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.
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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.
Continue reading Fun Ways to Connect Public School Work Back to God
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:
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One of the most important parenting skills is to be a great listener. Why? Because, if you listen well, your kids will talk. The more they talk, the more they will reveal of what they are thinking and feeling. As Christian parents, what they say is even more vital, because it gives us clues how to strengthen their faith foundation and help mold their hearts towards God.
Yet, communication is one of the biggest struggles most parents face. Most of us have developed communication skills which are sloppy at best. In our defense, this is often because we had very little actual training in communication and default to what we picked up somehow along the way. Often these poor habits cause issues as we parent our children. The rifts they cause can become even greater as our kids reach their teen years.
So, I was really interested when offered the opportunity to review the new book How to Listen So People Will Talk by Becky Harling. This isn’t the first book on the topic. In fact, Amazon is filled with books with similar sounding titles and topics. I can’t speak to the others, but I loved this volume.
Continue reading How to Listen So Your Kids Will Talk
Who knows when it really starts. Maybe it’s after that first kid on the playground bops them on the head or the first child takes their toy away without asking. At some point though, kids begin to learn that not everyone is as big of a fan as their parents and grandparents. In fact, pretty early on most kids realize that some kids are really mean and will do and say ugly things to them for no apparent reason at all.
It’s human nature to want to avoid pain and that includes the emotional, mental and sometimes physical pain another person can cause us. Your kids are no different. Unfortunately, often the people that are mean to them are unavoidable because they have to sit next to them all day in school or play with the same kids in the neighborhood. Over time, your kids’ natural inclination at avoidance will probably turn into dislike as they are constantly exposed to the ugly words and actions of the person who is mean to them.
If the negative interactions continue, the dislike can become very strong indeed and even border on hatred. As parents we would love nothing more than to protect our kids from all of this pain and ugliness, but in reality we can’t for very long. As Christians, we are expected by God to love our enemies. Yet, I imagine if we were all extremely honest with each other, it’s one of the biggest struggles many of us have – and we are adults!
As with many of the things we teach as parents, God may ask us to train our kids in godly behaviors and heart attitudes we still haven’t mastered ourselves. Often, parents shy away from those topics entirely. I would encourage you though to step up to the challenge. Admit to your kids you are still working on loving your enemies like God would – even as an adult. Encourage each other as you tackle these 6 important actions and attitudes.
Continue reading 6 Important Things to Teach Your Kids About Loving their Enemies