Help Issue 4 - Part I - Copyright 1989 Mary Pride, 1997 Home Life, Inc.

Hobby or Career?

by Mary Pride

Several HELP readers have recently sent me articles from baby and parenting magazines featuring the topic, "Should we have a second child?"

I could say a lot about the tone and angle these articles take. All reminded me of a phrase from a recent article in Chronicles magazine: "If they loved children, their joy was well-hidden, for they discussed children with all the humor, all the joie de vivre [French for 'joy of life'] of a collection of hypochondriacs."

What struck me the most, however, was not the mercenary spirit with which the writers totted up the financial costs of child-raising. Nor was it the poor relationships they seemed to have with their husbands (one writer's husband's first reaction to the suggestions of a second baby was "You want it, you raise it!") What stood out the most, at least to me, was the appalling ignorance of the writers, and the people they interviewed, of what children are and what children need.

The list of expenses couples incur when they have children printed in one article read like a laundry list of needless waste. Starting with the hospital birth and proceeding on through disposable diapers and designer clothes (how else could anyone spend $700 clothing a second baby?), they finally wound up at that great necessity of modern life, daycare. The cost, one found, of adding a tiny seven-pounder to the family added up to $7,000 in the first year alone: a thousand dollars a pound.

But the author, a careful researcher, did not stop at assessing financial costs of a second child. She also interviewed friends who had had or who were contemplating having second children, to find out what emotional costs children added to a marriage. The bottom line, it appeared, was that life practically went into limbo when a second baby appeared. No longer could a couple do anything, go anywhere, have any time together.

Are these people from outer space? No, they are just amateurs. They have been taught to approach motherhood as a hobby, and as hobbyists they lack the skills of seasoned pros.

Almost everything written on the subject of child-rearing today comes from parenting amateurs-yuppie moms of one or two. Naturally, their tone is negative, since they don't know what they are doing and resent children interrupting their freedom. That's probably why just about everything written to first-time moms is either negative about children ("Here's advice on how to avoid having another baby . . . and how to survive the miserable time you're about to have with your first") and/or ignorant ("Babies should never be taken to bed with their parents because you will probably roll over on them in the night and smother them to death").

Now you have a chance to change all that!

What I'm asking for are your ideas, stories, quotable quotes, and so on as to what motherhood is really like and how to do it. Write as if you're talking to women who know absolutely nothing, because today so many do! Keep it short and simple, as if you were writing instructions in a manual. Some possible subjects: childbirth options, the joy of breastfeeding, taking care of more than one child at a time, teaching a child to feed himself and change himself, potty training, sibling rivalry, life with your husband after baby is born, night feedings, life with a second or third or tenth child-in other words, all the subjects covered in typical baby magazines, only this time from the viewpoint of experience.

My goal is to produce a booklet that can be given to first-time moms. They need help in order to face down the relentless anti-child propaganda they will be facing the minute their baby is born. We may print it ourselves on our new second-hand printing press, or possibly work it into a small book.

If your work is used, I will acknowledge your contribution in print, so those of you with a secret ambition to become writers will have something to quote on your resume.

Want to help? Then write on your submission that this is for "The Booklet." If you want me to acknowledge that I have received your submission please enclose a postcard. And please include permission to quote you!

Thanks so much!


We rejoice in the birth of our third daughter and sixth blessing, Mercy Grace Pride. Mercy arrived at 6 PM on July 13, 1988. She weighed 11 pounds, 3 ounces at birth and weighs a whole lot more by now!

This was a difficult pregnancy for me. I had a very demanding book deadline (see our Book News below), and this strain and tension also prevented me from doing my usual breadmaking and other wholesome cooking. Exercise opportunities also were almost nil, as every spare moment apart from homeschool, answering our mail, and so on was spent in front of the computer. Perhaps this is what caused the diabetes-like symptoms that caused me to almost collapse three months before my due date. Whatever the reason, once I started eating the recommended diabetic diet, my blood sugar got back to normal.

God answered our prayers, and we were able to have a home birth after all. Mercy was born with very low blood sugar, but we watched over her carefully and supplied glucose water until my milk came in. Now she is doing beautifully. We thank God for bringing us through the tough times, and hope Mercy's name will always remind her of how God was kind to her even before she was born.

