Christian Parenting Challenge #27 – Help Your Children to Help Themselves

Christian Parenting Challenge #27 – Help Your Children to Help Themselves

Challenge 27
Help your children to help themselves

baby sparrows

How much help do they need?
When our children are babies, they need us to do everything for them – they are totally helpless without us. They are unable to look after even their most basic needs. As they grow older, they learn to do more and more things for themselves.
It is our job as parents to help our children, bit by bit, to become confident adults, able to go out into the world and not only be self-sufficient, but to be good, caring citizens, and eventually bring up their own families!

We all need help; we all need each other
We all need help from time to time. Your children may run to you for help at the first opportunity, or they may be the independent type and hate help – it’s as much a question of character as age and ability.
The same thing applies to you – you may be happy to do everything for your children, whether they are capable or not. Perhaps your children really ought to be doing things for themselves instead of watching the TV, catching up with friends on facebook or playing online games? You may be at the opposite end of the spectrum and expect quite young children to be independent and do all manner of things alone.
Whatever our natural character, what is most important is that we have our children’s development foremost in our hearts and minds. We should certainly make it our aim to equip them with everything they need to be successful in the world. We should give them just the right amount of encouragement to take on challenges – first with help, then alone.
So today’s challenge is two-fold – the first part of the challenge is to acknowledge a task or issue that each of your children find genuinely difficult, and find a way to help them with it. It’s important that we help our children with tasks they find overwhelming, and not leave them to struggle alone.
It might be a school subject they struggle with. It might be tying their shoe laces! It might be making friends in a new school, learning to read, being on time for the bus . . . it could be so many things . . . consider for a minute what you know your child is having difficulty with and decide how you can best help them, whatever the issue.
If appropriate, ask them what they struggle with most in life. You might be surprised at the answer. Then, if you feel that they have answered honestly (not pulling a fast one to get out of chores!) ask them how you can best help. Be prepared to leave your comfort zone if necessary, and determine to do what you can to help your children.

Sometimes we need to struggle
The other side of the coin is that if we never struggle, we will never know the satisfaction and the thrill of achieving. It can be tempting to do everything for our children (certainly easier in the short term!) . . . but we risk leaving them with boring lives, becoming underachievers with low self-esteem, believing they are not very good at anything, unable to face the challenges that life will inevitably throw at them.
So we need to teach them life skills, and we need to allow them to make mistakes in different areas of life, because this is the way they will learn. It’s hard to watch our children struggle, but they need to go through the battle in order to come out the other side. If they don’t struggle, they won’t conquer. If they don’t struggle, they will never reach their full potential.
So the second part of today’s challenge is to decide on something that you do for your children that you should stop doing, and teach them/train them to do it, and allow them to keep learning and struggling until they are able to make a good job of it and come out the other side.
Make sure you encourage effort. Keep an eye on how much they can cope with . . . but only step in and take over if you really need to.

A final thought
Don’t forget to pray with and for your children for the things they find difficult, as they grow towards maturity. Encourage them that even in their difficulties the Lord is with them, and you will always be there for them, too. Sometimes the Lord sends trials that seem like more than we can bear, but he is always there, holding our hand, giving us grace that is sufficient for the day. Encourage your children with these things, and be encouraged yourself.

Over to you!
Write a list in your notebook all the things you do for your children. Be prepared for a long list!
Underline any tasks that your children should really be doing for themselves – or that you should be teaching them to do for themselves.
Pick one item from the list, and make the first step to teach/train your children.
Now write down the things you feel your children are having difficulty with.
Ask them if you’re not sure, and decide how you can best help him.
Start helping.
Let us know what you have decided to do and not do. 🙂 Come over to the Christian Parenting Challenge facebook page!

“Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.” Proverbs 22:6

For the Future:
Be aware of what your children are capable of, and help them to grow up to be mature adults, able to help themselves and others.

