9 12 2014

Stress. Can you feel your stomach tighten and your face contort just thinking about that word? Children can be a source of stress, but play is a wonderful antidote to anxiety. Play can soften the toughest of kids and play can bring about greater family or group health. Most importantly, play is a gift from God to be fully enjoyed. Understandably, play cannot be perfectly enjoyed until the New Earth comes, but we can share in glimpses of that great hope to one day come! What are some ways you’ve seen play reduce stress?

Ten Ways to Connect With Kids

31 03 2011
  1. Observe. Notice habits, nuances, personality. Watch how they relate and play. Learn what they think about and their tendencies. Get to know the child.
  2. Culture. Be a student of kid culture. Read Toys R Us, watch their shows (and enjoy them!), play with their toys and games.
  3. Ask. Ask lots of questions! Who, what, where, when, why, how? What’s your favourite…? What would you do if…? How do you feel when…?
  4. Listen. Practice active listening. Engage your eyes and ears. Restate what they say in your own words. Give non-verbal cues like raising your eyebrows, laughing or touch to show that you are interested in them.
  5. Stories. Use the power of story to connect and teach. Read, tell or create fanciful stories. Try the “What If” game. For example, ask, “What would you do if it snowed 100 hundred feet of snow?” Make links to real life decisions and attitudes.
  6. Repetition. With younger children, repeat things often–they love to be ‘in-the-know’! Play the same game for a week or once a week for a month. Tell the same stories over and over with genuine enthusiasm.
  7. Unpredictable. With older children, use the unpredictable. Surprise them, change your approaches. Throw them off by creating a different story ending.
  8. Build trust. Be there for them over and over. Admit your failures. Grow with them. Be a genuine friend.
  9. Play. Play often, play long, laugh loud, get creative, get dirty–whatever your kid enjoys, do it with them. Explore new possibilities to find new things you enjoy doing together.
  10. Pray. Seek God for new ways to connect. He is always seeking to connect with those who want Him. Model that and ask Him to show you how he’s working and how you can also ride that wave.

How do you connect with the kids in your world?

Coach Carter and Discipline for Parents

2 09 2010

As a young dad, I’m always looking for ways to improve my fathering. Discipline is tough. I want my kids to grow up with mature character. Now, my frame of reference, when I say I want my kids to have mature character, is God’s standards as recorded in Scripture. However, this blog is not about the goal of Christ-like character as much as it is about effective principles for reaching that goal.

The movie, Coach Carter, is a case study in turning around a group of broken teens. Their family units are fractured. Their neighbourhood is disjointed. Their school system is faltering. Coach comes in with a very difficult situation and takes them through rigorous drills to bring them to a sense of respect for themselves, each other and authority.

Read the rest of this entry »

Emotional Fruit Salad

21 05 2010

What does this picture do to your emotions?

This past year the children’s ministry volunteers at our church played a game called Emotional Fruit Salad. (You can learn how to play this game by clicking here for your next party!) Some who are, let’s say, a little more conservative, wanted to shoot me I’m sure, but we all had a good laugh by the end of it. The game seeks to help with the expression of extreme emotions. I wanted to emphasize how important it is that we learn to express all kinds of emotions not only in life, but also very intentionally as we serve and teach kids.

Most of us go through life expressing very few emotions. Yet God created us with a great variety of emotions that we can tap into. The emotions in our lives reflect our heart. A mundane emotional face reflects (possibly) an apathetic heart. A bright and cheerful face, however, can reveal a joyful heart.

We are not complete victims of our emotions. Rather, we do have much ability to affect them. Emotions are commanded in Scripture. Our theme verse for the year was this: “Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation— if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good (1 Peter 2:2-3).” We see emotions from birth. Like a baby longs for his mom, we can desperately desire the goodness of God. Such an emotionally packed verse!

So choose to smile big today. Not in a fake or forced sort of way, but because you choose to believe in the abounding goodness of God. This will not only encourage your own heart, but also the hearts of those you meet with every day. Set a goal and see how much happiness you can spread over the next week.

I love Craig Jutila’s take on this in his blog, “Every Day is a Terrible Day.”

Picture from:

Outdoor Fun for Kids

4 05 2010

From Family Minute:

Did you ever see the movie Holes? 
If you saw my backyard right now, you would think about this film. It looks like a war zone. You see, my son and his friends dug three big holes in the ground that they can hide in for paintball wars. It would be easy to get bothered about it and yell at our son for digging up the yard and tracking dirt into the house. But you know what… it’s better than watching T.V. or playing video games… and he’s having the time of his life!  Can’t think of anything?  We’ve got 10 Great Things to do right here!

How to Get Kids Ready

29 04 2010

(Reposted from an earlier Facebook note).

Getting your kids ready may sound like an easy thing, but sometimes it can get downright stressful! Here are some ideas from the Bourque family to make your transition times more enjoyable and actually a meaningful part of daily life! (While this article targets parents, there are important principles for children’s ministry volunteers as well). I’ll get the difficult point out of the way first and then get into some fun stuff.

1. Getting your kids ready may take some SACRIFICE.

When you became a parent, you gave away some of your personal freedoms…you now have someone else to take care of. When you refuse to sacrifice or be a little flexible in this, tempers can begin to flair. So embrace the fact that you must give up some of your personal interests for the sake of family peace and unity! “Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too” (Philippians 2:4). Read the rest of this entry »

Outstanding Family Fun

16 04 2010

12 ideas from All Pro Dad

12 outstanding ways to have family fun

If your family time is in a rut it seems the only thing you do together is watch TV, have we got a game plan for you!  Here are twelve outstanding things to do together as a family and the coupons to go with them.

Enjoy!  And let us know how it goes!

Huddle up with your kids tonight and ask: What’s one fun thing we can do this weekend that we have never done before?

%d bloggers like this: