Weekly Christian Parenting Challenges #7

Each week we post daily challenges on social media to help you on your Christian parenting journey. Here are our challenges for this past week.

Monday: Did you realize Parenting Like Hannah is part of the larger Teach One Reach One Ministries? Check out the website for Bible lessons, activity ideas and tons of other free resources for teaching the Bible to kids and teens. Most are usable at home as well as in a larger Bible class. www.teachonereachone.org

Tuesday: This is the town Edam, Netherlands, where the cheese originates. Years ago, it took even more hard labor – including rowing boats down canals and hand cranking machinery. The Amish in the U.S. have avoided electricity because they believe making things too easy breeds laziness in their kids and in them. While we don’t need to go back in time or reject electricity, there is a point. Hard work can breed godly character traits like perseverance, personal responsibility and patience. Your kids need some things in their lives to be hard to make them stronger. Making their lives too easy can leave them spiritually lazy and weak. Spend some time today thinking about whether or not you are making your kids’ lives too easy.

Wednesday: It’s hard to tell from the photo, but these lilies are almost five feet tall! I had no idea lilies had the potential to grow that tall. Your kids have potential God has given them in a variety of areas. He has good works He has prepared in advance for them to do. Christian parenting involves helping them reach their full godly potential and preparing them to do those good works by helping them build a strong spiritual foundation. Don’t hurt your kids by underestimating their potential. Assume they have amazing potential…because they just might.

Thursday: Churches all over GB and Ireland were destroyed and never rebuilt over theological debates. Churches and Christians still have them today. Usually the words “I think” and “I feel” are frequently used. Or non Bible writers or preachers are given more weight than the actual Bible. Teach your kids to read the Bible – all of it – regularly, to make sure they aren’t swayed to believe something God never wanted them to believe.

Friday: Ever crave something so badly you will go out of your way to get it? A huge part of Christian parenting is helping your kids crave reading the Bible as much as I crave a Round Rock donut when I’m in Austin, TX. Why? Because regularly spending time in the Word can help your kids stay firmly on God’s path. Showing them how much you crave daily time in scripture is a great way to start.

Weekly Christian Parenting Challenges #6

It’s hard to catch everything on social media, so here are the Christian parenting challenges for the last week. You can use them in the coming week or in any way you find helpful.

Monday: Think of your children’s minds as rooms. They will be filled with what they see, hear, experience, watch, listen, read and learn. If good things were beautiful decorations and things that were dark, depressing, evil and sinful were ugly ones…how would each of your children’s mind rooms look right now? They can’t avoid seeing and experiencing some bad things, but too many children have heads full of horrid things that were put there by the entertainment they choose and are purely optional. Teach them to filter every entertainment choice through Philippians 4:8 and to choose wisely.

Tuesday: “Things that matter are hard”. It’s a line from a movie, but it’s true. Parenting well isn’t easy. Christian parenting well is exponentially more difficult. But isn’t it worth putting in a lot of time and effort to give your kids the strongest faith foundations possible…to give them the best possible chance of making life choices that will make it possible for them to spend eternity in Heaven?

Wednesday: In some ways your kids see the world through your eyes. When you see something beautiful, do you talk about God as the amazing Creator? When you see something crafted by human hands, do you talk about the gifts God gives us so we can do things? When something good happens, do you tell your kids every blessing comes from God? Or do you talk about Mother Nature, brilliant minds and good luck? How you frame the world for your kids is part of their spiritual foundation. Remember to point them to God at every opportunity.

Thursday: Try to take your kids on a walk today. Ask them to point to things that are gifts from God or make them think of God. You don’t have to go far. These are sights within easy walking distance of our home in suburban Atlanta. Spend the rest of the time really listening to what your kids want to tell you or just having silly fun. It’s a great way to spend time on a summer day!

Friday: This roof garden can serve more than one purpose. While it’s growing something needed, it’s also insulating the building below it. Christian parenting can actually be a bit easier when you realize one activity or outing with your kids can serve multiple purposes. When thinking about things to do with your kids, consider how you can also strengthen your relationship or point them to God in some way. You can have fun together and Christian parent at the same time.

