The Interrupt Rule-Teaching Our Children to Honor Others by Waiting

 

“One of the most important ways I can love my children is by refusing to let them interrupt my wife and me when we are talking.”

This morning I ran across this quote in my twitter feed, and it reminded me of one of the most valuable principles Tim and I learned when we were raising our boys:

Our children can learn to wait.

Even more, it’s important they learn to wait. It’s part of life. It’s respectful. It’s self-control. It’s patience. It’s loving. It’s about others.

When we were raising our boys, we had the opportunity to both take and lead parenting classes where we could learn and pass on valuable tools and heart principles. One of those tools was “the interrupt rule.”

We then taught our children that if they needed to speak with us and we were in another conversation, they should simply place their hand on our arm and wait patiently.  In placing their hand on our arm, we would know that they needed us, and we would take a break in our conversation as soon as possible without being rude to the person we were talking to.

This worked whether we were in person or on the phone, and it helped us teach and train our children that their thoughts and needs were important to us, but so were the thoughts and needs of others.

Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Romans 12:10

When we specifically applied this principle to our marriage, our boys learned that our marriage relationship was our priority. They were not the center of our world, but rather a valuable part of it. Knowing mom and dad loved each other and put each other first added to their sense of security. They grew in patience and respect for us and others as they realized that they could wait and still be heard, and that others needed to have their chance to be heard as well.

I’d love to know:

What tools have you used to help your children learn to wait without interrupting?

It’s a Good Thing Their Nets Were Empty (A Preschool Craft Fail/Success Story!)

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I had planned a simple craft for our preschoolers at church. It had something for everyone–color for the visual, texture for the tactile learners, scents for those who love smells. . . .you know! It was looking  to be a good day.

Preparing to head out of town to a wedding, everything was prepped and ready to go with the sample neatly placed in the preschool room.

We were teaching our littles that “Jesus is Our Friend.” Our craft would help them see how Jesus helped his friends catch fish one day when their nets were coming up empty. He even made them breakfast!!

The picture above is the craft they were supposed to make.

It was pretty cool. The “water” is really hair gel–that’s where the bubbles come from. The kids would work on counting skills as they added the Swedish fish to represent the nets going from empty to full! Our littles love to put stickers on of any kind, so we had the label reminder of the lesson truth. What could go wrong???

Well, for one thing, a blood bath– something that resembled a massacre of fish in a bag!

You see, I didn’t think about the fact that Swedish fish are just sugar and water, and that sugar and water are easily dissolvable.

When I came in early Sunday morning after being out of town, I was confident and relaxed knowing everything was in it’s place. But, that all changed when in the place of the lovingly prepared sample craft, I found this:

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Oh my heck!

What’s a girl to do?

For about a half a sec, I thought about just going with it. I mean, how many parents really keep those crafts anyway? (At our church, thankfully, quite a few.)

It was immediately funny to me. However, as humorous as it was at the moment, I just couldn’t feel good about what was going to happen to those fish over the next twenty-four hours if they went home with our lil HiSKidZ.

After a quick, “OK Lord, what are we going to do with this mess?” I decided that no fish would be going in those bags and our craft talk would now go something like this:

Teacher: “Jesus disciples fished all night and didn’t catch a thing. Their nets were empty. But Jesus helped them to fill their nets. This “water” in our bag doesn’t have any fish in it, does it?”

Lil HiSKidZ: “No, teacher.”

Teacher: “But, now, whenever we play with our ocean bag, we can remember that when things might not be working out, we can trust that Jesus can give us all we need.

Who remembers what Jesus did after He helped his friends fill their nets with fish?”

Lil HiSKidZ: “He made them breakfast!”

Teacher: “That’s right. He made them a breakfast of fish. Real fish, not the candy kind I’m going to share with you today. . . . “

And so it goes. The lesson was reinforced. The kids had a great sensory activity and no additional Swedish fish had to be harmed in the teaching of God’s Word.

Sometimes things don’t work out like we plan. Sometimes, the results are downright murderous! And sometimes, the fail becomes a win!

If the disciples’ nets hadn’t been empty, they wouldn’t have seen the miracle of the catch and the provision of their Lord in ways they couldn’t have imagined.

If our nets wouldn’t have been empty, our preschool craft would have been just another Pinterest fail. Thankfully, it was a great success and an opportunity to see the provision of the Lord in ways we could never have imagined!

5 Things to Consider About God’s Plans for Your Life

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When I go on a trip, I like to know where I’m staying. There ya go.I said it. I’m one of those people.  I search for my hotel online, try to get the best deal and make sure the GPS on my phone knows how to get me there. For better or for worse, I want to know there is room at the inn when I get tired.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a compulsive planner, but I do like a little structure in my day-to-days.

Currently, in our Sunday morning children’s services we are teaching through the life of Moses. (Thank you Brian Dollar and High Voltage Kids!)

