5 Truths to Teach Your Kids About Discipline

My daughter Daisy just turned one year old. I’m flabbergasted. My little one is less little with every passing day. To edit Bob Dylan’s words, “My little girl, she is a changin’.”


As Daisy changes, I’m quickly realizing she needs not only my protection and provision, but my correction as well. Daisy has a penchant for dangerous paths. She’s decided light sockets are best enjoyed with fingers in them, and that the only proper place for small objects is her mouth. As she sees it, big dogs are just asking to be poked in the eye. Daisy’s desire for danger means Daddy must be diligent to discipline.

But, as Daisy grows, she’ll need not only my discipline, but also an understanding of what my discipline actually is. She’ll not only need me to practice discipline, but to explain it as well. In my years of youth ministry I have seen this to be true: it’s easy for parental discipline to go awry when it goes unexplained.


With that in mind, here are five truths to help your children understand what your discipline is and what it isn’t.

1. Discipline Isn’t Our Idea—It’s God’s.

Since discipline is practiced less and less by parents today, it is especially important our kids understand that discipline is not our idea, but God’s. In Proverbs, God frequently calls parents to discipline their children for their good (Proverbs 22:15; 23:13–14; 29:15). Make sure your kids know discipline isn’t something you decided, but something God designed.

2. Discipline Isn’t Punishment—It’s Correction.

Sometimes people will refer to their parental discipline as “punishment.” This is unfortunate because punishment and discipline are two different things. Punishment is what a judge gives to a criminal for his crimes. Discipline is what a parent gives to a child for his errors. Punishment seeks justice for past acts. Discipline seeks development for future good. Informed of this distinction, my friend always explains his own discipline to his kids as “corrections.” His children know that Daddy doesn’t punish them, but he does lovingly correct when they’re off track. They know they don’t have a judge, but a father.

3. Discipline Isn’t Hatred—It’s Love.

Loving discipline isn’t grounded in anger or hatred, but in love. Since our kids can be quick to interpret our discipline as acts of anger or malice, we must be intentional to explain that our discipline comes from our love. In love, we’ll have our children experience temporary, present discomfort to help them avoid permanent, future destruction. In fact, Proverbs says that the neglect of discipline is hatred toward one’s child because it means parents are allowing their kids to walk headlong into harm! (Proverbs 13:24).

4. Discipline Isn’t for Sorrow, But for Joy.

Upon receiving discipline, it isn’t unusual for kids to say things like, “Why are you making my life so miserable?!” It’s easy for kids to assume discipline is ultimately designed to bum them out. It will, therefore, help our kids to understand that discipline isn’t meant to steal their joy, but to protect and increase it. Just as God disciplines His children away from immaturity and sin to ensure them a joy-filled future (Hebrews 12:10-11), so our kids must know that our design in discipline is not to bring them present bummers, but future blessings.

5. Discipline Isn’t Easy—It’s Difficult!

No parent enjoys disciplining her child, but not all our children know that. Help your child understand that it’d be far easier to allow them to do what they want and not discipline them, but that you love them too much to take that easy road. Assist them to see that your love for them is what drives you to choose the hard, difficult, and wearisome work of discipline.

In communicating these truths, you won’t only help your child understand your own discipline, but God’s as well. Ultimately, it is our Heavenly Father who does the hard work of lovingly disciplining us (not punishing us) in order to correct us from destructive paths and ensure our eternal joy. By explaining our discipline now, they’ll better understand His later.


UncategorizedShelley Brooks
How to help your kids feel known - Write them a letter!

Sometimes children feel sad, scared, or unloved. Help them feel

known by reminding them of who they are and how much God

loves them in a letter specific to their unique situation.

God knows us well—after all, He made us! I want my children to truly understand how much God wants to know them and speak into every aspect of their lives. We are seen and so valued by a loving God!

More and more often I hear about people feeling alone—feeling like no one cares. Even more specifically, some children feel like no one wants to know them. What if we, as parents, could battle these lies with something as simple as a note? What might happen if your child opened a promise-filled letter from you when he feels sad or angry or lonely?

In our family, we’ve started a tradition of writing “I Am Known” letters—letters specifically tailored to tough times in our children’s lives. For example, one of our kids often feels overwhelmed by schoolwork. He becomes very self-defeating and says things like, “I’m not smart. My work is so sloppy. I’ll never get this.” He feels like a failure.

We might give him a letter that has, on the outside, his name and the words “Open when you’re feeling like a failure.” Inside this letter would be a passage of Scripture, Psalm 139:14–16, that directly contradicts the enemy’s lies. These verses would be followed by words of encouragement and affirmation from us, his parents. God’s perfect truth would spill off the pages and become real in his life!

We hope to create a collection of letters for our children to pull from as they grow and face new struggles in their lives.

You can start this tradition too! Just grab a sheet of paper, a pen, and an envelope. Set aside time to pray about what your child might need to hear from the Lord about particular topics or feelings. Then write a short letter to your child. Be careful not to offer advice in the letter; instead fill the letter with Scripture verses about that topic, and give encouragement and affirmations about what you see in your child’s character. Seal the envelope, and write your child’s name and the kind of situation in which she should open the envelope.

Here are some great Scriptures to inspire your “I Am Known” letters. When you feel alone—Romans 8:38–39

When you feel brokenhearted—Psalm 34:18

When you feel depressed*—Psalm 126:5

When you feel discouraged—2 Thessalonians 2:16–17

When you feel helpless—Romans 8:31

When you feel left out—Ephesians 1:11–12

When you feel like a failure—Psalm 139:14–16

When you feel lost—Ephesians 3:20

When you feel sad—Zephaniah 3:17, Revelation 21:3–4

When you feel scared—Deuteronomy 31:6

When you feel ugly—Genesis 1:27

When you feel unloved—1 John 3:1, Jeremiah 31:3

When you feel unsure about the future—Jeremiah 29:11

When you feel worthless—Exodus 19:5

*This refers to the feeling of being depressed, not clinical depression.

Encourage your children to keep their letters and to read them again when they start battling the lies thrown their way. Remind them that God sees them and that they’re never alone. God wants to make Himself known to them.

Taken from the blogs at HomeFront Magazine, a spiritual parenting resource, by David C. Cook


10 vital Bible verses for parents

The home is one of the best (and toughest!) places to make disciples. Parenting is a high calling whether you’re a Christian or not—but if you’re actively trying to make disciples of your kids, you’ve got a huge task before you. The good news is that Paul tells Timothy that all Scripture is useful for training in righteousness (2 Ti 3:16), which means there’s plenty of help for parents in the Bible. Unfortunately, the Bible verses that would be especially helpful to parents are spread across all 66 books. That makes it a little tough to track them down. But parents should use the Word to make disciples at home, and this list is a good place to start.

I’m not a dad, so I sat down with my mother-in-law to see which Bible verses were especially vital to her as she raised (and homeschooled) five kids. We pulled together 10 passages to encourage, equip, and challenge parents.

Enjoy!   by Jeffrey Kranz


Below are the second 5 verses.  If you would like them all, go to; https://disciplr.com/parenting-bible-verses/

Proverbs 3:12

For the LORD reproves him whom he loves, As a father the son in whom he delights.

Discipline isn’t fun for any parties involved, but Solomon says that both God and the good parent will discipline the children they love.

This verse is encouraging, but challenging. It’s encouraging because it shows that parental discipline is a mark of love. It’s challenging because the way you discipline your children may influence the way your children think of God’s love and discipline.


Deuteronomy 6:6–7

And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.

Moses gives this command to the children of Israel as they are about to enter the promised land of Canaan. He is about to give them a long set of rules for how to love and obey God in the land they are about to possess. The land is supposed to be an inheritance for Israel generation after generation, and so God’s law must be passed down through the generations, too.

Notice how Moses tells parents to talk about the Word of God. It’s not relegated to bedside prayers or after-dinner devotions. It’s something that should be intentionally talked about throughout the day.

What does that mean for parents?

Be intentional about talking to your kids about the Bible. Study it with your kids, and bring it up throughout the day.


Ephesians 6:4

Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.

This one may sound like it’s calling dads out, but Paul has also just told children to obey their parents in the Lord (Ep 6:1). But why is Paul giving parenting advice?

When we zoom out and look at the book of Ephesians as a whole, we see Paul telling the church at Ephesus how to walk in a manner worthy of their calling (4:1). He later encourages them to follow Christ’s example of walking in love (5:2).

Paul addresses friendships, marriage, and work relationships in this part of the letter, and in the middle of it all, he takes time to talk to fathers and children. This is how parents and kids will walk in love with one another in Christ. Children obey parents. Parents don’t exasperate the kids.

But there’s another nugget in here: Paul tells kids to obey their parents in the Lord, but how will they know what the Lord wants? The parents should be teaching them. Paul says that parents shouldn’t just foster loving relationships—they should be raising kids in the ways of the Lord.


Colossians 3:21

Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged.

This is a sister verse to the one we looked at in Ephesians. Here, Paul tells us why it’s important for parents not to provoke their kids: they will discourage them.

But what does Paul mean by “provoke?”

In this sense “provoke” means to challenge, or to irritate. An example would be the so-called “helicopter mom,” who “hovers” over her kids at all times. Another example would be the father who is never satisfied with his son’s performance in school, sports, work, etc.

This verse cannot be taken too seriously. When Paul says, “discouraged,” he literally means “to lose heart.” Training children is important—but needs to be done in a way that does not cause them to lose heart.


Psalms 127:3

Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, The fruit of the womb a reward.

If you have kids, you’ve been blessed!

UncategorizedShelley Brooks
10 Vital Bible verses for parents

The home is one of the best (and toughest!) places to make disciples. Parenting is a high calling whether you’re a Christian or not—but if you’re actively trying to make disciples of your kids, you’ve got a huge task before you. The good news is that Paul tells Timothy that all Scripture is useful for training in righteousness (2 Ti 3:16), which means there’s plenty of help for parents in the Bible. Unfortunately, the Bible verses that would be especially helpful to parents are spread across all 66 books. That makes it a little tough to track them down. But parents should use the Word to make disciples at home, and this list is a good place to start.

I’m not a dad, so I sat down with my mother-in-law to see which Bible verses were especially vital to her as she raised (and homeschooled) five kids. We pulled together 10 passages to encourage, equip, and challenge parents.

Enjoy!   by Jeffrey Kranz


Below are the first 5 verses; 

2 Timothy 3:15

And how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.

Paul wrote this letter to Timothy, his protégé in the faith. Timothy’s Jewish mother had taught Timothy from the Old Testament since he was just a boy, and Timothy had a good standing in the church before Paul had even met him (Ac 16:1).

For parents, this verse is a good reminder to teach children the Bible: it’s able to make your children wise for salvation.

And remember, this isn’t restricted to the New Testament. Timothy grew up learning the Old Testament—the New Testament hadn’t been put together yet! Teach your kids the history of God’s relationship with Israel and the world. Memorize some of the Psalms with them. Read to them about Moses, Joshua, Ruth, David, Jeremiah, Nehemiah, and Esther. It was good for Timothy—it will be good for your kids.

Matthew 6:34

So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

You’re invested in your children’s future­, but there’s a fine line between investment and worry. In his Sermon on the Mount, Jesus encourages his disciples not to worry about food, clothing, or what tomorrow may bring. After all, if our heavenly Father feeds the sparrows and clothes the lilies, surely we can trust him to provide for us.

About this time, Jesus sounds a lot like Bob Marley: “Don’t worry about a thing, because every little thing is gonna be all right.” But Jesus doesn’t stop here. He shifts our focus: instead of worrying about what we need now, our priority is the kingdom of God—the rest of our needs follow.

I like how Trevin Wax says it: “seeking first the kingdom comes after we have been sought by the King. The root cause of worry is not misplaced priorities. It’s misplaced faith. It’s a failure to grasp the gospel of a God worthy of our trust.”

What does that mean for parents?

When you’re tempted to worry about your child’s future, ask yourself, “How can my child and I invest in the kingdom of God today?”

Lamentations 3:22–23

The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; They are new every morning; Great is your faithfulness.

