The Art of Raising Tiny Humans: 10 Things Every New Parent Should Know

Consider this your parenting gut-check for the day.

By Brian Orme

Being a parent is no easy task. Every day we’re challenged with an onslaught of kid-questions, spills, messes and urgent decisions. It’s enough to make a sane person crazy, but it’s also an incredible blast. I mean, who else gets to lead a tiny army of adorable people into the world, right? With that in mind, here are some parenting tips to make sure you keep it together and help your kids grow in grace. Consider this your parenting gut-check for the day.

1. Stay Calm

Dont freak out. As a parent, its so easy to blow things up. Someone spills orange juice and we turn it into a national crisis. Chill out. Things are rarely as bad as they seem. There are exceptions, but they dont happen every day and they never have to do with orange juice or carpet.

2. Dont Argue About Stupid Stuff

Stick to the point. I dont know how many times Ive argued with my kids about little details like who said what and forgot all about the big lesson Im trying to teach them. Dont lose the big picture in the minutia.

3. Remember the Rule of Relationships

When your kids are young you can force them to get in the car seat and eat their veggies (well, kinda). When theyre older you need to parent by relationship. If you dont build a relationship with them when theyre youngyou will have no influence when theyre older and bigger than you.

4. Be Crazy

This is simple but its amazing how often we miss this parenting gem. Do something crazy and silly with your kids. Try a dance party, karaoke, crazy board games or just serenade them in the car. Your kids need to see the fun you. Dont save your fun side for your 20-year high school reunion. Those people dont care about you anymore. Its the little people in the car seats that count now. Impress them.

5. Invade Their Privacy

Yep, you read that right. I mean, Im sure theres a point when you can stop meddling in their drawers (not a good idea when theyre married), but in our house everything is free game. Why? Because I want to protect them and have the conversationsin the openthat need to happen around the dangers of porn, bullying, purity and social media. We make this clear upfront so its never a surprise.

6. Be Thankful

Gratitude spills over to others. If you build a culture of thanks and humility in your houseit will make a huge difference. Be thankful for the sunrise, your job, food on the table, your beat up car, music, hugs, grass on bare feet. Dont underestimate the power of thankfulness for small things (see Ann Voskamps amazing book 1,000 Gifts). The reverse of this is also true. If youre entitled then your kids will likely be the same. Dont raise mini-jerks.

7. Say Im Sorry

When you blow it, dont hesitate to go back to your kids and tell them you were wrongand the EXACT reason why. This could be the best way to model humility, authenticity and forgivenessby letting them forgive you.

8. Step Away From the Device

You kids need to see more than the back of your phone. One of my friends has a phone bag on his door and when anyone comes in his house they have to leave their phones in the bag. This may sound extreme, but it definitely models the value of relationships over technology.

9.Love Your Church

Whatever you do, dont make church about keeping the rules and walking the line. Why do we think so many kids turn away from church when theyre grown? Maybe its because we forget that church is a party about forgiveness and not a punishment for wayward sinners. If you love your churchand the peoplethat will spill over to your kids. Period.

10. Parent With the Gospel

Your kids need discipline, but they also need grace. Make sure and take every opportunity to remind them of who they were created to be and their deep need for a Savior. If your parenting is always about behavior, you lose. Make your parenting about the Gospel and Gods stunning grace for his kids.

Read more:

The Mob Is Pillaging Art From Italys Earthquake Zone

Thieves are risking their lives to steal precious paintings and unearth hidden treasures from Italys earthquake zone.”>

NORCIA, ItalyFather Marco Rufini wants to believe that a Good Samaritan took a 17th century painting by French artist Jean Lhomme from his parish church in Nottoria di Norcia after the latest in a series of devastating earthquakes that began in August and hit here especially hard in late October.

The 6-by-4-foot Pardon in Assisi, commissioned by Pope Urban VIII, had hung in the church for more than two centuries. It had only been removed once, when the church underwent a moderate restoration that quite obviously did not include implementing anti-seismic measures. And now its gone.

The last time anyone saw it was Oct. 25, on the eve of a string of earthquakes that leveled much of this area of central Italy last month.

I hold out hope that someone went into the church to save it, Rufini told The Daily Beast. Maybe they put it in a safe place and had to evacuate. Maybe they plan to return it when the earth stops shaking.

Sadly, Father Rufinis faith in humanity is very likely misguided. Patrimony police, along with Italys red helmet fire brigade force, a modern Monuments Men army specially trained to rescue precious works of art from disaster zones, believe it has been stolen.

It probably fell off the wall during the tremor and the bandits easily ran away with it, says a fire brigade member who recently was picking through the rubble of the church of San Salvatore for fragments of an ancient fresco. Weve found caches of art, silver and jewelry taken from destroyed homes hidden for later pickup all over the area.

In fact, bandits have been combing the area since August, picking through the rubble and pocketing whatever they can. Italys civil protection agency has had to deploy special anti-looting forces to guard over destroyed banks where people kept safe deposit boxes and homes known to belong to wealthy people. Owners have also returned to unsafe areas to guard their possessions from bands of thieves that Italians call jackals who often pose as residents to get into the area.