Christian Parenting Challenge #26 – Share the Good News Together

Christian Parenting Challenge #26 – Share the Good News Together

Challenge 26
Share the good news together

card of cat drawn by a child
It’s good to share 🙂
I hope you have enjoyed sharing many good things with your children over the last few weeks. What a wonderful privilege it is to be able to share! Perhaps one of the most vital things we can do as Christian parents is to share the good news of Jesus with our children.
As we have already mentioned, (and you know anyway!), we do this with our words and with our actions.
Today’s challenge is in two separate parts, which you will have to choose from. The first part is for you if your children haven’t yet decided to follow the Lord. The second part is for you if your children are already walking with God.
If some of your children are following the Lord and some aren’t, you might need to do both parts of the challenge.

Sharing the good news with your children
This part of today’s challenge is for you if your children have not yet made a commitment to Christ for themselves. Maybe they go to church with you and know many Bible stories, and maybe you pray together regularly. If so, today is a great day for explaining the gospel to them clearly, that Jesus died for them, and that if they ask the Lord into their lives, they can begin a life of walking with Him. If you’re not sure where to begin, get some advice – there’s plenty online, or ask your youth worker or your children’s Sunday School teacher.
If your child used to follow Christ, and has now dropped away from church, or perhaps never really followed the Lord, why not take the time today to share a bit of your own testimony of how the Lord has helped you in your life? Or perhaps you could offer to pray for them, perhaps for a challenge they are currently facing? If you get the opportunity to share more of the reasons why Jesus came, go for it!
If you would like to take a more subtle approach, why not buy your children a Christian book? You could choose a non-fiction book, or perhaps a story where one of the characters becomes a Christian? At Dernier we have several for older children – check out our website: http://www.dernierpublishing.com You can also search for suitable books at your local Christian bookshop.
As with any outreach, the outcome is with the Lord, but the responsibility to sow seeds is with us – let’s take up this amazing privilege and awesome responsibility today.

If your children are already following Jesus
If your children are already walking with the Lord, that’s absolutely brilliant! Today’s challenge for you, if this is the case, is to work together to share the good news with someone else!
Here are some ideas:
Lend a Christian book to a friend.
Buy some books/tracts to give away.
Get involved in an evangelism project at church.
Pop in to someone on the fringes of church and offer to pray with them.
Make a card with a verse on it to give away.
Take a home-made cake to a neighbour.
Pray for the person together before you begin – you just never know what the Lord will do, which is so exciting!
There are so many more ideas – you are sure to find something just perfect for you. And don’t forget to water the whole thing with prayer – we must do our bit, but it is the Lord who touches hearts and minds.

Feel too stage-managed?
How can you just share the good news to order, surely you have to wait for the right moment?
If you feel uncomfortable about doing this, by all means leave out today’s challenge. But maybe this is how it should be? The writer to the Hebrews said, “Consider how you can spur one another on to love and good deeds.” Perhaps today is one of those excellent opportunities!
And if not now, when? Time flies past so quickly . . . and as we don’t know what tomorrow will bring, I can’t help feeling that today is as good a day as any to share the good news.

Over to you!
Decide which of the steps you will follow today. If you’re not absolutely certain that your child is following the Lord, make that your first priority.
If you are following the first step:
Write in your notebook some ideas of how you will approach your children – time, place and what you will say/how you will say it.
Pray, then go, to each child separately if appropriate.
If you are following the second step:
Write in your notebook some ideas of people that you or your child could reach out to.
Find your children and talk and pray about your ideas. Choose a person together to reach out to.
Decide what you will do, and either do it or take the first step.
Whichever stop you follow, do let us know how it went: Come over to the Christian Parenting Challenge facebook page!

“’Come, follow me,’ Jesus said, ‘and I will send you out to fish for people.’” Matthew 4:19

For the future:
Make the most of every opportunity to share the good news.

