Bless To Bless: Back To School Opportunity

school art supplies

“Back to School” ads are beginning to appear here and there. Friends on Facebook are posting about sales they’re finding. It’s hard to believe it’s already the end of July.

What if we approach this season thinking of others rather than ourselves?

Could those of us who don’t have school-age kids buy things anyway? Sure. We could drop school supplies off at a homeless shelter. This way when kids living there go to school the first day, they’ll have what they’re supposed to have. They’ll be like the other kids. What a gift that will be!

Maybe friends would decide to do the same thing and you could collect for all the children at a shelter. Tremendous!

We could ask staff at our church if there are some families who could use this kind of support. In addition to crayons, pencils, pens, and the like, what if we bought children backpacks? We could collect good used ones, too. We could choose to give a gift card so children could choose their own style.

Many children get easily frustrated when tasks are hard for them. They may whine and proclaim, “This is tooooo hard!” and “I can’t do this!!!” It’s frustrating, isn’t it? Watch this practical teaching to learn realistic ways of responding that will be helpful. The whining can stop. Yes!

I Spy Smart iKids!

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iKids_fixedDo you remember playing the “I spy” game as a child? I do.

Today I’m sitting in the lobby of a large children’s ministry area at a church in Woodstock, Georgia. The first floor, below the worship center that seats 7,500 people, is the nursery and preschool area. It’s huge. While in the lobby waiting for a meeting to begin, this is what I spy. See if you can spy what smarts I’m using.

I like the painting on the wall. Is it their logo? It’s a letter “i” with a smiling face as the dot. I notice a poster and see that it’s the “i” in front of “Kids.” So, “iKids” must be their preschool ministry’s name.

Is it clever to play off the iPod, iPhone, iTunes technology craze? Unnecessary? A good idea?

I wonder if the colors in the logo mean anything. Red, purple, green and orange. Is it one color for each age? Are the hallways painted with these colors? I have to get up and explore. Yes, infants, 1’s, 2’s, and 3’s all get a color and a hallway. That makes sense. It might help parents remember where to go when they arrive in the building.

Have Internal Peace When External Challenges Arise

Jesus Comforting Large

Peace has been on my mind. Has it been on yours?

Last Friday’s headline in the USA Today was “World in Crisis.” The article was especially about the plane shot out of the sky over Ukraine., but there’s so much more. Israel. Iran. Afghanistan. Iraq. Russia. North Korea. Our border.

Things closer to home: Friends are watching as their parents slip away. Kids are grieving the breakup of parents’ marriages. Many are confused and have major decisions to make.

External peace is a definite challenge. Internal peace is possible. It’s found in a real relationship with Jesus Christ, God’s Son, based on faith in Him and not in our works. Without my trust in Christ and love for God, I can’t imagine who I’d be or where I’d be. I hope you know Him, too. If not, please check out one of my favorite resources for explaining the free gift of eternal life.

Since mistakes are a fact of life, Dr. Kathy encourages us to talk with our children about responding appropriately when making some. She also shares a fun way to help children panic less and actually value mistakes as a part of learning. After watching this, you may want to watch it again with your kids to stimulate a helpful discussion. Start the next school year with a better attitude.

Four More Awakening Strategies for Multiple Intelligences

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As I wrote about last Wednesday and taught about in one of my  videos, all of us are born with the capacity to develop eight intelligences. Our Creator generously creates us with each, but relies on parents and others to awaken each part of the brain in children. The earlier they’re awakened, the better. It’s more likely that they’ll become strengths.

Creating “crystallizing experiences” to spark the birth of intelligences is a privilege. The first four ways of doing this that I explained were creating new experiences, attending cultural events, going exploring, and engaging in discussions.

Healthy Motivation Produces Empowering Priorities

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Last Monday, I encouraged readers to consider what they value for them and their children. I provided a list of words for you to consider.

I certainly don’t want you or your children to be unhappy. I’ll choose happiness over misery or just that “blah” feeling every time. Yet, motivation for the post and word list was birthed in my concern that happiness is often prioritized. When that’s the case, unwise decisions may be made more often just to keep kids happy.

Upon reflection and a great insight from Randy Thomas, our Online Content and Social Media Manager, we can do that with any of the words I listed. If you chose your ten words, consider my examples here and look at your list to see if anything may be skewed in unhealthy ways. If you haven’t chosen your ten words, you may want to do that now.

Dr. Kathy has an assignment for you. Observe people when you’re out and about and have your kids do the same. To improve their ability to read body language and facial expressions, talk later about who they noticed and what they thought their moods were. These discussions can improve children’s people-smart abilities and discernment. Both are essential for living well.

Four Awakening Strategies for Multiple Intelligences

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Multiple intelligences is a strength-based way of looking at children, teens, and even adults. That’s one reason I enjoy teaching the model.

All of us are born with a capacity to develop all eight smarts. Although it’s never too late to awaken them, the earlier they’re awakened, the better. It’s a greater likelihood they’ll develop as strengths.

A week ago, I posted a video about the value of awakening our children’s smarts. That reminded me of a version of this blog originally posted on February 22, 2012. Since the summer can be a great time to plan to acknowledge and awaken our children’s intelligences, I think you’ll appreciate these ideas.

I’ll suggest four awakening strategies that can cause “crystallizing experiences,” a term coined by Dr. Thomas Armstrong. These are turning points that spark the birth of an intelligence. Next Wednesday, I’ll share four more. As you’ll see, it doesn’t have to take a lot of work.

Create new experiences. New experiences awaken interest and ability and both are important for developing intelligences. Strategically plan to do new things. Model this and do new things as a family. Don’t just expect a child to do new things when no one else is.

Prioritizing Our Pursuit Of Happiness

Cropped_NapkinOpenHappiness

Happiness. The celebration of happiness is all around us. I flew last Tuesday and my glass of ice water was served with a napkin including the Coke® campaign slogan reminding me to “Open Happiness.”®

The pursuit of happiness may be one of our unalienable rights endowed by our Creator. But it’s not one of our needs.

I see way too many young people today prioritize happiness. I call it one of the Hollywood lies – that happiness is our right and should be our goal.

Is happiness something you pursue? How about your children? Is it an appropriate priority or their purpose? Too important or not important enough?