Do you lead a MOPS or local mom small group? This list of article links and accompanying discussion questions can help you facilitate conversation during your meetings.
New questions will be added regularly, with newer content at the top of the page.
Parents have a rough November these days. Nothing excites our kids more than Christmas. I was watching the television and saw the ad for the Toys R Us “Great Big Book of Awesome.” It came out while the trick or treaters were counting their Snickers bars! How wound up, distracted, and impatient are kids going to be? December 25th is still a long way off, especially if you are a child. And where does Thanksgiving fit it? Pilgrims and Christmas trees just don’t belong together.
What are you going to do to make certain your kids have a Thanksgiving celebration amidst the premature Christmas rush?
How does your family celebrate Thanksgiving?
Have you ever struggled with “losing” Thanksgiving due to Black Friday shopping or traveling?
Share your favorite Thanksgiving memory from your childhood or early married days.
Sometimes the Bible seems like a book for grown-ups. Many passages are difficult to understand. Proverbs is different. Proverbs is perfect for kids. I want my children to hear King Solomon’s wisdom. Then, when they are out in the wide, wild world, they will know the path to take. Wisdom will be their guide. How do we make Proverbs come alive for our children?
Share how an adult (parent, teacher, family friend, etc) made the Bible come alive to you as a young person.
Which children’s Bible would you recommend for using with toddlers?
Share creative ideas on how to teach scripture to toddlers and preschoolers.
What’s so great about the book of Proverbs, especially for kids?
One of the points of parenting is to raise kids to be productive, decent, law-abiding adults, right? As my husband and I pursue that goal, we also wish to impress on our kids that their primary citizenship isn’t in the US, but in the church—the Body of Christ. Paul says in Philippians 3:20, “Our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ…” In Ephesians 2:19 he assures us that because of Christ, we “are no longer strangers and aliens, but are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God…” Christ’s life, death, and resurrection brought people from every nation/tribe/language group into one heavenly family. This supersedes man-made nationalities. So, as we encourage our kids to be upstanding American citizens, they must learn to do so in ways consistent with their faith.
Other people’s kids had shown us that parenting could be tough. And during those fifteen years before we brought home our own child, we also saw that parenting fads came and went. So when it came time for us to parent, we wanted a guide with timeless advice and that was flexible enough to cover life’s complexities. And an experienced parent gave us a great recommendation. At one of our baby showers, the mother of three shared a devotional thought that stuck with me. She said, “Feel free to read the parenting books and gain what you can from them. But for truly timeless wisdom, go to the Book of Proverbs.”
Where are you and your husband most likely to look for parenting advice?
Which of you gives the most instruction to your child(ren)?
Share the best parenting advice you ever received. Now share the worst piece of advice someone gave you.
What parenting issues have driven you to the Bible for God’s advice?
Do you have a favorite proverb that directs your parenting?
Joy doesn’t depend on circumstance; joy is a gift of God. Joy is the peaceful sense that life has been lived with God’s purpose and plan. We have our children under our roof for a small percentage of their lives. The vast majority of your children’s lives will be spent in their own homes. So, enjoy your children and invest in them at each stage of their lives.
What is your favorite part of Christmas morning?
How do you include Jesus in your Christmas holiday?
How do you include extended family in your Christmas celebration?
Flash-forward 25 years: If your children follow your example, how content will you be as the grandparent?
How will you teach your family the value of being a family?
So what makes a great mom great? Here are seven things I’ve noticed as a son, husband, and father (married to another incredible mom). A great mom is a parent who loves unconditionally. Her affection is not based on the performance of her children. Come hell or high water, good days or bad, she simply loves.
Do you have a hard time being consistent with your kids?
What is your definition of unconditional love?
How do you encourage your child and still challenge them to improve?
What spiritual quality do you most want your kids to see in you?
Does faith play an active role in your parenting? If so, give an example.
“Parenting” begins with something we call “labor” and the work never ends for at least two decades. In many ways, “parenting” and “working” are synonyms. You can’t stop being a parent when your kids are young, so how can the two of you possibly enjoy a Sabbath?
How do you and your spouse take a day off?
How do you and your spouse take a day off together?
What is your number one challenge to making time alone?
Share your favorite low/no-cost way to take a Sabbath.
Do you leave your children for an extended time away (more than 2 days)? Why or why not?
It was a hard pill to swallow, but that day I decided that intimidating my children into short-term obedience wasn’t worth it. I wanted my children to feel safe, not scared. I’ve been working to become a safer parent ever since.
How do you back up your spouse when he needs to discipline?
What do you discipline immediately, and what do you give time for?
What do you appreciate about the way your husband disciplines?
Do you ever defer an issue until “Daddy gets home”?
How have you and your husband planned to maintain a unified front when discipline issues arise?
We might also title this: “Four Things You Don’t Want to Do in Parenting.” For use in this blog, I’m describing a narcissist or narcissist-in-training as someone who acts like the world revolves around them and their needs. The disorder and behavior tend to be trans-generational. So a narcissist is often the child of a narcissistic parent. To use a Bible concept, the “sins of the parent” are sometimes passed on to the generations that follow.
What are you doing, or what can you start doing, to keep your marriage and personal interests/needs at the forefront of your family life despite having a baby and/or toddler?
Give an example of encouraging your child without building up his or her ego falsely. How do you allow them to fail or struggle?
How do you or can you model selfless living to your young family?
How do you teach your toddler to consider others’ wants and needs first?
When my son began to narrate our Friday nights step by step the way toddlers do, I began to grasp how very comforting our Pizza Movie Night is to every member of our family. It is the simplest of nights in our household. But each of us find our family center here; it is our ground zero.
Share one of your family traditions from when you were a child.
Do you have any traditions in your own family now? Share one and how it developed.
Brainstorm together about affordable, simple ideas that you can try with your family to see which of them might become a beloved tradition.
Other than a weekly or regular event, what other sorts of family bonding can you consider implementing in your family life?
To overcome the pressure of raising happy kids, we must learn to raise holy kids. “Holy” doesn’t actually mean perfect. Rather, “holy” means dedicated to God. In that light, thankfully, we can all have holy children. We can willfully choose to set our children apart to be consecrated by God. But this doesn’t just begin and end with us mentally agreeing with that notion.
Share a time when you stood firm against your child’s demands.
Share a time you gave in to your child’s unreasonable expectations and regretted it.
How have you balanced expressing disappointment in their behavior with unconditional love for them as your children?
What is your end goal, your purpose as a parent? Do you know it? How does it correspond to God’s desires?
Our kids are hearing a lot of rhetoric these days on the news, in school, around the dinner table, and even in church. Kids tend to believe what they hear most often. Will our kids grow up to think America is great, or only that it used to be?
Is it important to you that your kids have pride in their country?
How do you plan to influence your children’s views on politics?
What practices can you begin to show your American spirit to your kids?
What do you remember from your own childhood as positive patriotic events or occasions?
As Americans become more aware of food allergies and food safety, new terms have become mainstream: gluten-free, vegan, going organic, and more. We all want to know what’s healthiest, what’s dangerous, and how we can provide the best food for our families. But the marketplace sends contradictory messages, so we often cannot sift truth from spin.
Describe your experience shopping for healthy food for your family.
What are the struggles with buying “superfoods” and other whole, all-natural foods that society deems to be healthier?
Have you ever felt guilt when passing over the organic for the regular version?
What do you think of the article’s conclusions about organic food?