Have you ever talked to someone changing a job, ending a relationship or making some other major change in their life? If asked why, many will admit they just aren’t happy with the way things currently are in their lives. Let’s be honest. We believe we have a right to be happy. The very Declaration of Independence of the United States promises the right to pursue happiness. But does God?
When you speak with non-Christians or unchurched people, they often view Christians as stodgy, boring and unhappy. The Puritans of the Mayflower and Salem Witch Trials didn’t do the image of Christians any favors. Yet a quick read through the New Testament will introduce you to people going through horrible things and still counting it as pure joy. How is that even possible?
Continue reading Top Tips for Teaching Kids About Joy and Happiness
Can your kids see the world from the point of view of another person, or do they only see the world from their perspective? While God’s truths are universal, many other things in life are seen from different perspectives. Often conflicts arise, because people view things differently and refuse to understand how and why the other person does not view the situation in the same way.
You may wonder why teaching your child empathy should be a priority for a Christian parent. Empathy is important because it’s necessary to reflect God’s love to others in ways they can feel it. If your kids only reflect love in the ways that make them feel loved, the other person may not feel loved at all. Empathy will help your kids take that step back and decide what the other person needs to feel loved.
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In another day, this tree will be in full bloom. It is quite possibly one of the most beautiful of the trees that flower. That is until you get within several feet of it. The blooms on this variety of pear tree smell horrible. Not just mildly annoying, but how-quickly-can-I-get-away-from-this-smell terrible. As beautiful as the blooms are, I refuse to plant one in my yard because I can’t stand the stench that comes with those blooms.
Your kids need to learn the same principle applies to people. Someone who is absolutely beautiful, can have such a mean spiteful personality they no longer seem pretty. Conversely, someone the world might call unattractive can have the most loving, sweet spirit and begin to look beautiful as we get to know who they are on the inside.
You can create a fun family devotional focusing on the principle of outward versus inward beauty. Before you start, borrow some books from the library with lots of pictures of people in them. You may also want to think of places you can walk or explore that may have examples of things whose outer appearance and inner “beauty” don’t necessarily match. A farmer’s market or grocery store will probably have plenty of examples.
Continue reading Teaching Kids About True Godly Beauty
Today is Valentine’s Day. I woke this morning to social media posts filled with people hurting because they aren’t currently in a romantic relationship. Our world is starved for godly love. You can have fun, reflect God’s love to others and teach your kids about the different types of love while doing this great service project. And you don’t even have to do it on Valentine’s Day!
Have your kids create a list of people who might need a reminder they are loved. Talk about the different types of people who may feel unloved for a variety of reasons. Maybe they are single and not dating anyone. Perhaps their spouse has died. Maybe they are someone whose family lives far away. Perhaps it’s someone who is going through a divorce. Maybe it is a child who doesn’t quite “fit in” at school. Perhaps it is a student or military person living far from family and lifelong friends. Maybe it’s someone living in a nursing home or rehab center. You get the idea.
Now help your kids brainstorm ways to help the person feel loved. To let them know your family loves them. To remind them God always loves them. Maybe your kids want to create art or write a note. Perhaps they want to make them cookies or give them candy. Maybe they want to spend a little time with the person or give them a hug. Encourage your kids to be creative. It doesn’t have to cost a lot of money. Use things you have around the house. Shop those day after Valentine’s sales when everything – even candy – is marked down.
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If you think about it, Christianity is about choices. When God gave us freedom to make choices, He also gave us the freedom to make good choices and bad choices. Sadly, most of us make more bad choices than good ones. It’s the reason Jesus had to die on the cross – for those bad choices that are sins.
Sins are bad choices that can eventually separate your kids from God and prevent them from entering Heaven one day. Your primary goal as a Christian parent is to do whatever you can so your kids make the choices that will lead them to living a Christian life and spending eternity in Heaven.
Unfortunately, like most things in parenting, children are often left to figure out how to make choices on their own. Nobody takes the time and effort to teach them how to make a good, godly choice. The results of this lack of instruction means your kids will be making a lot of unnecessary bad choices – in large part because they are experimenting with the process of making a choice. For many young people, this lack of training means they often default to choices that “feel good or right”. Feelings are often the worst thing to trust when making a choice in life – what we want isn’t always what is best for us.
The good news is the process for teaching kids how to make good choices isn’t really that difficult. The down side is that it can take you quite a bit of time to guide them through this process before it becomes a habit for them at decision making time.
So what do you need to do to teach your kids how to make good choices and make them more consistently? Here are a few of my favorites:
Continue reading 11 Tips for Teaching Kids to Make Great Choices