What to do with Santa…
The discussion of Santa will stir up different emotions in Christian circles. For some, Santa totally distracts from the message of Christmas and so there are very strong feelings against Santa. Others feel strongly that there is no harm in the fun of Santa.
We would like to say that this must be a personal family decision but there are some things to consider. First is if we are teaching gratitude and teaching our children how to give to others then obviously Santa cannot be the one bringing all the gifts. If you do decide to do Santa in your house maybe Santa could bring one gift or be the one who fills the stockings. Secondly the attempt is to make the center of the Christmas season Jesus and not Santa. Which is another reason why it is a good idea for a gift, not all, to be from Santa. Finally, we need to remember that childhood should be about imagination and fantasy. The harsh adult world is imposing itself far to early on our children. It is our job as parents to fight for their childhood. The fun of Christmas may be a perfect time. Whichever you decide to do take full advantage of this Christmas season to begin or enjoy family traditions.
Listen to today’s podcast for what we did with Santa growing up in the Barnes’ house.
Fighting Materialism at Christmas
Christmas season can be very stressful and overwhelming to parents. There are so many parties and activities. Probably the most stressful is the feeling that we must give our children a perfectly magical Christmas experience. And of course have found the perfect gifts. We are still at the beginning of the month so it is a great time to sit down, take a breath, and set some priorities.
We need to look at big picture. When our children are grown what do we want them to remember about Christmas? Was it a time spent focusing on the true meaning and through the Joy of that, serving others? Or was it a time for materialistic overindulgence? This is not to say that we don’t give our children gifts but more what is our focus for the season. Take the time early this season to think through what traditions will help our children focus on what the true meaning of Christmas is and the joy of giving to others because of it.
Listen to today’s podcast for more insight on teaching the gift of giving.
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.
Listen to today’s podcast for more insight on this topic.
Our focus this month has been training children how to communicate. This is one of the lessons that can branch out into all avenues of their lives. We are going to spend this week discussing the different things that can become communication blockers if we are not aware of the potential problem and trying to place boundaries to prevent problems.
For many, the summer is a down time for the family. Because the kids are not in school there is extra time to do some fun family activities. With the start of the school year, for some even this week, the family day to day activities begin in full swing. Even if your children are not yet in school many churches kick off all of the fall events and small groups as well. All this to say we are no longer in relaxed mode and for many the busy season begins. It is so easy to look back during the holiday season and think, “wow where did the fall go?!”
This time of crazy schedules can really be a communication blocker if we allow it to be. We must carve out time for family to be together and be intentional to take full advantage of those small moments we have previously discussed. Sit down with your spouse and schedule in family nights if you have to. Look for times daily to communicate with your kids. Be Intentional!
There are so many college freshman who hit the college campus unprepared for what life is about to throw at them. There are several of these areas that with a little time spent, we can help our kids avoid some of the damage done by bad decisions made in the college years. Like we have said previously, beginning to prepare them for some of these areas requires us to train and then step back and allow our children to make decisions.
One of the hardest areas for those college students who are untrained is money. Because of the cost of tuition and other financial responsibilities that go along with college, many students struggle to make it through those years. It would also seem that credit cards may be a challenge for the unsuspecting student. It is imperative that we teach our older teen, not only how to budget but how to use a credit or debit card responsibly. This may require that we help them open a checking account as they hit the later high school years. It is important that they practice with in the safety net of family. Keep in mind that many college students leave college with not only student loans to pay off but other debt as well. Sometimes this can be avoided with a little bit of training and practice.