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

Keep the Family Focused During Advent

Written by Jonathan on . Posted in Blog, Christmas, Ideas

Advent is that time of year when we focus on the birth of Christ and what it means that our Savior has come into the world! What good news!

As we enter the time of Advent, it’s a wonderful time to bring the family together, kids, teens and all for times of focusing on the coming of our Savior.

We are blessed with the ability to make a few clicks and order a ready made resource. The hardest part will be carving out the time, but how precious the time will be and the memories you will make as you lead your family to grow in the love and meaning of Christmas.

One idea is to turn off all the lights and use candles like they did for hundreds of years. Set the scene for them and make it a little different. This will create special and memorable moments.

Here are just a couple of links for resources. Don’t forget to check with your church​ as they may offer​ some, too.

  • Here is a post with descriptions of 10 resources.
  • We read this one last year: Jotham’s Journey and we all really enjoyed it.  This year, we are going to read Bartholomew’s Passage.  These are part of a series by Arnold Ytreeide.  There is also another Tabitha’s Travels: A Family Story for Advent
  • Here is a search on Amazon with lots of resources, many of which are included in the post above. (Another way to support HD is signing up with Amazon.)

If you have a resource you recommend, please pass it on, so we can encourage each other.  We love hearing what other parents are using.

Helping You Have Homes Devoted!
Jonathan & Carrie

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.

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.)

Celebrate Your Family: The easiest way to get pictures printed.

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

2016-04-07 13.00.20If you are like most of us, we take all those pictures in a snap with our smart phone and then we never see them again.  They are lost within our digital devices.   When do we ever look at them?  I found an extremely easy way of getting those photos printed, so we can enjoy seeing them around the house.

I have filled two collages and randomly taped pictures up around the house.  It’s a joy to see our kids share family memories with guests.  It reminds our children (and us 🙂 ) that we enjoy each other and that we want to remember the great family times we’ve had in the past, knowing we are making more memories as we continue to do life together.  Another benefit is that it continues to connect them with extended family that we only see once or twice a year.  Celebrate your family by printing those digital memories (and don’t forget to update them a few times a year.)

You have probably sent pictures from your computer to get printed somewhere in the past, but with the Wal-Mart app, it is so convenient to upload them through your phone and pick them up the next time you go.  I’ve actually been in the store, uploaded my photos and picked them up on my way out.  Walgreens has a similar app.  Whatever method works for you, celebrate your family by getting those digitally captured memories in print.

 

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694 Hammock Rd.
Melbourne, FL 32904

321.223.1163 jc@homesdevoted.com