Bry and I went to a weekend, well just a Saturday, retreat or parenting summit held by a local Church. It was really cool how God lead us there, and definitely what we had been praying for as far as guidance on how to have a Christ centered approach to parenting, even at a toddler age. It gave us resources to have what they call a "family night" or "devotional night" and how you make it different from anything we have known. ( fun and something the kids looked forward to and not dreaded) They gave us resources for teaching and discipline and practical ways you pour scripture into the minds of our children. Which having a two year old can be challenging at times. We were given wisdom on what we are a parenting team should look like and act. We learned about how to teach our kids the "new normal" that they would have in their home as Christ followers. It's just amazing that we were given this training now with such a young family. There were others there who had highschoolers and junior high kids, not that it cant be done but it will be more of a challenge for them than those of us who are starting with very young kids!
" 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them to your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the door frames of your houses and on your gates.' "
I am going to break down this scripture as well throughout these posts and talk about it's significance because we truly believe that this is the scripture that God would desire for all of us to live by. The world is constantly getting filled with more and more degradation. The generations are not going to be changed by the church alone.. WE are the church! Lives will be changed and the foundations of many lives rocked in the living rooms of your homes. It's starts there for those of us who are parents.
Resources: Music with a message "write these commands on your hearts. Get them inside you and your children" THE MESSAGE
Daytime Fun and Bedtime Books "when you lie down and when you get up" NIV
Once a week we pick a lesson to teach Kehnley, it's different from family night. This is a fun project that I will do during the day because I am home with her and she loves it. There are a lot of resources out there for you to find lessons if you don't have the desire or creative juices to think up your own...
Example: We started with the things God made, Genesis, she LOVES rainbows so we talked about the story of Noah and the Ark and the rainbow promise that God gave us in the sky. I drew her a rainbow, she colored it and we found objects like yarn and stickers and confetti and separated it by colors and glued it in each band. I told her the rainbow was a miracle and a promise. I told her SHE was a miracle too... the other night she told me I was a miracle it really blesses me to see her learn about that at such a young age. We hung it on the wall by the kitchen table so she sees it and comments on it. The next week we talked about the animals and God made the animals...she made a collage of animal pictures. Something simple but fun! She likes listing all the things God has made, birds, bugs, dogs, cats... lol it's cute!
Bedtime blessings (vol.1&2) are short little stories that teach your kids about God and His word and encourage them. We read a fun book and one of these. Kehnley loves to read so she has her fav. and then we tell a story, sometimes its not directly from the book, she is still so little, but it gives you a place to start.
Also, books like this one are great to start teaching your little ones about God.
(there are a few others by Debbie Anderson, they are great bedtime books too!)
Children's Devotionals "talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road" NIV
For older kids there are these books, and the Guy who practically revolutionized Family night... Jim Weidmann here are links to his books! They are INCREDIBLE!
He and his wife have 4 kids, they are older now...but he started this and talks about the change it made in their lives and in their family all together.
We play some music from the cd I talked about earlier, she now has her fav. songs she wants to hear, we jump around dance and just have fun, then Bry and I either have something to act out from this devotional book (God and Me) or something to read and we do that all together! We finish the night with a sweet treat, ice cream or Popsicles.... just to make it something fun and different. When the music comes on she knows it's fam. night and she always looks forward to it. To be honest we do too! We talk about what lessons we will do and we get excited planning our skits and stuff.. lol if you aren't as theatrical as us (which I am assuming most aren't) there are options in the book to do it differently.)
Example: one night was about waiting...patience, so Bry bought her a little movie and wrapped it in a big bag and made it all eye catching and told her she could have it... but she would have to wait til the end of dinner. It sat right there and she wanted to open it so bad and Bry taught a lesson about how sometimes the best things are something we have to wait to get. God loves it when we wait and don't ruin the gift! So after dinner she opened it and we watching the show! It may not sink in now, but it sure taught US a lesson... and it will be those little things to keep sewing those seeds of God's word in her heart.