We are now doing our best to catch up on our projects, so we can pace ourselves more normally in the future. We do appreciate your prayers for our strength and wisdom, and add a request for time to do our work gracefully!


Now our book news. Mary has coauthored a book with Paul deParrie (a HELP contributor) called Unholy Sacrifices of the New Age. This book explains why and how medicine has moved from serving patients to sacrificing them, and how only a revival of the ministering Christian spirit can stop this movement.

Bill has also finished his first book, Flirting with the Devil, a look at how today's church has been diverted from simple holiness and service and how to recognize and overcome Satan's temptations.

Luanne Shackelford, a long-distance friend, also has a Crossway book out now-A Survivor's Guide to Home Schooling. Mary volunteered to edit this book, and in her own words, "Every home schooler is going to want to buy it! Luanne and her coauthor Susan White have done a super job of tackling all the nitty-gritty areas that nobody else wanted to write about." All three of these books are "easy reads" in their various ways. Home Life will be carrying all three.


Two readers (Lauri Leinhard, NV and Jerry True, FL) wrote to correct a misconception about Linda Dillow's book Creative Counterpart, mentioned in HELP number 2. Apparently Mrs. Dillow does not encourage wives to submit to husbands who demand they get abortions; actually, she says just the opposite! She says,

Some have said that a wife who is totally submissive to her husband is not responsible to God if her husband causes her to sin. This passage (Acts 5:1-11, Ananias and Sapphira) proves otherwise. Each human being is responsible for his or her own sins. The limit of submission is this: total submission without personal sin.

On the question of abortion, she says this:

Suppose, for instance, a husband asks his wife to get an abortion. She needs to first ask, "Is having an abortion contrary to Scripture?" The answer is yes.

Both women strongly affirmed Creative Counterpoint as a life-changing, biblically-based book. I haven't read it myself yet, but it will be on my next order from Great Christian Books!


Janet Aldridge (GA) would like to find a source for inexpensive multifamily house plans. Her husband builds houses, and he and his clients are having difficulty finding plans that make it possible for families to take care of Grandma and Grandpa.


Gregg Harris had a great idea (mentioned in his Family Restoration Seminar) about family prayer. He suggested we start Prayer Albums, where we put pictures of our legislators, friends, missionaries, etc., along with specific prayer requests for each. We are trying to get organized in our family prayers, and I have started collecting pictures of friends and correspondents. If you would like to be included in our family's prayers this way, send us a picture of your family with your names and requests on the back. (It's no use asking for a picture from us-our last attempt at a family photo session at Sears was not successful, and it wouldn't have included Mercy Grace anyway.) If you want to pray for us, all we ask for is time . . . please, Oh Lord, give us time to get all our work done graciously. Believe me, that will be enough!


HS from Saskatchewan had two interesting suggestions: "I wonder if we could have a Family Camping Jamboree weekend some summer. It would be nice to meet some of the people who write," and "How about a pen-friend section of HELP? Someone makes a comment and I would like to write to them personally. I would love to write the missionary in France as well as Martha Pugacz and Pamela Boswell."

Is there any support for these ideas? I warn you, if HELP ever sponsors a Camping Jamboree, someone else will have to volunteer to organize it! I'll be lucky to get our troops organized enough simply to attend-though it does sound like fun! As far as Pen-Pals go, if you would like to get letters from fellow HELPers, please tell me so the next time you write. Include your name, address, birth year, children's birth years (e.g., 81, 83, 85) and a short list of your interests. Space permitting, we will include this section in future issues.


People write to us with lots of questions. Some we can answer, some we only think we can answer, and others we can't answer at all. This part of HELP is for your questions, and your answers to questions in previous issues. So here are the first questions. See what you can do with them!

Ruth Beckett, MI

I have a question for you. We have read your book The Way Home and believe in trusting the Lord with spacing and how many children we should have. We now have four children: 8, 6, 2, and 9 months. I am expecting twins in four months (March). I was totally nursing my two-year-old and my nine-month-old when I got pregnant. Do you have many women who you hear about this happening too?

