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On Raising Savages: Potty Training

By Kris Green




My daughter doesn’t like to hold my hand. Maybe it has something to do with having a big brother who has decided it is his job to boss her around all day. There’s also a fire in her—something that glows bright from her birth. My daughter came out of the womb a savage. I held her as a baby and rocked her, telling her I knew the fire in her heart because I too have that fire. I pressed her close and said, “You will fight me, but I am more stubborn and hardheaded than you.”

My father-in-law surprised me as he erupted in laughter. I didn’t know he was in the room. But he, like others in the family, sees why my little Natalie is known among us as the Thunder-Maker.

We were worried about potty training with her. Tenny, my son, took to it quickly a few months before he turned two. The common cliché is that boys are easier than girls. It’s usually right. Girls are complicated creatures. While in many ways my son and I are capable of a lot of feats, I see in my daughter and in my wife the capacity for more love and more goodness than I possess.

She doesn’t like to hold my hand because, in some ways, she’s fighting for her independence. She’s stubborn. She wants to go her own way.

 

 

Jonah is a weird book in the Bible. It doesn’t flow along with the other books of the prophets because it’s more narrative in nature. The other prophets may have a touch of narration, but overall, it’s bleak doom and gloom with a dash of prophecy.

Jonah doesn’t follow the status quo in this regard. I’ve even heard the book described as a comedy, which makes sense considering Jonah is absurd:


God calls Jonah to go to Nineveh.

Jonah gets on a boat going in the opposite direction.

God sends a storm.

Jonah goes to sleep beneath the boat.

God indicates to the other sailors it’s Jonah’s fault for the storm.

Jonah says throw me overboard.

God sends a large fish to swallow Jonah.

Jonah sits in that fish in a divinely ordained time-out until he relents, repents, and then gets thrown up.

Jonah goes to Nineveh.

 

It’s a comedy.

 

 

POTTY TRAINING TIP 1: PLAN AND SET ASIDE A TIME

The biggest mistake of people in my life who are undertaking and failing the potty-training process is the failure to plan.

You need the whole family on board with the process before it begins.

For me, I listened to almost a dozen audiobooks before landing on one that clicked for me. It also helped that it was called, Oh Crap! Dad’s jokes aside, Jamie Glowacki’s book helped my family immensely. Might not be for you. You know your household.

I bought the book. We read it and executed it with Tenny, mostly. There were things that we modified slightly for our household per our pediatrician’s advice. But then again, by day three, he was using the potty regularly. The diapers were gone. My wife is the superhero of potty training. I was working then. But we prepped on my role, and it even came down to what specific things we should say when our children used the potty.

Once the family unit is on the same page, then one of the parents needs to take the week off. Dedicate the week to potty training.

We decide that my daughter’s potty-training week will be around Thanksgiving. My wife is already off, and we cancel all family plans and focus on getting rid of those diapers.  

We felt strongly in September that my daughter could do it. As a parent, you see your child in ways that no one else does. You see their stubbornness and what they are capable of more often than they do. As you know intimately, you plan not a general game plan, but a specific one for them. You see what obstacles will get in their way and what obstacles you decide to keep (like having them start the week without clothes) and what to remove (like an older brother who might say something discouraging). The goal is set. You direct. You plan. You guide.

It helps seeing an older sibling using the potty. There were times when my daughter had taken off her diaper and asked to be put on the potty. But that was an exception, not a rule. It doesn’t mean she was potty trained because she did it a few times. For her, doing that was no different than building blocks or holding her dolly. It was a game. It was our job as parents to turn a game into a lifestyle.  

Once we dedicate time to it, we know as a family what we are going to do. We talk to my son about it and encourage him to keep his mouth shut when his sister is going potty. We reject invitations for playdates and Thanksgiving dinners. We live for a week in full submersion in this necessary task.

 

 

Nineveh is the capital city of the Assyrian Empire. The Assyrians are no joke. They are a thorn in the Israelites’ side and have been for a long time. They have also perfected a torturous death for their day. Granted, each new kingdom that comes into power takes torture to the next level—just look at the Romans and crucifixion.

But the Assyrians learned how to prolong the pain for a long and excruciating death by impaling people. It wouldn’t just hurt the victim, but those who loved those poor souls. It would devastate someone to know your loved one took days of torture to die. It would change your heart. It would change your world.

We don’t know about Jonah and his past relationships with the Assyrians. Context is everything in a comedy, and sometimes a good joke is what you leave out as much as what you put in.

But it’s safe to say that Jonah has a personal stake in the matter. Maybe he had a relative killed by the Assyrians. Maybe it was someone close to him. Maybe it was a culture of hate that he was ingrained in. Maybe it was something more.

So, what is God doing when he picks Jonah?

Anger is a normal emotion. Paul says be angry but don’t allow anger to be an excuse to sin. Anger by its nature is a temporary emotion. Someone cuts you off in traffic. Someone makes a thoughtless comment. Someone points out that you haven’t lost that holiday weight yet…

It’s also been said that anger is a secondary emotion. The event happens and people experience pain or fear. If we don’t deal with the pain or fear immediately or aren’t even aware of it, then it becomes anger. Anger is temporary. You can’t be angry forever. But left alone, it turns into hate.

Hate is a dangerous emotion. Hate left unabated manifests in resentment, unforgiveness, and even overwhelming despair. It’s almost as if Jonah is sitting in a dirty diaper of hate.


 

POTTY TRAINING TIP 2: PREP FROM THE BEGINNING

Potty training is a process that breaks the habit of the diaper, trains the child to recognize what is going on inside their bodies, and then changes their behavior. It’s going to be a challenge. People who say it was smooth are usually lying unless they have a game plan and follow it through.

Prep from the beginning by doing your best to not allow the baby to sit in a dirty diaper for too long. If the baby is used to feeling a wet diaper, it makes your life harder. The baby gets used to that wet diaper and eventually, it’s not a big deal to the baby.

You know your baby more than anyone. You know your household more than anyone. What obstacles are you expecting to face? What distractions? How do you talk about those problems? Prep. For me, I’m a list person. I make a list of obstacles or potential obstacles and plan on getting around them.

Initially, the first four days are more than likely going to be the most critical. So, if crazy Aunt Sally disrupts your household’s feng shui, maybe don’t let her come over during that week.

Know your challenge as you go into it and be ready. The child will rebel. That’s okay. You got this! There will be challenges. You got this! There will be pee on the floor. You and your antibacterial wipes have got this!

 

 

Jonah is furious. God calls him up and tells him to go to Nineveh.

God says, “Their wickedness, their evil actions, their selfishness, their bickering over political parties, their urine on the floor, their racism, their sexism, their lies, their stealing, their disregard for human life, and how they treat their animals upsets me. Go preach. Tell them I know what they’re doing.”

Jonah doesn’t.

God doesn’t say tell them to repent. Maybe it’s implied, but he doesn’t give doom or gloom warnings. There’s no indication Jonah is to be a street preacher or someone standing on a corner with a folded cardboard sign reading: “The End is Here!”

All God says is to tell them I know what they’re doing. Remind them about me.

Jonah knows of the Assyrians. Jonah knows the fear they spread. Jonah knows their evil ways. Is it that fear that makes Jonah turn the other way? No, I don’t think so. It’s something else. 

When the people of Nineveh do repent, Jonah says, “This is what I knew would happen!”

Jonah hates the people of Nineveh so much he would rather them die in their evil than know God and find salvation and hope. Jonah knows the Assyrians by more than just reputation, by something more. Jonah has more than just a passing disgust for the Ninevites. Jonah has a long-lasting hate for them. That hate bears the mark of a personal injury.

That’s not fear speaking inside of Jonah’s heart. It’s hate. It’s a stubborn refusal to let go of what has happened in the past. Jonah, stubborn to the core, in his resolution, hears God’s call to go and turns the other way.

 

 

Natalie cries. Urine trickles down her leg onto our floor. Luckily, our floors are covered in dirt and crumbs and general grossness more often than not. Having two kids under the age of five means you’re probably safer wearing socks around the house.

It’s confusing for Natalie at first. She understands the concept of potty training. She understands pee-pee goes into the potty. But to recognize it before it comes out is a little trickier.

My wife grabs her as soon as the urine starts and sits her forcefully on the potty. Often, in my house, you can regularly hear my wife coaxing my daughter or son to do something: “Put the dish in the sink,” “Put the clothes in the hamper,” or “Brush your teeth.” With potty training, it’s the opposite. It’s forceful. You plop the kid on the potty.

It can be confusing for the baby, who would rather play than do that. Little kids get distracted easily. The whole focus of potty training is usually on getting the child to use the potty, but the effort goes to the parent, who has to dedicate the time to watch and focus solely on the child to help them correct their behavior.  


 

Hate and resentment can become a habit.

