5 Ways We Teach Our Children About God

5 Ways we teach our children about God

Our number one priority is that we set our children off on the right track spiritually.

We aren’t training them to live to please just their parents, society, or a set of rules.  Once you’re an adult, those things all become mushy anyway.

We’d rather they have a relationship with God. It’s not about religion; it’s about knowing how to pray, knowing why they believe, having faith, and making these choices on their own. It’s about feeling responsible to a being higher than ourselves.

We want them to know that through any crisis in life, and the good times too, they can cry to Jesus, to our Heavenly Father. Alan and I will eventually die. Their brothers will too, so they need someone who will always be there. That’s what they can find in their relationship with God.

5 Ways we teach our children about God

Here are 5 super simple ways we foster their relationship with God:

 

#1. We teach them to pray.

From the time they are babies, we pray with each child individually before they go to bed at night. Sometimes it’s just Alan or me, but usually it’s both of us with each boy. When they are babies, I say all the words.

By the time they are talking, I let them say their own prayers, and I give them ideas for what to say by having them repeat after me. I change it up, not saying the same old thing every night.

For example:

“Thank you for this day. Thank you for my mommy, my daddy, my brothers, and (whoever else comes to mind). Thank you for my toys. Thank you for my house. Thank you for my food. Please help (insert sick relative) get better. Amen.”

By the time they are 3, they rarely repeat after me. They say whatever is on their mind, and sometimes it is adorable, and sometimes it is downright hilarious.

One of my boys used to say, “Thank you for

my mom and dad. Thank you for polar bears. Please help the polar bears. Thank you for badgers, raccoons, sun bears, grizzly bears, dolphins, beluga whales…” and he’d go on and on and on naming every animal he knew. So precious.

As they get older, we add in teaching them about praying for forgiveness when they’ve hurt their brother or disobeyed.

 

 

5 Ways we teach our children about God

Daniel, proudly displaying an award he earned at church.

#2. We take them to church.

It’s so much work when they are little to get them all cleaned up and dressed and to the church on time, but it’s so incredibly worth it. Hearing these Bible stories from another adult, hearing about how God loves them, and getting another Christian’s perspective on walking with the Lord is powerful. 

It backs up everything they are learning at home, encourages them in their faith, and exposes them to other leaders and kids like them. I have had so many mentors over the years that were my Sunday school teachers and other Christians who enhanced my understanding with their unique experiences.

 

5 Ways we teach our children about God

 

#3. Talking about what the Bible says

I should actually do this more. I tend to remember when I discipline the boys. I tell them, “Hey, Mom doesn’t like to punish you, but it’s my job. God tells me to. The Bible says an undisciplined son is a shame to his parents.” And well, we all know that’s true.

I try to remember to use Biblical examples when I’m coaching them on how to handle difficult people or situations or jobs.

#4. Modeling good habits

Feel free to laugh at me here because I guarantee you I’ve taught about as many bad habits as I have good…ahem…

But that’s okay. Kids need to know that people aren’t perfect, and we have to love and accept all sorts of people and be very forgiving.

We all know “more is caught than taught.” I want my children to see me reading my Bible, see me praying, see me helping the poor, and know that I am a kind, loving person who truly believes what I’m teaching.

For example….

I remember when I was home-schooling. Caleb and I were both going through a phase where we were having trouble with our out-of-control emotions. His was probably the result of my BAD modeling because I was going through a difficult time, but at least I was able to coach him on how to control his own emotions, by learning from my own mistakes.

I said, “Caleb, you may not ever be able to master your feelings on your own. When you feel that anger start to rage, and you want to give in to it, immediately stop and pray. Pray for God to help you keep it together.”

So one day, one of my boys came in, all upset and indignant, to tell on Caleb.

“Mom! Mom! I accidentally (did whatever), and Caleb got mad, and he HIT me, and then he just got down on his knees and started PRAYING!” said the flabbergasted and deeply offended brother.

I was so happy I could have soared with the birds.

“Oh, wow! That’s wonderful!” I joyfully answered.

“What! Wonderful?? What! He HIT me!!”

“Don’t you see? It would’ve been much worse for you if he hadn’t stopped and prayed. He stopped and prayed to keep from hitting you any more. Be thankful!”

 

$9.94 on Amazon. The Story Traveler’s Bible by Tracey Madder

#5. Using illustrated children’s Bibles to teach them God’s Word.

Reading the Bible to the boys goes over a whole lot better when we use a book with mesmerizing pictures, like this one. You should’ve heard the weeping and gnashing of teeth we used to hear when Alan would make our 7, 6, and 2 year olds listen to an entire chapter of the KJV Bible straight up.

Bible time should not be torture. We’ve come a long way since then.

Allow me to introduce you to a fabulous new children’s Bible that our family is currently enjoying reading:

5 Ways we teach our children about God

Includes 85 Bible stories

I love the details of the Bible stories that it includes.  Plus, it’s so helpful how she includes these memory verses in the margins!

5 Ways we teach our children about God 5 Ways we teach our children about God

The boys love the brightly colored illustrations by Tim Crecelius.

5 Ways we teach our children about God

In fact, for a week I could not find the book, and I thought I’d looked everywhere. It finally turned up in my nine-year-old’s room, in his little reading corner.

Now that’s good silent reading material!

5 Ways we teach our children about God

Look at these beautiful pages:

5 Ways we teach our children about God

In this book, 3 modern boys and girls travel through time and visit all of these old Bible stories and places.

5 Ways we teach our children about God

the Samson story

Can you guess why I’m showing you so many details about this children’s Bible? Well…..if you guessed “because it’s our newest giveaway,” and I want you to see how awesome it is, you are correct!!

Don’t you just LOVE a giveaway? This giveaway is sponsored by Tracey Madder, the author of The Story Traveler’s Bible.

5 Ways we teach our children about God

 

As usual, this one is easy to enter. Just log in below, and choose one an entry option listed here.

Best of luck! I’ll announce the winner in 1 week: May 2nd! I always email the winner well within 24 hours of the end of the giveaway.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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You can also order it here, for $9.94 from Amazon.

I hope you got some ideas or found some of this helpful. If you have any ideas to add or questions to ask, comment below.  Good luck on the giveaway!!

 

 

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My Most Important Job

 

My Most Important Job

This morning was a struggle. Everyday is a race, but this morning was extra nerve-wracking. The trouble started at 7:40. The two oldest wanted to leave by that time so they could “be there early”. The middle boy was still brushing his teeth, and the youngest was still eating a waffle.

Somehow we managed to leave the house at 7:48. No idea how.

There was a short award ceremony this morning for AR readers, so we did that. I love getting to support the boys. Then we came home, just J.D. and me.

That’s when the struggle got real.

Why? Because I thought I could get work done with my 3-year-old at home. hahahahahaha

I have a giveaway I need to run, but the photos aren’t ready….because I haven’t taken them yet…I have an affiliate that I’ve promised paperwork to.

And I haven’t posted since Sunday, and I’m starting to feel like I’m on a treadmill set on 6.0 and I only have one leg, a feeling many of us know well.

Hilarious, isn’t it? Did you know that bloggers have work stress? Well, yes, sometimes we do.

Also, it’s sheet day, the day I wash sheets, and I am behind on housework as always. 

But I wanted to put my three-year-old first.

I wanted to be a good mom. Instead of working on all those things, I colored with him first. We traced letters, and we colored about 10 different pages of Peppa Pig. (We love the Pig family.)

I thought I’d filled his little love tank enough and I could move on to dishes, Bible reading, and checking email. People are always ridiculing me for not having read the emails they sent.

J.D. let me do the dishes and read my Bible, but once I sat down to do email, all productivity brakes were hit full force.

“I’m hungry.”

“I’m hungry again.”

“Can I watch Toy Story?”

“Not the one with the blue one. The one with Zurv.”

The one with Zurg is broken, so that was out.

“Okay, then, the one where Andy grows up and becomes a dad.”

I guess that’s what he thinks “goes to college” means…

Toy Story 3 was nowhere to be found. He went overboard with the whining. I had a moment….. By this point, the Benadryl I’d given him for his runny nose was in full effect. He was crying. I was whining and out of patience.  I sent him to his room.

He had his broken-heart face on as he sat in his rocking chair and cried. Gets me every time. I felt bad for the sweet, tiny person I’d offended. I went to his room, I picked him up. I comforted him, and rubbed his precious forehead.

And he fell asleep.

I rocked him, and I admired his sweet angelic face. I thought about all the times I’d gotten so worked up about stupid jobs that would earn me a few dollars, when here was this baby, this person who depended on me for everything. They need me to train them into successful, hard-working men.