Christian Parenting Challenge #25 – Share Memories

Christian Parenting Challenge #25 – Share Memories

Challenge 25
Share memories

baby boy
Looking back over the years
Many of us enjoy a good bit of nostalgia. Now we’re getting older, my sister and I often chat about the things we used to get up to when we were younger – the good and the bad!
Most children find it fascinating to look back at old photos to a time when they were smaller. They love to see how they have grown! They also enjoy remembering special things – a surprise that took their breath away, a birthday cake they loved, a picture of them dressed in their favourite outfit or receiving a trophy, or their first trip to the seaside/aquarium/cinema/theatre/add your own here!
If your children are very small, they won’t have built up a big bank of memories, but still, if you went away in the summer, or took them to see some fireworks, or had a lovely day with family recently, that stills count as memories. 🙂

Three challenges
Today’s challenge is a three-sided challenge, and you have to do all three! The first part is simply to enjoy looking back at family photos with your children, reminiscing over shared memories – holidays, birthdays, picnics, family occasions, church outings . . . the list is endless! Taking the time to look back at times you have spent together can deepen the bond between you, as you remember fun times, special times and all the things you have done for them over the years.
The second part of today’s challenge is to assure your children how much you have always loved and cared for them. It won’t be difficult, when looking back at photos of when they were tiny, to say how cute they were – but add that they are still as precious now as they were then. Tell them that although your relationship with them has changed as they have got older, you still love them every bit as much now as you did then. Take every opportunity to speak encouraging things about them and to them – most of us don’t do this anything like as much as we should, so today is a good opportunity for a bit of catching up.
The third part of today’s challenge is to talk about how good the Lord has been to you over the years. The Bible exhorts us to remember what the Lord has done for us. As parents we are also encouraged to talk to our children about the Lord in our everyday lives. Here’s a great opportunity to do both. Looking back at old photos we can see how gracious the Lord has been to us, how blessed we are, and how he has helped us even through the difficult times, every step of the way. It’s good to share these things together.

Got some sad memories, too?
It may be that some of your memories are not so happy. You may find photos of a pet or a family member who has since died, photos of when your family used to be all together which is not now the case, or before some disaster came upon you. I suggest that you don’t shy away from these. Do pause and talk about them if your children want to – on their own if that would help them to open up. Listen to what they have to say and allow them to express any anger or sadness they feel. It always helps to be able to express our thoughts and feelings – they are better out than in, and who better for your children to talk to, than to you?

Not sure your children will want to join in?
Think your children may not be interested in looking at old photos? To grab their interest, start with an event that was particularly momentous in their lives, or that meant a lot to them (not to you, you can look at those after they’ve gone to bed!). “See what I’ve found, remember this?” is likely to spark at least a bit of enthusiasm! Give it a go!

Something extra
If you have the time, why not print out some special photos and make a “special moments” scrapbook? If you have a school holiday coming up, this could be an excellent project for you to start today, and enjoy over a period of time.
Whether you do this or not, enjoy your time of precious memories together today. May the Lord bless you!

Over to you!
Find a photo album or two (or your digital equivalent) with photos that your children will enjoy looking back at.
Now find your children, and enjoy.
Don’t forget to talk about what the Lord has done for you over the years.
And don’t forget to tell them how much you love them.
Write in your notebook how it went. Jot down some things your child said that are worth remembering.
Contact us to let us know how it went, too – we would love to hear from you! http://www.facebook.com/christianparentingchallenge

“I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago.” Psalm 77:11

For the future:
When you look back, remember the good things the Lord has done.

Christian Parenting Challenge #24 – Forgive and Be Forgiven

Christian Parenting Challenge #24 – Forgive and Be Forgiven

Challenge 24
Forgive and be forgiven

Canterbury Cathedral
The power of forgiveness
As Christians, we know the relief that comes from both forgiving and being forgiven. So today’s challenge is in two parts – forgiving our children for things they have done wrong to us, and saying sorry to them for anything we have done wrong to them.

