Sunday Worship Starts at 10am today! Join us in person or live stream here:

The Holy Weedwhacker: October 1 at 10am

Alison Faison

How to Talk So Little Kids Will Listen

During my early childhood education classes, I learned about ages and stages of children, developmentally appropriate practices, and family-centered early care and education. The recommended 2017 book, How to Talk So Little Kids Will Listen: A Survival Guide to Life with Children Ages 2-7 by Joanna Faber and Julie King, offers many practical ways for adults to reword our observations and requests of children, so that they will actually hear us and then respond by taking independent or cooperative action. Encouraging children to become problem-solvers and learn a cooperative approach to conflict helps adults and children steer clear of ineffective punishments, as well as conserve precious energy. Faber and King write, “There’s no telling what solution kids will come up with when a problem is put in their hands. When the solution is their own, it will usually work for them. And when you have multiple kids, you have multiple problem-solvers instead of just multiple problems. The larger message is: When there is conflict between us, we don’t need to put our energy into fighting each other. We can combine forces to search for a solution that respects the needs of all parties. The child is an active participant in solving his problems.” (page 127) Adults can also learn to be problem-solvers in ways that differ from some familiar, but unhealthy modes picked up in family of origin settings or in stressed and fear-based communities.

When we model faith-formation behavior for our children, we are showing them non-violent ways to problem solve, help ourselves, and help others. Jesus did not perform miracles to helpless people as an end it itself, he gave them powerful tools to navigate their challenging and judgmental surroundings to nurture a more open-minded framework for including others and accepting oneself with empathy. We make mistakes. Sometimes punishment seems like a quicker, easier way to stop a certain behavior. “Punishment has a short shelf life. Little kids grow quickly. It’s physically difficult to punish a child who is larger and stronger than you are. As children become more independent it becomes harder to enforce punishments. How do you ground a teenager or take away his screen privileges without becoming a prisoner of your own punishment?” (p. 128)

In the book, there are many anecdotal stories of adults and children working things out. There are also examples of ways to rephrase words so the message is not condemning or dismissive. For example, Let’s say your child is going to get their vaccine. #1 Acknowledge Feelings “Instead of, ‘Come on, it’s not that bad. Just let her do it, and it’ll be over.’ Try, ‘It can be scary to think about someone sticking a needle in your arm.’ Instead of, ‘Don’t cry. You’re a big boy. Try, ‘That hurt! You didn’t like that!'” #2 Offer in Fantasy What You Can’t Give in Reality “I wish they could put the medicine inside a lollipop. You’d eat one a day for a week and then you’d never get sick.” #3 Offer a Choice, #4 Give Information (p. 310)

This book will be in the Calvary Library in the Parenting section. The library is next to the chapel and the lounge. Check it out the next time you are waiting for worship to start or after you have picked up your children from Sunday Studio.

More to Explore

Calvary’s 169 Years of Change-Makers

Occasionally I hear comments to the effect of, “Calvary’s recent highlighting of political issues can deter people from attending worship services.” My response is something like, “Since July 23, 1854, for 169 years, Calvary has been addressing human rights issues directly related to Jesus’ radical welcome. In 2020, we, along with many congregations across the U.S., became a Matthew 25 church that outwardly proclaims our commitment to feeding the hungry, clothing the unclothed, housing the unhoused, and loving those who are pushed aside and threatened by the workings of established societal systems.” In July 2021, I wrote a short children’s book called “You are a Calvary History-Maker.” I noted stories researched by Joe Beyer and information written in Carol Green Wilson’s book “Many Years One Message: Calvary Presbyterian Church: 1854 – 1979.” The opening line of my story is, “You are a Calvary history change-maker whether you have been sitting on the velvet sanctuary pew for half of your life or have only watched a few online services while sitting in your jammies on the couch this year.” The Protestant idea that we are the “community/priesthood of believers” gives us all permission to participate in our own faith-formation, as well as points to the responsibility to actively respond to our call. We don’t attend worship so we can watch the pastors and staff do community outreach. We attend worship to be inspired to courageously carry out the call of Matthew 25 into our relationships, work life, spiritual growth, and public action.

Summer with Children and Youth

Summer is a busy time for families as they shift from the school-year schedules to summer camps, programs, and vacations. How does church fit into families’ summer schedules? Many years ago, Calvary held summer worship services in the chapel and did not offer childcare. It was a time when pastors would go on study leave and vacations and folks would be out of town. It was a good time for families to sit together during worship. For almost ten years, we have had childcare open every Sunday throughout the year. We support families whenever they come to Calvary. Families have the choice to sit together during worship or walk their children to childcare and Sunday Studio.

More About Juneteenth

Join the Calvary Racial Equity Initiative (REI) Team after worship this Sunday, June 18, to celebrate our newest Federal holiday and the oldest known holiday that observes the end of slavery in the U.S. Enjoy Coffee Hour with treats from a local Black-owned business and information about Black heroes. Juneteenth commemorates June 19, 1865, when Gen. Gordon Granger announced that the enslaved people in Texas were free by the order of the president of the United States, Abraham Lincoln, two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation went into effect on January 1, 1862. The Calvary church building will be closed on Monday, June 19 to commemorate Juneteenth. This blog will provide links to Juneteenth history resources and information about reparations. Amos 5:24 "But let justice and fairness flow like a river that never runs dry."