But today he’s only 3 years old, and he and his brothers are my most important jobs. I can have a few less dollars and be fine.

Those blog jobs will just have to wait.

We can get a week behind on washing the sheets.

Priorities. If juggling 4 children, the military life, and my work has taught me nothing else, it’s the importance of priorities.

We only get one shot at our children. They grow right in front of us, and we can’t even see it.

My Most Important Job

back row, far right. “Singing” at church.

They are our most important responsibility. Our marriage is an even more important relationship, but our children are our job. If we don’t love them and meet their needs, probably no one else will. If all children were loved as they should be, there would be far less crime and hurt in this world.

My Maw-Maw, one of my favorite people in the whole world, wrote this poem. I bet she wrote it when she was around my age. I don’t know exactly. She was taken from us way too soon, at the age of 56, by untreated breast cancer that spread to her bones.

She spent many years as a single mom. You know my Bible journal? Yeah, she had a library of about 120 of those. She’d take poems, quotes, and Bible verses pair them with a pretty picture from a magazine or greeting card, and compile them into scrapbooks, organized by topics. They ranged from “love”, “God’s will”, “Humor”, to “Gossip” and “Life”. 120 different topics.

Here’s a poem she wrote about the dangers of neglecting our jobs as moms.

Please understand that my Maw-Maw was not against women working. She worked several different jobs over the years. She worked in a sewing factory, a grocery store, and she even owned and operated her own book store, Beth’s Books, not all at the same time, of course. She was a lovely, inoffensive person, who always smelled like Avon perfume and never left home without her false eyelashes on. She loved nothing better than reading a book with a cigarette and a glass of unsweet iced tea.

 

 

My Most Important Job

Beth

What’s Happened to Motherhood?

 

You compete with the men

And an equal right you demand

While you leave your children in the baby sitter’s hand.

The pleasure of motherhood

Is a gift God gave to you.

Giving birth to a chid

Is something no man can do!

The hand that rocks the cradle

Rules the world, you say,

But stop and think;

Who’s rocking the cradle today?

What’s happened to motherhood?

Is it old-fashioned or out of style?

What could ever be more important

Than caring for your child?

Sure, you love your child

More than you could ever say,

But have you taken time

To teach him how to pray?

When he has a problem

And needs to talk to you,

Can he come to you any time,

Or wait ’till your day is through?

While you work hard to achieve your goal

Your children so quickly grow.

And saddest of all is

What you’re missing you’ll never know.

~by Beth H. King

 

 

 

I know that poem may ruffle a few feathers, but I share it because

1.) I miss Maw-maw so much, and reading her poems brings her back.

and

2.) I think it’s a valid reminder of what is our most important job as moms.

 

We might as well enjoy this gift of motherhood. Love y’all. Have a great weekend!

 

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How we got banned from the library and my plan

I love to study. Sometimes it baffles me when children in this house do not share my desire to pour over books and take notes. I love it. This is what I do. It’s what I have done my whole life.

When JD, at 2 years old, would wake up in the morning, pull up a kitchen bar stool, and say, “Let’s study shapes, Mom!!” my heart would swell with pride. This is my boy.

When Joshua memorized all the species of whales at 3 years old, and checked out every single library book on badgers at 5, I knew that this apple was not falling far from the tree. (These days he memorizes sports statistics instead.)

By the end of my own kindergarten year, the library was my favorite place. It’s sad that all these years later we are banned from the library.

I know what you’re thinking. You are thinking it’s my kids’ fault, or my fault for not controlling my boys. But that wasn’t it at all. My boys love to go to the library, and while they are sometimes a little rambunctious, they have never actually caused any problems there.

It was me. I’m the reason.

In 2015, I paid $250 in library late fees, which included some fees left over from 2014.

In 2016, I paid ~$80 in library late fees, because I was trying harder and being more careful.

In Monterey, I could keep it under the radar. The librarians there were cool with us. Who doesn’t want the lady who donates $250 to the library?

But here in the South, I made the mistake, hefty mistake, of signing up for text alerts for when my books were due. I think the texts also went to the email account that I share with Alan, the same Alan who is very sensible with his money, maybe a little more sensible and organized than his wife…

Alan soon realized that I don’t bat an eye at returning a book a week overdue and continuing to use my library account.

I figure if the library lets me, I’ll just put it off until later, and they do always let me carry a balance. The library here is kind of far away, and I have trouble remembering where it is exactly and how to get there….

