Entries by Nicole Balza

Helping our kids find role models

When I was a kid, I adored Olivia Newton-John’s character, Sandy, from the movie Grease. I wanted to be her. That perfectly flipped hair. That golden voice. That sweet, upright disposition. Then it all changed in the last scene of the movie. Gone were the sweater sets and pearls and out came the too-tight leather […]

Cherishing positive role models

As parents, I think we can all agree with the importance of Proverbs 22:6: “Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” The question is, “How do we train?” This has been what I have most appreciated about Heart to Heart. Parents are sharing […]

Use TACT to identify role models

Helping our kids develop discernment about the people they emulate is not a one-and-done conversation. The lessons we parents teach our kids about role models is more caught than taught over their childhoods. Like thousands of stone chips in a mosaic, numerous mini-conversations about role models create a portrait for our children of the kind […]

Helpful strategies for worshiping with children

Jesus said in Luke 18, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.” As parents with little children know, bringing their children to Jesus in worship can be quite a challenge. Our congregation went through a baby boom several years ago. […]

Children belong in church—mostly

Twenty years ago I wrote a column for Forward in Christ magazine titled Children belong in church. My kids were two and four, and though I believed what I wrote, it hadn’t stopped me from taking those two kiddos out of church. Multiple times. At least once, I remember hoicking one up under each arm—like basketballs, but […]

Involving children in worship services

I love having kids in church both as a dad and a pastor. I love it when kids recite the Creed putting emphasis on different words than I do. It helps me think about what I’m saying. I love it when they smile back at me during the Aaronic Blessing. It shows me how they’re […]

Staying focused on what matters

Christmas is my favorite time of year. I love the annual reminder that God loved us so much that he sent his son as a little baby to be with us here on earth and, eventually, to pay the price for our sins. My daughter came home from school recently, horrified, having learned that some […]

Christmas traditions point us to Jesus

“How many Lutherans does it take to change a light bulb?” “Change?! We’ve always had that light bulb!” Sometimes we Lutherans can get the reputation for being resistant to change. We’ve always parked in the same spot in the church parking lot. We’ve always sat in the same pew. We’ve always brought the same dish to […]

Go with God . . . even on the detours

Our life was going according to plan. My husband and I married a year out of college, purchased our first home, and two years later gave birth to our first child. Then it happened. God took us on our first major detour together. Our infant son had colic, reflux, eczema, and hernias due to muscle […]

Food allergies: A chance to show God’s love

My 14-month-old feverishly scratched at his face. Huge white blisters exploded across his chubby baby cheeks. His lips swelled. He spit the food out of his mouth. He vomited. After a trip to the E.R., we received the diagnosis—my baby had life-threatening peanut and tree nut allergies. So began a new phase of our life—a […]