Sneak Peek at the new Chivalry Challenge

Today, I unveil the official knight’s Code of Chivalry that ended up in the book and a free poster download for you as we begin the countdown to the book release at the end of May! Here is my original chivalry challenge post that inspired the book!

Today, I want to take you back to the beginning, six years ago when we first embarked on this quest.

“Boys, boys, come here. I have an exciting announcement!”

At the sound of exciting and announcement, they came running. Would it be ice-cream, an extra trip to the park, a playdate with friends, the end of naptime? Their minds were teaming with wonderful possibilities and I could see that their curiosity was piqued.

As my three boys gathered around, I pulled out a few books, including my childhood favorite, St. George and the Dragon, that I only pulled out for special occasions because my mother had inscribed a special note to me in it and my boys tended to get a little rough with their books.

“I have a mission for you, a quest that only the bravest and strongest of boys can undertake.” Eyes widened as they took in this news, not one of them was even tempted to admit weakness or fear.

“I think it is time to embark on knight training.”

“Knight training?” came the quizzical response.

“Yes, we are going to train to become knights. We will read about the exciting adventures of knights and practice your sword fighting skills.”

Cheers erupted as they started waving imaginary swords.

“But most importantly, you will learn how to live according to the Knights Code of Chivalry. Every young page would begin to learn what it means to live a chivalrous life and knights would remind one another to live up to the code. You boys are no different. I think you are ready for the chivalry challenge!”

And with that I revealed the code of chivalry with a grand medieval flourish and began reading with the accent of a town crier making an important announcement.

“Hear ye, hear ye. Calling all knights in training who aspire towards the lofty role of knight. Listen to these words and take heed. Learn them well and walk in this way.”

And thus began our journey into knight training.

Six years ago we posted this in our home for the first time, little knowing how much it would affect our lives. Six years of learning to live by the code, six years of their imagination lit by the wonder of the Middle Ages and the feats of great knights. It has changed the way we parent and changed the way our boys have viewed these years of childhood. Life is by no means perfect. We are all very much in progress. But there is purpose and direction as these knights in training, our men in the making, progress through the years of childhood.

And today, I am sharing with you the code of chivalry that forms the framework for my upcoming parenting book and to let you know that my publisher has moved up the release date to May 30th!

Roots of Chivary

Chivalry is something that has fascinated people for over 1,000 years. The roots of medieval chivalry date back to the time of Charlemagne. We see threads of these early ideals of chivalry woven throughout the French epic, Song of Roland, a song sung by troubadours all over medieval Europe. This epic juxtaposes the story of two knights, highlighting the treacherous betrayal of one and the unyielding loyalty and bravery of the other. From this poem, 19 elements of the knight’s code of chivalry were showcased as the fledgling idea of knighthood took shape and force. Of these, I chose ten elements to focus on with my children and write about in my upcoming book.

Some historians contend that the idea of chivalry was formulated as a means of civilizing the warrior class. This very well may have been. Charlemagne who preached these tenets often struggled to live up to it and felt the pull between his faith that taught mercy, forgiveness and care for others and the warrior spirit that wanted to justify anything for the sake of victory and conquest. Charlemagne and others knew that without belief in God and a holy standard of right and wrong that a warrior became a mercenary, hiring himself out to the highest bidder. Training in chivalry along with training in the art of warfare was needed.

An entire culture was built around the ethos of the chivalrous knighthood. It became so compelling and so powerful in the shaping of young men that soon the nobility sought to include their sons in this knight training whether or not it led to their sons actually becoming practicing knights.

Why? While knight training developed the mind, it also touched the heart. It sought to teach empathy and social order that made for civilized societies.  Human nature, of course, made for an imperfect living out of the code. This is why knights continually called themselves to return to these ideals. Knight training raised up a generation of leaders who were ready to stand against injustice and protect the weak. It raised up a generation who pursued the way of generosity and pursue honesty in their dealings. It raised a generation who persevered until their very last breath as they gave their best to whatever quest they embarked on.

It is this embodiment of chivalry that has captivated people ever since and still today has the power to captivate our boys’ imagination and propel them towards becoming the kinds of leaders that our world so desperately needs.

It is this training that I write about in my book that will release in May. What does it mean to take up knight training in the 21st century? How can we embrace our role as trainer and help our boys embrace their role of being “in-training?” This is what I write about because these are questions we need answered here and now as we raise up the next generation.

This summer you will have the opportunity to issue your own chivalry challenge and invite your boys into the adventure of Knight Training! I wish I could step back in time and give myself this book back when I started. But the beauty of this challenge is that it spans the entirety of childhood for our boys just as much as it did for the knights of old. And in our cultural climate, we desperately need a return of civility and chivalry! So without further adieu, I give you a sneak peak at the Code of Chivalry!

DOWNLOAD: Knights Code of Chivalry Poster 

Why I’ve been MIA… It’s a baby.

Hey there, remember me? I used to write in this space with frequency. Then we moved to Texas and health issues cropped up, leading to a year of rest… Little did I know that this time of rest was preparing us for a year of big ch-ch-changes!

I’m having a baby!!! I don’t know about you, but when I’m pregnant, the baby pretty much takes over my brain. And that is my explanation for why I haven’t been very active here. This baby is due to arrive next June. Are you confused yet? This little baby of mine was conceived last December, which means I’m already 11 months into this “pregnancy.”

As you can see, this is a very different kind of baby. While we wouldn’t mind adding another cuddly little person to our family, that door seems to be shut. This baby that I am growing right now is a book baby.
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Don’t I look excited, nervous, and maybe already a little bit sleep deprived? I’m signing my contract which means that I get to officially tell you all.

I’m working on a book about raising boys. It’s about the grand call and adventure of raising knights-in-training and what it means to raise chivalrous boys in a 21st century world! The official title will probably be Knights in Training: Ten Principles for Raising Honorable, Courageous, and Compassionate Boys.

I had no idea how much work it would take to write a book. It was my major focus this summer and why I turned down a few speaking engagements to do it. As much as I love to get out and encourage other families in person, I knew that this would take every extra bit of time outside of being wife and mom.

The Back Story

So this book baby… I guess you could say that it all started in May of 2015 when a reporter from the New York Times contacted me. She was writing an article on teaching manners and wanted to interview me about a post I had written years earlier on our chivalry challenge. I’ve done my share of media interviews, so I didn’t really think much about it.

Afterwards, when I didn’t hear back from the reporter, the interview faded from memory until December when she contacted me again. It was going to go live soon. A friend of mine had just had a really bad experience with a news interview and suddenly I was nervous. It’s been nearly 18 years since our last bad experience with a reporter. We still cringe when we think about it.

The day before we left for Arizona for the holidays, the reporter emailed me to inform me the article was live online that day and would come out in print the following day in the Times. When I hopped online to read the article, I noticed the hyperlink to my blog and frantically set about to freshen up that old blog post so people coming over could find it. I flung it out there the following morning before grabbing my keys and setting off on our 15 hour drive to AZ.

Like any blogger, I enjoyed my 15 minutes of “fame” as traffic exploded for a few days and then forgot about it as we enjoyed time with family and friends until a few days later when I received a strange email in my inbox.

Long story, short – an editor from Penguin Random House reached out to me about writing a book. After prayer, my family and I decided to make the leap, as my mind swirled with the possibilities and the vision for the book really took root! So it has been a crazy year over here. I found a wonderful agent, wrote my first book proposal, finished up our homeschool “year” and speaking commitments before settling down this summer to write in the margins of life.

It was a summer and early fall of 5am writing sessions at places as glamorous as my grocery store and McDonald’s because they were far less distracting than coffee shops with the loud music or home where I am always needed! Weekends were spent sequestered away in the library. We made a secret trip to AZ this summer so my kids could play with cousins while I hid away and thought and wrote and wrote and thought all day every day.

I’m so excited to share everything that is tucked away in this book. It is full of so many things that I am passionate about – the power of play and the imagination and the importance of good books. It is a book about embracing all that makes boys so incredible and about inspiring and equipping them to own who they will become. It’s coming next summer!

For now, I’m in a bit of a breather period for a couple of weeks and we are enjoying having weekends back as a family! I am not getting up as early and we are enjoying the rhythm of learning and living! Long walks, zoo trips, spelling lessons, grading copious amounts of math, and a return to more read-aloud time is the norm once again.  I’ll also be back in this space, writing once again.

Until then…

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What our kids need to know about FAILURE!

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No one likes failure, but I think some of us may struggle with it more than others.

I have one child in particular who loathes failure. He is often paralyzed by merely the thought of it; so much so that he can’t seem to get started. Now this isn’t all bad. He’s my cautious one, the one who thinks before jumping into things and takes the time to analyze.  But there is a fine line when analyzing and thinking about something can slip into speaking doubt to oneself and stalling out.  Because let’s face it, there are things we are all called to do that seem impossible from the outset. And if you engage in negative self-talk you will talk yourself out of doing just about anything before you have even begun. You won’t fail, but you also miss out on doing anything. You’ll miss out on witnessing that seemingly impossible feat happen!

We have opportunities to learn from our mistakes each and every day. Just this last week, we went to the airport to drop my older two off.  They were meeting my mom at the gate to leave for Washington DC.  Maybe I’m paranoid, but in this day and age, I wasn’t about to let those two out of my sight at a busy airport until we met up with my mom which meant getting a gate pass for myself and the younger two so we could get through security.  Everything was fun and smooth sailing until starting loading up the conveyor belt at the security checkpoint.  At this point, my youngest boy turned to me with a horrified look and whispered his confession as he peeped his swiss army knife out of his pocket. #facepalm  With a hint of tears, he surrendered his beloved knife after I unsuccessfully tried to figure out a way to have them hold it for 30 minutes while we dropped the older two off.  That was a “no-go”.  It was a painful mistake to make and after using his allowance money to get this new Leatherman-ish replacement, I think he will think twice before taking that to the airport again.  THIS was an opportunity to talk about how we can learn from our mistakes.

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So what is it for your kids? Not understanding that math concept the first time around, saying something stupid (welcome to the club, kid), breaking something because they weren’t careful enough, performing in that recital after you bombed the last one…

Opportunities abound to help our kids walk through mistakes and failure.  We NEED to let them make this walk.

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Because here’s the thing that they need to know about failure.  Here’s truth that we need to revisit over and over again as we move out bravely into new territory and unknown adventures…

FAILURE IS THE BEST WAY TO LEARN 

We need to learn to embrace failure and the opportunities that it affords. Failures are a part of life. If you don’t fail, you don’t learn. If you don’t learn, you’ll never change.

“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” Thomas Edison

FAILURE ISN’T FINAL

tryFailure isn’t final unless you remain where you’ve fallen.

It’s okay to not know, but its not okay to not try.

You are stronger than you think.

It always seems impossible until it’s done.

Failure is the opportunity to begin again, only this time more wisely.

FAILURE AND SUCCESS GO HAND IN HAND

Failure is success in progress.

You always pass failure on the way to success. – Mickey Rooney

Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.” -Winston Churchill

Reminding ourselves that we are not alone: “When we are weak, HE is strong.” 2 Cor 12:9

WE ALL FAIL.

progressI think it is easy for our kids to think they are the only one’s who fail.  Helping them to see when others fail and then pick themselves up is important.

I had the opportunity to do that with this child of mine earlier this week. In my rush to get the last blog post out, I forgot to size a couple of pictures and then something wonky happened with my formatting.  Everything looked fine on the blog, but the mortification I felt when I saw the email that went out was enough to make me want to give up on the challenge of the techie parts of my blog. I had to talk myself down from that tree where I was flirting with the idea of running away from it all.  Having recently given my son a pep talk on failure and moving past it, I decided to listen to my own advice and see how I could learn from it.

I chose to show him that what should have been a beautiful email with lovely pictures and how it went horribly wrong. I gave him a glimpse into my failure and then walked him through things that I was going to do differently to try to prevent that from happening next time.

Bringing our kids into our failures, owning up to them, and then letting them see us working through can have a big impact.

We can be our own worst critic and in our family having visual reminders really helps us speak truth to ourselves.  I’ve put together 8 of our favorite phrases to combat fear of failure into a free download for y’all!

Subscriber FREEBIE!


CardSet

(For those of you faithful email subscribers, you can simply enter the same email address in the form below again for immediate access to the download.)

Learn thru Failure Cards
8 printable cards with to inspire and equip our children (or ourselves) to overcome their fear of failure in order to learn and grow!

 

 

Learning to Cast our Cares…

Here's a hands-on way to teach our kids to cast all their cares on the Lord!

Lessons for Him, Lessons for Me…

“I just can’t do it,” he shrieked completely losing control of his emotions.

What should have been a quick, easy task has ended in a fit of tears.  I battle frustration.

As I sat talking to this then 6 year old son of mine (so old and yet so very young), he spilled out his heart to me – his doubts, fears and frustration.

While mostly incoherant, it was evident that these burdens were dragging him down.  And while they seem somewhat trivial to me with my adult mindset of what ‘real‘ problems look like, it is obvious that they are enormous to him.

In a desperate attempt to try and help him, I grab a pile of bean bags and pull him aside.  I explained to him that Jesus wants to bear our burdens and that when we ‘cast our cares upon Him, He takes care of us.’ (I Peter 5:7)

I could feel the tension leave his body as he gave each bean bag a spoken or even unspoken care and made the physical movement to represent his internal decision to cast it on Jesus.  Before I knew it, I too found myself joining in.  Most of mine were unspoken so as not to weigh him down with cares that were beyond his years.  There was such a release in that physical act that was merely a representation of giving our cares to Jesus.

My heart fills with gratitude.  These children of mine help me to slow down.  As I attempt to raise them, I find myself more often than not convicted and inspired to heed the words from Scripture that I am passing on to them.  How can I expect them to respond and internalize these truths, if I’m not doing the same?

Walking away from this object lesson, we both found ourselves travelling with a lighter step.  It is so freeing to not have to carry around burdens that we were never supposed to be dragging along and simply TRUST God.

So this has become our family ‘go to’ verse for now.  When nightmares come, a task that seems to difficult, there is conflict with a brother, an economy continues to flounder or I worry about future provision we turn to this verse and apply.  It is delightful to see his face light up in understanding when encouraged to give it to Jesus.  I can see him mentally tossing that weighted bean bag off and enjoying the release.  And I marvel that I too am experiencing the same.

Letting Go of Picture Perfect

It's a scary thing to let go of that picture-perfect ideal. But I'm here to tell you that it is well worth it in the end.

I called them in, these boys of mine.  We were studying the tabernacle at the time.  Visions of this exquisite, picture-perfect, to-scale model of the tabernacle were floating around in my head like the one I created during my junior high years with my sisters.  That one that was put on display at church.  Yes, that one.

The boys were excited.  Spray paint and hot glue guns have a special allure, don’t they?

Boys huddled around as building commenced.  In almost reverential awe, each one picked up the small saw and proceeded to cut balsa wood posts for the courtyard.  I hovered over them, Bible in hand, to make sure that it was perfect.

But as I continued to step in, to adjust, to pause the building to consult our Bible and our awesome book on the Tabernacle, they drifted off one-by-one until I finally realized that I was the only one left building.

In frustration, I shouted for them to come back…  This is school for crying out loud.  And fun school at that. But it was too late.  They had lost interest and I had no one to blame but myself.  My obsession with the perfect model had killed their desire.

Letting Go of Perfection – My 2nd Chance!

As the project languished on the front room table, co-op day arrived and I was hosting.

My assignment for the morning – build a walk through replica of the tabernacle and the courtyard.  I told them to be creative.  Boys gave me skeptical looks.  Given how the last week had gone down, I think they expected me to give a lecture on mathematical scaling and beautiful pseudo-authenticity.  But I had come to my senses.  The purpose here was for them to work together, creatively utilizing items from around our home that could symbolize each aspect of the Jewish tabernacle and then give the two moms a tour.

They stuttered briefly, before flying outdoors chattering with their friends as they constructed their own version of the tabernacle.  It was a rousing success.  They had fun and flexed those creative muscles.  They made it their own.  And while these images may not wow anyone on Pinterest, they made it.  ALL.BY.THEMSELVES.

And that my friends, is powerful.
Learning about the Tabernacle: One of the best ways to review what your kids have learned is to have them create a walk-thru model of the tabernacle!Learning about the Tabernacle: One of the best ways to review what your kids have learned is to have them create a walk-thru model of the tabernacle!

Whether it is your high ideal or what seems like someone else’s beautiful reality, we must hold firm to holding things lightly, to letting go of that “perfect idea” and in this case look towards memory making and kid-involved learning rather than parent-driven perfection.

I’m a work-in-progress, but I’m thankful for lessons like this along the way that help me learn to let it go…

And that beautiful Tabernacle diorama? We never finished it.  I ended up throwing away all of the perfectly cut and painted posts, the half constructed tabernacle building, the hand-stitched coverings that the boys did make with the vivid, albeit crooked lines of scarlet and purple…  My friend on the other-hand utilized things she had lying around the house.  They used play dough and popsicle sticks. And it was awesome. Her kids loved it and her husband proudly posted pictures to Facebook.  Let go, my friends.  It’s totally worth it.

Kid-generated Tabernacle model

Can’t wait to connect with you LIVE here in October!

Chatting about intentional parenting and inspired homeschooling each Thursday on Periscope!

@HeatherHaupt

Hey friends.  It’s been a while since I wrote in this space, hasn’t it?  I spent all of August pretty much unplugged and resting.  I think I need to do that more often.  In this season, it was much needed.  And now that October is here, I’ll be  slipping back into a blogging routine and sharing life with you.

While I enjoy sharing with you here in this space, I love getting to talk to y’all personally best of all.  And since I can’t invite you all over for a chat and I can only travel to speak at a few conferences per year, I wanted to try Periscope, the new live-broadcasting phone ap! Have you tried it yet?  I’ve decided to “scope” once or twice a week in October and see if this is a good fit for me.

Live on Periscope: Thursdays at 2:00pm, Central Time

I’ll be hopping on at 2pm, Central time each Thursday.  I’m hoping to add another Periscope time.  If you have days and times that you’d really like to chat, let me know.  I’m fairly open except for mornings (primo homeschooling time) and Tuesday afternoons.

My first reaction to this ap was, “yuk.”  I try to be mindful of my time and make sure I’m investing it wisely. I’ve seen some “scopes” now that are both helpful and inspiring and then others that seemed like a waste of time or just not for me.  That’s why I’m taking October to experiment and see if this would be a good fit for me AND for you. My goal is to keep them short and sweet at about 15-20 minutes so we can get back to our primary roles of raising these kids God has given to us.

So here’s a bit about today’s topic:

Homeschooling with Toddlers in Tow

Homeschooling when you have babies and toddlers in the home can present some unique challenges and opportunities.  There are certainly days where we consider surviving quite an accomplishment. Today, I’m going to be chatting about the concept of keeping our toddlers close without losing our minds.  It provides beautiful opportunities and if we embrace that perspective we can turn our attempts to merely survive into opportunities to thrive.

ETA: Oh my word.  That was hilarious…  There is nothing like trying to talk about homeschooling in the midst of crazy when your little one decides to skip naptime and come join the Periscope party.  The icing on the cake called “real life” was her meltdown at the end.  Thankfully, I had lots of props on hand to keep her occupied.  You can catch the replay for 24 hours on Periscope or go watch over at Katch.me/HeatherHaupt.

Future Periscope topics:

I’m working on putting together some topics to cover.  If you have any burning questions about homeschooling, parenting, etc, let me know and I’ll add it to the docket!