There are so many things that become a habit in our lives that it’s kind of scary. Turning on the coffee pot when you first wake up is my most blatant habit. But waking up early, reading, writing, and running are all habits I’ve formed over the last few years.

Habits form for our brain to allow itself to go into default mode. If the brain knows the next activity, it shifts into second gear while you move into your habit. Developing the habit of running means less willpower exerted because you’ve trained your body that you’re not going to stop, so the brain does it and you start to think about it less.

Jonah has allowed hate to be the habit of his heart. Stubborn to the core, he gets on a ship going in the opposite direction of God’s calling. God sends a storm. Jonah decides his fate is sealed and goes to sleep on the boat. 

Jonah would rather die than allow the possibility for the Assyrians to know God. There’s the resentment speaking; he would rather die than see forgiveness manifested in someone else’s life. Jonah feels wronged.


 

          

POTTY TRAINING TIP 3: BE MINDFUL OF DISTRACTIONS

The week of potty training is consumed with a lot of baby booty running around the house, as the child to be potty trained starts the week naked. Just as Jonah runs from God, so too will your child—with a flash of booty—run from you.

My wife arranges it so that each day, a different person takes my son out of the house. We operate knowing that if my son is there, he'll influence and potentially slow down the process. Not that all he might say will be negative. But the voice my daughter needs to hear is not his, but a parent’s, my wife’s guiding and leading and encouraging words to drown out anything else. My wife’s loving voice will interpret the situation for her. My daughter should not be leaning on her own understanding of the situation but be guided. My son jumping up and down on his sister while she is trying to use the bathroom will distract her from what she is learning to do—listening to her body.

Not that my son is gone the whole time or even most of the time. But we limit his exposure until we are sure it’s just enough of a distraction that my daughter can handle.

My wife puts away her phone and has to be careful about what she cooks or what she does, because the second she looks away from my daughter, there is a good chance our floor will be blessed with a splash of urine. We try not to do a lot of TV or even technology regularly, but even then, it is off or restricted to music for the week.

The focus of the week is for my wife to be one-on-one with our daughter. Guide her through this. As my wife watches my daughter, she starts to see signs my daughter is about to go potty. Then my wife ushers her there.

Distractions take away from the focus of this big change. My wife has to isolate my daughter to get her to understand what is going to be the next big avenue of growth in her life.

This also means, sometimes, you’re sitting with your child on the potty for hours waiting for the dreaded poop. There are little to no distractions. Just the two of you looking at each other—nowhere to run.

For any task to be completed, the environment must be put in place.

 

 

Jonah gets swallowed by a big fish and put into a divinely orchestrated time-out.

Jonah sits in darkness. Various noises of other sea creatures scare him. The fish’s stomach is digesting and maybe even burns his skin. I wonder even if the stomach acids bleached his skin a little. And if it did, would it have made him more effective at preaching in the streets of Nineveh?

Jonah could have stayed in his normal life. He could have kept the bitterness up. Occasionally trashing a piece of lawn furniture in a temper tantrum started by nothing more than his wandering mind. Jonah could have stayed sedated in front of his TV. Jonah could have ignored everything around him and just kept going. Jonah could have insisted that wearing his dirty diaper of hate was better than being potty trained.

God doesn’t want Jonah distracted. He wants Jonah engaged in this Divine project. Jonah isn’t given the opportunity to allow distractions to take him away from what God has called him to—Jonah is forced to come to the end of himself in that fish. I imagine the inside of that fish smells just as bad as a dirty diaper.

We don’t know if God speaks. Maybe words aren’t necessary. Maybe God is holding Jonah, speaking in a loving fatherly tone, “I am more stubborn than you and I will outlast you.”


 

POTTY TRAINING TIP 4: CONSISTENCY 

My daughter, when upset, stands with her little arms at her side and her head lowered so we can’t see her face. When she is upset, we know.

The key to potty training is there’s no going back at this point. She’s learning a new habit. She’s learning that there is something more about what we’re doing. She’s a little excited, but for her, there’s also a weird comfort with wearing a diaper.

My son has never taken a swing at me, but my daughter has. It’s a shock to have someone who isn’t even two try and punch you. That’s my girl. She wants to fight. She wants to resist. Weirdly, I love this savage spirit within her.

My wife doesn’t tiptoe into potty training. It is an all-out assault on Natalie’s habit of going to the bathroom in a diaper. We need something drastic to get her attention. So, we dedicate the time. We sacrifice time and energy.

