Instead of reading it myself, because I was reading a thousand other books at the time, I asked her to tell me about it. I thought this was really interesting. The book details how she and her husband put their sons on a monthly “salary” on the first day of 6th grade. They figured how much they would normally spend on the child in a typical month (clothes, snacks, school lunches, videogames, etc.) and instead of fighting over money with the child, they gave the child that month’s “salary” on the first of each month to spend as he wished.
The only rules were that the child had to give 10% away (to church, charity, or someone in need, etc.), save 10% (in a bank account or other interest bearing account), and the other 80% was his to spend (they did explain that money had to be spent on items which were acceptable in the eyes of their family. They had to learn to budget. If they knew they were invited to a birthday party, then they would have to set that money aside and buy the present. So if they ran out of money for that month, they were not able to attend whatever function they could have if they had the money.
We are doing this with our kids and it has worked out fairly well. We have tweaked it to meet our needs, but they are getting the hang of it. It has been fun to see them give and also not spend when they know they have only so much money to go until the end of the month.
What a great way to teach your kids responsibility with their finances and the importance of giving!
At least part of the solution for a child’s selfishness is to learn how to be a servant. Our culture tends to not like that term, but any good employer, spouse, or team player knows how to give up his or her agenda for others at times. That’s servanthood.
Children need to learn how to be servants. It’s not an elective; it’s a required course. Learning to be a servant will help children be better employees, better husbands or wives, and even better parents. It may be helpful to make servanthood a focus for a week or a month in your home. You might create a poster giving a working definition of servanthood that goes something like this:
–Seeking to overcome self-centeredness by looking for ways to help and care for others.
Or for younger children:
–Looking for ways to make other people happy before me.
You might have everyone in the family memorize a verse from the Bible like Philippians 2:4, “Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.”
Plan ways that each person can practice being a servant. As a parent, you are already serving your children in more ways that they probably appreciate. In fact, you might ask your child to serve by taking on one of the tasks you usually do in family life. This gives an opportunity for you to model appreciation for service.
For example, a child might plan and prepare a meal for the family. That’s more complicated than many children realize. The work required to think of others may be just what some children need to get out of their own selfish patterns. Of course, those being served often respond with delight and appreciation, the built-in reward for servanthood. This kind of role reversal can go a long way in teaching children to value others and appreciate the things people do for them.
www.biblicalparenting.org June 1, 2011
This is our final post in a series on devotionals for your kids and the family. If you have any questions or suggestions feel free to post a your comments under any of these posts. Enjoy some suggested resources for Bible reading and devotions from Beth Fontana our Early Elementary Coordinator at First Free.
My First Book of Bible Prayers by Philip Ross
Description: Learning to pray the text of Scripture and to apply its truth to our lives is vital for our spiritual growth. This book enables children to do both. My First Book of Bible Prayers helps children of all ages to take the first steps towards the Heavenly Father. Give your children this outstanding little book, and use it with them. It might well be one of the most important things you could ever do as a parent.” ~ Sinclair Ferguson
My First Book of Questions and Answers by Carine MacKenzie
Description: Children always have questions about what it means to be a Christian. Do they need a long, philosophical answer? Not usually! Here’s a book that features short, simple answers to some of their deep questions. If you have ever wanted help explaining the Christian faith to young children in bite-sized pieces this is an excellent source.
I Love My Bible! by Debby Anderson
Description: This is a picture book for children, 6 and under. The Bible is the best book in the whole world! It’s full of wonderful and true stories. Best of all, it is the book where God gives us so much help about how to live! Debby Anderson is a kindergarten teacher and mother of four children. She and her husband serve with AMF (American Missionary Fellowship). Illustrations are on every page.
My First Book of Christian Values by Carine MacKenzie
Description: Children want to know what to do. They want to know why we do the things we do. They are full of questions and they need answers. As well as having amazingly teachable minds, they have souls that need direction and care. The foundations that are laid in their young lives will stand firm in their adult lives. With the work of the Holy Spirit these Christian principles will become their own eternal, life-changing values.
In this book are 31 different values that show us what Jesus Christ is like and how we should behave. Each has a scripture verse to learn and a brief explanation.
Jesus Calling: 365 Devotions For Kids By Sarah Young
Description: This devotional book for kids is filled with a year’s worth of devotions–one each day! They are dated with the day of the year, but not the day of the week–so it can be used year after year. The devotions contain a short scripture printed at the top and a one page message taken from the theme verse. Scripture references follow for further study–a great thing for older children, especially!
Five-Minute Devotions for Children: Celebrating God’s World as a Family by Pamela Kennedy
Description: This delightful devotional is perfect for bedtime, dinnertime, or anytime. Each short devotion includes a story about an animal illustrating its dominant trait as created by God. That trait is then related to a child. Questions at the end are fun for the young child to answer, such as picking out something in the picture, asking what the animal is doing, and asking what God wants us to do. Each devotional concludes with a short bible verse.
The One Year Devotions for Preschoolers (Little Blessings Line) by Crystal Bowman , & Elena Kucharik
Description: In the One year devotional the readings pairs a Little Blessings illustration with a short Bible verse and devotional thought that gets you and your child talking about the simple truths of Scripture. A fun, rhyming prayer completes each devotional.
The Kids’ Devotional Bible by Zondervan
Description: The Kid’s Devotional Bible is a year’s worth of devotions written for kids ages 6-10. It has been updated with a new fun design and new features that encourages Bible study. A Bible kids can read themselves which is in the New International Reader’s Version, with all new eye-catching illustrations and design.
By Bob Campbell
When our oldest two children, currently 9 and 8, were reaching school age, we knew that we’d be enrolling them in the public schools. We played the school choice options in Rockford well and were extremely happy with the schools they were attending. We knew, however, that choice options would change before our youngest, now 4, would reach school age. Choosing to live in a low-income neighborhood provides a lot of ministry opportunities, but not much by way of educational opportunities. When we heard that my former employer was opening a charter school, we decided to check it out as an option for our youngest.
Meeting with administrators from the school and the school management company convinced us that the school was not only a great option for our daughter, but would likely be a better option for our middle child’s learning style. We decided to take the plunge and pulled both of our kids from their schools to enroll them. The new charter school was located in our neighborhood, within walking distance of our home. Moving both of our school aged children to the school made it very easy to be involved.
As a charter school, we have had an amazing say in the school’s operation. I got a group of dads together to start the region’s first All Pro Dad Day program, the Parent Advisory Council provides regular feedback to the school leadership, and my wife is one of several parents that volunteer at lunchtime once a week. We have met more families whose life philosophy lines up with ours than in any prior setting.
Educationally, students take standardized tests at least monthly and teachers are given rapid feedback so that test results can be incorporated into the classroom teaching quickly. Some argue that for-profit companies shouldn’t run a school, but ultimately a school that doesn’t perform doesn’t make money, so the accountability is very high.
Many, if not most, of the students came from low performing schools as their parents looked for alternatives for their children. In spite of that, the school exceeded expectations in almost every performance area. Sure, there have been some bumps in the road of starting a school from scratch, but we have no regrets with the decision that we made. This week our kids started their second year in the charter school and we’re already seeing improvements over the first year that will contribute to an even greater school year!
Bob has been involved in urban ministry and education for 20 years including an education degree. He and Jill have been married for 20 years and have adopted three children ranging in age from 4-9. He says, “I enjoy being constantly challenged to explore what it really means to have faith in all areas of my life.”
By Brenda Buzzard
Parenting should require a degree! You give birth to a baby and just as you finally master juggling feeding, nap-time, cleaning, bedtime, play-dates and Dr visits, someone asks: “So….where are you sending them to school?” School?! It took me a year to decide between Pampers and Huggies! Could I handle sending my precious child away for even part of a day! How to decide? I never had a class on this! We both knew, however, just how important this decision was for our child.
Terry and I had both attended public schools all the way through high school, but both attended Christian colleges. But times have changed, as they say. Locally, there were budget and educational quality issues. There were safety issues in the public school system. We also had spiritual concerns with the secular curriculum content. Fortunately, we did have better choices in educational institutions, both secular and religious.
Knowing there is power in prayer, we prayed. Knowing there is wisdom in many counselors, we listened to the testimonials of others. Through this process, we became assured that our primary desire was for a Christ-centered, private education. We even knew our eldest child’s first teacher from our church! We were thrilled with our daughter’s experience and so our four subsequent children have followed in the same school.
The backbone of Christian education is the Christian teachers. I love that Christ can be proclaimed everyday and in every classroom discussion or activity. I love that my children can hear faith stories from other Christian adults and be challenged to walk with Christ. The teachers have been a great source of encouragement and pray for our children. It is undoubtedly the best financial investment we could make in our children.
Yes, there may be downsides to Christian education. One is the expense. Sacrifices have to be made. Second, there is complacency. Children can feel “saved” just because they attend and are bathed in Christianity, without feeling a need to make their faith personal. They can hear the gospel daily and yet miss it all. At times, we have seen our children grow apathetic with religion as they are immersed in it during the school day, then Wednesday night events, and also on Sundays. I have heard my child say, “I know that verse…I hear it all the time!” My response would be that we need reminding. Don’t just be a hearer of the word, but a doer of it. Deuteronomy 6 reminds us to take all opportunities to proclaim God’s word to our children.
It is exciting to know that there are educational choices. There isn’t a perfect school or a perfect way to “do” school. One child may need homeschooling and another would love private school. We have choices and I know the LORD will strengthen our resolve. He will go before us on this journey and encourage us all along the way.
By Kathy Jensen
One’s mental picture of a homeschooling mother often evokes an image of a denim jumper wearing, makeup-less woman with a long braid down her back who is scared to death of the world around her and desperately tries to sequester her children from the evils of this life. That was not me. We were not running from society. Our decision to homeschool our children came slowly.
We were living in Chicago when our eldest daughter reached her 5th birthday, forcing us to make a choice. I first heard of the homeschooling idea from fellow parents at our church on the North side. Since the Chicago Public School system was such a mess, the trend among these churchgoers was to teach their kids at home through the 2nd grade. Being the type of mom that really loved having my kids around and also loved teaching, I reasoned…”I’d better be able to teach the subject matters to early elementary aged children.” Then I discovered that there were many types of curricula available and there was even a massive homeschooling convention each Spring. I jumped in headfirst, thinking I’d follow my friends’ lead and homeschool through 2nd grade. However, by the 2nd grade, we’d discovered that our eldest was special needs. Two tutors (who by day were public school teachers) strongly advised me to keep her at home. Twenty years later, we finished up the senior year of our 4th child…homeschooling almost all the way. No one was more surprised by that than me! Basically, each year we would step back, analyze things, and decide if we wanted to continue. Our children were definitely a part of this decision making process. We never ruled out public or private school, we just saw that what we were doing was working.
Homeschooling is a challenge though. I was painfully aware that my children’s education was completely in my hands. It was up to me to select the curricula (that is a huge feat), to make sure all their assignments were done, that each year they were up to grade level. and that accurate academic records were kept. We were blessed to find a co-op that offered classes, sports, and socialization as they reached junior and senior high. We also made it a goal to get our kids out in life through Scouts, youth groups, etc. and to have friendships with kids who attended both public and private schools. As we completed their education, we were exceedingly pleased to find that the self-motivated study habits of homeschoolers were extremely attractive to colleges.
When they graduated and went off to college, I had a very satisfied sense that (while certainly not done perfectly) I’d poured myself into each or our children. This resulted in close bonds with each of them that thus far have continued into adulthood. Home school is “a” way to educate children, not “the” way. I believe that whichever mode of education a family chooses, the parents need to be involved whole-heartedly. That’s the key to success!
Kathy has been involved in Children’s Ministries for over 35 years. She says, “It is my heart’s passion to convey the love of God and the riches of His Word to children!” Kathy is a mother of 4 grown children, one of whom has special needs. She is happy to share her life with her husband Randy of 29 years (and counting!)
Education…what an important decision for parents to make and it can sometimes be overwhelming. There are so many more options than there was when I grew up. If you are anything like me, you want to evaluate all of them.
My husband and I went through the public school system in Rockford and on the whole it was a good experience. However, for our oldest daughter we chose to place her in a private Christian school. We appreciated her education at this school, but were overwhelmed to put our younger two there. We had to honestly evaluate what was best for our family.
Some Christian friends of ours encouraged us to try the public school system in Rockford. We visited our neighborhood school by setting up an appointment with the principal. The principal took us on a tour and it was surprisingly nice. We were encouraged to see that the classroom settings were calm and the kids were engaged. Because of our conversation with the principal and the ability to visit the school environment, we enrolled them.
We were pleased with the experience our kids had at our neighborhood elementary school. For the most part, the teachers were hardworking, caring, and encouraging to our kids. There was an open door policy to come and help in the classroom, at lunch and at special events. Of course it was not a perfect environment, but when there were problems with friends or concerns with education we felt the freedom to discuss it with the administrator or teachers and it would be taken care of.
Our kids have found good friends; some even come from Christian homes. As parents, it has given us times to communicate about various things that are going on at school and with friends. The challenges became greater at the secondary level. Just like at the elementary level, we found the teachers and administrators easy to approach about our concerns and we were not disappointed in the handling of situations that arose. Also, we found our kids being challenged with how to respond to inappropriate talk, different religions, and being made fun of for their faith. These discussions are not always easy; in fact, they can be challenging and emotional, but beneficial to our faith journey. As parents, we see our role as the spiritual leaders in our kids’ lives. We believe this responsibility rests squarely on our shoulders. However, we need partners like our church and our Christian friends.
One of the things that the public schools have been criticized for is whether or not the students are getting a good, quality education. In other words, will the students graduating from the public schools be ready for college? We decided to get our kids independently tested from a learning center. It was encouraging to find out that they both tested above their grade level. This continued to validate for us that our kids are being challenged and they are college bound!
As you consider the public school system I would encourage you to do the following:
- Set up an appointment with the principal.
- Visit the classrooms, lunchroom, and recess area.
- Don’t be afraid to ask hard questions about the environment, education, and teachers. (Are the teachers approachable?)
- Find out from other families who attend the school about the things mentioned above. (Ask the principal for some names of families to talk to.)
- Look at test scores.
- Find out if there is a rating on the school from the board of education.
- Find out how long teachers stay at the school and how much education they have.
- Find out opportunities for involvement.
- Is there an open door policy to help out in the classroom?
- How do they put classrooms together, can you request a teacher? (Can you request your child not be with a certain student?)
- Honestly evaluate whether it is in the best interest of your child and your family.
- If you are concerned about their education, then get them independently tested.
- Take it a year at a time and re-evaluate. (Evaluation may need to be more often than that.)
Most importantly, come together as a family and keep this decision before the Lord in prayer. Above anything else, trust God in the decision you make. Always remember He will not leave you or forsake you. What an incredible promise!
These days the major concern of any parent is the education of their children. I know it is and always will be a major concern in our family. As parents we start getting tense as soon as our children reach school age. The question that is always asked is what is best for my child and our family. The choices are public school education, private school education and homeschooling.
I thought it would be practical to talk about each of these choices from those who have experienced them. I have asked two of my friends to share about their experiences in homeschooling and private schooling. I will be sharing about our choice and experience in the public school setting.
Before I continue, I would like to affirm that I believe this is an area in which Christians have freedom from God to do what they feel is appropriate for their individual families. I do not believe that one form of schooling is better than the next. Each family must follow their convictions on this matter.
As believers, we must validate and uplift our friends and the choice of education they make for their families. We do not want to allow the evil one to have a foothold in this area by despising or condemning those who hold a different view from our own. I know with my friends we are an encouragement to one another and we are active prayer warriors for each other and our children.