Here are some upcoming topics that I’ll be covering:

  • Homeschool Myths We Believe: If We Homeschool our Kids Will…
  • 5 Tips for Growing in Patience as a Parent
  • 4 Easy Ways to Incorporate More Movement into Your Homeschool Day
  • How I Lesson Plan {my goal is raising independent, motivated learners}

Here’s how it works:

  1. Download the free ap for your Android or iPhone. If you don’t have a smart phone, there is also an option to watch live online
  2. You can find me by searching for my name.  My Periscope handle is @HeatherHaupt.
  3. Announcements are sent out for live broadcasts via an alert on your phone (you can disable this if you don’t want alerts), via Twitter, (including a link to watch online)or if you know I’m going to be on, you can simply go to Periscope.tv/HeatherHaupt
  4. INTERACT!  I think this can be one of the coolest features.  You have the opportunity to add your comments and questions and I see them in real time.  Plus, you can interact with others via the comments as well.
  5. HEARTS! If you like what a broadcaster is saying, you can give encouragement by tapping your screen and giving them some hearts.  When Greta watches, she LOVES to just sit and tap the screen. 🙂
  6. 24-Hour time frame.  Periscope keeps each of my broadcasts up for 24 hours.  If you didn’t get a chance to watch in that period of time, you can simply head over to Katch.me/HeatherHaupt to watch old broadcasts.  My very first Periscope that I did last week on overcoming perfectionism is over there in all 3 of its very imperfect parts… (Oh, God has an incredible sense of humor.)

@HeatherHaupt

That’s it for now, friends.  I’ll be sharing more in the next week or two about some changes you’ll be seeing around here!

A must-have for every mother of young children: 30 amazing finger plays and preschool songs right at your fingertips!

Intentional Parenting Means Raising Daniels

Intentional parenting means raising Daniels - children who love Jesus and will stand firm in the face of the storm!

The Grand Canyon – beautiful, majestic. It’s one of the 7 natural wonders of the world.  A must see if you can, wouldn’t you say?  And my kids have never seen it.  Until 4 months ago, they had spent their entire lives in Arizona and we had never taken the time to drive up there.

You see, we had always planned to go; but we thought we had all the rest of their childhood to do it.  Little did we know that God had plans to suddenly transplant our family to a new state.

Life has a way of doing that, doesn’t it?  We have a lot of good things that we plan to do… eventually.

But the reality is that we don’t know what lies in store for us tomorrow, next week or next year.  What we have is today. That’s why it’s so essential to parent with the big picture in mind and make the most of each day.

Our culture is changing at breakneck speed. The carnality of our culture, the rapid changes in religious freedoms, the number of young adults rejecting the faith of their families, and the scary violations of parental rights are enough to wake us up to the reality that we really don’t know what tomorrow holds. It’s a fresh reminder to be intentional with TODAY.

It’s in moments like these when I simply have to shut down the noise, quiet my soul.  I love how God is always there, just waiting for me to quiet my mind and listen. Despite my natural inclination to P.A.N.I.C., He reminds me that HE is the God of history. While I’m bound by time and space, He sees the big picture.

Panic melts away and a growing sense of resolve takes its place. God has called me to this place in history. He’s called you, too. He knew what He was doing when blessing us with our beautiful children. He knows their future.

My mind kept going to Daniel {of lion’s den fame}. As a girl, I loved reading about his early years in Babylon, about how he stood firm in his faith, about how he had a huge impact and influence on the pagan culture that had taken him captive.

As a parent, I can’t help but think of his parents. I’m keenly reminded that we need to sow into our children as Daniel’s parents did. Daniel was taken from his home during his teen years and thrust into a hostile culture that sought to re-educate him so that he could serve and believe as a Babylonian. They went so far as to even give him a new name. Instead of Daniel – meaning “God is my judge,” they gave him the name Belteshazzar – {prince of Bel -a Babylonian god}. If you think this was purely coincidence, check out the name changes they gave to his friends: Hananiah {God Who Is Gracious} became Shadrach {Command of the Moon god}, Mishael {Who is Like God} became Meshach {Who is what Aku is} and Azariah {God has helped} became Abednego {Servant of the god Negal}.


Talk about a mind job. The goal of the conquering culture was to reeducate them into currently acceptable belief and have them reject the faith of their roots. And you know what? The Bible alludes to the fact that Daniel and his three friends were the only ones that stood firm. Daniel 1:8 says that “Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself.” He was resolved to stand firm. Despite everything that the Babylonian empire had to offer, he graciously stood firm. God granted him favor and used him mightily. Not only did he maintain an intimate relationship with God, not only did he live in obedience to God – at the risk of losing his own life, but he had a huge impact on those around him and rose to be a leader within the culture.

I couldn’t stop thinking about him this week and the love and care his parents must have devoted to establishing him in God’s truth. It brought me to my knees in fervent prayer and excited anticipation.

My mandate today and every day:

P.R.A.Y.

  • Earnestly pray that God will touch their hearts and that they will fall head over heels in love with Jesus!!!
  • Pray that He will establish them deep in Him.
  • Pray that my children will look to Him for provision and protection.
  • Pray that God will grant them supernatural discernment.
  • Pray that God will reveal to them (and me, too) how He wants to use them to impact the culture.
  • Pray that I will remain steadfast and intentional with these precious years of training and discipling!

