Raising a Grateful Child | Part 4


Teaching Gratitude Through the Christmas Season

Choose to continue the momentum that you have built training your children in gratitude through the holiday season.  Christmas can be a difficult time for our children to have a grateful heart.  There are millions of dollars being spent this season on advertising to convince us that we need things that we don’t have.

One way to continue the momentum is by serving others.  Continue to create excitement for your family service project.  Look for other places you can serve others and include your children.  Offer to help an older woman or a woman with small children, load their groceries into their car.  Have your children help you babysit for a couple with small children so they can get out during this busy season.  Have your children help bake cookies to take to the neighbors.  There are many ways to serve others we just have to make that our focus and wait for the opportunity.  You can even make that a game with your children, who can spot an opportunity to serve first.

Another thing we can do as a family is continue our “I am grateful for list”. Every night before bed or at the dinner table, each family member can say one thing that they are thankful for.  Continue your focus on gratitude through out the Christmas season.


Raising a Grateful Child | Part 42018-11-15T09:29:08-04:00

Raising a Grateful Child – Part 3


Using Thanksgiving to Prepare for Christmas

We talked yesterday about cultivating a grateful heart by focusing on serving those around us.  A great Thanksgiving table discussion, even with extended family, is beginning to plan your family Christmas service project.  What a great way to show your thanks to God for all He has given your family.

One idea is, with your children you can pick a family to bless this holiday season.  There are many ways to do this.  You could take little things to the family like homemade cookies and card through the season. Have your children put some of their allowance towards picking out a gift for the children of the family. Or if there is something that the family specifically needs you can all pool your money towards that.

Another idea that was done by a family was to wake up and spend part of Christmas day at a local homeless shelter serving. There are also many in nursing facilities that don’t have visitors and would love cookies and smiles from children.  There are countless ideas for serving those around you this holiday season.  Spend part of the Thanksgiving holiday planning for your family’s Christmas service project.

Raising a Grateful Child – Part 32018-11-15T09:28:43-04:00

Raising a Grateful Child – Part 2


Raising a Child with a Grateful Heart By Example

We said yesterday that gratitude is either caught or taught.  The first way that we can train our kids to have a grateful heart is by example.  Paul tells us in Philippians 4:11-13, “I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.  I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.  I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”  Is this a verse we can use to define our lives?  Gratitude for what we have be given defines a life of contentment.  When our children observe us in our daily life do they see this about us, or do they see someone who is always striving to have the next thing? It is very easy in this culture to feel the need to one up the people around us with the things we have.

One way to live a life of contentment with what God has provided for us is to serve those around us.  If we are serving wherever there is a need then it allows us to be others focused.  Look for places to serve others.  Make it a family event to give back to those around you.  Giving your children the opportunity to serve and to watch you serve is an invaluable lesson.   Look for that opportunity this holiday week!


Raising a Grateful Child – Part 22018-11-15T09:28:22-04:00

Raising a Grateful Child – Part 1


Getting Ready for a Successful Thanksgiving

Gratitude is not something that is an innate human trait.  Because we are all born selfish, it is something that is both caught and taught.  As God designed it, babies spend all of their time having their needs met.  As children get older they are taught to be more and more self-sufficient.  If we are not spending time training our children to have a grateful heart however, they will keep that selfish attitude.

Thanksgiving gives us a wonderful opportunity for training.  We can utilize the theme of this holiday to start our holiday season off with an attitude of gratitude.  One way to do that is by creating an “I’m thankful for list”.  Starting today put a poster board up in a central location of your house.  It can be a plain poster board or you can enlist the help of your children to decorate it.   Parents can take the initiative and begin every day by writing at least one thing on the list that they are thankful for. Make a game of seeing who can come up with the most things.  Keeping the things that we are thankful for in the forefront of our minds will begin to train us, and our children, to have grateful hearts.

For more ideas on teaching gratitude through fun activities check out,


Raising a Grateful Child – Part 12018-11-15T09:27:36-04:00

Performance Focused Parenting | Part 5


It’s Never Too Late!

What do I do if my child is older and I am just processing this now?  It is never too late to begin this process.  You may have a little bit of extra work ahead of you as you set different family priorities and patterns.  It is well worth the effort.

The first thing that needs to be done is, to evaluate the things that need to be added to your schedule and things that need to be cut.  Are there some activities, even though they have always been done, that need to be cut so there is family down time? For example, maybe a family devotion time needs to be added, so your family may have to get up and to the breakfast table together.

Next because the children are older they need to be made aware of what the changes are and why. So a family meeting needs to be held.  Don’t be discouraged if your kids don’t embrace the changes right away.  Remember the goal is to train them for adulthood.

Setting the right priorities for your parenting is always worth the work it takes!



