Ever get stumped by a question from your kids? Questions from our kids can be annoying at times especially when our kids are in the toddler stage. But sometimes the questions our kids ask are an eye into their soul. Asking questions and how we react to their questions is an important part of our child’s faith development.
Our youngest daughter Norah (5) blurted out a question one Sunday after church that just surprised us. We were talking with the girls about communion and what they learned in Children’s Church. Read the rest of this entry
My seven year old daughter Anna loves anything to do with presidents. One night I walked into her room and she was reading a kids book about President James K. Polk. It takes genuine interest to read about President Polk. Our nightly ritual is to watch NBC Nightly News together which is a great conversation starter about world events and social issues. She won’t let me mute the commercials so lately we’ve been taking in a lot of campaign commercials. She has gotten to the place where she doesn’t like to watch those and will thankfully let me mute them.
As nasty as campaign ads have become this election cycle, I wonder what Anna is learning as she watches the 2012 presidential campaign unfold. What do nasty elections teach our kids? Read the rest of this entry
I’m always on the lookout for great online resources for parents to take an active role in the spiritual development of their children. Recently, I found the Kids of Integrity website and have been returning to it often. Kids of Integrity is a resource from Focus on the Family Canada and is full of great family devotions and activities. I love how their activities and devotions are organized by character trait.
Today our kids headed to a new school and were apprehensive about starting in a new place. We looked at the Kids of Integrity website and chose one of the object lessons on courage and it worked great for what our kids were going through.
Check out Kids of Integrity here.
Find other great Faith@Home resources here.
- Take your children outside or to a park and find a bush or a tree in your hard that is budding for spring
- What does this plant need to grow?
- Does this plant produce anything? (flowers, leaves, fruit, etc.)
- What happens if a branch breaks off? Does it still grow?
- Today we are going to look at a story in the Bible where Jesus compares us to branches Read the rest of this entry
*Bonus points if you bake bread and eat it together as you discuss this lesson.
- How often do we eat bread?
- Why is eating bread important for our health?
- Do you remember the story in the Bible where Jesus made a lot of bread? What happened?
- A day later Jesus was talking to some of the same people and said something really interesting. He said, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty” (John 6:35).
- Why do you think Jesus said he was the bread of life?
- Is Jesus really bread? What is he saying?
- Just like we need bread and food each day to stay alive, we also need Jesus and a relationship with him
- We were created for a relationship with Jesus
- How is Jesus everything that we need?
- Application question: What is one thing you can do each day to get to know Jesus better?
- Each week we are going to color a symbol that represents what we talked about
- What do you think our symbol is today?
- Now whenever you see this loaf of bread you can remember that a relationship with Jesus is what we really need in life
- Color in the loaf of bread and then I will show you what we are going to do next
- Now we are going to made a cube to put the bread on. Each week we will get a new symbol for the cube.
Today I am working on a set of family devotions for the season of Lent. My hope is that this will provide us with a valuable tool to help our children experience what it was like to be one of the disciples journeying with Jesus. What did they see? What did they think? How did it make them feel to watch their Master go through what he did?
Here is an outline of the devotions:
April 3 – Jesus welcomed into Jerusalem – Luke 21
April 10 – Jesus’ Last Supper with his disciples – Luke 26
April 17 – Jesus’ death – Luke 27 – to be done on Good Friday
April 24 – Jesus’ resurrection – Luke 28 – to be done on Easter
I will be writing these devotions with a target audience of preK-2nd grade but you can tailor them to your children. They will last about 15-20 minutes and will include activities to drive home the message and experiential ways to immerse the children in the stories. My goal will be to get the devotion out by Monday of each week. This week’s lesson will be done this afternoon.
Hillary and I know that we are the primary spiritual influencers of our children but we have failed many times in figuring out how we do this. Just this past week, we tried to have an intentional family time discussion on the Lord’s Prayer and it definitely failed. Anna quickly became distracted and Norah was jumping all over the couch. I couldn’t keep their attention and was pretty discouraged.
God has a way of encouraging us and reminding us that we are on the right track even in the midst of discouragement. Last night our oldest daughter, Anna, and I were going through our nightly ritual of watching the news together. We were watching an interview with Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi and Anna turned to me and said, “Daddy that guy is lying! He says people like him but they don’t!” At that point, I realized Anna is picking up on so much more than we think. Through the Egypt protests and troubles in the Middle East, Anna and I have been talking about world events as we watch the news. This isn’t just an exercise in world events or geography. As I dialogue about the news, I am spiritually investing in Anna. I am showing her how a Christian worldview informs what we see happening in the world around us.
What if we saw everything we do with our kids as a spiritual exercise? It doesn’t have to be a specific “family time lesson” to be spiritual. It can be coaching our kids in soccer or helping our child with homework. Everything we do is spiritual. Too often we put on our “spiritual hat” when we go to church or pray at dinner. The real transformation happens when we see everything we do as a spiritual exercise and a chance to invest in our children spiritually.
Hillary and I are leading our daughters through a series of Faith@Home activities focused on the different phrases in the Lord’s Prayer. We say the prayer at dinner in an effort to train them to pray. This week we focused on the phrase “our Father” for our Faith@Home activity. We thought we would pass on what we did so you can try it with your children.
Warm Up – Who’s the Daddy Game
- We started by playing a guessing game with the girls
- We said the name of a person or cartoon character and they had to say who that person’s dad was. Norah, our four year old, didn’t quite get it but Anna, our almost six year old, guessed all of them but one. I stumped her by asking who Cinderella’s dad was.
- Now that we have talked about some dads and their children, we are going to talk about the Lord’s Prayer and the first part of it.
- What is the first part of the Lord’s Prayer? (Our Father)
- Who is our Father? (real dad and God) – at this point Anna came to the conclusion that God is our “second dad”
- How is God our Father? (He created us)
- Read Galatians 3:26 – “So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith”
- What are some things your dad does with you?
- How is God like your dad? (he wants to spend time with us – he loves us – this is assuming a healthy home environment)
- What are some ways you can spend time with God? (talk to him – read stories from the Bible – Anna said she wants to listen to her worship music in her room)
- Have your children draw what they think God looks like
- As you draw remember that God is your Father
- How does that change what you are drawing?
Hillary and I have been trying to teach our daughters to pray and it doesn’t seem to be working. Anna’s prayers at dinner are speedy and it is impossible to hear what she is saying. We know it is a valuable spiritual discipline for our children but for the longest time we didn’t know what else to do.
Sitting in church the other day, I had the idea of teaching our kids to say the Lord’s Prayer at dinner. Jesus’ disciples asked Jesus how they should pray and the Lord’s Prayer is Jesus’ answer. For this reason, I think it is important for our children to know the Lord’s Prayer and begin to understand what the phrases mean.
Last Friday night we gave each of our daughters these sheets of paper to color and put together with two staples on the left. The pictures give them an image of what the phrase below it means. At dinner we get out the booklets and read the Lord’s Prayer together. So far it seems to work for our girls. I thought I would pass it along to you all if you are trying to find ideas for how to teach your children to pray.
What seems to be working for you? What creative ideas do you have for teaching your children to pray?