Thursday, September 30, 2010

Eenie, meenie, minie, moe

Psalm 34:11
Come, my children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the LORD.

Physical Touch

  1. Tender squeeze of the shoulders
  2. High five

Words of Affirmation

  1. "I like it when you …"
  2. "You did a good job when…"

Quality Time

  1. board game
  2. craft


  1. a necessary item that's special (cartoon character, special scent or flavor)
  2. pick out something to give to someone else

Acts of Service

  1. Teach them a new chore
  2. do one of their chores for them

Prayer Suggestion: Ask God to help you show Jesus to someone today.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Tic, Tact, Toe

Proverbs 12:18 (New International Version)

18 Reckless words pierce like a sword,
but the tongue of the wise brings healing.

Kids will say whatever comes to mind. They may be brutally honest. Train your child, leading by example, how to encourage and look for the good in others. Help them look for those who need a friend and reach out to them.

Prayer Suggestion: Ask God to help you and your child choose your words carefully

Monday, September 27, 2010

Borrowed post on bullying

Today is a special post on bullying that I borrowed from Glynnis Whitwer, author of When Your Child is Hurting.

"Should you stand up to a bully?"

You might think the topic of bullying isn't fitting for a devotion.  Yet, throughout Scripture we see God's heart for those oppressed.  Psalm 9:8-9 (New International Version)

 8 He will judge the world in righteousness;
       he will govern the peoples with justice.

 9 The LORD is a refuge for the oppressed,
       a stronghold in times of trouble.

Jesus was sent to bring hope and help to those oppressed.  He read these words written by the prophet Isaiah about Himself: Luke 4:17-19 (New International Version)

17The scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written:
 18"The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
      because he has anointed me
      to preach good news to the poor.
   He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
      and recovery of sight for the blind,
   to release the oppressed,
    19to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor."

And this same loving God calls us to a life of mercy and justice: Micah 6:8 (New International Version)

 8 He has showed you, O man, what is good.
       And what does the LORD require of you?
       To act justly and to love mercy
       and to walk humbly with your God.

I sense a call to action when it comes to bullies.  As I said in my devotion, tolerating offense willingly is one thing.  Submitting out of fear is another.  I believe it's time to empower our children to stand up to bullies and not pretend it isn't happening.  Because it is in alarming numbers.

So what can parents do if you think your child is being bullied?  Here are a few tips from my book, "When Your Child is Hurting:"

Identify if the actions are true bullying or just childish meanness.  A definition for bullying might be when one child or a group regularly torments another child psychologically or physically.

If it's bullying, allow your child to talk uninterrupted about the problem. Show compassion and empathy, but not anger. Let your child know you take his comments very seriously, but don't over-react. Share your own experiences to let your child know she isn't alone.

Then casually ask specifics such as:

 Refrain from interrogation techniques, and write down the answers without your child seeing you. 

If your child has any injuries to herself or her possessions, take photos.  Do this calmly, without making a big deal. 

By this point you probably want to take matters into your own hands, but don't.  It's important for your child to handle it as much as possible.  Remember, you are training him to deal with bullies the rest of his life. 

What you do next depends on the extent and the location of the offense. If something criminal happened, you have a responsibility to report it to the police. If it happened at school, a library, after-school program or other public place, you and your child together should report it to those authorities. If the offense was relatively minor, you can help your child deal with it one-on-one, and with God's help, take steps now to avoid any further bullying.

Steps to avoid bullying

Some simple practices can help you bully-proof your child. I think most parents would agree that it's better to be pro-active than re-active when it comes to bullies. Most experts agree on the following:

Connect with friends – Having a group of true friends is one of the best defenses against bullies. True friends affirm your child's worth and value. True friends will stick up for your child in a difficult situation.  Empower your child to do the same for his friends.

Be direct – Teach your child to be honest and direct about what she wants or needs. This is a good training ground for setting healthy boundaries.

Respond calmly to a situation – When your child is hurt or offended, teach him to respond calmly, rather than give in to emotions and react. Taking a minute to think through a situation and formulate a response will help your child learn self-control and teach him relationship-building skills.

Stand up for yourself – As your child learns her worth is based in her position as a child of God, she begins to see her value. No one has the right to intimidate her, or her friends. There should be a sense of holy justice that rises up in us when we understand that fact. When someone bullies your child, she has the right, and the responsibility, to tell the bully to stop. This starts at home. Allow your child to speak his mind freely with respect.

Be assertive, not aggressive – Teach your child the difference between standing up for what is right, and retaliating. As Christians we follow a moral code of how to treat each other, given to us by a holy God. We have the right to speak out against injustice.

Teach social skills – We all need to learn how to live in community with others. If you see your child has a difficult time relating to children her age, spend some time going over rules of common courtesy.

Thank you, Glynnis, for letting me repost this. You can check out Glynnis's blog at

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Finding Time

Jeremiah 6:16 (New International Version)

16 This is what the LORD says:
"Stand at the crossroads and look;
ask for the ancient paths,
ask where the good way is, and walk in it,
and you will find rest for your souls.
But you said, 'We will not walk in it.'

We all have routines and things we like to do. Maybe, just once, you could leave the dishes a little longer, skip the TV show, or maybe it's staying away from Facebook for a day. Instead, spend extra time with your child—or even together as a family.

Prayer Suggestion: Talk to God about your time.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Send off

3 John 1:14 (New International Version)

14I hope to see you soon, and we will talk face to face.
Peace to you. The friends here send their greetings. Greet the friends there by name.

What do you say to your child as you send them off to school? Remember what you say and do carries them through their day.

Do you have a bedtime routine? This can be valuable quality time to wrap up your day. You can talk about what happened, read a book, make up a story—whatever it is, make it special. Even if you think they have outgrown a "bedtime routine" find a time—maybe not at the end of each day, but at least the end of the week—to keep up with their life.

