9 items tagged "Parenting"

  • 14 Gospel Principles

    In the interest of keeping sight of our ultimate purpose as parents, as well as understanding the big-picture view of God’s plan for us, here are some helpful principles from the book, Parenting: 14 Gospel Principles That Can Radically Change Your Family, by Paul Tripp:

    Principle #1 Calling: Nothing is more important in your life than being one of God’s tools to form a human soul.

    Principle #2 Grace: God never calls you to a task without giving you what you need to do it. He never sends you without going with you. Quit beating yourself up because you feel inadequate. God never intended you to parent separate of Himself.

    Principle #3 Law: Your children need God’s law, but you cannot ask the law to do what only grace can accomplish. If rules and regulations had the power to change the heart and life of your child, rescuing your child from himself and giving him a heart of submission and faith, Jesus would have never needed to come!

    Principle #4 Inability: Recognizing what you are unable to do is essential to good parenting. Our job is not heart change, but to be humble and willing instruments of change in the hands of God.

    Principle #5 Identity: If you are not resting as a parent in your identity in Christ, you will look for identify in your children (and other things). Jesus is your life, and this frees you and your children from the burden of asking them to give you what Jesus has already given you.

    Principle #6 Process: You must be committed as a parent to long-view parenting because change is a process and not an event.

    Principle #7 Lost: As a parent, you’re not dealing just with bad behavior, but a condition that causes bad behavior.

    Principle #8 Authority: One of the foundational heart issues in the life of every child is authority. Teaching and modeling the protective beauty of authority is one of the foundations of good parenting.

    Principle #9 Foolishness: The foolishness inside your children is more dangerous to them than the temptation outside of them. Only God’s grace has the power to rescue fools.

    Principle #10 Character: Not all of the wrong your children do is a direct rebellion to authority; much of the wrong is the result of a lack of character.

    Principle #11 False gods: You are parenting a worshiper, so it’s important to remember that what rules your child’s heart will control his behavior.

    Principle #12 Control: The goal of parenting is not control of behavior, but rather heart and life change.

    Principle #13 Rest: It is only rest in God’s presence and grace that will make you a joyful and patient parent.

    Principle #14 Mercy: No parent gives mercy better than one who is convinced that he desperately needs it himself. Your primary calling as a parent is not first to represent God’s judgement, but rather to constantly deliver his mercy.

    Click here for more resources from Paul Tripp

  • Dads, don't forget what's most important!

    Father's Day is behind us and on we go with the rest of summer! Hard to believe that the 4th of July is less then two weeks away, before you know it summer will be over and  school will be back at it!  It's so easy to allow our schedules, responsibilities, etc. to take over and lose sight of what's most important.  A research study was done on over 1,500 children and the main question that was asked is "what makes a family happy?".  The primary answer was not vacations, bigger home, nice cars, new toys...it was just doing activities together.  I've heard it said before that children spell love as T-I-M-E.  So with that being said, here is a couple tips from the blog "Tips for Busy Dads" on how to stay plugged in to what is most important, your family:

     

    1. Set your expectations right

    Expect chaos because so many times when I get home, chaos is happening. Rare are those days where I walk into my house and my family just ministers to you with a soda, newspaper and the evening news (were those ever the days or just drawings from Norman Rockwell?). Usually I get girls telling me about their day and wanting me to do things with them…things that just make me tired thinking about it. So make sure your expectations are right before you walk through your door so that you don’t get frustrated.

    2. Be flexible

    No matter how many books you read on parenting and children, the bottom line is no one can prepare you for what you are going to encounter. No one specific book can tell you exactly how to raise your children. The rules break all the time. That is why you need to be flexible and roll with the punches. The more we are flexible and have our expectations set right, the less frustrated we will be when things don’t go quite as we had planned or as the book says. By being flexible we are able to really learn who our children are and how we can best meet their needs and help them grow to be healthy children and young adults.

    3. Inject Christ in your life

    On your way home, turn on the Christian music station or read some scripture before you walk into your house…scripture on patience Seriously, I have found the more I listen to Christian music before I go anywhere, the more my mindset changes and get focused on the right priorities.

    4.”Be here now”

    “Be here now” implies that it doesn’t matter what you could be doing somewhere else or should be doing. What is most important is that you stay focused on where you are at. So that means, when you are at home with your kids, you focus on your kids. That means no cell phone, iPad or any other work distraction you may have. I know that is easier said than done, but the reality is we have at least 9-5 M-F to focus on our work and toys (yes, our iPhone is definitely a toy). We need those few hours each day when we get home to be focused on our children and loving our wife.

     

    What else can you add to the list?

     

  • Do our kids see grace?

