Archive | Encouragement

Fun Twist on Inspiration Boards for Christian Kids

Fun Twist on Inspiration Boards for Christian Kids - Parenting Like HannahIf you have been on Pinterest or have a creative hobby, you have probably heard of inspiration boards. They are large pieces of poster board (or they can be virtual) and contain words and photos (or magazine clippings) that inspire the person working on a particular project. They probably started with planning weddings or decorating rooms, but have expanded way beyond that today. In fact, in New York City, there is a museum that positions itself as an inspiration board of sorts.

Your kids might appreciate the inspiration one of those boards can give them. It also makes a great project for a rainy day or when your kids are “bored” by their current life. For Christian kids, I would add a twist to the boards though. Often they end up just being a wish list of things someone wants to buy. It’s probably not a great idea to promote this kind of materialistic attitude in your kids.

There are however some inspiration boards your kids (and teens) can create that could also help them on their faith journey. Here are a few ideas to get them started.

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Is Christian Parenting Too Hard?

Is Christian Parenting Too Hard - Parenting Like HannahIf you have ever homeschooled your child, I am sure you have had this conversation many times. You mention you homeschool and the other parent very quickly says “I could never do that. It’s too hard. (Fill in excuse.).” Now most parents aren’t quite that brave about admitting 100% Christian parenting is too hard, but you can tell they are thinking it. Or that’s it really not that necessary to “try so hard” or “do so much”.

After having ministered to kids and their families for several decades now, I can see a lot of patterns. I watch as parents parent young children in certain ways and then I see how the children grow (or don’t grow) in their faith as they become teens and then adults. It may not be 100% accurate, but it is pretty close. The parents who do certain things and avoid others almost always raise children who become faithful, productive Christians. Those who don’t, may get lucky once in a blue moon or may have adult children who attend church for family, social or business reasons, but there is a definite difference.

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Christian Kids, Moods and Music

Christian Kids, Moods and Music - Parenting Like HannahAt the risk of dating myself, I have faint memories from my preschool years of my parents playing old Pat Boone “church song” records on our cabinet stereo as we got ready for church. I’m not really sure why they chose to play those particular records, but our family was very musical so the music part of it makes sense.

Whether you realize it or not, your children’s lives are somewhat of a musical. Their memories will be attached to certain songs or artists. Some songs will bring up emotions from the things that happened when they were popular. Did you know though that thinking of your child’s life as a Christian musical can help their moods and even their behavior right now?

According to an article in the American Academy of Pediatrics Journal, it has been proven over and over that music affects children’s behavior, emotions and even their schoolwork and social interactions. Of course their article went on to analyze the harm that can be caused by listening to unacceptable music – with explicit violent and sexual lyrics.

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Great Resource on Why Young People Abandon Their Faith

Great Resource on Why Young People Abandon Their Faith - Parenting Like HannahPerhaps, the scariest thing to me about parenting is the fear of my daughter rejecting God. Many of my parenting decisions were made because I wanted to be able to honestly say I did everything I knew how to do to help her be strong spiritually. And yet there are no guarantees your child will be a faithful, productive Christian as an adult. Or are there?

The new book Abandoned Faith by Alex McFarland and Jason Jimenez examines why many young people are abandoning their faith and what parents can do about it. I won’t lie. This is one scary book. If your children are still at home, it will scare the pants off of you – and it should. As someone who works with kids and teens on a regular basis, I can tell you very few parents are doing what they need to do to prepare their children to live an active, productive Christian faith as an adult.

Most of you will lose your kids – watch them reject God and His teachings – because you aren’t doing what you could do now to greatly lessen the chances it will happen. This book does a great job at pointing out the main mistakes parents make when helping their kids develop a strong spiritual life.

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Motherhood As a Spiritual Discipline

Motherhood As A Spiritual Discipline - Parenting Like HannahOne of my concerns with feminism is that instead of giving women “more options” as advertised, it has instead marginalized the roles of wife and mother. We are constantly fed a diet that if we aren’t trying to “have it all” or making sure we “are happy and fulfilled so our children will be” -which evidently only happens in the work place – we are somehow not reaching our potential.

I was interested when I was offered a chance to review a new book Long Days of Small Things: Motherhood As A Spiritual Discipline by Catherine McNeil. McNeil takes the book Celebration of Discipline by Richard Foster and adds a new dimension to it. (The author and I agree Foster’s book is great.) She takes the twelve disciplines discussed by Foster and mourns the fact she no longer has time for them in the hectic nature of raising three little ones.

Then an unplanned event helps her reframe her season of motherhood as a spiritual discipline in and of itself. She discusses the areas in which the every day tasks of motherhood have helped her grow spiritually. Within each chapter, she also adds three shorter practical sections where she lists specific tasks common to most moms and gives tips for how to use them to grow spiritually.

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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)