The series begins with an important reminder that God has a plan for us. Ultimately, His plan is for our salvation, and a life filled with worship and faithfulness, walking with Him in love and obedience.

But, we want “the big picture.” We want to know the “big”thing God wants us to do (or that we want to do for God). In focusing on that big thing, we can unknowingly walk out of the boundaries of His plan for us. It’s like trying to put together a puzzle without all the pieces.

Here are 5 truths that have helped me see the big picture:

  1. God’s plan is for us to be reconciled to Him. Is there anything keeping you from Jesus?
  2. God’s plan is for us to know Him. How can you use your time to get to know God more deeply?
  3. God’s plan is for us to share His plan with others. Who can you tell about Jesus?
  4. God’s plan is for us to love, forgive and show others the grace we have been shown. Who do you need to love? Who do you need to forgive?
  5. God’s plan is for us to serve others. How can you use your resources, gifts, talents and heart to help someone else?

This year let’s plan to know God, follow Him, share Jesus, love and serve others as part of God’s plan for us all. As we focus on the little pieces, I can’t wait to see the big picture emerge!

 

 

Thanksgiving Day Turkey Craft

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Simple. Meaningful. Fun.

These three words resonate with me when it comes to crafting with kids. I am in no way, “The Queen of Crafts,” and have absolutely no desire to ever where that crown. I don’t even want a tiara. But. . .I do like to have fun and simple activities to help focus kids on the real meaning and purpose of the holidays.

We originally made this as part of our preschool classes at church, but this little Turkey Bag Craft may be just the thing for your Thanksgiving Day gathering. It takes very little prep–Win! It cost very little money-Win again! Plus, it can help to keep your kids in the thankful zone all month long as you prepare for Christmas and fight off the temptation to become focused on more than the blessings in our lives-Win! Win! Win!

Interested??

You will need the following supplies:

1) Brown paper lunch sacks

2) Brown paper (card stock or construction paper) for the turkey head and hands or talons. The word “talons” just seems kind of violent somehow. (A quick google search reveals that, “turkeys do have talons. In fact, they have a large, sharp talons that they will use to peck or grasp the head of another turkey while fighting.”- answers.com) SO let’s stick with hands for today!

3) Colored paper for feathers, nose, bow tie and the turkey’s snood or wattle. Yeah, snoods and wattles, I think what yours is depends on where your child puts it on their craft!) And you will have tons of fun saying “snoods and wattles” with the littles in your life!

4) Jiggly eyes (you don’t NEED them, but really, who doesn’t love jiggly eyes??!)

5) Glue dots, glue sticks or some kind of child friendly glue or adhesive. (Super glue not recommended.)

5) Something to attach to the front explaining your craft.  You might try, “In this bag, we can see, things to be thankful for from A to Z.” Or come up with something way better!! Remember, I like to keep things simple!

6)  Pieces of paper, each with a letter of the alphabet on it.

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Depending on the ages of the littles at your feast, you have a few options. You may want to cut out the shapes you need before hand, enlist some teens to help or just let them have a go at it. (When using scissors at family gatherings, be sure to watch out for any siblings with anger issues or who want to be a cosmetologist when they grow up.)

Now that you have your supplies together. Here’s how it goes together:

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  1. Cut out from brown paper a turkey head. (It looks a bit like a drumstick.)
  2. Cut out some noses, snoods and wattles!
  3. Cut out some little “hands.” (See my sample below)
  4. Cut out some bow ties and feathers.
  5. Cut out your A-B-C papers.
  6. Write some things you can be thankful for on the feathers.
  7. Attach the face pieces to your turkey’s face piece–yeah, I just wrote that, and I’m still secure in Jesus.
  8. Attach the turkey face to the inside front of your bag.
  9. Attach the bow tie, hands and message to the outside front of your bag.
  10. Attach the feathers to the back of the bag.
  11. Add the A-B-C square inside the bag.
  12. Every day, have your child pick an A-B-C square from the bag and write or draw what they are thankful for.

I hope you have some sweet fun with this and that your kids will “gobble” up the time you spend together not just celebrating Thanksgiving, but sharing Thanksgiving.

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Here are the little hands (see, no talons here–safety first!) we made. We attached them to strips of glue dots to make them easy for our preschoolers to use. Gotta love the glue dots.

(We adapted this turkey craft from several different turkeys we found around the web. Feel free to adapt our turkey to meet your needs. An article from National Geographic states that turkeys are pretty adaptable.)

Just 4 Mondays Left Until Thanksgiving-3

Preschool Lighthouse Craft

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We made these super cute Lighthouse Crafts last week with our preschoolers. They were pretty simple, plus the kids and parents both loved them. I got the idea from Pinterest–where else?–but the site they were connected to, familyembellishments.com–no longer exists.

Thankfully, these aren’t too hard to figure out on your own. Just in case, I’m including some directions as to how we made them.