Performance Focused Parenting | Part 52018-11-07T11:59:12-04:00

Performance Focused Parenting | Part 4


Raising a God-Honoring Adult

We discussed yesterday about the importance of having a parenting curriculum or a plan for raising your children.  The most important thing on your list of goals for parenting is raising a God-honoring adult.  This will be the filter through which your children live out their adult lives.

We have discussed the “Four E’s” of parenting in the past but they apply to this goal as well.  The first “E” in the training process is example.  We as parents need to model what it means to be a godly adult.  This is so important for our kids to observe because it makes what they learn in church real.  When we do mess up, we need to take the time to admit it and apologize.

The next is expose.  We must expose our kids to the Bible.  Make sure that you are not too busy to take time out for family devotions.  Make exposing your children to kids their age who share their beliefs a priority.  Church and kids ministries are also important in exposing your children to learning about who God is.

The third is experience.  Help your children walk through what it means to be a Christian.  What are the choices that they need to process through the filter of being Godly?  Modesty is one of these issues as is how they treat others.  Many of these daily issues we can be there to help our kids’ process through the experience of what it means to be a Christian.

Finally is encouragement.  We need to be on the sidelines of our children’s lives cheering for the choices that they make.  More than ever it can be difficult to be a Christian in school and stand up for what you believe in.  We need to go crazy with praise when our kids make the right and some times difficult choice.


Performance Focused Parenting | Part 42018-11-07T11:59:02-04:00

Performance Focused Parenting | Part 3


The Parenting Curriculum

How ridiculous would it sound if we went to our child’s open house at school and their teacher had no lesson plans for the year?  Even if the teacher explained the plan for the year being to watch what the other teachers do, then sit over coffee and discuss what worked and what didn’t.  We as parents would be incensed that there was no plan for our child’s education.  But how many of us do this with parenting our children?

We fly through life dropping our kids off at school and activities and our parenting style appears to be trial and error.  When we are so busy life seems to fly by even faster.  It would be such a tragedy to drop our child off on a college campus or watch them go out the door as adults and have regrets about our parenting.   One way to make sure we are able to do our best to train our children is to have goals or a parenting curriculum.  Take the time to process through the areas your child needs to be trained in before adulthood.  There are several places to start. You can start with thinking through the areas that you wished you had more training.  Another great place to start is the book of Proverbs.  This is a book written from father to son and has some wonderful insight.  Make sure that you sit down during one of you parenting staff meeting with you spouse and think through your goals for parenting.  This way you can help to make family and parenting a priority and not just get caught up in the busyness of life.


Performance Focused Parenting | Part 32018-11-07T11:58:51-04:00

Performance Focused Parenting | Part 2


Who are we performing for?

If we are attempting to ensure that we are training our children to be human beings not “human doings” then we need to first step back and examine ourselves.  There are a couple of questions we need to answer in our own lives.  The first is, are we too busy ourselves?  Do we have unrealistic expectations for what we can accomplish?  We need to be able to model down time for our children.  Our children must be able to observe our times of quietness before God, with our spouse and times of simplicity together as family.

The second question we need to answer in our own life is, for whom are we performing?  Are we placing the pressures we feel from others on our children?  For example, our parents may be putting pressure on us for the way we parent or make us feel like our children must be involved in certain activities.  Other families around us may also add to the pressure to have our children involved in activities.  Our peers may inadvertently guilt us into pressuring our children by comparing their children to ours.  We need to remember that we serve only an Audience of One.  He is the only one who will hold us accountable for how we raise our children.  Until we as parents can shift our focus to Him we cannot hope to pass this concept on to our children.


Performance Focused Parenting | Part 22018-11-07T11:58:42-04:00

Performance Focused Parenting | Part 1


What is the Focus of Parenting?

Have we put so much emphasis on the “success” of our kids that life has simply become racing from one activity to another?  Society would have us believe that our children need to be academically, socially and athletically successful to be ready for the adult world.  So childhood flies by in a whirlwind of homework and practices.

We touched on this topic when we discussed time management but we need to take this concept a step deeper.  Have we gotten to the point as parents that we have become our children’s performance enhancement drug?  Have we placed so much pressure on our children to succeed that they may be missing out on the very basics of childhood?  Picturing childhood should conjure up images of swings, ice cream cones and times filled with imagination.   But these pressures have been placed on our children as early as elementary school.  There are areas that need to be developed in our children in order to be marriageable and employable, such as the art of conversation or even think time, that need some down time in order to be taught. We need to remember that we are raising a human being and not a human doing.

This week we will be discussing performance focused parenting as we do make sure to take some time to step back and process what the focus of your parenting is.


Performance Focused Parenting | Part 12018-11-07T11:58:26-04:00