Entries by Nicole Balza

Begin the year with patience and grace

As an early elementary school teacher, I was both nervous and eager to begin each school year. Every new school year held so much promise. Yet beginning something new took such patience and hard work. I always knew that by mid-October all of the hard work would start paying off as individual students became a […]

Parenting a high schooler

Is your oldest getting ready to enter high school? It wasn’t so long ago when that’s where my wife, Joyce, and I were. The years go by so fast. It seems like just yesterday that it was kindergarten graduation, the first recital, the first game, and now . . . high school. Moving from eighth […]

Listening or compromising?

As a college professor, my “first day of class” activities are pretty standard. One of my favorite activities for a class primarily comprised of freshmen only takes a minute or two, but it generally produces huge benefits throughout the course of the semester. I have the students turn to someone in the class they don’t […]

“Where do your kids go to school?”

“Where do your kids go to school?” This common question always catches me off guard. It shouldn’t, of course, but it does. I answer—with some pride, but mainly apprehension—that we homeschool our kids. Thankfully, most reactions involve admiration and praise followed with general inquiry. However, some reactions have involved judgment, concern, and overall disapproval. Homeschooling […]

Honesty is a heart issue

This is a fascinating topic for me. A few years ago, I had the opportunity to identify my core values. Honesty is always in the top five for me. It is a no brainer. Recently I realized that honesty is not a core value for everyone. I was shocked. I wondered who wouldn’t have honesty […]

We need to ask, “Why is the child lying?”

One Sunday morning after church, I stopped for gas. Inside the convenience store, I bumped into a student I knew from the college where I teach. “What are you up to this morning?” I asked, making casual conversation. “A bunch of us are headed to Chicago for a concert,” he said. We talked about the […]

Jesus’ love drives out fear

“It must’ve gotten dinged in the parking lot.” That’s his story, and he’s sticking to it. But eventually the truth emerges: Your son took the car to the unchaperoned party, indulged in some underage drinking, and backed into a hydrant. I think lying, like so many sins, is born of fear. When we lie, we’re […]

Parenting guilt? You’re not alone.

We live in a society that reviews and re-evaluates just about everything on a regular basis. It feels natural to have that same critical mindset about our parenting. When we reflect on words we have said or things we have done, it’s easy to feel that we could have said or done something better. We […]

Moving past our parenting guilt

On a hot, sunny July day in 1994, my husband and I walked out of the hospital with our firstborn, bound for home as a newly-minted family of three. At the car, we struggled to wrestle our tiny, slumpy newborn into a gigantic car seat. Finally, too many minutes later and sweaty with effort, we […]