These verses aren’t about raising children, per se. However, it’s a comforting promise parents should take to heart. The verses become even more powerful when you look at their context. The book of Lamentations was written when Israel was at an all-time low. They had turned their backs on God, pursued idols, and let injustice run rampant through their land.

And now God has judged them. An enemy army had just sacked the city of Jerusalem, razed the temple of God, and carried off most of the survivors as captives to a faraway land. Israel has nothing. No city, no temple, no land, no king—and it’s their own fault. At this point that someone (maybe Jeremiah) writes a small book of five songs we call Lamentations.

And still, in Israel’s darkest hour, they can confidently say that God’s mercies are new every morning, and his faithfulness is great.

We will fail—guaranteed. God’s mercy never will—guaranteed.

Philippians 4:6

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.

This hits hard. There’s no leeway here—the surrounding verses don’t give us any exceptions or escape clauses. We should be anxious for nothing. Easy for Paul to say, right?

Probably not. Paul was in prison when he wrote these words.

Like Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount, Paul doesn’t stop with a feel-good “don’t worry, mon!” message. He follows up with the instruction to pray—in a spirit of thanksgiving!—to God.

When you’re anxious, lay your requests at the feet of God, and thank him for all the times he has provided for you already.

Proverbs 22:6

Train up a child in the way he should go; Even when he is old he will not depart from it.

This may be the best-known parenting verse in the Bible. It’s easy to see why: there’s a clear-cut correlation between the way you parent and the way your sons and daughters turn out as adults. That’s encouraging for parents who think they have it all together. It can be condemning for parents who realize they’ve made mistakes.

But there’s a reason I haven’t mentioned this verse until now.

The book of Proverbs is filled with principles for making godly decisions and leading a godly life. However, it’s not a book of absolute promises. The Proverbs are general statements about how life works, and the Bible itself shows us a lot of exceptions that prove the rules.

Solomon, who wrote this line, is an example. Solomon’s son, Rehoboam, was presumably raised to fear God and rule the country well. However, after Solomon’s death, Rehoboam’s hotheaded leadership splits the kingdom apart! (Granted, there are greater spiritual forces behind the scenes.)

You’re charged with training your children—no matter what happens afterward. And generally speaking, well-trained kids become principled adults. So train well!

UncategorizedShelley Brooks
Managing Screen Time Increases Family Joy

I stopped one morning to grab a doughnut on my way into work and I noticed as I walked in, the cutest girl, about 7 or 8 years old eating a doughnut with her dad.  My first thought was, what a special time for her and her Dad.  He was probably taking her to school, and had stopped in to treat her.  What I noticed next was how she sat, kind of scrunched down, looking at the doughnut and her napkin, not really excited.  Then I looked at her Dad, and noticed his nose was buried in his phone.  The entire time I was there, he never looked up at her, and never said a word to her.  What could have been such a special time was lost because he couldn't put his phone away for 15 minutes and spend precious time with his daughter.  Below is an article I read on this same topic that I wanted to share with our CCC families.   Thanks for taking the time to read it, and for spending time with your kids.            Shelley Brooks  

My favorite group to speak to about reducing screen time and living a more present and joy-filled life is school-age children. When I tell my eager listeners that the purpose of my book, Hands Free Life, is to show people how to turn away from the daily distractions of screen time and turn toward our loved ones, something happens. Small hands shoot straight up in the air and earnest voices beg to share their stories.

“My mom’s phone is the most important thing.”

“My dad never stops working.”

“My mom texts and drives.”

“My dad forgets to say ‘goodbye’ when I get out of the car because of his calls.”

“My parents are so busy. They forget about me.”

It is no secret that parents’ own screen time is being noticed, and in some cases, causing feelings of rejection, anger, and loneliness withing the hearts of loved ones.  I know first-hand how painful it is to realize how devices, to-do lists, and increased screen time have taken precedence over meaningful conversation and memorable experiences. Yet in my efforts to transform my distracted life, I realized something equally important to what I was missing. I realized that my children’s chance at living a present, joy-filled life in a distracted world begins with me and my own ability to manage screen time.

