Sometimes to teens it must sound like the only Christians who have testimonies worthy of sharing are those who have been addicts, teen parents or have been to prison. Ministers tell our teens over and over, children are expected to abandon the church when they leave home and live a period where they experiment with sin and reject God. A Protestant Rumspringa of sorts.(An Amish rite of passage when Amish teens enter the world for a time to confirm whether they want to remain Amish or prefer excommunication.)
While I understand statistics confirm many teens do reject God when they leave home, I don’t like it presented as the default option for our children. Teens who are struggling with sin may actually be convinced that it will be fine for them to experiment with a sinful lifestyle, in spite of their doubts and concerns. They assume they will have plenty of time to repent later. Unfortunately, some teens do not survive experimentation.
Want to add a fun twist to your Thanksgiving celebration? Take a large jar and place beside it scraps of recycled paper and pens. Put the jar in a prominent place. Throughout the year, whenever someone is thankful for something, they write it on a slip of paper and throw it in the bowl. While you are waiting for that extra room to appear in your stomach so you can eat dessert Thanksgiving Day, pull out the bowl and start reading the slips.
Sometimes it is hard to remember to be thankful through your growling stomach. The chaos created just by getting everyone to the table may make people go blank if asked to share what they are grateful for this year. The jar not only reminds us of the things we are currently grateful for, but how much God has blessed us over the past year. The slips may bring back fun memories or help your family process the difficult times from the previous year.
Parents often say they have a strong willed child. Some children are a little wiser, shall we say, about heeding correction than others. Strong willed children can cause early gray hairs in some parents and moments of counting the days until they leave home for others. Forget trying to dedicate him to God, you are trying to merely survive his childhood!
I believe every child has the potential to be self-willed at any given moment. Remarkably, the behaviors of the self-willed child resemble those of the strong willed child. As parents, we want the “magic” secret for handling those moments when our child has drawn a line in the sand and dares us to cross it. How do we teach them obedience and avoid World War III in the process?
Apple pie is a staple of Thanksgiving in many families. Fresh apples from a nearby orchard combined with flaky crust and smells of cinnamon seem to call everyone to the kitchen with offers to help – taste of course! This time bring your children into the kitchen and let them help you bake the pie. Besides being a great life lesson and wonderful bonding time, you can use the experience to teach your children a difficult concept about God.
Before you start peeling the apples for your pie, ask your children if they know the parts of an apple. If they don’t know, start peeling the apple. Place all of the peelings in a pile. Next slice all of the useful fruit off the apple and place it in another pile. Put the core in a third spot. Show your children how an apple has three parts – the peel, the fruit and the core. All could be described with the word “apple” as part of its name. If the parts were put back together, it would also be an apple.
Recently, I joined the world of iPad addicts. My busy schedule and the need to accomplish something while I am waiting, meant I needed an easily portable computer. There is a relatively new app I believe can help you introduce your child to the world in the Bible in a very real way.
Bible360 is a free app (The full app does require payment.). You can download it in the iTunes store or from their website. It has the normal Bible and reading plans. The exciting part for me was the virtual tour of sites in the Bible. Click on one of the more than three dozen virtual tours. (Over 500 if you have the premium paid version) Suddenly you are in Jerusalem or at the Temple. Tap on the various areas for close-ups and more detailed information. The site also contains photos (mini photos over 2300 free, large photos 52 free) , artwork (mini over 700 free, large more than 60 free), maps (mini 143 free, large 16 free) and videos (3 free).