Happy Summer! Thank you all SO much for all of the great suggestions and great materials to use for our kiddos in the What goes into the heart… blog! Such great stuff! Lord, knows all we have is time on our hands this summer. It is so refreshing to have some new material for the boys. Thank you!
I wanted to give an update on the Crenshaw’s Summertime Sanity. Last night we had a “You’re Special” party for Ethan as in Summertime Sanity #6. Sanity in the Summertime suggested this idea to act as an encourager/self esteem builder for our children. It worked!
The day started out with my Mommy date with Grant (my oldest). He had asked to go look at books at the bookstore. So while we were driving, I explained to him that he and we were going to be planning a “Your Special” party for Ethan and that I needed his help! He was all over that.
So I let Grant pick out some party plates (I gently guided him to the ones on sale :)) and a happy present for Ethan. Of course this couldn’t be an expensive ordeal so we simply bought his favorite cereal – Fruit Loops with Marshmallows (a special treat), and bought ingredients for a special meal. It was really sweet to see Grant get so excited about honoring Ethan.
So while Ethan napped, I let Grant cook Ethan’s meal – Jamie Oliver’s Classic Tomato Spaghetti (De-lish. I did not add the red chile BTW). Grant for real made it, too. We’re talking searing garlic and chopping basil. I was super proud. We also wrapped the cereal box, set the party table and made Ethan some fun notes.
When Ethan came down, he was surprised (and a bit confused).
“Why are you throwing me a party?”
“Because you are so special to us, buddy! We all love you and want you to know that we are very proud of you.”
Summertime Sanity #8 – Sharing a little Sonshine
Dillow writes, “How can we make our children shine for Jesus this summer? Deuteronomy 6:5-8 gives us God’s blue print for producing godly qualities in our children’s lives:
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 on 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 on the door frames of your houses and on your gates.
Sweet the Lord literally wrote the First Parenting Handbook here. Mmm.
In these verses we see three ways that we are to teach our children:
1. Informal teaching
2. Formal education
Dillow writes, “God instructs us to talk about His truths in the midst of the everyday joys and struggles of life. Often it only takes five or ten minutes to meet the need of a child’s heart and relate the situation to God.” She encourages us to be a “Sitting Mom.” Lord knows I don’t sit a lot with three kids and all the responsibilities that come along with that, but Dillow encourages us to make a conscious effort to sit with our kids and get into their worlds. Hear what they are talking about. Ask questions. Think…can this conversation point to Christ? Or if unkind words are spoken, how can we intervene and point them to Jesus in the midst of their anger? Can we take time to literally stop and smell the roses – to reflect with our kids on God’s creation and creativity? So good – and honestly so challenging for me to hear.
God’s word instructs us to teach the love and law of God with diligence. “Diligent teaching implies that we are to have definite plans for communicating God’s teachings to our children. They need to see that we value God’s Word enough to share it with them regularly.” The possibilities are endless here. Definitely refer back to What goes into the heart… for some great ideas. I feel a fun trip to the Christian bookstore coming on. Also, never underestimate just using the Bible. When the boys sit down for breakfast, sometimes I just read a Psalm or Proverb and ask some questions. Or we pick a new verse to memorize. The biggest suggestion Dillow and Arp give here is to make this teaching age appropriate. I lose Ethan sometimes when teaching Grant, and vice versa. This can sometimes be a challenge.
This one is huge. This Deuteronomy passage is very much directed at us. Dillow writes, “God says the first and most important thing is that we are to love the Lord our God with all our hearts and souls. Children are experts at detecting fakes. One little girl asked her mother, ‘Why do I have to pray every night? You don’t ever pray.'” Ouch. Busted.
Lord knows I am a wobbly model. Remember Grant’s picture of me sitting at the computer? That stung. I want my boys to watch and see Christ in me. Period. The Holy Spirit is quite attractive. I want all of Him. I pray my boys want Him, too.
Maybe you don’t have a relationship with Jesus. Maybe all of this sounds good in theory, but trying to make it all happen in your own strength isn’t workin’ for you. Maybe the idea of having a relationship with Christ is too abstract. I thought this next passage was worth re-typing.
“Suppose you receive a speeding ticket and are summoned to appear in court. As you stand before the judge, you are declared guilty. The sentence is fifty dollars or five days. Meekly you begin to open you checkbook, but just then the judge stands up and takes off his robe. You see, to your astonishment, that it is you father. He comes toward you and says, “Honey, you’re guilty. You’ve transgressed the law and you deserve to pay the penalty. But because I love you, I want to pay it for you.” With that he takes out his checkbook and write a check.
This is a picture of what God, our Father, did when Jesus died on the cross. God, the Righteous Judge, declared us guilty of sin. But as our loving Father, He did not want us to have to pay the penalty of eternal death and separation from Him. So He sent His only Son to die that we might be forgiven and have eternal life. He paid our penalty in full.
Suppose that penalty had been paid by your father (the judge), but you still had to make a decision. Would you be a rebellious child and say “Thanks, but no thanks. You can keep your check.” Or would you gratefully accept the gift offered in love?
In the same way, we must decide what we will do with God’s gift of forgiveness and eternal life. Our prayer is that if you are not certain whether you have received God’s gift, you will reach out and accept it now.
How? By simply talking to God – admitting you are sinful, thanking Him for dying to forgive your sin, and asking Him to come into your heart and life and begin to make you into the person He wants you to be. Receiving Christ is the first step toward being the teacher and model our children need.”
Wow. So good. If you would like to talk to me more about this, I would be more than honored. Oh my goodness, yes! Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
If you are thinking, I have no idea who you are, but I want to talk to someone, then by all means do. In my opinion, it is the most important conversation you will ever have.
I am praying for all of you. I’m praying the Son would shine brightly on you and your sweet family – all summer long.