I have three kids, but one I just don’t understand.

It seems like in every family there’s one kid that just makes us wonder. Do you know what I’m talking about? You know, maybe you’re a family of extroverts, and little Alex is quiet and in a world all his own. Or, maybe you have a household of intellectuals, but Sophia? She just wants to kick a soccer ball around and HATES school. Or, maybe your son…read more

I just want my kids to know God.

Isn’t that the hope of every Christian parent? We want our kids to have a growing and thriving relationship with Him. Question: did you have that as a kid? While I grew up in a Christian home, it wasn’t my first choice because I really didn’t know Him until later. But here are some reasons why I came to Christ and follow Him today. The obvious thing is that the Holy Spirit called me, but my parents did a lot right. My parents wanted to know God more and showed us that. They always pointed out life lessons in a spiritual context. They regularly read Scripture with us, asked questions, and prayed with us. It doesn’t guarantee salvation in our kids—but it’s certainly a good foundation for it.

I want my kids to know how to share their faith.

Neil Postman wrote, “Children are the living messages we send to a time we will not see.”1 He’s right. As we invest in our kids, they’re actually taking a part of us with them into the future—a living time capsule, if you will. The question is this: are we equipping them with the things that really matter? We need to see our kids as more than nice company for us in our old age, more than those who will bless us with grandkids or make us proud because they’re successful. We need to raise them reading Scripture, pointing them to Christ, helping them grow in Him so that they can share Him with their friends—and, when they’re adults, equipping their kids to do the same.  From Neil Postman's book "The Disappearance of Childhood" (1982)

How can you let your kids hunt…with a gun?

We live in a time where many people believe guns kill people. Unfortunately, evil people DO use guns to kill people—but they use other things, too. I’m not going to get into a gun debate with you, but I got a message from a mom who was asking how to answer criticism about her kids who hunt. Here are a few reasons why kids should hunt.1 First, it teaches gun safety, responsibility, conservation, and how to provide food for a family. It also teaches “discipline, patience, endurance, learning to live with disappointment and failure”—life, basically. It also keeps family tradition alive and gets your kids out of the house and into the woods or a field to see God’s creation first-hand. “Top 10 Reasons to Teach Kids about Hunting” by Bob Robb, GrandviewOutdoors.com

But all my friends’ parents bought them cars!

Bandwagon marketing. Our kids use it ALL the time, don’t they? My favorite saying is, “If all of your friends jumped off a cliff, would you follow them?” Of course, that gets the eye-roll response, right? Maybe you did that for your kids. I’m sure you had your reasons. For me, my goal is to teach my kids to be responsible, not entitled. We live in an entitlement world. Many kids ask for new technological gizmos, and they get them. College graduates don’t want to work their way to the top—they WANT the top. Parents, encourage your kids to save money and buy it on their own. I like what Proverbs says, and I’ll paraphrase: “Those who work will have food, but those who chase fantasies have no sense.”* *based on Proverbs 12:11 NIV

My kids are pretty selfish. Is there anything I can do to help?

Unfortunately, selfishness isn’t a learned behavior. It’s human nature. The only cure for selfishness is heart change, but even in Christ people can be selfish. The second-best way to change that in our kids is to do a couple of things. First, if your kids are old enough, take them on a short-term mission trip. If you head to an orphanage or do work in a refugee camp, they’ll see how blessed we are in North America. Secondly, set up a family donation project. Have a bake sale, garage sale, or something else to raise money for a local rescue mission, an orphan ministry, or a child sponsorship program. And remind them what Scripture says: true religion is caring for the widows and the orphans.

My son is still so short—how do I help?

Puberty. It’s God’s mystery, isn’t it? Why do some boys and girls mature early and others take their own sweet time? While there are physical issues that can cause this, time usually resolves the issue. But that doesn’t prevent our kids from being teased. Boys and girls—they can be cruel. I wish I could tell you it’s easy. It’s not. Being that I was a late bloomer myself, I empathize with kids who “bloom” later than everybody else. I tell them about my own struggles as I was growing up, growing from 5’2” to 6’1” between my freshman and sophomore years in high school. I remind them it’s all in God’s timing and He has a plan, which is always better than ours.

My kids act like they HATE each other. What do I do?

It’s not easy watching our kids fight. While my older kids were growing up, the three of them couldn’t get along as a trio. It was always two against one. I’ve noticed that when there’s a huge age gap, kids often view the other as being annoying or irritating. Conflict is pretty normal. If there’s hitting going on or other violence, you need to nip that in the bud quickly. Time-out or other discipline can help curb that. The reality is most kids love their siblings, but jealousy can create these tensions. Heart change is the only answer. When you notice it, point it out for what it is—sin. And the antidote is Christ alone. Over time, that message will change their heart.

Why don’t you like me? Is it the sound of my voice?

The United States is a nation of immigrants. Think about it, except for First Nation peoples, we’re all descendants of immigrants. Some of those immigrants come with a racial stigma. Russians supposedly interfered with our elections. Latin American immigrants are treated as criminals. Middle Eastern immigrants are many times labeled terrorists. Kids are listening. Parents, if we’re speaking badly about these people groups, we’re teaching our kids bigotry. The Bible says, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28 NASB). We’re also called to care for the oppressed. When we do, love opens doors for the gospel. We’re all made in God’s image. Let’s teach our kids that.

My teen wants a job, but they need to focus on school.

What? Your son or daughter wants to work? Really? Let them! Work is a good thing. It teaches our kids responsibility. It teaches them to be on time, do quality work, and manage their time and money. But, working can also be a distraction, can’t it? When they start making money, it can become an idol. It can take them away from church. Most states have restrictions for student workers, but, even still, set rules. Determine what grades they have to maintain in order to keep working. Help them save, spend, and tithe their money. And require them to be a part of family time when they’re off. But, ultimately, remind them to do their work “as … doing it for the Lord,” which is an amazing testimony these days (Colossians 3:23 NCV).

To homeschool or not to homeschool?

If you think I’m going to tell you whether or not you should homeschool your kids on this Parent Minute broadcast, you’re crazy. Some have criticized me previously for demonizing homeschool education. Others have written in asking if I thought they were abusing their kids because they sent their kids to public schools. Here’s where I hope we can reach an agreement: some parents are called to provide homeschool education, just like some missionaries are called to the Middle East. Others are being called to be a light in the darkness in the public school system. Neither is more right or more wrong. The exception? Being out of God’s will. Oh, and another thing, don’t condemn other families for listening to God’s call on their life. God’s call might not be the same as His call on your life.

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