Christian Parenting Challenges Week 4

How has your week been? Have you struggled with your Christian parenting? Here are some challenges that we posted on social media this week, that can help you on your journey.

Monday: What will your kids remember from growing up in your home? It may not be what you think. The big expensive vacation may boil down to a conversation at a cafe or a day in the mountains to playing I Spy in the car on the way there. They will remember the way you lived your life as a Christian, how you treated them and others, your values and whether or not you lived them, the things you consistently said about God and others. Give them daily memories that will always point them to God. Those are the memories that really matter.

Tuesday: This man is very important in this city’s history. Yet even though someone told me his name and his story, I really couldn’t tell you much about him. Why? Because I haven’t spent a lot of time reading and learning about him. To me, he’s just a name. Jesus can be like that to your kids, too. They need to spend a lot of time learning about Jesus, what he said and did and what his father, God said and did. Otherwise it won’t transform their lives. Jesus will just be a name and a vague story or quote.

Wednesday: Sin is like poison and you should warn your kids and protect them from sin just like you would poison. They need to be taught what sinful thoughts, attitudes and behaviors are. They need to know the difference between a sin and a mistake – like missing an answer on a test. They need to be taught to guard their hearts against the temptation to rebel against God. Yes, grace is amazing, but it’s practically meaningless to your kids unless they understand sin.

Thursday: Food can be a great way to develop empathy in your kids. Part of empathy is understanding we have things in common with people who seem very different from us in some way. These foods are enjoyed by people in different parts of the U.S., but I enjoy them all and can create an instant point of connection with someone else who enjoys them. Breads are a great empathy builder. Bake or buy breads originally from other places. As you enjoy them, point out that in spite of the differences, they are all breads. Find other things your family has in common with people in those areas. Teaching empathy is the first step in loving others as we love ourselves…so have some fun working on empathy with your kids.

Friday: Smells are a strong memory trigger. Specific objects can have a similar effect on memory. It’s one of the reasons God gave the rainbow as a sign or memory trigger of His promise to Noah. Want your kids to remember important things from the Bible? Attach them to smells or specific objects and repeat the connection to your kids repeatedly over the years. Then when they encounter that smell or object, the memory of that concept or scripture will come flooding back.

Raising Holy Kids

Holy is one of those Bible words that we think we understand without actually being able to verbalize the definition. If we can’t explain to our kids what it means for them to be holy, they may struggle to be who God truly wants them to be.

Being holy doesn’t mean you or your kids are perfect. Christians understand without God’s grace and the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross we would have no forgiveness for the sins we (and your kids) will inevitably commit.

Holy is about being dedicated to God, being devoted to the service of God and being morally and spiritually “excellent”. When you read those dictionary definitions you may picture a well known minister or someone like Mother Teresa. It seems almost silly to try to teach your kids to be holy, when they struggle to even remember to not hit each other when they are angry.

It is possible to teach your kids to be holy, but first you will need to understand what it means and why it is important to God that His people be holy.1 Peter chapter 1 has a lot of detailed information about being holy. Read through it with your kids and discuss it as you prepare to help your kids become holy.

Actually teaching your kids to be holy involves helping mold their hearts. it is teaching them to make being a follower of God – a Christian – their number one priority in life. Not just a Christian in name only, but really trying to be like Jesus in everything they do.

You can also teach them to be holy by helping them find and develop their gifts from God. Then help them learn how to find those good works God has prepared for them in advance and help them to follow through and do those good works.

Finally, you can help your kids be holy by helping them have hearts that want to obey every command their King – God – has given them. It’s about good character, good choices, godly behavior, attitudes and words. Ultimately though, being holy and “excellent” morally and spiritually is about having a godly heart.

So teach your kids what it means to be holy. Then help them to become holy. It’s a wonderful Christian parenting goal.

Top Tips for Teaching Your Kids to Make Great Choices

One of the things that has become quite apparent in our world is that people have widely varying filters and methods for making decisions. What results is a wide range of consequences from disastrous to fantastic.

As a Christian parent you have added another dynamic to teaching your kids a decision making model. You want your kids to filter their options through God’s words and make a choice that pleases God.

There is actually a model you can teach your kids and help them practice as they are confronted by small and large decisions to make. With enough practice, they should be able to easily make godly choices as teens and adults.