We are very excited about having twins and more children. I am a little scared about after the twins are born getting pregnant right away. We are open to more children; it's just the thought of more that close together. We are home educating our children also. Please write and help me through this.

S.L., IN

Please address a problem that I feel is destructive to Christian families: namely the seeming sports-addiction of Christian men. It consists of golf or softball or basketball leagues once or twice a week, coaching children's teams every week, shooting balls with the guys, practicing your swing, watching the pros do it on TV all weekend, and being unable to converse on any other subject. Don't misunderstand me. My husband and I are interested in sports. We are also interested in world affairs, church activities, politics, gardening, and a host of other subjects. Why is it so difficult for my husband to find men who feel the same way to enable him to develop friendships that go beyond the sports page? These are men who love the Lord and wouldn't dream of neglecting their families in other areas like drinking or gambling.

Please encourage so many friends of ours whose wives stay home alone with the kids night after night while hubby is out feeding his habit and feel they shouldn't complain. Why don't more men see this as a problem to their families?

Cheryl Rocco, NC

Does anyone have ideas for home schooling during problem pregnancies?


We have discussed adopting children . . . it's not that we don't want more children. Pregnancy is such a stress on our family. My question is this-are there absolutes in your view of family planning, or are there exceptions to the rule? Is adoption a legitimate way of fruitfulness even when a woman is not infertile? I've known only one other woman who gets so sick when pregnant-she has six kids and they don't use birth control-but her family really suffers through those nine months.

Jodi Smith, MN

Our children will never be allowed to "date" the way we did, but what are some reasonable guidelines that really do work?

Barbara Wiedenbeck, WI

Please give some ideas on how to deal with a society that sees little or no value in people who have not gotten a degree in something from a college or university.

Also, because most of us have been raised in smaller, public- or parochial-school families, it can be very hard to cope with a larger, home-schooling family, even though it is the intense desire of our hearts to carry out those goals in our lives. Please give real practical ideas and thought on those areas. . .

[And here's one for the grandparents . . .] How do two first-born, perfectionist, goal-oriented parents raise children without inflicting their perfectionist and super-driven attitudes on the kids in a negative way? How can we overcome or deal with this "condition"? That sounds so psychological, doesn't it? I worry some because we home-school and I wonder if we're too hard on our kids over things that we maybe shouldn't be so adamant about.

R.H., CA

What to do with an older child- teenager-who is passively rebellious in his studies. What do you do-change the studies? Somehow spanking doesn't seem like the best or proper way to handle it, or is it?

Janet Aldridge, GA

God bless Nancy Krumreich! She spoke for all of us. I just sat down and had myself a good cry. I spent years and years trying to find out God's will for my life. Then I married a man who took the Bible just for what it said and it was easy finding where I belonged. Why do men and women keep bucking God's ways? I've found that these years of submitting and just trusting God's Word have been the most fulfilling years of my life!

Kim Jeffery, PA

My husband David and I have been married nearly fifteen years, and have five children (so far) who are 13, 11, 7-1/2, 5-1/2, and 2-1/2. We've been homeschooling for six school years and I must say I could really identify with Karen Rhodes in your first article, "A Time for Every Purpose." When we had only two or three children I used to feel frustrated and inadequate almost all the time. The sense of failure as a Christian wife and mother was especially acute when I would read the books about being one. My husband and I have been blessed with three out of five fussy babies-children who were either nursing or screaming for much of their first year. During those tense months when it took every ounce of my strength just to get through the day with the children cared for, laundry done, and meals made, being told that I also needed to tithe my time to the Lord, greet my husband at the door dressed in Saran Wrap with a rose between my teeth, and do my bit for the church by teaching Sunday School and singing in the choir, made me feel that I had to be the world's most unspiritual and faithless mother! I also had an irresistible urge to stand up and fling a hymnal toward the pulpit if Susannah Wesley was mentioned one more time as a pattern for mothering. I barely had the strength to manage with what I had without being told (by a man with two grown children) that I hadn't accomplished a thing as a mother unless I had seventeen children and spent spiritual time with each one on a daily schedule.