P.R.E.P.A.R.E

  • Read the Bible, Study the Bible, Memorize the Bible. They need to be grounded in the TRUTH. When the truth is rooted deep in their hearts it will make it so much easier to weather any wave of false doctrine or worldly influence that might seek to derail them.
  • Apply the Truth. Help my children see how the Word of God applies in day-to-day life as we model how to really live the Christian life. In a culture that bifurcates life into secular vs. sacred, I ‘purpose’ to show my children how to live an integrated life where we live what we believe.
  • Train them to think deeply, listen to the Holy Spirit as they learn to use discernment.
  • Diligently pursue our academic studies. The world needs leaders – full of wisdom and possessing knowledge. {That was the earthly reason why the Babylonians took Daniel and his friends in the first place.}

The battle is never with flesh and blood.  It is spiritual and souls lie in the balance. We need Christians who are grounded in truth and full of compassion.  That is my prayer for our family.

If our children are arrested by the love of Jesus and established in His Word, then nothing can shake them. Nothing that our culture throws at them will sway them.

If our children are equipped with knowledge and discernment and able to engage the culture then they can be used by God to influence and impact people in our community in practical ways, too!

Do I feel equipped to do this? Nope. Is HE able to accomplish this? Absolutely.

I’m up for the challenge. Is anyone with me?

Related Posts:

Mission-Minded Motherhood
Intentional Parenting: Planning with the End in Mind {printable}
Intentional Parenting Means Setting {bite-sized} Goals {printable too!}

Hands-on Discipleship Moments: Ideas for Celebrating the Ascension

Here is a beautiful hands-on way to disciple your children and point their eyes towards Jesus. Celebrate and Learn about the Ascension! {crafts, food, and discussion ideas!}
Celebrating Christmas gives us faith; it affirms that our beliefs have roots in the historical fact of the incarnation.
Celebrating Easter gives us assurance; it affirms that Christ wiped away our sin by his great sacrifice and triumphed over death.
Celebrating the Ascension gives us hope and points us toward transformation; it affirms that we can become more and more like Jesus is right now….Without the ascension, we might look around and forget that Christ is the ruling Lord of this fallen, broken world….not just that he will reign when he comes again or that he did reign over death, but that he is reigning right now.”

Gary Thomas penned this in his amazing book, The Beautiful Fight: Surrendering to the Transforming Presence of God Every Day of Your Life.  I was reading it several years ago in the weeks leading up to Resurrection Sunday and knew right then that I wanted to take time to introduce my children to the wonder of the Ascension.  We love to spend a few weeks building up to Easter and it just seemed to be a natural progression to continue on and celebrate the Ascension (that occurred 40 days after the Resurrection) and then Pentecost (10 days after Jesus ascended)…

Jesus conquered sin and death at the cross and resurrection and He will come again and reign.  But He also reigns here and now.  As Gary Thomas continues, we can participate in the spread of his reign now by “surrendering to his dynamic, life-transforming presence within us, by letting him change the way we see, think, feel, hear, speak, and serve.  It’s the life of Christ in us, continuing his work, exercising his reign, manifesting his presence.”

Focusing on the ascension of Jesus can help us to recapture the dynamic reality of Christ manifesting himself through us!

With that in mind, here is some hands-on inspiration that we’ve utilized to to communicate the glorious nature of the ascension and cultivate in my children an appreciation for and understanding of the ascension.

With young children you want to start by focusing on understanding. Don’t try to tackle ALL of these ideas…  With older children or over a period of a couple of days you can venture into some of the application of Christ’s reign here and now! I found this information on the history of the church celebrating Ascension Day interesting.

Read, discuss, create, savor…

Explaining and Celebrating the Ascension to Children

Key themes you can emphasize:

LOOK UP (anticipate His return) and LOOK OUT (how can we share the Good News)

 

  • Read Acts 1:1-11.  Review how Jesus spent 40 days with his disciples instructing them and opening up the scriptures to them in light of his death and Resurrection.
  • Jesus Returns to Heaven {an ARCH book}Read the ARCH book,  Jesus Returns to Heaven – a book with beautiful illustrations and rhyming text that tells this account or you can check out  correlating accounts in The Big Picture Story Bible and The Jesus Storybook Bible.  (We love ARCH books. They were favorites in my childhood home and my kids now love them too!)
  • Count out 40 days on our calendar to the ascension, starting on Easter Sunday. The Ascension is historically celebrated on the Thursday 40 days after the resurrection.
  • Talk about the Great Commission.  We have a job to do!  If you have the book, I’ve Got a Job to Do, read it.  It is a wonderful picture book that helps kids connect and build excitement for carrying out the Great Commission! Discuss with the kids about what this can look like for your family!  How can each of you carry out the Great Commission in your local community?  What can you do as a family to support the work of the Great Commission being carried out world-wide? We plan to possibly take another #EndBiblePoverty Challenge this summer.
  • Read Revelation 1:7 in addition to reviewing Acts 1:10-11.  Discuss how Jesus will return again the same way he ascended.
  • Go look at and admire the clouds.  Talk about heaven.  Talk about the return of the KING!

skyjello

  • Make Sky Jello – If your kids are anything like mine, eating a rare sweet treat like this is sure to loosen them up and provide opportunities to review what you’ve discussed! My Sky Jello tutorial is here.
  • Jesus Ascending Craft – Do the below presented craft.  One year, we made it from supplies I had around here and creative energy I had available.  Another year, {hello pregnancy} I was running low on energy and simply ordered a set from Oriental Trading Company that first gave me the inspiration for this craft.  Isn’t it nice to have options!?!?!
  • Dramatize the story.  Gather your legos or little people and have your kids recreate the scene.  They can use the craft they just made!  This will help them make meaningful connections that will really last!  It also gives you a glimpse into what they understand or maybe don’t.

