Memorising Scripture Together

Memorising Scripture Together

Do you memorise verses from the Bible?

I didn’t go to Sunday School as a child, and didn’t become a Christian until I was a teenager, so I didn’t even think about memorising scripture until much later in life.

bubbles

Then when I did begin, I memorised a few verses here and then, but quickly forgot them. So I tried another idea: to commit the whole of the book of James to memory. However, by the time I got to the end I had forgotten the beginning! So I pretty much gave up.

When my first husband became ill, my Bible was my most treasured possession – I held on to God’s word tightly. It became to me a shining light in the darkness like never before . . . and I began to memorise large chunks, even whole chapters.

This time, I copied the chosen scripture passage into a notebook, and as I added to it, I would (and still do) go back from the beginning and re-memorise each passage until had gone through them all. Only then would I add a new one!

Sadly, I didn’t get into the habit of memorising scripture with my children, but I wish I had, because the Word of God builds faith and encourages where nothing else will do.

But you can learn from my failure . . . why not start a programme with each of your children? You could start with one single verse, to get off to a flying start, then add another when you have learnt that one.

Why not decorate a book for each of your children and learn verses with each of them? Allow them to choose their own Scriptures – you can always make suggestions. They can test you and you can test them – you can learn together.

Imagine how this could deepen your relationship! Not only that, you will be giving your child a foundation in God’s word that can change their life. Some things will pass away, but God’s word will never pass away.

bubbles

Janet WilsonDon’t delay! Start now!

Janet

P.S. If you have found this helpful, please forward this to friends and share on facebook/twitter – spread the word and the encouragement! 🙂

Christian Parenting Challenge #30 – Make Today A Special Day

Christian Parenting Challenge #30 – Make Today A Special Day

Challenge 30
Make today a special day!

Family having fun together
The final challenge
Congratulations on getting right to the end of the Christian Parenting Challenge! So here’s the final challenge – making today a special day. Hey, you deserve it!

Every day is a special day
Somebody once argued with me that if every day is a special day, then that means there’s no such thing as a special day, because they are all the same!
I know what he meant, but still, if we are honest, there are so many special things about today. If we stopped to count our blessings, wouldn’t today feel like this is such a special day?
Yesterday is gone and tomorrow is unknown – none of us know what is going to happen in the future. But today is unique, beautiful, filled with grace, blessings and promises!

The final challenge
So, what can you do to make today a special day? What would make it special for you and your children? Maybe you could:
Repeat one of the challenges – what did you enjoy doing most?
Go out for a coffee and cake/breakfast.
Enjoy an ice-cream.
Play a favourite game.
Read a story by candlelight.
Go out for a walk with a torch in the dark.
Have a bonfire.
Share a bag of doughnuts.
Have a laugh and a chat.
Go out somewhere special.
Light candles at dinner.
Make a list of all your blessings.
All through the day, think of other things you can do or say to make the day special . . . tell your children you love them, praise them for something they have done well, pray with them about something on their mind, remember a Bible story together, take some photos. All these little things make such a difference, and really do add up to make a day special. When your children have grown up and flown the nest, you will look back at these special days with nostalgia and so will they.

Over to you!
Congratulate yourself for having made it this far!
Write in your notebook any ideas you have for making today a special day.
Pick one item from the list, or choose with your child!
Enjoy your special day.
Let us know how your special day went, and how you feel, now you have completed the Challenge. We would love to hear how you got on: Come over to the Christian Parenting Challenge facebook page! 🙂

“But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called ‘Today’.” Hebrews 3:13

For the future:
Go back and do the challenges as many times as you like. And if you make today a special day, every day will be special, because every day is “today”!

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 #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 #8: Look After Yourself

Christian Parenting Challenge #8: Look After Yourself

Challenge 8
Look after yourself

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You have needs, too
We all know what happens when we are tired, hungry, stressed out, and desperately need to spend some time alone. We get ratty, and our relationships suffer. As parents, we can naturally keep giving and giving, and giving again, but if we really want to deepen any relationship we need to make sure we have our own needs met, too.

Get enough sleep
Get enough sleep? Easy for you to say, I hear you mutter! But what if you went to bed half an hour earlier each night? We all tend to sit that bit too long in front of the telly or laptop, when really we should be heading for bed . . . just think how much more energy you would have if you got a bit more sleep! If your children disturb you at night, or if anything else is keeping you from sleeping well, try to think of a sensible way around the problem, so you can face each day with the energy you need.

