Monday, October 17, 2011


Major Concept:              There is one true God.
This Week's Concept:    Choose God.

Background:    Children are great imitators.  It is an unforgettable moment when you first hear your child say something just like you do or repeat one of your behaviors.  We are their models.  Our influence is powerful - the challenge is to make sure it is the influence we truly desire to have!

Activity:  Collect 2-3 of your child's favorite things with him/her.  Discuss why each of them is important.  Then choose one item to eliminate.  Then choose another item to eliminate from "favorite things." Talk with your child about good things, better things, and the BEST!  Explain to your child that we must always choose God first - He tells us in the Bible that He is to be our only God. Let your child know why you have chosen God first. You will share and teach about how important God is in your life, but ultimately your child will have to make his/her own decision about choosing God.

Bible Verse:
           Exodus 20:1 - "I am the Lord your God."

Lunch Notes: Share with your child this week in his/her lunch notes about why you have chosen God.  These may include:
           I choose God.  He gives me what I need.
           I choose God.  He takes care of me when I am afraid.
           I choose God.  He is stronger than anyone.
           I choose God.  He teaches me how to love.

Prayer: Pray for your child this week that he/she will choose God throughout life.  Pray with your child that he/she can begin to understand why choosing God is so important.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

REMEMBER WHEN- God took care of you.

Major Concept:            Remember When
This Week's Concept:  God took care of you.

Background:  Young children live in the present.  Their concept of time is developing so yesterday, today, tomorrow, and a year from now are often interchanged.  Yet, they can remember events and experiences quite well.  In Joshua 4, God commands Joshua to take twelve men and twelve stones and pile them up as a memorial to all that God had done for the people.It is important for us to help our children establish "memorials" for all that God has done.  Remembering God's faithfulness in the past gives us strength to stand on His promises during the good days and especially the tough days.  Help your child begin to remember when God was faithful on a personal level by establishing memorials.

Activity:  Talk with your child about a time when he/she was frightened, scared, in danger, etc.  Ask, "What did you do to feel less afraid, unsafe, etc? "  Discuss praying to God, finding an adult to help, etc.   Guide your child to understand that God was faithful in that situation as He is in all situations where we are afraid or scared.  Work with your child to create a memorial for God's faithfulness in that situation.  This might include a letter to God, a picture to hang, a stone, etc.  Revisit the memorial throughout the week and take the opportunity to say, "Thank you, God, for taking care of ___________."

Bible Verse:
           Psalm 23:  4 - "I will not be afraid because you are close beside me."

Lunch Notes:  Notes this week should remind your child of God's faithfulness.  For example, "Remember when God took care of us during the storm.  God is faithful."  Using "Remember when" and "God is faithful" on each note also allows for repitition of words which is great for early literacy.

Prayer:  Help your child tell God, "Thank you for your faithfulness."  (You may need to assist your child in understanding how God took care of them in certain situations.)

Sunday, September 18, 2011

YOU HAVE POWER - You have the power to stand firm.

Major Concept:               YOU HAVE POWER.
This Week's Concept:     You have the power to stand firm.

Background:   In a time when young children see "power" displayed in many different ways and through many different sources (television, computer and video games, etc.), maybe it is time to remind them of where our real power/strength comes from and how we can know that power first hand.  I fear many young people are growing up with a false sense of security in things of this world that really won't matter in the next.  Children need to experience God's power and how to "tap" into that power to stand firm for Him!

Activity:    Gather several household items that can be placed upright in sand.  Allow your child to knock them over in the sand.  Discuss with him/her why this happened.  Ask him/her what you could put things in that could not be knocked over.  You may even take a walk outside to look at fence posts in cement or the foundation of a new home.   Discuss with him/her why these can't be knocked over near as easily.  Share with your child the story of the house built upon the sand and the house built upon the strong foundation.  Explain that Jesus is our foundation and in Him we have the power to stand firm.  Of course, as parents we have the awesome responsibility to guide our children in knowing Jesus so they have His promises to help them in standing firm.

Bible Verse
            I Corinthians 16:13:  Stay true to what you believe.  Be courageous.  Be strong!

Lunch Notes:  Lunch notes this week can encourage your child to stay true to what he/she believes, to be strong, and to have courage.  They can also include some of God's promises that encourage him/her to stand firm even in the tough times.

Prayer:  Pray with your child this week for strength to learn about and believe in God's promises and to stay true to what he/she believes when with friends, at school, on a ball team, etc.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE - You are responsible for your choices.

Major Concept:         You are responsible.
This Week's Concept:  You are responsible for your choices.

Background:  Last week we began a discussion about giving children the opportunity to make choices.  We must remember that "good" choices don't just happen.  It takes time and effort to guide children toward making good choices.  And it requires lots of practice on their part.  Guide them toward making good decisions and then allow them plenty of opportunities to practice using this new "skill."  Consequences are inevitable when making choices.  Natural consequences provide great opportunities for learning.  For example, if your child refuses to wear a jacket - let him/her experience the chill of a fall morning.  Sometimes related consequences must be applied.  For example, if you ask your child to put away his/her toys and your request is denied, you might pick them up and put them away until he/she is capable of putting them away.  Consistency is the key here.  With your encouragement and guidance, good decision making on your child's part will develop.  Hang in there!

Activity:  Continue to allow your child to make decisions.  Agree to some areas where he/she can have "control" to make those decisions.  Include opportunities to discuss what a good/safe choice is and what a bad/unsafe choice might be.  Then allow your child to make the choice.  If he/she makes an unsafe choice, talk with him/her about what other choice could have been made and why.

Bible Verse:
                Proverbs 4:5 - "Learn to be wise and make good choices."

Lunch Notes:  Revisit choices your child has made recently.  Lunch notes can encourage him/her in the decision making process.
                    For example, "Thank you for using kind words with your sister.  That is a good choice and pleasing to God."
                    It is also appropriate to recognize an unsafe choice and teach through it as well.  "You hit your sister when you were angry.  We use words when we are angry in our family."

Prayer:   Help your chld learn to ask God for wisdom to make good choices that are pleasing to him.  Help them learn to ask God's forgiveness when they don't make good choices (and provide reassurance that God's love never gives up or lets go no matter what we say/do.

Monday, September 5, 2011

LOVE OTHERS - Children, obey your parents.

Major Concept:            LOVE OTHERS.
This Week's Concept:  Children, obey your parents.

Background:  As parents of young children, one needs to consider the concept of mistaken behavior vs. misbehavior.  Your child is often trying to find the balance between what he/she does due to lack of experience and teaching and what he/she is supposed to do according to your expectations.  This is tough work and must include loving guidance. And, as parents, we have to be reminded that obedience is just easier for some children.  But know that all young children love their parents! NOTE:  Loving your child unconditionally and respecting him/her as God's Child first will encourage him/her to respect you and choose to obey you.  And, as Ephesians 6:4 says, "Don't make your children angry by the way you treat them. Rather, bring them up with instruction approved by the Lord."

Activity:  Recall with your child last week's conversations about loving God which includes getting to know Him and what He instructs us to do and then doing it.  Remind him/her that love is action! Let your child make many choices this week.  This can include choosing what to wear, what drink with his/her meal, what book to read at bedtime, etc.  Teaching your child to make choices and then giving him/her the opportunity to make those choices in the little things will assist him/her in making good choices later in the big things and when choice is not an option.  Of course, you have to honor those choices.  Yes, his/her attire may not match your desires, but... the lesson here is so much bigger than today's outfit!  Trusting your child to be a decision maker even as a young child builds a respectful relationship with him/her that surely contributes to him/her choosing obedience out of love!

Bible Verse:
           Ephesians 6:1 - "Children, obey your parents."

Lunch Notes:  Lunch notes this week can include times you noticed your child making a good choice or displaying obedience.  Be careful - be specific so your comments are meaningful.
                  1.  "Thank you for picking up your toys.  That helps keep us safe when we walk through your room."
                  2.  "Thank you for going to bed when you were asked.  That helps you get the rest you need so you can get up and be ready for a new day."
(If you say, " I like when.... you are passing your own judgement and preference - the goal is long term in helping your child make good choices and obeying you because it is simply the right thing to do.)

Prayer:  Thank God for your child openly and frequently.  Ask Him for wisdom to guide your child in His ways and thank Him for the successes and challenges.  Help your child thank God for his/her parents and to know how to show love for them through obedience.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

LOVE GOD - Get to know God so you can love Him most of all.

Major Concept:              Love God.
This Week's Concept:    Know God so you can love Him most of all.

Background:  Young children think(and act) in the here and now.  Teaching them to love someone they can't physically see can be challenging.  Teach them to love God by teaching them to know and interact with Him throughout the day in various ways.

Activity:  Have your child choose a couple of his/her favorite things to show you.  Talk about why they are favorites.  Then talk with your child about his/her favorite people.  Ask, "Do you like to have your favorite things with you?, Do you like to talk with/spend time with your favorite people?"  Then explain to him/her that the Bible tells us we are to love God most of all - more than our favorite toys, friends, etc. and we do that in different ways (reading the Bible, prayer, etc.)  Get out a children's Bible and look at it together.  Tell your child that this is one way to get to know God better - read what He says to us.  You may want to compare it to a letter, text message, e-mail, etc. from a friend, loved one.
Note to Parents:  Children are great observers.  They are constantly watching and listening.  Our actions will speak louder than our words - if we want our children to want to know God through His word, they need to see us in His word!

Bible Verse:
           Mark 12:30 - Love God with all your heart, mind, and strength.
           Psalm 119:  57 - I promise to obey your words.

Lunch Notes:  Notes this week can remind your child to love God with all of his/her heart, mind, and strength throughout the school day and beyond. 
                       Dear _____________, 
                       Day 1 - Love God more than anything.
                       Day 2 - Love God more than anyone.
                      Day 3 - Love God with all your heart.
                      Day 4 - Love God with all your mind.
                      Day 5 - Love God with all your strength.
After school take the time to talk with your child about how his/her love for God was shown through words, behaviors, attitude, etc. during the school day.  Look at verses together that tell us how to do each of these.

Prayer:  Spend time with your child in prayer this week telling God how much you love Him and teaching your child to do the same.  Pray for opportunities for your child to get to know Him better through Bible verses and Bible stories.

Book:  I Can Say to God, I Love You by Catherine Mackenzie and My ABC Bible Verses:  Hiding God's Word in Little Hearts by Susan Hunt

Sunday, August 21, 2011

I LOVE YOU - You are a gift from God.

Major Concept:             I LOVE YOU!
This Week's Concpet:   You are a gift from God.

Background:  Children are taught from a young age to say "thank you" for a gift. They are also taught to accept the gift graciously.  As a precious gift from above, make sure your child knows your unconditional love always!  It is a simple, "I love you - PERIOD!"  What an opportunity they are and what opportunities they bring.

Activity:  Place a mirror or picture of your child in a shoe box.  Wrap the box in paper.  Talk with your child about gifts and how we take care of them.  Let your child unwrap the box and peek inside.  Discuss with him/her what a precious gift he/she is.  Assure him/her that as your gift from God, you will love him/her always (no matter the circumstance). 

Bible Verse:
              Psalm 127: 3 - You are a gift from God.

Lunch Notes:  Remind your child everyday this week that he/she is loved in a lunch note by simply saying, "I love you."  If you choose creativity, you might even draw an eye, a heart, etc. on different days.  This message is simple but carries a huge meaning.  Remember, your child needs to know he/she is loved unconditionally.  When a note says, "I love your eyes,"  or "I love the way you get ready for school,"  your child may doubt your love when he/she does not look a certain way or act a certain way.  Be careful!

Prayer:  During your prayer time with your child this week, thank God for your precious gift.  Thank Him for the opportunity to care for His treasure.  Ask God for His guidance in loving your child always!

Book:   God Gave Us You by Lisa Bergren