Knitting is one of those crafts that the more advanced the project is, the more focused you have to be to complete it. If not, you can end up with a mess of stitches looking nothing like the sweater you thought you were knitting.
Christian parenting takes focus as well. You won’t believe this if your kids are little, but the old parenting saying, “The days are long, but the years are short” is very true. You may have every intention of helping your kids have a rich prayer life or treasure reading the Bible, but then someone gets sick, the game goes extra innings, standardized testing is happening and before you know it your child is headed to college. Very little of those well intentioned spiritual things ever happened and now there really is no significant time to change things easily.
Unfortunately, many young people raised in Christian homes have little more of a spiritual foundation than their peers raised in non-Christian homes. And often the faith foundation they do have is weak and susceptible to destruction when everyone else is encouraging them to abandon it so they can “have more fun”.
The best way to avoid this scenario playing out with your own children is to be proactive. Be that intentional Christian parent. When life gets you off track, work to get your family back to the spiritual basics your kids so desperately need.
All of that is going to require you to be focused – extremely focused. Satan is slick. He knows the worries and concerns every parent has. He will do everything he can to make sure you are distracted by your child’s future and what others think you must do so your child has a bright one. God, according to Satan, can wait until later.
Except later is often too late. For the next few posts, we will be giving you some tips and fun activities to help you maintain your family’s focus on important spiritual disciplines that can help mold your kids’ hearts, minds and souls. Just remember, never take your eye off of the prize – your entire family spending eternity together in Heaven. You will always be glad you kept that laser focus on what God wants for your family.
Have you ever paid attention to the words your kids choose when they talk or write papers for school? I was listening to something the other day, when the speaker made a comment that really resonated with me as a parent – especially as a Christian parent.
He was talking about the use of the term “hater” by people today. The speaker pointed out that in his youth, when someone disagreed with something you said or believed, they were called your critic. You were encouraged to research and hone your arguments in order to persuade your critics you were correct in your beliefs or in what you said or did.
There are many Christian parents who are single through death, divorce or other circumstances. While in some ways Christian parenting is the same as for the rest of us, they have special challenges to navigate. Their journey is difficult enough without having to search extensively for help dealing with Christian parenting issues that are specific to their situation.
I was interested when offered the opportunity to review the new book Going Solo: Hope and Healing for the Single Mom or Dad by Robert Beeson. Beeson was an executive in the Christian music industry. Through a variety of circumstances, he found himself the divorced father of three young girls. He eventually founded a ministry – Solo Parent Society – for Christian single parents.
The book is his personal story woven with the principles he learned through his divorce and the aftermath. He freely admits the poor choices he made that contributed to the destruction of his marriage. Although he goes into the background of his divorce a bit, the book is more about what happened after the divorce than before it.
It was the year of chocolate in our daughter’s public school class. I honestly don’t remember what grade it was, but her teacher had done a unit on chocolate. It had included some lessons about how chocolate was grown and processed. The teacher also discussed chocolate’s origins with American indigenous populations.
We were headed to Mexico on a mission trip and decided to try and find an authentic Mayan Mexican chocolate pot, so we could make Mexican hot chocolate at home. For some unknown reason, there were none to be found in the tourist areas. My daughter and I ventured into the “regular people” areas of town and found ourselves deep in the central market.
We were forced to use our limited Spanish to communicate. We saw all sorts of things we had never seen before. (Let’s just say we stop eating meat when we were there!) While we were searching, we had lots of conversations about culture and people and missions. We talked about the importance of getting away from the tourist mission trip experience and trying to better understand real life where we served. In fact, over a decade later, we still mention that adventure from time to time.
What does the person demonstrating this trick with a jar tell you? If we put the important things like God into our lives first, everything falls into place. If we wait, however, to add God to our lives after we have crammed in everything else – we won’t have room for Him in our lives. They are just to full of the other “stuff”.
This is an example of perhaps one of the most well known object lessons used to help people visually understand some important concept in the Bible. Think of it as a visual version of a parable. Object lessons are great ways to teach children about God. They used to be very popular in Bible classes, but have cycled out of use in many places.
Object lessons make great quick, fun family devotionals. Most use items that you already have around the house. It helps visual learners and kids who are still concrete thinkers have a better understanding of some of the more abstract concepts in the Bible. Or you can even use them to “act out” a parable of Jesus.
You can find lots of free ideas online, but here are a couple of ideas to get you started: