Have you ever observed this scene: You're sitting at a restaurant, and there’s a family at the table next to yours. Instead of talking to one another, each member of this family is busy on his or her smartphone—parents and children alike, a family together, yet really apart.
According to this recent article from ABC News, “Parents on Smartphones Ignore Their Kids, Study Finds.” As with any study, there are many variables that affect and influence the findings. For example, just because we see a parent busy on a smartphone, this does not mean that parent is bad or neglectful. There might be a very good and important reason for a parent to be on his smartphone at any given time. However, I believe there are some important (and obvious) things to glean from the study. Here are some quotes from the article:
In gardening, there is a good kind of "hardening." It is when you carefully accustom young seedlings that have been started indoors (or in a greenhouse) to life outdoors. Hardening-off is done by gradually introducing plants to the rigors of sun, wind, and variable temperatures. If it's done too soon, the plants may wither and die. If it's done too fast, the plants may go into shock. If the plants are kept inside too long, they may become leggy and weak. Read how John Younts likens this to the role of Christian parents:
As a greenhouse is used for the cultivation of plants, your home is used to cultivate faith in Christ for your children. Your home should provide spiritual protection from the harsh storms of daily life.
Last week, people around the world commemorated Earth Day, drawing attention to the necessity of caring for the physical world in which we live. However, as Christians, we must be careful to evaluate the environment and our role in it through the truth of Scripture. Not all that is promoted in the environmental movement is grounded or supported in God's design and purpose for His creation. Here are a few Scriptural "building blocks" concerning the environment to give our children:
Every day we have opportunities to teach our children to see and understand everything through the amazing reality of God's providence. But how often do we actually make "use" of these opportunities? Do some incidents or situations seem too small or insignificant to warrant God's notice? Here is a delightful true story featured in the curriculum
My Purpose Will Stand: A Study for Children on the Providence of God. Consider reading it with your students or children, and think about your own experiences, looking for ways that God watched over the "details" even in ways that you could have not imagined.
Think of how your children might "see" the church—the body of Christ—through you. Are they being given an attractive picture that they would want to embrace? Here are some good words from Tedd and Margy Tripp,
Church is usually a family priority for believers. That is good and appropriate. But parents shape how their children think about church life. Magnify the beauty of the corporate life of your church. It is an essential element of Christian culture. If attendance to church and its activities are a burdensome obligation that competes with other desirable pastimes, children will live for the day they can opt out of attendance...
U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt was an avid sports enthusiast. But he also saw a potential danger in that enthusiasm. Here is a portion of a letter he wrote to his son Ted while Ted was away at school. This advice is as sound today as it was when he wrote it, and is a good reminder to pass on to our own sons.
There comes a point when there is no longer a way to avoid the difficult question, “Why is there evil in the world?” Whether or not our children and students verbalize it specifically, they will be wondering. How will we answer a question that so many great thinkers and theologians have debated for centuries? I think this explanation by John Piper is extremely helpful:
One of the things I miss most about not teaching this year is the wonderful worship time that I experienced in first grade Sunday school. I especially miss singing Mighty, Mighty Savior with the children. It is an easy song for children to learn, and it presents clear Gospel truth. You can see the words and listen to it here:
As a teacher, the greatest emphasis in our lesson preparation is spending time in heart preparation. I found these words from Pastor C. J. Mahaney to be especially helpful this week:
I received another recent expression of thanks from a man who concluded his letter with these words: “I am amazed by the power of the gospel over and over, and have increased in my own love of the Savior. I can’t believe that I have been saved from what I deserve.”
Amazed by the power of the gospel, over and over—can you say those words about your own experience as well? Do you continue to find your salvation an incredible miracle as you recall the judgment you genuinely deserve?
I love Easter. I love reading the familiar gospel accounts. I love the bright, beautifully decorated sanctuary at church. I love the loud, celebratory music we sing together. I love hearing the pastor repeatedly proclaim "He is risen!" I love seeing the children dressed up and full of excitement. I love gathering together with family for a special meal. But more importantly, I love this about Easter...
The resurrection of Jesus is God's gift and proof that his death was completely successful in blotting out the sins of his people and removing the wrath of God... From the cross the Son of God cried, "It is finished" (John 19:30). And by means of the resurrection, God the Father cries, "It was finished indeed!" The great work of paying for our sin and providing our righteousness and satisfying God's