But its not just works of art that are going missing. In the tiny town of Montelparo, local police discovered that someone had broken into the storage room of a local bar. They left Champagne bottles and snack wrappers as evidence. They also stole the air conditioner and cleaned out all the coins from the slot machines. The bar owner had obtained special permission from the civil protection authorities to return to his property to empty out the storage container and remove the air conditioner so he could open a new bar. When he got there, it was already too late.

Since the first earthquake struck in August, jackals have been prowling the area to steal everything from sacred art to family heirlooms from the rubble, Nicola Alemanno, the mayor of Norcia, told The Daily Beast. They look for wall safes and jewelry boxes. Its a free-for-all

Authorities do what they can to patrol the area, but there are more than 100 small hamlets that have been affected and many of them have no residents left. Nearly 300 people died in the Aug. 24 earthquake that was followed by large tremors on Oct. 25 and again on Oct. 30, leaving many areas completely isolated.

The archbishop of Norcia and Spoleto, Monsignor Renato Boccardo, says it is impossible for authorities to watch every single house for looters. Whoever wants to go into a home or church can get in easily, he told reporters at a press conference in Rome last week. Each church in the area is filled with precious art works, ancient religious artifacts, and cash from the collection plate.

The fire brigades red helmets have removed thousands of paintings employing cranes and machinery generally used for human rescue. They have also covered frescoes with tarps to try to protect them from the rain and snow until they can be removed and reassembled. More than 5,000 churches and monuments were damaged or destroyed in the earthquakes.

The overall damage is thought to be in the billions of dollars, but authorities have not been able to put a price tag on what is missing from the destroyed area.

Most homeowners have been evacuated and are not allowed to return until authorities shore up the buildings and the civil protection agency gives the OK. Roads are blocked, but bandits simply traverse the open fields in the sparsely populated areas and pick through the treasures.

It adds insult to injury, Boccardo says. Especially when you consider that the good people cant go back to their homes while the jackals run free.

Read more:

Stepping Up: When This Mans Brother Died, He Took It Upon Himself To Discourage His Nieces Art Career

Grab a box of tissues, because this story is about to make you feel some big-time feels.

Two years ago, John Fitzpatrick got the most devastating phone call of his life when he learned that his brother Robert had died of a heart attack in his sleep. John instantly thought of Roberts 18-year-old daughter, Sophie, who was just starting to forge her path in life. Thats when this amazing uncle decided to step up in a seriously inspiring way: With Robert no longer there for her, John took it upon himself to discourage his nieces art career.

Okay, is someone cutting onions in here? Because were getting just a little bit teary.

Ever since his brothers passing, John has made it a point to call his niece every single Sunday evening to remind Sophie just how much her father loved her, how proud hed be if he could see her now, and how unstable a career in the arts can be compared to more traditional nine-to-five employment. Sophies true passion in life has always been drawing and painting, but thanks to her selfless uncles constant reminders that almost nobody actually ends up working their dream job, shes now just two years away from getting her BA in marketing!

I want Sophie to know that she can always depend on me, John explained, gazing tearfully at an old photograph of Robert holding his baby girl. But she cannot depend on freelance income, especially in a field as oversaturated and undervalued as the arts. Shes way too smart for that.

John has never faltered in his commitment to making sure his niece understands just how unrealistic it is to earn a living as an artist. Last summer, when Sophie landed an internship at a Brooklyn art gallery, John spent countless hours reminding her that New York is expensive, dangerous, and very far away from Ohio, before ultimately finding her a job doing administrative work for his friend instead. And when Sophie briefly considered getting a double major in studio art, her uncle pulled out all the stops, even going so far as to gain control of her late fathers finances so that he could temporarily withhold the semesters tuition check until she changed her mind!

Incredible! Is there an Uncle of the Year award? Because this guy definitely just won it.

While nobody can ever take the place of Sophies father, it is seriously heartwarming to see John step up to the plate like this. Sophie is so lucky to have an uncle she can always turn to for love, guidance, and stacks of brochures for MBA programs handed to her at every family holiday. Heres to you, John!

Read more:

FilmStruck is a streaming service for lovers of art-house films and foreign classics

It might be time for movie lovers to add another streaming service to their monthly subscriptions FilmStruck, a new service created by Turner Classic Movies.

Services like Amazon and Netflix are building up libraries of originals (starting with TV, but also including films), and theyrestriking deals to get high-profile new releases. But if youre a particular kind of movie lover, you might still feel that they come up short when it comes to the real classics fromHollywoods Golden Age, not to mention films from European and Asian titans like Ingmar Bergman, Jean-Luc Godard and Akira Kurosawa.

FilmStruck launched earlier this month, and you can watch a quick walk-through of the app in the video above.

The most exciting thing about FilmStruck is that its the new online home of the Criterion Collections library of art-house classics (formerly on Hulu). I still remember how my local video store used to have a separate shelf of Criterion DVDs (yes, it was kind of pretentious), and I guess we can think of FilmStruck as the online equivalent.

Current popular titles include Hard Eight, Blood Simple and Seven Samurai.

FilmStruck not only offers films, but also curated, thematic collections and special features. The service (currently available for iOS, Android and Fire TV, with plans to add more devices soon) costs $6.99 a month for a basic plan with limited access to Criterion films, or $10.99 a month for full access to the Criterion Channel.

Read more: