Spring is a great time to have fun with your kids and teach them some of the parables of Jesus at the same time. Parables are great. They were short stories told by Jesus that helped people understand more difficult spiritual concepts by using things they encountered in their every day lives.
Because Israel in the time of Jesus still had many people who spent time or lived in more rural areas, many of the parables deal with livestock or growing things. Unfortunately our children, who tend to live in more suburban and urban areas may not have a lot of experience with either farm animals or growing plants. When they hear some of the parables and their meaning, they may understand it a little by the words, but they don’t have that core understanding the culture of the time gave the initial listeners.
Continue reading Kids, Spring and the Parables of Jesus
If your child has entered the school years, you are probably well aware how much attention teachers give to reading and reading comprehension. Your family has probably been encouraged to listen to your child read, ask questions and probably even enrolled your child in some sort of reading incentive program to encourage your child to practice reading on a regular basis.
For some reason though, churches and families are often not as passionate about helping their children learn how to read and understand the Bible. In fact, many children raised in Christian homes get little if any training on how to read and understand the Scriptures.
Even simple versions of the Bible, like the NIrV (written on a third grade reading level), can be difficult to understand. The style of the writing is suited to ancient cultures with ways of saying things that are very different front the way we communicate ideas – even if the words used are simple English words. The way things are said may still sound like a foreign language or a tongue or brain twister of sorts.
Continue reading Seven Tips for Reading the Bible With Kids
I’m declaring November the “Month of Gratitude”. Granted I don’t think I actually have the power to make it official, but I encourage you and your family to join me. The Bible is full of verses like this one in Psalms “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever.” (Psalm 107:1) I’m sure you have taught your kids to thank God when they pray, but have you ever encouraged your children to fully embrace the idea of a grateful heart?
The best thing about teaching kids to be grateful is that it can have a lot of side benefits. Helping your kids see God’s gifts can also help them begin to notice God actively working in their lives. Teaching them to be thankful for even the most basic things in life can erase the idea of being entitled to good things, because your kids have learned they are special gifts to be appreciated. Helping your kids appreciate everyone who does anything for them will help them begin to see them as people with souls who need to be served and to learn about God.
Like anything, having an attitude of gratitude as they say may mean you and your kids need to break some bad habits. What better way than substituting better attitudes and habits – and have some fun in the process? Declare this November the “Month of Gratitude” in your house. Try to do something with your kids every day to practice gratitude. Use some of the ideas below or get creative and come up with your own. (I would love to hear your comments on the things you did so others can join the fun.)
Continue reading Fun Way to Teach Kids Gratitude
I am a firm believer Christian kids should learn about the Jewish holidays in the Old Testament. In part, because they give kids a better understanding of the culture of the people in Bible times. More importantly, these holidays remind us how much God has done for us and how these holidays all point to Jesus.
It’s important for our children to understand God has always had a plan for all of mankind. From the moment Adam and Eve introduced sin into the world and caused the perfect creation to fall, God had a plan to send His son to redeem it. They need to understand the Old Testament is more than just a collection of interesting stories. It is about the world’s need for a Messiah and the preparations for him to come.
Sukkot is a great Jewish holiday to introduce to children. It is comparable to our Thanksgiving on one level. In many ways though, it is much more than that. Sukkot is a celebration of the fall harvest. In Israel this was the fruit harvest. Sukkot is known by most Christians as the Feast of the Tabernacles or the Feast of Booths or just The Feast. Originally for seven days (now eight) the Jewish people moved out of their houses and lived in special booths they built. These booths or hut type structures had from two to four walls. The roof was covered in living things like branches. The branches were spread to cover people from the sun during the day, but so they could see the stars at night. (There are actually Sukkot booth kits and lulav bundles you can purchase, but to me they are a little pricy unless you want to do this every year.)
Continue reading Christian Kids and Sukkot
Most Christian kids get very little exposure to the Jewish holidays. Passover of course, because of its ties to the Resurrection and our communion service. If you live in a diverse area, your kids have probably been exposed to Hanukkah also. The rest seem to be a jumble of difficult names and cultural practices which have little meaning to the modern child.
Yet our kids can learn so much from these holidays. These holidays were originally designed to point the Jewish people back to God and remind them of everything God had done for them. More importantly, every holiday points to Jesus. We are not bound to celebrate them any longer, but understanding them and their original celebrations will give our children a richer sense of heritage and appreciation for God’s Plan.
Continue reading Christian Kids and Jewish Holidays