Category Archives: Kids

Mom’s message: There is hope for children with autism


Living with autism has proven to be a difficult ride for Seth Sparrer, of Middleburg. But the 21-year-old has learned to accept the condition that can greatly impair social skills, communication and the ability to create lasting peer relations.

“I feel it means you are special. I used to hate it, but as I got older, I learned to accept it — just like the X-Men have a hard time adjusting to their special gifts and to other people in life,” he said. “I now believe it is why I have a creative mind and a great connection with younger kids.” Read the rest of this entry


Youth sports: Don’t miss out on a truly priceless opportunity


At each Selinsgrove AYSO preseason coaches meeting, Regional Commissioner Jake Mangels shares some statistics via a Powerpoint slide that can be somewhat sobering.
According to his conservative estimates, the 40 coaches/assistants, 10 referees and eight regional board members of the Selinsgrove region — which boasts 360 registered youth soccer players this spring — provide a $114,000 benefit to the local community. Read the rest of this entry

Parenting predicament: Rethinking the Santa Claus tradition


Switch just a few letters and you can turn “Santa” into “Satan.” 

Not saying that means anything. Before you jump all over me by assuming that I’m going to try compare everyone’s favorite jolly old elf to the devil incarnate, please hear me out.

I’ve always been a fan of Santa Claus. I remember watching out my window on Christmas Eve, seeing snowflakes drifting past our outdoor light display and hoping to catch a glimpse of a reindeer, sleigh or at least hear a jingle bell or two. Read the rest of this entry

Meds vs. mud: Unstructured outdoor playtime a critical solution for kids


It was all a matter of perspective.

To the six young children, the muddy, clay-bottomed stream that wound through a number of campsites at the Central Pennsylvania Wesleyan Campground offered an opportunity to play. To stretch their imaginations and then put their plans into action, building a small dam and exploring for crayfish and other critters during the excavation process. Read the rest of this entry

What father red fox teaches us about parenting


Perhaps the best father you’ll find in the animal world is the red fox. While the mother protects the young pups in the den, the red fox dad travels long distances to find and provide food for the family.

As those young fox pups grow and emerge from their den to explore, it is the father that plays with them and teaches them the dangers of the outside world. Read the rest of this entry

Costly calculations: Time to confront the common core chaos


Approximately a week ago, my youngest daughter subtracted using expanded algorithms. The next night, she was doing algebra.

This isn’t exactly earth-shattering news, perhaps, in the realm of homework assignments – unless you factor in that she’s just eight years old and still doing some math facts by counting fingers and toes. Read the rest of this entry

Twelve-minute movie, adoption and a journey through complex trauma

My wife and I have seen plenty of powerful, uplifting movies. Films that chill us to our emotional core. That trigger so many feelings it can be overwhelming.

But none of them hit us as hard as a 12-minute online video where one very young girl opens her narration with 11 powerful words: “Sometimes someone hurts you so bad it stops hurting at all.” Read the rest of this entry

Looking for a role model?

In this age of Miley Cyrus twerks and Justin Bieber meltdowns, it can be hard to find a positive role model for our young children. That’s why Jamie Grace has been such a breath of fresh air for my wife and myself. She shares some very personal struggles and how her trust in God helped her overcome adversity. Let’s pray she continues to show our young people that living a Godly life can be so rewarding and cool despite what society suggests.

Finding God on a nature hike


There was much to see on a series of nature hikes taken this summer at a western Pennsylvania kids camp.

But one of the best lessons came from what wasn’t seen. The camp, sponsored by the state’s western branch of the Wesleyan denomination, offered a slew of outdoors-based activities ranging from rock climbing to natural waterslides with a number of devotional rallies held throughout for kids in second through sixth grades. It was an inspirational five days in nature, and an experience I share through several previous blog entries. Read the rest of this entry

Getting to the ‘root’ of the lesson


Four small fingers and a thumb wrapped themselves carefully around a young dandelion shoot at the edge of a small woodlot. The dirt below it was dark, loose and extremely rich with nutrients. Read the rest of this entry