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September 30, 2013, 9:34 AM

Growing Champions Part IV

Nugget:  Actions communicate values & beliefs.

 All kids love to play Follow the Leader.The truth is young ones tend to embrace the values of people in authority whether that be a parent, teacher, coach, or relative.  In fact as values systems are being formed young people associate truth more with a person than a principle.  This underscores the importance of parents protecting and preparing the hearts and minds of our children, giving careful thought into who will have a say in their lives.  There is no such thing as a neutral “values free” education.  Our children are always being formed.  The question is by whom and for what purpose.

 Let me illustrate the importance of living right before our kids.Karl Marx grew up in 19th century Germany as the child of a Jewish baker.In his memoirs, he recounts a time early in his life where his father uprooted the family and converted to a different religion for purely pragmatic reasons:the village they moved to was Lutheran and if they wanted to sell bread they needed to be Lutheran.Disenchanted, Karl would later grow up and pen the words, “Religion is the opium of the masses” and become the father of the atheistic Communist party that has infected the world for over 125 years.His father’s actions communicated what he really believed about God.The rest is history.

 What we do more than anything else indicates what we believe. We don't want to send mixed-messages to our children.  Like Paul we want to say to our champions whatever their age:

 "Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ."(1 Cor. 11:1)

 Research reveals:

  • 89% of what we learn comes from what we see
  • 10% from what we hear
  • 1% through other senses

What are your kids seeing you do? What kind of "faith-trail" are you leaving for them to follow in?  I like to read my Bible in front of my kids so they can see that is something dad does; I write my tithe check on Sunday mornings before I leave for church (I don't show the amount, but I let them see that I'm doing it).  I take them to church early when I'm serving so they can help & watch & learn serving is important.  Living your faith out in front of them and involving them in your thinking enables them to “connect the dots” and internalize the faith.

Shaping hearts and minds,

Dr. Chris




September 23, 2013, 10:40 AM

Growing Champions Part III

Nugget:  Effective discipleship is life-oriented.               

 If we want our children to follow God, we must make God a part of our everyday experiences. It's more natural and fits the way we really learn.  It helps our kids see the "big picture" as they see how God relates to every aspect of life, not just those that are church-related.

 As Israel was in its infancy stage as a nation, God told Moses the most effective way to enjoy God’s favor and blessing was to teach and train the children in the nation how to love God. As you read the passage below, listen to all the action verbs parents are instructed to do with their children:

4 Attention, Israel! God, our God! God the one and only! 5 Love God, your God, with your whole heart: love him with all that's in you, love him with all you've got! 6-9 Write these commandments that I've given you today on your hearts. Get them inside of you and then get them inside your children. Talk about them wherever you are, sitting at home or walking in the street; talk about them from the time you get up in the morning to when you fall into bed at night. Tie them on your hands and foreheads as a reminder; inscribe them on the doorposts of your homes and on your city gates. (Deut. 6:4-9, MSG)

I try to walk through every open door I find into my kids’ hearts and seize the "teachable moments."As a teenager, I remember the “bubble boy” that filled the news.  The young lad’s immune system was so weak he had to live encapsulated or die. Unfortunately, many parents do the same thing with their children.  Afraid of the evil lurking outside, the danger is to focus more on protection than preparation. 

Our goal should be to prepare our children to think and act Christianly so they will be equipped to engage with culture and society. As our kids mature, the emphasis on preparation and internalization of truth and one’s relationship with God must be developed. Otherwise, they will be dependent upon us and will not learn how to “own” their faith and how to stand strong in the Lord when they are out of our sight and care.

 Practically speaking:

  • Discuss movies, shows, music, pop culture, current issues and ask what message/values are being communicated.  How would Christ respond?  What is the loving, merciful, right thing to do?  How can we make a bad situation better and be a part of the solution?
  • Don’t ignore or sidestep the real questions of life. Tough questions shouldn’t be avoided. (evolution, sex, marriage)  In fact, they offer some of the best opportunities to teach a biblical worldview. You may not have all the answers and that's OK.  Tell them you'll learn together and then research or talk to someone and find the answer.

 When we skirt the tough questions, we send the message to our kids that we do not have the truth, know the truth, or the answers to those real-life questions lie outside the Bible in some other belief system.  Message Sent:  Our faith is not relevantIF YOU DON'T ANSWER THE QUESTIONS SOMEONE ELSE WILL. 

Seize the opportunities afforded you to disciple your kids.  Your grandchildren will thank you one day! J

Shaping hearts and minds,

Dr. Chris




September 16, 2013, 1:12 PM

Maximizing Your Child’s School Experience

 I don’t know about you, but I often check my mileage on my vehicles to see how well I’m doing on fuel economy.  Low average mileage alerts me to see if anything else is going on—something I might be able to fix or adjust to better my car’s performance.  Just as we check “under the hood,” we should also check on a regular basis what’s going on in the hearts and minds of ours students.

 We cannot take for granted the type, quality, or measure of academic and spiritual formation occurring in our children’s school, and, more importantly, in our students.  We must work together with our children’s educators, set high expectations, and hold ourselves accountable so that the purposes and plans God has for our children will be realized.

 WHAT CAN YOU DO TO ENSURE YOUR CHILD IS GETTING A GOOD EDUCATION?

