Raising Selfless Kids In A Selfish World

Written by Jonathan on . Posted in Blog, Challenging, Encouragement, Ideas, leaving a legacy

 

By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”  John 13.35

One of the greatest ways to “love one another” is to give away your time.  Even with all the social media connections, people are relationship starved.

How can your family love others this week with your time?

It’s so easy to let self-indulgence, fun and entertainment (soccer, judo, movies, YouTube, TV, social media, parties) take up a majority of our time, especially, because many of these things are “good”, but if we continue to cater to the entertainment desires of our kids without any thought of blessing others, they will probably grow up to be adults that continue this “i” mentality.  Fast forward 10+ years.  If your grown kids served as much as they do now, how much time would they be devoting to “loving one another?”

In our effort to raise kids that seek out how to love one another regularly, let’s find ways to get the family together to serve others outside our own universe.

This summer we went on a family mission trip and our 5 year old was playing Charades with all the nice folks at a nursing home.  She was the highlight of their day.  Even at 5 years old, she knows she can use what she has to bring joy to others.

We don’t have to train our kids to be selfish.  But it will take time, training and persistence on our part to join our kids (living by example) in serving and loving others.  Each time we do, they become a little more Christ like and we as a family grow closer together.

What are ways we can serve together?  It doesn’t have to take a day or week or even an hour a day.  We can help our kids have a mindset of helping others and thereby showing our love for Christ, simply by:

  • putting the garbage out for a neighbor
  • bringing in the mail for an elderly person
  • writing a note to someone
  • visiting a nursing home for an hour
  • baking extra cookies for a neighbor
  • picking up sticks after a hurricane (Can you tell we live in Florida?)
  • And those random things that just can’t be planned: praying as you drive by an accident, putting a shopping cart back for an elderly person after they put their groceries in the car, holding the door open for someone, etc. etc.

We have a saying in our house: “Perceive the need!”  We want our kids to have a mindset within all our activities and fun, that there are needs out there (and in our own home) and we are called to serve Jesus by loving others.

John Maxwell said, “People are selfish.  Speak to their need first.”  When we meet a need, it’s a way Christ in us speaks to them.  That is powerful!

By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”  John 13.35

Make Browsing The Internet & YouTube Safer For Your Family With These Two Online Settings.

Written by Jonathan on . Posted in Blog, Challenging, Porn, Tech Stuff, Web Stuff

Whether you saw the Connect documentary or not these are two practical settings to help safeguard your family online today and best of all, they are free. With 79% of our children being exposed to explicit material at HOME, the dark side is seeping through our computers, cell phones and tablets.  This means that our kids are just stumbling on it.

The Force has a light side and these settings will help fight the dark side on every phone, tablet or computer.   Want more suggestions/tips, etc.?  Click here for info on our Parenting Techies workshop and read many reviews from parents as well as our promo video, fliers, description, etc.

1. Google’s Safe Search. Make sure your browser’s search engine is set to Google (instead of Bing or Yahoo, for example)  On each device, type in https://www.google.com/preferences.  At the top is SafeSearch Filters.  Set it to “Filter explicit results”.  When you are on a pc, you will see the option on the right to lock this setting.  Click it and follow instructions to keep it locked on that browser. You will need to do this on each pc.

When you are on a portable device, remember to click “save.”  On portable devices, there isn’t a way to lock this setting.  Which means this will work for the little ones, but if your teen chooses to look into the ways of the dark side, they will probably figure it out.  This is why many people use the highly recommended software, Mobicip to assist in keeping the bad stuff away.  (Trust me.  It works.  Just ask my kids.)   🙂

2. Youtube: Restricted Mode.

In an effort to appease the light side, Youtube has a Restricted Mode.  On a computer, as with Google, you can lock this in your browser.  At Youtube’s home page, look for your icon on the very top right.  (You have to be logged in. If you aren’t signed in, you will see SIGN IN.)  At the bottom of the drop down, you will see Restricted Mode.  Follow the steps to lock it.   Once it’s locked, it will ask you for your Google password to turn it off.  (Note: This will filter out most pornography, but Mobicip will be MUCH more thorough.)

On portable devices, the app has the same setting.  It’s easy to turn on, but also easy to turn off and doesn’t include a way to password protect it.  Open the Youtube app, click on the upper right hand icon and go to Settings>General>Restricted Mode.   Again, great for the little kids, but easy enough for teens to step over to the dark side.  How can the light side win?  With the Force on your side, you could block the Youtube app altogether and only allow access to Youtube through your filtering browser, like Mobicip. (Another insight we share in our workshop is that NO filtering app can infiltrate the dark side of the Youtube app.  Confused?  Have I mentioned that we do a workshop?) 

Questions? Comments?  Post below so I can help.

Many churches and schools have benefited from our Parenting Techies workshop.  Pass this on to your church/school leaders, so they can host our workshop to equip other parents, too!

