Parenting for Health and Lifelong Thriving

by Lisa Miller, Ph.D.

Dr. Miller writes about the scientific evidence that in our first two decades, we are primed for deep spiritual connection and development. She lays out, in clear language, ways in which we [adults] support that development, and ways we hinder or handicap that development. This book includes language that has spoken to me… has put into words the ponderings of my heart and organized a strategy to evolve.

In trying to find an excerpt to share, I found myself reviewing whole chapters – I’m truly fascinated by this material! Here for you, excerpts from an early chapter called, “Birthright.”

“Spiritual development is a biological and psychological imperative from birth. Natural spirituality, the innate spiritual attunement of young children – unlike other lines of development – appears to begin whole and fully expressed. As the child grows, natural spirituality integrates with the capacities of cognitive, social, emotional, and moral development, as well as physical change, to create a more complex set of equipment through which to experience transcendence and spirituality.

Our child’s spiritual faculty flourishes with support and encouragement to grow strong and to integrate with the rest of her developmental growth. This process of integration is also shaped by her internal dialogue and through interactions with parents, family, peers, and community. The practice field is everywhere, and it happens every time she has conversations with us about life’s big and little questions, such as about meaning and purpose, being good people, how to treat others, what it means to be empathetic and compassionate, and why we need to take care of the earth and our environment.

As parents, we can take those ideas into the playing field of daily life and show our children how we live and express spiritual values in everyday interactions with other people, with animals, with nature, with our own inner life, and with the life of the mind and big ideas. We can take our children to explore sacred places and spaces: a house of worship, a sanctuary tucked away in a hospital, a mountain, or a river. We can encourage (and model) acts of expansive love and kindness. This exploration cultivates spiritual knowing and attunement, a sense of the spiritual dimension that is always present and is deeper than superficial attributes and higher than competitive and materialistic priorities. Supported by this exploration, the continuing conversation with us, and by her own internal spiritual dialogue, she continues to define what spirituality is and what the journey is for her.” (Miller, pg. 29-31)

 

Let’s Dance! March 23rd

SAVE THE DATE – MARCH 23RD!

  • Need to get a babysitter? Worth it! (I wouldn’t lead you astray.)
  • Enjoy a night out with live big band & dancing!
  • Drinks & appetizers
  • Tix available in advance or at the door $25 (or VIP tix $50)
  • Money from ticket sales will help support another year of Choir School at St. John’s, our after-school, tuition-free, music program that runs on Tuesdays & Thursdays.

letsdance FINAL 2019