Eat well and drink plenty of water
We all know we should eat healthily to keep up our energy levels, but it’s sometimes hard to eat the right amount of nutritious food at regular times. If you need some good advice on nutrition, today’s the perfect day to look some up (or just begin to follow what you already know!).
Some people become seriously grumpy if they don’t have regular meals – if that’s you, keep eating when you need to, so you don’t end up snapping at your children. If you already know you should eat more healthily, determine today to make that change.
Drinking lots of water can also give you lots more energy – such a simple thing to do, yet so effective. Being even a bit dehydrated can make you lethargic and give you a nagging headache. Easily remedied!

Take time for yourself
I know it’s not easy to take time for yourself when you are a parent, especially if you are on your own. My first husband died when my children were aged ten, fifteen and seventeen, so I know what it’s like to be up in the morning to do the school run and still be up late with teenagers. But if we don’t want to go under, we need to take time aside for ourselves.
Ever since my children were tiny, we had what I called “rest time”. When they were small they had a nap and so did I! As they got older, they played or read on their own, while I had the chance to sit in peace to recover from the morning and renew my energy for the rest of the day. I would have my “quiet time” then. Maybe you could try it? (Making sure your children are safe of course!)
It may be that you don’t need “me time” in the same way. Perhaps it would be better for you to take a long bath in the evening, to have the odd weekend away, or whatever is possible and helpful.
It’s not about being selfish, it’s about being realistic about being human! Even Jesus took time alone when he was surrounded by needy people – if it was OK for him, then it’s certainly OK for us.

Keep up with encouraging friends
We all need good company to keep us on the right track. Whatever does it for you, whether it’s meeting friends for coffee, having a round of golf, or whatever – make every effort to do it. Your needs to not have to come last all the time. Make sure you have lots of positive, encouraging Christian fellowship, too.

Pray and read the Bible
Praying and reading the Bible are essentials if we want to continue walking with the Lord and grow in our faith and draw closer to the Lord. Don’t skip your time with God – it may be the most important thing you do all day. We can all find the time to do the things that really matter.

Deal with stress and other issues in your life
Stress can be a big issue, but it’s not the only one. If you know that you have a problem in your life that is affecting your relationship with your children, today is an excellent opportunity to take the first step to deal with it.
Be honest with yourself, to start with. The truth can hurt, but if you deal with the truth, the truth can set you free. Not sure what the truth is? Feel confused and don’t know where to turn? Why not:
Write in your Challenge journal what you think and how you feel about any issue on your mind. Then write down what you feel the Lord is saying to you about it/what you think you should do about it. Many people find this aspect of keeping a journal incredibly helpful.
Talk to someone you trust. It can be a friend, a counsellor, a doctor, someone in the pastoral care team at church, or a trusted member of your family. Just do it – don’t be too proud to get help if you need it.

Remember, if you have a problem that is not dealt with, it will affect your family as well as yourself. Here are some issues that you really should get some help with:

If you are drinking too much alcohol, or you think your child may be.
If you are abusing your body in any way, or you think your child may be.
If your temper is causing rifts in your relationships.
If you have financial worries.
If you are suffering from depression.
If you feel that you are not coping with one or more aspect of life.
If you or your child have a long term illness.
If you or your child are at risk of abuse.
If you are harbouring bitterness, resentment, hurts and unforgiveness.
If you haven’t got over a bereavement, marriage or relationship break-up.
This is not an exhaustive list. You know if you need help with something – don’t pretend to yourself any longer. If you’re serious about deepening your relationship with your children, take the first steps to freedom today for their sake, if not for your own. You will never regret it.

Over to you!
Write in your notebook any steps you know you should take to look after yourself better.
Take that first step.
Begin a journal, if you think it might be helpful.
Pray about any known issues you are facing.
Let us know how it went! http://www.facebook.com/christianparentingchallenge

“Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.” Luke 5:16

For the future:
For everyone’s sake, keep looking after yourself.

Be encouraged! What other parents say:
“This is a real challenge with young kids!!! We are going to try the following . . . Dad: more time out when off, drink more water, play golf more often. Mum: Less time in front of a screen, drink more water, more exercise, wind down for longer to help sleep.
We also are going to try and programme some quality time on our own together, maybe go for a walk or a coffee once in a while.”

Christian Parenting Challenge #7

Challenge 7
Do chores together

vacuum-cleaner
A burden shared is a burden halved
Chores are a fact of life; certain things just have to be done. Shopping, cooking, cleaning, washing, ironing, sorting the recycling, putting out the bins, doing the garden, cleaning the car, making the beds, washing up . . . the list is endless! But aren’t chores so much nicer if you have someone to do them with?

So many to choose from!
So today’s challenge is to choose a chore to do with your children. You have a choice:
You could help them with something they usually do (for example, if it’s their job to do the dishes, you could join in with that).
Or you could ask them to do a job with you that you might not usually ask them to do. You could clean the car together, work in the garden, sort out a cupboard . . .
Both are equally valuable. You could even do both, if you like!