Two things helped me a great deal: the realization that Jesus spent ten times more of his life ministering in the hidden years, as a carpenter quietly living at home, as he spent in his public ministry, and the scripture in Titus 2:4-5 which seemed to say to me as a young mother that there were different priorities for my life than for that of an older woman. I felt very freed by that to listen to the Holy Spirit's prompting in my life rather than the guilt-producing expectations of other people.

I absolutely agree with you that time alone with each of my children arises spontaneously. If I thought I would have to plan time alone I would probably throw in the towel before I ever started, but it always happens-it's a rare day that I haven't had at least a few minutes to quietly be with each of the children individually. Rocking or nursing a sleepy toddler in the afternoon, birdwatching with our eleven-year-old as he shares his binoculars and shows me the mother housefinch and her baby at the feeder, discussing the news while listening to "All Things Considered" with the thirteen-year-old, cutting out magazine pictures with the seven-year-old for her scrapbook, cuddling the five-year-old as he tells me about something that happened to him that day-I can't plan for these times and I can't make them happen. They occur only because I try to make myself available. Over the years we've realized that whoever is neediest at any given time gets the attention, and that doesn't include just the children, but my husband and myself as well. Sometimes we're the ones who need to be built up and strengthened.

Beryl Singer, MA

I loved your comments in "A Time for Every Purpose." Thinking about setting aside an hour for "Quality time with my child doing whatever he wants to do" makes me feel tired and bored just thinking about it! Like a distasteful chore-"OK, now, Faith, for the next 60 minutes we will have a meaningful discussion." It just doesn't work that way in real life.

If you spend your life together with your children, these times will happen spontaneously. I used to talk with my mother when we were doing the dishes. I take my children (one at a time) with me for my evening walk. Sometimes we talk about important things; sometimes we just walk; either way is fine. Sometimes I need time by myself, so I go alone.

There are always lots of things around here that need fixing, and the children love to help my husband. So he will take one or another down to the basement or out to work on the car. They have their father to themselves and are learning something at the same time. Sometimes he helps one or another with a project they're working on. Other times he takes one along in the car on an errand. I think they get plenty of time with their father without my having to plan it . . .

The same goes for husbands. My favorite times alone with Wayne weren't planned, they just happened in the normal course of family life . . . Not that planned time together isn't good, but too much introspection about your marriage can be counter-productive. Just enjoy living together. Don't give yourself grades in marriage.

Liz Messick, DE

In the last issue of HELP, your answers to the questions of Karen Rhodes from Virginia were eye-opening for me, too. I too had heard this idea of tithing your time, and felt guilty for not having even an hour or so a day to "give to God." I would sometimes sit down with my Bible and notebook to "study," and find myself fussing unnecessarily with my children who would (of course) "interrupt" me. Now I see that those "interruptions" are my real responsibility!

Mira Pence, OH

I would like to bring to your attention a possible oversight on your part in a response you made to a letter on "How do you do it?"

You stated toward the end of your rashness that you "wished" all women "had husbands like Bill."

I think this is a big mistake on your part. The worst thing you can do for a woman is create discontentment in her attitude toward her husband. Some husbands, like mine, don't want to have anything to do with kitchen work or housework or changing diapers. God gives extra strength to women in my place. We hang onto our convictions and principles of conscientious child nurturing regardless of what the house looks like. God has blessed me that as my children [Ed. note: Mira has seven sons!] get older they get more helpful; and life is much, much easier for me now that number seven is on the way than it was when I only had four children ages six and under.

Some husbands have all their time and energy spent just "bringing home the bacon." These men like my husband might be found taking six children with them to work in the garden or to do farm work. What a wonderful way to spend time with Dad! A man who has no time to help his wife around the house is often a source of great moral support, as my husband is, and that kind of help goes a long way!

Mira, you are absolutely right! Thanks you for making this good point.

R.H., CA

I'm looking forward to your HELP issue on discipline. I'm sorry to say our homeschool fell apart between Thanksgiving and Christmas vacation-and my lack of control over the older boys was the main reason. One day my husband arbitrarily decided, after a major blow-up between our older son and our third oldest (they've had a hard time getting along for about the past ten years) that it was obvious that I can't control them, and since J. (third oldest) didn't want homeschool and was our number one discipline problem, he was being expelled from homeschool and would only be allowed back if his attitude and grades showed a major improvement.