One of the best things you can do to help other families is to forward this on.  You can also “like” our Facebook page and subscribe to our weekly texts.

Helping you have a Homes Devoted,

Jonathan

What Our 5 Year Old Gains From Being In Church With Us

Written by Jonathan on . Posted in Blog, Challenging, Encouragement, Why Kids In Worship

I read this from a young woman as she reflected on her childhood:

“Our family went to church together every Sunday.  I wasn’t really sure why, but I didn’t mind.  I got to dress up in cute dresses and sit with my dad.  He was so busy during the week, and church was one time I got to hang out with him for hours.  I didn’t care if it was in a pew listening to some guy talking about God.  I just drew pictures and showed them to my dad.”

Our 5 year old, Bethany, loves sitting on my lap during church.  She sings, draws and colors.  Sometimes she is restless, but I know she is listening.  One Sunday, after getting our new senior pastor, I was talking too long during our “greet one another” time and she said, “Daddy, stop talking!  The new guy is speaking.”

So sweet.  So innocent.

I love having Bethany in there with us.  I know she is young, but she is gaining an experience every Sunday that so many children are missing.  She gets to snuggle with me and other close friends and adopted grandmas that sit with us.  She is hearing other people pray.  She is seeing her mom and dad, other kids, teenagers, adults and grandparents sing and praise God.  She is hearing the pastor’s stories and maybe even getting more of the message than we think. She sees communion, baptisms, testimonies.  Maybe one day she will help pass the offering plate, handout bulletins, sing in the band, lead a prayer.

She also experiences a community that loves Jesus, young and old!  I frankly, want her to grow up and feel out of place when she attends a church with only kids her age!  Why?  Because there is complete community when multi-generations are present.

Trust me, I know it’s not always easy having our young children in worship.  Have any of your kids smacked the bottoms of ladies as they walked down the aisle to partake in communion?  I don’t think so!   (One of our boys was the guilty perpetrator.  I wonder where he learned that from? )

What they gain from the Body of Christ worshiping together is so much more than just whether or not they get anything from the sermon.   They miss being a part of the full body.

Typically, the kind of worship experience our kids grow up with will be the kind they look for when they are older.   What kind of worship experience will your children desire to belong to as they grow into adulthood?  Most of the time, it will look a lot like it does now.   So the next question is: what are the experiencing on Sunday mornings now?

Helping you have Homes Devoted,
Jonathan

In Between Sundays Matters Most

Written by Jonathan on . Posted in Blog, Challenging, Heart Connections With Your Kids, Ideas, leaving a legacy, Praying Together

Ever have someone tell you they were going to start working out?  They’re all hyped up. They say they are committed with a plan to achieve their goal. They bought the equipment and the new shoes and say they will meet you at your workout spot.  They come once and then you don’t see them until the next week. After a month, they average an hour a week.

Can you imagine if a teenager told their coach they only had one hour a week to come to practice? What would the coach tell them?  The coach would tell them to come back when they were serious about the game.

If someone says they are in love but can only squeeze that person into their schedule an hour a week, you don’t have to be Dr. Phil to determine it’s not “true love.”

One hour a week is just not enough commitment to certain things.

Especially when it comes to our faith journey.

The reality is that most kids in churches today only spend an hour a week in discipleship at church.  Less than 10% of church-going families pray or read the Bible at home outside of mealtime prayer.

Is this communicating to our children that God is number one in our lives? That we are fully committed to Him as our glorious King? Are we really taking our relationship with God seriously?

With over half of our kids walking away from their home churches as they grow into adults, the answer is clear: they aren’t experiencing a faith that is life-altering.

There is a huge disconnect between what they experience on Sunday mornings and what our children see the rest of the week in our homes.

When we send our kids to Sunday school and they hear all these great stories about how people from the Bible trusted in God and how God came through for them revealing His power and they go home and don’t experience the living Word read and practiced at home, they don’t see how God is making a difference through answered prayers.  It’s no wonder they grow up and grow out of faith.

If the only exposure to faith happens sitting in a pew, our kids are not going to take our faith seriously. They may view your faith as something that is real to you, but they don’t see it as something real, true and worth living for in their own lives.

Many of us spend time in personal prayer and devotion before they wake up, but if we want to really connect their hearts to God’s, we have to involve them, lead them, teach them, explain to them the things of God, etc.

It’s the time, living out our faith, in between Sundays that matters most.

