Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Teaching About Martin Luther

Luther's epitaph in Wittenberg, Germany

For many children the name Martin Luther should be followed by “King, Jr.” They may have seen a picture of the Reformation Luther, but may not know as much about him as they do his more recent name sake. Here are some things to teach your children about this remarkable man.

  • Luther was almost 10 years old when Columbus set sail toward America. 
  • The 95 Theses were about the teachings of the church that Martin Luther knew were wrong. He wanted people to think about them and discuss them so they could have a better understanding of God. 
  • Martin Luther used the newest technology of his time – the printing press with movable type – to quickly get his message to many people. He was a best-selling author. 
  • In addition to books like the Small Catechism, Martin Luther wrote hymns so people could teach their children about God. 
  • Martin Luther stood by the truth he found in the Bible, even when it meant his life was in danger.
  •  Martin Luther helped us to understand that we are saved by grace which is the love of God given to us through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and that faith alone saves us (not good works).
One more thing:

  • Martin Luther King Jr.’s father changed their names to honor the original Martin Luther.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Good teasing bad teasing

No one wants their child to be bullied, but sometimes children have a hard time seeing the difference between bullying and teasing. While some teasing can lead to bullying, other kinds of teasing are a healthy part of child to child interaction.

Good teasing is called pro-social teasing and it is playful and fun. Such teasing means the recipient is included in a group as the teasing serves as a code for friendship and bonding. It can also be a playful way of airing differences.

Bad teasing, sometimes called anti-social teasing is a way to purposely hurt or humiliate someone. It is often excused away as “just teasing” but can lead to bullying if it continues over time.

Use the chart above to help your child to distinguish between good and bad teasing. Teach them to walk away from anti-social teasing and don’t let them get away with using it themselves. Children should know the difference between laughing with someone and laughing at someone. They should also be held accountable for stopping any teasing – and apologizing – if the teasing was not received in the way it was intended.

Learning this skill means your child has learned empathy and such kindness is the result of their God-given faith.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Galatians 5: 22-24

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Diving into Discomfort


This adorable three-year-old is riding a roller coaster for the first time. If you watch the clip you will see that she has been coached to scream and raise her hands in the air. She complies with this, but her facial expression tells a different story. Throughout the ride she goes back and forth between hands in the air and a tight grip on the bar in front of her.

As she is dives into discomfort she learns something new.

She learns she likes roller coasters.

She learns she can do something scary and difficult.

She learns to trust the adults in her life.

It is experiences like these that help children to develop a strong sense of confidence that helps them to be resilient problem-solvers. I am not saying that all children need to experience scary rides and amusement parks. But, I am saying that children need to experience being uncomfortable, or sad, or frustrated. They need to learn that they can get through bad feelings and learn something new.

If we protect children from disappointments or frustrations we are simply making the path smooth for them. We are NOT doing them any favors. We are NOT teaching them to be confident successful learners.

In fact, we are doing just the opposite by creating anxious, unmotivated individuals.

How can a child know he is capable if he has never been tested? How can a child know she is capable if she has never had the opportunity to suffer the consequences of a mistake? A smooth path does not grow resilience. It simply creates more problems as children become depended on others to fix things.

Let your children experience the natural consequences of their mistakes. Let them dive into that discomfort and learn they can come out stronger at the other side. And all the time remind them that God loves them, no matter what; that Jesus died so they are forgiven; that the Spirit lives and works good in their lives.

But now thus says the LORD, He who created you, O Jacob, He who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you: I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. Isaiah 43:1-2

When you find yourself tempted to smooth the path for your children, instead take their hand and show them how God helps them to overcome sadness, disappointment, anger, fear, and frustration. That is discomfort that results in resilience.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Disturbing Events and Other Tragedies

Disturbing events happen and when they do our children look to the adults in their life for answers.

Disturbing events rarely have answers.

The good news is your child doesn’t need you to be an expert. Your child needs to be present and aware.

Be aware that the constant information from the media and others in your child’s life might be increasing anxiety.

Be aware that some aspects of busy family life might need to be set aside to spend time talking and comforting.

Be present to show empathy and help your child to manage worries. We don’t have answers to scary things so it is best to assure that God is in control and that He loves us, even when the world makes us think differently.

Be present to ask questions and listen for both the spoken and unspoken answer. Often children need us to pose questions that start with feelings.

“I wonder if you are feeling afraid?”

“Does the world seem confusing now?”

“Are you worrying about something big or maybe something little?”

And when your child is ready, help him or her with an action plan. Make a list of what can be done. Are there people to comfort? Are there little changes to be made? Are there comforting rituals that can remind your child of love and protection?

You may not feel like an expert, but God has given you expertise regarding your child. He will bless you with what you need, when you need it.

Then you shall call, and the LORD will answer; you shall cry, and He will say, ‘Here I am.’ Isaiah 58:9