Faith in Practice with KidsDec 21, 2022
Hey friends! Welcome back! As always, I pray this episode is a blessing to you!!
I posted in my instagram stories a while ago with a poll of some upcoming podcast episode titles and - FAITH IN PRACTICE WITH KIDS - was the #1 choice you guys voted for. It's a part of our lives we want and need people to speak into. And since the episode launched - it's the #1 episode that you guys have told me you loved and shared with your friends. SO THANK YOU.
And, there's more where this is coming from. We have a whole podcast now! Woo! Stay tuned for more!
I'm speaking to you guys from a place of humility because I do not have this figured out. But I do try. And I do seek Godly counsel on this subject, and I do try to make it a priority. I come from a family of faith, and my parents put in effort to raise us in the ways of Christian faith. And, thankfully to the Lord, me and my siblings are all adults following the Lord. So I have some examples, and I'll share what I've learned so far and what I'm continually learning. Consider this a conversation with a sister or friend.
2 Timothy 3:16 says, "All scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for showing mistakes, for correcting, and for training in character." We do have access to what God thinks we should do regarding all things in life, including parenting. It's in the scripture. And we won't know it if we don't know scripture! So let's learn it and make it part of our lives. It's a tool we can use each day!
One of the easiest ways to teach kids the basics about faith (or literally anything) is music. Kids can memorize songs before they really know they are learning something. My kids attend a Christian Mother's Day Out and they listen to a song there called The Fruit of the Spirit by Uncle Charlie. It is adorable, catchy, and really helps them (and me) memorize the fruit of the spirit. It says "the fruit of the spirit's not a coconut, lemon, watermelon" and repeats what the real fruit of the spirit are. Trust me, it's a cute song. Your kids will love it.
I think the fruit of the spirit is a great thing to teach our children because it is so applicable as we instruct them through life. We can talk about gentleness when we are teaching our kids to be gentle with their siblings, and talk about patience when we have to wait for what we want. We can remind them that we HAVE the fruit of the spirit when we have the holy spirit living in our hearts. We HAVE love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
My kids also like songs that list the books of the Bible. "Books of the New Testament" and "Books of the Old Testament" by Cedarmont Kids are big favorites. The first few times we listened to it, I would just play the song and be quiet and listen, then I started singing the words with the song, then my son started trying to sing the words too. And we would celebrate and laugh at how many we could sing correctly. I don't make it like a school lesson- "you HAVE to learn this!" I just play it like a fun song! Which it is. I learned these songs when I was a kid myself and I literally still sing them in my head when I'm trying to find a particular part of my Bible. What a useful tool!
Cedarmont Kids have lots of fun Christian songs for kids to listen too. I don't necessarily have separate playlists for Christian songs, I just have one playlist for my kids and a lot of them are christian songs, but there are non-Christian songs too. It's not separated, "now it's time to learn about God," we just listen to all songs that we love and some are about God! God is just a regular part of life!
Another thing you can do is ask what your kids are learning at church or school and continue those conversations at home. If your kids are young, you can ask their teachers. Sometimes churches have resources for parents that show what they are teaching at that time, and sometimes teachers have their curriculums posted too. Your kids teachers will probably love that you are supporting their efforts! It also gives you a chance to answer any questions your kid may have about what they are learning.
Another way to practically live in faith is to teach our kids some type of "confession" of faith to memorize, or like people commonly do "affirmations." This can be very similar to the ones people do that aren't christian at all, but you can put God in the middle of it! Some of my friends have a really good confession that includes lots of scripture for kids, so I'll get that rounded up and post that on here someday. But the one our family uses, I created when my son was 1. We say it on the way to school and he learned it by the time he was 2.
I am kind.
I am brave.
I am friendly.
I am smart.
I am loved.
I am a leader.
I have a servant's heart.
I am healed.
I have favor.
I can do hard things.
I am blessed to be a blessing.
I am a son/daughter of the King!