1.When your child has a choice, help him/her practice the steps for making good choices.
2. Ask your child to state the question or problem that is creating the choice.
3. Have your child list all of the possible choices.
4. Have your child cross out any choice that would not make God happy.
5. Have your child cross out any ungodly choices he/she missed and explain why that choice would also make God unhappy.
6. Tell your child that although all of the choices that are left may be fine
with God, there still may be a choice that is better than the others.
7. Pray with your child about the choices that are still on the list.
Ask God to help your child make the best choice.
8. For each choice left on the list, have your child think of all of the good
things and all of the bad things that could happen from making that choice.
9. Encourage your child to make the best choice,
but do not make the choice for him/her.
10. If needed, talk with your child about what happened
after the choice was put into action.
11. Continue practicing these steps with your child until he/she is able
to go through the steps quickly if necessary and without your help.

Bible Verses To Share With Your Kids About Choices:
Proverbs 3:5-6 • Proverbs 16:9 • Isaiah 30:21 • Philippians 4:8 • Galatians 6:7-8 • I Corinthians 10:13

Teaching your kids to consistently make godly choices will take time. If you teach them well, however, you may find their teen and young adult years are much easier for everyone.

Christian Parenting Challenges Week 3

We hope you are finding having a printable post with the previous week’s Christian parenting challenges makes it easier for you to do some of the challenges (or share them with others!). Here are the challenges from this week.

Monday: In this town, the children are responsible for answering the bell to raise the bridge when a boat needs to come through the canal. It’s a huge responsibility, but helps them grow and mature. It also gives them a sense of connection to their community and a sense of purpose. Your kids need roles that allow them to serve others. Roles that require them to be consistent, dependable and at times make sacrifices – putting the needs of others before their own desires. Give them or help them find their own ongoing responsibilities for serving others.

Tuesday: Cheese has an aging process. The maker does his job, but it’s not until the cheese has aged for a time that he knows whether his efforts were truly successful. Christian parenting can be like that. It may seem like you are working with your kids on the same things over and over with few results. That work you are putting in now may very well show results days, weeks, months, even years from now as your kids mature. Keep doing what you know God wants you to do to parent your kids towards Him. Don’t give up! The results may just amaze you!

Wednesday: In flowers you can see hints of what may be to come, but you don’t see the full realization until the bloom is fully open. The rest is just potential. Each of your kids has God given potential to learn about God, discover, develop and use their gifts to serve Him and grow to be the person He created them to be. Gift discovery is a huge part of Christian parenting. Unfortunately, most Christian parents aren’t aware of its importance in building a strong faith foundation and helping their kids grow to their godly potential. We have lots of blog posts on our website and you can search for them by typing in gifts, talents and service. Help your kids reach that gorgeous potential God gave them!

Thursday: Are there sibling wars in your house? We have a free parent tip sheet to help you actively teach your kids how to resolve conflict in godly ways. Contrary to popular belief, kids don’t usually “figure it out on their own.” Teaching your kids how to resolve conflict in godly ways can not only end sibling wars, but have a positive impact on all of their future relationships, too. http://www.teachonereachone.org/…/TORO%20Tips%20for%20Kids-…

Friday: Your Church may not be as historic as this one where John Adams and his family worshipped, but it is your family’s church home. Unfortunately, after several months of online, virtual or Zoom church, your children may be confused about the importance of in person, “real” worship and fellowship when it’s safe again. It’s important to have regular conversations about the benefits of worshipping in person with other Christians. Your children will learn and grow the most spiritually in a real versus virtual church environment. It’s important they understand why, or this generation may walk away from in person fellowship entirely. (Note: We are not advocating worshipping together in person until health officials believe it is safe to once again fellowship in large groups indoors. The vaccine will Lord willing be here soon and allow us to resume normal worship practices.)

Great Summer Reads For Christian Kids and Teens

Summer often brings reading lists for kids and teens. This summer you kids may have more time for reading than usual. Why not give them some books that can help them grow spiritually, dream godly dreams or develop empathy for others?

The list below is not complete and not all are technically “Christian” books. They are all, however, books that will get your children thinking. Take advantage of the summer slow times and ask them to share with you some of the things from these books they particularly liked and others with which they are not sure they agree.

Not all of these books are appropriate for every child and many of these should only be read by teens. Please do your own research before giving your child a book to read. Older children and teens can find series like Christy Miller, which will satisfy their desire to read some quality fiction books.

Many of the books today have hidden agendas for promoting ungodly thoughts, attitudes and behaviors. Some of these your children will be forced to read in the process of their education. Providing books that encourage godly thinking and empathy can help counter some of these influences. (Of course, the Bible will always be the best counterculture tool you can ever give your child.)

Have fun reading this summer – some of these books I have enjoyed as much as our daughter did – you may want to read the same books yourself. If you find other great books for Christian kids, be sure and let me know. I would love to share them with other readers.