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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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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My Brilliant Plan for How to Plan

**This post does contain affiliate links, which means that when you purchase through links on this page, April collects advertising fees from Amazon.**

 

My Brilliant Plan for How to Plan

Was I always a little flaky? I don’t know. For years, I could get away with being very loosy-goosy with my planning because I was a stay-at-home mom of preschoolers. We moved all the time too, so by the time people developed expectations of me, we were off and away to the next town.

Over the years, I have slipped into a routine of planning as little as I can get away with planning. I’ll procrastinate decisions until they are made for me. Yep. Guilty of that. Sometimes I get this fear of commitment. If I sign up for things, I’m going to have to figure out how to actually accomplish those things with toddlers in tow.

And I never knew when my husband would be here or not be here, so making plans felt like shooting darts– real darts–in a room full of people, blindfolded.

No thanks.

So friends, that is how I became the version of April you have today.

April, are you going to the yada yada yada meeting?

**Total deer in the headlights**

Ummmm. Uhhhhhh.  Umm, yeah, you know, I might…

(Inside my head I’m thinking……IF all 4 kids are well, IF Alan is in town, IF I have energy left that day…..IF I am not supposed to actually be at Dan’s tee-ball game or some Army function that I can’t remember the exact dates for…..If, If, If…..)

My Brilliant Plan for How to Plan

I love to rock me some babies. Go away, world, until I finish this.

 

Actually, for the past 11 years those were all perfectly good reasons to be flaky, indecisive, unprepared, uncommitted, and unsure. Did I shut the world out a little bit? Yes, yes, I definitely did.

In fact, I had to google the word “twerking” not too long ago. I’m so out of touch with pop culture, and I kept hearing that word. All I can say to that one is ew, girl! Ew. Somebody get that poor girl a sweater and some capri pants.

But things keep popping up on our calendars, and I’ve re-entered the world of work with my blog. I actually HAVE to FORCE myself to plan and be less free-spirited, more grown-up like.

You people who have a plan amaze me, and I mean that in a good way. You totally have my respect.

You know when you are going on vacation. You’ve actually committed to specific dates, and you probably even know how you are gong to pay for that.

You have a budget.

You know when people’s birthdays are, and you plan for that accordingly.

You keep some sort of planner or calendar.

 My Brilliant Plan for How to Plan
About that….Y’all! I have purchased TWO different “planners” this year. They are both mostly blank. I have a calendar hanging in my kitchen too, which makes 3 planners, really. All I’ve written on that one is what the kids are doing for lunch and when their dentist appointments are.

I even downloaded an editorial calendar plug-in to try and start planning my blog posts. (It’s actually extremely helpful, fellow bloggers, check it out. It’s called “editorial calendar.”)

Only I’m so anti-structured in my thinking, I can rarely bring myself to write about what I’m ‘scheduled’ to write about.

I also have 2 different e-books I’ve written half of, and now they are just sitting on my hard-drive taking up space. My hard drive is so full, my computer has actually stopped letting me download or upload new things.

And suddenly I find myself wanting to change.

See, I bought all those planners. That’s the first step. I WANT to do the right thing and be all responsible again. I always was one-half responsible and one-half not at all, even back in high school and college. I used to make myself plans and stick to them, sort of. Well, I used to make plans. Maybe I never did really stick to them. I almost always turn in everything on time, actually, but I live in fear of signing up for extra things.

So I decided to pray about this today.

And this was my answer:  If you can plan out each day by making a list and crossing things off, then you can apply that same strategy to weeks. Then apply it to months. Then do that for years. Do it at the start of each week, each month, and each year, just like you are doing now for days.

Huh. Brilliant. Maybe even doable?

My Brilliant Plan for How to Plan

My planning tends to never go past the day that I’m on. This is the typical extent of my planning.

 

What I do now for each day is this. After I have safely delivered all of my children to school, I come home and have a little time for Bible study and prayer. You have to pour inspiration in to yourself if you expect to pour any out, right?

I close with prayer, and I ask God to help me make my to-do list for that day. I write the list out on the wipe-off board in the kitchen. Then I mentally prioritize the things that HAVE to get done.

That’s why I usually cook supper in the morning, by 12:00, because I know everyone HAS to eat, and I don’t want that task hanging over my head. Also, I have no energy left at 5:00pm.

I see no reason why this method for planning each day could not be applied to my weeks, months, and years, with one of the 3 planners I’ve purchased laying open on my lap.

