Great Resource Using Animals to Teach About Noah

Did you know that African crested porcupines live in family units called prickles? Or that Virginia possums are immune to rattlesnake venom? How about the facts that naked mole rats can chew through concrete and move their front teeth independently like chopsticks? Neither did I until I read the new book Awesome Facts About Animals from Answers in Genesis.

So why are we choosing to promote this book (we receive no affiliate benefits)? Because you and your kids will learn about more than just interesting facts about animals. Interspersed are explanations of things that often confuse people about the Bible’s account of the Flood and Noah’s Ark. The book carefully explains the concept of ”kind” and how that impacted what animals were on the Ark. It also explains little remembered facts – like all animals were vegetarians until after the Flood – making it safe for a tiger and a lamb to be together on the Ark. They even provide various viable theories for things the Bible doesn’t explain, like how animals got from the Ark to places like Australia.

One of the ongoing issues with the criticisms of the Bible is that many of them are outdated. What’s even sadder is that many Christians believe these outdated criticisms not realizing that many atheists and/or scholars have since found evidence repudiating the claims. It’s nice to have a resource that subtly explains the truth while also teaching children lots of interesting facts about animals.

The book is graphically pleasing with lots of great photos. The facts are interesting and although the book is paperback, the paper stock is sturdy. You can find the book on the Answers in Genesis website and it is currently out of stock on Amazon, but it looks like they do carry it. Have fun learning about animals with your kids while reinforcing Bible truths.

Read This Book Before You Divorce

Churches usually go one of two ways when discussing divorce….they either say it’s wrong in most cases or they accept it as normal in today’s world. The reality is that divorce was something God has allowed with certain provisions, but it was not something He ever wanted for us (Matthew 19:8). Whenever we stray from God’s original plan and His wisdom, there are usually real earthly consequences. The church has avoided discussing many of these for fear of hurting someone’s feelings….or perhaps because they don’t feel understanding the possible consequences is even necessary.

Yet to move people towards strengthening marriages, reconsidering divorce or in some cases understanding the divorce is both scriptural and has better outcomes than the marriage, we need to better understand what really happens to kids when their parents divorce.

Between Two Worlds by Elizabeth Marquardt uses research and the personal stories of the author and others to enlighten readers about the actual impact of divorce on the children. While she obviously has her opinions, the author does a great job of using research to support the ideas she has formed based on her own experience and observations. Her most compelling belief is that adults filter their opinions of divorce through the adult perspective and have done little to examine the short and long term impact on kids. She is also quick to point out that being able to get an education, hold a job and have romantic relationships as an adult aren’t the only ways to measure the impact of divorce on children.

Marquardt is from a Christian background, but actually deals with faith rather generically in the book. She looks at how a divorce impacts kids faith and beliefs and how a church’s response to a parent’s divorce also impacts children. Interestingly, throughout the book, she categorizes children as growing up in homes with “bad” (contentious) divorces, “good” (low conflict) divorces, high conflict marriages and low conflict marriages. As one can imagine, even within divorce and marriage there are nuances that can make the impact children for better or worse.

If you are considering divorce, I highly suggest reading this book. It’s important to understand how it will really impact your kids. If you are divorced – whether it was something you wanted or were heartbroken over – you should read the book to understand what is happening to your kids and to find ways to minimize and/or address the issues. If your marriage is fine, it’s still a great book to read to motivate yourself to keep working to make your marriage better.

Helping Your Kids Slay Goliath

One of the toughest things for some adults to understand is that problems which seem small to them can feel insurmountable to a child. Adults have learned that friend troubles pass or a bad grade on one homework assignment isn’t the end of the world. To a child, however, these are problems that can feel scary and overwhelming, causing anxiety, dread and fear to grow.

For years, kids have been told the story from the Bible of David and Goliath. Hopefully, your kids have been taught it’s an example of how, for God, even the impossible is possible. That God will be with them as they face their giants, if they will let Him. For some kids, that is what they need to know to understand how to lean on God. Others need a little more practical help applying the lessons from David and Goliath to their lives.

Louie Giglio has written a new book for eight to twelve year olds called Goliath Must Fall. Within its pages, Giglio tries to give older children some practical advice to help them apply the lessons from David and Goliath in practical ways to their lives.

Sandwiched in between introductory and closing chapters, Giglio goes into detail about several giants with whom he believes older children struggle – fear, rejection, comfort, anger and addiction. For the most part he does a better than average job of giving kids practical strategies to use. I particularly appreciate how often he encourages them to read the Bible and suggests numerous passages to them. I also appreciate that he quotes quite a few scriptures within the text, for those who may not be as inclined to actually look them up to read.

Personally, I appreciated Giglio for tackling the topics of comfort and addiction – too often ignored when teaching young people how to live a Christian life. Although the chapter on addiction deals primarily with age appropriate topics like video games, earlier in the book he mentions addictions which the eight to twelve year olds for whom the book is written are a bit too young. He also writes a bit about social media. He does add that most have parents who don’t allow them on it yet, but that he hopes to prepare them. I would have preferred that he address head on the required age limits and that cheating them to get on social media is already showing a potential to “build a giant” in that area.

My other primary criticism is his discussion of how to become a Christian. I will never understand how people supposedly so deep in Bible study will promote a man made invention within the last two hundred or so years as the way to become a Christian. Following the example of Jesus and a quick reading of Acts make it abundantly clear baptism is essential, not only for the remission of sins, but to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. To make kids believe they are saved and have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit from praying a modern made up prayer is irresponsible. Thankfully, for kids who have been taught the Bible, this is about one page in the book and can be mentioned with reminders before giving the book or when discussing it.

If your child struggles with anxiety or other issues, this book might be the practical help to understand how to apply scripture to their lives that they need. It can also give you some helpful, godly hints to work with your kids to incorporate in their lives.

Mr. Rogers as Christian Parenting Mentor

Mr. Rogers was one of my favorite people when I was little. He seemed so kind and friendly. What you may or may not know is that Fred Rogers was actually a minister. While he didn’t overtly teach Christianity, many of the principles he taught were godly.

Recently, someone compiled a lot of his advice and sayings into a book that is now in paperback, A Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood. Much of it is godly parenting advice, even though Rogers once again avoids any direct connections to scripture, God or Christianity.

The book has quotes throughout, so it would be easy to pick a quote a day and think about it. Some would be great ways to start conversations with your kids. While you may not agree with absolutely everything Rogers writes (he was human after all!), it is generally more great advice in one book than I have seen in a very long time. It’s definitely a book you should consider reading.

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.