The Warren & the World is Story Warren’s weekly newsletter, providing a round-up of our favorite things from around the web as well as a review of what was on our site over the past week. We’re glad you’re here!
Around the Web:
Families Armed with Books Repel the Effects of Poverty
Allison Kieslowsky writes at The Federalist on the issue of literacy in low-income families and how everyone can pitch in to help shape readers among the young generation.
- The important fact is that parents who insert themselves most firmly into early literacy activities—participating in reading, conversation, and writing—and bring those activities into the home regularly provide the best academic foundation for their children. Parent involvement makes a greater difference than money. And children love to listen to books, especially when parents read, and the act of reading together promotes lifelong literacy because people enjoy it. It continues to be fun at any age, long after a child learns to read fluently. We all love a well-spun story.Children instinctively move toward a person reading a book, just like toddlers automatically start to shimmy whenever they hear music, but it takes repeated exposure to print for children to build listening stamina enough to sit through a whole story and to interact with the characters, plot, and illustrations. I’m not talking about seeing 33 books in a childhood, but hundreds and perhaps thousands. Public libraries promote “100 by kindergarten,” or reading 100 books in the preschool years, to prepare for formal schooling. The plea for parents to read to young children and to expose them to hundreds of books before age five has been sounded for years.
Jesus Doesn’t Call Us To Be Merely Nice
Kelli B. Trujillo writes a challenge from the story of the Good Samaritan at Today’s Christian Woman. What does it mean to be a neighbor?
- But do I really know and live like the Good Samaritan? Am I able to see and embrace my neighbor when he or she comes in the form of a stranger? An enemy? Even a “self-righteous, insincere legalist”?Am I willing to see that the Old Testament’s commandto “love your neighbor as yourself” isn’t just a general principle about being vaguely nice, but is an absolutely radical call to self-sacrifice and whole-hearted agapelove? Am I willing to see my role in Jesus’ story- answer? To see that I am the priest who puts distance between himself and the beaten man to avoid contact with raw, human need? To see that I am the Temple assistant who dared to look at the man’s suffering but then went on his way without taking action?
Kelli’s challenges us to go beyond, “Hi” and truly know and love our neighbors. Read more.
The Only Six Words Parents Need to Say to Their Kids About Sports—Or Any Performance
Brad Griffin encourages parents facing today’s world of kids’ sports.
- I’ll be honest: I kind of hate a lot about kids’ sports. It’s one area where Kara and I hold different opinions. I’m the wet blanket in the office about everything from little league to major sporting events.Mainly I get concerned about the ways our culture obsesses about kids’ performance. All kinds of parental anxiety and dysfunction plays out on the sidelines and in the bleachers, and you only need walk to your local park to catch a glimpse for yourself. Sports have such potential to build character, perseverance, and skill. Sometimes they succeed, and other times coaches, parents, and mobs of hot-or-cold fans burn out or puff up kids in quite damaging ways.
Griffin goes on to share the six words he’s internalizing as his kids begin to play sports and perform. Read more.
Mini-Me-Making and Disciple-Making
Lore Ferguson writes at her blog about the long-suffering work of disciple-making–a much harder task than creating a mini-me. As we look at shaping the children in our lives, her words ring true.
- We are in the work of long-suffering, of listening when it seems better to speak, of obeying when the odds suggest we not. We are submitting and silencing, seeking counsel from the wiser and counseling the weaker. It is a lasting joy, but a long-suffering one too. It is hard fought for, but sweet when it comes. It is not popular.It is easy to create copycats. To say to say as I say and do as I do. To teach to follow me as I follow Christ. But I am not an Apostle or Christ and I quake to tell anyone to follow me. I cannot even trust me, please do not trust me. We ask for the Holy Spirit and we keep on asking, more and more, a helper and comforter, a keeper.
Around the Warren:
An Honest, Human, Amateur Art Critic
Guest Poster Amanda Moore considers how to rightly receive the art of those who are embodying their soul in art—those who do so on a stage and those who do so at our kitchen tables.
- How do I approach an artist and rightly receive his art?On a recent rip to a museum, I stood in awe before the work of Van Gogh, because it happened naturally and I knew it to be the right thing to do. But, that’s different. Dead artists seem to command a different response. As much soul as they still have (all of it), and have left for us to see, we approach them differently.
My question is about embodied souls who offer a bit of themselves through their art –accessible enough for me to criticize, or analyze, or love. How do I rightly receive that? What about the art produced by the four little souls under my care at home?
“…impossible things before breakfast.”
Words from Lewis Carroll. Art from Paul Boekell.
Inkwell 2015: Unbottling Imagination at Story Warren’s Family Conference
Big News! Inkwell is back in 2015 (on June 20, for those who like dates and things) and registration opens on March 11 at 8:00 a.m.
- Again and again at our first Inkwell last year, we heard parents and kids saying, “Please, please come back next year!” And we felt the same way. We can’t wait for our second annual Story Warren Family Conference. Inkwell will be on June 20, 2015 . The Church at Charlotte will be our host and partner again this year, and we’re grateful and thrilled to be back in the Queen City with such a great gang of allies. Story Warren is all about an alliance. We’re on your side. Our heartbeat is serving your family as you foster holy imagination at home and in your church/community. Incarnation hints at magic. We wanted to bring the ideas and energy that make Story Warren special to a real space, to real flesh and blood.
The Unexpected Visitor
Something to Do with Your Kids:
It’s always a good time to think about starting a family band. Who knows? You could hit it big on a reality TV show in 10 years or so. For now, however, feel free to start small with these homemade musical instruments.
And Something to Watch
I first saw a red panda at the Toledo Zoo about 20 years ago, and I have continually desired to have one as a pet ever since. If you have not yet also decided your family needs one, I dare you to ignore the impetus after watching two at the Cincinnati Zoo have fun in the snow.
Thank you for reading. We’re on your side.