Ascension Craft Tutorial

To mark the ascension which occurred 40 days after Easter (that would be Thursday, May 14th this year), we made this craft so they can re-enact that wonderful event.  We had so many beautiful conversations about Jesus, the ascension, His return and Heaven in the weeks following this craft last year!

Supplies you’ll need:

  • Blue cups or cups covered with blue construction paper (or possibly painted).  We went the construction paper route.
  • Cotton balls and glue.
  • Ribbon, yarn or thin strip of white tulle or whatever you have on hand.
  • Jesus paper figurine.

Jesus-Ascending

>> Start by letting your kids play with the cotton balls and gently pull them apart to make fluffy clouds.

>> Next let them spread glue on their cups.

(This is the favorite part of the craft in our home…  Glue is almost as cool as fire.)

>> Poke a hole through the top of your cup.  Depending on your children’s ages/temperaments and your mood this might be a mommy job.

>> Thread the tulle/ribbon/yarn through the hole-punch and then poke it through the hole in the cup. 

>> The idea is that you can pull the string and ‘lift’ the Jesus figuring up into the clouds.  Let them play and dramatize the story for you over and over and over again!

A Time to Hold and a Time to Let Go

Intentional parenting sometimes means intentionally letting go... Lessons from the trenches.

As dusk approaches, my oldest and I slip out to the trail behind our new home for a stroll. The birds chirp as a slight breeze rustles through the trees – music to my ears.

He looks at me with a special smile and grabs my hand. Both of us are lost in thought. I savor the moment and marvel at this season I have with my son, walking hand-in-hand. I know it won’t last forever.

Sure enough, as we round the corner and come to the main road, he releases my hand and stands just a tad taller as his stride lengthens. I sense the subtle change of seasons that is slowly underway.

Part of me wants to grasp a hold of what we had, but I check myself. This is at it should be – the gradual move towards independence. I must hold lightly and remember that my goal is to raise children who are independent from us and yet dependent on the Lord.

This happens step-by-step, day-by-day, as we walk and talk and live life together.  As I look back to my own growing up, I remember the two steps forward and then stepping back as if in a dance. I yearned for independence and yet craved the intimacy of family, of belonging. Did my parents marvel at this slow transition – the budding of a separate identity? I don’t remember them hovering or holding me back. Maybe that’s why I know this slow progression is normal and will work itself out. It’s all part of the dance.  And now it’s a dance that I get to do with my own children. Always there for them, but not hovering.  Preparing and then letting them spread their wings…

Sometimes intentional parenting, means intentionally letting go – and embracing each season as it comes and goes.

Looking forward to the seasons ahead and delighting in the time we have today!

In parenting there is a time to hold on and there is a time to let go...

Gifts That Inspire Our Children’s Faith

Following Jesus is a grand adventure.  Here are some books that will inspire your children in their growing relationship with Him.

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We get to introduce our children to Jesus, friends.  Have you paused to think about that lately?  On my drive home tonight from speaking to a mom’s group I was struck with the enormity and yet simplicity of this charge.  Nothing can have a greater impact in the lives of our children.  It is both humbling, exciting, and sometimes nerve-racking.  It shouldn’t be nerve-racking, but I’ll be the first to admit that sometimes it is as I look around and see friends falling away from the faith and young adults headed down the path of destruction.  It’s at times like this when the Holy Spirit whispers deep into my soul and reminds me that GOD is the one who saves.  I need to trust Him with the lives of my precious family. My job is merely to love the Lord, love my kids and introduce them to the grand adventure of walking out a life radically transformed by his grace.

The part about God loving flawed people?  Check.  That is on full display for my children.  There is no hiding my flaws. You all might not see them, but my kids do. And this gives me ample opportunity to humbly point them to the only one that can change us.

So yes, one of my favorite parts about parenting is walking out my faith, my oft-times messy faith, in front of my kids and continually pointing them to Jesus.  My prayer is that He will continue to capture their hearts as they follow Him.

While you can’t give them a gift that will grant them faith {that gift comes straight from Jesus}, we can, however, seek to inspire their faith and help them grow.  And what better way to do that than through the power of narrative and story.  So here are a few of my favorite children’s books that inspire us in our relationship and walk with the Lord.

Picture Books
That’s When I Talk to Godbook2  – This is one of my newest favorite books!  It winsomely draws my kids into the story where they learn that prayer is not something that simply happens at bedtime or the dinner-table.  We can talk to God all the time.