My Brilliant Plan for How to Plan

And don’t even say that I should use my phone as my planner. I can’t do it. This falls under scatter-brained people problems. The minute I open my phone to use the calendar or some other useful, productive app, I immediately forget what I was doing and end up reading Instagram or my email or something.

So watch out, world! I now have a plan for how to plan!!!! Who knows? Maybe next week I will make a budget, a meal plan, or catch up on my 2,809 emails…….nahhhhh…

Please share your best planning tips in the comment section! We would love to hear more ideas! Thanks, y’all!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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It’s been 7 months since we flew south, but we are always home.

It's been 7 months since we flew south, but we are always home.

Daniel had his first week of tee-ball. Alan didn’t sign up to coach this year, not even to assistant coach, but he went out there today and helped anyway. And you know what happened? Alan came home so refreshed and happy. It was a beautiful thing to see.

Alan says that Daniel will actually be one of the oldest, most experienced players on his team this year. Yayyyyy, Daniel!!!

Meanwhile, you know what annoys me? Pop culture.

Why? Because it has reached my children, at least one of them, and he has started saying “Dang, Daniel!” all the time. Insert me, looking like an annoyed vulture.

Now some of you have no idea WHAT I’m talking about because you don’t know anything about pop culture. Well, allow me to shrink your brain by catching you up. There was this video that went viral in 2016, originally on Snapchat, of these high school kids saying “D***, Daniel,” over and over again.

And go figure, the video-maker’s name is Josh. So of course, someone told him about it. So now he says, “Dang Daniel” all the time. He’s not allowed to say the original version. Of course, Daniel doesn’t get it at all. Only I get it.

(If you have no idea what I’m talking about, here’s the Ellen clip to explain.)

Speaking of my big boys, I thought this was hilarious. We spent last week hanging out at DaddyO and Nonna’s house r-e-l-a-x-i-n-g. It was wonderful. Check out the amazing amounts of sleep I accomplished, according to my Fitbit. I was so proud. (By the way, I noticed Amazon has the Fibit Charge II $20 off right now.)

Yep! Proud of myself

I wanted to find a funny movie we could enjoy with the boys. I found Father of the Bride and Father of the Bride Part II!!!!!  I talked up how uproariously we would all laugh at this movie.

Father of the Bride Part II

We watched half of the first movie, and then Joshua proclaimed, “You said this was funny! I don’t think this is funny at all!” And then he disappeared upstairs.

What? Not funny? This stuff is HILARIOUS.  I guess there’s an age range for this humor. Remember this?

It's been 7 months since we flew south, but we are always home.

It has been 7 months now since we moved in, and we are starting to feel settled. We’re using our GPS less and less, and the boys are asking to go back to California far less. If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times. It takes a year to fully adjust to a move.

I’d say it takes two years to actually get past surface-level relationships and put down roots. That’s the lonely thing about it. No one knows you well enough to relax, and you are still trying to figure out all the new people you’ve met.

I can learn their names easily, but sometimes it takes time to root out the kindred spirits from the high-maintenance ones.

It's been 7 months since we flew south, but we are always home.

I feel like Alan and I did this ONE particular thing right that’s going to be the thing that makes life fun and frequent moving doable. These 4 boys. I can’t really say we gave them each other because God did that. If I had gotten to decide it myself, there would have been a Gracie and a Josie thrown in, and then our whole family dynamic would be different.

But this is better because this is what God gave us. I can’t imagine our lives without a single one of them. We have two sets of best buddies, and I wouldn’t trade that for the world. The younger ones are learning from the bigger ones things, for better and for worse, ha!, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. They fill our hearts with so much joy.

And no matter where we move they all have each other, and Alan and I have each other and these boys.

Best of all, we’ve never grown too comfortable with any one place or house. There’s no confusion about where home is. Home is not a building that can be taken away. Home is right here, wherever we are. Home is us. So we are always home.

It's been 7 months since we flew south, but we are always home. It's been 7 months since we flew south, but we are always home.

And now here they are, all telling me that Lego Batman movie premiered today, and they are just dying to know when I am going to take them to see it. Yeah…I might have promised them to take them to see that because Lego Batman is a serious obsession around here.

Maybe I can make it happen today……

A new commandment I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so also you must love one another. 35By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you love one another.”…            –Jesus  (John 13:34-35)

 

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