Category: Parent Equipping Class

Just a Phase.

By | May 30, 2015

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If someone has ever told you, “It’s just a phase,” chances are it was intended as a consolation or a word of encouragement. More than likely, what they meant was, “Don’t worry. You can survive this. It won’t last forever.” When I first became a mother and my colicky son was crying for hours after each feeding I needed to know there was hope for a different tomorrow. I needed to know there would come a day when I didn’t smell like baby vomit and when the child I loved didn’t cry for hours.

There’s a lot of truth to the idea that your current relationship with your child is “Just a Phase.” But that’s not to suggest that, as parents, we should grit our teeth and hold out for the next phase to come. A phase isn’t something to wish away or hurry past. Because once a phase is over, it’s over.

We only have the opportunity to know our child once as a three-year-old. After 52 short weeks, they turn four. Sure, moving to the next phase means they will stop throwing catastrophic tantrums when you insist they cannot finish the half-eaten breakfast bar they just discovered under their car seat. But it also might mean fewer spontaneous giggles, loss of imagination. It might mean they finally discover “bilzoder” is actually pronounced “bulldozer.” It might mean you have to start answering some questions you weren’t quite ready for.

Whether your child is a toddler, an elementary age kid, a middle schooler, or a high schooler, they’re in a phase.

And the phase won’t last for long.

Every phase is a timeframe in a kid’s life when you can leverage distinctive opportunities to influence their future. But in order to leverage the opportunities of each phase, you have to show up for it.

That may sound obvious, but it can be incredibly challenging at the same time.

It’s easy to get stuck in the phase that came before. It’s baffling at times when you realize your child isn’t the same person you thought you knew last year. When their interests change, or their preferences change, it can be hard to keep up.

It’s easy to rush into the phase that should come later. Maybe it’s because we’re ready to watch a new movie, read a new book, or play a new game, so we stretch the age-limit just a touch. Maybe it’s because—let’s face it—if we can get our son to shoot a basketball through a ten-foot goal when he’s six, we’ve earned serious bragging rights. But childhood isn’t meant to be rushed. If we’re always in a hurry to get to the next phase, we can miss what is unique about the phase our kids are currently in.

So, whatever phase you’re child is in, remember there is something remarkable happening right now. This phase won’t last forever. Don’t rush the clock. Don’t wish away the moments you have.

At Vista we value Parent Equipping, coming alongside of families supporting and assisting parents to develop the Kingdom attitudes and practices of their children. This is an important concept to fully understand and embrace. Christian schools and the local church’s Sunday school have traditionally been looked to as the places where children learn about God, the Bible teaches us that children really need to learn from their parents. , Deuteronomy 6:7 instructs us to take God’s Word and …repeat it again and again to our children. We are to talk about it when we are at home and when we are away on a journey, when we are lying down and when we are getting up again. This is a basic model for teaching children about God in the home. The perspective taught in this passage is that the parents are primarily responsible for the spiritual development of their children.

We know that this is not easy. We know it can be overwhelming. We want to partner with you and your family in the development of worshipful, relational and missional children. You don’t have to do this alone so we have created ways to be on this journey with you:

  • Yearly: Milestone Celebrations – Child Dedications (twice a year) and Baptism
  • Monthly: talk.pray.do – a monthly resource based on Deuteronomy 6, encouraging families to teach their children about God as they go through the ordinary experiences of life. It’s about intentionality within the rhythm of your everyday life. We encourage you to TALK with your children for 15 minutes a day. PRAY at least twice a week in meaningful time together as a family. Then we simply ask that you DO one family night a month. Each month we provide instruction and tools to serve as a springboard for your family time.
  • Weekly: “What did they learn?” email follow ups to allow your family to continue the discussion at home regarding the lesson taught that Sunday. If you ever miss a week, check the Vista Parents Blog for more information.
  • Groups: Family Discipleship small groups that study a particular subject for 6 to 10 weeks. Check the Vista Parents Blog for groups forming or email me if you would like more information, to lead or host one.
  • Vista Parents Blog: As mentioned several times before the Vista Parents Blog is a hub of information for your family with everything from helpful tips, resources, lesson follow ups and important Kids Community updates.
  • Serve: We all go through seasons where serving is hard and requires sacrifice. Jesus is worth that sacrifice — and so are our children. We can trust Him to provide rest and Sabbath while we also serve. Whether it is teaching kids, chaperoning a student event, or serving in Kids Community, let’s remember that little eyes are seeing our actions and believing that they too are called to serve the body of Christ.
  • Family Sunday:  We offer Family Sunday, every 7 weeks or so to allow time for your family to worship and serve together.