What can we do in between Sundays?
1. Connect our kid’s hearts to God’s.  Pray together and keep a record of God’s answered prayers.  Pray in the car if you have to!  Depending on your kids’ ages, find an appropriate story Bible if they are young.  If they are older, you can read the Bible and discuss it by asking questions.  You could even develop the routine of reading the Bible at dinner while their mouths are full! Help them realize His great love for us. Pray with them/read a devotion with them while they are snuggled down in bed.  They become a captive audience in the car and when they are in bed.  {Resources: The Bible app by You Version has “plans” that you can read.  If your church subscribes to RightNow Media, use it!}

2. Serve.  Put your faith into action.  How does your faith affect your family’s life?  Joshua said, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” How can you serve and give?  How do you sacrifice for God?  Sacrifice is the assessment of genuine faith.  Kids actually want to serve.  They want their faith to make an impact.  They ultimately think, “If this isn’t going to impact me or the people around me, why bother, why waste my time?”  (This doesn’t mean they will always be eager to serve.)  Kids that grow up putting their faith into action, grow up seeing how God works through them.  Not to mention, this develops them into men and women who will be accustomed to and enthusiastic for serving God as adults.  They will grow into more of what they are experiencing as kids and teens.  Are they experiencing how to love, serve, give of themselves or are they constantly being inundated with pleasurables this world offers (video games, movies, sports, fun, etc.)

Discussing Internet Use/Social Media With The Kids

Written by Jonathan on . Posted in Blog, Challenging, Heart Connections With Your Kids, Tech Stuff, Texting

Talking with our kids about the dangers of the internet and social media use can be tough, but needs to happen.

Discussing the Internet and Social Media

(excerpt taken from our Parenting Techies workshop)

What are the chances that our children will grow up to become adults without seeing an explicit image?  It’s just a matter of time.  If you don’t talk with them openly and regularly and prepare them, they won’t be equipped to handle it correctly.  IT WILL HAPPEN!  Most probably on accident, but if you think you can wait until they are 15, you’ve waited too long.

The most important thing is their heart.  If you don’t have their heart, you have little influence.
Love.
Relationship.
Connecting.
Being engaged.
Spending time with them.

What’s the best way to show them your love and care?  Be engaged.  Give them your time.  Nothing speaks louder to them than when you spend time with them.  In the role of parenting, you cannot underestimate the power of quantity time.  Quality is essential, but quantity cannot be neglected.  If your kids are spending more time with friends who may not share your convictions and values about life and God, you may not have the impact you think you have.  Quality time without quantity of time leads to kids whose hearts are still far from us.

WARNING: When they share something that makes you want to erupt or flip out; you must remain calm.  Don’t raise your voice, over react or start hyperventilating.  You obviously know what this will do to any future conversations.  Yup.

Remain calm.  Talk.  Ask questions.  Get to know them: what they are thinking; what they’ve done; what their friends think.  You get the picture.  Pretend like you are talking with your boss or close parent.  Show respect. Listen.  Ask more questions.

Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.”  James 1:19

The Bible is full of wisdom.  Do this and you will find that you will have some great conversations with your kids.  They will trust you.  They are smart.  If you ask the right questions, you can lead them to the right answers.  Another result is that you will know them.  In fact, you will know them better than anyone else.  Just a reminder, our kids don’t have many people, if any, that they can open up with and be completely transparent.  And…If you think they are open with friends, do you really want another 14 year old giving them advice on faith and life?

Guide them to God’s Word for advice.  Show them what God’s Word says.  BUT…

Know when to tell them what to do.  Know when to let them choose.  Know when to let them fail.  (Let them fail a little at home while you are still close by to help. (Pssss… That time is coming.)

Tips for talking about internet use with younger kids:

  • Ask them why they like the video games they play. Play their games with them, so you know what games they are playing (and you should be approving every game and app first).
  • Talk about balance. What are the pros and cons about playing video games vs. playing outside?  (Don’t forget to set time limits with them.)
  • Tell them what pornography is: pictures of people without clothes on OR people with only their birthday suit on.
  • Why do you think God wants you to wait until your married to see another boy or girl in their birthday suit? (He wants it to be special; something for you to experience with the person you will marry. He wants you to save your eyes too.)
  • If a person without clothes on flashes on the screen, I’d like you to turn your eyes and I want you to tell me. Will you do that?
  • What could you say to a friend that shows you a picture like that?

Ask questions: (We can learn so much from our children if we just ask questions):

  • What age is a good age to join social networks? Why do you think most of them set the age to 13?
  • What kinds of things should not be shared online?
  • Do you realize many people can read what you write, but may not know the context (if you are being sarcastic, etc.)
  • Have you seen any of your friends post something that made them look foolish?

For teens: You will want to stay engaged:

  • Ask them what apps are popular right now and why are their friends using them?
  • Show them online articles or newspaper clippings (if you still use one of those things) that reveal the terrible things that can happen. Not to scare them, but to show them the reality.  Expose them a little to reality and let it teach them.  It also gives you another voice, another advocate for your case.
  • When you see something online, ask them what they think about it. It could be a risqué picture or a comment about something or someone.  Ask: What does this say about that person?  Do you think they value who they are?   What is really important: inside beauty or outside?  Do you struggle with this?

Don’t shy away from tough questions.

It’s part of being a guardian!

For a pdf of this, click here: Discussion questions for kids and social media.

 

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694 Hammock Rd.
Melbourne, FL 32904

321.223.1163 jc@homesdevoted.com