Meanwhile we had already told D., our second oldest, that he could go back to the public school classroom after Christmas if he so chose. Earlier in the year he had asked for homeschooling. Over the summer he decided he wanted to be with his friends again, and when we told him "no" he desperately begged and pleaded and then became depressed and withdrawn with zero motivation for anything. After a lot of prayer we decided to release him to choose for himself, and he chose to re-enter middle school. My fourth son J. then respectfully asked permission if he, too, could go back. J. was doing well at home and had a good attitude, but he was missing all the holiday goings-on at school and decided if his older brother was going back, then he wanted to also. So my husband told him Yes.

Both my second and third were discipline problems at school after returning and did very poorly academically although they're both in the GATE program for kids whose IQ's have tested out to be 130 or above. And they both hate school, but they prefer it to 24-hour-a-day home discipline. Our oldest son, N., age 15, is very studious and self-motivated, only not according to the program we outlined for him in his independent study program. He devours books -mostly adult or college-level-but procrastinates on his assigned lessons until he's on the verge of failing whole courses. He also was in the GATE program, a straight "A" student. So with him it's also a discipline problem . . .

In June I ordered and received Richard Fugate's book What the Bible Says About Child-Training. I read it and my husband has been reading it aloud to the kids once a week. We're re-establishing physical discipline-spankings for the older boys (we had rarely spanked after age ten and tried to use other forms of discipline) for disrespect, foul language, physical fighting, lying, and defiance. I feel if we'd had the book a year ago, we'd probably still be homeschooling. However, in the past, I've usually been the one to try to get my husband not to spank the children and use some other form of discipline instead. You can see the poor results . . .

Kathy von Duyke, DE

We have found that spanking a child through a tantrum to the point of grief is a relief for the child. This is not for the purpose of venting my own irritation (which I have done), but to reassure them that when their rage is boiling over and they can't control it, Mom can reestablish order and peace.

I think parents are mistaken when they merely spank a child until he/she is infuriated. When I have spanked to the point of grief (which is extremely draining to me) you know what? The child is happy after the tears are kissed away. When I haven't done this, I only want to get away from my child (the ultimate form of hatred).

Discipline that consisted of spanking alone would be a crime, of course!

Another area: sharing. We don't make our children share. We have few personal toys for them-mostly group stuff. Sharing enforced by me is usually to relieve my ears of the screaming done by the younger child. I've robbed the older child of the job inherent in spontaneous sharing.

A Canadian reader

I have two daughters not old enough to fight yet. One is 2-1/2, one is six months. But when I get together with my sister and her two daughters (aged five and two and a half) they are constantly fighting: biting, hitting, pinching, pulling hair. My sister and I have been dealing with the more major skirmishes and considering the whole thing as part of being children and being normal. When I read in the last issue of HELP how well-behaved the children of Martha Pugacz and Pamela Boswell are, I wonder if we are handling this fighting properly.

E.C., FL (a grandmother)

I read in HELP about a mother who has discipline problems with her three-year-old . . .

My daughter and daughter-in-law had large families and taught school to help their pastor husbands. All through their early childhood I kept two to four of the grandchildren at a time for several weeks to help out.

When Mary had a very frail new preemie I kept her three children all summer two summers so she could care for the preemie who was on blow-by oxygen three years.

We had a lovely time and I think it was because I fed them only natural food (as God made it). "God saw what He had made and it was good." We used no processed packaged food, no white flour, no sugar, no pop, no junk food. They ate fresh foods, fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole wheat bread, desserts made with honey, honey on hot cereal, etc. They had regular sleep hours, firm "No's" and lots of fun and trips. They behaved beautifully!

Pam N., NY

The best material I'm aware of is Growing Kids God's Way by Gary and Anne-Marie Ezzo of Grace Community Church, 13248 Roscoe Blvd., Sun Valley CA 91352, (818) 782-5920. They take a different view on birth control, but I really have benefited from their perspective on discipline. I just skipped over the birth control stuff since I did not agree.