    How come some parents are more successful at nurturing a long-term faith in their kids? Our research has shown that one of the key variables is how kids are raised to understand the Gospel.Too many young people today live by what philosopher Dallas Willard calls the “gospel of sin management.” This truncates the Gospel to the belief that we have to adhere to a bunch of good behaviors in order to have a relationship with Jesus. When young people don’t live up to these behaviors, guilt causes them to think that the relationship itself is over. They end up running from God and the church, just when they need both the most.

    But grace is the heart of Christianity, and it needs to be the primary understanding of faith in our homes. Through the Incarnation, God pursues us, offering a gift of salvation that isn’t dependent upon our actions or our ability to clean ourselves up. It’s a gift we simply receive. And continue to receive every day.

    Kids make mistakes. They’ll choose to sin. I frequently tell my children that Jesus is bigger than any mistake we can make. He can handle it all — all our little accidental mistakes, all our big intentional sins.

    Grace doesn’t mean we live without boundaries. Kids need parents to clearly establish behavioral guidelines and then discipline them when they step across those lines. But we must strive for a way to sprinkle grace even into our discipline — perhaps especially in our discipline. Sometimes, it’s the tone of voice we use when taking away privileges. Other times, it’s how we empathize with a child’s frustration — the frustration he feels over a poor choice. Or, (more likely) the frustration he feels with his parents for imposing discipline.

    Kids also need to see their parents relying on the same grace that we want them to experience. If we want our homes to shine with a complete picture of grace, we as parents need to be quick to apologize. Confessing our mistakes to our kids not only builds closer family relationships, but it also helps our kids recognize everyone’s need for God’s tender mercies. Indeed, you’re more likely to have children repent if you have made “I’m sorry” a regular part of your vocabulary.

     

    Excerpt from A Faith That Sticks by Kara Powell

  • Helping Faith Stick

     

    While grace represents the core of our theology, our research identified a number of other factors that are common among parents who raise kids with a lasting faith. Although there are no guarantees, the following principles can take some of the guesswork out of instilling faith in children:

    “Sticky faith” parents . . .

    . . . discuss their own faith journeys. They frequently share organically about their own faith journey; how it continues to impact and influence their life.  Tell your ongoingstory.  Share how you became a Christian, and include what God is currenlty doing in your life. 

    . . . give their kids space to wrestle with tough faith questions — and help them find resources that can provide answers. Doubt, by itself, isn’t toxic. Doubt becomes toxic when it goes unexpressed. Giving permission for independent thought leads to a stronger faith.

    . . . connect their children to caring adults. Kids need to develop a strong personal identity for faith to stick, and community helps accomplish this. When kids know adults who are “on their team,” they have a web of support to catch them when they fall. What’s more, these adults are often able to speak to them in ways parents can’t.

    . . . involve their kids in service. Kids must see that faith inspires action. Our research found that family service was a key builder of lasting faith. Sometimes the local church was the catalyst for this service. Other times, parents took the lead in making family service a priority.

    . . . prepare teens for a future that includes faith. As part of practical discussions on issues such as managing money and time, wise parents help young people plan their schedules and lives to include church.

    Like any parenting priority, our children’s long-term spiritual growth stands a better chance of success if we think in advance about what is important — and how we can make time for those priorities. But while families that adopt certain practices tend to raise kids who have a lasting faith, there is no magic formula. Every child has a free will. Still, spiritual roots don’t grow deep by accident. God is the ultimate gardener, and He often works through parents to prepare the soil, remove creeping weeds and make sure kids have the spiritual nutrients they need to flourish.

    It's never too late to begin impressing spiritual truth on your children.  Don't allow the enemy to determine your level of influence as a parent.  No matter what season of life you are in, your children and grandchildren will need you. 

    (Excerpt from Kara Powell"A Faith that Sticks")

  • Parenting the Internet Generation Pt. 1

    Parenting the Internet Generation Pt. 1 will primarily focus on potential threats that exist in the digital world. We are engaged in a battle for the hearts and minds of the next generation. While this is a hard fight in the 21st Century, it is imperative that parents, mentors, educators, etc. are aware of the dangers and digital distractions that are out there.

    Here are just a few potential threats that this generation has and/or could be exposed to:

    1. Internet Pornography

    Stats you need to know:

    · 93% of boys and 62% of girls are exposed to internet porn before the age of 18.

    · 83% of boys and 57% of girls have seen group sex on the internet.

    · 70% of boys have spent more than 30 consecutive minutes looking at online porn on at least one occasion.

    · Only 3% of boys and 17% of girls have never seen internet pornography.

    · 2/3 of young men and half of young woman say viewing porn is acceptable.

