Fun Fall Family Service Project

Yes, it’s October and 95* in Atlanta, but colder weather will eventually come – even to the Southern U.S. You can do a fun Fall family service project, while also teaching your kids things God wants them to know.

Grab your kids and a Bible. Share with them the story of Joseph and his coat of many colors found in Genesis 37. Explain to your children that Israel can get cold in the winter months. Some places even get a few days of light snow. Joseph’s coat may have been to keep him warm as well as a way for Jacob to show him love.

Explain that many children in your area don’t have enough warm clothes like, sweaters, coats, hats, gloves and thick socks. Some families can’t afford to keep their homes warm during the winter and their kids may need to wear heavy clothing indoors.

If your children are older, get them to help research places in your area that will help you get warm clothing to children who need it. You may want to try churches, shelters, foster care agencies and orphanages. Some public schools may also be interested in receiving donations.

Once you have determined who will receive the warm clothing, it’s time to plan how much you will try to gather and how you will do that. Many families with young children often realize their kids have outgrown the previous year’s winter clothing when it begins getting chilly. It’s a great time to offer to collect any outgrown clothing in good condition.

There are other ways to gather donations. Your family may have things in good condition you no longer wear. Or perhaps your kids want to earn extra money and use it to buy socks or gloves. It could also grow to become a project for your church. This project can be as big or as little as you wish.

As you work on the project, have conversations with your kids about topics like empathy, serving others, faith sharing and more. Make sure your kids go with you to deliver the donations. The experience can give them a better appreciation for the need to serve others. You may even want to make it an annual family tradition.

Confident Moms, Confident Daughters

Godly self-esteem can be tricky. Trying to help your daughters develop it is even tougher if you have your own issues with self-esteem. So what is the secret to raising daughters who are confident in godly ways?

Confident Moms, Confident Daughters by Maria Furlough attempts to answer that very question. In the forward of the book, the author shares about a time she went forty days with avoiding mirrors. She did it to try and stop comparing herself to the world’s ever changing standards of beauty. She wanted instead to try and see herself as God sees her. More importantly, she wanted to give that gift to her daughters.

The thing I appreciated the most about this book is that Furlough interviewed quite a few experts in various fields about the areas that most often cause women trouble with their self-esteem. I appreciated the author’s willingness to share her platform with others instead of trying to summarize their thoughts or choose a couple of random quotes.

Not only did that give the advice additional credibility, but it removed the issue of readers being expected to take advice from an author who is still having struggles with an issue, while also presenting herself as an expert. In this book, readers can identify with her struggles and then turn with her to experts for advice.

The advice covers everything from physical health to body weight and more. The experts range from physicians to therapists to young people. The book addresses underlying issues as well as giving practice advice.

Although the book is written from a Christian perspective, I wouldn’t consider it a Bible study. Some scriptures are shared, but not a lot of them. There are questions at the end of the chapter. Some chapters have questions that are basically secular, while others dig deeper in to scripture or godly principles and other faith type topics. I would think if you wanted to use this as part of a Bible study, you would need to add some more Bible content to it.

Over all, this is a solid book on self-esteem. It’s not memorable enough to be outstanding, but will help many mothers who struggle with self-esteem. Those who want to work on this issue with their daughters will definitely find it helpful.

A copy of this book was given to me free for my honest review. An affiliate link is included for your convenience.

Fun Way to Teach Your Kids About Serving Others

Remember the story of the Good Samaritan? A man was robbed, beaten and left to die on the side of the road. The religious people who should have helped him, walked on by, too busy to help. The Samaritan, who culturally would have hated the victim, stopped and took the time to serve him.

That story should open our eyes to how important it is to God that we stop and help those He places in our path who have needs. Unfortunately, some of us are so obsessed with our own lives that we don’t even notice the people around us who need our help.

There’s a great way to teach your kids how to be more observant of those around them who need to be served. If you have the time, it’s also a great way to teach them how to use their gifts to serve others and to share their faith while serving.

Grab a Bible and read the story of the Good Samaritan to your kids. (Luke 10:25-37) Explain to your children that as sad as it was that those first people refused to help the victim, it’s even sadder when we are so self-absorbed we don’t even notice someone needs to be served.

Tell your kids you are going on a family service walk. It can be in your neighborhood or in a public place like a mall. As you walk, tell your kids you want them to be really observant and notice people that might need someone to help them in some way. With younger children you may have to give them clues like, “Look for people who look sad” or “Look for people who look like they could use an extra pair of hands to help them.”

Your kids can write down what they notice or just try and remember the things. (With young children, if they share in the moment, you may run the risk of hurting someone’s feelings.) After your walk, talk about what they noticed. Are there things they or your family can do to help those people or people like them? With older children, you can begin having discussions about discernment and how God wants us to use our resources to know the best ways to help people.