Children are born selfish
Let’s be honest, our children can drive us crazy. They have ways that really annoy us; they sin through weakness, through ignorance and through their own deliberate fault, just like we do.
When they are small they snatch, they yell if they don’t get their own way, they can be selfish and unkind, and need to be taught every social grace. As they get older they scrape the leather off their shoes, lose their trainers, drop their coats and shoes on the floor, leave damp bath towels on their bed, walk mud (or worse!) into the house . . . and all sorts of other thoughtless (and sometimes malicious and sneaky) things. Grrrr! And even when they “should know better”, some really do know how to wind us up, don’t they? All these things are very normal!
Some children, sadly, can go beyond the usual childhood tantrums and selfishness and go on to break the law and/or do things that wound us, shock us, humiliate us, and/or cause us unbelievable pain, anxiety and misery. Some of you may be nodding; you have been there. We still need to forgive.

Here are some particular issues that make forgiveness hard:
Sometimes it is the “faults” that we dislike in ourselves (or our partner!) that cause us the most grief in our children, and we can find these hard to forgive.
Sweeping sins under the carpet. If we don’t acknowledge the wrong things our children are doing, we won’t be able to forgive them. Don’t make excuses for your children. (Divorced or separated parents who feel guilty about their part in the family break-up can easily fall into this trap.)
We find one child much harder to live with than another. This is actually a really common problem for any family that has more than one child! We have to appreciate that we are all made differently for a reason. I have a friend who feels she has nothing in common with her daughter, but she has come to celebrate the differences.
One of the hardest things to bear is when one (or more) of our children are making terrible choices that are not only affecting them, but the rest of the family, too. Remember that we all have to make our own choices, and we all have to make our own mistakes. I have been around long enough to see many situations turn around by the Lord’s grace, including in my own family. Don’t despair, keep holding on, keep praying, keep loving, find someone to talk to, and get help if you need it.
Do any of these strike a chord with you? We need to forgive our children, both for their sake, and for ours, whatever they have done and whatever they are still doing. By all means keep working on any issues (and get help if you need it), but in the meantime, keep forgiving. (Up to seventy times seven.) Bearing grudges doesn’t help anyone.

Why say sorry to your children?
We get it wrong sometimes with our children, too. We can be ratty, snappy, too forceful, not forceful enough, say hurtful things . . . and so on and so forth . . . Apologising doesn’t have to be a big thing, but it’s so much better than making excuses! A simple “sorry” can clear the air in any relationship – and is no different in a parent/child relationship. So why might we find it difficult to say sorry to our children . . . do any of the following resonate?
We feel that we might lose face (pride).
In some cases we might feel that they are more in the wrong than we are (and we might be correct!).
We are frightened of being seen as weak.
We would rather not mention what we have done, because it’s too painful.
We feel that we must always be seen to be right because we are the authority figure.
Some of these overlap, of course, but at the end of the day, an apology doesn’t have to be a big thing. A simple, “sorry I yelled at you,” can be a way to instantly ease tension, even if really, “they started it”! If you say sorry, it can open the way for them to apologise, too.
Apologising can also be a good habit (and attitude) that your children are more likely to copy if they hear it often enough. Here are some more advantages of saying sorry to your children:
It’s a great example.
It teaches them the power and freedom of being able to forgive and be forgiven.
They are more likely to say sorry to you, if you have shown the way.
It’s good for them to know that you are not perfect. That gives them the freedom to know they haven’t got to grow up to be perfect either.
It has the potential to deepen your relationship with them instantly.
After saying sorry yourself, you can always go on to ask if there is anything they would like to say sorry for. You might even like to make a suggestion or two!

Choose your moment
Most apologies are for small things and are better dealt with straight away. However, if you feel you have made a big mistake and that it would be helpful to say sorry, choose your time and place for your apology carefully. Bear in mind the age and sensitivity of your children before you apologise for something that might affect them in a negative way. You might like to leave certain confessions until they is older. If you’re not sure, ask someone you trust for advice.

