Articles

A Parent’s Response To The Newtown Tragedy

2012-12-17T23:06:35+00:00

“Mommy, Where Was God?”

Parents this week are wondering how to respond to the horrendous tragedy that took place at Newtown, Conneticut.  Children have the same four questions that we might have.
Why did this happen?
Where was God?
Can this happen to us?
What should we do?

It’s important for a parent to be able to help the children with these questions.

Why did this  happen?
This tragedy took place because we live in a fallen world. Our loving Father has given us the option to love Him, to trust Him, and thus to love each other. We are not puppets on a string. And too many choose the evil option of not trusting God.

To ask the question where was God is natural. To assume, however, that God was not with those children is incorrect, unBiblical, and even evil. He tells us “He will never leave us or forsake us”. We will have no idea until Heaven, when we will be given the privilege of seeing what an invisible God and His Angels were doing to usher those little ones instantly into Heaven.

Every child and every adult needs to cling to the FACT that “He knows the plans He has for us…,” and ” He will never “leave us or forsake us…”, and ” this is the day The Lord has made…”. Our job is to help our children trust our loving God, who is not only our God but our Father; a loving Father of each of us individually. He proved that by coming at Christmas and sacrificing Himself at Easter for each of us.

“Mommy can this happen to me?”
“God will not let anything happen to you that He will not take care of.  God is our strength.

What should we do?
“Honey, what we need to do when something bad like this happens, is pray for the families and when possible, do something for hurting families that God has placed around us.  Only God can heal, only God can protect, and only God can get us through the things we don’ t understand. That’s why as a family, we have learned the verses “Trust in The Lord with all your heart and lean not to your own upstanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your path.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)

When we are afraid it is because we are leaning to our own understanding. When we feel another person’s pain, and express our love to them, we show we are trusting God. Let’s pray now for those families.

This exact lesson that I am teaching my children, I need to be teaching myself. I can’t establish a foolproof plan of protection by pulling them out of life, putting them in Tupperware containers and squeezing out the bad air. I need to teach my children and myself to trust God and love the people around me.

What can your family do?
This is a time more then ever before that people are looking for answers.  THE answer will be “unwrapped” at the Christmas Sunday.  It’s the perfect time to love your neighbors by inviting then to come to church this Sunday.

A Parent’s Response To The Newtown Tragedy 2012-12-17T23:06:35+00:00

Kindness Consequences

2011-02-04T17:59:32+00:00

Love to me is kind, gentle, sweet, caring and happy. ~ Mischka, age 7

Training a child is a constant state of reminding that there are 
consequences (both positive and negative) for choices made. It is easy in parenting to focus too heavily on the negative consequences and not 
reward positive choices.

One place that we can reward is kindness in the home.  For some 
reason our homes seems to be the place where kindness is especially lacking, this is the most important training ground.  We can watch carefully and wait to catch our children being kind to other members 
of our household. By constantly uplifting those choices, whether it is immediate or at the dinner table, we can create an environment that 
will breed more and more kindness to others.  You can even make a game of catching your children being kind.  Give points for varying degrees of kindness and reward the winner.  Teaching sibling to treat each other with kindness is a very important life skill.  Take time this weekend to catch your children being kind to one another!

Kindness Consequences 2011-02-04T17:59:32+00:00

Love is Kind

2011-02-04T17:59:58+00:00

Love to me means to help others. ~Jake age 6

Nothing teaches a child how to love like giving the child a view of love in action…because love is an action not a feeling. From the original definition of love (1 Corinthians 13:4) we can pluck the love action of kindness. Love is kind.

Have my children observed me expressing kindness to people we encounter? Am I kind to strangers even when strangers are not. 
Kindness is a choice that is best observed in the face of rudeness.  It is also best learned when it is explained to a child after the fact. “Do you know why I didn’t talk back to that rude woman. It’s because I chose to be loving rather then what felt good at that moment.”

Jesus tells us in Matthew 25:35-40
35 For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home.  36 I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.’  37 “Then these righteous ones will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink?  38 Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing?  39 When did we ever see you sick or in prison, and visit you?’
40 And the King will tell them, ‘I assure you, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’

Teach the expression of kindness.

Love is Kind 2011-02-04T17:59:58+00:00

Love is Patient

2011-02-04T18:00:25+00:00

Love is… not punching my brother. – Benny, age 6

The first attribute found in God’s definition of love (1 Corinthians 13) is patience.  In today’s society we don’t do well with patience.  We have been trained for the immediate and today’s children are no different.  Patience is something that is taught by modeling this behavior.  You cannot tell a child to be patient with their sibling and then be in the car driving to the grocery store yelling at the driver in front of you because he is going too slowly.

As parents we must remember that there are always eyes watching to see how we will handle situations.  A child is more prone to do what we do rather than do what we say.  They are visual learners. We must be conscious how we are reacting to the things around us in word and action.  When they watch us our children are learning the “love acted out loud” virtue of patience.

What does it mean to be kind?

