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Motion :: July Parent Cue Article

As parents, we all want our kids to grow up to be compassionate, generous adults who serve others well. And if you watch your kids closely, you’ll see evidence of empathy in their nature – in how they kiss their stuffed animals, doctor your (fake) boo-boos, and freely give their love to family pets (sometimes too much love).

But their natural capacity for compassion has to compete with a number of other developmental and environmental forces. A kid’s lack of impulse control prompts them to snatch their toy from their sister. And their belief that they are the center of the universe makes it difficult for them to let their friend choose which movie they watch. Those factors, combined with our self-centered culture can make it feel impossible to raise a kid who is servant-hearted.

Service, the Life App for this month, is defined as “Lending a hand to help someone else.” How can we teach our kids to embody this principle? How can we teach our kids to use their hands to give instead of take?

Here are a few ideas:

1. Be a servant

Our kids are watching what we do all the time. They observe how we treat servers at restaurants. They see how we treat our spouses and other family members. They’re watching how we choose to give (or not to give) of our time and resources, and how WE go out of our way to help someone else in need. Our words, thoughts, and actions will influence our kids’ words, thoughts, and actions more than we can know.

2. Create a rhythm of service

It seems easier to focus on serving others over the holidays, but what about the rest of the year? Serving year-round teaches you and your family to actively look for ways to help others. Set a few family, service-oriented goals for 3 months at a time. Ask your kids to think of a few ideas of how they can serve in their school or in their community. Write them down and post them where everyone can see. And remember, service isn’t always about money. Your family can give their time, talents, and resources to those in need.

3. Reinforce what you want repeated

Just like with any other behavior you want repeated, we should make a BIG deal when our kids lend a hand to help others. Even something as simple as helping you put away groceries should be encouraged and rewarded with words of thanks!  Look for ways your kids are serving and praise them in front of others. Remind them that even small acts of service can make a big difference in the world around them.

Don’t know where to start? Just chose one suggestion and go from there. Watch with wonder as your kid learns to lend a hand to help someone else.

For more blog posts and parenting resources, visit ParentCue.org.


Table Talk I Week of July 6

Family life is busy, so being intentional with the time you do have is more important than ever. Table Talk helps mealtime matter — whether it’s at the soccer field, in the car, or around the table. Let this resource be a tool to connect your family and create faith-based conversations.

 

SAFARI TODDLERS
1 – 2 YEARS OLD

This month we’re learning, “I can help others.” When we put others first and look for ways to help, we can show them how much God loves them!

Question 1: Jesus had 12 helpers who helped Him teach others about God’s love. Can we help others, too? (yes)
Question 2: Do we show God’s love to others when we help them? (yes)

 


QUEST 

3 YEARS – KINDERGARTEN

This weekend we learned Jesus gives us the power to show goodness. When we know Jesus, we can give our best to our friends and family. 

Question 1: How can you show goodness to others? (sharing with others, making a card for a sick friend, helping put toys away, etc.)
Question 2: Where do good things come from? What are some good things God made?
Question 3: What’s a way you can be good when … playing with friends? Taking a walk with your family? Reading at the library? Talking to your grandma on the phone?

 


MOTION

1ST – 5TH GRADE

This weekend we learned to serve others because of what Jesus did for us. He not only lived a life of service, but He gave His life as the ultimate example of service. We reflect His character when we serve the people around us. 

Question 1: Why should we serve others?
Question 2: What are some small things you can do to help others? What are some big things you can do to help others?
Question 3: Who are some people who are great examples of serving others the way Jesus did? What do they do?


Table Talk — Make Mealtime Matter.

 “What’s for dinner?”

We might not be able to help you answer that question, but we can help you create meaningful conversations over a meal.

Family life is busy, so being intentional with the time you do have is more important than ever. Table Talk helps mealtime matter — whether it’s at the soccer field, in the car, or around the table. 

Here’s how you can use Table Talk to create conversations with your family:

– Attend church.
– Receive three Table Talk questions Sunday afternoon.
– Use them throughout the week, or however’s best for you.

Let this resource be a tool to connect your family and create faith-based conversations.


Safari :: July Parent Cue Article

The words “new parents” and “anxiety” seem to be synonymous. If you Google the phrase “parent anxiety,” you’ll see titles such as “49 Parent Fears And How To Ease Them” and “Top 10 Fears Of New Moms.” As a relatively new parent myself, I can tell you I feel anxious about something regarding my daughter, Arden, just about every day.

Just today, in fact, I was inside the grocery store and looked down to grab my debit card out of my purse. In that short time, Arden took an avocado from its bag and bitten a piece of it, barcode, peel and all. At first, it was funny—even more so because I can’t get Arden to eat avocado when it’s sliced or in guacamole. Then, my mind started wondering about pesticides. “Did she just eat poison? Should I call the doctor just in case?” I stopped short of Googling possible symptoms of pesticide poisoning because nothing good ever comes from researching symptoms online.

What fear tells you

Parenting in this generation looks a lot differently than in generations past. According to Pamela Druckerman, author of New York Times bestseller, Bringing Up Bébé: One American Mother Discovers The Wisdom Of French Parenting, this generation of parents are the most psychoanalyzed than any other. We have instant access to all kinds of research that tell us what we’re doing wrong. This overload of information leaves us feeling stressed and afraid we’re unable to properly care for our children.

Most new parent anxieties are centered around the same themes:

Fear tells you: I’m not good enough.

Blog and social media posts are constant reminders that the world is full of perfect parents and we’re not among them. We often wonder if we’re reading to our children enough, if we’re socializing them enough, and if we’re doing enough to aid in their physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual development.

. . . but the truth is: You are more than enough.

God has entrusted you with this child for a reason. Trust that He will lead you in his or her upbringing. You are everything your child needs.

Fear tells you: I’ll mess up/unintentionally hurt my kid.

There’s bound to be some research out there that supports the idea that whatever way you’re raising your child is secretly scarring them for life. To vaccinate or not to vaccinate? To spank or not spank? Either side always ends in your kid needing therapy when they get older.

. . . but the truth is: Your child is under God’s protection.

There’s nothing you can do that will cause irreparable damage when you submit your kids to God and surrender your parenting to Him daily. They are safe and secure in Him.

Fear tells you: Other people are judging my parenting.

Your kid throws a full-on fit in the middle of the grocery store and you can just feel all kinds of judgement from onlookers. You’re certain they think you’re a bad parent who is incapable of controlling a child.

. . . but the truth is: No one is thinking about you because they’re too worried about themselves. 

As a person who constantly worries too much about what others think, there’s a quote from Elizabeth Gilbert’s, Big Magic, that has spoken to my heart: “People don’t have time to worry about what you’re doing, or how well you’re doing it, because they’re all caught up in their own dramas . . . While it may seem lonely and horrible at first to imagine that you aren’t anyone else’s first order of business, there is also a great release to be found in this idea.”

I like that word, “release.” New parents, join me in releasing our fears that our kids won’t reach their full potential because of something we’re doing wrong. Instead, let’s replace those fears with truth that we are enough to parent our children as God calls us to.

For more blog posts and parenting resources, visit ParentCue.org.


How to Love LOVE WEEK with Kids

If you’ve ever served at a volunteer event with your kids, you may have left feeling a little disappointed. Your visions of spending the whole morning happily packaging meals or sorting shoes alongside your little ones were replaced by the reality of short attention spans, urgent snack cravings, and cases of the “gimmes” (you know, when your kids want to keep all the things you’re there to give away).

If you’ve ever wondered if you should even attempt serving with your kids again, you’re not alone!

But there’s so much value in making volunteering a part of your family’s natural rhythm, so we want to partner with you to help create positive service experiences for your family.

Check out these tips to help your family love LOVE Week more than ever this year:

  • Start with conversations. Talk to your kids about why you’re serving and what you’ll be doing while you’re there. Give them lots of time to ask questions so they know what to expect!
  • Be prepared. Even if you’re past the diaper bag phase, pack a small bag with snacks and small toys or books for when (not if!) your kids need a break. Don’t be shy about using them as incentives! (“Once you help me pack seven hygiene kits, you can take a break and eat your fruit snacks!”)
  • Know what to expect for your child. Kids can participate in different ways at different ages. Use this chart to manage your expectations and help your child engage at an age-appropriate level.

  • Fight to stay positive! We all want our children to love serving, and if their early experiences seem stressful instead of enjoyable, that positive association is difficult to cultivate later. Keep your tone and facial expressions upbeat, and when you see that your kids are approaching their limits, know that it’s okay to make an early exit!

We can’t wait to see your family at our family-friendly Love Week events! Head over to events.elevationoutreach.com and click on the “Family Friendly” button to find events in your area and sign up to serve.