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Jesus Needs New PR

Thoughts on raising Elias

Without me knowing, Jessica snapped the above picture of me talking to Elias. As you can tell, the conversation is serious. At least, for one of us. :)

So far, Jessica and I use the “time-in” method when we need to get Elias’s attention.


It’s like a timeout, except one of us stays with him for the sixty to ninety seconds and talks to him.

The above conversation went something like this…

“Elias, when Mommy and Daddy ask you to sit on your bottom in your rocking chair, we expect you to listen. We don’t want you to get hurt.”

Sometimes he looks at me. Sometimes he watches my eyes blink and then blinks back at me.

Mommy and Daddy love you. We’re here to help you, Elias.”

Sometimes he looks around and I have to ask him to give me his attention. Sometimes I have to fight back laughter because his facial expressions are priceless.


“You know you’re not allowed to stand up in your rocking chair, don’t you?”

Sometimes he gets mad and swings his hands at me or tries to bite my wrists…

But I don’t leave. I stay with him. I don’t let him bite me. But I stay.

When his time is up, I look at him and say, “Mommy and Daddy love you so much, Elias. And that’s one of the reasons we want you to sit on your bottom in the rocking chair. Because we love you. And nothing will ever change that.”

And then we hug.

I realize Elias doesn’t understand half of what I say to him. But the other half of what I say and do during that time he does understand. And that’s the ‘half’ that matters to me.


As the situations change, I’m sure Jessica and my methods of parenting will change a few times (or many times) throughout Elias’s childhood. But my prayer is that, as we raise Elias, no matter what happens, Jess and I will be flexible, consistent, grace-dependent, hopeful, and love-filled.

But most of all, present.

Comments read comments(23)
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Amy M. Fry

posted March 30, 2010 at 9:53 am

Matthew & Jessica,
Keep on keepin’ on. “Present”, Grace-filled (and you’ll find you won’t be all the time, sorry), Loving, Consistent… are the most incredible gifts you can give to Elias Jude, other than the life you’ve already given him.
I had such joy raising my boys, one is now a 27 yr old police officer with a wife, 2 stepkids, and 2 little girls of his own, the other is a 20 yr old college student, working full time in computer support. VERY different characters/personalities on these boys, VERY different styles in dealing with them. But the constants remained the same.
Both walk with Jesus and I couldn’t be prouder of them.

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Brandon Gilbert

posted March 30, 2010 at 10:05 am

Excellent! This echoes mine and my wife’s sentiments exactly. We have a 9 month old and while he’s not doing too much that warrants discipline yet, I try to talk to him as though he understands me, and most of all, I know he understands the love I give him. The hugs and kisses incite smiles, and he knows that Da Da and Ma Ma are there whenever he’s got problems!

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Jessica Turner

posted March 30, 2010 at 10:22 am

You are such a good Daddy. I love parenting with you.

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posted March 30, 2010 at 10:32 am

I had a similar conversation with my three year old Nate. His response to me explaining that jumping off the couch was dangerous and I didn’t want him to get hurt; was to stretch his hand out towards my chest and proclaim that he just blasted me with the Force. That was followed with, I love you and I won’t jump off the couch anymore. I thought I was going to turn blue and pass out from holding back the laughter.

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    Matthew Paul Turner

    posted March 30, 2010 at 10:33 am

    That is hilarious. Kids are so smart.

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Jaycee (E.A)

posted March 30, 2010 at 10:37 am

“But most of all present…”

Just like God is present as He watches us grow and progress from milk to solid food.

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pete wilson

posted March 30, 2010 at 10:53 am

You’re a great dad.

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Kevin Owens

posted March 30, 2010 at 11:27 am

That’s pretty awesome.

As the father of 4 (ages 15, 12, 4, 2), my biggest challenge is that when I correct my children for things like standing in a chair or bouncing on the couch or some other such “dangerous” behavior, the response is usually, “But daddy, you did it.”

At which point my wife puts me in “time in.”

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Michael Van Hal

posted March 30, 2010 at 11:34 am

Speaking of raising kids, I saw this and I thought if anybody would appreciate it, it’s Matthew Paul Turner. It’s a kid’s school play- they decided to re-enact Scarface.

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posted March 30, 2010 at 11:35 am

you guys are amazing… but believe it or not, elias understands MORE than half of what you’re saying. not that he totally knows how to apply it yet, but he understands. the best of all this is that he understands you and jessica will NEVER stop loving him or leave him.

great job, guys.

as for me… i just hang my kids upside down from the ceilings and lock them in their room for eternity. sometimes i beat them with a canoe oar from the garage sale next door. it seems to work for me.

different strokes for different folks, yo!

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RevJATB (KnowTea)

posted March 30, 2010 at 12:22 pm

You keep on keeping on. Early on in our parenting experience, we felt the pressure to do what all the other “good Christian parents” were telling us “good Christian parents” ought to do vis a vis parenting. I’ll give you a clue: there wasn’t a scrap of grace in it. God bless you as you are present in this child’s life. Don’t we have a Father who says, “Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you”?

(You can read my wife’s reflections on our parenting journey here:

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posted March 30, 2010 at 12:28 pm

absolutely precious. and as a nanny, i love your strategy:)

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leanna marie jackson

posted March 30, 2010 at 12:34 pm

it’s so nice and refreshing to read this. i have a one-and-a-half year old and lord knows, it’s trying to keep on the explaining when you don’t know if you’re getting through. but it is so worth it. they’re precious, learning, amazing little people. it’s fascinating to watch as they do begin to understand.

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Wes Howard

posted March 30, 2010 at 1:32 pm

I can’t wait for the blog when Elias gives up the pacifier.

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posted March 30, 2010 at 2:53 pm

I love this post. It’s exactly what I needed, after spending the day chasing my son around the house and letting my temper get the best of me. Thank you, for sharing!

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posted March 30, 2010 at 5:48 pm

Thanks for sharing this. We are not parents yet but when we are this is a great example. Thank you. And by the way your blog looks really good! Nice job!

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posted March 30, 2010 at 6:49 pm

Wow, this was a very sincere/heartfelt post Turner, I like this side of you, lol. No seriously, I like this “time in” idea. Our little guy just turned a year and it’s tough to know what to do along the lines of discipline, but I really like this. Never met you guys, but you both seem like awesome parents.

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Crystal Renaud

posted March 30, 2010 at 9:13 pm

love this.
good dad.

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posted March 31, 2010 at 8:11 am

My convo with Nephew and Niece was much shorter “Seats are for seats and not for feet.”

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posted March 31, 2010 at 4:04 pm

Wow, this was good. The part I hope he always remembers: that you’ll always stay with him. Such security in that.

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posted April 1, 2010 at 6:08 am

I love it, I love it, I love it…a time in. Relationship, discipline and love all rolled into one. No shame, no blame, no condemnation…beautiful!

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Lisa S

posted April 1, 2010 at 10:21 am

I did time out. I didn’t stay with my daughter (now ten and wonderful) but did let her stay there for however many minutes (depending on the age). I hadn’t heard of the stay with method. I like the concept with that. I had made a choice not to spank her…and you wouldn’t (or maybe you would…)believe the flak I got from various people for that!! She has grown to be quite a wonderful child, if I do say so myself. I’ve never spanked her, yet she knows when enough is enough. Even more importantly, her dad (whom I don’t live with) decided to be consistent with discipline and love.
It sounds like you and your wife are doing a fantastic job!

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