Dirty construction worker holding slow sign“Sir…sir…SIR!!!” The lady behind me knocked me out of my trance as I stood staring off into space and daydreaming. I was standing in line at the grocery store, and the lady (who worked there) addressed me one more time. “Sir….you can use the ‘self check out’ lane to get through the line faster. There is no one over there so you can get right through.” I politely declined and told her that I do not mind waiting. I wasn’t in a hurry, and I could tell that the gentleman in front of me was not going to take long to check out.

When I told the lady that I can just wait, she gave me a very odd look. The look almost seemed to imply that she was surprised that I did not want to get through the line faster. I figured…I only had a bag of chips to buy so why do I need to rush? At that same moment, I looked up and, for the first time noticed the people around me who were at this store for the same reason. Every one of them seemed to be in a hurry and most of them strategically placed themselves in the shortest lines to get out of the store in the fastest time possible. Everyone had something to do and somewhere to be…and for some reason I felt as if God gave me the opportunity to see everything in slow motion…as if I were observing from the outside.

Where are we going? Many of us don’t know the answer to this question, but we all know we need to get their quickly. How many of us have the courage to simply stop and obey God’s command to “Be still and know that I am God”? I think slowing down and truly observing the world around you should be a Biblical spiritual discipline. When I die, I am going to start a petition in Heaven to make it official. It may be that we are afraid to slow down because we think that the world will move ahead of us, and we will be left behind. Maybe that’s what we need….to allow the world to leave us behind, and for us to separate ourselves from the drama, expectations, and activity of false living. By false living, I mean the type of life the world values as important.

Slow down…..take time to breathe and observe. In the midst of slowing down, God may want to tell you something. You know, the same God we assume doesn’t speak to people anymore? Yes…that God. Perhaps he is waiting for us to shut up and listen.

-Landon DeCrastos

My Observations as a Parent

parentingHere is the deal. I am no parenting expert, and I do not have enough experience to teach a parenting class. This is simply in response to the questions I keep hearing about my philosophy. I seem to get a lot of comments about my son and his behavior that are very positive. This is not meant to shame anyone, but to give you all encouragement and perhaps some new ideas. Ultimately, God gave us our children to lead and to help to equip them to be who He created them to be. So, here are a few things I have observed concerning the behavior of my toddler….using my son as an example.

Over stimulation breeds tantrums

Through a process of elimination, we noticed that the more television our son watches, the worse his behavior. For a while, we would turn the TV on every time he asked to watch a movie and for different shows we knew he liked. When I got home from work, my wife would inform me that he was not listening, throwing things, and yelling a lot. When we strictly limited TV…his behavior got much better. We have also seen this in other instances…when he is over stimulated with so many activities, sounds, and visual input this type of result occurs.

Diet can be a contributing factor to behavior

For my son, we were able to find a link between irritability and gluten. Also, as every parent knows, when a child ingests too much sugar things can get interesting. Too much sugar for a young child can make them unable to concentrate and make them angry.

Quality time improves behavior

This one is hard for me to talk about without getting a little teary-eyed. The fact is…when I put more emphasis on my work, meetings, and time away from home than my time with my kids…behavior worsens.  Quality and quantity are important. Enough said here…I am feeling too convicted.

Physical touch can neutralize

Hugs. Wrestling. Etc. Sometimes my son just wants me to embrace him. Sometimes sweaty boy play time cures a lot of issues.

Talk to your child…not in their vicinity.

I read a statistic the other day that said the average parent only spends 9 minutes or seconds (can’t remember which one) a day talking to their child directly with eye contact. There needs to be more of this in my opinion.

Say no….and mean it.

Sometimes I say no just because I like seeing my son whimper…JUST KIDDING.  But I do think it is important to say NO, and be consistent with the consequences and follow up. It is a respect issue.

From time to time…make a fool of yourself

I love playing with my toddler…like a toddler would play. With silly thoughts…imagination and made up settings. It is therapeutic for me, and during play time, my son gets to be leader and invite me into his world.

I love being a Daddy.

-Landon DeCrastos