Christian Parenting Challenges #7

It’s been cold and snowy for much of the country this week. Spring is just around the corner though. Here are this week’s social media challenges to encourage and inspire.

Monday: Thankfully, there are no written tests in parenting! It’s important to stop periodically though and examine whether your parenting techniques are getting the results you had hoped. If not, find mentors or books to give you better strategies. Don’t wait until your kids are adults. Reflecting as you go can help you make crucial changes as quickly as possible, avoiding potentially negative long term consequences.

Tuesday: A friend of mine just put out a cd with classical music for people who are melancholy, to encourage reflection and healing. Did you know music has an impact on your kids’ moods? Sometimes a few peppy tunes will put everyone in a better frame of mind. Worship music can help teach your kids scriptures. Playing music in your home has lots of positive purposes. So crank up those tunes!

Wednesday: Sure it’s cold where you are, but it’s not too early to start growing seeds with your kids. Old plastic take out containers (with clear lids) make great greenhouses. Growing things is great for teaching your kids about God, and working with them on their patience, perseverance and responsibility. The resulting flowers or vegetables can also be used to serve others. Even if you don’t have a yard, you can move the plants to pots. (We even grew cucumbers in a pot on our deck last summer!)

Thursday: Many kids enjoy experiencing something new or different. To them it’s interesting and fun. They may not be excited about trying these chips, but many of the stories in the Bible are awesome to kids! Adults forget how amazing these stories are because they have heard them so many times. Kids haven’t though and these stories are new and interesting. Your attitude should be excitement in being able to share these stories with them for the first time. And don’t forget all of those short obscure Bible stories they will probably never hear at Church. God wants them to hear those stories, too.

Friday: Is your home a Philippians 4:8 home? You don’t have to have a lot of money to surround your kids with things that are good, pure, lovely, positive, etc. Life is full of negativity, your home doesn’t need to encourage engaging with dark, negative content unnecessarily. You may just find the joy in your home increases as you fill your space and time with positive things. What are some things you do to be a Philippians 4:8 home?

Parenting Challenges #6

Valentine’s Day is this weekend. Have fun showering your kids with lots of extra love! Here are this week’s social media challenges.

Monday:This man is famous for taking trash and turning it into art. It only makes sense that your kids, being created in God’s image, will also be creative. Unfortunately, their creativity is often stifled, making it difficult for them to discover their gifts from God….and find creative ways to use those gifts to serve Him. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to encourage your kids’ natural creativity. Just allow them to play with a bunch of safe, random objects and see what happens.

Tuesday: What’s in a name? For fans of this Canadian chain, they know what to expect…even if they find one in Scotland! So what does it mean when your kids take on the name Christian? It’s more than a name, for sure. What does God expect of His Christian people? What does the world think when they see the name Christian? What does God want us to do as Christians that will cause others to want to learn more about Him? These are all important questions your family should regularly discuss.

Wednesday: If you live near an ocean where these live, you’ve probably taught your kids to be careful around them to avoid getting hurt. Have you taught your kids how to avoid being hurt spiritually? They need to be taught how to recognize temptations and how to avoid sinning when tempted. Otherwise, they are much more likely to get hurt.

Thursday: This is a sidewalk in a city I visit. The optical illusion can make the sidewalk appear uneven. Sinful pursuits can have the illusion that they will make your kids happy and popular. And they may for a time. Ultimately though, those sins can and will hurt them. Sometimes immediately. Sometimes much later. Sometimes when it’s too late. Whenever possible, helping them understand some of the reasons why God may want them to avoid those will help many. For others reasons don’t help because it’s an issue of their heart towards God. They will need to learn to trust God, their King, and want to obey Him, before they will attempt to avoid sins.

Friday:Different kids have different needs. Basketball is a priority for this family, so they made sure each child has the goal they need to practice appropriately. Each of your kids will need some of the same things to grow spiritually and reach their full potential. Because of their personalities and varied gifts from God, they will also each have special needs to become the active, productive Christian God wants them to be. It takes time to discover and provide those things, but it’s the best way to help your kids reach the full spiritual potential God gave them.

What’s Your Parenting Tone?

Have you ever heard someone say “I love you” in a way that sounds more like “I can barely tolerate you”? If so, then you understand the impact tone has on what we say. As a parent, you may have even said to your kids, “It’s not what you said, but how you said it.” You are probably working with your kids on the tones they use with others, but have you given much thought to the tones you use when parenting them?

Children can be particularly sensitive to tone. They may not have enough life experience to know that when daddy is grumpy after work, it is more about his job than them. Since kids tend to be naturally a bit egocentric, they will take what they infer from a negative tone used consistently and begin to apply it to how they define themselves.

Now, I’m not about to say that you can never be firm with your children when they are rebellious and disobey you. What I will say is that when a parent who generally uses a warm, loving tone with their children does use a firm tone, the children pay close attention. On the other hand, parents who are consistently harsh with their children are ignored after a time.

James 1:19 doesn’t specifically address tone, but the advice can be applied to tone. Be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to anger when communicating with your kids. Use warm, loving tones as much as possible. Avoid sarcasm, which is easily missed by children. Remember, your tone for correction can be firm, but still loving.

