Children are like wet cement. Whatever falls on them makes an impression.
Dr Haim Ginott
Blindfold your family and lead them through the house on a faith walk. Get them to feel different things around the house. Spin them around a few times to confuse them, then see if they can tell what room they are in. Ask them what they learnt about their home by seeing with ‘different’ eyes (that is, their fingers).
These questions are to stimulate a sense of openness, sharing and discovery about your family. The key is to listen!
If you were told tomorrow that you had won a million dollars, how would it change the way you act or live?
- If you were told tomorrow that you were going to jail forever, how would it change the way you act or live?
- If you were told tomorrow that you were adopted, how would it change the way you act or the way you live?
- If you were told today that you are a special child of God, how would it change the way you act or live?
With your family read John 20.19-31: Jesus appears to the disciples
(for a way of explaining/talking about this reading with children look at http://www.sermons4kids.com/believe_it_or_not.htm
Questions for Discussion:
- What did Jesus say to the disciples? Why do you think he said this?
- Why do you think that Thomas didn’t believe all the other disciples, that Jesus was alive?
- What did Jesus do to help Thomas believe?
- Why did the author John say these things had been written?
Discuss with your family what was interesting about the story or what made you think. What did the story tell us about Jesus? Try using some “I wonders” that emerge from the story.
You never know how much you really believe anything until its truth or falsehood becomes a matter of life and death. It is easy to say you believe a rope to be strong as long as you are merely using it to cord a box. But suppose you had to hang by that rope over a precipice. Wouldn't you then first discover how much you really trusted it?
C.S. Lewis, A Grief Observed
Prayer and Celebration
The patterns of prayer and celebration in the home add to the richness of children’s experience of faith – here are some ways you can deepen the lived practices of a faithful life at home.
Meal table practices of sharing and listening, grace and thankfulness with the things we have, like food.
(How might your family begin a mealtime pattern? It can be as simple as a prayer, or even a pause for silence, or include elements such as Bible reading, story telling, creating a special space using candles and table cloths, and always turning off the TV and other distractions.)
Patterns of Celebration
(How does your family celebrate special occasions such as birthdays and anniversaries? What are some of the ways that these might be made special? Food. Story Telling. Photos. Prayers of Thankfulness.)
Reading the Bible together
(Growing like Christ requires us to know him and know about him. Reading the Bible with your family and discussing it is a powerful way to open dialogue and grow.)
(Family stories, stories of faith, stories that teach about virtues and Christian character can be excellent ways of teaching children important values)
Children need opportunities to learn how to serve. These can begin in the home by providing them with chances to participate fully as family members.
How might children participate more fully in your family? God delegates to us much responsibility in the kingdom of God. I wonder how you delegate responsibility to your children.
Here are some ideas to help you delegate responsibility in your family.
- Define clearly and creatively the responsibilities being delegated to your children. What is it exactly you want them to do? How often do you want them to do it? Give them a job description, outlining their task, how they are to do it, how often. Put it on the fridge or somewhere prominent.
- Give them some training. One way is to follow the McDonald’s Model: I do it and you watch. We do it together. You do it and I watch. You do it and I do something else.
- Delegate segments that make sense and not bits and pieces. Help your child to see how the task they are doing contributes to the life of your family.
- Choose the right task for your child. Make sure they have the skills and understanding to do the task.
- To mutually set goals and standards of performance, expectations must be clearly defined. E.g. when washing the dishes, what does "clean" look like?
- Give accurate and honest feedback.
- Really delegate. When handing over a job, allow your child to do the job you have entrusted them to do.
Tell your children every day how special they are, that you believe in them, that you love them. Write some letters to your children telling them what you think is special about them or encouraging them. Put the letters in a place they might find them or in their lunch box. At bedtime, say a prayer out loud for your children. Pray that God might bless them, that they might feel special and loved, pray that they may become all God has made them to be. Make a pocket out of a paper bag, decorate it and stick it up in your child’s room. Put special messages and notes in it to tell your children you think they are special.
Doing these things might help your children see themselves in a new and special way. In seeing themselves as people who are loved, watch them grow into all that they might be.
(This material is based on and draws from earlier Faithful Families emails by Stephen Harrison and Richard Browning: An Unless Ideas Production.) Unless otherwise noted all material on this blog is copyright Stephen Harrison and Richard Browning