3 Gifts Your Kids Need From You This Christmas

It’s only a few days until Christmas. Your kids have visions of new bikes, games, dolls or whatever they asked to receive as presents. There are three gifts, however, they didn’t think to add to their lists. Gifts that are the absolute best gifts you could give them.

The first gift your kids need from you is a large amount of quality time. Time where your focus is on them, not a device. Time when you listen as they tell you whatever is important to them….no matter how silly or unimportant it may seem to you. Time when you mentor rather than lecture. Time when you teach and coach them how to be who God wants them to be. Time to have fun and just enjoy being together.

The second gift your kids need is that you live out Deuteronomy 6:7 and 11:19 as if their very souls depend upon it.”Impress them on your children (God’s commands). Talk about them when you sit at home, when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” Your kids need you to do what’s in this verse every single day. They need you to do this so they can develop a strong faith foundation.

The third gift your kids need from you is to see you live your faith daily. They need to see how being a Christian makes you different from other parents and other people. They need to see you showing love to everyone…even your enemies. They need to see you obeying and worshiping God. They need to see you love reading your Bible and value praying to God. They need to see you have the character traits God wants His people to have. They need to see you serving others, being generous and sharing your faith with everyone you meet.

Your kids will recover if you couldn’t find the toy they wanted for Christmas. They won’t fare as well, however, if they don’t get these three critical gifts from you.

When Christian Parenting Seems Too Hard

Are you struggling in your Christian parenting journey? Do you feel like every other Christian parent but you has found some secret, easy way to raise their kids to be the people God created them to be? Don’t let Satan trick you! Every Christian parent has moments of confusion, doubt and gut wrenching struggle.

We question rather we are doing the right things or doing enough of them. We wonder if the mistakes we will inevitably make will somehow encourage our kids to reject God. We worry that our culture, our kids’ friends or their future spouses will encourage them to reject God rather than serve Him. We hold our breath at times praying that our kids choose to obey God’s commands rather than reject them as outdated or irrelevant.

It can be tempting at times to give up. To stop trying to do the hard work that is necessary to help your kids build strong faith foundations and develop to their godly potential. It’s tempting to believe Satan’s lies that what we do or don’t do as Christian parents doesn’t really matter because of our kids’ free will or that it’s the church’s responsibility to make sure our kids have everything they need to be strong, productive Christians as adults or that our kids will somehow magically live a Christian life just by seeing it lived by others sporadically.

As strange as it may sound, on some level you need to embrace those fears and doubts. Not to the point where they discourage from doing the sometimes difficult things required of Christian parents, but to the point that you know you care passionately about your kids’ souls. Remember that Satan wants to trick you, just like he did Elijah at one point. Satan wants you to believe you are alone in your struggles to be a Christian parent. I can promise you, there are other parents out there just as passionate and working just as hard to parent their kids towards God as you are. And don’t forget. God wants you to succeed. He loves your kids even more than you do. He wants them in Heaven even more than you do. He is there to support you in your journey.

Have you ever run a long race? I have and honestly I hate running around the block, much less 10k. Sometimes the only thing that keeps me moving forward is that free tee shirt at the finish line. As silly as it may sound, picturing myself showered, fed and wearing that shirt gives me the endurance I need to finish. I will never be first, but I finish and I get the same tee shirt as the guy who won.

Ever wonder why there are so many scriptures about endurance? Because they were written for you. God wants you to know He understands Christian parenting is hard. Really hard. But he also wants you to know that with His help, you can endure. You can cross that finish line. There’s no tee shirt (to my knowledge), but spending eternity in Heaven with your kids, grandkids and other descendants is the best finish line “prize” possible.

Sometimes to endure, we just need to be reminded about what God says about it. I encourage you to regularly read some of these verses. Put them where you can see them daily on your bathroom mirror. Memorize them. Pray them. Your kids need you to endure. So does the Church. So does the world.

Romans 5:3-4, James 1:12-18, Hebrews 10:36, James 1:2-4, Colossians 1:11-12, Romans 12:12, 1 Corinthians 10:13, Hebrews 12:1-3, Romans 15:4-5, Philippians 4:13, 1 Corinthians 9:24, Galatians 6:9, 2 Corinthians 4:16-18, Matthew 24:13, 1 Peter 2:20 (These are just some of the verses about endurance in the Bible to get you started.)

Free Resources for Teaching Your Kids About God

If you’ve been a Christian for very long, you have probably learned God has commanded you as a parent to teach your kids about Him and what He wants from and for your kids. Churches usually try to help parents by providing regular Bible class opportunities for kids and teens to learn even more about God. Unfortunately, COVID has drastically altered the ability of many congregations to provide their regular Bible classes. Which means if you have been depending solely upon your church to teach your kids about God, your kids have missed as much as 18 months of critical learning opportunities.

You can help compensate for this loss, by becoming more intentional about teaching and training your kids to be who God wants them to be at home. You may be at a loss though, for where to begin. Thankfully, Parenting Like Hannah and Teach One Reach One Ministries have lots of free resources to help! Here’s a partial list to get you started.

