Sparks of Hope – A Parenting Strategy


image courtesy of Trey Ratcliff-

The sermon at our church this Easter highlighted the hope at the heart of the Christian faith in an unusual way. The pastor showed a clip of the recent movie, “The Hunger Games,” in which President Snow is telling Seneca Crane, “Hope.  It is the only thing stronger than fear. A little hope is effective, a lot of hope is dangerous. A spark is fine, as long as it is contained.” I do not agree with containing hope. It is a tactic that is used to control and dominate, and the novel illustrates that quite well.

How can the concept of “containing hope” apply to parenting?

When we parent, we walk a fine line between setting limits and snuffing out hope. If you are parenting a middle school to teen-aged child, you will know what I mean. You may set limits and boundaries and enforce them consistently, but sometimes that process gets blurry, confusing and difficult.

What do you do when you suspect you may be confining too tightly, hanging on too long, or simply failing to give your developing human a chance to grow through decision-making?

You modify.

Think about the most contentious issue you are dealing with in parenting right now. It will be the one you argue with your child about most and it will be filled with emotion. Curfews, cell phone texts out of control, lying, avoiding responsibility for chores…the list can go on and on, but drill down to the most important. Identify it and now try to think about it backwards. Continue reading