iParent-January 15: Smart Parents Use Splinks!

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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!

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Are You Interested in a Parents Day Out Program?

We’re looking at the possibility of launching a Parent’s Day Out program at The Donelson Fellowship in the fall of 2009. We have a beautiful facility and just want to make as much use of it as we can. A Parent’s Day Out could be a really great ministry tool for the Adventureland Kids Ministry and the church as a whole.

Would you and your family be interested in PDO? In order to make it work financially, we obviously need to have a certain number of likely students in mind. If you would be interested in a two day a week program, would please indicate your interest by leaving a comment on this post?

D6 Conference

In September 2009, a new conference will be held in Dallas, TX. Many of you have seen me wearing my D6 t-shirts no doubt and I’ve talked a lot about what being a D6 mom or dad means. In case you’re just joining us, a D6 mom or dad are Christian parents committed to be the spiritual leader for their kids and D6 refers to Deuteronomy 6, the chapter in the Bible where we are reminded that we need to love God with all of heart, soul, mind and strength and to furthermore teach our children to do the same. We do this by not expecting the church to be the primary spiritual trainer for our kids, but rather an assistant to moms and dads in the job of training kids to be spiritual champions!

The D6 Conference is an event that is being planned to help churches and parents work more closely together and train leaders to make this connection in a more intentional way.  I will be attending!

To learn more about what it means to be a D6 parent, check out the other posts here on the iParent blog and go RIGHT NOW and check out the D6family website!

The Splinks section was conceptualized by Adventureland preschool ministry director, Katie Greenwood, and is a quick and easy resource to help you make the connection with your kids between LifeGroup and the real world they live in each day. Now, If you really want to be impressed, check out this video with a strikingly likeable cowboy and some of the cutest kids in the world.

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How Do You Spend Your Resources?

The 2008 Summer Olympics are ready to kick off in Beijing, China.  The opening ceremonies are this Friday, and will kick off competitions in dozens of different events.  The bill for the opening ceremonies is said to be in excess of $100 million dollars!  What an amazing amount of money.  That’s a huge sum to spend, even for a permanent structure. As I recall, LP Field in Nashville, where the Tennessee Titans play was built for somewhere in the neighborhood of $180 million.  That is certainly more money, but when you consider that it is a permanent structure that can hold 70,000 people for a variety of other events in addition to football games, that looks like a bargain compared to the money that will be spent on one, single EVENT.  Wow.  That’s a lot of fireworks and special effects.  

Today, I’m asking you the question, “how do you spend your resources?”.  Specifically, how do you spend your parenting resources?  What are my parenting resources you ask?  I’m no expert, but I think one very important resource is your brain.  You know that blob that floats in your skull, that great central processing unit for your existence?  Our brains are an amazing part of the overall system of our bodies, and experts tell us that we’ve only tapped into a small percentage of the brain’s full capabilities.  

Since your brain is so important for all of life, it makes sense then to me that our brain is one of the easiest and most important parenting tool we have at our disposal.  To begin implementing this resource in our parenting we have to shift our thinking to be intentional about using this resource in a most efficient way.  If we don’t make an intentional and determined choice to do this, we’ll fail.  It takes more than words or thoughts, it may take serious change.  This may seem simplistic, but how many times have we repeated the same mistakes personally or as a parent, knowing full well, what the result will be.  We have to change our wiring mentally to start using our brain adequately as a parent.  One big change to make in our wiring is to start paying attention to our kids.  I know you love them, and protect them from sharks and rabid possums and such, but we need to pay attention to the things that they do, watch and say.  It’s not enough to just bring your kids to church.  

If we allow their brains to be filled with several hours of media per day, how much of a chance can we possibly believe the one-two hours of church each WEEK can have any kind of lasting impact?  That’s not enough time.  It would be like planting a beautiful new bush in your yard and watering it one time, one day a week.  The plant will die in the summer heat, and the teaching that your kids receive at church will die if not watered and fertilized by you as their parent. We need to stay tuned in to their lives to be able to pick up on subtle developmental changes that occur as they grow.    What causes those subtle changes?   Is it the job you do as a parent, or something else that they take in?  We also need to use our brains in helping kids make wise choices about the media they take in.  If we let them, kids will watch tv, play video games and surf the internet until their eyes, ears and hands are worn out and they fall asleep, but this isn’t good for them. 