The Power of Modeling

Through our modeling of healthy technology use, children can learn there is a time and place for our devices. On the flip side, if we constantly have a device in our hand or our face in a screen, children will learn that the device takes priority over humans and real life experiences. Our children’s tech use and screen time is likely to resemble our own—what we do with our device at the dinner table, while driving, or while waiting at a restaurant is likely what they will do.

One of my most effective strategies for reducing screen time and maintaining healthy boundaries between real life and technology is to envision what will make my children feel fulfilled in the future. And it comes down to this:

If I want my children to be awed by sunsets in the future, I must take time to be awed by sights in nature now.

If I want my children to relish in the joys of a screen-free Saturday, I must express joy in going off the grid.

If I want my children to experience the freedom that comes from open blue skies and crunchy leaves underfoot, I must partake in such freedoms myself.

If I want my children to look straight into the eyes of those who speak to them, I must look into their eyes and listen to their words.

It is my ultimate hope that my children yearn to experience all life has to offer with open hands, an open heart, and attentive eyes. This means doing what I can to be a positive example as they grow. It means modeling healthy screen time usage.

6 Small Changes in Screen Time Have Big Impacts

Living Hands Free does not mean giving up technology altogether, and it does not mean ignoring your job responsibilities, volunteer obligations, or home duties. Living Hands Free means making a conscious decision to temporarily push aside the daily distractions of screen time and give your undivided attention to someone or something meaningful in your life. Here are six small changes you can make as individuals or as a family that will make a big impact on you and your family’s well-being, now and in the future:

  1. Protect family time by turning off the notifications on your phone and placing it out of reach so you are not tempted to check it whenever it dings. In addition, shut down the computer until the kids go to bed so a quick look at email or social media doesn’t turn into hours of useless screen time. If your children use devices, have everyone participate in this sacred time of undisturbed connection each day.
  2. Go to places with no electronic distractions and leave the devices at home. Visit the local library or go on family hikes and picnics. Visit new places on the weekends, such as parks, museums, farmer’s markets, and inexpensive sporting events. Taking a break from the online world offers a restorative breather. Within these breaks, conversation flows and memories are made.
  3. Resist the urge to look at your phone when you are with your children/family in “waiting” situations like the doctor’s office, restaurants, events, or activities. This wait time is ideal “connection” time and provides powerful modeling. In addition, wait time provides much needed time for our minds to wander and process the feelings and events of the day.
  4. Be an example of what it means to live presently. Let it be known when you make the choice to put away your distractions or limit your screen time. For example, inform the family that you are putting your phone in the glove compartment as you drive or leaving the phone at home when you go out to dinner or take a walk. Express gratitude for sights, sounds, tastes, and moments in life that you would have missed if you were tied to technology.
  5. Create at least one daily ritual where time with your child is sacred and undistracted. This might include: tucking him or her in bed at night, having dinner together, walking the dog, or enjoying morning snuggles. No matter how distracted the day becomes or has been, your child can count on having that uninterrupted connection time with you. It’s incredibly motivating to think that someday your child will remember you holding a leash, a book, a fishing pole, or a gardening tool instead of a phone.
  6. Use visual reminders to keep yourself focused on what is important. Early in my Hands Free journey, it was helpful for me to post love notes written by my daughter in various places around the house and use them as “stop signs” for my distracted ways. I also wrote a Hands Free Pledge andHands Free Life House Rules to display in our home and set our intentions for how we want to live. I currently wear a Live Hands Free bracelet as a visual reminder to be all there when in the company of my loved ones.

As you take small steps in your life to limit screen time and create space for meaningful living and loving, notice the positive results. What emotions do you experience when you step away from your devices to spend time with a loved one? Do you notice anything special about your loved one that you failed to notice before? Does the importance of your online activities decrease when you are engaged in a moment of loving human connection? Are you beginning to notice more opportunities to connect to what matters to you?

I hope you find, as I have, that the benefits of a Hands Free Life are extensive. With each small step to be more present in your life, you are able to protect your time, strengthen your relationships, and nurture your own health and well-being. You are also able to model healthy lifestyle and screen time boundaries for your children that enrich their lives indefinitely.



