Monthly Archives: October 2014

Pursued by Perfection, Again

Last Sunday, my colleague Amy concluded a four week series on The Quest for Perfection. It was a powerful, provocative series for all generations – darn near perfect!

Ironically, we knew we had not and could not ‘wrap up’ the topic. It is one that will continue to impact many of us, our families and our society at large. (You can find the Quest for Perfection Powerpoints here)

So it felt timely, the day after, to see in the New York Times an article called “A Cure for Hyper-Parenting,” by American journalist Pamela Druckerman. She cites a conversation with some Norwegians who are making a documentary about French child-rearing. The producer, a father of three, explains, “In Norway, we have brats, child kings, and many of us suffer from hyper-parenting. We’re spoiling them.” Apparently France is a rare rich country where hyper-parenting is not the norm.

Druckerman discusses this rising global tendency toward hyper-parenting – also called helicopter parenting – and what that role costs parents and children, emotionally and otherwise.

Her article suggests ten strategies for parental containment: expect more from our children, enjoy freedom from them when we can, parent for today, sleep, have less stuff, don’t worry about overscheduling our children, don’t over-blame ourselves, accept an imperfect work/life balance, teach emotional intelligence, and transmit the Nelson Mandela rule (you can get what you want by showing people respect).

My favorite line comes near the end: “Don’t bother obsessing about what you think you’re doing wrong [in parenting.] You won’t screw up your kids in the ways you expect; you’ll do it in ways you hadn’t even considered.” I had to burst out laughing! And then sigh deeply. There it is again, the quest for perfection; our desire to get it right. That line seems to encapsulate the reality of parenting in a nutshell. We can’t control our children’s futures.

Read the article for yourself.

The issues Druckerman raises extend those raised in the Quest for Perfection series:

  • What downsides are there to reverencing the parenting experience over other life experiences?
  • What is the difference between being a helicopter parent and having high standards for our children?
  • How can we hold our children lightly, knowing they ultimately belong to God and not to us?

We welcome your comments here…

Gather at the Table

This Sunday we join with Christians all over the globe in the celebration of World Communion Sunday.  As we eat the bread and drink the cup we will be connected with other believers around the world.  It’s a good time to reflect on the meaning of the Lord’s Supper.  The attached video is a of a street communion service with a poem by Old Testament scholar Walter Brueggemann and music by Tim Coons.

The text of the poem is listed below.  It got us thinking about communion.

  • In a world of brokenness and hunger, we all need the sustenance provided by God
  • Each week we gather at the table, we have an opportunity to come back, start over, and experience God’s grace
  • The table invites us to share our failures, our losses, and our hopes
  • In the sharing of that which is ordinary – bread and juice – we have the opportunity to experience something transformative and holy
  • The table is a place for feeding people and for being fed

Come to Broad Street this Sunday at 8:45 or 11:00 a.m. and experience the gifts of Christ’s table.

Amy and Brittany

Waiting for Bread…and for God’s Future

We are strange mixtures of loss and hope.

As we are able, we submit our losses to you.
We know about sickness and dying,
About death and mortality,
About failure and disappointment.
And now for a moment we do our
Failing and our dying in your presence,
You who attend to us in loss.

As we are able, we submit our hopes to you.
We know about self-focused fantasy
And notions of control.
But we also know that our futures
Are out beyond us,
Held in your good hand.

Our hopes are filled with promises of well-being, justice, and mercy.
Move us this day beyond our fears and anxieties
Into your land of goodness
We wait for your coming,
We pray for your kingdom.
In the meantime, give us bread for the day.