Love is Patient 2011-02-04T18:00:25+00:00

You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling….

2011-02-15T21:36:44+00:00

Love to me means that you care about someone, you love being around them and you do stuff for them.~ Feury, age 10

“I Just Don’t Feel Like I Love Her Anymore,” that from a husband of eleven months. The reason why culture is failing at love is that we are learning about love from all the wrong places; from music, movies and books. We get swept up in the romance of the “love at first sight” and “happily ever after” stories.

Isn’t love something you do rather than something you feel?  The mother of an infant doesn’t feel like getting up for the three AM feeding but she is doing love. Children of elderly parents don’t feel like helping those older parents during their last years of life but they do it because they are expressing love. These are selfless choices that are made.

Because Love is something you do, it needs to be something a parent teaches a child to do. The resource for how to do this has to be the Creator of love, and He has written down what love actually looks like in 1 Corinthians 13.  Do these things and your loving. Teach these things and you’re preparing.

What are some creative ways to teach patience?

You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling…. 2011-02-15T21:36:44+00:00

What is Love?

2011-02-04T18:01:09+00:00

Love to me means that I have a open heart for others.  ~Dani, age 7

While Valentine’s Day in the classroom means candy and parties, for others it is a source of pressure and for some it is just downright depressing.  What would happen if families used the month surrounding this holiday to teach children what it means to show love to the people around them?  We are told in Matthew 22 that to love our neighbor is “equally as important” as “loving the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul and all your mind.” In fact the word love is used over 600 times in the Bible.

Sadly in today’s society we have no idea what it means.  To a child life revolves around them but we are raising a generation of adults who have not grown out of this.  To raise a marriageable and employable adult we have to cultivate the concept of love in our children.

What better a time to focus on this trait as a family then Valentine’s week?

How do we teach children real love? Please join us as we spend this week discussing the responsibility we have as parents to teach “love”.

What is Love? 2011-02-04T18:01:09+00:00

Are We Training Our Children to be Greedy During Christmas?

2010-12-20T22:40:53+00:00

Imagine beings from outer space arriving on our planet the first week in December.  They would have to choose one house to secretly observe and they select yours.  From the first week in December until the twenty-fifth they watch a tremendous build-up for some kind of celebration called Christmas.  This is a time when parents pass on something to their children.  What would be the aliens take-away from your home?  What would they report they saw you passing on to your children?  What is this celebration all about?

For many church goers, the Christmas celebration would appear to be focused totally on the giving and receiving of gifts.  The Magi gave gifts so we give gifts.  The difference through is the motivation behind their gift giving.  They gave to celebrate the birth on Christ.  We give to…?

It’s almost as if many years ago a clandestine meeting of marketers took place. They decided to come up with a plan to create an end-of-the-year buying frenzy.  One that would make people feel obligated to buy extravagant gifts for everyone they knew.

The aliens observing might think this was a brilliant economic decision to help store owners end the year in the black.  “We’ve got it,” they would say.  On December 26, “They all ban together and go into a huge buying frenzy, lavishing their children with toys so they can stimulate the economy.”

The loser in this Christmas paradigm, however, is the child.  Ironically, even though the alien watches the children receive much in the way of toys for that day, the child actually receives little in the way of answers for all of life.

Parents even compete with other parents not to use Christmas to give the answers for life; but to purchase more and more stuff for their children. The first day back at school the question about this Christmas orgy will not be “what did you learn,” but rather what did you get… “what did you get for Christmas?”

The aliens will walk away feeling sorry for a generation of children that got nothing for Christmas but things!  The aliens will realize that there is a generation being taught that happiness comes from getting, rather than giving.  Yet, if the alien actually goes to church during his stay, they will probably hear the verse that says “It is better to give than receive.” (Acts 20:35)

“Wow! If I’m confused” think how our alien visitors must feel, “I can’t imagine how confused those children must be!”

In all reality, we do have someone not of this world watching how we handle His birthday celebration.  It’s probably not a matter of taking away the presents as much as it is a matter of perspective.  Getting your family focused this Christmas season with the right perspective.  The gifts are not the problem.  The Magi gave gifts that were about Jesus but were actually for the ones Jesus loved; His parents.  They were able to use these gifts to do their unexpected traveling to another country.

This Christmas let’s decide that we are going to put Christ back at the center.  That the story of the birth of Christ is the gift we will unwrap for our children.  Let’s decide to give gifts not only to each other but to people in need.  Find someone in your world that you can help this Christmas.  It’s not for them.  Their need just provides the opportunity to give a gift to God and teach the children the joy of giving.

There is someone that is not of this world watching our Christmas celebration this year.  It’s the celebration of His birth.  He needs nothing; but our children desperately need to know Him.  Give the gift of focus this year. Focus more on the birth of Christ and less on the giving of gifts.

This incredible one month preparation and celebration teaches something to your children.  What will they take away from this Christmas celebration?  If you knew someone not of this world was watching, what would you do differently?  He is and He’s rooting for you to bring the children to Him.

