Encouraging parents in their efforts to raise their children to be enthusiastic servants of the Lord.
Author: Thereasa Winnett
Thereasa Winnett is the founder of Teach One Reach One and blogger at Parenting Like Hannah. She holds a BA in education from the College of William and Mary. She has served in all areas of ministry to children and teens for more than thirty years and regularly leads workshops for ministries and churches. She has conducted numerous workshops, including sessions at Points of Light’s National Conference on Volunteering and Service, the National Urban Ministry Conference, Pepperdine Bible Lectures, and Lipscomb’s Summer Celebration. Thereasa lives in Atlanta, GA with her husband Greg, where she enjoys reading, knitting, traveling and cooking. Their daughter Katrina, who has been an integral part of their service adventures, attends Pepperdine University.
Probably the best thing to ever happen to photography and children was digital photography. Now parents don’t have to spend tons of money letting their children practice taking pictures only to end up with envelopes filled with unusable photos. Children can practice for hours at no cost (other than the camera) to the family budget. Your child has a better chance than ever of discovering and developing the gift of photography.
Many people enjoy taking pictures. Facebook is filled with photos depicting everything happening in the lives of our teens. So how do you know if this is a gift your child has been given by God to use in His Kingdom? In some ways you don’t. I am by no means a gifted photographer, but many of my photos have been used to promote missions, Bible classes and other things that glorify God. Sometimes a “good enough” photo, is good enough to be used by God.
For a few years after college, I lived in New York City. The congregation I attended was full of extremely talented people who were gifted by God in lots of ways. The thing I enjoyed the most though, was that the people there had found so many creative ways to use their gifts to glorify God. The experience opened my eyes to the many ways people are gifted by God and how they can use these gifts to serve God in an infinite number of ways.
Research is showing that the Church is losing its young people more rapidly than ever before. Not only that, but if a young person is considered creative or artistic, they are even more likely to leave the Church and in theory, God. No one knows for sure why and I am sure there are lots of reasons. I do think though, that the Church can be horribly slow in not only recognizing the gifts God has given our children, but also in finding meaningful ways for the children to use those gifts to serve God.
One of my favorite parts of any new year is listening to people talk about all of the crazy new diets they are trying. I especially enjoy the ones where people eat like “____”. I think I have heard everything from a Hollywood star to a “Paleo” to someone in the Bible. My guess is that each of these people represents people who were thin because they ate less and moved more in some fashion or another (personally I would hate to be the one who lived off of kale soup forever!).
What if, instead of focusing on what we eat (although, I could use a few more veggies in my diet) or what our children ate, we focused on really teaching our children to live like Jesus lived? Would it change the way the world views Christians? Would we and our children need to make drastic changes in our lifestyles? What would it even look like?
Maybe our house is unique, but it seems like a good portion of our yearly stress hits in November and December. Cooking, cleaning, entertaining, end of semester testing for our daughter, church and social obligations and a pile of other to-do’s means the period from Thanksgiving to the New Year is basically a blur. As mom/teacher, the end of the year is also when I have what I call my annual “panic attack”. I understand real panic attacks are a serious medical condition that call for medical attention. Although, my episodes probably don’t qualify as a classic panic attack, they are still very stressful.
I find myself questioning everything I have or have not done for my daughter. As she is in her junior year of high school, the questions seem to take on an even more serious tone. Did we choose the best subjects to study? Is she keeping up with students in other school environments? Is she developing a strong personal relationship with God? Do I push her too hard? Should she have more down time? More friends? Less friends? Different friends? The questions can go on for hours.
Young Married’s Class. Mothers of Preschoolers. Facebook. Twitter. Society has given us a structure where it is easy to find people who are just like us. It is somehow comforting to commiserate with others who are facing the same struggles we are. While I enjoy meeting people with similar interests and problems, there is a real danger in segregating yourself from people who are in a different place than you are in life.
The Bible tells us Joshua was Moses’ aide for many years before he began leading the Israelites himself. Ruth obviously admired Naomi and followed her council regarding Boaz. Esther depended upon Mordecai for advice as she navigated the world of the palace. The New Testament clearly instructs older men and women to train the younger ones.