Laurie Sleeper, WA

I feel strongly that the best book on this topic is J. Richard Fugate's What the Bible Says About Child Training. [I agree. It's published by Aleitheia Publishers in Tempe, AZ and available from Great Christian Books.-MP] Mr. Fugate has the credibility that comes from training three grown, stable Christian children . . . Secondly, and maybe more importantly, he sticks to Scripture, not psychology. (Speaking of psychology: two good books to blow the socks off the psychology worship cult: PsychoHeresy and The Psychological Way/The Spiritual Way by Deirdre and Martin Bobgan (Harvest House Publishers: available from Great Commission Books or your local bookstore).) . . .

First and foremost, set the standard. Once the standard has been set, parents are responsible to see that it is enforced. Violation of a standard that is clearly understood and can be verbalized by the child is considered rebellion. Rebellion is to be dealt with by the rod of reproof and punishment. Very simple, very basic, very, very essential. If parents consistently violate this principle, 1) they contradict the witness of the Holy Spirit, to whom they have (hopefully) taught their child to be sensitive; and 2) they teach their children that sin pays, or crime pays, or it is worthwhile to disobey. Both these consequences are deadly for the child and for the family and for society . . .

Observation: Intellectual parents tend to reward intelligence regardless of how it is handed to them-even when it is clothed in deceitfulness. Overwhelmed parents tend to make as few standards as possible so as not to have to hold themselves accountable to follow up with discipline.

We must always bear in mind that the parents' behavior is on trial as much as the child's. . . .

If we have [a good relationship] with our children, our children will always feel secure in our love . . . We can even fail at discipline and win if we have this (By win, I mean we won't lose our children's love for us, though we will cripple them with a multitude of bad habits that will take them the rest of their Christian lives to work through.) We must never sacrifice personal time with our children for anyone or anything . . . In every instance that I have heard about personally of children abandoning the faith and their parents' standards-this was one of the parents' key failings.

Another biggie is when parents allow peers and the Vanity Fair of this world system to entice our children from the simple, deep, abiding spiritual joys. We are foolish indeed to think that these babies can withstand a regular diet of exciting TV, movies, and star-studded shopping malls and continue to desire the simple pleasures of a life of self-denial . . .

Mary Pride

[In answer to a letter from a mom of four under-sixes who felt "maxed out"]-I suspect that, regardless of how well-disciplined your children may seem to be as opposed to others, you might possibly be failing to follow through on your commands-allowing them to challenge you, drag their feet, disobey once or twice, before following through with discipline. The reason I suspect this is that invariably I find myself guilty of this whenever the children start to wear me out! It's the most common thing in the world. Sometimes we kid ourselves into thinking we are being "kind" or "lenient" to let them get away with things, but really we are just training them to push us over the edge!

Regarding your husband: Is he taking responsibility for the physical and other discipline of the children when he is home? Does he lead you in family worship? This is his duty as the spiritual head. I bet it will help you relax and relate to him if he does this. Your desire to not be touched may have to do with hidden anger or resentment at being asked to take too much of the father's role. Forgive the psychologizing, but it is a common problem.

Beryl Singer, MA

I do wonder sometimes whether all these books that are out now to read to children telling them that it's OK to feel jealous when the new baby arrives are causing the very problem they are intended to cure. Maybe the kids wouldn't feel jealous if we didn't tell them they should.

I absolutely HATE those books! As the oldest of seven, I can only remember feeling thrilled each time "we" (that is, my Mom) had a new baby. Our own children seem to feel the same way. Those awestruck expressions when the formerly-youngest sees the new baby!

When Mercy Grace was born, Franky (age 1-1/2) started acting strange, and at first I thought that perhaps he was jealous. Actually, it was a reaction to the measles 'n mumps shot he'd had not too long before! Every time he comes near the baby he begs, "Hug? Hug?" until I let him hug her. . .

Fauna Lang, NY

Jesus says, "Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you . . ." (Luke 6:27-36). I first shared this with my "lambs" as they were in the midst of a battle. They kinda looked at me, wondering, "How does this have anything to do with us? We are not enemies and we certainly do not hate each other-we just don't like what the other is doing right now."

