Helping Your Kids Slay Goliath

One of the toughest things for some adults to understand is that problems which seem small to them can feel insurmountable to a child. Adults have learned that friend troubles pass or a bad grade on one homework assignment isn’t the end of the world. To a child, however, these are problems that can feel scary and overwhelming, causing anxiety, dread and fear to grow.

For years, kids have been told the story from the Bible of David and Goliath. Hopefully, your kids have been taught it’s an example of how, for God, even the impossible is possible. That God will be with them as they face their giants, if they will let Him. For some kids, that is what they need to know to understand how to lean on God. Others need a little more practical help applying the lessons from David and Goliath to their lives.

Louie Giglio has written a new book for eight to twelve year olds called Goliath Must Fall. Within its pages, Giglio tries to give older children some practical advice to help them apply the lessons from David and Goliath in practical ways to their lives.

Sandwiched in between introductory and closing chapters, Giglio goes into detail about several giants with whom he believes older children struggle – fear, rejection, comfort, anger and addiction. For the most part he does a better than average job of giving kids practical strategies to use. I particularly appreciate how often he encourages them to read the Bible and suggests numerous passages to them. I also appreciate that he quotes quite a few scriptures within the text, for those who may not be as inclined to actually look them up to read.

Personally, I appreciated Giglio for tackling the topics of comfort and addiction – too often ignored when teaching young people how to live a Christian life. Although the chapter on addiction deals primarily with age appropriate topics like video games, earlier in the book he mentions addictions which the eight to twelve year olds for whom the book is written are a bit too young. He also writes a bit about social media. He does add that most have parents who don’t allow them on it yet, but that he hopes to prepare them. I would have preferred that he address head on the required age limits and that cheating them to get on social media is already showing a potential to “build a giant” in that area.

My other primary criticism is his discussion of how to become a Christian. I will never understand how people supposedly so deep in Bible study will promote a man made invention within the last two hundred or so years as the way to become a Christian. Following the example of Jesus and a quick reading of Acts make it abundantly clear baptism is essential, not only for the remission of sins, but to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. To make kids believe they are saved and have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit from praying a modern made up prayer is irresponsible. Thankfully, for kids who have been taught the Bible, this is about one page in the book and can be mentioned with reminders before giving the book or when discussing it.

If your child struggles with anxiety or other issues, this book might be the practical help to understand how to apply scripture to their lives that they need. It can also give you some helpful, godly hints to work with your kids to incorporate in their lives.

Christian Parenting Challenges #3

Believe it or not, the spring trees are starting to bud here. How were things in your home this week? Need some encouragement or fresh ideas? Here are this week’s social media challenges to help.

Monday: Do you have goals for your kids? Your number one goal shouldn’t be for them to be happy or to go to college. It should be that they spend eternity in Heaven. If you put as much time and effort into preparing them to live a Christian life as you do on their baseball swing or grades, chances are great your kids will grow up to be strong, active Christians.

Tuesday: Did you know your kids can wear clothes like this and still be immodest? Modesty (and immodesty) is as much about an attitude as it is clothing. Both boys and girls should be taught how to avoid sending sexual messages to those around them. (Yes, the other person has responsibilities, too.)

Wednesday: One day your kids will start dating. They need to understand anyone they date is a potential future spouse. Dating people they know they would never want to marry can cause all sorts of problems. Start talking about dating and marriage long before they are old enough to actually date. The more prepared they are, the better those dating years will go.

Thursday: Facebook algorithms keep you from seeing many of our posts and no longer allow us to post direct links to our blog. You can make sure you don’t miss anything by going to our website parentinglikehannah (.com) and signing up for our newsletter. You will receive three emails a week containing everything we post and we don’t sell or share your information with anyone. (Please help us out by liking or commenting on this post.)

Friday: What do you see? An oil slick on a road or colorful art? Perspective makes a difference – even about God, the Bible and Christianity. For example, are you making your kids think God’s commands are somehow keeping them from having fun or God’s way of showing His love and attempting to protect them from the earthly consequences disobedience can bring? How you frame things for your kids will impact their faith, so prayerfully consider your perspective before passing it on to your kids.

Fun Ways to Engrave Scripture on Your Kids’ Hearts

There’s a hard truth many older Christians have already figured out. If you don’t have God’s Words engraved on your heart, it isn’t very helpful. Why? Because most decisions are made in fractions of a second. If your brain doesn’t automatically know what God wants you to do in a particular situation in that second, you may very well make a sinful choice.

Your kids are no different. In fact, because the decision making areas of the brain aren’t fully developed, they need to have those helpful verses come to mind even more quickly.

But, you are thinking, my kids hate to memorize anything. If I force them to memorize scripture, we will be in constant conflict and they will learn to hate the Bible. The good news is that there are fun ways you can engrave those words on your kids’ hearts. – even if they hate memorizing things. Here are some of our favorites.

