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Friday, April 4, 2008

Fun Fact Friday: Fun Devotions with the Kiddos

Hey y'all. I had this idea to share the love on some good ideas and tips that I've recently found for family devotions. If you know me, you already know that I'm probably not the sharpest knife in the drawer and I'm not creative in the 'coming up with my own ideas' sense of the word (or probably any other sense of the word). But, I am smart enough to know a good thing when I see or hear it.

Just recently, our church's children's minister Jennifer has been facilitating a class on parenting. It is precisely this kind of thing that I'm smart enough to recognize as a good thing. I wholly admit that I can use all the help I can get on the parenting front. The class was called, "Parenting the Early Years" by Drs. Les & Leslie Parrot. There were two things that I took away from the class that we implemented in our family devotion time. And, they have been a real hit. Both of our kids enjoy them, and ask to do devotions each night.

Again, these ideas are genius, so I thought I would pass them along. The first thing we do is read a small little bible story from their "Memory Bible Verse" book. It is fairly short, but includes a bible verse and a practical application. Then, (taken from the class) we play the MAD, SAD, GLAD game. It is a game where each family member goes around the table and tells what made them mad, sad, and glad that day. You'll be surprised what you hear, or at least I was. This just gives them a way to open up about what's going on in their mind. It also provides Brad & I with the opportunity to explain that certain of their behaviors disappointed us, without being "in the heat" of the moment. It would sound something like, "you know, mommy was sad today when you did this..." or, "mommy was really glad when I saw you doing this" We found we could use it as reinforcement. But, we don't always do that, sometimes we just share something generic about our day that truly made us mad, sad, or glad. The kids super love this, and I think it's brilliant. Kudos to the Parrots.

The other thing we took away from the class was a method for family prayer. Before I learned about this, we just took turns letting each child pray. Obviously, there was/is nothing wrong with that. But, the new technique just helps guide them in being a little more specific. I don't really know if the video said how they implemented it, but what we do, (to make it seem more like a prayer) is have us all hold hands around the table. Then, each person completes the first sentence, then you go around the table with the second sentence, then the third and then the fourth. Here they are:

1. God, I love you because....
2. Jesus, I'm thankful for.....
3. God, I'm sorry for.....
4. Jesus, could I have _______ please?

The reason I love it so much is that it incorporates all elements of prayer (praise, thanksgiving, repentance, and petition). I don't know about y'all, but my kids would only ask forgiveness of the person whom they offended. I don't know that I ever heard them or had them ask for forgiveness from God (I'm telling you, parent of the year, right here). My kids prayed just fine, but I would like them to get in the habit early of showing praise and thankfulness, and expressing apologies when needed, and voicing their needs too. And, the cool thing about it is, that eventually their prayer of petition (#4) will be answered and can be turned in to a prayer of thankfulness (#2). Can you see why this is a stroke of genius. Oh, and when everyone has answered all four statements of prayer.....we all say "AMEN" together (the kids especially like that).

And, since this post is already longer than the constitution. Let me just share something else. At first, when we came to the sentence of petition (#4) Bryce would always ask for material things...a new transformer or whatever. But, as Brad & I took our turns we would ask for spiritual things, like wisdom or whatever we happened to need that day. And, we would also explain to Bryce that sometimes we should ask Jesus for things that would help us be more like him. So, yesterday Bryce had a little episode and lost his temper. When he got to number 3, he said that he was sorry for disobeying, and I asked him what he thought he did that was disobedient and I reminded him of his fit. Well, everybody else took their turn for number 3. Then we got to number 4, and Brad asked for wisdom. When it was Bryce's turn, he asked Jesus to help him control his temper. Y'all, I nearly bawled right then and there (but, I didn't). I think the light bulb went off and it clicked with him. Now, I'm sure he'll still be asking for transformers or whatever, too; but I'm glad to know that he realizes there are other things that Jesus wants to give us.

The FACT is, family devotions are a really FUN way to teach our kids about Jesus. If you have something you do in your family that is brilliant, or works especially well, I'd sure love to hear it. I think I mentioned that I need all the help I can get.

And, thanks Jennifer, for hosting the parenting class! We're so thankful for all that you're doing for our kids and our families!!

9 comments:

Tamara Chastain said...

I love the family prayer. I must have missed that classs. I love it when our kids suprise us with those little God moments. Tamara

Tammy said...

Great ideas! Thank you so much for sharing them. I was sorry and missed all the classes and I'm probably the one that needed them most!

Tammy Howard said...

What a great idea!!!

Tammy

Steven, Meleia & Libby Bridenstine said...

That's really cool. Thanks so much for sharing it. It makes me wish I had attended that class. Maybe there will be an encore of it. The way that what a parent says or does in devotion elegantly parallels to forming the child's thinking is awesome.

Joe & Cyndi Rogers said...

Those classes were great! Thanks for sharing how awesome those ideas worked in your family! It IS awesome when those little ones pleasantly surprise us!

Kelsey S said...

Those are awesome ideas!

Kelsey
http://kelseysmith.typepad.com/

The Wild World of Richmond said...

That must have been the class I missed, too. We missed the very last class. We had to go to the funeral home that night. I really did get a lot out of those classes and I especially enjoyed sitting with you (and Brad on occassion, LOL)and MB and her husband. It was so relaxing to come and sit and hang out with you guys and talk. It really made us want to be at EMC more...than the other place that I won't say. Did I really just say that? I better stop now.
love you guys,
Terri

Jimmy said...

This is my favorite Fun Fact Friday ever. Thanks for sharing. I need to print of this post so I can keep it until Ada is at speaking age.

Brittany said...

oops! That was really Brittany not Jimmy :)