Thursday, September 30, 2021

Popular Parenting Advice You Should Ignore

Happy Fall! I am excited to share my recent article, which was inspired by many of my Chaos to Calm show guests. Read as I bust 6 popular parenting myths.

Popular Parenting Advice You Should Ignore

Parenting is an exhilarating, exhausting, and sacred task. Author Jodi Picoult beautifully describes the gift of a child: “Sometimes when you pick up your child, you can feel the map of your own bones beneath your hands or smell the scent of your skin in the nap of his neck. This is the most extraordinary thing about motherhood. Finding a piece of yourself separate and apart that all the same you could not live without.”

While it’s often easy to fall in love with our children, raising them is not so easy. The fear of getting it right is real, and children do not come with a manual. Thankfully, God wants to partner with us as we parent. What follows are six popular parenting myths. Learn why they’re problematic and how faith offers a different vantage point that can help your family soar.

1. I must be perfect.

True, there is a push in modern blogging to portray parenting imperfections that were formerly kept behind closed doors. Writers portray the messiness of family life, humorous moments, and parenting fails that often come with the territory. At the same time, however, social media continues to cast an unrealistic portrait. Facebook and Instagram encourage comparison as users scroll (messy stories or not), and already overburdened parents feel pressure to be Pinterest-ready.

Popular blogger, teacher, and New York Times bestselling author Rachel Macy Stafford is quick to admit her struggles to her children. Instead of finding strength in the illusion of perfection, she lets her children into her inner life in an age-appropriate fashion. By sharing her struggles and strategies to surmount them, she hopes to encourage understanding and competence in her daughters as they face challenges of their own.

One step that we can take as parents is to be willing to apologize to our children. Perfection is not reality—though we do try our best. Our children often see us as perfect, however, especially when they’re little. Their eyes are constantly monitoring and learning from our behavior. Imagine the freedom found when we cast off the air of perfection, personally drink in God’s mercy, and model life-giving grace and growth in our home.

2. Keep children busy—it keeps them out of trouble.

It’s easy to live in a culture of rush. The tendency to schedule more and more for our children often comes from a good place. We want them to enjoy and advance in their talents. Further, we fear boredom might lead to trouble. The problem is when good things inadvertently choke out time for better things. Better things are family dinner time, parent-child conversation, and regular downtime. Each serve as a powerful grounding force for children, and unfortunately all were on a statistical decline pre-COVID.

Our need to honor and protect a rhythm of activity and rest in our families stems from God’s example in scripture. In the first creation story, God models good work and then the importance of stepping back to enjoy it. Further, the concept of Sabbath rest is later a biblical command found in the Ten Commandments.

Just as God models Sabbath, we need to model it in our families. God calls us to live in a rhythm of not being stretched too thin so that our children learn how to recharge and we all have a reserve for life’s challenges. As a mother of three children who range in age from two to twelve, I can attest to the fact that balance isn’t always easy and I don’t always get it right. Regardless, God’s command couldn’t be more applicable today.

Read on as I debunk myths 3–6:

Read the Full Article Here

Interested in learning more? You can watch former Chaos to Calm episodes on-demand. Don't forget to share them with friends!

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

5 Ways to Be Good Stewards of the Earth

I hope you have had a restful summer. I have been enjoying time with my children, who start school early next month. Summer is always a slower time on the blog for that reason. This summer, we were blessed to take two long-awaited family trips. My newest article tells the tale of our first one. We traveled to Wyoming, which I can only describe as God's country. I wrote about my experience and how God spoke to me through the beautiful creation there:

5 Ways to Be Good Stewards of the Earth

When my oldest son was in the third grade, one of his school projects was to adopt a US state and learn about it. My husband and I promised to take him to the state that he chose. He picked Wyoming. Though our family trip was delayed partially due to COVID, it brought several surprises. First, it turned out to be our youngest son’s first flight; I had not even been pregnant with him when my oldest son chose the state. Second, while we expected to encounter beauty, my family of five was startled by Wyoming’s majesty. My two-year-old kept looking out the window saying, “Wow.” Third, the trip inspired us to consider our commitment to the Earth. Experiences that bring us to our knees change us. In the wake of that holy awe, here are five ways that we can be better stewards.

#1 Make time to retreat.

My oldest son will tell you from his report that Wyoming is the least populated state in the union. I live in a suburb of New York City and can witness to the energy and excitement of being surrounded by others. But there is also something medicinal about being in an expanse of beautiful land where the animals outnumber the people. You can breathe freely when it is just you and the open sky; it is almost as if the mountains cradling you are lifting their praise. Getting away and getting quiet is a discipline that Jesus himself practiced (Mark 1:35). Doing it in nature is that much more inspiring. Scripture reminds us about the genesis of strength: “In quietness and trust is your strength” (Isaiah 30:15).

#2 Discover nature as a biblical teacher.

