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.

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

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 21

Today, Thursday, November 20th is the birthday of a very important person. This lady wasn’t some super famous national figure, responsible for new policies that helped the poor and helpless, or some world renowned opera singer, capable of breaking a glass with her high C (that’s a note, not a juice can), or a top quality athlete competing in the Olympics for great glory.

The lady I speak of is like so many of you out there trying to parent their kids the best they know how. She may not have done every single thing right, but she worked to make sure that her kids were taken to church and that we were involved in many different church activities. She involved herself in church activities too, being active in the women’s group and teaching preschoolers about Jesus. She set an example for her kids to find time for God each day by reading her Bible at the kitchen table with the morning sun streaming in through yellow curtains.

That lady is Ida Mae Greenwood, my mom. She is a champion for God for the ways she and my dad raised me and my sisters to love God. When I was young I didn’t understand the “urgency” my mom used at times. I can’t tell you how many times I was “urged” with my mom’s right hand to do the right thing. Now, I understand that she knew she only had one chance to teach us and that we were growing up too fast. She understood the importance of correcting bad behavior and encouraging and modeling good behavior. My mom raised a wild and crazy guy to love God and to love people (especially kids).

No matter what age your kids are today, one day they’ll be remembering you as a parent one day. Will they think, “my mom or dad was my best friend?” They might, but our goal as parents can’t be to be their best friend. That doesn’t give you a leg to discipline from. My mom was my friend, but she was my parent first, and understood that parents had to train their kids to do right.

In the end, hopefully, your kids will remember you as a great parent that helped them become the follower of God and champion for Him that they were designed to be. Don’t give up trying to do the right things. They will eventually take root in the lives of your children.

It worked for my mom and I know it will work for you!

Happy Birthday mom!

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.

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?