Archive for the ‘Parenting’ Category

Family Devotional for Lent

Since today is the first day of Lent, I got out our book, Family Celebrations at Easter, by Ann Hibbard.  I highly recommend this book, as it appeals to many ages and more than one learning style, and focuses on the gospel.

Each devotional begins with a short present-day story or situation, then moves to a Bible reading (not very long) pertaining to Lent.  Then come discussion questions, and I usually start with the youngest child and work my way around the table of kids, asking the provided questions and making up a few of my own.  I can quickly think of easy questions for the younger kids, and the more thought-provoking questions often launch my older kids into a meaningful discussion of the topic at hand.

The devotional ends with a short prayer and a suggested hymn, and then instructions about which symbol* to hang on our Lent tree.  The kids have fun guessing which symbol it is, based on that day’s reading.

*We copied the symbols (from the back of the book) a few years ago onto card stock, cut them out, colored them, and tied pretty yarn to each of them.  Also, we don’t have a tree; one year we just tied the symbols to a crocheted string hung across our fireplace mantel.

“Children Thrive on Joy”

Here’s something I need to remind myself of A LOT!  I read the following in a book a long time ago, and copied it into my Prayer Notebook:

“Children thrive on JOY.  They will do anything for someone WHO ENJOYS THEM…Let your child look into your FACE and see someone DELIGHTING IN THEIR PRESENCE…SMILE your child into obedience…You won’t have to drive them if you give them SOMETHING WORTH FOLLOWING.”   (Emphasis mine)

Wow!  Wouldn’t it be nice if I could be like this all the time?  This scenario sounds SO NICE, but it is SO HARD to achieve!  In fact, I can only achieve it by putting things in the proper perspective:  MY agenda is not as important as GOD’S agenda.  In other words, I can only enjoy my children if I don’t see them as stumbling blocks to finishing my To Do List!  (And my To Do List is filled with mostly child-related items!  How’s that for irony?):) happy

Do you feel like a leaky bucket?

Do you ever feel like a bucket with holes?  –Like you just learn an important life lesson, only to forget it the next week?  So did the writer of this prayer:

“My mind is a bucket without a bottom,
with no spiritual understanding…
always at the gospel-well but never holding water…
My heart is without affection, and full of leaks.
My memory has no retention,
so I forget easily the lessons learned,
and thy truths seep away.
Give me a broken heart that yet carries home the water of grace.”
(From The Valley of Vision)

I pray that my leaky bucket will hold enough gospel grace to pass on to my children–and that when they’re discouraged about their leaks, they’ll know where to go!  I don’t feel adequate for the task, but “Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift [of grace]!”  (2 Co. 9:15)

“So much of parenting is about…” (Not!)

As I was waiting for a blood test this morning, I overheard the two receptionists talking to each other.  (It was impossible not to hear them.)  After discussing Mom 1’s pregnancy for awhile, it went like this…

Mom 1:  Now my oldest is giving me trouble.
Mom 2:  How old is she now?
Mom 1:  Fifteen months; she’s really had an attitude this week.
Mom 2:  Oh, that’s going to go on for about a year and a half.
Mom 1:  Really?  (In a despairing tone.)
Mom 2:  Yeah.  YOU KNOW, SO MUCH OF PARENTING IS ABOUT DISTRACTING YOUR CHILD AND BRIBING THEM WITH TREATS.

Wow!  She then went on to describe her toddler son’s bad behavior.  But if her parenting advice works so well, why does she have such a hard time?  It’s because she’s following worldly advice, probably found in all the “Parenting” magazines strewn about the waiting room!  The child-centered approach will ALWAYS backfire sooner or later because it appeals to (and encourages) the child’s selfishness.  (And in the case of a toddler, it’s usually sooner!)

Parenting: Focus on GRACE, or SELF-ESTEEM?

I’ve been reading Give Them Grace (by Fitzpatrick and Thompson), and today I read…

“So much of what we’re advised to do as parents is so that our kids will feel good about themselves…

…if we persist in seeking to build our child’s self-esteem by praising them, we make them into our own image, boys and girls who idolize the benediction, adults who are enslaved to the opinions of others, and parents who pass on the lie to the next generation…

The one encouragement we can always give our children (and one another) is that God is more powerful than our sin, and he’s strong enough to make us want to do the right thing.”

I’ve witnessed parents making their child’s self-esteem the highest priority all the time (or so it seemed), and I’ve got to think that that mindset severely limits what they’re “allowed” to say to their child or expect of them!  (And it seems like this kind of parenting and whiny children go hand-in-hand. Hmm.)

But…I’ve often realized in retrospect (after dealing with one of my children) that the reason I expected what I did of him or her was based on what MY human/sinful nature would want.  I truly am sometimes just raising my children to be like ME instead of CHRIST.  I am so thankful that God’s power is greater than my sin!

Give Them Grace: Dazzling Your Kids with the Love of Jesus can be purchased from CROSSWAY BOOKS.

Teaching Songs to Children

If you’d like to do more SINGING in your FAMILY, but aren’t sure how to go about it, check out THIS LINK to find out how my husband (with no music degree) teaches songs to his Kindergarten/First Grade class at church. 

This is also how he teaches the Fighter Verse songs to our kids at home, and we now know hundreds of Scripture verses that have been put into song.  And if anyone says that having to sing them isn’t good enough, I would ask them if they could recite 400-500 verses on the spot.  My kids can, by singing the songs!  (Now, LISTENING to the WORDS you’re singing–that’s the next step, and should not be neglected.)

A little adverstisement:  You can purchase CD’s of family-friendlyFighter Verse songs HERE and scroll down to the bottom section of the page.

Parenting Reminder to Self…

I’m really liking this book, as it’s a good reminder of things I should already know…

“Even though our children cannot and will not obey God’s law, we need to teach it to them again and again.  And when they tell us that they can’t love God or others in this way, we are not to argue with them.  We are to agree with them and tell them of their need for a Savior. 

“The promises of life for obedience are not meant to build our self-confidence.  They’re meant to make us long for obedience and then, when we fail again, they’re meant to crush us and drive us to Christ.”  (From Give Them Grace, by Fitzpatrick and Thompson)

How often do I look for a quick fix to sibling squabbles so I can get back to what I was doing instead of taking time to speak to them about their hearts?  Too often!  I need this for myself!