Tag Archives: Imparting Faith the to Children

VBS day 1 and 2

photos of the boys getting ready to head off to VBS both yesterday and today.  This is Little Brother’s first VBS.

 

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Budding Theologians

I think I am raising two budding theologians!

A few nights ago at bed time:

Big “Momma we can pray to God or Christ, right they are the same person”

Momma “Yes they are the same”

Little “NO [yelled] not the same.  God not born Christmas.”

Tonight at bedtime:

Big:  “how old was John The Babpist?”

Momma “when, he was a person, so he was born and got old”

Big “his mom and dad were old like Grandma and Papa.  An angle told his dad what to name him, right”

Momma “right.”

Big “could God make Grand Pat have a baby, if He really wanted to”

 

I love the innocent of children, and they sure seem to be learning their stuff.

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Thinking about Lent

I’ve been thinking about Lent.  Not real original I know.  Each year as I pass my birthday I think about Lent.  Today is Ash Wednesday.  I am by no means a teacher, preacher or Biblical scholar much less a theologian; but I’ll share my thoughts anyway.  They maybe wrong, but they could be right.

Lent.  Sacrifice.  What are you giving up this year?  The same old story.  Conventional Wisdom holds that we sacrifice a beloved vice for the 40 days of Lent (actually 46 days, Sundays do not count) as a personal reminder of Christ’s sacrifice for us.  Really?  I give up coke or chocolate for 40-some days and THAT is a sacrifice?  What a life we lead in 2012 is this Fist World Nation (an idea I touched on here also).  Isn’t our idea of sacrifice almost an insult to Christ’s death on the cross?  An insult to the martyrs that died for their faith; an insult to people today in other nations that risk life and liberty to practice their faith?  I fully acknowledge and respect the practice of Morning Offering  and in fact, should disciple my life in this way more.  It is a wonderful attitude to live your life in.  I also am challenging myself to more fully live a life of, and come to a better place of understanding about “offering my trial up to the Lord” .  Again that is such a better attitude to live in than many that people do live in, including me.  I know my life and Walk will benefit as a disciple myself more in these attitudes towards life and the daily challenges we all face.

However, I fear Lent has become nothing more than a 2nd set of New Years resolutions.  Personal sacrifice, self discipline, is a foundation of any Walk with God or any fellowship with Christ.  But it must be authentic, it must be genuine – and that happens, or doesn’t, at the heart level.

I have seen a number of blogs and articles this season echoing my thoughts (see ) .  Seeking a deeper experience of Lent, a more serious approach.  Simply put I can never sacrifice enough, the martyrs and saints did not sacrifice enough, Christ’s gift of his life is the only ‘good enough’ sacrifice.  We do well to offer a personal devotion or to refuse ourselves a favored vice only in that it forces us, or should, to think about Christ and our relationship with God.  Nevertheless, we do ourselves a grave disservice and mock Christ when we lazily assume that giving up candy or coke is the true gift we bring to the Cross this season.  The gift is our desire, or thoughts, our efforts at self disciple, out desire to be closer to Him; not the simple lack of a habit.

I used to work with a Sister from the Sisters of Loretto  and she talked about ADDING for Lent, not subtracting.  Adding pray, adding disciple, adding God Time, adding to your walk in a meaningful way.  This is what I have been thinking about.  Adding to and completing my relationship with God, my walk of faith; where I stand on the march to maturity as a flower.  Am I consistently chewing meat or am I simply, occasionally, gulping milk on the run?

So this Lent I am not giving up soda, or TV or candy.  What I will be doing is spend the Lenten Season thinking and praying about where I am on the path, as an individual and as a parent responsible for the upbringing and education of two more souls.  Where do I stand on the path god has laid out for me?  I’ll give you a hint, as a 40 year old cradle Christian I am not where I belong, and I fear as the mother of a 4 year old and 6 year old boy I we are not where we belong.  I pray this Season that I grow in God, not that I break my soda habit.

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Our Advent Book collection, 12/2011

I love books, and seeing as Advent is one of the two most important times in the Christian calendar – it should be no surprise that I collect, for the boys, advent books.  Each advent both boys get a new advent book.  (Christmas they will get a new Bible or a new verse book, or something like that, but for Advent they get a special “Christmas Story” book).

Many I have fallen in love with, some I just like; but I thought this year, as I unpacked the tub of books (since they go up into the attic with the decorations after the Season) I thought maybe a blog post about the one we have so far would be a nice addition to the Advent Season this year.   Remember my boys are still young (4 and 6 this Advent) so our collection is geared at the pre-readers; a lot of board books and rhyme.  I MEANT for this to be posted right after the start of Advent, as soon as we got the books out.  That did not happen, but here is our Advent collection:

  • One baby Jesus.  A New Twelve Days of Christmas.    I admit I don’t love this one,  but, to be fair, I must admit I am  not a fan of the original carol either (though I understand the main argument for the historical bases and respect that, and find it genius, I just don’t really enjoy it – see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Twelve_Days_of_Christmas_(song) ).
  • Christmas in the Barn.  Margaret Brown is one of my all time favorite children’s authors, so it is no surprise I do love this book.
  • This is the Stable.   I love this one also, I also appreciate the art in this book.  The people, especially Mary, Josephs and the baby Lord are not white, neither blond nor round eye.  That is nice.  Good art, dark subdued colors and the people look realistic – Middle Eastern.
  • Who is coming to our house?  I LOVE this book.  It is worn at the edges, and I can recite it mostly by memory!!  We’ve had it since 2006 and I still love it more than most.  It is simply, the animals prepare, and face doubts, for the arrival of Mary and Joseph.  it is soothing, and easy and charming.
  • Pine Tree Parable. 
  • The Christmas Story (Little Golden Book).  I do not think our family has read all of this at any one point in time, it is still a bit beyond my boys. 
  • Christmas in the manager.  Ours is NOT pat and feel; but I love the chatting style of the book and count it as a favorite of mine.  Short and simple and easy for the little ones to keep up with and stay caught up with.  “do it again, do it again”.  A repeated book that will soak simple meaning into their little hearts.  One of my tops picks.The Christmas Donkey.  By wilma Swedburg.  1961!!  This was one of mine!!  I can’t find it on amazon.  It is too long and too complex for the boys at this point, I do not think we’ve even read it once yet, but it is part of their collection. 
  • Room for a Little One.    A warmly illustrated book about the animals in the stable; there is always room for one more and all are accepted peacefully (the dog and cat and mouse all cuddle together). 
  • The Stable where Jesus was born.  Another one where the people look ‘right’ very Middle Eastern, the art is amazing in this one too.  The story, the texts, is not as strong as some and the art work not nearly as GREAT as a few others, but it is not a blue-eyes blond Holy Family and that is something.  I do like in the crowd scenes the girls and women are all wearing veils and head covers wrapped around them, that look  Middle Eastern rather than the ones that look like a European statue of Mary (more thrown back rather than wrapped around).  I do love all the animals in the art, like the little mice hiding.

This year I added two new books, trying to take a different approach than simply the stable / manger and the night of the Birth:

  • Humphrey’s First Christmas.  Rather funny, Humphery desires a blanket, and him fitting himself in his Master’s tent to show he is cold is very funny.  The story / text in this one is weak.  This is one ve added to the collection this year.  The moral is good (he desires the blanket, strives hard to get it, then is awed by the baby Christ and give the baby the blanket without a second thought.  But the text doesn’t do as much as it could given the story it is telling.
  • Small Camel Follows the Star.  I am in love with this addition to our collection.  In love.  The camel is a baby and gets to go on his first caravan—he carries first one, then 3 gifts.  He struggles; his mother assures him their master is good and knows correctly.  He, of course, carries the gifts to the Christ child for the 3 wise men.  However I love that the Christ child is NOT a baby as the wise men arrive, but a toddler sitting up on Mary’s lap and interacting with the baby camel and the wise men.  The art work is realistic, if not the most impressive art.  The Holy Family is dark skinned and the Christ child has dark curly hair; Mary’s cover looks Middle Eastern.  This one I strongly suggest for a different take on the “night of the Lord’s Birth” represented in almost all Advent books. 

So that is our Advent collection to date.  The boys have many books for the season that are not Advent, like Curious George Christmas, but these are the meaningful ones.  I am already on the look out for next advent.   (I also need to search out some Epiphany books for them too, that is another post).

 

 

 

 

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wings!!

Both boys are really enjoying aw Awanas and learning so much.  Both have told me they are sad that it meets only once a week.  Each night when I pick them up they are full of stories and excited to tell me all about their activities.  Big Brother, each night, can recite back to me the story they studied and explain the “importance” of the story to me.

Both boys are excited to do their Awanas school work each day, we treat it as a school subject and cover it daily.  This week Big Brother decided he wanted to do two verses to make up for the week he missed while we traveled before Thanksgiving.  Also, he only needed two verses to earn his wings; and he has been very motivated to earn his wings

Thus Big Brother challenged himself to recite both Psalms 118:1 and 1 John 4:19 last night. 

Psalm 118

 1 Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good;
   his love endures forever.

1 John 4:19

 19 We love because he first loved us.

He accomplished his goal, he learned both verses, recited them and earned his wings (and his first jewel).  I am very proud of him; he has recited ten verses atSparks; and can still recite all of them (some with minor prompting).

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Earning another vest

A couple of weeks ago Big Brother earned his vest  at Awanas.

This week Little Brother recited his four lines and earned his vest and book. 

Both boys are excited to work on their Memory work and Big Brother has been signed off on 5 verses ( John 3:16, 1 John 4:14, Psalms 147:5, 1 Cor 15:3, 1 Cor 15:4) and is now working on Jam 2:10.

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Earning a vest

Both the boys are in Awanas this fall.  And LOVING it.  Last night was their 2nnd meeting and both ran in to the building.

Last night was the 2nd week and the boys were certainly excited.

Big Brother recited all of John 3:16 for his leader and earned his vest and his first Book.  (They start with a magazine like “first book” that they have to master before they earn their first book and vest).

John 3:16 was the first memory verse Big Brother did this school year, so he was ready for this challenge.  According to the way Awana’s has it broken up in the book the verse could take up to 5 weeks to learn.

We’ll work really hard this week on Little Brother’s memory ‘lines” (not full verses) so he can earn his vest, I hope, next week. (he is in Cubbies)

I was actually caught off guard by how proud of Big Brother was when we went into pick him up and saw him in his vest.  I think being one of the first in his group (Sparks Kindy level) gives him some confidence since he speech is still a bit delayed behind his peers and I see him struggle sometimes to be part of a larger peer group. 

Next up for Big Brother is 1 John 4:14 and we have already started on it.  Awanas does not do the full verse, but we are going to.  I personally do not see a lot of use in having a child memorize a cite and part of a verse in place of the entire verse, that is just more effort for the child to re-learn later.  So while the club uses abbreviated versions of many verses we’ll be doing the full versions.

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