Making Changes: An Update On Spiritual Parent

If you follow this site, you might have noticed that things have been quiet around here since late July. My intention had been to take a break for the month of August so that I could focus on simply being present with my family—which now includes a baby girl!—before the end of summer and my return to the classroom in early September. However, after a few important realizations—none of which came easily—I’ve decided that this break needs to be extended.

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Ryan TahmasebComment
Parenting While Depressed

When my son was just about a year old, he began to show pre-asthmatic signs. He coughed and wheezed, and it scared the life out of his mother and me. We took him to the doctor who then administered a breathing treatment. He screamed his little lungs out. It was one of the worst moments of my life for two reasons; first, no parent wants to see their child suffer. Secondly, I have had asthma since I was a kid. I assumed I had passed this on to my son. Since then, he’s shown no signs of being asthmatic, and is an active, sports-loving nine-year-old, but I’ll always remember that feeling of passing on my defects through my messed-up genes.

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Derrick WestonComment
On Anticipation and Letting Go

New life is everywhere. Katie and I are about to welcome it into our own home. Our second child, a girl, is due any day now. Our son is genuinely excited about his baby sister. He says he wants to rock her and feed her bottles with milk. He’s only two, so for a while we were suspicious that he knew what was going on, but he really does seem to know. I mean, when Katie drops him off at daycare, he says, “Bye-bye, Mommy. Bye-bye, baby sister,” and then he kisses her pregnant belly.

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Ryan TahmasebComment
VBS Treasure Chest

I did want Gabe to learn about Jesus, yes. I also wanted  him to learn about God’s love. But I don’t know how you nuance sin to a pre-elementary child. I didn’t grow up going to church, I had no idea what happened at a garden-variety VBS, and I felt like discussing religion with my children was way beyond my abilities. I was scared. I didn’t want anyone telling my precious son that he was bad.

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Halley KimComment
Lessons From Over The Rainbow

There are lots of resources out there for the thoughtful spiritual parent, but here’s one you’ve probably never considered: The Wizard of Oz. I’m sure your children would enjoy and learn from the movie—at least indirectly—but I’ve got a different goal in mind. I’d like to offer its wisdom to you directly, for use as a parenting tool. There’s a reason this is the most-watched film of all time, beyond the marvelous acting, singing, dancing, costumes, and elaborate set design. Gems of wisdom are embedded in Dorothy’s journey to the Emerald City to ensure that viewers are not just entertained, but also enlightened. This is the tell-tale sign of any classic work of film or literature.

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Peter GuzzardiComment
Learning To Love By Being Loved

The house, our first, needed a ton of work. Worn wallpaper needed to be steamed and scraped off the walls. Every square inch, inside and out, needed new paint. Old, dirty carpets needed to be ripped out. (To our surprise, the original pine floor had been hiding underneath.) Holes in the wall had to be patched. Doors needed to be replaced. The kitchen needed a new ceiling. A small addition in the back was literally falling apart and needed to be completely rebuilt.

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Ryan TahmasebComment
A Letter To The Church On Mother's Day

One night a couple years ago, I was in the middle of our bedtime saga—trying to get dinner put away and my twin toddlers wrestled into pajamas so we could begin the  battle that would end, inevitably, with me sitting on the floor between two wiggly toddler bodies, a hand on each back, patting slowly while the white noise machine and the Moana soundtrack drowned out every thought.

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Parenting in the Age of Trump: 6 Approaches to Teaching Our Kids a Better Way

Early in the morning of Wednesday, November 9th, 2016, my pregnant spouse, Katie, and I learned that Donald Trump would be our next president. We just stared at each other in the dark, puzzled. As the news sank in and the sun came up, I remember thinking two distinct thoughts. First, I was genuinely sad that this cruel man would become the leader of our country in the same year our first child was to be born. I recognize this is kind of silly, but at the time, it felt wrong on a cosmic level. Second, I was angry that Trump’s election, which I wasn’t even sure he wanted to happen, would further feed his already out-of-control ego.