Poor Alan. The stress was too much. He was all calling the library to make sure we’d returned them all, going by there and paying all the late fees, and then he said it. He did.

“Can you please stop checking books out from the library?”

At least I think he said it. If he didn’t say it out loud, he was surely thinking it.

So I said it: “Okay. I know. I was wrong. I’m sorry. We will never check books out from the library again.”

I can be dramatic like that.

Alan was all, “Phew!!! Yes, I mean yes, obviously, you should not.”

Sigh.

And that was how we got banned from the library, and how I started shopping more at Book Fairs, Scholastic store online, and Amazon, so I’m not altogether sure we’re saving any money, but we do get to keep the books now…..which is actually sort of a storage problem.

And that is why the library is part of my New Year’s Resolution for 2017.

Yes, I’m aware that I didn’t actually make any New Year’s resolutions back in January, but I’m making one now. Right here, in the month of April, or as you might say MY MONTH.

I am getting my organizational act together!

I have actually been writing in and checking that planner that I bought. This is a BIG DEAL for me.

Every 2 to 3 years, we get completely uprooted, and I have to basically start life all over again, so maybe that helps you understand why I do not have the deeply engrained schedules that you may have. For a military wife, life changes drastically constantly. In 1 more year, we will probably move yet again.

Sometimes I’m guilty of feeling like why bother.

But you know what? I’ve got a lot of kids’ schedules to figure out now, and the older they get the more activities they have, and I’m going to have to get used to writing all this stuff down.

To be fair, it’s a lot of people to keep up with. 😉

So here’s my plan to lift the library ban.

  1. Look at my planner every single day.  I’m going to do that as soon as I finish this article.
  2. Take my planner with me, and write down each upcoming responsibility down on the calendar so I won’t forget.
  3. Check out 1 library book, write down the due date in the planner, and see if I can get it back to the library on time.
  4. If that works, I’m going to check out 2 books the next time!!!

 

So what about you guys? Have any of you ever paid $200 in library fees? I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’ve also lost books and had to buy the library new ones. I didn’t feel like this made me a bad customer. I felt like it just made me a frequent flyer, and these things were inevitable. Right? I say yes.

Have a FUN weekend, y’all. Life’s too short to not.

“Much dreaming and many words are meaningless. Therefore stand in awe of God. ” Ecclesiastes 5:7

 

“May he give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed. We will shout for joy when you are victorious and will lift up our banners in the name of our God. May the Lord grant all your requests.   Psalm 20: 4-5

 

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A Prayer for My Children

a prayer for my children (poem)

 

 

a prayer for my children

My boys, stalking sea lions in Monterey, just like their mom.

Today I was walking around my backyard, feeling thankful for the Nerf bullets in the grass and the bare dirt spots on the lawn because they are signs that my babies still live here.

They grow so fast, but for today they are still here with us, and I was feeling ever so thankful. This poem/prayer fairly burst right out of my heart, so I came inside and jotted it down. I hope you like it.

All of my children are boys, and there are 4 of them, so this is a little unique to that. However, a lot of it I know you may be able to relate to.

 

 

Dear God,

Thank you for these boys.

Thank you for Nerf bullets in the grass,

for a living room floor littered with their toys.

Thank you for their sass.

For tiny Lego men in the laundry basket and the noise,

Thank you for the noise.

 

Thank you for popcorn kernels in the couch,

for little plastic Batman in my bathtub,

and even the moments I beg them not to slouch.

Thank you for the way he runs when I approach with the washcloth to scrub

All that sunbutter off his adorable cheekies and his mouth.

 

Thank you for their fighting,

and their running, and their bouncing,

Their snacking, video-game playing, yes, even their messy hand-writing.

Thank you for the sounds of laughing, crying, and being rowdy.

 

Thank you for their tuition bill,

their baseball and basketball games,

The way they hug me, even when they smell.

And of course sometimes call each other names.

Thank you for the way they look after each other.

 

Thank you for all the dirt and clutter

and all the lessons to teach and walls to scrub clear.

Because what it means is that for now we are all here together.

And love is filling the house, and we are growing good men here.

Thank you for making me their mother.

~April Alan

 

 

 

 

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Spring Break Day 1: The Shirt War, Full House, Jesus, and The Vote

 

***This post does contain affiliate links. If you purchase through these links, April receives advertising fees.***

As we speak, Joshua and Caleb are playing basketball in the driveway while John David and Daniel are rolling around on the trampoline together. Alan is eating supper, and I am updating my blog for the first time in a week. Slacker.

