Lets all lighten up! With the new year coming, most people want to cut the fat from their diet. I suggest that we should 'cut the fat' from our houses too. We live in a society that is living high on the hog. There's so much stuff in our houses sometimes I wonder how we live and move! It certainly helps our attitudes to have less stuff.
I'm sure we've heard it before, but let me share it with you again:
“Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matthew 16:24-26)
What are we teaching our children? Do we have 'stuff-itus' or are we teaching them that things are not important?
As I was getting ready to go to ladies Bible class this morning, I was thinking about things to encourage younger (or less experienced) teachers. I have been in positions to encourage others to teach and was running through some tips in my mind. I am not a very experienced teacher yet, but I have learned a few things the hard way. I've tried to make these general enough that you can use these tips for teaching your kiddos at home too! Please, use the comments to add your own tips!
1. Be prepared. I am ashamed to admit how many times I've shown up still with things to cut out or various other things undone. It really puts you in a better frame of mind if everything is laid out and ready.
2. Know your lesson. Again, too many times I've walked in and stumbled through a lesson. Did I make it? Yes. Did the students learn? Yes. But how much more could I have been able to teach them had I been better prepared and knew my information!
3. It is okay to say, "I don't know, let me get back with you." Even the best prepared teachers will have questions come up that they don't know the answers to. Be sure to write the question down and do follow through. At home with my kids I might say, let's go look that up right now. Tools such as e-sword and Strong's have been used around my house. (And for non-Bible topics, Google is such a valuable tool!)
4. Build up your students, don't tear down. I love the motto: The only stupid question is the one that is not asked. I tend to be very inquisitive, so I try to have patience with others that ask many questions. Try to respond to every question with variations of, "That's a good question." This helps to build confidence in the one asking. A good student will ask questions.
These are just a few things. Please, add your own in the comments! Let's learn from each other!
"And he said unto them, Know ye not this parable? and how then will ye know all parables? The sower soweth the word. And these are they by the way side, where the word is sown; but when they have heard, Satan cometh immediately, and taketh away the word that was sown in their hearts. And these are they likewise which are sown on stony ground; who, when they have heard the word, immediately receive it with gladness; And have no root in themselves, and so endure but for a time: afterward, when affliction or persecution ariseth for the word's sake, immediately they are offended. And these are they which are sown among thorns; such as hear the word, And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful. And these are they which are sown on good ground; such as hear the word, and receive it, and bring forth fruit, some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some an hundred."
This is the interpretation of the parable of the sower. You can find the parable in vs. 2-9 as well as being recorded in Matthew and Luke. I wanted to share with you just a couple random thoughts I've had about this verse recently.
1) Notice that every seed sown in good grown brought forth fruit. Some more than others. So, as Christians we will multiply ourselves by teaching the word and creating more Christians. This should be our goal! So, get busy and go sow the seed!
2) Then, recently, I was teaching my 4th and 5th graders and I had a different thought. We are to bear fruit. The Bible defines the Christian's fruit this way: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.” (Galatians 5:22-23) So, if we think of our fruit as being this type of fruit – based upon our actions – then think for a minute about fruit. Each fruit has within itself a seed. Every time we show love, joy or any of these others, we are planting a seed of faith in others.
So, next time you have opportunity, TEACH and show those fruits of the spirit! Let's be fruitful and multiply!!!!!
Some parents, I think, do not believe they can teach little ones anything. Their one year old just toddles around and gets in to trouble in their house. The parents roll their eyes and re-direct their little one into something else.
But toddlers do know. My one year old knows how to pick clothes up off the floor. She knows how to sign about a dozen signs – and use them correctly to ask for what she wants. Today, she even remembered a sign I taught her weeks ago and hadn't used it since. They know more than we give them credit for.
So, what can parents do to teach them about God during this time? I'm no expert, but I thought I'd share with you somethings that we do with our children at this age. I hope, and pray, that you would be willing to share the things that you do with your littles.
1) Prayer. Don't just pray with them – teach them a simple prayer. This is where signing comes in handy. Before they can vocalize their prayer, they can sign it. Usually, I take her hands to sign, but sometimes I encourage her to say her own things and she will sign 'dog' or 'wind' without being prompted. I'm not sure how much she is understanding that she is talking to God, that may come later, but she is getting into the habit of daily prayer and thanksgiving to God.
2) Read books. We don't read to our little one as often as I'd like, but we try to make a point to read Bible stories whenever possible. My oldest knew nearly every story in the Bible by the time he was 5 or 6. We also have a daily Bible reading as a family. Hearing the Word read – or reading it – every day is so important! Children need to know that feeding their souls is just as important as feeding their physical bodies.
3) Teachable moments. I try to make a point to talk about God throughout the day. When we see a pretty sunset, I mention that God made it. Anything in the world can be related back to God's creation. Our table couldn't be possible if it weren't for the trees that God made and provided for us. Talking about God as easily as breathing from such early ages creates a faith in them.
4) Sing with them. Our 1 yr old loves “Jesus Loves Me” and “This Little Christian Light of Mine”. I love to see her face light up when she hears us begin singing them. Singing scriptures or another 'teaching' song like the books of the Bible are helpful to teach facts and help memorize as well.
These are just a few things I can think of at the moment that we do with little ones around the house during our day to teach them about God. Please share in the comments things you do with your toddlers.
I stumbled across this neat little site and thought I'd share it with you. It is filled with some great stuff for little ones! Enjoy your Tiny-tot treat today! (Use with caution - especially the songs.)
"Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD: And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up." (Deuteronomy 6:4-7)
The principle here is that we should teach our children about God all through the day. In order to do this, there are many things that our family has been doing. Some of these things we have added recently. I am by no means an expert and I sure don't have it all together, but I thought it might be helpful to some.
1. I need to make more of an effort to start our day off with a devo, but it is usually a flurry of activity. I'm cooking and getting breakfast ready, and the kids have morning chores. Then breakfast and the schedule has them doing penmanship while I clean up after breakfast (if Facebook doesn't distract me first!). By the time we get to what we call “School Time Bible Time” it is 9 AM or later. In our STBT, we read a Bible story, I say a prayer to start our school day and we sing, “Grow, grow, grow.” Lately my one year old has been saying, “Jesus” so we sing Jesus Loves Me while she smiles. We were also reading through the selected Psalms for a Bible bowl, but now we read Discovery magazine from Apologetic Press.
2. Either during gaps in the schedule (when do we ever have those!) or when their school work is done, we have started reading from Proverbs. What ever the date is, they read that chapter. The goal is that we talk about the things we read. Some days I emphasize a certain character trait. Honestly, most days I'm thankful we at least read it. The goal is that we discuss these things together.
3. In our homeschool, I chose curriculum that teaches Bible in every subject. I love this! The word is getting in their hearts through every school subject.
4. During lunch, Daddy comes home from work and either he or I will read the daily Bible reading. Sometimes this is a tag team effort. This year we decided to read through chronologically. It has been interesting. We are almost through the Old Testament now.
5. At bedtime, we have Bible Time. This consists of a story, discussion time and each member of the family prays. Even the baby has a sign prayer we help her with. At 1 yr old she's beginning to do some of the signs herself!
6. Teachable moments. These are times throughout the day that give us an opportunity to teach about God and His Word. I'm sure I miss a lot of these! My favorite is to show nature and talk about God's creation, but there are a million (and more!) ways to use teachable moments!
7. Bible games. Lately our favorite is the 'name game'. One person starts by saying a Bible name, say for example, Noah. The next person has to choose a name that begins with an 'h', like Hosea. Then the next person has to choose one beginning with an 'A', and so on.
These are some of the things that we do. Please leave a comment and share something(s) your family does!
This website has great curriculum for kids! I recently used a chart of the first 9 plagues out of one of these units. These are very well designed units! Great for homeschool or Bible class use.
Bible Class Curriculum