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  • From Pandemonium to Purpose: Finding Your Family’s Superpowers

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    Sometimes family life can seem like a crazy collision of everyone’s challenges and weaknesses. In our family Jim could get impatient and snippy, Lynne tended to nag, Daniel liked to dominate and demand fairness, Bethany was over-sensitive and cried easily, and Noah sometimes told fibs to avoid conflict. On a bad day, it was mayhem!…
  • Create Moments of Awe and Wonder for Your Children

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    Over the holidays I had the opportunity to participate in Advent celebrations in churches of different faiths. I am always curious to observe how churches include or exclude children in the life of the church because it says something about how they view the spiritual growth and development of little ones. In one church the…
  • Three Important Conversations to Have with Your Kids

    Father Parenting his son.
    Years ago my wife came across a book that stirred both of our hearts: Already Gone: Why your kids will quit church and what you can do to stop it (by Ken Ham, Britt Beemer & Todd Hillard).Estimates suggest two-thirds of kids from Christian homes will walk away from the faith during college. But here’s the book’s…
  • The Friendship Fix

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    Some kids pick the best friends and some kids need a little help with “discernment.” God created our kids with the ability to choose, and he honors their right to choose. One of our most important jobs as a parent is teaching our kids how to use their right to choose, rightly. When do you…
  • Youth Sex Trafficking: America’s Hidden Slavery

    Portrait of frustrated girl victim of human trafficking, sitting alone with a paper
    To a parent of a teenage daughter and son, it was unthinkable. I couldn’t believe this was happening in America, let alone the very city where I reside. But every day thousands of teens are sold for sex in America. And these teens are of every socio-economic segment, every race, every gender, every religion. As…
  • A Parent’s Real Motivation for Wanting Kids to Obey

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    The heavy topic of perfection once again sucked all of the oxygen from the air surrounding one of my kids the other night. I watched as the lure, the expectation and the absolute inability-to-be-perfect weighed heavy and locked in like a heat-seeking missile to its target. I guess with five kids, this topic was sure…

Discussions

  • Successfully Launch Your Out-of-the-Box Child

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    From the very beginning, Nathan was different from other children. Not different because of his face shape or his freckles or his personality. A different kind of different. He did not fit into any boxes we could define. Agitation seemed to be a part of his internal motor that revved up each day. People and…
  • The One Thing We Can’t Give Our Kids

    Family praying together before eating their salad for lunch in the kitchen
    As a mom, we can give our kids many things: We can give them our time, our attention, and our unwavering support. We can give them new experiences to stretch them and boundaries to protect them. We can give them a “yes” as much as possible, and a “no” when it matters. We can give them love in the form of discipline and acceptance no…
  • Give Your Child the Gift of Responsibility

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    This is the easiest rubber-meets-the-road way I’ve seen to build responsibility in children that I’ve come across. The idea is that, on birthdays ages 11–18, you give your child a freedom/responsibility in the form of a gift.  Read on for “How it works,” as well as “How it’s worked for my family.” How it works: (as explained…
    • Raising Kind Kids

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      Are babies born “kind” or is kindness a learned behavior? After looking at several studies the best answer I could find to that question is “yes.” Human beings are born with a natural sense of compassion for others. But that natural compassion can be impacted by the way a child is raised. Kindness is something…
    • Why New Dads Should Go on a Post-Partum Diet

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      If there’s one four-letter word I can’t stand, it’s the one heard most often in January: diet. Maybe I should blame it on being raised as a Baptist. It wasn’t until much later in life that I learned a church event could occur without food. Or I could blame it on genetics. Gratefully (so far),…
    • SaySomething: Empower Your Kids through Delegating [Video]

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      In this video podcast (or, “vodcast” as we like to call it), Chrystal Evans Hurst talks with us about how empowering it is for her children to have responsibilities delegated to them. Just seven minutes long, this conversation covers real-life situations with practical insight and a lot of humor. Subscribe to the YouTube channel for…
      • Parenting: When Doing Less Accomplishes More

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        Have you ever had one of those conversations where you don’t know what you are going to say until you say it, and you don’t realize how true it is until it’s out of your mouth? That happened to me recently. I was talking to a sweet young woman whom I mentor, listening intently as…
      • Finding Comfort and Joy in the New Year

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        “All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.” 2 Corinthians 1:3–4 …
      • Your Child in 2017—Are You Ready?