A slight aside
Some parents insist that their children say sorry for things they have done wrong, even if they don’t want to. It is entirely up to you whether you do this, but it is my feeling that:
Hearing an apology does help the person who has been hurt.
The child who has done wrong may be sorry in their heart, even though they may find it difficult to say the words out loud.
Speaking out the word “sorry” does help to believe it!
Apologising gets easier with practice and is a good habit to get into. The younger your children start, the better.
When an apology is accepted, relationships can move on and thrive.
Forgiveness brings freedom to both parties – the forgiver and the forgiven.

Over to you!
In your notebook, write down all the things your children have said and done that you need to forgive them for.
Decide to forgive each thing on your list. If you have to grit your teeth to do it, that’s fine, it’s a start. Saying it out loud can help. “I choose to forgive X for Z,” for example. The Lord understands.
Now write down something you could or perhaps should ask each child’s forgiveness for; something that you know you have got wrong.
Pick your time and place, and apologise . . .
Then ask your children if there’s anything they are sorry about. If you feel it’s appropriate, tell your children you forgive them. (You could write, text or email your teenager, if that makes it easier or less confrontational.)
Spend a few minute writing down any thoughts about this challenge.
Let us know how it went, especially if you have any advice to offer to others, on the Christian Parenting Challenge facebook page

“Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.” Luke 6:37

For the future:
Keep short accounts.

Christian Parenting Challenge #23 – Encourage Good Friendships

Christian Parenting Challenge #23 – Encourage Good Friendships

Challenge 23
Encourage good friendships

children eating together
We need friends!
Most of us would readily agree that we need friends. It seems that God has given us friends as a special gift, along with our family, to share both our joys and our difficulties, to celebrate our successes with us and strengthen and help us in times of need. “Bear one another’s burdens” we are directed, and that’s a wonderful thing to be able to do with friends – both in giving and in receiving.
Jesus himself had friends. In one respect, he was a friend to all, but he did have close friends, too.

Encourage good friends
Our children need friends, too, of course. The younger they are, the more control we have over who their friends are. Once they start going to school or nursery, they begin to make their own friends. We can find it disconcerting when they start to mix with children in families we might feel we have nothing in common with!
This process intensifies once the children move on to secondary education; there, we may not even get to know the children or their families or backgrounds. Scary! Most of the time there is no cause for concern, but it can be troubling if the friends that our children have made begin to draw our children away from what is good. There is no doubt about it: the people we spend time with influence us. “Bad company corrupts good character,” we are told. (1 Corinthians 15:33) Some of us will know that from experience. If we didn’t get in with a bad crowd ourselves, we probably know someone who did, and paid the price.
Even now, for example, if we spend time with people who swear, perhaps at work, we find that when something goes wrong, those are the words which automatically pop into our minds, totally unbidden. If we spend time with people who are positive, who encourage and inspire us to be our best, who are happy to tell us our faults in a way that helps us change, and praise us when we’ve done well, not only will our whole life be enriched, but it will rub off on us, and we will become like that ourselves. This is what we desire for our children.

What can we do to help our children make good friends?
The first thing we need to acknowledge is that our children have the right to make their own friends and to make their own life choices, ever more so as they get older. However, if we can possibly steer them in the right direction, we might be able to save them an enormous amount of trouble and heartache later on.
By the way, if you feel this is a bit of a tenuous link to deepening your relationship with your children . . . well, it could well be that this might be one of the most fruitful days of all. You may never know what would have happened to your relationship if you hadn’t done today’s challenge.
So, to the list:
Welcome your children’s school friends (or friends from clubs, etc) into your home. If your children have particular friends who are good for them, invite them round as much as you can. If your children are small, cultivate this habit now, so when they are older it will be a natural thing. It can be a nuisance if you have to cook extra meals and perhaps do extra lifts, but you may never know what a difference this can make.
Try to spend time with your children’s friends yourself. You could talk to them, play games, read a story if they have a sleepover, eat together and chat over the dinner table. This is a good way to be a witness, as well as get to know who your children’s friends are.
Talk to your children about their friends. If there are things that concern you, talk about those issues, too. If you suspect any kind of bullying from a so called “friend”, whether physical or emotional, do whatever it takes to get it sorted straight away.
Warn your child about the perils of keeping bad company. Talk about the Bible’s advice to choose your friends carefully.
Talk to your children about being a good friend – helping friends in trouble, not gossiping, not being unkind, of always being there for them, praying for them. Make sure they understand that you reap what you sow.
Invite friends from church round, to make sure your children don’t only have Christian fellowship on Sundays.
Encourage your children to witness to their friends for Christ. Say grace before meals, invite them to church events and give them Christian books as Christmas and birthday presents.
Pray for your children’s friends and friendships. Pray that they will have good friends who will help them keep on track all the way through their lives. Pray that they will be a good friend in return.
Family friends can be great to turn to in a crisis – keep up those relationships, you never know when you or your children may appreciate their input.
The people we mix with affects the way our life turns out, for good or bad. Let’s do all we can to help our children choose well.