8 Things Every Father Must Teach His Son

As I thought about writing out a list of things a father should teach his son, I started to feel a bit uneasy. Penetrating questions raced through my mind. Did I do this as a man? Did my boys see it in my life? Did I teach my boys to do these things too? Well, I can say with great certainty to all of these questions, “yes, “no,” and “sometimes.” Having made that confession, I’d like to share a few things that I’ve sought to teach my two sons, now ages 18 and 17, throughout the years. 1. Be a Gentleman. A firm handshake combined with looking the other person in the eye carries with it respect, dignity, and strength. Opening a car door for a woman, standing up at table when she is seated, and carrying a heavy bag for her displays honor.

2. Honor Your Father and Mother. Honor and esteem your mother and father not because of their performance, but simply because of their position as your parents.

3. Respect Women. Respect a woman physically by honoring her body and accepting that it is reserved for her future husband. Respect her emotionally by understanding that she has very special ways of thinking and feeling that are different from yours.

4. Be a Man of Integrity. “Integrity is doing the right thing, even when no one is watching.” C.S. Lewis makes this one real clear. Be a man who speaks the truth and lives by the truth.

5. Take Responsibility. Do what you say you’ll do, do it right, and do it with excellence. When you don’t do something the right way, man up and own it. That means apologize immediately without excuses and pursue doing it the right way the next time.

6. Work Hard. We were all created to work and work is good. Work is necessary for a productive life. Work teaches self-discipline. Work is not only healthy for the body, but also healthy for the mind

7. Love Others. Loving others is our great and eternal duty. Love is all about giving selflessly and sacrificially to others.

8. Love God. We were created by God and for God. We are to love him with all of our being—heart, soul, mind, and strength. This is absolutely the most important thing I must teach my sons.

Those are most of the most important things I’ve sought to teach my sons. I realize this list is not exhaustive and that there are many other things that we need to teach our sons. Can you think of some others?


markmerrill.com – Mark is president of the national non-profit organization, Family First

8 Things Every Father Must Teach His Daughter

My daughters Megan, Emily, and Hannah know my voice.  When they were younger, they climbed into my lap and listened to my voice as I read bedtime stories and prayed with them.  They heard my voice as I cheered them on at the soccer game, piano recital, or school play. They heard my voice as I instructed and encouraged them. As they grew, my daughters began to notice other voices of the world…voices from people and sources who would never love them like I do. In fact, those other voices were telling my daughters things that weren’t good for them and could harm them. So my job was to do my very best to ensure that my voice of truth and love was heard loud and clear, above all others, by my girls.  Here are 8 things every father must teach his daughter:

  1. “You are immeasurably valuable. "We need to impress upon our daughters that their immeasurable value rests in who they are, not in what they do, what they wear, what the drive, where they live or how they look. They are valuable because they are our daughters and were created by God and for God.
  2. “You are beautiful. "Every daughter needs to hear, and hear often, from her dad, “You are beautiful.” Our daughters need to hear that they are not only beautiful on the outside, but also on the inside where true beauty finds its source.
  3. “Be a Lady. "Teach her to be a lady in the way she dresses. Girls can be modest and still be trendy. It means to use lady-like language…crassness and cussing are very unattractive. It means to use good manners. It means to draw physical boundaries and let men know that her body is reserved exclusively for her future husband.
  4. “Command honor and respect from men. "The best way to teach her about the kind of man she should develop a relationship with and ultimately marry is to show her by your example in your marriage and other relationships.
  5. “I Love You Unconditionally. "Our daughters need to know that we love them no matter what, and that nothing, absolutely nothing, can ever separate them from our love. We need to continually tell them, and show them, that we always love them.
  6. “You can Always Count on Me. ”No matter what, my daughters know that they can count on me to always speak the truth to them. If they ask me a question, they will get the truth. They can trust what I say because of my track record over time. They can also count on me to do what’s in their best interests. On many occasions, I have sat down with my children and advised them on someone or something they should avoid—a bad relationship, a questionable movie, an inappropriate party…or, someone or something they should embrace—a new opportunity, a good event, or a faithful friend.  When I do so, I often preface my comments with something like, “You know that I am saying this because I have your best interests at heart. And, I want to help you avoid pain, and prosper in life.”
  7. “Love Others. "Loving others is our great and eternal duty. Love is all about giving selflessly and sacrificially to others. Remind her how she must take time to look beyond her own world and care for those who are hurting around her.
  8. “Love God. "We were created by God and for God. We are to love him with all of our being—heart, soul, mind, and strength. This is absolutely the most important thing I must teach my daughters.

