Fun Ways to Teach Stewardship

Stewardship for Christians is a rich topic that rarely gets addressed fully…especially for kids and teens. Wrapped up within stewardship are taking care of the blessings God has given us as a world and individuals, giving, generosity and money management.

Money management is such a complex topic many Christians avoid even discussing it. Where is the line between a need and a want? Would God want you to spend your money on a luxury car, a safe dependable car, a jalopy that’s falling apart or to take mass transit?

There are plenty of scriptures about money management for Christians to consider. In wealthier cultures, most of us are probably much more selfish with our money than we should be. We have softened our culture’s extreme greed perhaps, while still indulging in behaviors and choices people in poorer countries would consider wasteful or greedy.

Just because it’s a tough topic doesn’t mean you shouldn’t address it with your kids. In fact, it may make it more important that you make sure they are using their money as God would want them to do.

Thankfully, there are lots of resources available to help. Some cost a little money, while others are free. While not all of the resources below are Christian per se, they teach some important lessons about money. You can easily add scriptures later to point out God’s commands about money, financial responsibility and generosity.

  • Dave Ramsey. Ramsey is a Christian and his materials do address giving back to God. His non-debt approach is important for your kids to understand before they are able to actually borrow any money. His materials do cost money, but you can sometimes find them on sale. His resources designed for kids, teens and homeschoolers not only have important information, but also are interesting to watch.
  • Play Money Magic. This online game gives kids a sense of the need for budgeting. It helps them explore the concept of choosing to buy something now instead of planning for things you will need later that are much more important.
  • Play Spent. Spent is an online game that can help your kids develop empathy for those in poverty. It gives them similar incomes and expenses and helps them understand how difficult it is to meet their basic needs.
  • Play Shady Sam. Shady Sam is an online game created to teach kids about loan sharks. Although technically not loan sharks, many credit cards and rental places charge interest rates that make them comparable to loan sharks.
  • Play Hit the Road. This online game is one of those great scenario type games where kids must make choices as they play. Their choices impact future game play. This particular one involves all sorts of financial decisions.

Take some time to teach your kids about money…how to handle it well, but more importantly how to handle it in ways that please God. It is an important element of raising your kids to be faithful, productive Christians.

Using Art to Help Your Kids Grow Spiritually

Full confession here. In a family full of artists, I’m not very artistic. I do however, have a love of all things connected to art…the finished works of art, but all those fun supplies as well. If you have kids, you probably have all sorts of markers, crayons, paints and other art materials around your house.

Did you know you can use the art supplies you already have at home to help your kids grow spiritually? There are some fun types of art projects you can give your kids that will help them learn more about God and who He wants them to be in life.

Here are some of our favorites.

  • Memory art. Studies have found that drawing something can help you remember it better. Have your kids illustrate Bible stories. Encourage them to double check the elements of their design with scripture to make sure their drawings are accurate.
  • Scripture art. Illustrating specific verses of scripture and writing the full verse on the work of art can serve multiple purposes. First it is a variation of memory art in the very creation of the piece. If you display the finished products, the constant exposure to that scripture can also make it easier for your kids to eventually memorize it. If you regularly point out the scripture and how your family applies it, scripture art can help eventually help them understand how to use that verse in their daily lives.
  • Psalms art. The Psalms are a great example of people expressing their faith and their emotions to God. Over the years they have been used as songs and prayers. Your kids can create their own works of art that serve as Psalms. Have them draw how they are feeling and what they would like to say to God. Studies show art is a great way to help people process events and emotions. What better way than by including the idea of talking to God in the process?
  • Service art. Whether it’s a mural for an orphanage or a drawing for a lonely older person, your kids can use their art to serve others and point them to God.
  • Comprehension art. Art can help children process the application principles in a Bible story. After you discuss an application principle, have them illustrate what that would look like lived out in their lives.

So pull out those art supplies and use them to help your kids grow spiritually. It’s a fun way to help them learn how to become who God wants them to be.

Free Resources for Calming Sibling Troubles

Maybe it was just my brother and I, but given too much time in close quarters and the disagreements started. Who touched whom and who crossed imaginary lines would have challenged the patience of the best world diplomats.

You may currently be experiencing sibling issues in your home. In some ways it’s understandable. Young, immature people…often in competition for parental attention and approval, can become adversaries quite easily. Add mandatory confinement for days on end and you have a sibling battle ready to erupt at a moment’s notice.

You can help your kids become loving siblings who support one another and settle conflicts in godly ways. Contrary to popular parenting wisdom though, your kids will not suddenly, somewhat magically learn these skills while beating each other to a pulp or screaming for parental intervention.

We have too many people in our world who handle conflict in violent, destructive ways now because too many parents believed they didn’t need to actively teach their kids how to resolve conflict in godly ways.

We have a couple of free tools to help you teach your kids how to be loving siblings and settle their conflict in godly ways. Teach your kids the tools and help them practice them. Forcing them to say “Sorry” as they kick the dirt and grimace won’t do the trick. Taking the extra time and effort to really work with your kids can not only make the current situation easier for everyone, but can improve many of their other relationships in the future. It’s worth taking some time while they are forced to stay home to work on the skills they desperately need to learn and master.