Doing this activity regularly can train your kids to be more observant of the needs of others. If your family follows up by actually serving some of the people you see, you will make an even deeper impression on your children. You may even want to encourage other families to do the same thing and then share with each other the needs you see in your community. It’s a great way to strengthen the faith foundation of your children and help them grow to their godly potential.

Dear Grandchild, This Is Me

One of the differences between life now and a hundred years ago is that it is less common for children to live near their grandparents. They may communicate on video calls, but often spend only a week or two together over the course of a year.

Which is unfortunate for Christian grandparents. Barna’s recent study on spiritually vibrant families found that grandparents were a major influence on the spiritual lives of many young people. If you can’t spend much time with your grandkids, how much influence can you have on their lives?

Which is why I love the new book Dear Grandchild, This Is Me by Waterbrook. Having a book for grandparents to record their memories for grandchildren is not a new concept. This book, however, has some additions which I think makes it stand out from others I have seen.

Grandparents will love that instead of being expected to write pages on one topic, each page has several shorter questions to answer. This makes it much easier to do a little bit at a time and actually complete the volume before your grandchildren are grandparents themselves.

The other thing I really appreciated is that periodically there are envelopes where grandparents can place letters they have written to their grandchild to be opened under certain circumstances. Having grandparents that passed away just in the last few years, I know how much I would treasure letters like that from them now.

The book has other fun features like a page to record your favorite things when you were younger and now (like candy and tv show). There are places for photos, recipes and even a mini-family tree. I especially like the places where it asks grandparents to give advice on various topics.

This is an attractive book that your grandkids will treasure as adults. The advice you write in its pages can still point them to God long after you are gone. Yes, you will have to make a duplicate for each grandchild, but since every child is different you would probably want to personalize it anyway. I don’t have any grandkids yet, but I’m saving this book for when God blesses us with one.

This book was given to us for free in exchange for our honest review. An affiliate link is included for your convenience.

Fun Ways to Add Family Quality Time

You know you should be spending more time together as a family, but when you are together…Well, things seem to not go so smoothly. Everyone is in different rooms. Or maybe in the same room, but engrossed in their personal devices. Or everyone starts getting on each others’ nerves and you spend more time separating your kids than bonding with them and teaching them.

If you’ve gone to the trouble to clear your schedules a bit to create some intentional quality family time, taking a few extra minutes to plan can help things go more smoothly. Your family is used to entertaining themselves, doing whatever it is they personally want to do – it’s no longer necessary to negotiate the sharing of the one tv in the house.

Not having to compromise, means entertainment has become a bit selfish. What everyone else wants to do with their time is of little consequence. No wonder conflicts can erupt when suddenly a family who can usually do whatever they want for entertainment is now forced to agree on something and do it together for a period of time.

No worries though! A few well planned, fun, family activities will keep your children engaged and asking for more family time. Not everything has to be overtly religious. It’s amazing how many opportunities you will have for teaching your kids about what God wants them to do in the course of something simple like playing a board game together.

There are a million things you can do together as a family, that give you plenty of opportunities to bond, teach and model. Here are some of the things our family loved to do when our daughter was younger.

  • Family Game Night – Kids love playing board games with their parents. Library book sales and yard sales often have board games for sale for a couple of dollars. Our Five Below store even has a lot of fun games for $5 or less.
  • International Night. This was a huge hit for a variety of reasons in our house. I cooked several recipes from the “mystery” country. They were easy to find on the internet or you can buy many types of cuisine already prepared in many areas. The rest of the family tried to guess the country as we ate their most famous dishes. Often we would also listen to their music, try a few words of their language or participate in a few other things from the culture. It’s also a great way to introduce missions to your kids.
  • After dinner family walks. Recently, I was in Ukraine. It seemed like every family in my neighborhoods in two different cities went for family walks after dinner. Along the way, they were talking and playing with their children. They even continued their post dinner walks when school started.
  • Family projects. Whether it’s making a tarp into a car track for an orphanage or cleaning the garage, working together on a project is great. Often, these are things you normally do, but separately. So instead of everyone being assigned a different room to clean, for example, everyone works together on the same room.
  • Making cookies. This is a classic for a reason! What’s more fun than baking cookies together? Sugar cookies that you can also decorate are always great. They don’t have to be Christmas cookies either. After enjoying a few of your creations, take the rest to someone who could use a little cheer and company – as a family.
  • Exploring. Whether it’s geocaching or visiting a new area of town (or a new town), exploring can be a great bonding experience. Let your kids help plan the adventure for even more quality family time.
  • Picnics. Take a blanket and take-out if you don’t want to cook and hit the road. Picnics are great conversation starters. Don’t forget to take a frisbee for more family fun after you finish eating. (When the weather is bad, indoor picnics and “camping” are usually a huge hit with kids.)

So grab your kids and start spending time together. Having fun as a family is great. It strengthens family bonds and gives you chances to slip in little bits of God’s wisdom from time to time. It also gives you a chance to model godly behaviors for your kids and chances to see your kids’ hearts more clearly. Plus, you are creating wonderful memories you will all cherish for years to come.