Self Soothing: What do you do?

It was a big milestone in our family when our son learned to self sooth. The primary action for him in calming down and being able to go to sleep or stop crying is to suck his thumb. When I was in conversation with someone a couple weeks ago, I realized that there are things that I do to self soothe as well. They include:

What do you do to self soothe? What habits or practices do you have that help calm you down?
Advertisements

Screen Time for Children

Sesame Workshop

Image via Wikipedia

With a son who is 12 days aways from being 6 months old, I read with interest this article from MashableChildren’s Consumption of Digital Media On The Rise [STATS]. This connected me with the original study from The Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop, which you can find in PDF form with this link. Straight from this document are some of their findings:

  • Children have more access to all kinds of digital media, and are spending more time during the day with them than ever before.
  • Television continues to exert a strong hold over young children, who spend more time with this medium than any other.
  • Not all children have access to newer digital technologies, nor do all children use media in the same ways once they do own them. Family income continues to be a barrier to some children owning technology, even as the price of devices falls.
  • Lower-income, Hispanic, and African American children consume far more media than their middle-class and white counterparts.
  • Children appear to shift their digital media habits around age 8, when they increasingly open their eyes to the wide world of media beyond television.
  • Mobile media appears to be the next “it” technology, from handheld video games to portable music players to cell phones. Kids like to use their media on the go.

The official recommendation from the American Academy of Pediatrics is as follows:

“The first two years of your child’s life are especially important in the growth and development of her brain. During this time, children need positive interaction with other children and adults. This is especially true at younger ages, when learning to talk and play with others is so important.

Until more research is done about the effects of screen time on very young children, the American Academy of Pediatrics strongly discourages television viewing for children ages two years old or younger, and encourages interactive play.

For older children, the Academy advises no more than one to two hours per day of educational, nonviolent programs, which should be supervised by parents or other responsible adults in the home.”

Our son has had his eye caught by screens from time to time. We are definitely going to stay away from intentional screen time of any kind for him until at least two years old.

World AIDS Day

The Red ribbon is a symbol for solidarity with...

Image via Wikipedia

Today is World AIDS Day. I wanted to share some of this information from Wikipedia:

World AIDS Day, observed December 1 each year, is dedicated to raising awareness of the AIDSpandemic caused by the spread of HIV infection. It is common to hold memorials to honor persons who have died from HIV/AIDS on this day. Government and health officials also observe the event, often with speeches or forums on the AIDS topics. Since 1995, the President of the United States has made an official proclamation on World AIDS Day. Governments of other nations have followed suit and issued similar announcements.

AIDS has killed more than 25 million people between 1981 and 2007, and an estimated 33.2 million people worldwide live with HIV as of 2007, making it one of the most destructive epidemics in recorded history. Despite recent, improved access to antiretroviral treatment and care in many regions of the world, the AIDS epidemic claimed an estimated 2 million lives in 2007, of which about 270,000 were children.

AIDS affects people across ages, nations and races. Will you take a moment to learn more about AIDS and how you might take action?

Clergy: Will You Learn to Manage Stress or Burnout?

Stress Reduction Kit

Image by programwitch via Flickr

Last month, I read an article from the Lewis Center for Church Leadership about Myths about Clergy Burnout and Managing Stress. From the article:

Myth Three: Older leaders are more likely to burn out than younger leaders.
Recent research on clergy age seems to indicate that younger clergy are more likely to burn out than their older colleagues. In general, levels of mental health improve as people age. And older clergy are more likely than their younger colleagues to have learned how to manage their stress.

It seems that clergy that do not learn how to manage stress do not have the opportunity to be in ministry a long time because they burnout. How do you respond? In what ways do you manage stress?

Monetary Incentive for Spiritual Growth?

Image representing stickK as depicted in Crunc...

Image via CrunchBase

I invite you to take a look at http://www.stickk.com. Here is their mission:

stickK empowers you to better your lifestyle. We offer you the opportunity, through ‘Commitment Contracts’, to show to yourself and others the value you put on achieving your goals.

Basically you put money down on reaching goals and if you don’t make them you have to start paying your friends or others with whom you have made a commitment contract. This financially incentivizes all kinds of things.

Would this work for spiritual growth? Say for example, a congregant put out a contract that she or he would be in church every weekend unless sick or out of town. Maybe it is reading the Bible or being present in a small group.

I do not believe that this makes sense in the long term. However, for someone that is starting a habit it may actually be helpful.

What are your thoughts, feelings or opinions about this?

Calling in Your Life

The article, Does a Calling Have to Be Religious?, from the Huffington Post addresses something that has shaped my life – calling. For me it has primarily been God‘s call in my life and a call. Here is an excerpt from the article, that I just couldn’t break into pieces.

“In 1904, Rainer Maria Rilke, writing to a younger man who’d sought his advice, suggested that the authenticity of one’s calling can be found only inside oneself. “[A]sk yourself this: Must I write? Dig deep into yourself for a true answer. And … if you can confidently meet this serious question with a simple, ‘I must,’ then build your life upon it. It has become your necessity.” Substitute work with the poor, forestry, law enforcement, the stage, the military, religion, painting, banking, coaching, law, politics, teaching, or another pursuit, and the answer remains the same: If you can live a full, satisfying life without doing it, it’s not “your necessity,” it’s not your calling. Not even if you’re really good at it. Not even if your parents, their friends, your friends, teachers and religious leaders all want you to do it and think you ought to do it and would be nuts not to do it, would it be wrong not to do it — not even if you think you should want to do it but in fact don’t. Rilke might agree that the presence of any language of obligation would be all the evidence you would need to differentiate the true calling from the false. To say I must because I shouldimplies an obligation, not a calling. I must because, if I don’t, I’ll die inside is quite another matter.”

This is a powerful description of calling. I believe that each one of us may be called by God in multiple ways throughout our life. It may be a career, relationship, an ethnic group, rural life or any number of things that can significantly shape one’s life.

At this time in my life, I feel called to serve as an ordained elder in a local United Methodist church. I pray that I will be attentive to God’s continued call.

What to Do with Unhealthy United Methodist Congregations

I recognize there is debate about how to determine what makes a congregation healthy.

What to do with an unhealthy United Methodist congregation is more difficult to determine than what to do with inffective United Methodist clergy.

Kick them out of the denomination? In some cases, this might allow the congregation to become healthier. It clearly doesn’t help unity in the church.

Appoint a new pastor? This may or may not have results. Understanding the congregation as a family system suggests that this may not have much impact.

Put them on probation? A period of time with focused efforts at renewal may be helpful, however there may not be much of an incentive.

Can you help me out with what to do with unhealthy United Methodist congregations?