Recently, I witnessed a group of adults telling some teens news they thought was great. From an adult perspective, it was wonderfully exciting news. As the news was shared, I watched as the teens clapped. They probably assumed it was expected, as the adults were cheering. The looks in most of their eyes told a much different story. The news made them uneasy and they doubted that it would indeed be positive for them personally. Yet, the adults around them missed the signals and continued chattering about how exciting it was.
God created people to have emotions. The Bible makes it very clear having and even expressing emotions in godly ways is welcome. Of course, how we act during these emotional states can become sinful, but emotions themselves can help us process and release events that could become harmful to our physical, emotional, mental and even more importantly, spiritual development.
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In God, Kids and the Little Things, I shared how God will give your kids lots of opportunities to serve others almost every day. Often your kids (like the rest of us) will not even notice these things. They will go through their day oblivious to the chances God is giving them to serve Him, often by serving others and sharing their faith. They will miss out on some amazing God adventures because they didn’t even see His invitation to join Him. They will miss opportunities to grow their faith by watching how God works in their world.
If you want to help your kids not miss the opportunities God gives them, you will have to get them out of the natural human tendency to be a bit self-absorbed. We all have a tendency to get so wrapped up in what we are doing that we can cause mayhem in our wake and not even realize it. Forget about noticing those somewhat subtle invitations to join God in touching the lives around us. Sometimes we even miss the huge blinking neon billboards from people God wants us to serve.
Continue reading Fun Ways To Teach Kids To Notice God’s Little Opportunities
A few months ago experts found evidence that behind an average battle scene painted by a man named Vasari (who is actually famous for his writing, not art) is a work by Leonardo da Vinci. For centuries now, people have walked by this average mural not realizing a fabulous masterpiece had been painted over to create the current painting. Someone though saw something others missed and did the research to find the masterpiece hidden below what is obvious to the eye.
Most of us go through life like those thousands of people who walked by that painting for centuries. We see only what is visible to the eye – and sometimes even miss that opportunity. If we don’t teach our kids to break that cycle and learn to look below what is on the surface, their lives will not be nearly as rich and godly as they could be.
Continue reading Teaching Kids to Look Beyond the Obvious
If you listen to most parents talk for very long, it becomes obvious many problems in families are actually communication problems. If you have ever said things like “They don’t seem to hear me” or “No matter what I say she gets mad” or almost any sentence involving listening or speaking, you may have communication issues too.
I was intrigued by the title of a new book I was offered to review. You Can’t Text a Tough Conversation by Mike Bechtle attempts to teach basic communication skills to a generation who has spent a lifetime condensing speech into a text. Although in some ways a primer, it had enough great reminders and new information to be helpful to even a somewhat practiced communicator.
The author breaks down the book into four main sections. The first basically makes his case for the need for teaching and learning how to communicate well. In the second section, he gives six tools for healthy conversations and six skills needed in the third section. The final section he uses to more or less put all of the pieces together into some general thoughts on communication circles, technology and more.
Continue reading Parenting and Communication Skills
What have you taught your kids about prejudice? Maybe you read them James 2:1-4. Perhaps you have told them all people are equal in the eyes of God. If you are really intentional, you may have had discussions about how they are to treat everyone with love – no matter who they are.
If you asked your kids how they would react if they came across people treating someone with prejudice, they would probably tell you all of the absolutely correct things they would do. Studies have shown though, when placed in a real life situation, hardly anyone reacts in the godly ways they claim they would. Most sit quietly by without saying or doing anything.
There are some concrete things you can do with your kids to improve the chances your children will treat everyone equally. You can raise kids who are the few who actually do what they think they will do when around others treating those who are different from them poorly. Your children can learn to serve and share their faith with others with the same godly empathy and love Jesus modeled for us.
There are a lot of things you can do to help your children treat everyone the way God expects from us. Here are a few of my favorites:
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