Let’s do this together! Its just a phase and we don’t want to miss it.

Modeling healthy self-esteem for your family

By | April 22, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-04-22 at 9.54.36 AMHave you seen the Dove Campaign’s new video called “Choose Beautiful”?

It’s a hidden-camera showcase of women choosing between two entrance doors – one labeled “Beautiful” and the other labeled “Average.”

We bet you can guess which door was most popular.

(Hint: research shows that only 4% of women think of themselves as beautiful.)

Unsurprisingly, most participants chose the latter, struggling through deflation and regret when they were interviewed afterwards. They wished they’d had the courage to see themselves in a better light.

Frankly, we can often relate to that feeling as parents.

None of us are experts in raising kids. We see our faults and sometimes don’t feel all that “beautiful” as moms and dads. Even “average” seems likes a stretch on some days.

But there’s good news: through God’s grace we can lay down our insecurities and choose to see the beauty in our best effort to love and lead our kids.

So go ahead, parents—pick the “beautiful door” and take your kids through it with you, too.

Let one of the greatest influencers of your kid’s self-esteem be your own healthy self-esteem.

 
LOVE BOLDLY | Model healthy self-esteem with these 5 personal challenges

  • No more performance-addiction: Genuine humility recognizes that we’re worth having relationships with—not because of achievement—but because of God’s love and grace. If you want your kids to own this, first own it yourself and then extend it to them.
  • No more comparing: Don’t let the lives, appearance, or personality of others determine who you feel you need to be. Celebrate what they’re doing well without feeling like you have to duplicate it. Practice saying, “Good for them, but that may not be for me.”
  • No more name-calling: We can spend years unlearning negative things we think about ourselves. Truth? You’re more than any label or name placed on you. Whenever you realize you’re putting yourself down (especially in front of your kids), stop and actually take the time to reverse it out loud. Say, “You know what? I may have that fault, but we’re more than our faults, aren’t we?”
  • No more cover-ups: Don’t be afraid to apologize when you’ve made a mistake. It’s okay to be imperfect, but don’t let that keep you from asking for forgiveness when you know mess up. Accepting your mistakes keeps you from being ashamed by them, and teaches your kids to do the same.
  • No more unloading: One of our challenges as parents is considering what’s appropriate to share with our kids, especially as they get older. Be honest, but resist the urge to treat your child as a therapist who’s role is to help you sort out your insecurities, and find an alternative outlet.

 

10 Benefits of Teenagers (and Families) Serving

By | January 30, 2015

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Community service is now a graduation requirement at many U.S. high schools. That may be one reason volunteerism is on the rise among young people today.

But another is that teenagers are recognizing the value and joy of helping to meet other people’s needs and finding significance by serving a purpose. This millennial generation craves making a difference in the world, and today’s teenagers are actively searching for ways to engage and serve.

For Christian teenagers, serving is an important practice of connecting their faith to something real and tangible, and understanding God’s call on our lives to love and serve others.

As you and your family are entering this new year, explore the variety of serving opportunities that exist for your teenagers and for your whole family in your local church, community organizations, camps and family-friendly mission trips.

