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Palm Sunday: April 2 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

Talking with Kids About the Order of Worship in the Bulletin.

If I visited Calvary for the first time and had not been to a Presbyterian church before, I would want someone to help me understand what I was doing throughout the order of worship. This blog provides an example of how some churches annotate their bulletins so children, youth, and adults can learn more about why we choose to read, sing, pray, and listen at certain times during the worship service. Harvey Browne Memorial Presbyterian Church ( in Louisville, Kentucky offers a model of how to explain the order of worship. Being transparent about how we worship together is in line with our reformed tradition. We can read and interpret the Bible ourselves, as well as worship and say prayers with our own bodies. Many years ago, a priest would do all of this while the congregation sat or stood. It is important for parents to share with their children that all people have the freedom to contribute to a worship service. By singing, listening, praying, and sharing, we get to know each other and witness each other’s talents and inspiring work. Fellowship and education events are only part of the ways that we form our faith together. Participating in worship is what binds us together each Sunday, so that we can support each other at or outside of church during the week.

Support Trans Kids

Calvary Presbyterian Church continues to support transgender youth and adults. March 2023 is Transgender Awareness Month. We show our continuing support through messages such as, “Trans Lives Matter,” “Believe Trans Kids,” “Support Trans Kids,” and “Protect Trans Kids.” This blog will offer some insight into Presbyterian and San Francisco organizations that actively support and advocate for LGBTQI+ people. I hope that you will take time to read through these resources. There is hope. So many inspired people of all ages are working together for freedom, safety, and love. Now that I am raising two teens I have come to more clearly understand the context and reality that LGBTQI+ youth live in every day. It is crucial to support the growth and development of transgender children and youth who sense that their “gender identity does not correspond with, or sit comfortably with, the sex they were registered at birth.” That is the definition of transgender offered by Twinkl, an education website for children ages preschool to 8th grade. See more definitions at the end of this blog. Transgender children, youth, young adults, adults, and senior adults do not want to be "othered" as they are children of God. We want to believe, support, and protect them, so that they can live safely and freely without fear and shame. When adults do not see or support children or youth as they are, the risks of gender dysphoria and youth suicide increase. God created all of us in Their image. May we have the courage to send out Jesus’ message of love and acceptance to ourselves and all people.

2022 Annual Report