Thursday, September 10, 2009

Teaching Children Selflessness

My kids like to fight... a lot. And it is always over some toy that everyone wants to play with RIGHT NOW or they just might keel over. And they like to whine, quite a bit for the same reason. Part of this is just age-appropriate behavior, even though it is seldom appropriate. Whining and fighting is to be expected, and it is the perfect opportunity to teach children selflessness.

LIMIT TOYS: I find that the more toys my children get, the more their appetite for more "stuff". It is a great idea to put limits on the number of things a child receives every month. You have to figure out what works for you, but I think no more than one small thing each month is enough. Larger toys can wait for birthdays and Christmas.

LIMIT SNACKS: For the same reason as above. Not only is it good for their health to limit junk food, but it helps to lessen the "gimmies".

DONATE: Set a limit on the number of toys your child has at any one time. If new things come into the home, let your child choose an older toy to donate to needy children. And bring your son or daughter along with you so that they can be the ones doing the donating. They will be excited to help others.

ROTATE: Too many toys out at once are overwhelming and encourage a child to expect that such abundance is their "right". We keep some toys in our cellar and rotate them every couple of months. The kids like it better with fewer toys out anyway, and it is cleaner.

EXPECT SHARING: This is a hard and fast rule... not an option.

NO TOLERANCE FOR THE GIMMIES: The bible says to "Be happy with what you have." Hebrew 13:5. My kids have memorized this verse. They are far from perfect at carrying it out but at least they can be reminded of God's loving standard.

Kids will be kids... look at selfishness as an opportunity to teach selflessness, and greed as an opportunity to teach generosity. The Lord allows us to teach them young! Be firm and loving, and let God do the rest.


Monday, September 7, 2009

Halloween Idea

A great idea from a friend of mine.... we couldn't decide what to do about halloween. As Christians we on one hand didn't want to take part, but on the other hand want to enjoy the holiday and be a light in the community. So what alternatives to the traditional are there? Here's one.

My boys LOVE superheroes. For the months of September and October we will teach them about the superheroes of the bible like Sampson, David, Gideon etc, and why they are so super. Then they can dress up as one of them for the halloween holiday. Whenever someone asks who they are, they will have a shining answer ready. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. 1 Peter 3:15

We will probably trick or treat only to people we know for safety's sake. We may buy bible stickers to put on the candy we give out to the kids who come by. Now, for a holiday I was confused about, I am looking forward to with joy.

See also A Godly Twist on Halloween...

Do you have any alternatives or views on Halloween? I'd love to hear them,


Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Teaching a Child to Fear the Lord

How do you teach a child the fear of the Lord without making him scared of God? What exactly is the fear of the Lord? The bible says that

"The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline. Proverbs 1:7 NIV


"The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. Proverbs 9:10 NIV

So the fear of the Lord is intertwined with wisdom, knowledge and discipline. How do you teach a child to be wise and to fear the Lord?

1) Discipline him - "All children are foolish, but firm correction will make them change." Proverbs 22:15 (CEV) The bible is pretty clear here. The opposite of wisdom is foolishness. The way to lead a child to wisdom is to steer his heart by way of loving discipline. Discipline him according to the wisdom and guidance found in the Word of God.

2) Teach him about God - Proverbs 9:10 states that "knowledge of the Holy One is understanding". Everything you know about God, teach it to your child. How can a person fear the One he knows little or nothing about? It is God's greatness that commands our awe of Him, and demands our loyalty and affection. So teach... everything from the wonders of creation to the awesome character of our loving Father.

Two simple steps that are not so easy to carry out. But there is a reward for those who persevere. I love Proverbs 23:15, which states, "My son, if your heart is wise, then my heart will be glad" and Isaiah 40:11, "He gently leads those that have young."

With prayers,

A Godly Twist on Halloween...
Powered by WebRing.