If the diaper comes back on, we’re going in the wrong direction.

Like discipline, like teaching, like everything—we act consistently. The child depends on that, and it helps them to learn and grow and develop. The child learns our nature and we go with this big change together.

It’s rocky at times. I wish there were more stories about how my wife battled the will of my little Thunder-Maker, but I think my wife would tell me now that overall it went pretty smooth. Not that it was, but once you go through the trial together, the challenges form the bond.

My wife, in being consistent with expectations, helps create a platform for my daughter to rise to a new level of expectations. My daughter’s strong personality and her will can’t derail my wife’s consistent and loving voice. This is why it is important for my wife to do it and not me. My daughter would take a swing at me, not at my wife.

The expectations don’t change. My daughter knows what she is going to get when dealing with my wife. The challenges that arise don’t last long because of my wife’s consistent nature. After each successful potty use, my wife says, “Doesn’t your belly feel better?”

My daughter, who gets aggravated sitting on the potty waiting for pee or poo to come out, not fully understanding why she is sitting there, cries or fights. My wife holds her, talks to her, loves her—but more importantly, does not remove my daughter from the potty.

My wife is a superstar. She keeps her temper in check. She keeps the tone of her voice consistent. She keeps firm when my daughter runs in the opposite direction of the potty. My wife doesn’t play on her phone or put on the TV—she keeps herself available and consistent so that as my daughter turns to her, she sees my wife acting the same as she always does.

You see, when you do this, the child learns to trust in that consistency. The child learns everything is going to be okay because they know what they’re going to get. Even if that means a time-out, there is a consistency when it comes to consequences. If we lose our temper or lose focus on the task, all is lost.


 

Let’s backtrack. Before Jonah has to confront God in that fish, no one notices him sleeping on the boat asleep in his dirty diaper of hate.

If you’re arrested for a crime you didn’t commit, do you imagine you would sleep well in the prison cell? Guilty people sleep. Innocent people stay awake and fret.

When the crew discovers Jonah, Jonah comes clean. The crew isn’t interested in what is going on in Jonah’s life. They want to know who this God is that can command the wind and sea.

Jonah executes the first of what will be many lackluster declarations of who God is. “Oh yeah,” he sighs and waves his hand, “you know, I follow the God who’s in charge of the sky, the sea, the land… pretty much everything. You might as well just throw me overboard.”

Probably afraid of offending God even more, the crew doesn’t want to do that. But this is where it gets interesting: in Jonah running from the will of God, the crew of this boat comes to believe in God. They forsake their beliefs because Jonah is there with his lackluster explanations and his ultimately futile mindset explaining, “I’d rather be dead than to see an Assyrian come to know God.”

Without much choice, the crew throws Jonah overboard.

Jonah must reckon with the faithfulness of God. God doesn’t yell at Jonah for not getting it. He should. He seems to do that to Job. God doesn’t change his expectations either. God says, “Here’s the expectation. Go.” Then God doesn’t change.

Jonah is aware of God’s consistency. We get a glimpse of this at the end of the book when Jonah says that he knows God is “gracious and compassionate, slow to anger, abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity” (4:2).

Jonah can rebel. Jonah can run away. But there’s something beautiful about this, because even though Jonah knows (fears?) God will forgive the Assyrians, Jonah runs knowing the grace is there for his own forgiveness, too.

Much like my kids when they disobey, God, in his consistency, puts Jonah in time-out. It isn’t that God is finished with Jonah. Jonah still has a lesson to learn. But Jonah knows the same grace, love, forgiveness, and peace that God offers Jonah’s enemies are offered to Jonah, too.


 

POTTY TRAINING TIP 5: WORDS MATTER

It is estimated that at least 70 percent of our body language is nonverbal. It’s hard to focus on the nonverbals, and they can often be distracting. Sometimes the mere presence of someone can make you feel uncomfortable.

Hence, we decide for my son not to be around his sister during this time. He thinks he is her boss. Not that I’ve met a four-year-old with tact, but he lacks it almost completely. He’s clever when he wants something and outright brutish if he’s upset. Either way, he would be a distraction.

When my daughter struggles, it isn’t condemning words she needs to hear. It is either something supportive or, sometimes even more importantly, no words at all. The important thing about words and body language all comes down to expressing what is going on inside your heart. For my daughter, she learns how much she is loved and is encouraged to press on in this new venture. My wife, in praising her and speaking to her with words of life, reinterprets a situation that may be scary or upsetting into something new and good.