Correcting Your Kids When Life Isn’t “Normal”

There are times when parenting requires every bit of patience and godliness you may have acquired over the years. Being quarantined at home with your spouse, your kids and possibly random other people or animals…while at least one person is working from home and one of more of your kids is also schooling at home…let’s just say it may have created the Olympics of parenting for you.

Stressful times throw everything into at least a bit of chaos. Whether it’s COVID or a new baby, drastic changes in your family’s circumstances and lifestyle can bring a lot of extra confusion and stress to you and your kids. While your family adjusts to the larger issue, the changes in routines and other aspects of your family dynamics can be particularly upsetting to your kids.

They don’t have the life experience to understand what changes are temporary and which will be permanent. The people they normally count on to comfort them (you and your spouse) may be or at least seem to be unavailable to help them process anything. They may even be missing sleep or other basic needs as everyone scurries to cope.

Your kids may not have the vocabulary to express their emotions or frame their questions. Or they may be worried about making things worse by asking you to set aside time to help them. When young people are struggling with strong emotions, confusion, lack of sleep and major changes in routine, they often act out in some way.

While their misbehavior is understandable, you can’t afford to let it go totally unaddressed. Unfortunately, your own stress level can mean you over react in your initial response, your correction or the consequences you give. This only adds to the stress your kids are feeling.

When you find your family is entering a season of uncertainty, change or difficulties, establishing some consistent ways of dealing with the behavioral issues of your kids can help. Most families don’t have written rules with set consequences for disobeying them.

Written rules and set consequences can help your family in stressful times. Arguing and emotional blow ups can be easily minimized. The rules are posted for everyone to see and the consequences are set. It’s important to remember if you don’t calmly point to the rule and enforce the consequence consistently however, this method isn’t as effective.

Maintain your cool, no matter how upset and angry you are at your kids when they break a rule. The minute you lose your temper, they have “won”. Don’t allow them to create a power struggle either. You are the somewhat dispassionate creator, and reminder of the rules and enforcer of predetermined consequences. (This also means avoiding harsh words, name calling, cursing and screaming.)

To avoid creating the atmosphere of a mini police state in your home, make sure your kids understand this is a form of crisis management and a way they can be of help. Present this as a way of reminding your family you are a team working together to not just survive, but thrive during this season. You may even consider adding a couple of rules and consequences that include the parents.

If you feel your emotions beginning to take over when an infraction occurs, give yourself a quick time out. Tell your child to go to his or her room or that you need to step in another room for a minute to calm down before talking about what happened. While it may feel like your emotions are a bit out of control, modeling to your kids how to regain self control can actually help them when they struggle.

After you have corrected your kids and given consequences, it is more important than ever to reconnect with them. Give everyone some time to calm down from the incident. Then hug your child and have a chat.

Remember, much of this misbehavior is not as much from a rebellious spirit as a frightened child needing parental attention and reassurance. They need to know you still love them…especially if what they did made you really angry. They need you to remind them God is still there and still loves them. They need to know this season will pass.

Finally, do whatever you can to explain what is happening to your kids in age appropriate ways. Give them your best guess for how long this season might less or what your family is doing to survive and even thrive during it. If your kids are acting out from stress and fear, it can be in part because they have no idea what is really happening.

You don’t want to frighten them by giving them information they are too young to process. Leaving them in total ignorance though, can be even more stressful for some children. They may have imagined scenarios much worse than the reality.

Having a plan for when your kids misbehave in those chaotic times can take a lot of that parenting stress off of your emotional plate. This in turn can give you the mental, emotional and spiritual reserves you need to handle whatever caused the disruption.

Using Board Games to Teach Character

There are a lot of different ways to help your kids develop godly character traits. Board games are a fun way to work with your kids on some specific character traits with which many children struggle. It’s important to remember though, whether you use board games or some other method, you want your kids to have godly hearts…not just godly actions.

As you play board games, you want to watch for the behaviors your kids display, for they often reveal a part of their heart. Remember though, that some kids have become very savvy. They know how to appear to be the most virtuous player ever…while also cheating or doing other ungodly things in secret.

In addition to behaviors, watch for the attitudes your kids are displaying. Are they revealing a godly heart or one that is still struggling with selfishness and other spiritual problems?

As you notice concerning behaviors and attitudes, you will have a decision to make. Some things need to be corrected in the moment. Other issues, particularly heart issues, you may choose to address in a heart to heart conversation at a later time. You will need to understand your kids’ personalities to know which methods will most likely result in their spiritual growth.

So what are some of the character traits you can work on with your kids while playing board games? Here’s a partial list. Bear in mind, that some games won’t help with certain character traits. Thinking about the possible game play in each game, however, should alert you to the traits for which that game may provide practice.

  • Patience
  • Perseverance
  • Honesty
  • Self control
  • Gentleness
  • Kindness
  • Joy
  • Humility
  • Love
  • Encouragement
  • Serving others
  • Goodness
  • Contentment
  • Decisiveness
  • Forgiveness
  • Wisdom

So pull out all of those old board games and have a family game night. Your kids may learn how to be more godly without even realizing it!