 

  • Service gives teenagers a sense of significance, purpose and worth. Living out the greatest commandment to love others connects kids to something much bigger and significant than themselves and their struggle for identity in a me-driven culture.
  • Service takes teenagers out of their comfort zones. The challenge of tackling something new makes kids pay attention, work as a team, face obstacles, and expands their capacity for overcoming hardship.
  • Service teaches kids to rely more directly on God—and helps them grow closer to him in the process…making their faith something they own, not something forced on them.
  • Service leverages new, meaningful relationships with like-minded peers. Teenagers are exposed to new peers and mentors who share the values of service and living out their faith.
  • Service makes kids appreciate how fortunate they are. Helping others in need puts life into perspective and makes kids count their blessings.
  • Service makes people in need become real and human.Teenagers gain a greater sense of respect and value for every life, as well as sensitivity to how God can use them to touch others with His love.
  • Service creates a hunger for God. Kids who serve realize they’re also serving God in the process and often desire to get to know Him better.
  • Service builds a wide range of life skills. Teenagers learn responsibility, tolerance, accountability, good citizenship, compassion, friendliness, acceptance, self-control, determination, endurance, and dependability.
  • Service encourages young people to be salt and light. Kids share their Christian faith with people by demonstrating God’s love in practical, tangible ways.
  • Service becomes a habit. When teenagers help others, they establish a lifestyle of service that often carries over into adulthood.

talk.pray.do July

By | July 5, 2014

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During a family night- ask your children these three questions.

  • What’s your favorite summer activity?
  • What does JOY mean?
  • What are you celebrating today?

 

 


PRAY: In addition to the Prayer Pail, this month speak a blessing to your children; your affirmation will give tremendous encouragement to your child as they strive to be more joyful. Tell your child that he/she is a blessing from God to you. (Psalm 127:3). Tell them about the first day you saw them, how you picked their name. Show them pictures and explain how much JOY they have brought to your family.

Philippians 4:4 “Rejoice in the Lord always, I will say it again: Rejoice!

DO: We hope this month’s Take Home Summer Bucket List will help your family identify all the ways you plan to celebrate the rest of the summer. Mostly, we hope it reminds you that when you follow Jesus, the biggest celebration of all is still to come.  Joy comes from knowing there’s always something to celebrate. So practice your joy daily, and let others see the promise of heaven in you!

Each time you complete something on your list bring back a souvenir for the bucket, ie. Seashell, game ticket, photo.  You’ll create a summer full of intentional joy for your family, and you’ll be able to talk with your children about why God says there’s always a reason to celebrate!

We want to hear about your family’s joy-filled summer.  Share your stories by connecting with us, using #KCJoyBomb.      Let’s joy-bomb this summer, one memory at a time.

 

Connect with us: Share your Family Night photos on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter @vistachurches @vistadublin @vistaworthington  #talkpraydo #vistafamilies

March talk.pray.do: Balance

By | March 3, 2014

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talk

  • What is the best thing about our family?
  • What do you think makes a happy family?
  • Tell each person in the family why you are glad they are part of our family
  • What three words describe our family?

 

pray

Children love to hear you say what you think about them. Your words are powerful in the shaping of their hearts. As you tuck them in spend a few minutes telling them what you see in their heart. Things like honesty, friendship, love, forgiveness, and loyalty. Remind them that these things are so much more important than what they look like on the outside. Pray together and ask God to protect their heart. Pray that they grow up with a loving heart that follows after God.

do

This month use the family take home kit to have a game night playing the classic egg and spoon race…a game about balance.  Add obstacles in the course and talk with your children about how it was more difficult to see the finish line and focus on balancing the egg.  Share how God is always with us, even in the midst of imbalances and obstacles.

Feel free to use other variations as well: use your mouth to hold the spoon as you race through an obstacle, use a raw egg; add obstacles to the playing area; require players to march, skip, side-step, etc.  Be creative, but most importantly have fun and enjoy your family.

As we begin the 40 days of balance  we in Kids Community encourage your family to check out  check out the lists of examples on the Vista 40 Days page, which may inspire you!  We encourage you to share your experiences over these 40 Days on your site’s Facebook page, or on your Twitter or Instagram accounts (#40Days #VistaStories). We’d love to have a compilation of steps toward balance that we can share to inspire one another.

How will your family intentionally focus on what Jesus said the greatest commandment is to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength” (Mark 12:30).

Connect with us: Share your Family Night photos on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter @vistachurches @vistadublin @vistaworthington  #talkpraydo #vistafamilies

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