Why not just give them jobs to do?
Well there’s certainly a place for everyone having their own chores to do, but these challenges are all about deepening your relationship with your children, remember? 🙂
Here are some good reasons for working together:
It’s good to help each other out. If you have helped your children, they are more likely to help you/others (although you might have to wait to see that come to fruition!).
If your children see you doing a job well, you will be setting a good example.
If you expect them to do a good job, they will rise to your expectations.
You can enjoy each other’s company. You can use the time to get to know your children better, to laugh together, and to share things on your heart.
They might appreciate a little bit more of how much you do for them. This is really good for your relationship.
A job that feels overwhelming is easier done in company, and gets done quicker. Being a valued member of a “team” is so much more satisfying than being a slave, or having slaves. (Honest! :-))
Even small children can help with simple tasks like dusting, sweeping up, putting toys away, laying the table and feeding pets. In fact, the more you do together when they are small, the easier it will be when they are older.

Make it fun
If you feel that any/all of your children might be grumpy about helping, you will need to work out a strategy in advance as to how you will deal with that. You can certainly assure them that it will be a much nicer time if you can work together cheerfully. Put on some lively music, sing, smile, and don’t give in to their negativity. Is there anything else you could do to make the time pass enjoyably? Listen to an audio book, discuss holiday plans, decide on your ultimate football team?

Over to you!
Write down a task each of your children could help you with, or that you could all do together.
Choose a suitable time and place, and get those chores done!
If you feel one of your children might object to helping out, decide (and write down) how you will deal with it.
After the challenge, write down how your activity went, and how you could improve next time.
Let us know how it went, especially if you have any advice to offer to others: http://www.facebook.com/christianparentingchallenge

“From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.” Ephesians 4:16

For the future:
Don’t shy away from getting your children to do chores with you. Use the time to deepen your relationship.

Be encouraged! What other parents say:
“I do feel really challenged by this. Having had an operation recently and needing time to recover has meant that the children have had to step up to the mark. Its been hard to get them to do chores and take more responsibility for themselves, but good for them and absolutely necessary for me. For me stress has been a big issue and I hope and pray that I’ll be able to use the recovery time to prayerfully re-evaluate how I’m spending my time and energy, and how we can all work better together.”

 

Hope that helps – do leave feedback, it’s always lovely to hear from you!

 

Janet

Challenge #2 – Do something for someone else

Challenge #2 – Do something for someone else

Here’s challenge #2, folks – if you missed yesterday’s post, scroll back for #1!

Challenge 2
Do something for someone else

card of cat drawn by a child

It’s great to serve others
The second greatest commandment is to love our neighbour as ourselves. That means love in action! We may not be able to change the whole world, but at least we can make a difference to the people around us.
So today’s challenge is to go beyond being a role model by serving others, and doing something to serve with your children. This is a great opportunity for them to find out how to use their gifts!
Children can sometimes make a difference in a very special way. Most elderly people, for example, love to have a visit from a child. Young people also have a lot of energy which is great to tap into, to help others!
Quite apart from the service you give, there’s something about working together that can build a deeper bond between you and your children and make some good memories for you to talk about later. It’s a win/win situation!

What could you do?
It may be that you can think of something to do for today’s challenge straight away . . . but if you want to start planning something to put into action on another day, that’s equally excellent! Here are a few suggestions:
Visit someone who is unwell.
Invite someone round who is lonely.
Send a card or draw a picture for an elderly person.
Host a coffee morning with proceeds going to a good cause.
Join an organised charity event, e.g. a sponsored walk or fun run.
Help someone out with gardening or chores.
Go on a short-term mission together.
Write a letter to a missionary kid and send it with a small gift, e.g. a Christian book and some stickers.
Remember charity begins at home . . . could you sort out grandma’s loft, clean mum’s or dad’s car, give the cook a day off, make everyone’s beds?
I’m sure you’ll have lots more ideas of your own!

Over to you!
In your notebook, jot down some ideas of things that you and your children could do together, to help someone else, either separately or all together.
Find your children and make some suggestions from your ideas – see what makes their eyes light up.
Decide on what you are going to do, and plan it! Make a list and start straight away – there’s no time like the present!
Share how it went with the community: http://www.facebook.com/christianparentingchallenge – or at least what first steps you are taking. 🙂

“Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.” 1 Peter 4:10

For the future:
Take the time every now and again to do something for someone else together!

Be encouraged! What other parents say:
“This has been a rewarding experience for both me and my children. Our next door neighbour had to go away unexpectedly and the kids offered to water her plants for her. It soon turned out to be great fun for us all! We have learned that even doing something small can mean a lot.”