Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Oh What a Night

A week ago a vision of mine came to fruition, and it was awesome.  Last year, I pitched the idea of what I called Family Matters Night-- an opportunity for parents to come together and be equipped for the most important job they have.  For our first time together, I wanted to bring in Marilyn Sharpe, a friend and speaker who is inspirational, practical, and funny.

It took some maneuvering in our church schedule, a lot of publicity, and attention to detail to make sure everything went smoothly, but when all was said and done it was an awesome night and those who came felt they really got something out of it.

The topic Marilyn Sharpe shared on was "The Importance of Faith in Raising Resilient Kids," and her talk was infused with countless ideas of ways families can practice faith together.  We know that our faith is not an insurance policy that nothing will ever go wrong for the kids we know and love, but our faith offers many tools in order to raise kids who can bounce back from all the slings and arrows life throws at them.

Her premise was that "God named and claimed our children, now and forever and promised them an eternal relationship of love, no matter what their behavior or accomplishments.  They are invited to take everything to God in prayer.  They are given creation to enjoy and use well."

Some of my favorite ideas that Marilyn shared in how to build in faith practices like caring conversations, devotions, rituals and traditions, and service are:
  • When celebrating candles on a birthday cake, have the people gathered to celebrate each light a candle and name something they love about the person who is being celebrated and thank God for that person.
  • Have a family or neighbor rake-a-thon.
  • Let your children hear their name and Jesus in the same sentence.
  • Pass some garden seeds around and ask everyone in the family to share about one way God is growing you.
  • Give each person a piece of tape and talk about what sticks your family together
  • Place two tea lights at each person's place and ask them to share
    • One person who was the light of Christ for them
    • One person for whom they have been the light of Christ
  • Save this year's Christmas cards and once in a while take the cards out and pray for the people in them.
  • Light candles during dinner- Marilyn said that in addition to reminding your family (and you) that you are gathered around the light of the world, three things happen...
    • Kids can't see their vegetables and therefore complain about them less
    • Kids can't see their siblings and therefore complain about them less
    • Kids linger longer around the table
I could go on and on, but like I said the evening was wonderful and exactly the kind of thing I am passionate about- providing opportunities for parents to be nurtured in their faith, affirmed in their role as parent, and equipped in passing on faith to their kids.

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