Parenting Tips… 

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"I want to teach my Kids about God" - A real life response. 15.03.23

I love that you want to be intentional about sharing God with your kids.  It’s a privilege to be a parent, but also a great responsibility, hey.

My best piece of advice to you, may simply be to let your faith impact your whole life.  Your children will see that, and it will send a powerful message of the fact that faith in Jesus is everything, and nothing compares to it.  They may not understand everything about what you’re doing, and why you’re doing it, but they’ll understand more and more the older they get.  For now, just live it, and let them join in whenever they can.


-Prayer (before meals, before bed, before car trips, when there’s a meltdown (by child or parent!), when the sun is shining, at a picnic, at the park, at the shops, whenever…),

-Sing (adult songs or kiddy songs.  Play them, sing them acapella, hum the tunes to them…),

-Read (Let them see you reading the Bible. Read the children’s Bible with them. Share what you’ve read “I read in the Bible today about something amazing that Jesus did… Do you know what it was?”  “The Bible says that Jesus is kind.  Do you know what makes Him kind?” etc),

-Fellowship (Meet with other Christians and be Christians together.  Encourage and spur one another on (Within the family unit and with fellow Christians (Parents to parents, parents to kids. The kids to kids encouragement will come because they’ve seen it modelled). Prioritise church, Bible Study, showing hospitality, giving, serving (put your name down as a family to clean the church building once a term, make biscuits together to serve for morning tea at church), let these things be seen and look for ways to include your kids in them.  (Give them money to put in the plate at church, get them to sweep the floor ready to welcome people into your home, have them choose some toys to give to children in need, make cards to give to people you know that are struggling.  etc)


You will find your groove as you seek to honour God’s call from Ephesians 6:4.   And remember being intentional never stops.  With one daughter out of home, seeking to be a faithful parent is still something very dear to me, and adjusting to this new stage requires prayer and faithfulness.  Thankfully God is faithful and He hears our prayers!


This book is highly recommended.  If you’re anything like me, it will keep you grounded on who the grower is! 🙂


Encouragement to read novels highlighting grace...

The benefits of encouraging kids to read are well known: better spelling, better comprehension, better general knowledge and perhaps a better grasp of the world and how it’s many components, especially those of the good and bad kind, fit together, alike testifying to their creator.  

Reading can just as well produce clever devils as those that reflect God’s glory, so there’s a lot of benefit in choosing books that don’t play the same old worldly anthems , but echo God’s words in that Divine way of moving or affecting people, big and little, deeply and lastingly.

There’s one word that’s probably key:  Grace – binding together those two great commandments in showing both the practical kindness to the undeserving that is neighbourly love in action, and the greatness of the Creator that lets people choose, for better or for worse, and when they fail, redemption.

One can see this in some of the Anderson tales, “Little Mermaid”, “Steadfast tin soldier” are ones that come to mind but prob also the tales that involve rescue from malice,

The Narnia books show this Grace with a big Grrr-ace from Aslan especially in the conclusion of the LWW. Anyone failing to be moved by the stone table scene has probably forgotten what it means to be saved. And that is another marvellous virtue of encouraging children to read books such as this: one reads or re-reads such marvellous books that are just as beneficial and restorative to parents.

Patricia St John takes Narnia into a more contemporary setting: either England of the 60s and 70s and kids without much more than a single parents, some hope and bad company; or else Islamic countries sometimes during War, or retelling of Bible Stories (“Twice freed” is about Onsimus).

Katherine Paterson is pretty big on Grace. It can be seen in “Bridge to Terabithia” but is far more obvious in “The Great Gilly Hopkins” and “Lyddie”.

Gary D Schmidt’s heros likewise benefit undeservedly from others (a teacher In “Wednesday wars”, two other dudes and an old guy in “Trouble”, the foster family in “Orbiting Jupiter” and the butler in “Pay attention Carter Jones”) but these are generally (saving “Trouble” and “Jupiter”) lighter than the ‘Paterson books.

A huge recipient of Grace is Bilbo Baggins in “The Hobbit” but if it were not for Bilbo’s quailing helplessness before the roaring Lions of Fear, Misery, and Heartbreak, it may be easy to mistake this for yet another saga of heroic endurance. Bilbo, like all the characters in these books, has big fat feet of clay.

Walter Dean Myer’s brief account of his early life in “Bad boy” is a testimony to the help he got from parents and teachers, and that despite himself, he got to where he wanted to be. “Handbook for boys” is another where Grace takes the shape of two old guys helping delinquent kids avoid prison by giving them work in a barber shop. In “Dope sick”, there’s a supernatural element

Thanks to Stanley Hopcroft for using his gifts and experience in literature sharing this parenting tip.

"Parenting" Church Service... (26.09.21)

“Parenting” Kids Spot      &     Testimonies & Tips 

Song: In Christ Alone sung by entire Vella Family

Bible Readings (Deut 6:1-12 & Ephesians 6:1-4)   &   Bible Talk  by Ian Powell

The entire service –>

Sing with your kids...
How to help your kids sing in church
People often comment about how our kids sing so well in church and it has occurred to us that this did not happen by accident! We’ve done a few things that have helped our kids to participate in church increasingly and thought it might be helpful to share some ideas.
KEY PRINCIPLE: The way you teach your kids about singing is part of the way you teach your kids what being a part of and participating in church looks like. It’s part of helping them understand that church is Christ and other-person focused (it’s not all about them!). That is not always easy, in fact it involves some personal discipline.
Some tips:
1. Sing yourself
– Show your kids that singing is important in church, don’t let them distract you or interrupt you during the singing – say things like, “you’ll need to wait, we’re singing at the moment”
2. Sing at home (or in the car, in the shower or anywhere really!)
– Use the spotify playlists that Louisa has created to sing the songs we sing at church while you are at home. Have the music on in the background or let them listen to it before they go to sleep. We would recommend starting with a small list and building up so that you actually learn the lyrics of the songs you are listening to.
3. Talk about why we sing in church
– Colossians 3 tells us we sing both to praise God but also to encourage others to keep following Jesus and His word. Talk to your kids about how their singing is encouraging to other people in church – remind them that the words we sing matter and the way we sing matters because we are praising God and encouraging others to follow Him. We’re not singing enthusastically so that everyone looks at us, but we are singing enthusiastically so that other people will sing enthusiastically – we’re starting a trend!
4. Talk about what we sing
– At home, use the lyrics of the songs to talk to your kids about truths that we know from the Bible. Our kids often use songs to help them answer questions during our family Bible time each day.
– At church, summarise the songs for your kids in one sentence. ie. “we’ve just confessed our sins and been reminded that Jesus has forgiven us, so now we’re going to sing and say thanks to God for that.”
or, “this song is all about how we can trust God even when things are scary and hard.” This helps our kids to understand that there is purpose in our singing, and attach meaning to the words that they hear
– For pre-readers it can be helpful to focus on the repeated parts of the songs – encourage them to participate in the parts of the song they can. Be brave and sing it with them without music so they can hear what the words are. Enjoy the moments of realising your child is singing some funny lyrics and teach them the correct ones!
5. Encourage your kids when they do it well
– We don’t want to make our kids proud, so this is a tricky one – but it is good to tell our kids when they did a good job. I often say, “thanks so much for singing this morning – it helped me to sing too”.
6. Don’t sweat the days that don’t work!
– There will be some days when singing in church won’t go so well, that’s ok – no need to panic. Take a deep breath, thank God for his grace and try again next week!
Not a parent?  
How to help kids sing in church when you’re not a parent of small children!
1. Sing yourself
Kids are watching you all the time. They notice when you sing and when you don’t. Show them what it means to participate in church by singing.
2. Encourage kids when they do it well
– Remember we’re trying to encourage but not build pride: Try not to say “You’re so cute when you sing” or “Oh you’re just the best singer”. Try to say things like, “When you sing, it makes me want to sing”, “I love the way you were praising Jesus today, it made me want to praise Him too”
3. Talk to kids about what we sing
– When you’re chatting to kids at church, talk about the songs, tell them why you like them or what truths they remind you of from the Bible
Special thanks to Hannah and Louisa for sharing their wisdom, gifts and experience with us all.
Do what you say...

Follow through with what you say you will do.  This will help people trust you at your word.   As a spouse, and especially as a parent, this is one of the greatest gifts you can give.  Hard at first as you establish the discipline in yourself, but it will produce stability and dependability over time.   The kids need to know that you are serious when you say something, otherwise they will never be sure whether to follow you or not.

Do you follow through with the consequences you’ve set for disobedience?  Do you limit what you say so that you don’t say something that will be too difficult to follow through on?  Some of us will need to be firmer here, while others will do well to show a bit more grace.  Do it all in love.

Practical tip:  Count up how many times you don’t follow through with something you say.  Use a piece of paper big enough for a large tally!  If you can’t identify when you do this, ask your spouse or a close friend to count for you!  When you’re convinced there’s some room to improve, pray.  And then record down (without judgment on yourself) why you don’t do what you say each time.  Then pray for what’s needed.  In God’s strength.

Remember what God says about children...

Ephesians 6 says children are to obey their parents, and parents are not to exasperate their children, but to bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.  But the Bible says much more – it is a treasure chest!

Compassion is a wonderful child sponsorship organisation that K@Ch sponsors Lawi in Kenya through.  They have a lovely page explaining some Bible Verses on children and Parenting.

Phill’s favourite from this list (and possibly the most practical) is… Deuteronomy 6:6-7

These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts.   Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.

But my all time favourite is this one…  Psalm 78:4-7

We will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the Lordhis power, and the wonders he has done…  So that the next generation would know them… and they in turn would tell their children.  Then they would put their trust in God and would not forget his deeds but would keep his commands.

Put the device down...

Be present.  Put the device down when you are in a group with your household members.  We can be distracted in our thoughts at the best of times.  Device in hand…we’re checking out at home and checking in with another set of people. Switch off the device regularly. Switch on to the people God has put in front of you.  Especially at dinner.  No TV.  No devices at the table.
Practical Tip:   Plan a time in your daily structure and routines that specifically has no devices.  Not even phones.  For kids and for parents.  

#1 - Invest in your own Christian walk...

Perhaps the single most important thing to “do” in your parenting is for yourself to live as a Christian.  To grow in following Jesus as your own Lord and Saviour, is more important than trying to be a good parent.   As you seek first his kingdom you’ll grow in your parenting.  As you invest in your own Christian walk, you’ll also remember that we stand by grace apart from parenting, as well as in it!

Quiet Times.  Let your kids see that spending time with God in prayer and bible reading and song is your heart’s desire.  They will “catch this” way better than you can “teach” them.
Practical tip Get into a routine of having a QT.  Morning or evening or both.  If you’re able, find a friend or two or three to create an accountability group to check in.

Growth in Godliness.  Share your struggles and joys with your children.  Remind them that your struggles only confirm why you are a Christian – because people are weak at obeying Him and we need both forgiveness and Holy Spirit strength to move forward.  Along the path of two steps forward, there are often one step backs.  Be open and honest about this, and again, your kids will catch how you live.  For him.
Practical tip Pray the Psalms.  Start with well known ones.  Psalm 1, 23, 46, 51 etc

Commit to Church.  Make a resolve to attend Church each week.  A Life Group.  This will help with God’s idea of growing together as believers, and to gain encouragement for your personal commitments above.  In doing so, your kids will see you and follow with a pattern of attending Youth Group, K@Ch, and other children appropriate ways of Christian community.
Practical Tip:  Don’t even make missing church an option.  During lockdown, watch at the same time as your other brothers and sisters.  9:30am.  And don’t hinder the kids.  Prepare their print offs, video playlist, and make sure they watch the Kids Spot, and join in the K@Ch QUIZ at 11:15.  And do it with them.

Serving in the Mission.   Nothing will stop Jesus from building his church, and using us to proclaim the good news of the gospel and making disciples of all nations.  Of course we are beginning this in our own households, so keep serving with this in mind.  But also think wider than your own family.  How can you continue the work God has for us even in lockdown?
Practical Tip:  Snail mail.  During lockdown, make use of snail mail, and write a card to not-yet-believing family and friends, workmates and neighbours.  Include a great gospel verse, (like Mark 10:45) and post it in the mail.  Then pray.

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