Are We Training Our Children to be Greedy During Christmas? 2010-12-20T22:40:53+00:00

Passing On the Great Thanksgiving Gift

2010-11-30T18:07:25+00:00

What if we’ve completely missed God’s intended purpose of Thanksgiving? What if this is the year we should “do it right” but missed it?

There are great mandates to celebrate by remembering what God has done for us and yet so often we celebrate the “celebration” and forget the intended purpose.  The Lord’s Supper is a perfect example.  So often you can take part in the Lord’s Supper at church and totally forget to do the work of doing it “in remembrance of Him.”

Thanksgiving is another example.  The first Thanksgiving celebration was a time of thanking God.  It was a great time to refocus.  The pilgrims spent a year of incredible loss and starvation and yet they gathered together to focus on what they had, rather than what they had lost.  They refocused.

This had to be a great lesson for the children because many had lost one of their parents during that first harsh winter to sickness.  Yet, the remaining adults decided, certain under God’s direction, to look instead at was God was doing for them.

In this economy, with job uncertainly, it would be naïve to think the children around you aren’t worried about what the future holds.  Certainly God is directing us to use this Thanksgiving to get back to its intended purpose; the giving of thanks to God.

As parents, it should not escape our notice that Thanksgiving appears on our calendar providentially before Christmas. What if we used the Thanksgiving meal as a time to discuss what we’re going to do as a family to give thanks at Christmas?  What if we focused less on making lists of what we want and more effort on making a list of want to do’s for others… in the name of Christ… as His birthday gift from us?

Let’s use this Thanksgiving to refocus our family.  Let’s use this Thanksgiving as a time to remember the blessings we have been given.  The fact that we live in a great country, the fact that we have options for food, the fact that….  Well, get the children to build a list.  Make it a contest.  Spend the week of Thanksgiving competing over who can come up with the most blessings our Father has given to us.

Once the focus has become one of thankfulness instead of greediness, take the next step.  Who can come up with the best way we as a family can express our gratitude.  What can we do to say thank you to Jesus?

What will this do?  It could start a new family tradition but more than that it will take the focus off of “me” and put the focus on others.  It’s amazing how my world gets bigger and brighter when I’m not in the center of it.

How many parents wished they could help their children not be so self-centered?  How many parents today wish they knew how to help their children stop being so materialistic?  This is the chance we’ve all been waiting for.

Thanksgiving wasn’t started by the “Turkey Lobby.”  Motivated by God, in 1621, Plymouth colonists and Wampanoag Indians shared a harvest fest, acknowledged as the first Thanksgiving celebration.  They saw a need to focus on what their people had rather than morn what they had lost.  The Pilgrims, having experienced great tragedy and hardship, celebrated that week.  They celebrated and gave thanks to God, focusing on what they had.  They reminded themselves that as bad as it was they had fared far better than their Jamestown counterparts.

Use thanksgiving to get ready for the best Christmas ever.  Table talk: What can we do for others this Christmas?   By doing this, you will be teaching the most difficult and yet greatest lesson: It is more blessed to give than to receive.

Don’t waddle away from this year’s Thanksgiving table stuffed with turkey, instead walk away stuffed with the joy of gratitude and a focus on others.  You will be giving your children a gift they will treasure forever.  The gift of giving!

Passing On the Great Thanksgiving Gift 2010-11-30T18:07:25+00:00

Communication Blocker – Impatience

2010-11-11T14:04:53+00:00

The final blocker this week is one that we all have to deal with at one time or another.  It is impatience.  This is an emotion that can sometimes be avoided if we are simply more organized and not having to rush everywhere.   But ultimately patience is a Fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22), which means that it is not something that we come by naturally.

When we are impatient with our children for whatever reason we can more easily brush off what they are saying and not truly listen to them.   If we get in a pattern of impatience it can cause them to clam up and either turn elsewhere to be listened to or internalize everything.  Both of these are bad especially when it is our job to make them feel loved and valued.

Choose to be patient with your children.  Make sure that you are spending time communicating with God.  Only through His strength can you be patient through any frustration, and communicate to your children not only your love for them but ultimately His!

Communication Blocker – Impatience 2010-11-11T14:04:53+00:00

Communication Blockers – Peers

2010-11-11T14:05:12+00:00

There is another area that can become a blocker for teaching positive communication and that can be a child’s peers.  Peers can be a positive practicing tool for communication, but if peers are the only place our children are learning how to communicate it can be detrimental.  If we as a family are not placing an emphasis on communication then our kids will have to learn somewhere.  Peers can also end up being a listening substitute for your child.  This means that if your child doesn’t feel listened to at home they will search for a place where they feel that acceptance.  One of the ways we can make our child feel valued and accepted at home is simply by listening to them.

A second way that peers can be a blocker for positive communication is if they are a negative influence on your child.  Issues with attitude and negativity can rub off on our children if we are not careful.  As parents we need to take the time to get to know the people who can also have a big influence on our children, their friends.

August 27

Communication Blockers – Peers 2010-11-11T14:05:12+00:00