  • Teach them fun songs. If your kids are young, you probably are playing Kidz Bop or Disney music on constant repeat. Why not add some fun scripture songs in the mix? There are songs specifically recorded to help kids memorize scriptures with those tunes young kids enjoy. Of course a lot of worship music also has scripture embedded in it, too. By singing along or hearing it played millions of times, those verses will be engraved in their hearts as well.
  • Use scripture art. Have your kids create works of art around important scriptures and display it prominently around your house. Don’t forget, they can make pillows and other decorative items with scripture as well. Older kids and teens may also enjoy Bible journaling. (Note: They can do it in a spiral notebook as easily as they can in an expensive wide margin Bible.)
  • Develop favorite sayings. You probably already have sayings you use over and over again that you probably got from a parent or grandparent. Why not be purposeful about it and find some pithy verses to use as some of your repeated sayings? If you say them often enough, your kids will groan, but join in repeating the scripture just like they do your other sayings. Chances are, they will repeat them to their kids, too.
  • Have a family contest. Some kids thrive on competition. They already think you are becoming old and forgetful. Why not challenge them to scripture memory contests? You can work together to choose scriptures and what winners will get as prizes. Don’t forget, for kids, getting to choose what you cook for dinner or getting to go to bed fifteen minutes later can be as exciting as a new purchased item.

Have fun with it, but make sure your kids have key scriptures engraved on their hearts. It will make it so much easier for them to know what God wants them to do and to make good choices.

5 Important Reasons Your Kids Need Solitude

Solitude is a lost art. Your kids may have felt isolated over the last year, but chances are they were engaging constantly with all sorts of people…real and virtual. In childhood days of “yore”, kids spent time lying in the grass and looking at clouds or stars. They fished silently by a stream. They did needlework or sketched, unaware of the world around them. They had lots of free time when they weren’t expected to interact with anyone and had the freedom to think uninterrupted thoughts.

There are some huge spiritual benefits from providing regular times of solitude for your kids. You don’t have to lock them in their rooms, but it helps to shelve the devices. Modern parents have used a quiet, afternoon rest period to provide children with some solitude – even if others are in the same room (because no talking is allowed). However you make room for solitude in your kids’ schedule, here are five important benefits they may get from the time.

  • Reflection. Have a daily verse they can reflect upon. They may choose to reflect upon what’s been happening in their lives and how they feel about it. Or what they have been learning at church, from the Bible or in their experiences. Giving your kids time to process things means they are more likely to have the time to understand and apply what God wants them to know and do.
  • Creativity. Solitude does not mean inactivity. Arts, crafts and music still allow one to think while one is working. Sometimes clarity comes when doing something creative….the creativity can spark creative solutions in other areas, too.
  • Problem solving. Problems often are resolved with better results when time has been taken to think through the possible consequences of the various options. You may need to teach your kids how to do that properly before they can do it independently during their times of solitude.
  • Talking to God. Prayers tend to be rushed when time is at a premium. Solitude provides time for unrushed, long conversations with God. You may have to work with your kids to help them understand they can talk to God about anything and everything. Once they appreciate prayer, they will often use solitude to engage in prayers they may normally have not had time to pray.
  • “Listening to God”. No, they probably won’t hear God’s actual voice. The Holy Spirit, however, can put things on their hearts whether it is a reminder of scriptures, ideas or dreams. This is even more likely to happen if they have received the gift of the Holy Spirit in baptism and have the quiet and solitude to “hear”. Reading the Bible during solitude makes it even easier to learn what God may want them to know. Teaching them how to test and discern what God wants them to know from their own desires or Satan’s temptations is key to “listening” well.

You will probably have to carve out special time for solitude and explain the benefits of having screen free quiet time to your kids. Once they understand how to use solitude though, they may actually ask for more.

Christian Parenting Challenges 2021 Week #2

People are starting to get vaccinated against COVID. Although things may still be rough for awhile longer, there is light at the end of the tunnel. There is also still time to make needed changes in your Christian parenting if they are needed. Here are some ideas and encouragement to get you started.

Monday: “We all have negative urges, but we don’t have to act out those urges” Mr Rogers. Or better yet, “In your anger, do not sin. Let not the sun go down while you are still angry.” Ephesians 4:26 Teach your kids to live this verse and they will grow up to be the peacemakers mentioned in the New Testament.

Tuesday: When is the last time you hugged your kids or told them you love them? Kids need multiple hugs and “I love you’s” a day to be emotionally healthy. Those hugs impact their spiritual health, too. They won’t realize it, but the way you love your kids will often be how they view the way God loves them. Since God IS love, pour love on your kids.

Wednesday: There is a parenting myth that kids are like succulents…just turn them loose in the world and they will do fine with very little adult intervention. Kids may be able to survive that way, but they rarely thrive. Your kids will need a lot of your intentional time and energy if they are to grow to become the faithful, productive Christians God wants them to be. You can’t just “phone it in” and expect great results.

Thursday: Did you know your kids need free play? It’s good for every area of their growth – even spiritually. Read our blog post this week to find out more.

Friday: I don’t know the people who lived in this log cabin, but I know from family stories that families in log cabins with no electricity, running water or bathrooms were often happy, content and grateful to God for having food on the table and a roof over their heads. Your kids don’t need what they think they need. Those are mostly wants. To these families even throwing away a sock with a hole and buying a new one was a luxury, yet they were often content and grateful. Raising content, grateful kids stops entitlement in its tracks.