Use TEXTING to Connect With Your Teen

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

Technology can be a fantastic way to connect with our kids.

How many of us have shouted orders to our kids via a text?  Things like…

  • “Don’t  FORGET your homework!!!”
  • “When you get home: let out the dog, have a snack, clean your room, because I can’t see the floor! Love you.
  • “Be home by 9!”
  • “BE QUIET and go to sleep!” (Sent from your bed while they are across the house in theirs.)

Me too.  Guilty.

I have made it a priority to connect with my daughters with at least one encouraging text a day.
When your kids get a text from you, what is their first thought?  Is their first response one of excitement?

Can you imagine if every time our kids receive a text from us, their first thought was, “I wonder what encouraging thing my dad is going to say now?”  What if they looked forward to receiving our texts?
Let’s send at least one encouraging, uplifting, inspiring, funny text every day.  There just isn’t a reason not to use this tool to connect with our kids.

As a reminder, put it in your calendar to repeat every day. (Yes. I do this. Don’t tell my daughter.)

Text them stuff like:

  • “You did great at…!”
  • “Hope you do fantastic on your exam. Praying for you!”
  • “Hang in there. The day is almost over.”
  • “Is this a good weekend to wash my car?”
  •  “I thought I would encourage you with a reminder that you have the best dad in the whole world!  Love ya.”  (With crazy selfie.)
  • “Can’t wait to hear about your day. Love you.”
  • “Excited to spend time with you this weekend.”
  • An inspirational scripture verse. “Whoever spares the rod hates their children, but the one who loves their children is careful to discipline them.” Proverbs 13.24 (Just kidding.)

I ran across a picture of my daughter on my computer and I had this idea.  I brought the picture up on the screen.  Then I wrote adjectives that describe her on post-it notes and put them around the picture and texted it to her.  It only took a few minutes and it meant a lot to her.

Our kids need our affirmation.  They don’t get a lot of praise for who they are outside our home, so let’s make sure they get it from those who love them the most.

For more insights, inspiration & training on how to safe guard your kids on these electronic devices, host our Parenting Techies workshop.  See below.

Thanks for your continued support as we partner with parents to have homes devoted.

Raising Our Grandkids (Even Though They Aren’t Here Yet).

Written by Jonathan on . Posted in Blog, Heart Connections With Your Kids, leaving a legacy, Why Bring Faith Home?

If you are a parent, have you ever look ahead 20-30 years and wondered what your family will be like? Do you ever wonder how many grandkids you will have?  What will they be like?  What college will they go to?  What type of spouse will they choose to marry?  Will they go to church? Will they have a personal faith in Christ?

With one daughter ready to go off to college, I’m thinking about this more and more.

Scripture reminds us to have a vision not only for us and not only for our children, but for our grandchildren.

 So that you, your children and their children after them may fear the Lord your God as long as you live by keeping all his decrees

and commands that I give you, and so that you may enjoy long life.    Deuteronomy 6:2

For three generations!  He wants us to think about the future; even the children who aren’t even here yet!  Here is Psalm 78:6-7:
“that the next generation might know [his commandments],
the children yet unborn,
and arise and tell them to their children,
so that they should set their hope in God
and not forget the works of God,
but keep his commandments;

We are not only raising our children.  The way we are parenting and raising our kids is most likely how they will raise our grandkids.  They will hopefully learn from our mistakes and make necessary adjustments, but one thing we can’t neglect is raising them to love and “fear” God, having a healthy and holy reverence for the King of Kings.

Remember, that we pass on our faith best when we bring God into everyday living; when you sit at home, walk down the road, lay down, and when you get up (Deut. 6:7).  Bring God into all aspects of life and they will be much more equipped to do the same as they raise our grandkids to know, love and fear a great God.

Here are a couple of resources we recommend pursuing if you want to establish a vision for your family for future faithful generations:  Revolutionary Parenting: Raising Spiritual Champions  (George Barna. Look for the workbook and DVD also.) & Family-iD: (Here is a video.)

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.)

Teenage Girl Ditches Her Smartphone

Written by Jonathan on . Posted in Blog, Faith Conversations, Heart Connections With Your Kids, Tech Stuff, Teen Boys, Teen Girls, Teen Guys, Texting

hand-top-white-oldSomeone passed this on to me and it’s worth passing on to all (us) parents who are struggling though the maze of the smart phone battle. I had breakfast with a dad last Saturday that took away his son’s smartphone after finding some inappropriate things aboard that small, but powerful rectangular electronic wonder.