Our preschool curriculum comes from Karyn Henley’s folder lessons. This month’s theme is “God is with Me in the Dark,” and this week’s lesson was about when God freed Peter from prison in the night.

Children learned that we don’t have to be scared in the dark or at night, because we know that God is always with us. He’s our Lighthouse!

Here’s how we made our lighthouses:

Before Sunday:

  1. We purchased cups, medical tape and battery operated tea lights.
  2. We gathered black paper and glue dots.
  3. We put strips of tape on the solo cups.
  4. We cut the black paper into circles, rectangles and squares for the ceiling, doors and windows.
  5. We put the glue dots on the paper for the kids. (Be sure you don’t take off the backing when you do this, the kids will do that when they make the craft.)

Then on Sunday:

  1. Give each child a solo cup with tape and enough black paper to decorate their lighthouse. Help them put these on as needed.
  2. Place the label on the back of the cup.
  3. Remove the little plastic battery thing from the tea light and show the children how to turn their candle on.
  4. Put the candle on the top of the solo cup and cover with the clear cup.
  5. Turn off the lights and let your lights shine!

Our label said, “God in heaven is my light and I can trust Him day and night.” But you can make yours say whatever you want or use a memory verse, etc.

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Have fun with the craft and we are praying that God is your lighthouse, guide and ever-present help in times of darkness.

Quiet as Pie–A Deliciously Spontaneous Way to Help Regain Classroom Control

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A couple of weeks ago, we were finishing up our Wednesday night program. It was that time of the night where we share some final announcements before car line dismissal begins.

I took a minute to ask HiSKidZ if I had told them I loved them yet that day, and quickly added, “Because I do–more than Oreos!”

They all know  I love Oreos, and that I have to be careful not to get too close to a bag of them. I use Oreos for all kinds of illustrations about temptation, sin and love!!

Of course, as the banter grew, the volume did, too–right when we needed things to settle down so they could hear their names called as their parents arrived. I quickly explained to them I needed them to be quiet as “Mr Dave” started car line.

At this moment I uttered the words, “I need you to be as quiet as. . . as quiet as. . . “

My mind began to freeze as I couldn’t really come up with something for them to be as quiet as. I thought about Oreos, but honestly, when you eat an Oreo, it isn’t always quiet!! They are crunchy little cookies! Dunking doesn’t really help because you hear the chug-a-glug of the swallow. Oreos would not do.

And so I made this statement, “I need you to be quiet as . . . .quiet as. . . .PIE!”

Yeah, pie! I can’t explain it, either.

Honestly, they were as surprised as I was! It was like the whole room became silent at the same moment, and all eyes focused directly on me. But, no one could argue that pie is about as quiet as it gets.

Then, amazingly, for the next 10-15 minutes as we dismissed, our small groups were indeed as quiet as pie. Not a peep. Not even one!

As I saw them respond so well, I sweetened the deal by telling them that the small groups that stayed quiet would receive their own package of Oreos for snack the next week. I didn’t expect that I would be buying Oreos for each of our groups, but I did! Because really, truly, every single child and leader was as “quiet as pie.”

Now, I can’t tell you that if you tell your kids to be “quiet as pie,” that they will all be quiet for 15 minutes, but here are three ways you can help regain classroom or group control when needed.

  1. Be creative. Don’t just do the same ole, same ole. Ask God to fill your mind with creative ways to help your children gain or regain self-control.
  2. Be fun. Find something they don’t expect, and make it fun.Google ways to gain classroom control for some ideas that may work for your kids.
  3. Reward, don’t bribe. Set a standard and then consider adding a reward. Be careful not to send the message of “If you, then I’ll. . .” Instead, use “Because you, I’m going to. . .”

Setting an appropriate, respectful standard for the kids you lead is a win for you and for them, and a great night within safe and honoring boundaries is better than a bag of Oreos!!!

Jesus Doesn’t Care How You Spell His Name

i love geses

Last week one of the precious children at my church handed me the picture above in the most beautiful, hand decorated envelope.

I knew from the start whatever was inside was going to be great, because of the love that was written all over the outside. But, oh no, as you can tell, it was better than great! I mean, seriously, how cute is the spelling of Jesus’ name.  A friend of mine was standing next to me when I received the letter and the word, “Awwwwww,” came out of us in unison as we read it. 

I kept my treasure close by all day, showing it with pride. My heart was overwhelmed with love for the One it was written about as well as the one who wrote it.

Someone I showed it to commented, “I don’t think Jesus cares how His name is spelled.”

Truer words have rarely been spoken.

Jesus doesn’t care how you spell His name when it’s spelled with love. He cares that we know His name. He cares that we take the time to tell Him. He cares that we share that love with others. He cares about our hearts, he cares about us–his children who love Him.

“I love Geses.”

I hope you do, too.