All Joking Aside

Titus 2:6 –“Young men likewise exhort to be soberminded.”

I don’t know how many times I’ve had to come to a fresh understanding of that verse. And my dad was happy to oblige.

Young people–oh, and old people–like to have fun. For me that means humor. But the fact that our humor often crosses the line into inappropriate territory leads us to ask how we can be “sober minded” and still enjoy a little laughter. Continue reading

Kids Will Be Kids

teachers-pet-4-200x300Nobody likes an over-achiever.

Football teams that run up the score against an inferior opponent get under our skin. The guy with no life who’s always getting the boss’s coffee rubs us the wrong way. And who can forget Betsy Sue, the teacher’s pet who helped grade papers at recess?

Sometimes our aversion to the over-achiever informs the way we parent our own kids. And rightly so. Raising kids to perform perfectly can lead to frustration on the one hand and pride and self-righteousness on the other. Kids shouldn’t have to have perfect hair, perfect clothes, perfect grades, or a perfect batting average 100% of the time.

So how should we arrive at appropriate expectations for our kids? Continue reading

Book Review: Teach Them Diligently

14685109Lou Priolo. Teach Them Diligently. Woodruff, SC: Timeless, 2000. 130 pages.

So, whose responsibility is it to disciple your children? When I ask the question that way, the answer is obvious: YOU. Yet we often operate our households in such a way that the lion’s share of the discipling is left to the church, the Christian school, our spouse, or (scary!) the hours of media our children take in while watching TV, playing video games, reading books, etc.

The message of this book flies in the face of these tendencies. No surprise there, considering Lou Priolo’s commitment to the authority and sufficiency of Scripture (we sell several of his books in our bookstore). Continue reading

Book Review: Shepherding a Child’s Heart

51R089Y1DML._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-big-search,TopRight,35,-76_AA240_SH20_OU01_Tripp, Tedd. Shepherding a Child’s Heart. Wapwallopen, PA: Shepherd’s Press, 1995. 211 pages.

This book has been out for a while, but I wanted it to be the first book I highlight in a series of book reviews pertaining to children/parenting. Let me be very clear from the outset: if you are a parent, you need to read this book. I anticipate using this book as a reference and encouragement as I attempt to raise my children to fear God.

What is so special about this book? Besides the experience and wisdom of an experienced pastor, counselor, school administrator, and parent, I’ve listed a few characteristics that set it apart from other books on parenting. Continue reading

For Parents with Babies

smile-babyAs the parent of a toddler (Breanna, 18 months old), I have been tempted to think that I have all the time in the world to figure out how to engage in the task of parenting in such a way that my children grow up to be Christ-loving, God-fearing adults. That was even more of a temptation when my daughter couldn’t crawl or walk or say any words. When your child is a baby, or just growing out of that phase, it seems a little out of place to speak of “reaching the heart,” or “discipleship.” Sometimes it even seems weird to read a Bible story to an infant–let alone pray with them.

So when is it appropriate for us as parents to begin addressing the heart issues our child needs to face? When should we be gathering the necessary tools to point our children to the Savior? When is it time to think through family devotions? When does it become crucial for our little ones to be in church on a regular basis? I don’t have an exact answer to that question, but the following verses help me keep things in perspective: Continue reading