They Want to be Known

Love_LeadSmall

The way you love a kid can dramatically affect his or her future. Love over time creates worth, and any parent would tell you the most common parenting mistakes are easily overcome by loving our children over the long haul. In the book Playing for Keeps , the authors make this statement:

Most research suggests that when it comes to love, the younger the recipient, the more powerful the impact.

This can create quite the urgency in the heart of an elementary small group leader. Think about it. When we are only seeing these kids for a handful of hours a year, how can we demonstrate a love that makes a sincere impact?

- Read the rest of my contribution to the Lead Small blog at:  http://leadsmall.org/elementary/the-time-is-now/

Family Night Ideas

Below are links to “Family Night” themes we did a few years back when my kids were itty-bitties. My hope is that if you’re a parent of littles, you find some easy ideas for making memories and spending time with those precious wee ones. I had so much fun looking through these posts – would you look at those little sweet faces?!?

Roughing It  – Indoor Camping

Ye Olde Family Night  – Pirate Theme

Family Fall Festival  

No One Eats Moon Pies Anymore  – Outer Space Theme

Early Edition  – Morning at Night Theme

Robots

Water  – A night around Living Water International

All Aboard!  - Train theme around Polar Express

Puzzle Night

Create Your Own Boardgame  

Popcorn Night

Meet the President

St. Patrick’s Day  – all things green

One Seriously Funny Hamster  - a night around the movie Bolt

Springtime

Super Heroes and Princesses

Choose Your Own Fast Food Night

India  – a night themed around Compassion International

Nocturnal Creatures  – all about critters that come out at night!

Pizza Night

Strawberry Night  

Sledding and Snowballs in Summertime

When I Grow Up

Pumpkins

Thinking Independently

Think

“If you want to succeed you should strike out on new paths, rather than travel worn paths of accepted success.”

— John D. Rockefeller, founder of Standard Oil Company

Read that quote again. It’s the secret behind the biggest breakthroughs in innovation. Look at the history of technology, and innovation is there. Look at the history of government, and innovation is there. Look at the history of organized sports, and innovation is there.

Innovation is not achieved by imitating the success of others. It’s achieved by great leaders who choose to risk failure and ridicule in order to create something completely new. The comfort of what has been done is always tempting, and sometimes staying put and maintaining is a great challenge that we are called to. However, oftentimes the real challenge is in walking off the beaten path.

Your teenage son that won’t talk to you because he’s tired of your lectures and unsolicited advice…maybe he could use something off the beaten path. Your preschooler that is too scared to be left in a room without you…maybe she could use something off the beaten path. That co-worker that drives you absolutely batty…maybe she could use a response from you that was less than common.

You may say, “Give me some examples!”, but then you’d be missing the whole point. The question is your to answer.

What do you need to do differently to make something different happen?

Holding Inappropriate Expectations

Expectations

I’ve had some limited experience meeting with newlyweds over the years. You know these couples, right? They love their soon-to-be husband or wife, and as I begin to sit down and talk with them I discover that their expectations of marriage are wildly different for marriage. He thinks that it’s going to be great to start a family soon, and she is excited to finish her 2nd graduate degree before maybe having kids. As the counselor, it’s my goal to help them set realistic and right expectations for each other. As the married man, it just seems to obvious.

Yet as a father, I’m more than guilty of holding inappropriate expectations for my own kids every day. I expect math to be easy for them, because it was easy for me. I expect them to love baseball, but they just want to wear the hats and drink Capri suns afterwards. When they’re young, it starts so innocently. Then they become teenagers one day, and I then hold the potential for my bad expectations of them to keep them from what they could become. I expect greatness to look like one thing, and I discover later on that greatness was there all along.

If your children regularly fail to measure up to your standards, you might be expecting too  much.

Then there is the nasty flip side of expectations.  Some parents expect almost nothing from their kids. In such settings, children can lose energy or passion because they are never helped to reach forward to those things which are ahead (Phil 3:13). In other homes too much is expected. Experience teaches that unreasonable expectations are the ideal breeding ground for discouragement.

As parents let us be guilty of encouragement, and let us be convicted when our expectations get in the way of who these wonderful children are becoming each day.

 

Paint a Parenting Picture

SONY DSC

I ve heard it said that when it comes to parenting, the days are long, but the years are short. It s true, isn't it? Eighteen years feel like such a long time, and then suddenly we have a 9-year-old that is ½ way finished with his time in our home! If you have young children, then know that it s a whirlwind coming to get you and those babies will be up and around in no time. If you are the parent of teenagers, then I m sure it s already hit you full in the face.

In the grand scheme of your child s life, the quantity of time they spend in your home is a drop in the bucket. However, the quality of that time they have is entirely up to you. Parenting intentionally means that we recognize the shortness of what we have to work with, while also acknowledging the seriousness of what we have to carry out in that short amount of time.

Could I challenge you to paint a picture of what you'd want that 18-year-old birthday party to look like? Take a moment to imagine a huge send off party for your daughter or son. Imagine that you gathered together everyone that has ever influenced your child in a positive way. Imagine the room is full of all the voices they ve heard over the year s family, friends, small group leaders, baseball coaches, gymnastics instructors, schoolteachers, and neighborhood buddies. They are all gathered together to celebrate the future of your son or daughter, and they ve all had a role in helping to make them who they are.

Got the picture in your mind's eye? Now ponder these questions:Are any of these people in their lives now?Who is missing right now from their life that you would want at this celebration? Are there some people at the party that you d rather not be there?

To really value the voices our children have in their lives, we have to begin to imagine the end of their time with us. Every word your child hears from the influences in their life, are already planning this send off party; whether you know it or not.

Whether you know it or not, you ve been granted the role of influencing these young children in your home. God has given you the responsibility of managing their time in your home, and while they eventually will make their own decisions and choose their own path in life, it s your influence now that helps make those decisions and paths more clear for them.