Thursday, January 3, 2013

Child-size Resolutions

A new year resolution is an excellent forum for teaching a child obedience, discernment and promise keeping.

Even a preschooler gets excited about making life better. Do not look down on small beginnings. Your child is never too little to learn that a focus on God's purposes makes life easier. Make it fun to learn discipline for the purpose of godliness.

Establish hope. Discuss living life with excellence and honor.Set aside a specific time to talk with your child about the importance of goals and planning. Share one thing you want to change in your own life. Brainstorm about goals he might like to make. Ask your child to choose one thing he will resolve to do this year.  

Pray with your child. We all have a lot to learn, but family accountability makes it easier to change. With God all things are possible! Find a Bible verse or passage with your child that speaks directly to the change. Keep it before him as a verse to memorize and study. He needs his very own collection of Bible verses.

Effect change. Use positive words. "Speak encouraging words" is more positive than "Stop arguing with my sister". Have the child choose one word to be their 2013 inspiration word for the year. "Encourage" would work well with this example. 

Frame a drawing of the word, paint it on a rock, color it on the wall, or write it in lipstick across the mirror. Go out for ice cream to celebrate. Children love doing something that creates an event from a decision.

Encourage action. Teach your child to focus on discipline for the purpose of godliness. Learning to work on a change that benefits others will allow God room to change the child from the inside out.  Right actions produce right feelings.

In our example, you might choose encouraging others at the grocery store, visiting a nursing home, writing encouraging notes to practice speaking encouragement. Collect God's encouraging words. Talk about people in the Bible and in your world that are good encouragers.

As you teach your child to live intentionally, he will learn that life is joyful and exciting when we work alongside God to change our world. And in the process, we change ourselves.

Abby decided that she would stop sneaking candy and chips from the pantry. "Eat healthy food" became her goal.  Her word was "Honesty". At bedtime, exhausted from working in the food pantry with her dad, Abby prayed, "Dear God, Thank you that it's so much fun to take care of hungry people."  

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