So let your daughter hear your loving voice on each of these 8 things.         


markmerrill.com - Mark is president of the national non-profit organization, Family First

Be in awe...

Be in awe... Easter offers a new starting point for reflecting on God’s love for us. Easter just isn’t the same as kids get older.

During younger years, the awe and wonder of the holiday is fostered through receiving Palm branches at church*, mad dashes for plastic eggs in open fields, and baskets with chocolate bunnies and candy.

(*Did anyone else have to break up palm branch scuffles with their kids and explain they weren’t meant to be whipped at each other? Or was that just our family?)

But as kids become teens, the only "awe" and "wonder" we often hear is their moan, "Aww, do I really have to get up that early for church?"

As parents, we may not know how to bring them back to the meaning of Easter. Not only have they outgrown candy eggs, but they’re also starting to ask questions about Easter (and faith in general) that can seem intimidating to us.

But here’s something to remember: We all need new starting points for our faith, and Easter provides a fresh annual starting point to remind us that God is not merely all-powerful, he’s also all-personal.

God loves your son or daughter as much now as he did when they were younger, and he always will.

For that matter, God also loves you as much now as he did when you were younger, and he always will.

May your faith be renewed by Easter's reminder of how radically LOVED you are.


Lifetree Family Newsletter

Getting Kids to Listen

Listening is becoming a lost skill in today’s digitally-distracted-information-overloaded world. But children can learn to listen, says Dr. Scott Turansky, co-founder of the National Center for Biblical Parenting.

Many children don’t know how to listen without thinking about the next thing they want to say. Or if they do listen, they make statements like, “I know,” or “I can do it better than that.” Instead, teach children to affirm others in conversation. It’s part of learning what it means to be a servant. Listening can be hard work. It requires that children think of the other person, not just of themselves.

Children can say, “I agree” or “You’re right.” Instead of launching into their own version of the story, teach them to encourage the other person first. “That must have been exciting,” or “You saw a fun thing.” Good responses in conversation are “Oh,” “That’s interesting,” or to ask a question. Conversation can be self-serving or others-serving.

If your children continually talk and rarely listen, encourage them to affirm the last thing you said before they begin talking. Affirming others’ speech is a skill that children will use forever and it helps them address a little of their own selfishness now. Furthermore, it makes conversations with children more pleasant and enjoyable.

As you listen to your kids talk, try to discern what may be distracting them from understanding the truth. Don’t feel like you have to point it out on the spot. Take time to listen and make mental notes of errors in their thinking. Look for creative ways to help them understand truth more fully.

An accepting, safe, listening ear, often opens the heart in ways that nothing else can. As you listen to your child, you’ll learn about dreams, goals, and commitments. Good or bad, time spent listening to your children gives you a greater sense of what’s going on inside, offering you ideas and direction about the heart change that’s needed.


UncategorizedShelley Brooks
Dealing With Anger - Children

Below are a few guidelines provided by Dr. Scott Turansky, co-founder of the National Center for Biblical Parenting, we've found helpful for anger management. When parents and teachers work on these things together, anger episodes are reduced. Make these a regular part of your routine and you'll see tremendous progress. 1. Never argue with children who are angry. Have them take a break and continue the conversation later.

2. Identify the anger cues that reveal your child is about to lose control. Point them out early and stop the interaction. Don’t wait for explosions before you intervene.

3. Help children recognize anger in its various disguises like a bad attitude, grumbling, glaring, or a harsh tone of voice.

4. Debrief after the child has settled down. Talk about how to handle the situation differently next time.

5. Teach children constructive responses. They could get help, talk about it, or walk away. These kinds of suggestions help children to have a plan for what they should do, not just what they shouldn't do.

6. When angry words or actions hurt others, individuals should apologize and seek forgiveness.

By doing these things you will teach your children to do what James 1:19 says, "be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry."

UncategorizedShelley Brooks