By Lynn Cowell
Many of us are experiencing it, but in so many different ways.
Some are preparing their lessons to homeschool. Others are shopping for the supplies on the public school list. The private school is hosting their ice cream social. And a few of you like me are dorm shopping and moving your kids to their school.
No matter what back-to-school looks like, we can all do one thing to help our kids prepare for their school days.
Teach them to start their day right.
When I stopped homeschooling my kids (my son was a middle schooler and my daughters in elementary), my heart started to ache because I no longer had the free time to teach them Jesus’ truths like I once did. For a least a year I simmered, thinking that was just the way it was.
Then I got the idea for what I called “Breakfast and the Bible”. I had my kids all come to breakfast at the same time, even though they left for school at different times. It only lasted 10 minutes, but these moments together allowed us to connect with each other and with Jesus before the rush of the day. When they were really small, I read them devotions. When my girls were in middle and high school, I wrote “Devotions for a Revolutionary Year” for us to use.
This school year, my kids will begin their day at three different colleges, but I am still encouraging them to start their day in God’s word using Proverbs 31 Ministries First5 app. This new app is actually an alarm clock on their phones. All they need to do is set their alarms each day in the app. Then, when their phone goes off in the morning, there is God’s word. First thing. They can simply lay in bed for a couple of minutes and start their day with Jesus in His Word.
Although I have taught my kids the power of opening God’s word for themselves each and every day, we all know this is a hard disciple to create. With the First 5 app, it couldn’t be any easier.
Even better, we can talk about the content together because we can each be reading the same thing each day.
Give it a try – Breakfast & the Bible. Gather your tribe a few minutes earlier than last school year or share the app together. It’s a beautiful way to grow closer to God and closer to each other!
By: Shari A. Miller
I treasure my family history. I love learning about things from the past, what my grandparents and great-grandparents were like and how they lived so long ago. The legacies our families leave us are everything. They make up who we are, who we will become and what we can overcome.
The picture above was taken during the dust bowl days in the little farming town of Cimarron, Kansas. The tallest girls pictured were my aunts. The little one in front, with the golden curls, holding the purse, was my mother. She was smiling and my aunt to the far left was frowning because it was her purse.
My grandparents had their hands full with three boys and four girls during the 1930’s. My mother still brags to this day how wonderful a cook my grandmother was, and how she could do just about anything. My grandparents were very intentional in how they raised their children.
They taught them how to love Jesus, to be kind to one another, and to work hard. Life on a wheat farm was not easy back then, but they all pitched in together to make it work. They were taught the value of a dollar, and that the most important things in life were free, their love for God and family.
In 1952, my mom married my father, he also grew up on a wheat farm and learned the value of hard work as well. Together they raised three children to know the Lord and live for Him.
Now, it’s our turn.
Together with my husband, it’s our turn to take the legacies that have been handed down from each generation and create new legacies for our two children. In order for the legacies to be established well, it takes hard work, just like with anything in life.
Teaching our children to love the Lord and accept Him as their Savior, to have good values, to be kind to others and to work hard doesn’t just happen. It takes hard work and intentional planning on both our parts to plant the seeds that will grow and prosper in our children’s lives.
The following list is how my husband and I approach being intentional parents with our children
- We come together as a couple in prayer and reading God’s Word to learn how He wants us to teach our children.
- We try to model the same behavior to our children that we want them to model. By no means are we perfect at this, we are both sinners saved by God’s grace. However during the times we do fail, we use those moments to teach our children. We use them as examples for what not to do next time, and look at how things could be done better in the future.
- We go to church and have family devotions together. There’s nothing more important than having a family who is centered on the Lord, who learn that no matter what they can go to Him in good times and bad alike.
- We teach our children how important it is to work hard, and to do whatever they do to the best of their abilities.
- We have fun together. We want to teach our children to laugh and enjoy life and to treasure the good times that comes their way.
- We are very involved in our children’s lives. We want to take advantage of every moment we can possibly have with them, and use those moments for training and teaching them.
“Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6
When we work at accomplishing these things, our own legacies are formed that our children can take from and add to when they grow and have children of their own.
What type of type of legacies were left for you, that you want to pass down to your children? What are some ways that you intentionally parent your children?
It happened so quickly. I plucked one dead flower off the branch. And then another. And another. This felt good, I knew I was helping to prune the plant and by taking away all the dead yuck, I was making it a much better flower. I was helping this flower live a much better life.
I pulled off a live flower.
And it was a really pretty one
In my haste to take all the yuck away, I too quickly ripped out a sweet part. A part that could really bring joy to someone.
And while I cleaned the fallen petals, ripped yuck, and this one beautiful example of life off the bench, I remembered my tone the afternoon before when I was criticizing my husband. In front of the kids. As I was telling him how I thought he should step up and talk to the lifeguard about my son’s lessons, I was trying to help him to become a “better dad.” And while I thought I was getting away the yuck, I think I pulled a little life from him. What does it look like if I am “fixing” him all the time? What message does that send my daughter? What message does it to send to my sons?
In a message I heard my pastor teach, “Your words can make someone revile the gospel.” More specifically, my words and actions can make someone hate the gospel. By ripping apart my husband like I ripped off those dead parts of the flower, I inadvertently ripped a living part of him, in doing so I was not showing an example of grace and love to my children that should be found in a marriage.
Now, I am not saying that spouses should not ever argue in front of their children. Quite the opposite, personally I think it is healthy to have some disagreements in front of the kids as long as your children see a resolution and that during the disagreement, there was an element of respect displayed by both parents.
And when I thought of what I did to him, I remembered different times I tried to “fix” my kids by making them into a little adults that acted more like me. For my daughter specifically, how many times have I been frustrated because she acted differently in a situation than I would and I tell her how to fix it. Could it be that with every “fixing ” session, I might accidentally pull a piece of her uniqueness that God created in her?
May I choose my words carefully and prayerfully. May I join my daughter in being pruned by the Holy Spirit and not by calloused words.
Now, your turn, was there ever a time when you were pruned in a hasty manner or was there a time when someone challenged you so gracefully, it actually brought you more life?