Archive | Character Training

How “See Something, Say Something” Parenting Could Revolutionize Your Christian Parenting

How See Something Say Something Could Revolutionize Your Christian Parenting - Parenting Like HannahIf you have lived in or visited a major urban area recently, you may have noticed a sign that read “See Something, Say Something”. Designed to encourage citizens to report information that could help authorities prevent a terrorist attack, the phrase could also be the best Christian parenting advice I can give you.

Years ago when I was a child, we knew without a doubt that if just about any adult saw us doing something we weren’t supposed to do, they would correct us or worse yet, tell our parents. In fact, it wasn’t always misbehavior.

I had gotten carsick on a school field trip four states away. When we stopped for dinner hundreds of miles from home, by coincidence a family from our village had also stopped to eat there. We drove all night, but by the time our bus pulled into the school parking lot, my parents greeted me with “Why didn’t you tell us you got sick?!”

Oh, how times have changed. Most of us are terribly afraid of correcting a child who isn’t ours – even if their life is in danger. We would never think of allowing anyone to tell us anything about our kids – except on a rare occasion their school teachers. In fact, we were in a situation where a teen was making some scary choices and we were honestly afraid of being sued or worse if we let the parents know what was happening.

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The Christian Child’s Hero

The Christian Child's Hero -Parenting Like HannahThe author of a book I read asked several people whom they considered their spiritual “masters”. In the author’s mind, the term meant someone to whom the people looked for spiritual guidance and to gain understanding and wisdom. The answers ranged from Zen teachers to Vincent Van Gogh to Charles Darwin and more. Some cited religious writers like Annie Lamott, various Catholic saints or the Dalai Lama. Others leaned towards pop culture with names like Dr. Andrew Weil, history with Ben Franklin and even Gloria Steinem. Yet not one person, mentioned Jesus.

One would assume if the same question were asked of people in your congregation, Jesus would top the list. Yet, when one examines the behaviors of one holding up someone as a hero to whom they look up and follow, I would imagine a very different picture would emerge. Whom do they quote the most? A preacher? A Christian author? When someone asks them for advice, whose writings do they suggest the person read? To whom would they give lots of money to hear speak or rush to buy their latest book? Who do they secretly wish they were most like? Whom do they talk about all of the time? Unfortunately, I am afraid even in our churches, the answer would quite often be someone other than Jesus.

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Teaching Christian Kids About Freedom

Teaching Christian Kids About Freedom - Parenting Like HannahIf a book of the Bible could stalk you, Galatians has been following me around lately. Everywhere I go, it seems they are studying Galatians and particularly what Paul has to say about freedom. The more I thought about it, the more I realized the concept of freedom taught in Galatians is a vital lesson for our kids to learn and understand.

First, let’s take a look at how Galatians defines the freedom Christians have. “My brothers and sisters, you were chosen to be free. But don’t use your freedom as an excuse to live under the power of sin. Instead, serve one another in love. The whole law is fulfilled by obeying this one command. “Love your neighbor as you love yourself.” If you say or do things that harm one another, watch out! You could end up destroying one another.” 

“So I say, live by the Holy Spirit’s power. Then you will not do what your desires controlled by sin want you to do. The desires controlled by sin do not want what the Spirit delights in. And the Spirit does not want what the desires controlled by sin delight in. The two are at war with each other. That’s why you are not supposed to do whatever you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the authority of the law.” (Galatians 5:13-18 NIrV)

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Fun Activity To Help Kids Learn About Loving Others

Fun Activities to Help Kids Learn About Loving Others - Parenting Like HannahGod’s love for us is at the very root of Christianity. I’m sure you are teaching your kids to love others. Love is complicated though. It’s not just butterflies in your stomach or finding a friend who enjoys the same things you do. True agape love is loving people even when you have nothing in common with them. It’s the ability to love people even if you don’t particularly like them at the moment. It’s even what makes it possible to love our enemies.

There is a fun activity you can do with your kids to help them begin to understand love is unconditional. Gather up some paper and some pens and markers or crayons. If you want to get really creative, cut out the paper in the shape of a heart or buy those inexpensive heart-shaped blank books.

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8 Tips for Raising Kids Who Make Wise Decisions

8 Tips for Teaching Kids to Make Wise Decisions - Parenting Like HannahEverywhere you turn, it seems some parenting expert is telling us children and teens are basically incapable of making wise decisions. Often they talk about an under-developed pre-frontal cortex or some other “science” to back their theories. What’s interesting to me is that I know plenty of teens and young adults who regularly make wise decisions – my own daughter included. In fact, a quick look at the history of our own country will show teens and young adults were making decisions (and often very mature ones) at much younger ages than do young people today.

So what’s the difference? I have no scientific data to back my theory, but I believe the pre-frontal cortex is like the rest of the brain. It can be trained to do more than it currently does. You don’t refuse to teach your kids to read, because they weren’t born knowing how to read. Yes, different children are capable of learning to read at different ages and speeds, but there are many educators who have shown most kids can actually learn to read earlier than they currently do.

I believe the same theories apply to the part of the brain that helps us make wise decisions. Unless it is damaged, that area can be stimulated and learn wise decision making much earlier than we currently expect of many of our young people. But just like most kids must be taught how to read, most must be actively taught how to make wise – and in our case godly – decisions.

So what can you do to help your kids learn to make wiser decisions at a younger age than many of their peers? Every child is different, but here are some things that should help almost any child begin learning how to make wiser choices:

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Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. (Deuteronomy 11:18-19 NIV)