Watch This Video!

This video is from WestJet Airlines a regional airline serving North America.  I promise you’ll love it! It’s a great story of how they decided to be Santa to a whole bunch of customers who were flying from one part of Canada to another.  As soon as I watched this, after I stopped crying Christmas joy tears that is, was to realize how this video could be a great tool for parents to use with the their kids to have a conversation about God!

I urge you to watch it with your kids, and talk about the coming Christmas holiday.  This could give you another sly chance to hear about what your kids want for Christmas, but the real beauty can happen when you intentionally turn the conversation to the amazing gift God has given to us in Christ Jesus.  Ask them: Did those people do anything to make them deserve those gifts? They may answer yes, they bought a ticket, or they may answer no, they just walked up to the box.  Teach them that there was nothing we did to deserve our gift either.  Romans 5:8 is a great verse to use here: For God demonstrates His love for us, in while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Help your kids believe in the power of the gift of God for their life.  Use this as an intentional way to teach the true meaning of Christmas.  God bless you all!  Merry Christmas!

Advertisements

Talking With Your Kids About Tragedy

SchoolShootingCT_1355503616479_339986_ver1.0_320_240

Like many people across the United States and the world, my heart has been broken by the tragedy that struck Newtown, Connecticut on Friday, December 15. The sheer magnitude of this awful act of pure evil is almost too much to think about. I can’t stop thinking about, however. I imagine many other parents are wondering how to handle talking about this and other tragic events that may occur. Here are some suggestions that may assist you.
1.Decide how much your kids NEED to know. Many school aged kids will hear about the tragedy in CT because of it involving the deaths of children their age and the fact it happened at school. Kids they know may be talking about it. Hopefully, their teachers and administrators will not. Kids who are school age may need to know the basic facts of the event, but be diligent to protect them from the horror of details that will only make it more likely they develop major feelings of fear. Limit your own intake of the news regarding this event to times your kids will not be around. Obviously, the older your kids are, the more information they can handle. We don’t need to hide our kids from all exposure to the negative things of the world, but we do need to make sure we protect them from knowing too much at too young an age.
2. Be honest about your feelings. If you decide to have a conversation with your kids about a tragic event, let them know how you are feeling. If you are sad, tell them so. If you can’t quite figure out how you’re feeling, that’s ok too. Tell your kids it’s okay to be sad, confused or even angry that the tragedy has occurred. It’s important for you to work through your feelings without the pressure of having to know exactly how you feel within a day, week or even a month. Your kids need to have the same opportunity. Let them know they can talk to you about anything they have fears or concerns about.
3. Express positive things to them. Let your kids know how much you love them. Hug them. Write them a note describing something you think is special about them. Also let them know they are safe. Encourage them by letting know you will always love and protect them as long as you live.
4. Remember God is Sovereign. Sovereign mean authority. God is in charge of all things and He is watching over us at every moment. Even though God is in charge, He allows humans the free will to make whatever choices we want, even if they are bad ones. The fact the school shootings in Newtown, CT took place might cause kids to worry that God isn’t able to keep us safe. Show them Psalm 103:19 from the Bible that says, “The Lord has established His throne in the heavens, and His kingdom rules over all.” Also, using the fingers on your hand, teach them what Hebrews 13:5b says about God’s presence. Using one finger for each word show them “He will never leave you.” Keep your faith in God strong; your kids will follow where you lead.
5. Pray with them. This is something we need to be doing each day with our kids, but it’s even more important we do so in the midst of a tragedy. Prayer keeps us connected to our Heavenly Father and is a reminder we are unable to support ourselves on our own strength. What should you pray for? In this event, pray for the families who lost loved ones at the school that day. Pray also for the teachers and administrators left behind to pick up the pieces. Pray for the kids in the school who may have avoided physical harm, but will suffer emotionally from the trauma for many days to come.

So Blessed!

God has done so much for us.  We have been given every good thing by a Heavenly Father who loves us intensely.  This is a reality of life that we need to teach our kids about.  There are lots of ways to do this, but try the following method.  Sometime today sit down with you kids and play the “blessing game”.  It’s simple, someone starts by naming something the God has blessed your family with and continues as long as you can keep thinking about these wonderful gifts of God’s grace.   When it’s finally run it’s course, pray a simple prayer with your kids, thanking God for His goodness and asking Him for the strength to truly love Him as we should.

Parent Like Almighty God…Seriously!

I had the privelige of sharing with our church, The Donelson Fellowship last night, and spoke about the command of God given to His people in Deuteronomy 6.  My preparations brought me past a passage that provided me with a great lesson on parenting.  It can be so frustrating and stressful to parent your way through a child’s disobedient actions and then subsequent negotiations.  This little insightful passage for we parents is found in Deuteronomy 3:23-27.

In a very compelling direct example for parents, we can learn how parent like God Almighty!  That should get our kids attention, huh?

The back story of this passage is from Numbers 20:8-12. The children of Israel were known for grumbling and complaining often blaming Moses for bringing them out of Egypt.  At this time, the Israelites were thirsty, very thirsty and like literal children, they reacted emotionally to a physical need that they should have know God would take care to meet for them.  The people sang their too familiar tune of woe and despair to Moses who went to God to ask Him what he should do.  God gave Moses very specific instructions about what to do.  Moses was to gather everyone before a large rock and speak to the rock in the name of God and water would pour forth.  Moses was muy frustrated (very frustrated) with the people and in anger cracked his big staff twice against the rock instead of speaking to it.  This was in direct disobedience to God’s command.  God still provided, but his punishment for Moses came immediately

Check out the text…

 

 23 At that time I pleaded with the LORD : 24 “O Sovereign LORD, you have begun to show to your servant your greatness and your strong hand. For what god is there in heaven or on earth who can do the deeds and mighty works you do? 25 Let me go over and see the good land beyond the Jordan—that fine hill country and Lebanon.”

 26 But because of you the LORD was angry with me and would not listen to me. “That is enough,” the LORD said. “Do not speak to me anymore about this matter. 27 Go up to the top of Pisgah and look west and north and south and east. Look at the land with your own eyes, since you are not going to cross this Jordan. 

 

Moses blew it big time, making the decision to allow his anger and frustration with the people he was leading and there was a price to pay.  The price was that God would not allow him to enter the Promised Land.

This is a situation that we parents are placed all the time.  Our kids are given specific directions about what they should or should not do, and often they will disobey  us.  How are we going to handle this?  I think we should do what God did.

1.  Provide clear directions for your kids.  Make sure they understand the expectation you have for their behavior.  God told Moses specifically to speak to the rock, not strike it.

2.  Expect them to obey, but be prepared in the event that they do not.  God responded to Moses immediately.  His first response was to take care of the task that Moses should have taken care of the correct way.  He still instantly provided water to the people, but He also immediately told Moses that He was displeased with his disobedience.

3.  Keep your emotions in check.  The last thing you need to do is explode to your children when they make a mistake.  God didn’t rain down fire or instantly strike Moses down with any disease.  He simply informed him that he had lost the privelige of leading the people into the Promised Land

4.  Stick to your guns.  In the Deuteronomy passage we see that Moses came back to God and pleaded with God to be able to cross over into the Promised Land, but God refused.   “That is enough,” the LORD said. “Do not speak to me anymore about this matter.”  God refused to relent on the punishment because He knows the failures that follow inconsistency and an unwillingness to make a punishment stick.

5.  Express your love.  God loved Moses and soon after this welcomed him into Heaven and His presence.  When your kids blow it, handle the problem, hand out consequences and then love the fire out of them.  

If we do these five things with our kids when they disobey, they will learn how to act correctly and obey.  We’ll also be parenting the way God has shown us to parent in His word.  

Hang in there, Moms and Dads!

Dads, Teach Your Boys How To Honor Women

Boy Giving his Mother Flowers, © Corbis, RF, 2, 5-6 years, 7-9 years, Adults, Affection, Back view, Boys, Caring, Children, Cut flowers, Domestic scenes, Everyday scenes, Eyeglasses, Eyewear, Females, Giving, Happiness, Human relationships, Interaction, Kindness, Love, Males, Mother, Offspring, Outdoors, Parents, People, Porch, Son, Whites, Women

Dad’s, if you have sons at home, you have future princes in training.  They need to be taught how to honor and respect women.  As a father of three daughters, I really think this is a must.  Last weekend I asked an 8 year old boy if he’d done anything for his mom for Valentine’s Day.  He said “no”, so I pried a little further.  Did you at least tell her you loved her?  Again the answer, “no.”  

My fear is that this little guy will not grow up without knowing how important it is to cherish and love his wife.  Dads, we have got to teach our sons to be men of honor.  If you have little men in your home, you should be modeling this honor and respect for their mom and your wife as you love her and serve her by speaking her love language.  

It may seem like a small thing now, but somewhere a little girl is dreaming of her prince charming.  So, please, do your part to make sure they don’t marry a frog.

Winning Isn’t Everything

Urban Basketball Action Photographic Print by Kevin RadfordThe way we raise our kids to handle competition often doesn’t get enough play in our homes.  Competition is an aspect of development that we need to help our kids have a healthy approach to because sooner or later they will be placed in a situation in which they will be forced to compete.  Athletic pursuits can be really helpful for this.

Sports and competition is fun and valuable for teaching kids about life in the real world.  There’s something that comes from being a part of a team effort in some sport that can have a huge influence on the way our kids develop.  Being a part of football and baseball teams have benefitted me, encouraging me to remember the team dynamic.   

But sports and competition can often be a toxic presence in your household.  Too often, we’ve heard of parents going toe to toe with another parent over something that happened in a junior hockey game, or seen that parent who has “encouraged” their son or daughter during the game to the point that they were unable to perform at all.  Unfortunately, I’ve come to close to that in the times that I’ve coached my own kids.  

Parents, we cannot allow ourselves to fall into the emotional feeling that our kids must succeed and that their team must win.  The fact is, losing helps teach too.  We can’t relive our childhood playing whatever sport that they’re now involved in.  We had our shot, and now we need to let our kids have theirs without riding them too hard to succeed on the field of play.  This mentality isn’t just reserved for sports though.  Music lessons, dance and even scouting can lead us to this negative influence.  

It’s fine to hope our kids score a goal, hit a home run, or make a basket.  It’s great to require them to practice their scales, exercise and keep going when they want to quit.  But it’s not okay to yell, ride or otherwise place uncomfortable pressure on them to succeed in the way you define success.  

Winning isn’t everything, and the harder you push your kids in an inappropriate way, the less likely they are to even want to participate in the first place.  

Instead of focusing on every missed shot, or achievement, stress fundamental principles of the activity they’re in and stress effort and persistence.  Lovingly encourage them to go for it, and demonstrate your love and pride whether they go 4-4 with a homerun, or 0-4 with four strikeouts.

Don’t Do As I Do, Do As I Say To Do…

Ever heard of the quote that I’ve used for this post? My parents never used it, but I’ve heard it referred to in a parenting sense. We want our kids to not model what they see us do, but rather choose to do the right thing that we tell them to do.

Well, I’m reading through the book of Lamentations currently. You probably know that this short book in the Old Testament is the sad story of someone crying and grieving, but maybe you’ve never read it. I haven’t read it before completely. I guess it’s like avoiding a movie you know will make you cry (Like, Underdog, for example). Guys especially don’t want to subject themselves to something they know beforehand will tug at their emotions and bring a tear to the corner of their eye.
Let’s face it: weeping and grieving doesn’t sound very inspirational for my daily time with the Lord. We usually like to focus on His promises to be there for us, His grace and love, or passages related to our reward in Heaven. We want to be lifted up, right?

Well, sometimes we need to smacked in the face, in order to see things more clearly. So, as I’m reading in Lamentations 2:11-12 I read these words,
“because infants and babies faint (die) in the streets of the city. They cry to their mothers, ‘ where is the bread and wine?’ as they faint (die) like a wounded man in the streets of the city, as their lives are poured out on their mother’s bosom.”
The context of this terrible reality that is taking place takes us to Jerusalem when the city was destroyed and many of it’s inhabitants were taken captive by the Babylonians. The Bible teaches us that God allowed this destruction and captivity to take place because of the sins of the people of Israel. The consequences of their sins were a high price to pay. During this destruction of the city, the gates were torn down, the temple was ransacked, and the people were wounded, killed or just left to die in the wake of all this. Even the smallest and most vulnerable citizens of Jerusalem had to suffer.

But they hadn’t done anything wrong! Why should they suffer? They were innocent bystanders in the truest sense of the word. This is certainly true, but unfortunately, children suffer the consequences of the sins of their parents.

When I read this this morning, I knew I needed to start writing this down.

OUCH! My kids will suffer because of the sins I commit. Dad, when you spend time allowing your eyes to fall on a woman other than your wife, there are consequences. Mom, when you give in to your kids when they don’t like something they’ve been told to do, there will be consequences. Parents, when we aren’t serious about teaching and training our kids to love the Lord and to serve other people in love, there will be consequences.

The job of parenting is so tough. I’m there with you with three daughters in my house. There are definitely days when you wonder how you’re going to find the energy to make it through the day, much less train your children in spiritual things. Just remember to take it one day at a time, capitalizing on the everyday teachable moments.

iParent-January 15: Smart Parents Use Splinks!

splink_poweredby
If you haven’t been to sign up for Splinks yet, please go to the D6 Family website. This great little tool is a free and comes through email that offers you several different ready made ideas for how to connect with your kids about the Lord and His Word each week.

Many kids experience a disconnect between church and home that isn’t evident while they are kids, but shows up big time when they hit the teenage and young adult years. The disconnect comes from knowing the stories in the Bible from beginning to end, but not understanding how they apply to everyday life. We live in an age where kids go through cellphones and game systems like I went through Captain Crunch as a boy. If something isn’t useful or meaningful to them, they disregard it. We have to work to connect God’s Word to the real world, and there’s easier way to do this than by using Splinks from D6 Family. Seriously, go sign up today!

splink_type_web1

It’s A Whole New Ballgame

istock_000007040440small
2009 is now well under way and I am excited about where this year will take our families. We’ve got a brand new year to live and love our kids. No matter where you are in your parenting journey, always remember that God is with you, when you join Him in leading your kids the way He has commanded us to. Maybe today would be a good day to slow down and revisit Deutoronomy 6. I’m praying for you!
You may have struck out, fumbled or fouled out of 2008, but 2009 can be your best year yet.