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.