I’ve been working on photo albums through Snapfish lately. Y’all, photo books are 70% off this month (March), so I am making as many photo books as I possibly can. I have about a hundred I could make since the last time I was caught up on photo printing was 2013…

One of my newly created albums came in the mail today, of photos from 2 years ago. One of the boys was a little embarrassed to realize that in this album was an adorable photo of the 4 boys reading together in a chair, and he was in his underwear. Just his underwear. I might have jokingly threatened to share said photo album with future dates. He might have retorted back that the page will definitely be torn out long before that. Sigh. Oh well.

The photo is safe for now, and the picture is so cute. I’d show you, but well, I am at least nicer than that.

I’m trying to hold the boys to just family parties this year. Well, family parties + just 1 or 2 friends.

I took a vote this morning, asking everyone here if they’d rather go hiking today or stay home. Everyone but Daniel voted to stay home, so here we are.

I tried to go walking, but it started raining on me so I cut that short. I passed Joshua on my way inside. Apparently, rain drops don’t phase him. He came in with soaking wet hair.

Y’all don’t want to know how many squabbles I have refereed today. Ugh. This should definitely count as a special skill on my resume. I am extremely experienced at sending everyone to different rooms.

We did have an epic game of driveway birdie tonight, though…wait. No, that’s not what they called it…badminton! I had to ask them what the game was called. Ha! But it was super fun!

Remember that Mother’s Day that they bought me a Badminton set, and so we played that for Mother’s Day? Only now, the boys are actually way better at it than I am!

Joshua, Alan, and I were sitting in the living room today getting quite a show from a new sport taking place on our trampoline. Daniel and John David were out there together, and we watched them take their shirts off and have a shirt war.

Joshua observed, “John David sure is good at whipping Daniel with his shirt!” They had a better view than I did, and they kept saying, “Ohhhh Owww  Whoa! Ho! hahahaha! Is he okay…..yeah.”

For some reason this game made Daniel and JD quite happy, so we didn’t intervene. Perhaps we should all try it…. ha!

**************

I came home a couple of weeks ago with the complete DVD set of the original Full House. Why? Because I’m the world’s worst person at sticking to any sort of budget…..also because we have already watched Fuller House, so I felt like the boys had to see the first series to understand it better.

Alan took so long at Walmart this afternoon, on a trip to buy Daniel’s birthday present and Tostitos, that we watched 4 episodes of Full House while he was gone. Our family is all about it right now, so don’t be surprised if you hear the boys say “How rude!” or “Have mercy!”

*************

I heard 2 funny quotes this week that I wanted to share.

1.”Who is I love Lucy? Were they zombies?”

2. A leprechaun visited John David’s school. He left them Skittles and a messy classroom of confetti and such. I asked J.D. who the leprechaun was. He didn’t miss a beat, “Jesus.”

**************************

I came across some encouraging Bible verses in my reading today:

“Perceiving then that they were about to come and take him by force to make him king, Jesus withdrew again to the mountain by himself.”   John 6: 15

I’ve been thinking lately about how apolitical Jesus was. He was never interested in power or rule or talking politics. He wanted to teach about God, love, and healing people. I feel like as Christians we need to persist in getting our message of love out to the world. Things of this world are temporary, but our souls are eternal. Love is eternal.

“Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you. For on him God the Father has set his seal.” Then they said to him, “What must we do, to be doing the works of God?” Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.”    John 6: 27-29

 

Believe. Faith. Hope. Love. Against such things there is no law.

And now on to the rest of Spring Break. 1 day down, 8 days to go. I’m excited. I still have a  great deal of refereeing ahead of me, but it’s worth it because I also have days of Badminton and shirt-whipping.

I’d upload photos for you to have a peek into our adventures, but my computer is so full it won’t let me upload anything new. Issues. I can only give you pictures that I can steal from Facebook. Triple sigh. You know that’s driving me crazy. But don’t worry. I will not rest until I fix this problem!

Okay, one more hilarious quote from tonight:

“Hey, Mom, I am five, and you are thirteen. No! 14. You are 14.”

hehehe Nope. I didn’t correct him. Is that wrong? I say no.

Have a great Spring Break, y’all!

 

 

 

 

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