Archive | Faith Development

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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The One Habit All Christian Kids Must Be Taught

The One Habit All Christian Kids Must Be Taught - Parenting Like HannahThe university I attended for my undergraduate degree was actually a part of Colonial Williamsburg. We were seeped in history and most of us loved it, no matter our major. Our library was full of rare documents from people like Thomas Jefferson and other historical figures. As a result, one of the principles we were taught was the idea of researching primary source documents.

A primary source document is considered to be the closest source you can find to an actual event or person. So for example, when I wanted to do a paper on the man who built many of the historical homes on the Appomattox River, I didn’t read a book about him. Instead, I went to the historical society library in Richmond and had them pull everything he had ever personally written – from letters to diaries to inventories and wills. Those documents painted a more accurate picture of the man than one painted by someone else who had their personal interpretation of his life added to the mix.

So what does this have to do with Christian parenting? For Christians, our primary source document is the Bible. (I’m not ignoring the translation aspect, but that’s a more advanced level of this topic.) All other writings on the topic are considered at best a secondary source. Any book on Christianity. Any theology treatise. Any commentary. Any document written by someone and not included in the Bible is a secondary source.

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4 Important Principles to Teach Kids When God Says “No”

4 Important Things to Teach Kids When God Says "No" - Parenting Like HannahA few months ago, my husband was encouraged to interview for a promotion. He wasn’t sure getting it would be the best for our family or his ministry, but he went through the process. When someone else got the job, he wasn’t too disappointed and honestly, I forgot all about it. Until the other day. The man who got the promotion instead of my husband was laid off after years of loyal service. The entire level of management was gone and those people no longer had jobs.

What we could have viewed initially as a disappointment, we now realized was actually God’s way of protecting us from a season of unemployment. It wasn’t God trying to deny us a blessing of higher pay or more power, but rather loving protection of our family.

Your children will be disappointed in life. If they view God as some giant Santa Claus or magic genie in the sky, they may transfer that disappointment to God. It’s extremely important you teach them four important principles about God and disappointment.

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Fun Activity to Teach Your Kids the Importance of Spiritual Disciplines

Fun Activity to Teach Kids the Importance of teh Spiritual Disciplines - Parenting Like HannahA little sad isn’t it? I couldn’t find a parsley plant, so I decided to grow my own from seed. After weeks, this is what I have. I’m thinking at this point I could grow a redwood tree faster. As I thought about this experience though, I realized it makes a good practical activity for your kids.

Find some seeds of a plant your children would enjoy. It can be flowers or food, just something that makes them excited about what the plant will eventually produce. You can get a cheap pot and use dirt from your yard. I splurged a bit and used the “good” dirt you can purchase at gardening stores.

As you plant the seeds, tell them the parable of the soils in Luke 8:4-21 (if you are truly ambitious, you can get four pots and try to reproduce the soils of the parable). Talk about how at this point in their lives their faith is like the seeds you are planting. Their hearts are the soil. Even though this parable doesn’t go into these details, I think it is very biblical to talk about everything the plants need to grow. Light, moisture and nutrients can be compared to things that will help them grow spiritually.

If they neglect to water the seeds or you have cloudy weather for several days, your kids may see what happens when plants are deprived of what they need to grow. Help them understand when they don’t read the Bible, pray, fellowship with Christians, etc. their faith will suffer just like the seeds.  Sometimes an object lesson is one that will stay with your kids long after it is over.

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)