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“Screamfree Parenting” by Hal Runkel

Book Review by Colette SanFelice

The title of this book is misleading in my opinion as it focuses more on overall self-control as a parent and dealing with our own anxiety as parents and how that might come out while parenting and specifically dealing with an argument or disagreement. 

"Kids want collected, levelheaded parents. Your kids want you to remain unflappable, even when they flip out".

 Throughout this book the author points out ways for us parents to stop orbiting around our children and focus on ourselves instead. "The greatest thing you can do for your children is to focus on yourself". The author points out that by focusing on yourself you will have a happier family. The only way to retain a position of influence with our children is to regain a position of control of ourselves.  

I felt this book did a good job of explaining how important it is to let your children make their own choices...as difficult as that may be at times. The author states, "What you want is for your kids to approach you and share their lives with you. When you overreact to the information they disclose, you send mixed signals".

I felt Chapter 6 does a great job of highlighting dealing with resistance. "Be the first to bow to your children. Not out of deference but out of respect and gratitude". The book also speaks a lot about the importance of boundaries and everyone in the family having their own space. 

Chapter 10 speaks a lot about communication and the importance of consistency. "It comes down to integrity; meaning what you say, saying what you mean, and following through with what you promise".

This book offers many follow-up questions at the end of the chapters that are helpful in reflection as well as some exercises to focus on our own emotional reactivity. There are also stories of families' personal struggles. 

I would recommend the book; it seems it would be helpful for parents with toddlers all the way up. It would certainly be worth a parents’ time to read this book.

Putting Things in Perspective

The past month or so has been an emotional whirlwind for the entire world, myself included. I launched a young adult men's pickup basketball network that was taking off and on the verge of evolving into a full-fledged league. I was planning on leading a team of Chapel people on a mission trip to Colombia. I was getting ready to launch future "Coffee on Campus" ministries at new colleges and universities. On a personal note, I was counting down the days until I flew to Greece for my Summer honeymoon. And in the blink of an eye, it was all wiped out. Postponed. Canceled. Delayed. It seemed like the entire world was coming to a halt and there was absolutely nothing I could do about it.

While I'm thankful for the opportunity to work from home, I am quick to admit that I miss seeing all of my friends and family. I miss chatting with members of the congregation on Sunday mornings. I miss collaborating with Chapel staff on new ministry ideas and initiatives. And on top of all of that, I miss little things like grabbing impromptu lunches at Kenko Sushi with my dear friend Paul Klouse. As I adjust to the "new normal" along with everyone else, I can't help but reflect on what God might be showing me in this current season.

When life slows down, we are handed golden opportunities to begin putting things in perspective. With so many distractions stripped away as I become seemingly nestled in my small cozy apartment, the days blur together and my mind engages in thoughtful self-reflection. Since I am no longer constantly on the run, I have this new space to begin asking myself honest questions: How am I doing as a follower of Christ? How am I doing as a husband, son, brother, and friend? Sometimes my heart aches because of how deeply I love the people in my life, but right now it feels like I can't even express that affection in the ways that I want.

Throughout the past few weeks, God has revealed to me the depths of my capacity to love. Since I no longer have the excuse of being "on the go" and running through life at 100mph, I am using this season to quiet my racing heart and gently ask the Holy Spirit to open my eyes. Lord, who do you want me to love? Who do you want me to forgive? Who in my life desperately needs your grace right now? And if I'm being completely honest, these reflections sometimes expose the stains of pride, anger, and bitterness in my selfish heart.

With those realizations, however, I am reminded in brand new ways that the Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in love. And because of God's overwhelming love, we have reason to be hopeful. We have fresh opportunities to repent of our past ways and choose grace over hatred. We have the chance to recalibrate our hearts and persevere through the dreary days in order to pursue deeper intimacy with the Father. Perhaps most importantly, though, we have the option to become people who are not just Spirit-filled, but also Spirit-led.

Posted by John Dere with

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