I told them sometimes we act like enemies and we act hateful towards each other. It really is "ugly" to think what Jesus is seeing when we behave like this. Anyway, the Scripture says, "Bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you . . ." We began right then to pray for each other, asking the Lord how we could bless the other one, remembering also to forgive. Since then we have applied this "simple" step-by-step process whenever there is a battle. (1) Pray. (2) Forgive. (3) Bless. It is incredible to see God's word come to life. It is wonderful to see. The children can't help but become Love to each other as they (1) pray (2) look into each others' eyes to apologize and forgive and then (3) bless each other with a real show of love. As you read the rest of the passage it goes (everyone knows), "If someone strikes you on the cheek, turn and give him the other. If someone takes your cloak-give him your tunic as well." We say, "If someone hits you anywhere, tell them, 'You really didn't need to hit me, but if it makes you feel better, here-do it again.'" And we say to the one who hit, "God made our hands to praise Him and to show love to others. Show Mommy what you could have done to your sister/brother to show love and give glory to God." At first it seemed like constant talk, but my! how Goes does honor our efforts.

We can fit into the "cloak" part-"If someone takes your crayons-give him your paper as well"-you know what I mean. And we pray for the one who took the crayons and somehow they feel bad and come back and ask nicely and share together. It is incredible-I mean we're talking young children here.

Verses 32-36 talk about how even sinners are nice to other sinners and everyone does good to those who do them good. The children are proud of being Christians and want to do it God's way. They are not "anyone," they are children of God . . .

Check out this tidbit as well. I was having trouble with our eight-year-old. She seemed to get a chip on her shoulder from something somewhere and I had a hard time with discipline and love. God showed me that the answer was simply more hugs. He almost challenged me to very consciously (but spontaneously) hug and tell the kids-each one-how special they are and how much I love them, at least ten times a day. That challenge was placed a week ago and I have yet to hit the 50+ hugs and "I love you"s but in what I have done-ooooh- how the Holy Spirit has moved! (I do hug and love the kids a lot, but making the conscious effort to show it is really real and wonderful. Maybe everybody else already does these things-Glory to God for showing me!)

I'd like to make just one comment here-I'd be really careful how I taught my children to turn the other cheek. I was taught to turn the other cheek as a child, and as a consequence was bullied constantly by the neighborhood kids. Those kids, if invited to make themselves feel better by hitting me, would most certainly have hauled off and smacked me! Neither did they "get tired" of persecuting me just because I never fought back, as I had been told they would. As long as a bully knows he is bothering you, he will keep it up, and it's asking too much to tell a little child to "not be bothered" by humiliating insults, slaps, kicks, punches, toy-stealing, destruction of prized possessions, etc.

Inside a family, parents who want their children to practice turning the other cheek had better make sure that THEY, the parents, watch what goes on and step in to deal with any child who takes advantage of his or her gentler brethren. God asks us not to take our own revenge only because He intends to do the smiting. Similarly, parents who ask their children to hold back from revenging themselves had better be prepared to spank any child of theirs who attacks others, and to take measures against any child from another family who victimizes their little ones (such as speaking to his parents, banning him from the yard, etc., as well as providing personal protection if needed).

We have to remember that our children experience family life differently than we do. A child can live in constant terror of beatings from an older brother, while the parents perceive the situation as "normal childhood roughhousing." This is what a Sunday school teacher whose class we attended called "passive tyranny"-refusing to protect those under our authority, simply because it's less trouble to allow the victimization to continue.

Deborah Perkins, MI

Despite my very bad attitudes in the past concerning children, God has graciously helped us to be consistent parents, and our three children are really well-behaved and a joy. My husband especially has always been very firm and always took responsibility for discipline when he was home. As a result, the children were much easier for me when he wasn't home (even though my discipline didn't hurt nearly as much, I'm sure!).


Martha Pugacz, OH

We have always worshiped with our children. When they were young we kneeled by our bed and all were there. Even on vacation when we had to put them to bed at a friend's house temporarily until we left at 2 am, we excused ourselves for 15 minutes and stayed with them, prayed and talked to them (we had five then). After our children grew up and there were outside activities, we made our family worship after the dinner hour. All are encouraged to also read the Bible by themselves. Walt and I read Psalms and Proverbs every night in bed. . . .