1.   COMMUNICATE THE BIG PICTURE--we are to do all things, including school, for the glory of God.  We are to approach our studies as an act of worship to bless God, our teachers, and the world around us.  We don't want to just be consumers in this world, but contributors.  We want to love God with all of our heart, mind, soul, and strength.  The world doesn't need any more fluff or nice cliché's.  The world is looking for real, authentic, meaningful expressions, of Christianity that addresses human need with the amazing love of God

2.    ENCOURAGE OWNERSHIP--many students today give up far too easily.  Most things that are valuable and worthwhile in life, however, come with discipline, tenacity, and perseverance.  Challenge your child to take initiative and responsibility for their learning, to ask questions, to go above and beyond, to give their best effort.  When we learn to take ownership of our education and cooperate with God, we're placing ourselves in a position to see God's influence grow in our lives.

 “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” (Col. 3:17)

3.   CELEBRATE EFFORT, NOT JUST RESULTS--God has gifted us each in "many diverse ways" (1 Pet. 4:10), with different skill sets, aptitudes, and abilities.  It is unfair to expect everyone to obtain the same results (i.e. each child receive the same grades).  I will never be able to dunk a basketball or play as well as LeBron James.  It is totally fair to expect your child to give school their best effort.  In the Parable of the Talents, the master did not hold his servants accountable to all achieve the same results (as this would not be fair since each started with different amounts--gifts and abilities).  Instead, he held them accountable to how they used the gifts they had received.  In essence, they weren't competing against others, but against themselves to be the best that they could be whatever that might be.

 4.   INSPECT WHAT YOU EXPECT--If we want our kids to love God with all their heart, mind and strength, to approach all of life as an act of worship, to make the most of their opportunities then we must demonstrate this by our actions.  What is important to you will be important to your kids.  What you live by you impart.  What you permit, you promote.

  • Ask questions about school. 
    • What are you learning?
    • Who are your friends?
    • How are you making a difference and being a blessing?
  • Inspect their work.
    • How are their grades?
    • Any missing assignments?  Behavioral comments?
    • How about attendance & tardies? --are they demonstrating responsibility?

 Your school’s online grade book and student management software is a great tool to assist you in monitoring your children’s overall performance and experience.

GOD WANTS US TO LOVE HIM W/ ALL OF OUR BEING EVERY DAY, IN EVERY WAY, WHEREVER WE ARE.

Shaping hearts and minds,

Dr. Chris




September 11, 2013, 1:09 PM

Start This Way

Start This Way

 It has been said that if we aim for nothing we will hit it every time.  Life is best when we live life on purpose.  The start of a school year is a great time to establish goals to guide your family.  At Faith Academy, our goal is to experience Prov. 3:5-6 in our everyday lives. 

 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. 6 In all your ways acknowledge Him,And He will make your paths straight.” (Prov. 3:5-6, NLT)

 As a school we want to create a culture where God is supreme. Every day, in every way, whatever we are doing we will acknowledge Him.

We instill within our students the “3 R’s”--Reverence. Respect. Responsibility. Reverence means that God is HERE, God is PRESENT (Jn 1:14). Our school, therefore, is holy (special) and must be treated as such.  We can encounter God in our studies, extra-curricular activities, and in our interactions (Matt. 25:40).

When we live this way life becomes one big altar to encounter, experience, and worship God.  Every activity becomes more meaningful when it is redeemed.  Homework, studying, conversations, leisure, athletics all can be acts of worship when we do them for the glory of God.

Let’s cultivate this life-attitude together--“In all your ways acknowledge Him.” Cultivate means to “tend to,” to be intentional. I know we will enjoy the fruit such a commitment will produce in our lives as He directs our paths.  We’re going to have a great year!

Shaping hearts and minds,

Dr. Chris

 




September 10, 2013, 11:02 AM

Growing Champions Part 1

We are cleared for take-off and are heading down the runway right now.  2013-2014 will last approximately 10 months.  We may experience some turbulence along the way, but are confident you will enjoy the destination: total life growth—spirit, mind, body, and soul.

As we start the year, I encourage you to live life with the “big picture” in mind.  God has given us—parents—the privilege and the responsibility to disciple our kids, to teach them what a fully devoted life looks like.  Simply put, we are to:

Teach our children what a fully-devoted life looks like

  • Not just what, but why

 Train them to follow God whole-heartedly

  • Not just why, but how

 This requires intentionally “leaning into” our children: modeling devotion, right behavior, and right-thinking. Discussing real, relevant issues and tough questions and affirming the place God’s Word, the church, and communicating with Him should have in our lives.  It is not uncommon to feel intimidated, ill-prepared, or unqualified when it comes to leading our families spiritually.  God’s grace is sufficient and the most important thing is that we “grow as we go” together with our families.  There is no one better suited to be your child’s parent than you!  God chose you & placed you with your family.

The pay-off for “leaning in” is huge.

“How joyful are those who fear the Lord and delight in obeying his commands. Their children will be successful everywhere; an entire generation of godly people will be blessed.” Ps. 112:1-2 (NLT)

Each week I’ll sure thoughts to help you along the way as we grow together as a school family.

Shaping Hearts & Minds,

Dr. Chris Royael
 


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