 Now, don’t get me wrong, I love some media myself, and we have television, internet and video games in our home.  Therefore, I’m not suggesting some “quaker-like” cocoon surrounding our kids, keeping them from experiencing the culture we live in.  I’m simply urging you to use the first parental resource, your brain, to set boundaries with your kids.  Set a time limit on their media intake, follow-up daily about the things they are learning at church, or the things you are learning at church or in your quiet time.  

It takes a lot of resources to consistently involve your children in what goes on at church and it can be expensive in more ways than just financial.  Think about the example about the spending on the Olympic opening ceremonies and the cost of a permanent structure like LP Field that is available for use year after year from thousands of people again.  At the end of your parenting career, that is when your kids are grown, don’t you want to be able to look back and know you spent your resources wisely?  Don’t be guilty of spending them all in one very small portion of their lives.  Spend those resources in ways that will make a lasting difference, and you will be the kind of parent God desires for us to be as written in Deuteronomy 6.

Contamination Examination

I was hanging with a bunch of kids at the Faith In Action basketball camp in Paragon Mills Park, cooling off, drinking some water, when 7 year old Mikhail reached across 6 year old Angel to pick something up on the other side of Angel. As he stood back up, Angel, who had been sitting up holding his water bottle on his lap with the lid off, said to Mikhail, “Dude, you just put your arm pit on my bottle.” When Mikhail neglected to respond, Angel simply said, “seriously, you did.” He didn’t go bonkers, he just calmly reported what happened, but clearly was worried about germs.

Emily Walker each witnessed this event and immediately started laughing out loud to have seen this 6 year old boy try to communicate his displeasure with Mikhail without freaking out. It was just very comical. He undoubtedly was thinking of all the germs that could be living in Mikhail’s armpit and was concerned they were passed off to his water bottle now.

He probably could have just wiped it off and continued drinking it, but I don’t think he did, and I wouldn’t have either. That was pretty gross.

It is obvious Angel has a powerful radar for things that could contaminate him physically, but I wonder if anyone’s teaching him how to avoid things that could contaminate him mentally and spiritually. There’s a lesson in Angel’s water bottle story. Someone took the time to teach him, and no doubt you’ve taken the time to teach your kids about how to avoid things that will physically harm him, but are you also taking the time to teach them how to stay away from things that will harm their spiritual growth? These things may not be as readily noticeable to us as the dangers of drugs, germs and such, but we owe it to our precious children to perform due diligence in all areas of life.

I’m praying that you’ll do that for your kids today.

What Happens In Vegas, Stays in Vegas?

 

I think that the marketing team for the Las Vegas Convention & Visitor’s Bureau have done an amazing job of creating a mindset in many of the people who visit their city that is summed up by the slogan, “What Happens In Vegas, Stays in Vegas”.  Even though, we certainly know that our bad choices do tend to follow us, many people are depicted in their commercials embracing this slogan, which I think only encourages visitors to go ahead and engage in activities they normally would not otherwise engage.

I think this mindset of compartmentalizing our lives is very dangerous, especially for parents and their kids.   Sometimes we tend to separate school from home, home from church, work from home as if they’re totally disconnected from one another.  Too often, I think we see the effects of this thinking by how parents and their kids act differently at church than we do at school, home or work.  We kind of allow ourselves to “play church”.   I did this as a child and teen, and have to work constantly today to maintain a growing relationship with God.  I know some of you can relate to my experience, right?  We know all the answers to questions about the Bible, and we are assured of our relationship with Jesus, but too often, we take a Vegas-like attitude that comes out like, “what happens at church, stays at church”.   This leads to taking the things we’ve learned or been challenged with at church and put them in the closet of our mind, where it never impacts our actions and decision making.

