Negotiating with Your Kids

“How do you allow children to negotiate with adults, without allowing them to become obnoxious little princes and princesses who feel the kingdom is entitled to them?” That’s the big question this post seeks to explore.  Here is a helpful excerpt about how to not negotiate by teaching your kids the word “No”:

One of the, if not the, most important things that a parent can teach a child is the word NO.  “No means No” is a pretty good motto for the parent of a toddler, and again as a parent of a teenager (who often act like toddlers).

You want to say “Yes,” but you know better, so you put on a strong front and declare, “No, you can’t.  I’m sorry.”

“Why not, Mommy?” says your beautiful child who you love more than life itself.  You can feel the tension rising fast.  And this is the moment of truth.  What do you do?  How about something like this:

“No – because it’s not safe, and I love you too much to let you get hurt.”

“No – because you are not quite old enough yet, but later you will get to do it.”

“No – because it’s not healthy for you, and I want you to be healthy and happy.”

“No – because that’s not a good use of our money.”

“No – because I love you too much to let you make that grave mistake.”

Notice that each response has a reason attached to it.  It’s not an extreme statement.  You don’t say, “No – because I said so.”  Or “No, because I’m the Dad and you’re the child.” The truth is that just “No” is better than those two lousy reasons.

HT: Doug Wolter

Last Sunday: God’s Grace

This week in SojournKids, we studied John 3:1-21, and we learned that:

  • Nicodemus came to visit Jesus at night.
  • Jesus told Nicodemus, “You must be born again.”
  • By grace, Godʼs Spirit makes people new on the inside.

If you didn’t get a chance to grab the SojournKids “at home” sheet, you can download it here.

Thursday Book Club: 3 Family Ministry Books in 2011

To cap off 2010, scholar and Sojourn member, Dr. Timothy Paul Jones, highlighted three family ministry books that he’s excited about for 2011.  These books “not only make the case for comprehensive family ministries but also provide the tools for churches to make the transition to family ministry from current programmatic models.”

A Theology for Family MinistryFirst off, A Theology for Family Ministry from B & H Academic provides a comprehensive look at the problems and the possibilities of doing family ministry in the twenty-first century.

Then, Trained in the Fear of God: Family Ministry in Theological, Historical, and Practical Perspective, published by Kregel Academic and edited by Randy Stinson and myself [Dr. Jones], sets family ministry in its biblical and historical context then shows how the biblical implications can be put into action.

Family Ministry Field Guide: How Your Church Can Equip Parents to Make DisciplesAnd then comes the Family Ministry Field Guide: How Your Church Can Equip Parents to Raise Disciples, a book for vocational ministers and lay-leaders alike that represents the results of a two-year study of what to prioritize in your church’s family ministry as well as what’s most helpful and what’s most needed in the field of family ministry.

Check out some other things Dr. Jones is excited about in his full post at Family Ministry Today.

Last Sunday: God’s Cross

This week in SojournKids, we studied Matthew 27:32-54, and we learned that:

  • Jesus died on the cross as a substitute for our sins.
  • Jesus’ cross makes a way into God’s kingdom

If you didn’t get a chance to grab the SojournKids “at home” sheet, you can download it here.

Pastor Rob Plummer: The Family in Early Church History

Check out this article at Family Ministry Today about the family in the New Testament and early church history by Pastor Rob Plummer.  Even though it is not the main point of this article, Rob finds a way to talk about how the gospel must be more central in our thinking than our families.  As a Family pastor, I’m so thankful for this emphasis.  It must be a focus on the gospel first that informs and transforms our thinking about family ministry.

Biological and adoptive family relations, while vitally important in this life, are not eternal. Jesus made it clear that, in the new heavens and earth, marriages will no longer mark our existence; all believers will be “like the angels in heaven” (Matt. 22:30). If our children stand beside us in eternity, it will not be as our children but as our blood-redeemed brothers and sisters (Rev. 7:9-12). Even as parents rightly pour out their lives in caring for their children, they must realize that what matters eternally is that their children know and love the Lord. The category of biological lineage or legal progeny will fade into insignificance at the dawning of eternity (Matt. 3:9).

Even in this life, foundational family loyalties must pale in comparison to our ultimate loyalty to the triune God. Jesus said, “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:26).  This does not absolve believing parents of their responsibility to train their children in the fear of God; it does mean that every aspect of parenting is to be undertaken in light of a greater allegiance to the glory of God.