What Parents Need to Know about Postmodernism

The Postmodern Parent written by Cody Kimmel

Today I had the privilege of once again guest posting on my parent’s ministry blog, Family Matters. In this guest post I begin a three part series examining the language of postmodernism and what parents need to know. The first part is dedicated to the underlying distrust of our generation towards authority, the reasons why, and how parents can deal with it. Here is an excerpt:

Postmodernism can be defined many different ways depending on the context, however one of the constants is the suspicion of the “because-I-said-so” explanations.  This new culture is one existing in the shadow of two world wars, genocides and oppression, and an overall abuse of power in every sphere of cultural life. Because of this, the postmodern generation is suspicious of authority. They are suspicious of people who say they need to believe something just because they say it’s true. This new paradigm of suspicion poses an interesting challenge for parents.

We now live in a culture that does not support parent’s authority. If the people in charge are under suspicion in a postmodern world, parents often become public enemy #1 in the eyes of their children. So what are we supposed to do? Do we just surrender and let our kids disobey and question without any reaction?

Fortunately, there is a way to communicate in an authoritative way to a postmodern culture! The postmodern generation doesn’t reject authority because they flat out hate it (although it might seem that way to parents sometimes), they suspect authority because they don’t trust it. Now more than ever, it is essential for us as parents to earn the right to be heard by our children.

You can read the whole article HERE!

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Crawling, Corners, and the Dangerous Life of Faith

A few weeks ago, it started. Our sweet, smiley, and immobile son, became mobile. Kyler started crawling. Lauren and I didn’t realize how easy taking care of Kyler was until he started moving. Now everything is fair game for him. Plugs, cords, dog food, toilets, etc. He is no longer content to play with his toys, or sit in our laps and read, or lay on the ground kicking his legs, or practicing rolling over. He just wants to explore. He is addicted to his new found freedom.

It is so much fun to watch Kyler move around and get excited about everyday objects that seem mundane to Lauren and I. He is having more and more fun and is more and more happy the more mobile he becomes. He has also hurt himself more in the last three weeks than he ever has before. Bumps on his head, bit tongues, black eyes, sore knees are all just becoming a part of his daily accomplishments.

As I watch Kyler, I can’t help but think about when I first came to know Jesus. When I was first born into the new life of Christ, although I was a new creation, I was fairly immobile and didn’t know what to do. It took time to figure out how to use my new arms and new legs, to experience different sensations, and to digest the food of my new life. After growing up a bit in my faith, I began crawling and exploring my newfound freedom in Christ. I discovered his daily grace, the depths of his love, the intricacies of his truth. I looked on his mercy the same way my son looks at the fireplace cover we won’t let him play with. There was a constant wonder and intrigue that increased as I stepped out more in faith.

At the same time, I got hurt more. As my freedom in Christ increased, so did the risk of falling down from his grace, of hitting my head on the sharp corners of his holiness, of sticking my finger in the electricity of his power. It would be easy for Lauren and I to not let Kyler explore, keep him in the crib all the time, or just put bumpers and pads on everything (including him). But if Lauren and I don’t allow Kyler the risk of getting hurt, we also deprive him of the joy of the freedom he has in living and moving around.

If we were to protect Kyler from everything and put him in a bubble suit, most people would find that strange, possibly abusive. So why don’t we find it equally strange and abusive when we do that to ourselves and others when it comes to faith? Freedom in Christ not only means unfathomable joy, but also infinite risk. We can run in fear and hide ourselves in the comfort of immature faith. We can try with all our might to convince everyone that we are still infants and immobile, but if we do we are keeping ourself from experiencing the new life God paid his life for us to experience.

So as I watch Kyler both laugh harder and cry harder than he ever has before, I will remember that a life lived by faith is dangerous, but so incredibly worth it.

“So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight” (2Corinthians 5:6–7 ESV)

My First Legit Guest Blog Ever! The Postmodern Parent

Okay, so I’ve known that this was going to be posted for a while, but I wanted to wait and tell everybody once it had actually been posted. Some of you may know, but some of you may not, that my Dad is kind of a big deal in the realm of marriage and parenting ministry. His ministry, Family Matters, has a marriage and parenting blog and I am going to be writing a monthly post on it called The Post Modern Parent.

The Postmodern Parent written by Cody Kimmel

Now, some of you haters may be thinking, “Of course he gets to write for them, it’s his dad!” I want to assure you, as someone who has an inside look, a good deal of the success of my parent’s ministry is due to the fact that they promote, create, and uphold really good material and do not sacrifice the message or mission of the ministry in order to do favors for people, including their kids.

All that said, I am both very excited and very honored to be writing a few posts for them and I hope that it will help pass their message of grace on to the postmodern parent. My first post addresses the topic of teaching values in the midst of pluralism. Here is an excerpt:

As much as we’d like to hope, there is no escape from the voice of pluralism in this world for our kids, and even if we manage to protect our kids from it their whole lives as children, they will eventually be exposed to it as adults and won’t know how to deal with it.

One of the reasons pluralism became so popular is because people grew tired of the marginalizing attacks on people by those who claimed to “have the truth.” Attacking pluralism without dialoguing and understanding it will only push our children closer to espousing it.

Ignoring it will lose because there are too many advocates for pluralism to deny.

Embracing it and hoping for the best will only help our kids in embracing pluralism and rejecting Christ.

