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.

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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.

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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iParent-December 19

Watch this segment of the Christmas Classic, “A Charlie Brown Christmas”

This story is a great reminder of how something small made a huge difference. Just like the tiny tree didn’t look like much to Charlie’s pals, the tiny baby, the Christ child, didn’t look like the Savior of the world. Who could know from that humble beginning that this precious, little baby boy, would grow to become the bridge for all of humanity to join God. Jesus’ humble beginning and Charlie’s tree will help teach your children about how all things are possible with God, even something as small as a baby. Once children understand the true meaning of they can begin to grasp what Christmas should look like in THEIR everyday lives, just like Charlie’s friends who finally understood and decorated the little tree.

Your children need to be reminded that they were born just like Jesus was, and that they can make a difference in the world too. When Jesus lives inside of them, they can perform great acts of service that the Bible tells us in James are literally from God. When we act in a way that Jesus would, we are literally the hands and feet of Jesus. That’s why the Spend Less, Give More Christmas offering will be so exciting for our families. The memory of giving up something so that someone else in the world will have a chance to live a healthier, longer life will be a milestone for your children to use a big foundation for serving God in the future.

God bless you and your family today and everyday as you remember the birth of Jesus Christ and honor Him with some special offering.

iParent-November 13

Click Here:iParentNovember13.mp3

This time of year, as it begins to get colder and the leaves are mostly on the ground, I start thinking of Christmas. Jesus’ birthday! The most amazing event in the history of the world was the birth of this tiny baby. This tiny baby was the son of God, God in human form. Fast forward 2000 years and we can see that the celebration of his birth has been polluted by the world and commercialized for the benefit of every business interest creative enough to come up with some catchy Christmasy item.

Did you know that Americans spent over $450,000,000 on Christmas last year? Here’s the deal; not only the world has done this to Christmas. We, as Christians have been part of the problem, too. Every year, we look for ways to buy more and more for our kids. They deserve all those things, right? Well, maybe so, but since Christmas is about God giving something of eternal value to all of mankind, and since Jesus’ very life on earth was about giving to and helping the poor in physical and spiritual ways, why don’t we take some of what we’ve always done for ourselves and give it away to those who truly “need” this Christmas. I might want the latest, greatest techie item (and I do), but I DON’T need it.

How could we go about doing this you ask? Two simple things:
1. Spend less
2. Give it away

Here’s a video that I think you’ll love that speaks to this problem in our society and has challenged me to do something different this year called Advent Conspiracy.

Let me know if you’ll join our family in bringing the true meaning of Christmas back to the forefront this year.

Here’s today’s version of the iParent podcast.

Be Careful Where You Slide!

I will warn you up front: this story is a little gross. It is also true and FUNNY, so I must tell it. Last week I took the girls out to Target and we got a couple of items we needed plus spent $24 on a three lane, multicolored slip and slide. For the record, a tarp or landscape plastic from a home improvement store would have been a better value.

We came home and I rolled it out, staked it down and started the water. All three of the girls and I went down the slide. We were all sore from hitting the hard ground, but having fun, when I noticed some items that looked like small pellets of fertilizer or fish food about six inches from the end of the red slide we had been sliding on. I knelt down for a closer inspection to find that we had been all over a pile of rabbit or deer poop! Yuck! That was a pretty nasty revelation. Here’s a brief video of our reaction right after we found the nastiness…

Show Your Love!

I’m writing mostly to dads out there with this post, and it’s about something that has really struck a chord in me lately. Currently, I’m reading the story of Brian “Head” Welch. Here’s the cover of the book:

He was one of the founding members of the heavy metal band Korn, who recently gave his life to Jesus Christ, and has since quit the band, drugs, alcohol, pornography and other addictive behaviors. What grabbed my attention wouldn’t leap off the page to most people, but I read the story of his childhood looking for clues about how much spiritual training and love he received as a boy. As it turns out, he received absolutely no leadership from his parents in spiritual matters. Keep in mind he was a regular kid in a regular family, with both parents in the home up until about age 13. He talks openly about knowing his mom loved him and how she showed it to him, but how he never felt the love from his father. His father wasn’t on drugs, or an alcoholic, but the way he treated and didn’t treat Brian played a huge role in his development. His father never felt comfortable showing him love. He never encouraged him in a consistent manner. The only consistent feeling this story described was an impatient anger with he and his brother.

I mentioned that he was a regular kid in a regular family. “Regular” these days too often means that kids have loving parents who want the best for the kids, but don’t have the personal discipline to lead their kids, or the knowledge of how to. Brian Welch had parents that loved him, but kids need more than just the word love. How do your kids KNOW that you love them? Welch writes that he had a need that only his father could feel. A need for love to be shown, approval to be given, recognition and training to help him grow properly. His father thought he was doing fine as a dad, giving Brian lots of chances to play sports or engage in hobbies, one of which became playing guitar. Before giving his life to Christ, his habits and addictions easily could have cost him his life. As a dad, or as a mom, how will you feel if one day your sons or daughters end up like Brian Welch. Sure, he may be an extreme case, but I know if one of my daughters even came close to the behaviors and addictions Welch had, I would wonder what I did wrong as a parent. In Welch’s case, he needed the attention and leadership from his father, not just the love from his mother.

Dads, your sons and daughters need to feel the love you have for them in unmistakeable ways. It may not be comfortable to you to show love in a big, open way, but for their sake, try to become fluent in the language of love that will help you kids bloom and blossom into the champion God wants them to be.

Trick or Treat Safety Tips

Since we do our church’s special event on Sunday before Halloween each year, this allows our families to participate in welcoming neighbors who may visit their homes on October 31. This also allows our families to go out for more candy with their kids. In my completely unrequested opinion (but I’m right), your kids don’t need to be allowed to go out on this night unaccompanied by adults. There are too many crazy people in the world and you just can’t be too safe. However, some of your kids are old enough to know how to stay safe and may be planning on going in a group of friends, so I realize it is possible that some of your kids may go out without. Since that may be true for some folks here are some helpful tips to help your kids stay safe whether they’re with or without you

1. Children should go out during daylight hours only unless accompanied by a responsible adult.

2. Plan a safe route so parents know where their older kids will be at all times. Set a time for their return home.
Make sure that your child is old enough and responsible enough to go out by themselves.

3. Let your children know not to cut through back alleys and fields. Make sure they know to stay in populated
places and don’t go off the beaten track. Stay in well lighted areas.

4. Stop only at familiar houses in your own neighborhood unless they are accompanied by an adult.

5. Small children should never be allowed to go out alone on Halloween. Make sure an older sibling or adult is with
them.

6. Instruct your children not to eat any treats until they bring them home to be examined by you.

7. Instruct your child to never go into the home of a stranger or get into their car.

8. Make sure your child carries a flashlight, glow stick or has reflective tape on their costume to make them more
visible to cars.

9. Let them know that they should stay together as a group if going out to Trick or Treat without an adult.