I treat these affirmations similarly to how we treat the fruit of the spirit. We use this as a reference. I'll say something like, "Did you see how your friend was watching what you did and they did the same thing? That's called being a leader. Leaders have a lot of responsibility to make the right choices because people follow their example! You are a great leader!" Or I will commonly use, "You can do hard things! I saw you working on that puzzle. At first it seemed so hard, but you kept working at it and you figured it out! You can do hard things!" Or I'll teach my kids, "God has really blessed us. All good things are from God. God gives us opportunities to bless other people and be blessings too! Isn't it fun to be a blessing to others!"
This will be a deeper conversation for another day, but I want to mention that WE are an example to our kids daily, and help form their impressions of what a life of faith means, whether we want to admit it or not. I do think it's faithful to let them see the blessing of marriage if you are married. I say things like, "I just love Daddy so much, don't you!" Or teaching our kids, "I have unconditional love and never-ending grace for you. I always love you and I am always here to help you as you learn. God made me your mom so that I can teach you so many things, and sometimes there have to be consequences for your actions. But that doesn't mean I don't love you. I always love you and I always forgive you and give you grace, just like God does for me and for you too! We learn from our lessons and consequences and make the right choices next time!" My son has already learned this concept and let me tell you it's hard to be upset with your kid when their immediate response is "Sorry, Mommy! Can I have some grace!?"
We also do this with teaching our kids that God is our healer. When they fall down and get a scrape I'll look at it and say something like, "Oh that must have hurt! Well you know what, it looks like it'll heal. God is our healer! Let's pray to God to heal your scrape and thank him that by Jesus' stripes, we are healed!"
Another example of faith in practice is teaching our kids who God says they are. This is so important and powerful and it should probably have been the first thing I talk about in this conversation. But how obvious is. a confident kid, confident teenager, confident adult. I personally credit my parents in teaching me to be confident in who I was (and who God says I was) for me being able to make pretty good decisions in high school and as a young adult. I think a lot of that was the result of my parents' prayers and teachings. I want that for my kids too. But we can instill in our children that they were made in the image of the Lord, that as children of the Lord they have favor in their lives, that God's power is made perfect in our weaknesses. We need our kids to know we believe in them, we are confident when we speak these things over them. We aren't taking shortcuts to ensure things will work out for our kids, we are confident that God who began a good work in them will bring it to completion. That we hold strongly to the hope we profess because He who promised is faithful. That God didn't give us a spirit of fear but of love, power, and a sound mind. We are confident in God's promises.
I love the quote I have seen a few times online that says, "The things we say to our children become their inner voice." I mean, wow, right? Another quote I saw recently, I think it was Lisa Bevere, "Our children are either going to inherit our fears or God's promises." Talk about a reality check!
Another thing to show our faith in practice with our daily lives is to have a few memory verse with easy application. My mom was so good at this. She would always tell me and my siblings the proverbs, “A gentle answer turns away wrath but a harsh word stirs up anger.”
And when I was frustrated with sibling she would tell me Jesus said we should forgive our brother as many as 70 x 7 times. And I remember telling her, WE ARE DEFINITELY PAST THAT NUMBER. And I guess it means we should forgive them an unlimited time.
Another one my mom used to say was “do everything as if you’re doing it for the Lord.” I remember one time coming downstairs to get a snack or something in high school and she was cleaning the kitchen and I felt sad that she was doing chores so late at night and she said something like “yeah, sometimes I really don’t want to be doing things like this, but I know that the Bible says to do everything as if it’s for the Lord. So I just tell myself I’m cleaning this kitchen for the Lord.”
Another huge lesson I learned from my mom in scripture was the verse “rejoice with those who rejoice!” She would say this to me if I was jealous a friend got an award that I wanted or something great happened to someone else. “We rejoice with those who rejoice!” Like, we aren’t bitter, we aren’t taking something away from them by being negative, we rejoice with them and for them!
Another verse my mom always said to us was “This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it!” No matter what kind of day we are having. This is the Lord’s day! Let’s be happy! Isn’t that a nicer way than telling our kids- “Hey! Cheer up!”
And I’ll just close today with Psalms 127:3- “behold children are a heritage from the Lord. The fruit of the womb a reward.” Your children are a blessing to you from the Lord! We are in the world, but we aren't OF the world. It's okay to be a little different in our parenting. And it can still be the most fun!
I have compiled a list of my favorite Bible verses for moms to speak over their children, and it's available for free instant download! Click here!
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