Christian Parenting Challenges #15

With only about a month or two left of school, many of you are starting to make plans for the Summer. Are you planning some margin to spend time together as a family – engaged with one another? While you are deciding how to spend your summer, here are this week’s social media challenges.

Monday: Young parents always roll their eyes when older parents tell them to enjoy their kids when they’re little. Or that the time flies and they’ve grown and gone. Or that you will wish one day that you’d spent more time teaching them the things God wants them to know. Haven’t heard the last one? If more older Christian parents were honest about it, you’d hear that one a lot, too. And you would possibly roll your eyes at that one, like the others. The hard truth is that whether or not you are tired of hearing those statements, they are all very true. Don’t have parenting regrets.

Tuesday: Teaching your kids how God wants them to handle money is critical. The world’s view of earning and spending money often leads to high debt, stress, selfishness and a love of money – to the point of idolatry. If you don’t teach them how God wants them to handle money, it is highly unlikely they will learn it from someone else.

Wednesday: God never promised us the Christian life would be filled with happiness and problem free. He did, however, promise us there is joy to be found in it. Joy is possible regardless of the circumstances. It’s why Paul could sing in jail with Silas and wrote some of his most joy filled books when in jail waiting to see if he would get the death penalty. Part of joy is found in being grateful for the blessings God gives us. Teach your kids to look for those blessings and thank God for them daily.

Thursday: Have you ever thought about how much slinging practice David had before he fought Goliath? As a shepherd, a slingshot was a primary weapon used to protect sheep from predators like lions and bears. In fact, God sent those very animals for David to fight before Goliath. God gave David a talent and may have put a little extra something in it when he fought Goliath (or not as slingers could sling a rock with the force of a bullet from a gun), but David had to take advantage of the opportunities God gave him to develop the gift so he would be ready when God needed him to use it. Your kids each have one or more gifts from God. One of the most fun parts of Christian parenting is helping them discover and develop those gifts and find those first opportunities to use them to serve God. Who knows what plans God has for your children? Help them be prepared!

Friday: This case has a lot of fish in it, but it holds an extremely small fraction of the fish in the world. Jesus left a charge to his people – the church. Go into the world and preach the Gospel message to everyone. That means your kids need to help teach the Gospel to 7.674 billion people! It’s called the “Great Commission”, yet the majority of Christians today don’t even know it! Make sure your kids understand their purpose in life is to get to Heaven and take as many people as possible with them. Otherwise, they won’t be living the full Christian life.

Christian Parenting Challenges #13

It’s Easter weekend and since it’s early, everything here is blooming. It’s going to be a great weekend! If you make Resurrection cookies with your kids, be sure to stop by our Facebook Parenting Like Hannah Community page and post pictures. (Here’s the link to the recipe.) Here are this week’s social media challenges.

Monday: A Week Away is a film on Netflix that attempts to be a Christian High School Musical type movie. Has your family watched it yet? What are your thoughts on what are now called “faith based” movies? Do you care if they get the theology a bit off or depict Christianity a bit wrong? Would you prefer your kids watching this type of content over the regular Disney/Pixar content, or is it an add on for your family? Do your kids think the production values are similar? (It’s a big deal for many savvy kids and early Christian movies had poor production values.) If parents want to have a voice and influence this type of content, you need to be having this conversation in your home. Would love to hear what you think in the meantime!

Tuesday: How much time did you spend fully engaged with your kids yesterday? The day before that? A year ago (during quarantine), we saw the families in our neighborhood walking and playing with their kids. Now that quarantine has started to lift, we see fewer and fewer kids with their parents. Did I mention the kids seemed so much happier getting their parents…both parents…full attention for a block of time each day? Your kids need you to be fully engaged with them for a block of time each day to grow to be emotionally and spiritually healthy. How much time can you set aside to be fully engaged with your kids today?

Wednesday: “Knock and the door shall be opened…” There are a lot of things in the Bible that confuse children. Taking the time to explain vocabulary, metaphors, figurative language and the like can make the Bible easier for your kids to understand, remember and apply to their lives.

Thursday: A new study found that the people “frozen” in time in Pompeii probably only had fifteen minutes to run before they were overcome. Many were caught in the middle of various activities which they never completed. Your kids tend to believe they will live forever. Many think they can live on an imaginary path that allows them to claim they are Christians while freely and knowingly disobeying God. They believe they can “have fun” living in disobedience to God now and obey God later when they are much older. Unfortunately, as we have learned from the last year, no one is guaranteed tomorrow. You don’t need to frighten your kids, but they need to understand there are only two paths in God’s world – those who accept and attempt to obey His commands and those who don’t. There is no third path.

Friday: We had a hard freeze last night, so to protect the young plantings, I had to protect them with a covering. Your kids are too young to be faced with some of the temptations facing adults. Protecting them from being exposed to those things until they are old enough to understand what God wants them to do is a very good thing. Unfortunately, in today’s world that means to protect them you may also have to have conversations at ages that break your heart. Leaving them uninformed, though, when they are able to go places without you, can leave them open to being innocently broken by the sins of others.

Christian Parenting Challenges #11

I don’t know about the weather in your area, but here Spring is full of rapid weather changes. Your kids are changing rapidly, too. You will need to adjust some of your parenting as they change. Here are some challenges from social media to start your reflection process.

Monday: This tree is beautiful, but its blooms stink – even from a distance. Your kids need to understand how God views beauty. While they may be beautiful on the outside, if they are “ugly” on the inside, God won’t be happy. On the other hand, even if the world does not consider their outward appearance to be beautiful, if they are kind, loving, wise, godly…..that inner beauty will also make them look more beautiful outwardly. They need to focus on being the person who God created them to be…inwardly beautiful.

Tuesday: What are your kids reading and watching? Studies show it influences their thinking more than parents would like to believe. A quick glance at some of the content Netflix creates for teens normalizes all sorts of unhealthy, ungodly choices and frankly rather unrealistic jumps from teens making great choices to immediately making questionable and dangerous ones. Don’t assume the normalization of these behaviors doesn’t impact your kids, because over time they can come to believe those things are not only normal, but laudable. It can create a rift they place between themselves and God which some will never want to repair.

Wednesday: Your kids may think you are a couple of hundred years behind the times culturally. You don’t have to participate in or even appreciate what your kids like. You do need to know enough about it though to understand any impact it might have on their attitudes, beliefs, behaviors or health. Who knows? Some of it may actually be great and you can enjoy it together from time to time.

Thursday: This is the Titanic Museum. In the end it’s a story about a company whose pride got in the way of taking safety precautions. Christians always need to take safety precautions against Satan, but your kids need to be taught godly ways to protect themselves from giving in to temptation. They also need to realize that no matter how confident they may be in their faith, Satan can still tempt them…at times using the over confidence that often accompanies pride.

Friday: The last year has been particularly hard on some kids and teens. How do yours feel about everything that has happened? Do they blame God? Have they been resilient, leaning on God to help them through the tough times? Knowing their thoughts can help you know what they need from you to help them process everything. Teaching them to be resilient by leaning on God can help them in the future, too. They need you to teach and show them how to do it though.

Christian Parenting Challenges #10

According to “sources” everyone who wants to get the vaccine can in the next couple of months. As life speeds toward “normal”, it is time for some reflection. What did your family learn from COVID? What did you start doing or stop doing that you want to continue in the post COVID world? While you are reflecting, here are this week’s social media challenges.

Monday: Do your kids think about God when they see an amazing scene in nature? Do they think of the story of Noah when they see a rainbow? Part of Christian parenting is using common sights and tying them to God in their minds. Then, for the rest of their lives, they will think of God when they see those things. It requires you commenting on them as much as possible beginning when they are very tiny. Those God points you input will remind them of God even if you are not there to do it.

Tuesday: Someone gave me this bag of freebies yesterday. Aren’t freebies exciting?! I was so grateful to the person who handed me the bag of free stuff. Teaching your kids to be excited/grateful for all of the “freebies” God has blessed them with will point them to God and lessen their sense of entitlement.

Wednesday: This is Temple Grandin, possibly the most famous person with autism in the world. She has changed entire industries and continues to touch the lives of people all over the world. How? Because her mother taught her she was lovable and that she could do anything God had planned for her. She taught her to be humble and ask for and learn from feedback. At a time when most kids like her were shut away in institutions for life, her mother taught her how to not only exist, but thrive in the world and serve others in the process. I can’t imagine how hard it was for her mother, but because she persevered Temple has changed the world. (And Temple talks about God in at least some of her secular speeches, too. )

Thursday: Shepherds in Bible times knew everything about their sheep because they spent a lot of time with them. Today’s “shepherds” have to paint colors on the sheep to remember who needs what because they don’t spend enough time with them. Shepherds are like parents in many ways. So which kind of parent are you? How well do you really know your kids?

Friday: Churches around this country had their roofs removed by a king who didn’t agree with their beliefs. The people gave in, changed their beliefs and never rebuilt the churches. Your kids may never experience government oppression for their religious beliefs, but they will be teased and perhaps pushed to the social fringes for them. Is their faith strong enough to withstand teasing? Financial pressure? Jail? Death? Prepare your kids’ faith for the worst of challenges, then watch them soar when times are relatively calm, too.

Christian Parenting Challenges #9

As life slowly returns to “normal” have you thought about the things you learned from the COVID experience? What changes do you meed to make to help your children build stronger faith foundations and grow to their godly potential? Here are some social media challenges to consider, too.

Monday: These birds swooped down immediately to eat an animal hit by a car. There are people who are waiting to devour your kids. They want to mislead or hurt them in some way…including spiritually. You don’t want your kids walking around frightened all of the time, but you need to teach them how to protect themselves spiritually just like you have probably taught them how to protect themselves physically.

Tuesday: What your kids are exposed to during the day can impact their moods, thoughts, emotions and beliefs. As much as possible make your home a Philippians 4:8 home or as my grandmother used to say “Nothing sad, nothing bad”. Don’t think it makes a difference? Go on a family fast from depressing and violent content for a month. Fill the time with positive, beautiful, praiseworthy things instead. What happens to moods, attitudes and behaviors? (Prepare for negative withdrawal symptoms if they are hooked on negative content. After they’ve detoxed you should see positive changes.)

Wednesday: I have no idea who this person was or the legacy he left. Christianity, Christian parenting are in great part about legacy. Who will end up in Heaven because of the choices you make today? Tomorrow? Next year? Use your life intentionally. Christian parent intentionally. The people in your legacy desperately need you to point them to God.

Thursday: There aren’t periodic tests to take to make sure your Christian parenting is on track. It’s important though that you regularly self assess how things are going. Are your kids moving towards God or away from Him? Are their hearts showing signs of softness or are they hardening? Is their Bible knowledge increasing? Are they more consistently making godly choices? Catching issues early makes it easier to change things. Regular self assessment will enable you to catch issues early.

Friday: Each of your children is different – even if they are identical twins. It’s important to give each what he or she needs to become who God created them to be. This won’t always be the same, but your kids should never believe you favor one over the other. It damages your relationship with them and their sibling relationships.