Have you talked with your children about the kind of hearts God wants them to have? In today’s world many people call themselves Christians while having no intention of following any of God’s commands – especially if those commands keep them from doing what they want to do. Had someone spent more time explaining the parable of the soil to them, they might have a better understanding of the hearts God wants His people to have.
Their is a fun activity you can do with your kids to help them understand the many layers of the parable of the soil. You may have to grab a few supplies first, although you can also use paper cups, dirt from your yard and seeds from food scraps.
Grab your kids, a Bible and the supplies. Read them the parable from Matthew 13:1-23 (with older kids you can compare versions of the parable from Mark 4:1-20 and Luke8:4-15).
Explain that if they have never had a garden, this parable might be a little difficult to understand. Take your kids outside. Have them throw a few seeds on the sidewalk. Ask them what are some of the things that could happen to those seeds. Ask them whether or not they think those seeds will grow on the sidewalk to look like the plant on the seed packet.
For the next three “soils” you may want to allow each child to make one of each or make a couple of each for the family. If you can somehow make the parable “work” over the next week or so and show your kids the results, that’s great. If not, just explain what would probably happen if this were done in a real garden.
One cup should contain gravel. Your kids can drop in a few seeds. Another cup should contain dirt, and your kids drop in the good seed. You can be “birds” that then drop in grass seed to the same cup. For the last cup, use dirt and just the “good” seeds.
After all of the seeds have been planted, go back and talk about Jesus said would happen with each. With younger children, use a simplification of the explanation Jesus gave for the parable. Encourage older kids to think of concrete examples from real life of what each of those scenarios might look like in today’s world. Ask them to think of ways to make sure they are the good seed in the good soil.
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.