Category: family/parenting

Parenting Completely: Where the Little Stuff Becomes Big

We can’t help it. We want to do something important, something other people think is important, something validated by general nods from society. Something for the Lord.

In reality, however, most of us won’t be called to take the gospel to a tribe of cannibals, or become a renowned teacher. And the thing is, that’s just where God would have us, because His grace is most needed where people are thirsty and need their dirty feet washed.

And it’s in those humble, daily acts of service where we become like Him. It’s the only kind of ministry, in fact, He commanded.

Can we wake up joyful because we are right where He wants us? Can we rejoice for mundane work that, when done humbly, for the glory of God, becomes elevated to honor?

Can we remember that it’s in the daily grind where the Kingdom of God is and grows?

It’s not the big moments that move our children to love Him, to love life, to grow in grace. And we can’t parent completely in “quality time.”

Just like a garden grows…ever so slowly, where the gardener is faithful and consistent.

 

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Raising Entrepreneurs: Kids Starting Businesses

There are several reasons we encourage an entrepreneurial mindset in our family. Briefly, because there is freedom and variety in it, and unlimited opportunity, allowing a person to do what he or she is good at and loves. And, entrepreneurs turn the machine–they are leaders.

And it even goes beyond that: even if our children end up in a life work that is more mainstream, the entrepreneurial spirit is a valuable one of innovation, creativity, and resourcefulness. It grooms us to see that the world is full of ideas, and to solve problems and live optimistically.

I can’t remember if I’ve ever told this story here, but my son Brooks has a passion for machines. He loves to look at them, talk about them and ride them. He loves to watch his Poppy repair them, soaking it in like a sponge. He has wanted to operate a machine business since he was old enough to articulate it.

When he was 6, he began quizzing me about how a business operates.

“If I have a machine business, I want people to call me to work for them. But how will they know to call me?”

“Well, you have to advertise and list your phone number so they can find it.”

(Long pause) “How do I get a phone number?”

“You call the phone company and they’ll give you one.”

“How do I find the number to the phone company?”

And on it went like this for about an hour of pure, fascinating interest in running his own business. He got a crash-course in business that day that continues to propel his dream.

When we got home, I ordered him some business cards. By then, we had talked all about a business name, branding, marketing and saving up for his first investment–a skid steer, his favorite machine. I encouraged him to share his business cards and tell people about his dream business. Part of that, I told him, was to hone his relational/communication skills–something very important to a business owner.

 

Brooks has a jar of money he has been steadily saving for his first machine. He does odd jobs for us and for his grandparents to earn money. With an early vision of his goals and a growing understanding of economy, he should be well-equipped at a young age to launch into adulthood.

And even if his goals change, maybe he has a good start in the foundations of business.

If you’re interested in raising entrepreneurs, you may enjoy Raising Entrepreneurs, Raising Leaders.

Also, I’d love to hear your stories about how you’re encouraging business/entrepreneurial skills.

 

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Are We Raising Teens Who are Barely Christian?

According to the National Study of Youth and Religion, only 8% of American youth are considered “highly devoted” Christians, possessing a faith that makes a significant difference in their lives.

Kenda Dean, author of Almost Christian observes:

“Even if teenagers immerse themselves in youth ministry programs, are involved in churches, and manage to dodge overwhelming counter influences, they are unlikely to take hold of a ‘god’ who is too limp to take hold of them. Perhaps young people lack robust Christian identities because churches offer such a stripped-down version of Christianity that it no longer poses a viable alternative to imposter spiritualities like Moralistic Therapeutic Deism.

The elephant in the room in the discussion about the National Study of Youth and Religion is the muddled ecclesiology of American churches, a confusion present, not only in young people but in congregations themselves.  We have forgotten that we are not here for ourselves, which has allowed self-focused spiritualities to put down roots in our soil. (Emphasis mine.)

It would be unlikely for teenagers to develop any religions framework besides superficial Christianity if churches have supplanted the gospel with a religious outlook that functions primarily as a social lubricant, with a ‘god’ who supports teenagers’ decisions, makes them feel good about themselves, meets their needs when called upon but otherwise stays out of the way.  If this is the god we offer young people, there may be little in Christianity to which they object, but there is even less to which they will be devoted.

By contrast, the God portrayed in both the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures asks, not just for commitment, but for our very lives. The God of the Bible traffics in life and death, not niceness, and calls for sacrificial love, not benign whatever-ism. If the God of Jesus Christ is a missionary God who crosses every boundary–life and death and space and time–to win us, then following Jesus is bound to be anything but convenient.

We reap what we sow. We have received from teenagers exactly what we have asked them for: assent, not conviction; compliance, not faith. Young people invest in religion precisely what they think it is worth–and if they think the church is worthy of benign whatever-ism and no more, then the indictment falls not on them, but on us.”

In short, are we teaching real Christianity to our children? Are we living a life that has been transformed, in every part, by a faith in Christ? And are we espousing the same doctrine as the first century Christians, one that cost many their own lives? While most of us will never be required to give a fraction of that for Christ’s sake, are we willing to give up other things if discipleship deems it? Things that might cost us popularity, comforts, friendships?

Are we teaching a Christ worthy of losing all?

I would love your thoughts.

Raising Children to Love Him: Don’t Miss This One Thing! (Live Interview-I’m Talkin’, Y’all)

 

Recently, Christian Heritage Online invited me to speak in a live webinar on the topic of Raising Visionary Kids. If you missed that, you can listen to the podcast HERE.

The interview addressed an important topic for all parents, but particularly the homeschool community, especially now as some of the foundations are being shaken with recent scandals among popular leadership. So I hope you find some time to listen in and I would love to talk more about this subject of  raising children who love the Lord, in the comment section.

We have to be wise and discerning as parents, carefully dividing the word of truth as we disciple our children. We talked about some good stuff in the broadcast that I hope will encourage you as you seek to do that.

By the way, the interview includes a rare “Green Room” discussion at the end and the producer, Daniel Craig, brought up a most important point addressing the responsibility of this generation in light of some of the conversation in the interview. I strongly encourage you to catch that.

Live webinar: Teaching the Reason Behind the Rules

Why DIRT is The Most Important Ingredient to Raising Children

Raising children deliberately takes, well, deliberateness. (That must be a word because I didn’t get a red line.)

I can wring my hands over how to educate, how to prepare them for their life work, how to make sure they get socialized properly or participate in the right activities, but all of that is the extra stuff.

The only thing I’m commanded to do is to raise them to love the Savior. Do I make it a priority?

So I came up with an acronym that helps me remember the pillars of raising children to be followers of Christ.

DIRT. Ironically, dirt is where stuff grows, where we plant seeds and where life springs forth. But the thing with dirt and growing things is, I have to get my hands dirty, and I have to be at the work consistently.
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DIRT is Deuteronomy 6 with flesh.

Disciple the soul.
This is relationship. Relationships are only built through time. “…when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, when you rise up.”

Instruct the heart.
This is communication. A constant speaking of the things we ought to do. “You shall talk of them…”

Renew the mind.
This is transformation through the power of God’s Word. This is reading Scripture, memorizing Scripture, posting Scripture, singing Scripture. “You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and gates.”

Train the will.
This is forming habits. Habits will be formed by the constant practice of the three things above. The will is trained by the daily practice and reminding of what is right and good.
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This is our job. It is full-time, constant, tedious, and marvelous. This is The Great Commission, making disciples of our children, equipping them to make disciples of others when they are fully trained.
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Discipleship is DIRT. It’s messy and it’s marvelous.

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