Early Adulthood: Avoiding Loneliness

8 03 2016

Early adults (18-40) are craving a life enriched with intimate and committed relationships. Yet many are experiencing perpetual loneliness. More than many realize, loneliness contributes to many illnesses and depressive tendencies. This week make a concerted effort to extend friendship to someone in your community. Authentic friendships will do more to change the world than most anything!


Loneliness is a distressing, painful experience which humans…want to avoid.

-Kraus, Davis, Bazzini, Church, Kirchman

Now you are my friends.

-Jesus (John 15:15)

As Erik Erikson summarizes, loneliness can lead early adults to promiscuity or exclusivity, both dangerous extremes.

The pursuit of this phase is committed intimacy.

Commitment in relationships will lead to long-lasting satisfaction including emotional and mental health. Here are some suggestions for moving toward committed intimacy:

  • Find a group to be a part of such as sports, music, crafts, hobbies, reading, arts, etc.
  • Connect with a small group at church
  • Find opportunities to volunteer and give back with others
  • Study God’s plan for marriage and make the decision to marry very carefully
  • Make life-long learning a habit you do not just on your own, but with others also
  • Network in a way that adds value to others
  • Find a mentor…fast!
  • Mend broken family relationships or seek ways to connect or reconnect intentionally with family members
  • Look for ways to be of service to employers, colleagues or employees
  • Be aware that loneliness may peak at this phase, but can decrease from here on out as commitment increases
  • More than likely, you will begin to stabilize in the community you are a part of as your relationship habits solidify.

Lord, make loneliness disappear!

Story: Connection Trumps Polish

19 10 2015

There is nothing like a good story. In children’s ministry, stories are king not only for capturing attention, but also for capturing the heart. In parenting, stories will do more to shape character than any lecture you can give. Stories can be personal, made up, read, told, acted out, shared in conversation or rehearsed for greater impact. Jesus used stories to grip his audience and point them to the Kingdom of God. Our culture of entertainment understands the power of story. Pixar with Disney is a powerful storytelling machine.

If there’s one thing to remember as a parent or leader when working to shape the character of the next generation of children, it’s simple: tell stories.

Visual polish frequently doesn’t matter if you are getting the story right.

-Ed Catmull, president of Pixar Animation

Jesus always used stories and illustrations like these when speaking to the crowds. In fact, he never spoke to them without using such parables.

-Matthew 13:34

When telling stories, I like to make sure I have the words exactly memorized. This can cause me trouble when I lose the allure and purpose of the story. Master storyteller, Steven James, reminds me to help the listeners connect with the story rather than to obsess about getting the words right. There is freedom to make ‘mistakes’ when the priority is getting absorbed in the transformational narrative.

Lord, help my stories become magnetic.

Ten Ways to Connect With Kids

31 03 2011
  1. Observe. Notice habits, nuances, personality. Watch how they relate and play. Learn what they think about and their tendencies. Get to know the child.
  2. Culture. Be a student of kid culture. Read Toys R Us, watch their shows (and enjoy them!), play with their toys and games.
  3. Ask. Ask lots of questions! Who, what, where, when, why, how? What’s your favourite…? What would you do if…? How do you feel when…?
  4. Listen. Practice active listening. Engage your eyes and ears. Restate what they say in your own words. Give non-verbal cues like raising your eyebrows, laughing or touch to show that you are interested in them.
  5. Stories. Use the power of story to connect and teach. Read, tell or create fanciful stories. Try the “What If” game. For example, ask, “What would you do if it snowed 100 hundred feet of snow?” Make links to real life decisions and attitudes.
  6. Repetition. With younger children, repeat things often–they love to be ‘in-the-know’! Play the same game for a week or once a week for a month. Tell the same stories over and over with genuine enthusiasm.
  7. Unpredictable. With older children, use the unpredictable. Surprise them, change your approaches. Throw them off by creating a different story ending.
  8. Build trust. Be there for them over and over. Admit your failures. Grow with them. Be a genuine friend.
  9. Play. Play often, play long, laugh loud, get creative, get dirty–whatever your kid enjoys, do it with them. Explore new possibilities to find new things you enjoy doing together.
  10. Pray. Seek God for new ways to connect. He is always seeking to connect with those who want Him. Model that and ask Him to show you how he’s working and how you can also ride that wave.

How do you connect with the kids in your world?

What Kids Talk About and Why We Must Listen

28 03 2011

I love kid talk. Especially the talk of the littlest ones. Most of the time it doesn’t make sense. It is usually blurted from the context of their own minds. Then, we as adults have to constantly try to catch up and figure out what that context is to figure out what they really want us to know. Their talk is filled with imagination. Superheroes, unicorns, bumps, food, owwies, and on and on the conversation goes from their world of fantasy mixed with reality.

As children grow, so does their talking ability. Things become a little more complex, although not necessarily less silly. The stories they tell become more elaborate and increasingly coherent. It is truly a wonder to watch this develop in a child. Through this conversation, whether it be with others or simply self-talk, kids are shaping their view of the world. Through learning a joke, talking sports, imagining crazy scenarios, or chattering about favourite whatevers, kids are learning what life is all about. But they are not learning this on their own.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Period of PURPLE Crying

4 11 2010

While in the hospital with Daph and Selah, the staff gave us a video called The Period of PURPLE Crying.

The bottom line is babies sometimes cry a lot. That’s not a huge revelation to me, but apparently a lot of parents are surprised by this or if not surprised they just want the baby to be more content sooner. This excessive crying can bring a lot of frustration to parents. I did find some helpful thoughts.

PURPLE stands for Peak of Crying (or crying increases then decreases), Unexpected (or crying for unknown reasons), Resists Soothing, Pain-Like Face (even though they may not be in pain just communicating), Long-Lasting, Evening (or crying more in late afternoon and evening).

Sometimes being aware of normal patterns can ease the stress that would otherwise overwhelm.

Henry Cloud and John Townsend write in their book,”Raising Great Kids,” “When in doubt, connect.” This principle applies throughout the parenting years. Specifically, in situations where your baby is crying excessively, you can’t go wrong when you just get and stay close to your baby. Comfort, sooth, sing, tickle, rock, sway, dance, laugh and smile. This period will soon end. Your baby needs you to help them through. This is a trust-building period. Will you be there for your baby?

Often, the frustration builds especially when the baby is taking something from you whether it is your personal time, or peace and quiet, or sleep, etc. I suggest you keep connecting with your baby, stay connected with God, stay connected with your spouse, stay connected with extended family and friends and stay connected with your church for support. You will get through this even though it’s not easy!

A severe warning for those parents who are at risk of “losing it” is DO NOT SHAKE YOUR BABY. Shaken baby syndrome can lead to severe damage to your baby and even death.

Be the parent your baby needs. When in doubt, connect.

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