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because life is full of twists and turns

Month: December 2015

The Nativity Set We Won’t Be Using

I bought the nativity set on a whim.

For the past couple of years I’ve had my eye out for the perfect crèche .  I wanted one was aesthetically pleasing, but it also needed to be sturdy so that Hadden could play with it.  I couldn’t imagine adding that special scene to our house and then telling our three-year-old that he couldn’t touch it.  It didn’t seem like it should be difficult to find a good nativity set, but, strangely, it was.

When I started the search again last month, Caleb mentioned one he’d seen online.  It was a nativity set combined with advent activities.  The pieces were wooden and simple, but beautifully painted.  Since we wanted to incorporate Advent into our family, this seemed like a good fit.

“Sure!  Let’s give this a try!”

A week later when it arrived, Hadden helped me open the box.  We pulled each piece out of the packaging and I told him a little about each character.  “Here’s Baby Jesus. See, he’s sleeping in the animals’ food bin.  It’s called a manger.  And this is Mary, the baby’s mama.”  Soon we had the whole set out.

Hadden played with the pieces.  I watch absentmindedly.

As I watched, a realization hit me.  I scanned the pieces to confirm what I already feared.

In my rush to buy a nativity set, I hadn’t noticed that the characters in this set were all, well, white.

They were white-white.  Far whiter than my olive-tinted Italian skin.

Hadden continued to play while I started to stew.  Why hadn’t I noticed this before I purchased it?  Why had I been in such a hurry that I didn’t take the time to actually look at the pieces?  Why did the company make all the characters white to begin with?

These are formative years in my son’s life and in his faith. The first image Hadden sees of Jesus is important.  So if this is the nativity scene we use, my son will grow up thinking that Jesus, his earthly parents, and all those around the manger were white.  In reality, Jesus’ family less like the Anglo-Saxons depicted in this nativity set and more like the refugees we’ve been seeing in the news.

I want my child to grow up with an accurate picture of Christ and with a global picture of the church, neither which are represented in this manger scene.

When Hadden was finished playing with the nativity set that day, I slowly packaged it back up.  I put it on a shelf in the closet.  And that’s where I plan to keep it.

The Nativity Set We Won't Be Using



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How Five Minutes of Laughter Can Transform Your Parenting Routine

In the midst of my daily flurry of lists, appointments, and tasks, there’s one thing that takes precedence: laughing with my son.

About a year ago I turned this into my daily goal for parenting. Five minutes of each day were to be spent laughing and giggling with my son. It seems like a lowly goal at first. After all, in the tremendous work of parenting there are so many important things to do and so much to teach your children. Still, laughter is of the upmost importance in our home.

My son and I wrestle. We tickle each other. We shoot Nerf guns off our balcony. We make silly noises with our mouths and we chase each other around the couch. We run through the sprinkler, even if we’re fully clothed. We watch Minion videos on repeat. Anything counts as long as we’re laughing and engaging with each other.

Often these giggles happen spontaneously. Throughout the course of the day we find something that makes us both laugh and so I do my best to capitalized on that impulsive laughter. Most of the time those five minutes easily stretch into ten or fifteen. But some days it takes effort to make us laugh. Some day I really have to work for it. Those, of course, are the days that we need laughter the most.

When when we’re frantic or busy, this goal is a reminder to take a few minutes for fun. When one of us is in a funk, we now know that that a few minutes of hilarity can turn that bad attitude around therefore helping out the whole family. In this way, our ritual-of-laughter is restorative. We bring happiness to our home and mend our relationship as well.

My goal is about more than just the laughter, you see. I prioritize this habit because it gives me the chance to step back from being his manager and just enjoy being his mama. I want him to see that I take care of him by folding his socks and making him mac and cheese, but also by ensuring that he has a fit of the giggles once a day. And it helps me too by reminding me to make time to delight in him and to marvel at the person he is becoming.

These moments are magic. The laughter transforms our home. It strengthens our connection. This simple five-minute goal has become a catalyst for becoming a better parent.

So if you walk up to my house one day and hear giggles coming from within, come on in.  We’re just partaking in our daily dose of laughter.

How Five Minutes of Laughter Can Transform Your Parenting

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