  • Parenting Like Hannah blog posts. From fun ideas to use to teach your kids important Christian life skills, to tips for solving common parenting problems to family devotionals ideas, you can use the search function on our blog to find what you need, when you need it. We publish at least two new posts each week, so there are always new things to try. Sign up for the newsletter to have new blog posts go straight to your email.
  • Parenting Like Hannah Facebook Community. Ask to join our private Facebook community and receive daily Christian parenting challenges five days a week. Make sure to like or comment on posts so Facebook will keep them in your feed.
  • Teach One Reach One children’s Bible lessons and activity ideas. With over 200 Bible stories to choose from and Bible, application and service project activity ideas for most lessons, you’ve got plenty to keep your kids engaged when learning about the Bible. The activities were designed for Bible classes, but most can be easily adapted for use by a family.
  • Teach One Reach One academic tutoring activities. With our Bible lessons, we’ve also provided ideas for faith based tutoring ministries which you can also use to help your kids learn or practice academic skills while also learning Bible stories. We have activities for ESL (which can be used with any language), beginning and advanced elementary language arts and math, science, health and hygiene and sustenance and survival.
  • Teach One Reach One teen devotionals and Living the Christian Life curriculum. We have regular devotionals, plus an entire curriculum designed to teach your kids Christian life skills while they are studying the Bible.
  • Printable parenting sheets. These one page tip sheets cover a wide range of popular Christian parenting topics. With tips and scriptures all on one page, they are a great resource for handling common parenting issues.
  • Baptism study with leader guide. Is your child asking about becoming a Christian? We have a great free ebook that contains everything you need to study baptism with your child. It’s one of our most popular Christian parenting resources.

To find these resources and more, head to www.parentinglikehannah.com and www.teachonereachone.org. If you can’t find what you need, contact us and let us know. We may know of a place you can find it or it might be the idea for a new resource we create. We want to minister to you as you teach your kids about God. Let us know how we can help.

Hidden Benefits of Praying Blessings Over Your Kids

In the Old Testament, there are several times when fathers prayed blessings over the heads of their sons. The stories are often difficult ones for us to understand as at times they sound more as if the father in question is prophesying the future of each child. The Bible doesn’t thoroughly explain how these blessings worked. Did the father in question get some sort of direct message from God as to what to say – meaning it was an actual prophecy from God? Did God somehow make these blessings happen in the lives of the children? (It’s important to note, some of them didn’t exactly sound like blessings!) Did the father base the blessing on the character the now adult child had displayed in his life?

We may never completely understand these parental blessings, but there is something we can learn from them. Blessings said out loud over our children can impact their lives. There is no actual command to pray blessings over your children, but what children would not be blessed to hear their parents praying out loud for God to bless them?

When we talk about God blessing your child with these prayers said out loud over your kids, we aren’t just talking about money, success or good grades. It’s okay to ask God for those things to an extent, but what is more important is to use them as an opportunity to encourage your kids to see themselves as God sees them. To pray the ways you want to see them live their faith. To pray for God’s protection and guidance for their lives.

Fair warning, your kids will find this cringe worthy embarrassing! (This is best done without a public audience most of the time!) The good news though is that their respect for God and prayer will let them allow you to pray blessings over them they would never let you say to them in conversation without interruptions or leaving the room.

These blessings are times to share the potential you see in them. To point out their gifts from God. To remind them how incredibly precious and loved they are. To remind them God wants to guide them through life if they will let Him. To remind them God wants what is truly best for them – even if it doesn’t seem like it at the time. Blessings also remind your kids how much you love them and how important their spiritual life is to you.

Here’s the other secret about most kids. While they may cringe at these blessings, secretly most of them are soaking them into their hearts and minds. Done periodically with some consistency, they will even eventually become a treasured part of your relationship. If you connect these times of blessing with regular events like birthdays, the first day of school or other events, you may even find if you forget it one year, they will remind you.

So pray blessings out loud over the heads of your children. Praying for your children is always important. Praying blessings out loud over their head can benefit them in ways silent prayers don’t necessarily provide. So give your kids both and watch what happens!

Encouraging Your Kids’ Godly Dreams

Parents will often tell their kids that they can do anything they put their minds to do. The implication being that with enough hard work, anything is possible. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. Other factors can prevent your kids from achieving their dreams, but were those the right dreams anyway?

The Bible tells us God has good works planned for each of us to do. It also tells us that He loves us enough to know the number of hairs on our heads! I doubt even the most loving mother could tell you the number of hairs on the heads of each of her kids, but she still has plans and dreams for them. It only makes sense that God cares about more details in our lives than we often give Him credit for having.

God has specific plans He would like for each of your kids to follow. Obviously, becoming a Christian is one of those plans. Obeying His commands is another. Serving others and sharing their faith would also fall under plans God has for your kids. There is a reason though, all of your kids are at least a bit different – with different gifts, talents, interests and passions. They were hard wired by God to be able to do the good works He has planned for them to do. Some of those good works will overlap with where they attend school, live or the careers they choose.

So why don’t Christian parents tell their kids they can do anything if it’s in God’s plans for their lives? Why aren’t we spending more time helping them discover their gifts and passions and helping them match those up with potential careers? Why aren’t we spending more time teaching them about vocational ministry – finding ways to serve others, share their faith and be a light in the world while at work, school or even home? Why aren’t we equipping them to discern God’s plans for their lives, so it will be easier to follow them?

Instead, parents often either micromanage their kids’ choices or encourage them to think almost selfishly…focusing on plans that will make them happy. Christian parents need to spend more time teaching our kids how to focus on being more holy. Happiness may or may not come with holiness, but joy always does. We need to teach our kids how to dream godly dreams. Dreams the Holy Spirit is perhaps placing on their hearts for ways to minister to others. It may be through their career or in their time outside of the job…hopefully, both.

“You can do anything” may be encouraging your kids to do what they want to do – whether or not it is in God’s plans for their lives. It encourages them to make major life decisions by bringing God into them late in the process – if at all. It encourages them to perhaps even push past walls God has set up to protect them from that choice. If you have been telling your kids they can do anything, try switching the dialogue. Point them to including God and following the plans He has for their lives. Everyone will benefit from the change.