Disheartened? Anxious?
Worried about the friends your children are mixing with? There is always hope!
The Lord has an amazing way, by his grace, of turning situations round. Pray, pray, and pray again, then be patient and pray some more and keep praying without giving up. I have been around long enough to see miracles happen.
Sometimes we learn valuable lessons from making mistakes – sometimes our children need to make their own mistakes, just as we did.
Keep communications lines with your children open, try not to get too stressed, or judgemental. If you are finding things difficult, find a good friend you can talk to, who will pray with you and bear your burden with you.
And if you suspect that either your child or their friends might be breaking the law, have a chat with the police. It may be the means of your children coming to their senses.
And lastly, keep the door open. Remember the prodigal son? Keep loving, keep watching, keep waiting.
God bless you.

Over to you!
Write down in your notebook how you feel about your children’s friends. Pray for these friendships.
Make a list of things you could do to encourage good friendships.
Choose one thing you can do today and go do it!
Come over to the Christian Parenting Challenge page on facebook, and share your thoughts with the community: http://www.facebook.com/christianparentingchallenge 🙂

“A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity.” Proverbs 17:17

For the future:
Keep encouraging good friendships.

Christian Parenting Challenge #22 – Plan a Surprise for Someone

Christian Parenting Challenge #22 – Plan a Surprise for Someone

Sorry I’ve got a bit behind with the challenges – hope you are enjoying them! Do leave some feedback and share with your friends if you have found any of the challenges helpful 🙂

Challenge 22
Plan a surprise for someone

strawberry cake
It’s double the fun, planning a surprise together!
Planning a surprise for someone is such fun! Today’s challenge will of course depend a lot on the ages of your children and how much they are able to do and understand. Some older children will take to this idea immediately and might get carried away – but as with most things in life, it’s best to keep things simple, especially if you already have a busy life.
You could either create a surprise for someone today, or begin planning it today, perhaps for the weekend, or for a birthday or anniversary coming up.

Who will the surprise be for, and what will you do?
Would you like to create a family candlelit dinner as a surprise? You could eat the same food you were planning on, but add some candles, your best tablecloth and some flowers from the garden. How about making a surprise visit to an elderly person? What about a “treat evening” for someone in the family who has been working particularly hard or going through a tough time? Let them put their feet up and have a relaxing bath while you and your children clear up, wash up and make them a nice drink?
How about buying flowers for someone as a surprise, or baking them a cake, or helping someone out without asking? You could even plan a surprise party for someone who needs a bit of cheering up!
If you are thinking, “hang on a minute, it will end up with me doing everything,” well, make sure you write everything down in advance, with a plan of who will do what. Better still, get your children to write everything down in their own writing. 🙂 If you’re still not convinced, cut the plan back to something easily achievable.
If your children are too small to be able to do much, keep your surprise really simple . . . even a toddler can enjoy hiding away a card or picture they have drawn for someone, to bring out at the right moment. If they forget and spoil the surprise, never mind, it will have been fun anyway!
Whatever your circumstances and family situation, I’m sure you will be able to think of something just right for you and your children. It’s great for them to think of someone else, and great for you to be doing something fun together.