I want to offer a different solution. There is a myth about pluralism that just because there are multiple worldviews and value systems one can embrace that each perspective has the same weight. This is a misunderstanding of postmodern culture. Although there may be multiple belief systems our children can embrace, it doesn’t mean they will accept and respect all equally. They will eventually pick one. So here is the response I want to propose:

Show them that it works!

You can read the whole article here.

Hello Hawaii, Farewell Vacations

This last week, Lauren and I had the incredible opportunity to go to Hawaii for a friend’s wedding. We were on the North Shore of the island of Oahu and were just overwhelmed by the incredible beauty of the state. We had a great time with our friends and even got to enjoy exploring the island the last two days in the “Hukilau Express” (A 15 passenger van we rented with three other couples).

As new parents, Lauren and I are still learning quite a bit about what it means to be parents and how our life has been forever changed by the presence of our very active 8 month old boy. Needless to say, this vacation was a wake up call. Gone are the days of catching up on reading on flights, napping at will, spontaneously going to restaurants, going outside the house beyond 7 pm, and spending meaningful time alone with each other. Although it was a great adventure, fun with friends, wonderful to be with my family for an entire week, Lauren and I learned an incredibly valuable lesson: Vacations with young children don’t exist for parents.

After being woken up multiple times in the middle of the night because of time zone differences, changing diapers in random places, conversations being interrupted over and over again by a crying baby trying to fall asleep in a new setting, making sure our kid’s curiosity doesn’t lead him into immanent danger, and trying to do it all with a smile and encouraging him to enjoy the adventure, vacation for us became passing out from exhaustion in a different bed than the one we’re used to.

I wish that I had some profound lesson we learned from this last week’s experience, but I don’t. Lauren and I are learning, and we discovered that at many times this last week, we were in over our heads as parents.

So this post is a plea for help. What are some travel tips you have for vacationing with young children? How can we as parents make vacation enjoyable for kids while still getting some rest and growing closer as a couple? I would love to hear your advice.

Here are some photos from the trip. Some of these were taken by our friend Lauren Johnson.

 

 

My Mini Me: How to Parent Yourself

It’s scary how much Kyler is already like me. I knew going into parenthood that our kids would inherit more than just our eyes, I just didn’t realize I would see the personality stuff so soon. Kyler is incredibly stubborn, recklessly curious, highly energetic, and prefers being awake. It’s frightening.

On the one hand, knowing that Kyler’s personality is so similar to mine makes me feel like I will have the upper hand when he gets into his teenage/difficult years. On the other hand, there is a certain anxiousness that comes with our similarities. I know the temptations and pitfalls that await him, how his personality will affect the ways he perceives the world, and all the other hardships that he will face. I know that even if I try to warn him, since he’s so much like me, he will probably ignore it so he can learn on his own.

Parenting myself, (my mini-me), is going to be hard, and I think that all parents will face this anxiousness. With all that said, I was reminded once again that parenting is not stepping into a known and predictable situation. It is a step of faith, knowing that, just like me, God has a plan and is going to work with our kids, their personalities, good and bad.

So, as I observe myself in my son, I am trying to observe God’s grace in my life and remember that I’m who I am because of his grace, not the stubbornness passed down through generations of Kimmels before me.

Saturday Man Morning

A few weeks ago, my wife Lauren was telling me about a mom book she was reading. She was talking about the importance of the dad spending one on one time with each kid at least once a week and the positive effect that can have on children.

I liked the idea, so now my son Kyler and I have Saturday Man Morning. As he gets older, I’m sure this will develop into something a little more involved, but for now it means that when Kyler wakes up, I change him into some warm clothes, put a jacket and his polar bear beanie on him, strap him into our awesome Baby Bjorn, and take him and our dog on a walk around the neighborhood.

Cody and Kyler

Even though we haven’t been doing it long, it has already become one of  my favorite parts of the week. Kyler is now 4 1/2 months old. Needless to say, there is not much of a reason to talk on the walk…but I talk to him anyways. I tell him about stuff I’m working on at church or at school, I tell him about where I grew up, about my family, about how to respect women and stand up for those who are weaker than us. I have no doubt any neighbor that sees us on Saturday morning thinks that I’m an idiot. But they probably already thought that.

This morning as we came closer to our house, Kyler staring around at the changing leaves, mouth wide open in a constant state of excitement and discovery, I said to him, “I know you don’t understand me, but I want to have this time with you, talking to you, so that you will know my voice and you will know me. I want you to know me so that you will trust me.” The statement I’m sure was lost on him, but it certainly got me thinking more.

There seems to be a potential sermon in every moment of parenting. When I am with my son, clothing him, changing him, feeding him, protecting him, I can’t help but think of my heavenly Father as well. Just as I want to spend time with my son, let him hear my voice, God desires the same. God wants me to know him so I will trust him. God wants me to hear his voice so I will respond to his voice.

As I was putting Kyler down for his post-Man Morning nap, I started wondering how long this would last. When will Kyler be too cool, or too busy for Man Morning? The thought broke my heart. But once again it made me think of my heavenly Father. When did I become too cool or too busy to spend time with Him? When was the point when I grew out of my childlike faith in him? God wants to spend time with me so that I might know Him and trust Him. What an unbelievable truth! How is it is so easy to cancel my plans with Him and busy myself with other things?

For now, I will soak up every Saturday Man Morning I have with Kyler, and pray that, even though he gets older, he never grows out of knowing and trusting his dad.