        Happy new year card 2017. Silhouette of children girl in jumping on tropical beach with fantastic sunset sky background. Kids holding the number 2017 with sea and sunrise background.
        If your child is under the age of one, think of them like the weather in Texas: If you don’t like something, just wait a week and you will see things change. If your child is toddling around the house: think of 2017 like your box of Christmas ornaments: some moments are fragile, sometimes things…
        • Waiting Well

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          As a mother of six kids, I’ve learned the importance of waiting well. Waiting for them to put on their shoes, waiting for them to find their shoes, waiting for rooms to be cleaned and homework to be finished. But most of all waiting for them to become the people God created them to be.…
        • Your Nativity Scene is Mostly Wrong—But That’s Alright

          Little 7 year old angel visiting a nativity scene reenacted with a doll
          Some of you watched your precious babies act out the “greatest story ever told” at their preschool Christmas program. And chances are, your Nativity scene is still displayed today. But most of these traditions likely portray the birth of Jesus inaccurately. What are the real details about the Nativity—the events surrounding the birth of Jesus?…
        • Making Memories

          A large family are all helping serve Christmas dinner.
          I remember as a young woman hearing an older woman say, “Don’t wait for memories to happen. Your most important memories will be made.” She went on to teach us how important it was to have things like family traditions, family priorities, and times to plan and prepare for those memories to be made. Looking…
          • Creating Community through the Holidays and Beyond

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            Need for Community + Holiday Season = Stressed People. We want our tribe gathered around us. We need our people. But church events and Christmas programs and work parties, oh my. Where do we scrunch one more thing in? On the other hand, maybe the celebration of our Lord’s birth and the anticipation of a…
          • Finding Peace in the Craziness of Christmas

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            “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” ~Matthew 11:28–30 “Peace I…
          • Impressions of Hope [Video]

            Melinda of the Skitzy Chicks displays her serious side—and her serious talent—in this illustration of the hope we have in Jesus, the true gift of Christmas, told with light, sand, and an artist’s hand. Take a few minutes to worship!
            • ‘Frown Rebound’: An ‘Instant Advent’ Episode

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              Video summary: With sad changes happening to their family, Ada and Otto wonder if there is anything to rejoice about this Advent season. Devotion: On that day they will say to Jerusalem, “Do not fear, Zion; do not let your hands hang limp. The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves.” …
            • Christmas Crafts: Making Pop-up Cards

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              Need something to keep your little ones busy while home from school? Hands-on crafts are a favorite with children of all ages. Perhaps one of these three options will inspire you. The Sparkhouse Family team has posted a series of short videos that teach children how to make three kinds of fun Christmas cards. The first…
            • Throw a Party with This Kids Christmas Album

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              To be honest, I’ve been hesitant to review the Bethel Music Kids Christmas Party album. I have never been a huge fan of hokey children’s music. But this album pleasantly surprised me! As a worship leader and new mom, I think this album is awesome. From the moment it started playing, I could not stop…
              • A Jesus Gift Under the Tree

                Children in superhero costume and a bunch of Christmas gift boxes. Dreamers. New Year's and Christmas.
                Christmas morning should be a spectacularly fun time for a family. Stockings, presents, family, and church make the day joyful and fill the digital cameras with fun pictures to share. It is fun to be parents on Christmas day! Your kids made a list and you are checking it twice. One of the most difficult…
              • All Mom Wants for Christmas [Video]

                As moms, all we want for Christmas is to create special memories for our families, but sometimes it’s easy to get carried away. In all of the splendor of the season, don’t forget to keep the focus on the reason why we celebrate in the first place.
              • How to Encourage Gratitude in Your Children During the Holidays

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                I remember my excitement the day the Sears & Roebuck catalog landed in the mailbox of my childhood home. I carefully looked through each section circling the gifts I wanted to find under our Christmas tree. The Snoopy Sno-Cone Machine, Barbie’s Dream House, and a Cabbage Patch Kid made the list more than once. The…
                • Make Advent Memorable

