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!

Talking With Your Kids About Tragedy

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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.

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.

It’s A Whole New Ballgame

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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.

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.

iParent Podcast Available Here!

A new feature of the iParent blog is launching this week! Previously, the only way for a parent to hear the iParent audio message was to receive it in your email inbox or by searching for and downloading the podcast from iTunes. That day is done. Each Thursdays iParent podcast will now be placed inside of a weekly iParent blog post here on the iParent blog. To hear the podcast (3-4 minutes only), simply click here.

High School Musical 3–Updated!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Well, we did go to see the movie and it was well done I would say.  For me, a father of three girls, it was a little bit like torture to watch because it is so CHEESY.  If Velveeta was a product produced by movies, HSM 3 would have produced a year’s supply.  Seriously….cheesy.  There were some good moments in it, but not good enough to mention here and maybe ruin the viewing for some one else. 

Okay, the children’s pastor in me watched this movie with a different eye than the dad did.  I was watching for messages or mindsets that the movie presented, so that I can point them out to you and help keep you informed.  I want to try to equip with everything I can as a parent.   

My overall impression of this movie is that first of all, it was NOT a kid’s movie.  The movie revolves around the senior year of the cast, and there are many references to graduation and a lot of the plot is about the future plans for college for the students.  For some reason, HSM was easy to see as a kid’s movie when they were portraying 10th graders, but now they just seemed older.  There was also a bigger emphasis than I remember from the previous two editions on the physical attributes of the characters, particularly Troy and Sharpay.  There were several shots that I felt like were done specifically to cause a “he’s hot or she’s hot” reaction in people.  

There was one scene when Troy snuck into Gabriella’s bedroom after dark.  We don’t see him asking permission of her mom to climb the tree and go into her bedroom, so I am assuming he didn’t ask.  This scene didn’t show anything physically inappropriate, but it gave off an attitude of “hey, this behavior is not a problem” that I found disturbing.  Considering the ages of the students and children who will view this film, it concerned me some.  As a dad of three daughters, I definitely would never allow that kind of activity to take place and I hope you wouldn’t either.  Two teenagers, in love, in a bedroom, without supervision in many cases will equal a level of intimacy that we need to teach our kids is unacceptable for them before marriage.  Call me old-fashioned, but that’s what I feel God’s Word teaches us.  

All in all, it was entertaining and I didn’t slip into a coma during the viewing.  If and when you go in to watch the movie, just be prepared to discuss some of these more mature situations with your kids.

Election 2008-Teaching Kids That Truth Matters

As the election draws ever nearer, I felt it might be helpful to address the whole concept of truthfulness. It is my firmly held belief that one of the foundations of our children’s lives ought to be a commitment to truth and honesty. This belief comes from what the Bible teaches us about how we should live. The Bible tells in the Ten Commandments to not “bear false witness” which is church-ese for “don’t lie”. The Bible also tells us in the Gospels to “let our yes be yes, and our no be no.” I believe the Bible teaches that truth is not negotiable, or flexible depending on the situation. What is true for one group of people is true for all groups of people

No where in public life is the concept of consistent truth telling attacked more than during a presidential election, and this drives me crazy. To a certain degree, both candidates are not totally truthful. They both will declare all of the things that they will do for the country, knowing full well, they have no intention of seriously doing everything they say. This is not optimism on there part, but I think a lack of truthfulness.

I believe that parents can make a difference in future generations by never straying from the biblical teaching about truth and honesty. We need to be prepared to explain to them that the candidates are making a bad choice when they tell something that isn’t true about the other one. It’s up to us to correct the bad stories when we hear them, and not just the ones that are against our preferred candidate. Our kids will be voting someday, maybe even in the next presidential election. We owe it to them and our founding fathers to help them abide by the truth and to demand a society of truthfulness.