What a Garden Can Teach Kids About Faith

What a Garden Can Teach Kids About Faith - Parenting Like HannahWhen I was a child, our family had a garden about a half acre in size. It doesn’t sound like much for a yard maybe; but as a garden – it was huge. Besides providing our family with year around practically free fruits and vegetables, that garden taught us a lot of lessons about work, life and even faith.

You don’t have to have any yard to grow a garden. Life in New York City taught me about container and patio gardens. Really all you need is some dirt, some seeds or starter plants and an outdoor space. Let your children help plan the garden and buy the supplies. Their participation in the planting and care of the plants and seeds is crucial if you want to use the garden to teach your children some faith lessons.

The actual plants you use is not really important. You could have some extra fun trying to grow plants mentioned in the Bible, but any plants that produce food will work. There are several possible faith lessons you can teach your children with your garden, but here are a few of my favorites:

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Helping Kids Find Answers to Their Questions About God

Helping Kids Find Answers to Their Questions About God _ Parenting Like HannahKids ask the best questions. Because so many things are new to them, they often develop an interesting perspective on what will later become common knowledge. Unfortunately, many schools are designed in ways that discourage questioning and a love of learning. Children who just a few years ago were full of wonder and questions lose the light in their eyes and begin to lose interest in learning new things as well.

Life though, can present unusual opportunities and challenges which should cause our children to question. When faced with a choice, especially a potentially life-changing one, we should want our children to ask a lot of questions. Hopefully, many of these questions will revolve around what God would want them to do in the situation.

Many parents join the movement to stop children from asking questions- especially about God and the Bible. They want their children to develop love for God and a desire to worship and serve Him. What these parents don’t feel prepared for is the ability to answer the sometimes extremely tough questions our children can have. What if I don’t know the answer? Worse yet, what happens if I tell them something wrong? Will they think I am stupid because I don’t know something? Will I “mess up” their faith in some way?

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Proverbs for Kids

Proverbs for Kids - Parenting Like HannahProverbs is one of the Bible books I encourage kids and teens to read first when they attempt independent Bible reading. Proverbs is an awesome book. I know, every book in the Bible is wonderful, Proverbs is special. I love it because it is full of hundreds of tiny bits of wisdom, any of which can be life and eternity changing for those who heed them.

A proverb can say clearly in a few words what other authors may take a long story or a sermon to try and communicate. This is great for little ones with relatively short attention spans. They only have to attend for less than a minute to learn godly advice which can help them the rest of their lives.

Proverbs are also great because they often paint vivid images or have a touch of humor. Who doesn’t remember the Proverb about an annoying, nagging woman being like a constant leak in a roof? (27:15) You can close your eyes and picture the cartoon God’s words create. Yet at the heart of this humorous image is an important truth for women to avoid becoming an annoying “leaky roof” in the lives of others.

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Teaching Kids the “Why’s” of the Bible

Teaching Kids the "Why's" of the Bible - Parenting Like HannahIf you are the parent of a young child, the word most often uttered by your child is quite possibly “Why?” Children are naturally curious. They are hardwired to ask questions, because the answers help them learn more about the world around them than they can easily discover with their senses.

For some reason though, a lot of Christians don’t like “Why?” questions. They are scared they may not have the right answer or the answer may only be held by God. There is a fear allowing children to ask “Why?” may lead them to doubt the very existence of God. I challenge you though to let “Why?” be your friend as you teach your children about God’s Words.

The twist is you are asking “Why?”  We often get so caught up in making sure kids and teens understand the action, we forget to help them examine why God put that information in the Bible. As a result, we produce young adults who can quote scripture and tell lots of great stories from history, but have no earthly idea what they believe or why they believe it.

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Dad Devotionals

Dad Devotionals - Parenting Like HannahWhen our daughter was little, she would wave forlornly as her dad drove off to work. It wasn’t that she didn’t want to spend time with me or that we weren’t going to have any fun without daddy. It was that children want and need both of their parents to be fully engaged with them. Our daughter knew when daddy drove away, he would be unavailable to spend time with her for several hours.

Our kids need their dads to be fully engaged in their parenting. They need and want their dads to be as godly and focused as they need and want their moms to be. Our society often encourages both parents, but especially dads, to ignore the needs of their children in favor of work or other responsibilities and activities. Just like moms, dads need a lot of encouragement to “do the godly thing” whenever there is a choice.

I was excited to hear there is a new men’s devotional Bible available. The Men’s Bible published by the American Bible Society is a textured paperback in the Good News Translation. While not my favorite translation, this particular Bible has a lot of additional study aids that make it worthwhile. (You can always look up passages in another version if you prefer.)

The beginning of the Bible has nine pages of scriptures to consult when dealing with or studying a variety of real world topics from being a good leader to dealing with anger and everything in between. In the middle of the Bible, there is an insert printed on another paper stock. The insert contains sixty devotionals featuring a variety of writers.

Each devotional covers topics of special concern to men. The authors provide key Bible verses, their thoughts on the topic and several reflection questions, challenges to perform and even suggested things to pray. The devotionals seem easy to understand, short enough to cover in a few minutes for a busy man and best of all, practical.

The very end of the Bible contains another dozen or so special challenge devotionals focusing specifically on marriage, pornography and friendship. Evidently a study was done highlighting these three topics as key areas of concern for the majority of men. The devotionals in this section break down those three issues in smaller pieces to cover them more thoroughly.

I haven’t had the chance to share this devotional Bible with my husband to get a man’s perspective, but from a woman’s viewpoint, they cover many of the topics I hear wives complaining about to their husbands. My only two critiques of the Men’s Bible is that I wish it were available in other translations and I wish they had not gone the insert route for the middle set of devotionals. I know from a publishing perspective it cuts costs, but the quality of the paper in the book is a little less quality than I personally want in a Bible. (Although, it does make it affordable in the $15-$20 range.)

Personally, I think this makes a great Christmas or New Year’s gift for any man in your life. I will say it is difficult to find at this point and when I checked Amazon there were only eight copies left (I have provided an affiliate link as I couldn’t find it when searching by name – the ISBN number is 9781941449035 in case you want it from another retailer.)

If you give your husband this book, I encourage you to discuss the devotionals with him occasionally. Ask him what the authors wrote and his feelings about the topic. Encourage him to share his struggles as a husband and father. Don’t judge, but really listen to his heart. You may discover the two of you are more of a team than you realized.

 

 

This Bible was provided to me for free in exchange for my honest review.