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                  How often will your child ask, “How many more days until Christmas?” A good Advent calendar might be your best purchase for the holiday season. A friend just gave me a wonderful version that is hanging in my home now. A marker is attached to a string, and each day a child is able to…
                • Making Christmas Unique for Your Family

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                  I’ll bet you’re already envisioning what Christmas will be like at your house. Perhaps it will include a  service somewhere, family gatherings, a special breakfast, gifts under the tree, visits to local lighting displays and lots of great food. You probably have other special traditions that are unique to your family and all those things…
                • Three Gift-Giving Lessons You Can Teach Your Kids

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                  The holidays have a peculiar way of bringing out the best and the worst in each of us. The arguments in our house begin at Thanksgiving with Black Friday. Every year, my husband graces us with a diatribe on the incivility of shopping on the heels of giving thanks to God for all the blessings…
                  • 5 Tips for Keeping Your Kids Content During the Holidays

                    A blond haired toddler and her family exchanging Christmas gifts near the Christmas tree on Christmas Day to celebrate the event. The child takes with the hand the gift his father gives him
                    Keeping your kids content during the holidays isn’t always easy. Marketing during the Christmas season is everywhere—all over the TV, radio and internet—with most companies doing everything they can to get your kids’ attention. These marketers are smart. They know the easiest way to get to your pocketbook is through your kids—and at Christmas time,…
                  • Your Child Doesn’t Need a Smartphone

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                    As the father of two young children, the following true-life story from my counseling practice terrifies me. The mother of a twelve-year-old called me and frantically relayed that her son was considering suicide. As she revealed how her child had gotten to that point, I became increasingly sick to my stomach. Through a social media…
                  • Advent Day One: The Seed (Offspring) of Abraham

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                    Now the promises were made to Abraham and to his offspring. It does not say, “And to offsprings,” referring to many, but referring to one, “And to your offspring,” who is Christ (Galatians 3:16). For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is…
                    • 3 Ways Pray with Your Kids Every Day

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                      We had a minor tragedy in our home recently. Raquel and Fudge, gerbils who had lived long past a normal life expectancy for small rodents, passed away without warning. My nine-year-old son and eleven-year-old daughter were devastated when they found the lifeless clumps of fur in their cage. My husband dutifully dug a proper grave…
                    • Read the Christmas Story throughout December [Free Printable]

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                      We’ve always waited until Christmas morning, right after the kids open their stockings, to read the Christmas story. #276 Bad Parenting Idea: Read a long passage from the Bible while kids are waiting to open presents. For a spiritual moment, probably not the best choice mom and dad! Instead, we are going to do a short…
                    • A Tale of Two Turkeys

                      Template greeting card with a happy Thanksgiving turkey, vector illustration
                      Tom Turkey was a big, noisy turkey whose feathers went every which way when he walked. Tina Turkey was just as noisy, but her clucking sounded a lot different than Tom’s. Both Tom and Tina wanted to be the turkey chosen for the Thanksgiving parade. Tom thought he should be chosen because he had more…
                      • All Mom Wants for Thanksgiving [Video]

                        Thanksgiving is a time for family and for taking the time to count our blessings. But sometimes during the chaotic holiday, moms would just be thankful to get things back to normal.
                      • Gaming: A Safe Place for Teens? [Giveaway]

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                        Games are everywhere, and to a new generation, they are almost everything. They are social, sports, entertainment, education and more. Many young people make money by competing, making videos of themselves playing, or from ads that display whilst people watch them play. It’s a brave new world, and it isn’t going away. Parents, as you…
                      • “Daddy, Do We Have Money?”

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                        As we neared the exhibit of rides and activities, my four-year-old son turned to me. “Daddy, do we have money?” I didn’t anticipate such an astute question from my little man. He knew what was coming. He saw the thrilling rides and fun festivities. For me, well, I saw the fun, but mostly I saw…
                        • A Biblical Perspective on Parental Discipline

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                          Disciplining our kids is usually the most frustrating, confusing part of parenting. The stakes are high, because what kids learn when they are disciplined will last a lifetime. In our work with parents, we have seen that well-intentioned efforts often miss kids’ hearts as parents struggle to figure out, “What is ‘biblical discipline,’ and how…