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The No. 1 Most Glaring Hidden Truth About Millennial Parents

There is a secret I have been keeping from you. I attribute it to the lot my parents cast by placing me squarely into the millennial generation. (Well, old millennial, anyway. Some days, when my kids push my buttons, ancient.)

Do you want to know what it is?

I don't have any more of a clue how to parent than you did when you were my age. I'm simply making it up as I go along, relying on the best book I've found to provide my children with a moral framework and a lot of friends and family who successfully raised young people before me.

Sure, parenting in the 21st century presents plenty of challenges. You can see and hear an abundance of bad stuff at every turn. The technology and privilege of American life provide unlimited access to all kinds of vices.

But despite the fact that common sense isn't common, as one of my friends likes to say, there are still plenty of parents earnestly trying to do right by their children. They are raising them to be other-centric, hard-w…
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Adopting? Be Persistent

One boy broke into tears after a stray basketball bonked him in the head. A girl hung her head and slumped her shoulders after repeatedly aiming for the basket and failing to land a shot.

Such was the last session of a five-day youth basketball camp Micah attended this week. I worked through lunch and took a break early afternoon to watch the final day. Micah really wanted to show off his skills. He was the first youngster to rush to the center of the court and sit down at the coach's request. He hustled through all of the exercises -- dribbling forward and backward, carefully navigating around tiny fluorescent hubcaps, sprinting across the court.

I couldn't help but admire his persistence. Granted, he's my oldest son and I beamed when I saw how he respected and honored his coach by listening and following instructions. But beyond that, Micah and all of his teammates impressed on me the value of youthful energy and stick-to-it spirit. Sure, some of them cried and needing …

Don't Forget About Your Mamaw...

...because Mamaw never forgets about you. It's incredible to me that to this very day, Mamaw (aka my grandma, aka my mom's mom) still sends me handwritten letters. It isn't once in a blue moon. It's a good twice or more per month.

She has been doing this as long as I can remember, certainly since college began 14 years ago and probably earlier. Mamaw fights through arthritis and shaky hands, and she is extremely self-aware in her letters, apologetic for words that don't look quite right or the fact it has taken two or three days to piece together enough content sufficient to place in the mail. She is unafraid to admit loneliness after the passing of my grandfather this past November.

I love how she observes the world. A city girl who spent most of her life in the country, Mamaw is acutely aware of how the weather changes from day to day and shares as rain turns to ice turns eventually to mud puddles.

She is deeply empathetic. Her letters are filled with musings ab…

July 11: A Day Of Joy And Of Sorrow

Editor's note: My wife, Julie, surprised me this week with this guest post she wrote -- equal parts beautiful and heartbreaking --  to commemorate the anniversary of our embryo transfer. I should say her embryo transfer because she carried our amazing little girl for nine months. Thank you, sweetheart, for memorializing three precious lives and our experience. You are amazing. -Nate

Exactly one year ago today, after many shots, pills and privacy probing doctor’s appointments, we had finally arrived at embryo transfer day. I was so nervous on this day and hormonal! We had planned to have the embryologist thaw out two of the three embryos we had adopted for transfer. After I had gotten changed in the prep room into a hospital gown for the transfer, our coordinator brought us back a photo of the embryo that was ready to transfer. I remember looking at Nate in awe at the little ball of cells that would become a baby. Then the questions started forming in mind: What about the other one…

Empathy For Infertility

This post is purposefully brief. I have no experience with infertility personally, but I have tremendous empathy for couples that live with this reality every day.

I heartily encourage you to read a recent open letter on the subject of how to support couples facing infertility from Matt Arbo, director of the Center for Faith and Public Life at Oklahoma Baptist University, and author of the newly released book, Walking Through Infertility.

"Recognizing that many couples in your church community are struggling with this will invariably change the way you think about your community," Arbo writes in a guest post at

Think differently. Live with open arms for those whose experiences differ from your own. And offer your support and compassion at every turn.

Aren't You Afraid They'll Take Back Your Baby?

In many ways, raising and parenting a child whose genetic heritage is not the same as your own is no different than raising or parenting any child. All children have basic needs common to all people, including food and affection, as well as age-appropriate needs (e.g. diaper changes and burping).

But this unique form of parenting also raises some questions that wouldn't cross most parents' minds. One I've heard a lot is: Aren't you afraid that one day, your baby's placing family will decide they want her back and take her?

I want to assure you that if you are considering embryo adoption, you shouldn't let this fear haunt your decision. Let me explain why.

It is indeed true that in the case of conventional domestic adoptions, birth mothers have the opportunity to keep their baby rather than placing him or her for adoption. Adoption Network Law Center has done a nice job compiling the various state-level requirements for parental consent before an adoption can p…

Parenting With The Ghosts Of Times Past

If you have enjoyed the blessing of good parents, you probably have a collection of favorite memories you can bring to mind at a moment's notice. In my case, some of those memories include historic homes with empty corridors, long shadows and echoes of the past.

You see, I have always been drawn magnetically to a good ghost story. I grew up on the "Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark" series by Alvin Schwartz and the "Goosebumps" series by R.L. Stine. My dad purposefully chose allegedly haunted locations for family stays and tours -- among them, Hotel Colorado in Glenwood Springs, Colo., and the Whaley House in San Diego, Calif. Once during a summer back in Colorado from college, my mom scheduled a special tour of the Stanley Hotel in Estes park. We were the only ones on the tour.

It's OK if this sounds completely weird to you. It made complete sense to me. My parents knew what interested me and, rather than shying away from a young man's seemingly bizar…