Don’t forget, the tone you intend may not be the tone that is heard. Some children are more sensitive than others. Kids who are never yelled at by their parents will call a slightly raised voice yelling. The personalities and current moods of your kids can impact how your kids interpret your tone. If they are hungry or tired, their interpretation will be more negative than when they are well fed and rested.

Not sure how they perceive your tones? Have them do an imitation of you in different situations. (If you can’t laugh at yourself, don’t try this!) or ask your spouse or a friend who is around when you interact with your kids what they think. You can try asking your kids to describe your tones, but they may not have the vocabulary or life experience to do so accurately. Instead try asking them if what you said was music, what kind of music would it be.

Tone is only one piece of your communications with your kids, but it’s an important one. Working on a tone that will be heard and heeded as loving and helpful, will make your parenting journey a lot easier.

Christian Parenting Challenges #5

Life is very slowly, but surely moving towards a time when your kids can do everything they did before the pandemic. But is it in their best interest spiritually? Now is a great time to examine together what you have learned in the past year and move forward in ways that are spiritually healthier than before. Here are this week’s social media challenges to add to your discussions.

Monday: It’s easy to be gloomy in Winter. One of the fruits of the Spirit though, is joy. Joy is different than happiness, because it isn’t dependent upon circumstances. What can you do to make yours a joy filled home?

Tuesday: You have probably been at home as a family more than ever this past year. How much of that time have you really spent engaged with your kids? Your presence is important to your kids, but being present for them is crucial. They desperately need you to teach them and show them what God wants for them and from them. They need you to give them guided practice in being who God wants them to be. They need you to be present and intentional.

Wednesday: To many people in the world today, they are in a play and either there is no God or God is merely an audience member watching the action from afar. The reality is for Christians, God, in the form of the Holy Spirit, is indwelling. God is right there willing to guide and counsel. He’s not a dispassionate audience member. Your kids need to understand that or they will be less likely to turn to God for guidance and help in life.

Thursday: Thomas Jefferson may have attended church enough to get a pew with his name on it, but he decided he didn’t like parts of the Bible. So he took them out and created his own very small version. Nowhere close to what God wants people to read, understand and obey. God didn’t give Jefferson permission to change the Bible to his liking. Your kids need to understand God hasn’t given them permission to change the Bible either. They may not like some of it, but as the saying goes “It is what it is”. God is King and when we become Christians, obedience is part of the package. Having said that, helping your kids better understand God and the wisdom behind His commands will make it easier for them to obey Him.

Friday: Did you know your kids need device free quiet and solitude time to help them grow spiritually? Without it, they will have a hard time processing what God wants them to know, dreaming godly dreams, meditating on God’s words or praying unrushed prayers. Help your kids create margin in their schedules for solitude.

2021 Christian Parenting Challenges Week #1

We know you are busy and social media prevents you from seeing many of our challenges. This year, we will send a weekly summary of the challenges for you to print and use at your convenience.

Monday: Why use a raised bed versus planting the “regular” way? Great question! When your kids see the way you do things, they may not question you about why you do them. They will either copy you or reject your choice for themselves. Not a huge deal when planting a garden, but extremely important when talking about whether or not to obey God. Taking time to explain to your kids that what you are doing or not doing is to obey God and why it’s important is so very crucial. Otherwise, they won’t understand the importance of the choice they are making when they are deciding whether or not to copy you.

Tuesday: Fences can be viewed two ways…They keep you from something you want to do OR They keep you safe from predators and other potential dangers. You can focus on what you can’t do and make yourself miserable or you can focus on the complete freedom, without worry of danger, you have inside the fence and be happy and content. Your kids will view God’s commands the same way. Your job is to help them understand and focus on the protection and freedom and not on wondering about the sins they aren’t allowed to commit without making God unhappy. It’s all about the heart and attitude.

Wednesday: Your kids will probably become overwhelmed if they attempt a reading the Bible through in a year plan. The plans usually require reading multiple chapters a day and quickly involve books that can bog down young independent Bible readers. Instead, encourage them to read story heavy books, like Genesis, Esther or the Gospels. Or practical books like Proverbs or James. It’s the habit you want to encourage, so focus on a chapter a day or even a verse for struggling readers. Then encourage reflecting on what they have read for the rest of that day. For more tips, we have a free resource that prints as bookmarks (Available in English, Spanish and Russian)
http://www.teachonereachone.org/wp-content/uploads/Printable%20Resources/TORO%20Bookmark.pdf

Thursday: Most people saw a dead tree, but one man saw a work of art and created this. Can you see potential in your kids? God can! He gave each of your kids at least one gift to use to serve Him. That’s potential. Helping your kids make that potential into a life that obeys, worships and serves God is your privilege and your responsibility as a Christian parent. It’s also one of your greatest rewards to see your kids reach their God given potential.

Friday: What world views are your kids being taught in school? They will often claim none, but every textbook, every teacher has a bias. Not knowing what it is means you can’t discuss them with your kids and counter any that are ungodly.