The serious side to secrets
The surprises we have been talking about are the fun kind. However, as you will be keeping a secret, this is a good opportunity to talk to your children about the difference between “good secrets” and “bad secrets”. Making sure they know the difference between a secret that will make someone happy (like the surprise you are planning) and a “bad secret” that would make someone sad if they knew, can be really helpful in keeping them (and possibly their friends) safe.
It might be helpful to give some examples: an example of a “bad secret” might be stealing sweets from a shop, or forcing someone to do something that isn’t kind. An example of a “good secret” might be buying flowers for mummy or planning a party.
Make sure your child knows that if someone asks her to keep a “bad secret”, she should tell you straight away.
Sorry to bring that in, I hope I haven’t spoilt your fun – I hope you have a wonderful time planning a lovely surprise together!

Over to you!
Jot down a few ideas in your notebook about who you could plan a surprise for, and what you could do. If you are really busy at the moment, go for the simplest option. Any nice surprise is wonderful, however small.
If your children are old enough to discuss things with, talk your ideas over – if not, decide what you are going to do together and tell them!
Enjoy your surprise, or begin planning it.
Talk about good and bad secrets.
Let us know how it went http://www.facebook.com/christianparentingchallenge 🙂 We’d love to see some photos of your surprise!

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.” Philippians 2:3-4

For the future:
Involve your children in planning more nice surprises!

Christian Parenting Challenge #21- Listening to Music Together

Christian Parenting Challenge #21- Listening to Music Together

Challenge 21
Listen to music together

Peaceful Garden in Japan
Music is powerful
Music can touch the soul like nothing else. It can make our spirits soar, and fill even the most down-to-earth person with joy, peace and/or a sense of awe and wonder. Music is a beautiful gift from God that we should appreciate and enjoy. Sacred music of thanks and praise to God is a wonderful way to connect with the Lord.
So today’s challenge is to listen to some music with your children!

What are you going to listen to?
Music is very individual. What touches one person can leave another completely cold. You may be regularly gritting your teeth at the music that is being played in your home! To be honest, most of us don’t like the style of music our parents enjoyed . . . but your challenge for today is to find something you and your children can enjoy together.
Why not sit down on YouTube and take it in turns to find a band/group/composer/style you both/all like – then enjoy some of those tracks together? If your children are following the Lord, listening to worship music together is a wonderful way to bond with them on a spiritual level, but if not, don’t worry, enjoy whatever music you can agree on.
This isn’t just a challenge for older children – babies and toddlers love music, too. There are some wonderful Christian songs for children. (And you get to choose the music when they are little!) Why not cuddle your toddler while listening to some classical music together, or bop around to some praise songs?
Some children might like to do some colouring while you are listening, or draw a picture. And they would probably love you to join in! Whatever you think of your drawing skills, they will probably think you are awesome. 🙂 Or you might like to get up and dance together.
Listening to music can be an amazingly emotional experience – it can make you soar right above your circumstances – don’t be afraid to let the music take you away.
If you have older children, why not put three or four of your favourite pieces each in a play list and share them together? Make sure you don’t rubbish their choice – and don’t allow them to rubbish yours! This can cause respect and a mutual care for each other’s differences. You might have to put up with some dreadful stuff, but hey, it’s all in a good cause!

Over to you!
Write down a list of a few of your favourite songs/pieces of music.
Ask your children what music they enjoy, then choose some music to listen to together.
Let us know how it went: Come over to the Christian Parenting Challenge facebook page!

“Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet, praise him with the harp and lyre, praise him with timbrel and dancing, praise him with the strings and pipe, praise him with the clash of cymbals, praise him with resounding cymbals. Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.” Psalm 150:3-6

For the future:
When you hear a piece of music that takes your breath away, share it with your children. Ask them to do the same for you.