 

The habit of hate is broken by God’s discipline. Sure, the resentment is still there. But Jonah must reckon with dealing with his Abba Father. We’re not talking about healing Jonah’s soul. Jonah is still hurt and still in pain, but like all of us, that brokenness is where the Spirit of God wishes to grow within us. That is the place where God is working in our lives. Yes, we will resist, but in that resistance, if you listen carefully to the whispering voice of the Divine, you can hear, “Fight me, but I’m more stubborn than you.”

It’s the same with potty training, where you replace one habit with another. Jonah is forced to realize that he’s not the master of his ship. Jonah is not in control. He fought. He ran. He lost. So Jonah relents. He learns my Family Rule 2: “You are not the boss”.

The environment of that fish changes Jonah’s heart a little. Not entirely. Later, God will use an illustration to show Jonah how God sees the matter.

Then in all unpleasantness, the Lord commands the fish. The fish vomits Jonah onto the shore.

 

 

POTTY TRAINING TIP 6: ENFORCE YOUR WILL UNTIL IT BECOMES THEIR WILL

We have five family rules in the house. Rule 1: “You are loved unconditionally.” As parents, my wife and I are aware we model their view of God. We do our best to be intentional in modelling the love and faithfulness of God through our actions. Consistency is comforting to kids. They know what to expect. They grow to depend on it. My son knows if he and his sister fight, they are both getting a time-out. My son knows if there’s no cause for him to hit his sister and he does, there are consequences. In the same frame, if my son does something courageous or loving or challenging for him, he is rewarded. My children know what to expect from us.

It’s the same with us and God. We know what to expect. We reap the rewards of faithfulness even when we don’t always earn them. We accept that we are loved unconditionally. Though it is difficult to swallow sometimes. We’re human and can only finitely understand this. But there is something beautiful about allowing your heart to understand this as a parent and to ask God to help you understand it as his child.

Rule 2, as mentioned above, “You’re not the boss.”

These two rules our children must know before they go to kindergarten. They must know these things above all else.

Time. Patience. Praise. The child succumbs to your will. Sometimes it takes more. Sometimes it’s a time-out and smack on the butt. Sometimes there’s more crying than not. A good parent can see the expression on the face of their child and know what is going on in their heart. A good parent knows what’s going on inside their child’s heart and guides it.

I wrestle often with the love and faithfulness of God. So much of my life thrives on momentum. Eating right and being healthy is on momentum, and if I derail, it’s often a lot of time where I’m feeling more like I’m sitting in the belly of a fish rather than preaching in the streets. It’s by trying to embody that divineness for my children that I get a glimpse of Abba God’s heart. It’s only there as a parent that I really grasp the potentially unbridled, wild, and freeing love of my Father in heaven.

It’s a lot more than just, “Jesus loves me for the Bible tells me so.” It’s an unending internal openness of arms and willingness to hold me through the tough and treacherous times.

You can’t enforce your will if you don’t know your children. You can’t enforce your will and have it received if your children don’t know what to expect from you.

My daughter is a thunder-maker. She is a savage. She wants to rebel more than my son does.

Time. Patience. Praise. The child learns the consistency of the parent’s heart and knows and trusts what is to come. The expression on my daughter’s face, the small twitch of the leg—my wife sees potty is coming, often recognizing the signs before my daughter is aware of them. My daughter sees the pattern of my wife lifting her to put her on the potty as the pee begins to trickle. My wife knows the consistent times when my daughter has to poop and rather than wait for it to come, my wife sits her on the potty and waits. Time. Patience. Praise.  


 

         

Jonah walks from one side of Nineveh to the other. He mumbles, maybe spits the words God has told him. He has no charisma. He has no charm. He stinks of fish guts. Nothing is appealing about him.

And yet, people repent. In fact, it seems that everyone Jonah encounters repents and comes to know God. Was Jonah’s message more compelling because he stank? Probably not. But God works in our hearts and moves us to places for which we don’t always bargain.

When Jonah’s done, he sits outside the city and waits for God’s destruction. God allows a plant to grow and gives him shade, then allows a bug to eat the plant. Jonah, a little more melodramatic than necessary, cries out, “It’s better if I were dead!”

This is the same melodrama parents deal with when our kids cry because they have to finish their veggies or it’s bedtime. “It’s better if I were dead!”