    At the click of a button, literally hundreds of millions of pornographic images and videos are available online—no credit card and no age verification required. Because a child’s brain is still in critical stages of development even through the teen years, more and more psychiatrists are concerned about how early exposure to sexual media hinders healthy sexual development. Porn is a part of an overall societal message that treats sex as a commodity and sees people as objects.

    2. Online Predators

    The internet is an amazing tool for kids and teens to connect with people all over the world. But not everyone they meet online is safe. Here are a couple of things you need to know:

    · Most internet sex crimes against youth are committed by offenders who do not hide their age or sexual intentions.

    · Most predators prey on a teen’s desire to be liked, their desire for romance, or their sexual curiosity. Often a predator may “groom” a child through flattery, sympathy, and by investing time in their online relationship. Predators are expert manipulators, able to foster a relationship of dependence with a teen.

    · 50% of the time the teen describes themselves as “in love” with the predator.

    It is noteworthy that most sexual predation does not occur with total strangers through internet communication. Young people have a much greater risk of sexual predation from their schoolmates, community, and family.

    3. Sexting

    “Sexting” is a slang term for sending erotic or sexually suggestive messages, photos, or videos. A survey was done by The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy to explore the prevalence of sexting. The survey found that 20% of teens overall have sent or posted nude or semi-nude pictures or video of themselves, and 39% have sent or posted sexually suggestive messages.

    This trend reveals a deep problem among youth. Sexting is just one part of the overall sex-on-tap culture in which we live. If they desire to be accepted by someone they like, teens and young adults often give into the pressure to become someone else’s pornography.

    For more information on these internet threats and others, click here

    Parenting the Internet Generation Pt. 2 will discuss strategies and give resources on how to help your teen develop healthy habits when exploring the digital world.

    Parenting the Internet Generation © 2012 CovenantEyes

  • Seize the Moment

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    “These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts.  Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” -- Deuteronomy 6:6-7

    “We will not hide them from their descendants, we will tell the next generation, the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord, his power, and the wonders he has done.” –Psalm 78:4

     

     

    Scripture clearly articulates the duty of parents, grandparents, and invested adults to instruct children in the things of the Lord. Every generation of Christians bears the responsibility of handing down what they have received—the testimony of who God is and what He has done—to the next generation. When it comes to passing on this precious story, we don’t need to over-complicate it. In Deuteronomy 6, Moses doesn’t give us a program, manual, or an overcooked strategy for discipleship. Moses simply encourages us to seize the moment.

    Life is busy. The thought of adding something else to your already full schedule generates more anxiety than anticipation. Here’s how you keep your priority to impress truth upon the hearts of your kids. Your greatest mission will be best accomplished through this simple, daily practice. Just seize the moment.

    Here is what this can look like…

    • As you drive your kids to school, turn the radio off and pray for them. It’s probably going to be short and simple, but it opens the opportunity for them to share their concerns with you. Seize the moment to impress their hearts that God cares about our daily struggles.
    • It’s time for dinner and you finally get a chance to sit down together…Put the phones away and seize the moment. Let them know what you read in the Bible today or how you handled a conflict with patience.
    • It’s Sunday morning at church, and you notice a couple of teens in service. Seize the moment! Introduce yourself, get to know them, and ask how you can pray for them.
    • It’s been a long day. You left work, cooked dinner, brought your kid to practice, picked them up, convinced them to finish their homework, and now you made it…it’s bed-time. Before you turn off the lights, seize the moment. Ask your children (no matter their ages), “What is God doing in your life?” “Do you have anything you would like to talk about?” Pray for them and let them know that God is good and always near.

    These verses bring tremendous encouragement. Reaching and discipling the next generation doesn’t have to be complicated. Just seize the moment. Read scripture together, play your family’s favorite worship music at home, and share how much you love Jesus. Kids will always catch what we project!

     

     

  • Set The Pace

    "Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us..." Heb. 12:1

    There is nothing more rewarding, exciting, and fun (nerve-racking too!) then being a parent!  There are many blessings that come with being a parent, but great responsibility too!  Parents are the #1 influencer in a child's life and as you already know they're always watching and repeating what they see and hear.  The old saying "do as I say not as I do" is a foreign language to kids...the "bar" you set is what they will usually aim for.  That can be great news in alot of situations, not so much in others! 

    So when it comes to matters of faith, make sure you are setting the bar high!  Mom, dad, grandpa, grandma, uncle, (whatever relationship you have to a child) make sure you set the pace spiriually!  Don't walk or jog...let your children see you run after God with passion and perseverance!  Then watch how contagious this faith becomes for your kids!

     

    Here are a couple of ways you can "set the pace" in your home:

    -Believe God for to much, rather then to little.

    -Be a better person in private, then you are in public.

    -Pray.  Simple, but absolutely powerful!

    -Stay teachable

    -Be faithful in the little things

    -Prioritize the things of God first, in all things.

    -Teach your kids how to serve, by actually serving.

    More tips here

     

    Dont allow discouragement to keep you from "setting the pace".  God will equip you with everything you need to lead and be an example for your family!

  • The Value of Forgiveness

    "If we claim that we're free of sin, we're only fooling ourselves.  A claim like that is errant nonsense.  On the other hand, if we admit our sins--make a clean breast of them--he won't let us down; he'll be true to himself.  He'll forgive our sins and purge us of all wrongdoing." 1 John 1:8-9 (MSG)

    For the next few weeks, we will spend some time highlighting important values that when understood and practiced can make a positive impact for you and your family!  As the title of this post states, the first value will look at is forgiveness.  Forgiveness is always easy to receive, but much more difficult to extend.  Extending forgiveness involves humility and courage.  By extending forgiveness, we are making a statement that we are letting go of the anger and offenses and no longer "hitting back".  Extending forgiveness is such an important topic to discuss and can also affect our children in many ways. 

    Here are some quick findings from the Mayo Clinic regarding the importance of forgiveness. 

    • Holding a grudge evidently affects the cardiovascular and nervous systems.
    • One study finds that holding grudges elevates blood pressure and heart rates, increased muscle tension, and felt less in control of their lives.
    • On the other hand, when asked to imagine forgiving the person, the health issues noticeably lessened!

    Forgiveness is healthy.  Forgiveness is crucial to understanding God.  If we dont understand this core characteristic of God, then it will be difficult for you to see yourself as He sees you (i.e. children, apple of His eye, masterpeice, royalty) and even more difficult to extend the gift of forgiveness to others. 

    What are your obstacles to forgiveness?  Are their old wounds from your past still bleeding out?  Have we made room in our hearts for bitterness, anger, and offense towards others, even our family?  Here is the point: we can also become an obstacle for our children in extending forgiveness. You can't really force or bribe someone to forgive.  The best way to live out a value is to first see it modeled...by you!

    Few tips to instill forgiveness in your children:

    • Start with the basics.  Teach your kids about God's forgiveness of them and what that looks like.
    • Model the forgiveness in your own life.  Dont talk badly about others, especially in the presence of your kids!
    • Model humility.  Say you're sorry.  It's simple.  Tell your spouse you messed up in front of your children.  Let your kids know you need forgiveness too.
    • Infuse "I love you" statements with the consequences.
    • Teach them that forgiveness does not depend on the actions of others.

     

    Go Deeper:

    1. Psalm 51:1-12
    2. Matthew 6:14-15
    3. Ephesians 4:31-32
    4. Pick up the book Modern Parents, Vintage Values
  • The Value of Integrity

    "God can't stand deceivers, but oh how He relishes integrity." (Prov. 11:20 MSG)

    If honesty means "telling the truth", integrity would mean to truly live out this "truth".  You can be honest and not have much integrity, but it's very difficult to be a person of integrity and not be honest.  Integrity is defined by Merriam-Webster as a "firm adherence to a code of especially moral or artistic values."  Being a person of integrity is to make daily choicesto live out what you believe.  There is a good case that without integrity, our foundation of who we are, our core,will certainly begin to disintegrate.

    So, of course we want to be people of integrity and we want our children to understand the importance of having this value as well.  How do we instill this in our children and teens, particularly since examples of integrity seem to be fewer and father between?

    First, let's take a look at some of the obstacles to integrity:

    • Integrity can be difficult to understand.  Kids are concrete thinkers, and integrity is not a concrete concept.
    • Children don't want to disappoint you.  They may choose to lie so that you or others won't think less of them.  They fear the potential consequences if they believe they have missed the mark.
    • Integrity is difficult for all ages.  It takes time to develop.  You need to be thoughtful about it.  You need some courage as well!

     

    Tips to instill integrity in children and teens:

    • Honesty can be a great building block.  Children need to know that they can't get away with lying.  They need to learn the difference between a truth and a lie. 
    • Work hard on having your home a safe place, that children and teens are loved--no matter what.
    • Teach the value of integrity at an early age.  And as with all values, practicing integrity in our daily lives will be the best way to model and instill values in our kids.
    • Ask teens difficult questions and allow them to think through their decisions.  What do they feel is right? What do they believe?
    • Match up your teen with other role models.  The more positive adults in a teens life, the better.
    • Allow you teen to fail.  Integrity does not mean perfection.  We must understand this.  Consequences are appropriate, but use these moments to help them develop perseverance, responsibility, and courage.

     

    Go Deeper:

    1. Ps. 41:12

    2. Prov. 10:9

    3. 1 Chron. 29:17

    2. Pick up the book Modern Parents, Vintage Values

     

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