How do we fix this?  Really, just making a mental decision to keeping your spiritual senses turned on is the first and best step.   Learning to do this may take some time, but it can be accomplished by doing more personal Bible reading and prayer time.  Consistency in our devotional lives will keep God and His plans for us in the forefront of our minds, helping us to remember the things we learn at church.  This same approach will work with your kids as well, and you may recall that God places the responsibility for helping kids grow in their faith on Godly moms and dads.

As parents, we must realize that to help our kids become spiritual champions, we must take that same journey toward becoming a spiritual champion in our own right, otherwise, we’ll never be able to lead our children to become what God intended. 

Facts Regarding Clean Water Availability in the World

Here are some more facts about real life struggles that happen due to a lack of clean water that were mentioned in today’s iParent. If you’d like more information or would like to get involved in our effort to provide well people in Africa, please contact me at steve@donelson.org.

Just click on this image to open a file that will allow all of the text to be viewed!

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A Hot Tub, Filled With Regret

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Before you go thinking this is a rainy day, sob story, designed to make you feel bad or at least melancholy…Read on.

We’ve lived in our present home in beautiful Antioch, TN for 10 years and one month and for the most part we’ve enjoyed our home. At least I have. The house has it’s issues and they’re issues that my lovely wife and best friend, Katie G raised way back when we were looking at the place. I’m not sure what attracted me to this house specifically, but needless to say, I missed the verbal and non-verbal communications that Katie was sending my way and we bought the place. Continue reading

Trunk or Treat At The Donelson Fellowship!

Get ready for the funnest (that’s right, I said it) event of the entire year and come out for Trunk or Treat! October 26, 2008 from 5:00-7:00 pm is the time and the parking lot of The Donelson Fellowship is the place! On this night, the chilly, black asphalt canvas will be covered with cars, trucks, vans, and who knows what else, as people decorate their trunk (or tailgate) and give away candy to all the guests who come by for the fun!

This year’s Trunk or Treat will be full of fun and opportunities for the whole family to enjoy, with free hot dogs, chili and drinks, live music, inflatable slides and bounces for the kids, the Preschool L’il Punkins Zone (which has it’s own, dedicated bounce house) and much, much more.

If you’re anywhere in the world and want to visit our church on this night, this is your invitation! If you’re a member or attender at TDF, then obviously you’re invited as well, but we need more from you than just attendance. We need your help to make this event a big success.

Here’s a list and brief description of some things you can do to help. You can do more than one!

Decorate a trunk on our parking lot and bring enough candy for 150 people. Your trunk doesn’t have to be extravagant (but it can be!) and the candy doesn’t have to be the high dollar variety, but we need 60 people to come with their trunks and hearts open wide!
Help with one of our Trunk or Treat teams.
-8-10 people to work in the Welcome and Registration Tent.
-10-20 people to help with the food and fire department.
-8-10 adults to supervise the operation of inflatable games.
2. Bring a pot of chili and a plate of cookies or brownies
3. Arrive at 2:00 pm to help with setup
4. Stay after the event to help with cleanup
5. Volunteer a generator for use during the event

The point is, there is a lot to do and we need everyone to get involved and help us push this event to it’s highest levels. Two other things that I didn’t place on the list, but are even more important are that we need you to pray for this event. Pray that we will make definite, significant connections with people who live in our neighborhood. Lastly, tell everyone you know about Trunk or Treat and see how many people you can bring to the event! It’s gonna be great!

People decorating in trunks need to enter the parking lot from the McGavock Pike entrance and be in place by 4:30 pm. Setup begins at 2:00 pm and if you want a prime location, you should plan to come early and get set up and then help out in other areas of preparation.

Chili needs to be dropped off between 4:00 and 4:45 pm. Chili not being judged in the competition can be dropped in the same location as chili competition entrants.

We’re still looking for specific help in the food & fire area, pumpkin carving and inflatable games. Help us out, will ya? If enough people would volunteer in these areas, it wouldn’t be necessary to serve the entire time.