Teaching Your Kids to Fail Well

Failure is an odd topic in our culture. There are people who believe children shouldn’t experience failure, because it could somehow damage their fragile psyches. Others celebrate failure as something that makes us more approachable and even fun, looking down on those who want to learn, grow and improve from their failures.

As with many topics, God has some things He wants us to teach our kids about failure. Perhaps the first is the definition of failure. God doesn’t define success or failure by how much money your kids eventually make or how famous they become. To God success is living a life that ends with spending eternity in Heaven with Him.

While there is nothing inherently wrong with worldly success obtained in godly ways, your kids need to be taught their ultimate goal. Their standard of success is Heaven and the only real failure is rejecting God.

But what about all of those little failures in life that don’t necessarily have Heaven or Hell consequences? It’s important to teach your kids the difference between mistakes and sins. They have different motivations and different consequences. They also have some differences in how they need to be handled when each of those failures happens.

Mistakes are those little failures that have no connection to the commands God has given us. They may reveal a character flaw that needs additional work, but the motivation behind the original action was not a rebellion against God’s laws.

These mistakes happen regularly as children learn and grow. At times, you need to allow these mistakes to happen – and the natural consequences of those mistakes. Those natural consequences are often the best teacher. If your child doesn’t study enough for a test and misses answers, the consequence of a poor grade should provide the motivation for studying more the next time. There will be times when you will have to help your child make the connections between actions, failures, consequences and how to keep them from happening again in the future.

Other mistakes can arise from the clumsiness that often comes with a growth spurt or a lack of life experience. If no one has ever taught you to separate reds from whites when doing laundry, then the resulting pink clothes are a mistake from a lack of life experience.

Obviously, there are times when these mistakes require apologies, cleaning up the mess they created or making some sort of restitution. In general though, mistakes should be discussed with loving patience. Too much harsh criticism can make your kids so afraid of failure, they may be unwilling to do the good works God has planned for them. Like Moses, they will become paralyzed by their fear of failure – without the benefit of hearing God’s voice to help them work through those fears.

Finally, there are the mistakes your kids will make when they are trying something new. It may be learning a new concept in math or developing the gifts God has given them. They may make mistakes the first time they try to serve someone independently or share their faith. It is so crucial with these mistakes, that your response is encouraging. They need to learn to embrace these mistakes and learn and improve from them. If they stop trying because they are fearful of failure, it is highly unlikely they will ever reach their godly potential.

Sins on the other hand, come from a rebellious heart. Even though children before the age of accountability are not responsible for sins, they need to be taught that rebellion against God is unacceptable. Of course, this begins with rebelling against your authority by disobeying your rules. These failures are heart issues at their core – a selfishness that puts one’s own desires ahead of obedience and respect.

Heart issues are tough, but if dealt with at young ages you can help mold your kids hearts towards God. These failures must be discouraged and the heart molded away from selfish rebellion or your kids will have great difficulty obeying God as adults.

If your kids are old enough to become Christians, then it’s time to really focus on repentance and forgiveness. It’s important they understand repentance is not a kicking the dirt, glum, “sorry” to God. It is truly mourning the sin, asking God for forgiveness, thinking of ways to avoid committing the sin again and making any necessary restitution.

Failure is a complex subject, but taking the time and effort to help your kids understand it through God’s eyes can make them more resilient, more likely to use their gifts to serve God and share their faith and less likely to live a life enmeshed in sin. It’s worth every second you put in to helping your kids navigate failure in godly ways.

Weekly Christian Parenting Challenges #6

How was your week? Do you need some ideas or encouragement on your Christian parenting journey? If you missed our daily social media challenges this week, here’s a re-cap.

Monday: Your kids may feel stress over the changes and events over the last few months. Teaching them healthy, godly coping techniques – like sitting beside flowing water, prayer, exercise, talking about their feelings and more can keep them from experimenting with less godly ways to cope. It takes some guidance from you because each they need to be taught the techniques and they need to be reminded to use them when they get stressed. It’s worth your time and effort though to prepare them to better handle life in this fallen world.

Tuesday: One day soon this space should be full of beautiful wild flowers. It doesn’t look very promising at the moment, however, other than the sign. If the planters continue to care for this plot though, the area will begin to show more promise each day. One or more of your kids may appear to have little potential for any variety of reasons. It’s important to remember though that God gives every child potential. They all require love, nurturing, teaching and coaching -preferably from their parents – to most easily reach that potential. You have to believe in that potential to do the good works God has prepared for each of your children. They will be different works perhaps, but they all have value to God. Put in the time, effort and love and you may be pleasantly surprised to see beautiful flowers of your own in the future.

Wednesday: This path was clearly marked so no one would accidentally wander off of it and get lost. Have you helped clearly line God’s path for your child so they won’t accidentally wander off? Often young people start off the path because it hadn’t been clearly marked and they were very far off before they realized what happened. Have regular discussions – conversations, not just lectures – about what God wants for them and from them in life.

Thursday: Have you ever seen a tree with a hollow trunk? It means the tree is dying, even if it still has pretty leaves. The first strong storm will blow it over. The faith of many young people can be hollow. They know what adults want to hear and may say it without believing it. A young person with hollow faith is much more likely to be carried off by the world. Have lots of conversations with your kids – encouraging them to tell you what they really think. Don’t panic when it isn’t what you wanted to hear. Instead, help them work on strengthening their faith where it might be hollow. Then they will be more likely to resist the storms of the world.

Friday: This lichen gets its strength from the tree to which it is attached. From where do you get your strength? On whom do your kids depend upon when they need extra strength and you aren’t around? If the answer isn’t God, none of you may be as strong against life’s struggles as you could be. Teach your kids how to get their strength from God and show them how by leaning on God yourself.

Weekly Christian Parenting Challenges #5

Our weekly challenges are designed to encourage and give you tips and ideas for daily help in your Christian parenting walk. We share them daily on social media, but here’s the weekly recap.

Monday: There have been a lot of things happening in our world over the last few months that are confusing and scary to kids who are more sensitive. Other kids may barely have noticed anything was different. This isn’t new. Every parent has horrible things that happen in the world they must explain to their kids. Those children most emotionally impacted by current events will often ask their questions…big, difficult questions. Before answering, pray a breath prayer. Ask God to give you the words He wants you to say to your child. Speak intentionally. Filter what you say through scripture, not human opinions. What you say will impact how your kids see the world and interact with it for years to come. Speak, but pray and say what God wants you to say.

Tuesday: Succulents don’t take a lot of attention to thrive. Your kids aren’t succulents. They don’t need to be treated like they are the center of the universe, but they do need a lot of time, attention and teaching. Think of yourself as a Christian life coach for your kids, preparing them for the Olympics of life. Train them to be who God created them to be…mighty men and women of God. It will take a lot of time and effort, but the results are worth it.

Wednesday: Your kids may not have the vocabulary yet to adequately express their thoughts or feelings. Or they may not be able to organize their thoughts well, so what they are trying to say may seem very disconnected and jumbled at first. The key is patience. Repeat back what you think they are trying to say in your own words. Keep trying until they feel understood. If your kids think you don’t understand what they are saying, they’ll eventually stop trying to tell you what they are thinking and feeling. It will be almost impossible for you to get to see their hearts. Or they won’t tell you anything until they get so frustrated it finally comes out as yelling. Taking a few extra minutes in every conversation will help build strong, healthy communication patterns between you and your child.

Thursday: Even if you are raising identical twins, they are different. They will need different things from your parenting. All kids need things like love and attention, but siblings may even need those things expressed differently. Differentiating your parenting takes more work, but the results are much better when you give each child what he or she needs.

Friday: The Bible tells us God does not allow us to be tempted without providing a way to escape. Unfortunately, your kids may never be taught to look for an escape route or what they might look like. Teach your kids escape routes for common temptations for their age group. Help them practice scenarios using them. Then when they are tempted, they will be better prepared to escape and avoid sinning.