Teaching Christian Kids About Freedom

Teaching Christian Kids About Freedom - Parenting Like HannahIf a book of the Bible could stalk you, Galatians has been following me around lately. Everywhere I go, it seems they are studying Galatians and particularly what Paul has to say about freedom. The more I thought about it, the more I realized the concept of freedom taught in Galatians is a vital lesson for our kids to learn and understand.

First, let’s take a look at how Galatians defines the freedom Christians have. “My brothers and sisters, you were chosen to be free. But don’t use your freedom as an excuse to live under the power of sin. Instead, serve one another in love. The whole law is fulfilled by obeying this one command. “Love your neighbor as you love yourself.” If you say or do things that harm one another, watch out! You could end up destroying one another.” 

“So I say, live by the Holy Spirit’s power. Then you will not do what your desires controlled by sin want you to do. The desires controlled by sin do not want what the Spirit delights in. And the Spirit does not want what the desires controlled by sin delight in. The two are at war with each other. That’s why you are not supposed to do whatever you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the authority of the law.” (Galatians 5:13-18 NIrV)

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Learning to Enjoy Christian Parenting

Learning to Enjoy Christian Parenting - Parenting Like HannahHave you ever sat down with a group of moms? On a good day, it can be a lot of fun laughing and celebrating all things parenting. On many days, however, the conversation spirals into complaints and even whining. Now as a card carrying optimist, I’m not usually given to negative thinking for very long, but even I have days when it seems life has drained the joy out of my world.

For Christian parents, our journey has an added twist. What is the second fruit of the Spirit? Yep. After love comes joy. If we are letting the Spirit work in us, we should be joyful more often than not. So what needs to happen to bring the joy back into our lives?

Enjoy:Finding the Freedom to Delight Daily in God’s Good Gifts by Trillia Newbell is about finding that joy in God’s blessings. It’s also about gratitude, but it’s ultimately about more than just joy and gratitude. Newbell takes the time to consider ten or so categories of gifts from God ranging from intimacy with our spouses to material possessions to our complicated relationships with food, work, rest and more.

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Fun Activity To Help Kids Learn About Loving Others

Fun Activities to Help Kids Learn About Loving Others - Parenting Like HannahGod’s love for us is at the very root of Christianity. I’m sure you are teaching your kids to love others. Love is complicated though. It’s not just butterflies in your stomach or finding a friend who enjoys the same things you do. True agape love is loving people even when you have nothing in common with them. It’s the ability to love people even if you don’t particularly like them at the moment. It’s even what makes it possible to love our enemies.

There is a fun activity you can do with your kids to help them begin to understand love is unconditional. Gather up some paper and some pens and markers or crayons. If you want to get really creative, cut out the paper in the shape of a heart or buy those inexpensive heart-shaped blank books.

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The One Habit All Christian Kids Must Be Taught

The One Habit All Christian Kids Must Be Taught - Parenting Like HannahThe university I attended for my undergraduate degree was actually a part of Colonial Williamsburg. We were seeped in history and most of us loved it, no matter our major. Our library was full of rare documents from people like Thomas Jefferson and other historical figures. As a result, one of the principles we were taught was the idea of researching primary source documents.

A primary source document is considered to be the closest source you can find to an actual event or person. So for example, when I wanted to do a paper on the man who built many of the historical homes on the Appomattox River, I didn’t read a book about him. Instead, I went to the historical society library in Richmond and had them pull everything he had ever personally written – from letters to diaries to inventories and wills. Those documents painted a more accurate picture of the man than one painted by someone else who had their personal interpretation of his life added to the mix.

So what does this have to do with Christian parenting? For Christians, our primary source document is the Bible. (I’m not ignoring the translation aspect, but that’s a more advanced level of this topic.) All other writings on the topic are considered at best a secondary source. Any book on Christianity. Any theology treatise. Any commentary. Any document written by someone and not included in the Bible is a secondary source.

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8 Tips for Raising Kids Who Make Wise Decisions

8 Tips for Teaching Kids to Make Wise Decisions - Parenting Like HannahEverywhere you turn, it seems some parenting expert is telling us children and teens are basically incapable of making wise decisions. Often they talk about an under-developed pre-frontal cortex or some other “science” to back their theories. What’s interesting to me is that I know plenty of teens and young adults who regularly make wise decisions – my own daughter included. In fact, a quick look at the history of our own country will show teens and young adults were making decisions (and often very mature ones) at much younger ages than do young people today.

So what’s the difference? I have no scientific data to back my theory, but I believe the pre-frontal cortex is like the rest of the brain. It can be trained to do more than it currently does. You don’t refuse to teach your kids to read, because they weren’t born knowing how to read. Yes, different children are capable of learning to read at different ages and speeds, but there are many educators who have shown most kids can actually learn to read earlier than they currently do.

I believe the same theories apply to the part of the brain that helps us make wise decisions. Unless it is damaged, that area can be stimulated and learn wise decision making much earlier than we currently expect of many of our young people. But just like most kids must be taught how to read, most must be actively taught how to make wise – and in our case godly – decisions.

So what can you do to help your kids learn to make wiser decisions at a younger age than many of their peers? Every child is different, but here are some things that should help almost any child begin learning how to make wiser choices:

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Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. (Deuteronomy 11:18-19 NIV)