Me…a Teacher?

You may not have a college degree. If you do, you may not have a degree in education. Your occupational background may be accounting or auto mechanics, sales or construction, customer service or medical transcription. It doesn’t matter. If you have children or grandchildren, you are a teacher.

Yes. You are your child’s teacher.

Your children might attend private preschool or public elementary school. They may be enrolled in your church’s nursery or Sunday school. They might have the most fabulous teachers in the world. But those teachers are not the most important influence on your children. You are.

You don’t need a degree, certification, or a title. You’ve been appointed to this role by God Himself.

Your mission is found in Proverbs 22:6: “Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.”

Your mandate is explained in Deuteronomy 6:5-7a: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children.”

Your classroom is your home. But Deuteronomy 6:7b tells us it’s also your car, the supermarket, the park, and anywhere else you find yourself with your children. “Talk about [God’s commandments] when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.”

Your curriculum is the Word of God. “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path” (Psalm 119:105).

Your capability comes from the indwelling Holy Spirit of Christ. “I can do everything through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13).

Teach them with your words when you think they’re paying attention. Teach them by your example even when you don’t think they’re paying attention.

Teach your children as if it’s the most important job you have…because it is.

Book Review: Peter: Rock Star from Galilee by Sherree Funk

Rating:  :) :) :) :) :)

This eight-week Bible study for teens combines music, Bible learning, and modern-day applications. Each week begins with a playlist of songs that are a mix of contemporary Christian music and traditional hymns. Various aspects of Peter’s life are covered: his calling by Jesus, his stepping out onto the stormy sea, his denial of Jesus after His arrest, the miracles he performed in the name of Jesus, his legacy, and more!

Readers get a preview of the week’s study to help spark initial discussions. There are questions and exercises along the way. The “Chew on This” moments give teens time to consider things like their blessings, while the “Christian Reality Challenge” blurbs cement learning. The “Jam Session” at the end of each week includes questions to get teens thinking about how the Bible applies to them today. Then the replay wraps the week up for them to round out discussions. Also included are maps and historical photos.

As a Sunday school teacher, I am always on the lookout for engaging new materials for our young people. Peter: Rock Star from Galilee definitely has what it takes. With sound Bible learning and music, this Bible study will meet kids where they are today. I’ve already shared it with our youth group leader and she’s excited about it. If you are in youth ministry, you’ll want to take a peek into this one.

I received a free e-copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion. I received no monetary compensation for this review.

Winter Fun for the Birds!

Project Overview:

Materials Needed:  peanut butter, birdseed, pine cones (empty toilet paper rolls can work great also) and string

In my home state of Michigan, winter can often seem never-ending – particularly when you have a house full of little ones like I do!  Those days spent indoors can be turned into an ideal opportunity to do something for someone else, or in this case, someTHING else.  Namely our feathered friends the birds!

Recently we had a playdate at our house where the girls made pine cone birdfeeders.

You’d think with 3 little ones at home I would be used to mess, but I have to confess that it makes me a little nutty to have too much to clean up!  So this project was made made much cleaner and easier by giving each girl her own birdfeeder station consisting of a cookie sheet, bowl of peanut butter, bowl of birdseed, child friendly spreader and pine cones.

After a healthy slathering of peanut butter and a  dusting of bird seed, I tied string to the pine cones and the girls decorated a small tree in our front yard with the finished feeders.  They had a great time creating this project, and the birds enjoyed it as well!


Mirror Image

Mirror Image

Mirror Image

Part of the fun and terror of parenting is watching our little ones pattern their lives after us.  I love to make things in clay and shared this craft with my children when they were growing up. One day when my daughter was in fifth grade she came home with a coil pot that was a miniature version of one I had made years earlier.

As a parent this gave me a surprise and a jolt!  What stimulates and drives us will drive our children. They may not be able to communicate it verbally or intellectually but they know internally what we admire, worship and hold up as most important.  What excites us will excite them.  What we get from God’s word they may not be able to completely grasp but they understand it on an emotional level.  Isn’t that like faith? Because of their natural inclination to trust, admire and depend on us they naturally model themselves after us.

14 Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”  (Matt, 19:14, NIV).

When Jesus said, “do not hinder the children,” most parents agree they would never want to stop a child from going to Christ. As children of God we are modeling an image of who we are in Christ and are given wisdom to correct what He may see in us that is acceptable or needing adjustment, or balance. Just like we as parents’ correct unsightly or undesirable behaviors in our children.  Do our children see a parent who seeks out and finds joy in the word of God? Our children already know what we have set aside in our lives as valuable. So how can we be sure they understand that we value Christ? Simply by setting aside time to read, pray and share our joy. Even after a hectic day the simple truth of Christ in a picture book, or better yet one told from memory, will let them know we have a heavenly Father who we depend on and who looks after us all.

Roslyn Alexander

Valentines Day – joy or disappointment?

Tomorrow is Valentines Day. Can you think back to a time in your childhood when you felt left out, especially on Valentines Day? Of course you received a box full of valentines from most, if not all, of your classmates. But you couldn’t help but feel a little jealous of the girl who got a box of chocolates or flowers along with her valentines.

In recent years schools have been bombarded with flowers and gifts for students on Valentines Day from sweethearts and from parents and relatives – which means once again the “haves” will shine while the “have nots” will do their best to maintain a happy face in spite of feeling left out.

How do we prepare our children for Valentines Day? Parents usually have some idea whether their children are likely to get the super-valentines or not. A little parental wisdom might be helpful whichever side of the fence the child is on.

The fortunate children can be taught to recognize that other children are hurting. They might find ways to “share the love.” Perhaps they could offer a piece of candy out of their box of chocolates to the friend who feels left out. Most importantly, they can show kindness rather than putting on airs of superiority.

But what can you do if your child is among the ones who are not likely to receive a super-valentine? You might share a time in your childhood when you were disappointed on Valentines Day. Let your child know these feelings are normal. You might also ask how many children received super-valentines, then compare that number to the number of children in the class. This might help your child to recognize that not receiving a super-valentine doesn’t make him/her strange, but very normal.

Above all, find a way to let your child or children know how special they are in your eyes. Serve a super-special supper on Valentines Day with their favorite foods and a desert that says “I love you” in its own way.

If for some reason you are unable to do something special on Valentines Day, you might plan something on an alternate day and let them look forward to it. But if the promise is made, it must be kept or the disappointment over Valentines Day will sting more profoundly than if you had ignored the day completely.

Suggestions for things to do with children on Valentines Day:

  • Make homemade valentines and/or gifts for relatives. (click here for ideas)
  • Bake a strawberry cake or serve strawberry shortcake.
  • Visit a shut-in and give him/her a homemade valentine.
  • Watch a Charlie Brown Valentines Day video.
  • Visit the park or zoo if it is warm enough.

Enjoy your Valentines Day. Share the love of  Christ with someone who may feel alone today.