Sam is the main character of Melissa Johnson’s new chapter book, Shepherding Sam. He’s in third grade. Third grade is a tough year for some children. That’s the year that expectations ratchet up.
These were people who tended to get stuck, somehow, in the middle of their writing—they’d written themselves into a corner and didn’t know how to get out. I loved helping get these these clients putting words on paper again. The ability to tell one’s story is a powerful facet of the human experience, and when that can’t happen–for whatever reasons–it can be deadening.
These are the books that can never quite stay on the shelf, the ones chosen over and over again – my list of Books Every Orthodox Child Should Own.
I own many of these books and have read and reread them for most of my life. Many of them come recommended by parents of tweens and teens, and even more by teens themselves. This list is twenty books, authors and series long, and it’s barely scratching the surface of challenging, enjoyable and go-straight-to-your heart books that we can visit time and time again.
“All this means that grace is not merely an idea about God’s forgiveness in Christ. It is not a change in God’s ‘attitude’ toward a person. It is not a mere release from ‘guilt.’ It is the very life-giving, transforming, divine power and uncreated energies of God Himself.”
What if the challenges of parenting are not meant to be solved, but are actually what God gives us to raise our children prepared to go out into the world? What if the challenges in parenting are just like germs that children are exposed to when they’re young? Germs make a child sick in the short-term, but they build up a child’s immunity over the long-term, making for healthy children.
Summer chooses books with these intense, competing needs in mind. Finding a bedtime story that will nurture all five? There are days when that seems impossible. Will it work for the child who needs to wiggle? Will the pictures be engaging without being overstimulating? Is it simple enough for the little ones but still interesting enough for the older ones?
Earlier this year, I was visiting with family in Arizona and offered to hang out in the Sunday school rooms at an Orthodox church in Northern Scottsdale. I often do this when I travel, so I can meet new Orthodox kids and do one of my favorite things—share books with them.
Grace is not a concept or a declaration of innocence; rather, it is the uncreated life of God that flows from Him naturally and eternally. It is a real and concrete participation in the divine life that God has desired to share with us from the beginning.