His son’s reaction? He became almost violent. His dad had to pull him off his mother as he was squeezing her, shaking and crying. Dad was shocked and described his son like an “addict.” The good news is that after a few weeks, his son detoxed and was glad not to have his dealer of all information and connections.

I’ve read that teens would rather have their car taken away than their cell phone. This black box is a portal into the universe of many “friends.” To go without is to commit social suicide.

May this incident above and the link to this video and article be another tool in your arsenal to help you communicate with your kids the importance of being in the here and now and developing real friendships. (How addicted are your kids?)

Teen ditches cell phone for a flip phone: Video
Article she wrote in 17 Magazine. (Caution: other articles probably not appropriate.)

Hold them close mom and dad. They grow up fast. As they become teens, you will be defending other influences, but don’t give up the fight. “Impress these on your children.” (Deut. 6:5-8) Keep your relationship prominent and you will be their coach for life, when all others have faded into the dark abyss of empty and shallow relationships.

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Some questions:

  • How much time do you think is too much to spend on your phone “connecting” with others?
  • How much time to you spend with your “head down?” (i.e. on your phone?)
  • What do you spend most of your time doing on your phone?  Research? Posting photos? Reading friend updates?
  • How many friends do you think you connect with during the week?
Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm. Proverbs 13.20
  • What characteristics do you look for in friend?
    Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Ecclesiastes 4:9-10
  •  What characteristics do people see in you that makes you a good friend?
    A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity. Proverbs 17.17
  • What do you think would happen to your social life if you didn’t have a phone?
  • How many of your “friends” would you stay in touch with if your phone broke?
  • Would you consider going to a flip phone? Why or why not?
  • What might you be missing from spending time on the phone?

The Ultimate Goal

Written by Jonathan on . Posted in Blog, Encouragement, Family Devotions, Grandparents, Heart Connections With Your Kids

If the target of Satan is the family, then your heart is the bulls-eye.

I should stop writing to let that sink in.  Reread that.  I encourage you to stop, think, pray about what this means for you and your family.

Pursue the Ultimate Goal this summer.

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Galatians 6.9

The Ultimate goal of parenting/grandparenting is to connect our children’s hearts to HIS; to connect them with the heart of their heavenly Father.  David Platt said, “The Ultimate Goal is NOT for our kids to behave and be moral upright citizens….Our goal is not for our kids to make great friends, to develop a great self-esteem, to get into a great college, be a great leader, find a great spouse, have a great career with a great income, and then a great retirement.  The ultimate goal of parenting/grand parenting is for them to love a GREAT God.  So much so they will abandon everything this world has to offer in order to follow after Him: no matter what he says, no matter what it costs them and no matter what it costs you.”

Most parents have a vision for their children: get good grades, get into a great college, eagle scout, black belt, 4.0 gpa, etc.  Those are all good things, but the problem is our vision often doesn’t extend to eternity.  We get distracted by earthy things that keep us from being able to focus on God. We want to make sure we give our children every opportunity to succeed in school/sports/music, get into a great college, be socially well adjusted and yet, are not so much concerned about their souls.  (Read Psalm 78:1-8.)

WE HAVE TO ASK OURSELVES: Are we parenting for earthly rewards or for KINGDOM, heavenly, rewards?   God, our Father, wants our children to know Him personally, intimately.  Even more than we do.  He loves them even more than we do.

Wrap your family in His love, convey the heart of our Father to your children as you enjoy your summer.

The Ultimate Goal…

Jonathan

[This is an excerpt of our workshop, sharing the vision of the importance of faith at home. If you would like to schedule this or other workshops, you can email Jonathan at jc@homesdevoted.com.]

Questions:

  • Are we connecting their hearts with God’s?  In what ways?  When can we have family devotions?
  • How are we pursuing a Kingdom vision with our children?
  • What is our vision for your family? For our children?
  • How might we be conforming to the world vs. seeking God’s plan for our family? Are we just doing what everyone else is doing or do we have a vision from God for each of our children and we are parenting in light of that? (Romans 12.1)
  • If you are a grandparent: How can I be accomplishing the Ultimate Goal with my grandchildren?

 

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