That’s Where God Isbook1 – We also love this book by the same author.  Both of these books delightfully draw you into the wonder and glory of a relationship with God and seeing his hand in creation and life circumstances.  I loved these so much that I promptly ordered some extra copies to give as gifts!

scripturelullaby

This isn’t a picture book, but I couldn’t help but share about these Scripture CD’s.  When the tension starts to rise in our home, one of us will usually to pop this in.  The music is soothing and the truth of scripture penetrates deeply.

 

Devotionals/Bibles
biblePicture Bible – I loved this comic book style Bible as a girl and read it over and over again.  Each of our boys own a copy and they eagerly pull it out for their personal devotional time each morning.  I’ve found that sometimes they’ll even grab it for our quiet hour (our extension of naptime because we all need an hour of quiet).  It’s exciting to hear my boys talk about the biblical account that they are currently reading in this Bible.  It is a fun way to encouraging Biblical literacy.

book4His Mighty Warrier: A Treasure Map from Your King  and His Little Princess: Treasured Letters from your King are two book4bbeautiful devotional books that you can read with your children.  I guess they could read them on their own, but there is something so special about reading these beautiful letters that inspire our children to pursue Jesus and enjoy the treasure of knowing Him alongside them.

Biographies
Christian Heroes: Then & Now << Using biographies to explore what it means to follow Jesus.Biographies are powerful.  There is nothing quite like reading about how faith looks lived out in ordinary lives as God enables them to do extraordinary things for Him.

I love the YWAM series Christian Heroes: Then and Now.  The stories are not only engaging, but they build our faith as we catch a glimpse of others walking out their faith.  I’ve borrowed these, but don’t own any yet.  It’s a series that is on my radar to own as I want my children reaching for these kinds of stories when they are looking for something to read!  You can get them in sets to save about $2/book or buy them individually.

Christian Heroes: Then and Now, books 1-5: biographies about Gladys Aylward: The Adventure of a Lifetime, Nate Saint: On a Wing and a Prayer, Hudson Taylor: Deep in the Heart of China, Amy Carmichael: Rescuer of Precious Gems, Corrie ten Boom: Keep of the Angels’ Den.
Christian Heroes: Then and Now, books 6-10: Eric Liddell: Something Greater Than Gold, William Carey: Obliged to Go, George Muller: The Guardian of Bristol’s Orphans, Jim Elliot: One Great Purpose, Mary Slessor: Forward into Calabar
Christian Heroes: Then and Now, books 11-15: David Livingstone: Africa’s Trailblazer, Betty Greene: Wings to Serve, Adoniram Judson: Bound for Burma, Cameron Townsend: Good News in Every Language, Jonathan Goforth: An Open Door in China
Christian Heroes: Then and Now, books 16-20: Lottie Moon: Giving Her All for China, John Williams: Messenger of Peace, William Booth: Soup, Soap, and Salvation, Rowland Bingham: Into Africa’s Interior, Ida Scudder: Healing Bodies, Touching Hearts
Christian Heroes: Then and Now, books 21-25: Lillian Trasher: The Greatest Wonder in Egypt, Wilfred Grenfell: Fisher of Men, Florence Young: Mission Accomplished, Loren Cunningham: Into All the World, Sundar Singh: Footprints Over the Mountains
Christian Heroes: Then and Now, books 26-30: C.T. Studd: No Retreat, Rachel Saint: A Star in the Jungle, Clarence Jones: Mr. Radio, Count Zinzendorf: Firstfruit, Brother Andrew: God’s Secret Agent

FICTION
It doesn’t have to be a real-life story to have an effect on our heart.  I love reading fiction that draws us closer to the Lord.  Here are our family’s favorites!

bookDangerous Journey: The Story of Pilgrims Progress – We adore this version of the world-famous, much-loved classic Pilgrim’s Progress. It is an abridged version, obviously, but I love how it uses the original words to weave a gripping narrative. The illustrations are vivid and riveting. They are intense, so you will want to wait on this book if your child is easily frightened.  This beautiful book makes an ideal gift that you’ll find your children reading over and over and over again!

Ivan and the Hidden Bible < a glimpse of a boy standing up for his faith in communist Russia.Ivan and the Hidden Bible – This was a favorite of mine as a girl and I introduced my oldest to it last year.  It follows a Ivan, a boy living in the USSR, as he experiences persecution for their Christian faith and the exciting discovery of their family Bible that was hidden away when communism first fell.  It provided a wonderful opportunity to discuss communism and how to stand up for your faith – even as a kid!  There is a whole series and I’m excited to see them back in print again!

Imagination Station Book!Imagination Station Series – These books go into various points in history and engagingly draw the reader into the lives of those living out there faith!  The boys received this series from their grandparents last year for Christmas after we fell in love with the first book.  Each book has been read at least twice in the last year.

Do you have any favorite books?  I’ve shared more of my faith-building favorites in these two posts:

10 Adventure Books to Build a Boy's Faith                 11+ Delightful Books to Inspire a Girl's Faith

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31 days of gift ideas that will spark and foster your children's love of learning and feed the imagination!