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Ryan TahmasebComment
I Met God—S/He Hates Plastic

I am the mother of boys (one and three). Every day I am barraged with the sins and sickness waiting to take hold of my family as we navigate our time on this earth—toxic masculinity, white privilege, sexism, American exceptionalism, and so on and so on. Yet on top of all that, caring for God’s creation and being stewards of this earth are targeted to us as being exhausting, overdramatic, a lie, or outside our purview.

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Let’s Teach Our Kids To Be Kind, Not Nice

So much of what I learned as a kid about interacting with others, both at home and in the Church, was centered around simply being nice. On the surface, there’s nothing with being nice, of course. It’s just that being nice is superficial when compared to being kind. Since I became parent, this distinction has become increasingly important to me.

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Ryan TahmasebComment
Mindful Parenting: A Conversation with Brie Stoner

For many of us millennial parents, we are trying to shift out of the static approach of religious thinking via indoctrination that many of us received as kid—and all the exclusionary, binary, and harmful frames that comes from it. So I like how you provided the alternative as “inspiring” our kids. The four ways I try to do this with my kids are through nature, history, literature, and rituals.

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Ryan TahmasebComment
Launching Rockets: A Conversation With Kristen Bell About The Parenting Journey

Being a parent can bring immense joy to our lives. It can also bring great challenges and difficulties. Because we love our kids so much, the emotions surrounding parenting are some of the most intense we feel. If our desire is to experience more of the joy of parenting the only way to start is by being honest about where we are. Admitting that parenting is difficult when that is how you feel is the only way to get to the other side.

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Ryan TahmasebComment
Wisdom for Pregnancy: A Conversation with Ilana Stanger-Ross

I started writing A is for Advice because I felt that, as a maternity care provider, I saw so much anxiety about pregnancy, birth, and parenthood among my clients, and so much self-inflicted pressure to achieve some kind of ideal birth or status as a parent. So ultimately, I wanted a book that said, hey, labor can be hard, parenting is definitely hard, but you’ll do your best and that’s going to be absolutely enough—trust yourself, and be gentle with yourself.

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Katie TahmasebComment
An Imprinting of Love: How to Be Gentle With Your Kids and Yourself

My brothers and I spent countless Saturdays exploring in the Adventures In Odyssey wonderland while my parents steeped themselves in Dobson’s philosophy. His empire pumped out radio programs, magazines, and parenting books that explained how our “sin natures” caused us to misbehave and directed parents to set firm boundaries via physical punishment and authoritarian shaming to help children understand the dire consequences of their sins.

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Screen Time for Toddlers: Why We Keep Our Little Guy Away

Before our son was born, my wife and I agreed that we would keep him away from screens for as long as possible, mostly because this is what’s recommended by the American Academy of Pediatricians. Their guideline is clear enough: “For children younger than 18 months, avoid use of screen media other than video-chatting. Parents of children 18 to 24 months of age who want to introduce digital media should choose high-quality programming, and watch it with their children to help them understand what they’re seeing.”

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Healing Spiritual Wounds: A Conversation with the Rev. Carol Howard Merritt

When I think about my experiences as a child, I remember the fear that grew up every Sunday, when our pastor began the altar call. We would sing “Just as I Am” and he would tell us that God wanted to save us from hell. I would whisper the Sinner’s Prayer, in the hopes that I would avoid it. I wouldn’t go up to the altar, because I didn’t want to make a scene every Sunday, but I was scared that I somehow lost my salvation, or that I didn’t have it in the first place. A stark panic rose up and I would plead with God to save me from the fires of damnation.

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Ryan TahmasebComment
Re-Centering of the Self: Seeing Christianity through a New Lens

What is a “spiritual life”? I didn’t have a good answer to that until recently. My road to a deeper spirituality was a long, arduous, and somewhat surprising one. It didn’t come through religion, church, Scripture, meditation, prayer, or any type of spiritual practice. Not that those things can’t get one there, I’m sure they can. It began with an examination of the self, one which revealed to me a small-false-ego-self that had to be stripped of all the detritus surrounding it so that it could be confronted in full light.

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Brad BensonComment