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Education and Christian Kids

Education and Christian Kids - Parenting Like HannahOne of the topics that interests parents the most is the education of their children. The quality of your child’s education can change where they attend college or trade school, what types of jobs they will have and even the types of activities they can experience.

For Christians, the stakes are even higher. Your children are in school for six to ten hours a day (with extracurricular activities on site). The attitudes, philosophies, beliefs, and behaviors your children are taught by teachers or peers can shake, destroy or help build the faith foundations of your kids.

Sweeping generalizations are great, but often don’t work in education. My child had a very godly teacher in a public school. My friends have had “interesting” things taught to their kids in Christian schools. Even homeschooling has its share of questionable religious teaching hidden in some of the available textbooks and curricula.

So how do parents sort through all of the choices and pick the best option for their children? Everyone thinks their child’s school is the best, but is yours really good for your children? How do you know for sure? It can be overwhelming, even for those of us with degrees in education.

So, I was interested when offered the chance to review Education A La Carte by Dr. Kevin Leman. Leman looks at all of the options available to parents and discusses the pros and cons. Throughout, he weaves the story of his own somewhat disastrous educational experiences as well as some experiences others have had with the various options.

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Kids and Violence

Kids and Violence - Parenting Like HannahAs I write this, the U.S. has just experienced the worst mass shooting in its history. After every mass shooting, it seems like everyone has an opinion as to whether gun control, mental health, protective screenings and law enforcement changes are necessary to stop these incidents in the future.

What happens in my mind is different. I wonder what happened to create a heart that could plan and execute such a horrific plan. A heart that held no value for human life. A heart and mind that thought violence was the answer to whatever they believed was the problem they were trying to solve.

I am sure for every mass shooter, there are multiple reasons why their heart became so horribly ungodly and evil. Obviously, they rejected God’s path for living life at some point in their journey. They may have experienced horrible pain in their life or been horribly spoiled. They may have mental health issues.

What I don’t hear anyone address is the very root of much violent behavior. Study after study has shown a direct correlation between this and increased violent and aggressive behavior even in young children. In fact, when I googled for studies on this topic and its connection to aggression and violence in children and adults (male and female) I was overwhelmed at the sheer volume and quality of studies and horrified by their results.

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6 Top Tips for Handling “Sassy” Kids

6 Top Tips for Handling "Sassy" Kids - Parenting Like HannahWith the amount of constant conflict in our society, it’s no surprise our children believe they can say whatever comes into their heads to anyone at any time. “Good” kids probably won’t say things that will have them labeled as bullies, but often the things they say (which in their minds are smart and funny) are actually very rude and disrespectful.

The problem is there is no real societal standard the way there was several decades ago. Chances are if your child says something “sassy” or disrespectful, it is just as likely to be given positive labels as negative ones. Yet, as Christians, we are held to God’s standard – not society’s. We know God wants our children to speak in ways that are loving, kind and respectful. How can we train them to speak the way God wants them to speak to others?

It’s definitely easier to train or disciple your child in any godly behavior when you can count on other adults to reinforce what you are teaching them. Even if you don’t have that support system though, there are things you can do at home to move your child towards more godly speech.

Here are my six favorite tips:

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Teens, Alcohol and God

Teens, Alcohol and God - Parenting Like HannahFor some teens, the most exciting things they learn in the Bible are that Jesus turned water into wine and the Bible calls drunkenness a sin – not drinking. What your teen may not realize is that just because something is permitted, doesn’t mean it is wise to do it. (I Corinthians 10:23 and 6:12) In fact, many Christians have decided to avoid all alcohol for a variety of vary valid reasons.

The problem is parents rarely share those reasons with their kids. In fact, some parents are still experiencing “Iwannabepopular” syndrome and may have not resolved their own issues with alcohol. It’s difficult to help someone navigate an issue with which you are still struggling.

For topics like alcohol, most teens need real, honest discussion beyond the “It’s a sin. You could go to Hell. End of discussion.” lecture common when I was younger (FYI – not from my parents.). It’s not that drunkenness isn’t a sin. Or that your kids shouldn’t make obeying God their top priority. It’s just that they are still spiritually immature and may need additional information and/or motivation before making a wise spiritual choice.

So what bits of information does your child need to know about drinking, drunkenness and God? There are a lot of things you can share, but here are a few that seem to resonate with teens.

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Kids, Ecology and God

Kids, Ecology and God - Parenting Like HannahGlobal warming. Pollution. Renewable energy. Recycling. If you are like many, those words create a strong reaction in you. It may be positive or negative, but what does God have to say on the subject of ecology? What should you be teaching your kids? What, if anything, should you be doing with your kids to care for the earth?

Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” Genesis 1:26 (NIV) Inevitably, when talking to Christians about ecology, this is the verse that is first quoted. Ironically, I have heard it interpreted in two basically opposite ways – “dominion/rule also implies caring for something” OR “rule means we can do whatever we want – use it up/destroy it, etc”.

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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)