Prayer Suggestion: Ask God to stay with your child when you can't.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Greetings and Salutations

1 Peter 5:14 (New International Version)

14Greet one another with a kiss of love. Peace to all of you who are in Christ.

How do you greet your child in the morning? After school? Can you think of a new way to greet them or welcome them home that lets them know how much you love them?

Prayer Suggestion: How do you greet God in your prayer? Include praise and adoration today.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Bullying vs Teasing

I've been hearing a lot about bullying lately from different sources. Here are my thoughts. defines tease: irritate or provoke with persistent petty distractions, trifling raillery, or other annoyance, often in sport.

And bully:

(n)1. a blustering, quarrelsome, overbearing person who habitually badgers and intimidates smaller or weaker people.

(v)6. to act the bully toward; intimidate; domineer.


Teasing is supposed to be done in fun, without the intent to hurt. Bullying, however, is intended to hurt and intimidate. I think teasing is a necessary part of life so that we can all learn to laugh off and laugh at our blunders. Children need to be taught the difference. Children need to be taught to consider the feelings of others. It is true that some people are more sensitive than others. But is someone is extra sensitive about something and "your" intent was to tease, then "your" response should be to apologize, love on them, and build them up again. A bully wouldn't care.


My question, where would you draw the line between teasing and bullying? Do you think it is an easily defined line, a fine line, or a gray area?


Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Action vs Reaction

Galatians 6:4 (New International Version)

4Each one should test his own actions. Then he can take pride in himself, without comparing himself to somebody else,

Our kids can irritate us. Write down some of the ways your kids irritate, bug, or frustrate you. Brainstorm some solutions. Talk to other parents. Talk to older parents.

Now brainstorm new reactions for yourself. We can't always change or control our kids, but we can control and change our own reaction.

Prayer Suggestion: Ask God to show you what you need to change about you

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Penny for your thoughts

Proverbs 18:15 (New International Version)

15 The heart of the discerning acquires knowledge;
the ears of the wise seek it out.

Ask your child if there is anything they wish they could change—about themselves, about chores, about the way things are done, about anything. You might be surprised what is on their mind.

Prayer Suggestion: Ask God for discernment.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Growing Sponges

Joshua 1:9 (New International Version)

9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go."

Is there an activity or something new you can encourage your child to try? Encourage them to try something new. Expose them to new experiences. As you stretch you grow and learn to adjust you become a more well-rounded person. Young children are like little sponges. Just be careful not to overwhelm and try to do too much at once. Pace yourselves and have fun!

Prayer Suggestion: Ask God to help you and your child choose opportunities and experiences.

Friday, September 10, 2010

What’s up

Psalm 51:6 (New International Version)

6 Surely you desire truth in the inner parts [a] ;
you teach [
b] me wisdom in the inmost place.

Ask your child how they are doing, how was their day at school? Have a conversation. Pay attention. Ask about their friends. Ask what they like to do. Ask them what is popular. Don't treat it like an interview though. Listen. What's similar to when you were growing up? What's changed? The important thing is to show your child that you are open and willing to talk about anything; and to try to be the one who knows your child best.

Prayer Suggestion: Ask God to help you have a sincere conversation with your child.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Rain, rain, let it rain

Deuteronomy 32:2 (New International Version)

2 Let my teaching fall like rain
and my words descend like dew,
like showers on new grass,
like abundant rain on tender plants.

I usually like rainy days. I find them inspirational and spiritual in a way. Although there are the rainy days when my kids whine and fuss and fight. Those are the times when I must rely on divine creative inspiration. What will the weather inspire you to do today? Curl up together and read a book? Do something by candlelight? Build a fort? Color? Do a puzzle? Play a game? Even popcorn and a movie can be quality time if you have the right heart attitude and mindset.

Prayer Suggestion: Ask for God's inspiration and creativity.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Don’t be afraid to try

2 Corinthians 9:8 (New International Version)

8And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.

It's ok to try something that may not work. You won't know until you try. You may stumble onto a wonderful solution. And if it doesn't work, you and your kids will survive, bounce back and try something else.

Prayer Suggestion: Ask God for new ideas.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Other things to grow

It's fun to watch plants grow from a seed: beans, flowers, grass. I wanted to do something different (try something new!) I was thinking there was a way to grow an avocado pit and remembered as a kid that potatoes would start to sprout if left in the pantry too long. I bought an avocado and did a little research on the internet

I couldn't find anything on the potato, so I stuck it in the pantry and forgot about it. Literally.

Now 3-4 weeks later, this is the progress:

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Try something new

Ecclesiastes 3:1,4,7 (NIV)
1There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven …

4a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance …

7a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak …

When was the last time you tried something new? Could you try a new hobby? Learn a new skill? You're never too old to learn and grow. Do you need to release some stress or find a way to relax? I find it's easier to deal with curve balls and monkey wrenches when I don't have pent up stress.

Prayer Suggestion: Ask God to give you the patience and the courage to try something new.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010


Deuteronomy 4:9
Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them slip from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them.

Choose two ways from the list to show love to your child TODAY.

Physical Touch
1) pat on the back
2) play with their hair

Words of Affirmation
3) "I like the way you …"
4) "Thank you for …"

Quality Time
5) work on a puzzle together
6) do some yard work or gardening together

7) the next time you give your child something he needs, tie a ribbon on it, add a note or card, or wrap it up and present it
8) reward your child for effort made toward improvement

Acts of Service
9) invite them to do one of your chores with you
10) do a service project together (shopping for angel, pack shoebox, find things to donate)

Challenge: How many ways can you use this week?

Prayer Suggestion: Ask God to show you who else you could show love to today, this week.