As a female pastor, I have enjoyed mining the diverse scriptural names for God. The Bible gives us so many that stretch beyond gender and serve as powerful teaching tools. Many of these names come from the natural world for ease in understanding. The Psalmist describes God as a mighty Rock (Psalm 18:2), the Samaritan woman discovers that Jesus is the Living Water (John 4:10), and my favorite metaphor for Christ is the Vine (John 15:5). I learn about what it means to stay connected and grow in Christ by taking time to observe actual growth around me. I marvel at the splendid work of our Creator. Whether I witness the climbing of a vine, the flit of a butterfly, the bright red burst of a cardinal wing, or the glorious hush of a waterfall, God’s spirit is there to teach me, delight me, and remind me of his glory. The agrarian society of biblical times might have been more in touch with natural metaphors by necessity, but the lifeline they provide is only an observation away today. “Be still and know that I am God,” the Lord tells us (Psalm 46:10).

For more ways that we can become better stewards, visit Crosswalk.com and continue reading HERE

For pictures from our trip, visit me on Instagram (@noellekirchner). Stay tuned for more happenings here this fall! 

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

8 Key Things to Tell Teens Who Are Going into High School

Photo Courtesy of Rachel Macy Stafford, Hands Free Mama

Based upon my recent parenting episode with the Hands Free Mama and guest podcast appearance, I wanted to pass along my newest Crosswalk article. I am grateful for the insights of my show guests, whose work has influenced these tips. Propel your children or grandchildren forward with these 8 talking points, designed to hone their purpose and usher in God's best.

Tip #1: Ask them if there is something that they feel God has called them to do. Does it unexpectedly keep coming to their mind? Encourage them to make time for introspection and honest conversations with the Author of their heart.

Read the ARTICLE HERE

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Add This Podcast to Your Queue!


Creating your summer podcast must-listen list? Add my appearance on the podcast Theodora Speaks to your queue! My new friend Gayle, a former Microsoft exec, left her job to spend more time with her two young daughters during the pandemic. Her exit was also a response to a heart pull to help equip fellow women to follow their passion by using hers for speaking and writing.

I was honored to be a part of her launch by sharing my story and hard-fought wisdom from my book, How to Live Your Life Purpose: The Six-Step Journey to God's Best. I encourage you to listen, explore my book, and hop over to my Facebook and Instagram this week for some inspiring memes from the interview.


Miss my recent interview? Tune in to the latest Chaos to Calm episode with New York Times bestselling author Rachel Macy Stafford. Her message is so beautiful and powerful—it made me teary on air! Watch the full interview here.

Thursday, May 20, 2021

New On-Demand Episode: Rachel Macy Stafford

Are you ready to turn the chapter on COVID too? I could think of no better person to help us do that than my friend Rachel Macy Stafford, the Hands Free Mama. Rachel is a cultivator of soul space who has touched millions of lives. A trained special education teacher, she is also an acclaimed New York Times bestselling author. Her newest book is Live Love Now: Relieve the Pressure and Find Real Connection with Our Kids. Drawing insights from her book, Rachel will help us keep the good and leave the bad from COVID as she offers timely advice that will impact your family for years to come!

Watch On-Demand Here

Do you like my 15th episode with my 5th New York Times bestselling author? If so, check out my other episodes too!

Thursday, April 29, 2021

How You Can Build a Dream Marriage

It's wonderful to post again! I have been busy with projects, including my newest interview for Chaos to Calm with Rachel Macy Stafford. Rachel is the fifth New York Times bestselling author on my show, with another important and timely message for us. Her passion is creating soul-space, making her the perfect author to usher us out of COVID. She will help us keep the good, leave the bad, and strengthen our families. Stay tuned! Until then, check out my newest article below.

How You Can Build a Dream Marriage

Building a healthy marriage can be a great source of support and comfort. 

Interestingly, many found this to be the case during COVID. At a time when the experts expected the divorce rate to spike due to lockdown stress, it did not. Instead, the divorce rate continued its decline to hit a 50-year low. Meanwhile, according to the American Family Survey, 58% of Americans claimed that they appreciated their spouse more and half claimed that COVID brought them closer together.

Still, the decline in the divorce rate does not necessarily mean that all marriages are happier or healthier. Divorce can be costly, and the looming health and economic uncertainty brought about by COVID surely impacted decision-making. Further, custody issues grew more complex with daycare and schools closed.

 

With COVID complicating divorce proceedings, it’s also caused a decline in the marital rate due to the curb in mass gatherings. This has contributed to an already declining marital rate in America. Experts worry about the larger impact this may cause in years to come, as marriage is often a stabilizing social force.

 

As we reflect upon these statistics concerning marriage and COVID, natural questions arise. How can one grow a marriage that’s a source of blessing during a difficult time? What are the qualities of a healthy marriage? Also, for those who are considering tying the knot, what are the indicators to look for to usher in the greatest chance of success?


Click here to continue reading my new article for Crosswalk, which includes 3 compatibility indicators and 7 helpful pointers for creating a dream marriage.

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