Lisa Gladden from CA sent in a clipping from her church paper that explained how one mother named Sherry handles the worship service wiggles. First, Sherry lets the little one look at a picture Bible or play with a stuffed toy. If this doesn't settle things down, they go out of the sanctuary and get a little exercise, like walking around the church, running to a mark and back, or skipping to a Christian song. Next comes the object lesson, looking at some created object (like an ant) and explaining how God made it and lessons we can learn from it. Sherry then asks her child, "I've had a special worship time with you out here. Are you ready to go back into the sanctuary and have a special worship time with me?" On the way back into church, she finds some special item to take back in, like leaves to trace or little stones for the child to put in his pocket and feel. According to the article, Sherry's children are all well-behaved in church.

Linda Trumbo of VA also wrote on this issue. She says, "A good pamphlet on children in church is Children and Worship by Karl A. Hubenthal. It's published by New Covenant Publication Society, 116 W. Hillcrest Ave., Havertown PA 19083. I got mine from Great Christian Books, 1319 Newport Gap Pike, Wilmington DE 19804-2895 (send $5 for membership) and we re-ordered enough copies for our Family Life Sunday school class."

Donnajean Meahl, CA

I am amused by the letters that appear about Children's Church. Our denomination has never had Children's Church. By most other group's standards our services are rather long (2 to 2-1/2 hours except one Sabbath a month when we precede services with a 1-1/2 hour Bible study.) Our services aren't flashy, either. Mainly they consist of a short sermon and then a long sermon. Of course we also have a few hymns and prayers.

The very little children usually sleep on the floor at their parents' feet. Older children learn to sit and listen by watching their parents. Parent learn to control their children. If they don't, nobody hears anything because our hall is very small. So at least for some, Children's Church was never an option. I can't imagine what I'd do with it even if I had it!

Judy Pickens, CA

I felt then, and still do, that leaving an unhappy baby in the nursery or anywhere has a lasting impressing and effect on them. To this day it really bothers me to hear babies crying in the church nursery, when all they usually want is for their mom to hold them. By the way, I tried sitting in church with both of my babies when they were very young, but they were the kind that couldn't stand wet diapers, who nursed very loudly, etc. And back then I wasn't as gutsy as I am now. I would do my best now to fight for a nursing room or cry room or some way to keep the young mothers from feeling like they had to leave the main meeting room.

Liane Jablonski, MA

I also do not care for Children's Church, but do have mixed feelings about some of the ways in which children who are supposedly ready for worship services are kept "attentive." If a child is so young that only a steady stream of toys and paper activities keep him occupied, I wonder how much serious benefit he is receiving from the service . . .

For our family, we use nursery until our toddlers can sit through a service reasonably without toys. They are Bible-taught at home and this teaching time helps to prepare them for sitting in service. Being allowed to sit in church with the rest of the family is held up as a very special privilege to be earned by good church behavior.

Mark and Laurie Sleeper, WA

We have our own songbooks we continually add to. Since our family worships in our home weekly and has mealtime Scripture reading, we have perhaps an untraditional worship service. Mark uses this time to teach the children from the Word what he has prepared throughout the week. Each child must come prepared to share as they are able. We sing, pray, share, and listen to Dad feed us. We also invite other burnt-out Christians to join us in home worship from time to time.

In family worship we do expect quietness and attentiveness. Our goal (when attending church meetings) has always been to lengthen the time our infants could stay in the worship service. This meant that I spent with Mark's help about three years carting babies back and forth between sanctuary and nursery . . .

When we were training our children to sit in the worship meeting, I would go to the nursery and supervise each child's play when they were in the 1-4 bracket. By that time (age 3-4 years) they were usually ready to sit the two hours.

Our home meetings run about two hours or more depending. The baby is allowed to play until close to aged 2, then is required to start sitting. Each one is a little different and I don't like giving an absolute age for anything . . . .

Recently we have begun another approach to experience body life. . . . We have been inviting three extra families for a potluck singing, sharing, and praying time for an afternoon-evening every two months. Everyone in each family is to come prepared to share anything that can edify and encourage us in Christ.

We also continue to invite families to come for week-long Retreat Homes, where they live with us for a week in our home and have terrific fellowship, stimulation, accountability, and growth. These experiences are giving our children a deeper sense of what Christian community is all about. We also learn so much from how the other families do their thing . . .

Help Issue 4 - Part II