God speaks to him again. The plant growing is like one kingdom growing and then another taking it over. God inquires of Jonah why he cares more about a plant than the thousands of people in the city who are destined to die. Not just die, but they’re evil people. They’ll spread their evil if they can. God asks Jonah why the plant is so much more important than people who are perishing?


 

If I’m home when my son wakes in the morning, he finds me. I wrap him up in my arms and hold him tight on the couch. He puts his head on my chest. Sometimes, we talk, but often there’s no need for words.

I get him breakfast. When my daughter wakes, she calls for her mom. My wife stirs and gets her. They come down. I swoop my daughter into my arms and often, she puts her head down on my shoulder. She knows my love, unconditional. It’s in those moments, she knows she will fight me, but doesn’t have to—not all the time.

The beauty of the story of Jonah is like potty training – it’s messy. Jonah disobeys. Jonah runs. But God doesn’t just move Jonah to do something good for his soul but nurtures it. Like my wife having to make Natalie the complete focus, Jonah takes God’s focus and attention. God isn’t being spiteful, although Jonah might’ve said as much. God, in his love, is working to teach Jonah what to do with that hate—release it and flush it down the toilet.

 

 

In providing a plant to give Jonah shade, God is creating more than just an illustration of his heart for the Assyrians.

The plant shows Jonah that God knows how to nurture him. The hot sun burns his skin and makes him feel horrible. But under the plant, Jonah finds shade. That shade is more than just nourishing, it is life-giving.

We don’t know how Jonah responds. Has the habit of hate been broken? We don’t know. We hope. Is God working in Jonah’s heart toward forgiveness? Is God chipping away at that resentment?

Jonah is dragged to the door of forgiveness. Jonah is forced to reckon with his pain. Jonah cries and rebels and acts much like a baby learning to potty train. God rocks him gently and says, “You will fight me, but I am more stubborn and hardheaded than you.”

I don’t grab my daughter’s hand when we walk anymore. It’s a struggle if I grab her hand. She tugs it free using her little fingers to twist and turn it loose. I grab her wrist. Isn’t that why handcuffs go on the wrist and not the hand? She can’t break free when I hold her wrist tightly. It would be nice to hold her hand, but sometimes, when a child is stubborn, you need to hold the wrist to guide them.

God allows the plant to grow and gives Jonah something to shade him from the burning sun of hate. In that shade, Jonah discovers that God gives and takes away. Jonah is not the boss. Jonah is along for the ride. But maybe it’s more than that. Jonah’s heart begins to see that maybe God loves him unconditionally. Inside Jonah’s heart, he sees that there is no pain God cannot forgive and heal. The habit of hate and resentment are broken by the ever-loving consistency of the Divine.



 

Going Deeper


What things in my heart smell like a dirty diaper?


Throughout the Bible, God is used as an illustration of a parent to a child. Sometimes our parents fail us. Are there things that happened in our childhood that might’ve hurt how we see God? Are there wounds our parents caused that we need to reckon with to help purify our view of God in our hearts?


Sometimes, we live with pain in our hearts. Everyone carries their burden. This is often the spot where God wants to work. Take time, journal, and pray, asking, “God, where in my pain, do you want to work?”



 
Kris Green lives in Florida with his beautiful wife and two savage children. When he isn’t working his day job or writing at the crack of dawn, he’s spending time with them.
Kris has a bachelor’s degree from Trinity College of Florida in counseling. He’s been published over forty times in the last few years by the wonderful people at Nifty Lit, The Haberdasher: Peddlers of Literary Art, In Parentheses Magazine, Route 7 Review, BarBar Magazine, and many more. He’s won the 2023 Barbe Best Short Story and Reader’s Choice Award for his short story, “Redemption.”
While he often feels like he’s not qualified enough to give parenting advice, he began writing these observations within the last few years about what it means to be a father and trying to be strategic in his parenting. He’s not an expert. He doesn’t have teenagers and the headache that that encompasses. He’s not any more than a lifetime learner who upon hearing that his wife was pregnant, downloaded any book he could get his hands on about pregnancy and parenting. He is driven to do right by his kids and guide them to be as strong as possible in a world that only seems to want to hurt and steal from them.
Kris has been called quirky and unorthodox. Once, he asked someone who works with him to take out his hearing aid and allow a video of him to talk about the importance of not playing the television at max volume for his three-year-old. While he was declined his request, he is usually met with a sideways smile and a shake of the head.
Kris has been wrecked for Christ for over twenty years now. He originally went to school to be a pastor, but God closes doors and guides hearts.

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