In Case Your Kids Want to Talk About the Election…

I have never wanted to NOT talk about an election more than this one, but because of the nature of our overly-connected, social media world, that seems to be ALL people are talking about right now. I’m thankful to have a four-year-old at home with me all day who wants to talk about Legos and coloring and Star Wars, but it’s different with the older kids. They hear things at school. They see political commercials. They overhear conversations between adults. They have questions.

in-case-your-kids-want-to-talk-about-the-election

While I don’t want to talk about the election, I am raising American citizens and I am also raising Christian young men. I put aside my distraught feelings for a while to write out a plan for talking to our children about the election through the eyes of my faith. You can read my thoughts over on the Tommy Nelson blog today.

Yes, I feel great despair about the direction of our country, but I also look to my children and to Jesus and find hope. Let us speak words of life to our children and lift up words of prayer to our God:

First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. -1 Timothy 2:1-4

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Think About Their Eyes!

This post was sponsored by Think About Your Eyes as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central. All thoughts and opinions are completely my own.

I remember our oldest son mentioning a few times here and there that he couldn’t see a clock that was far away, but he didn’t talk about it that much, so I didn’t do anything about it. As someone who has never had vision problems, it didn’t occur to me that he might be having trouble beyond what he said.

At his first yearly checkup at our pediatrician after the first mention of difficulty seeing, he was still able to pass the vision test, so I thought we were all good. We were also homeschooling at the time, so he wasn’t sitting in a classroom struggling to see things written on the board. As the next year went on, however, I heard him say, “I can’t see that,” more and more often. By the next year’s physical, it was confirmed that we needed to see an eye doctor.

As I said, I don’t wear glasses or contacts, so this was new territory for me. Thankfully, my husband has worn glasses since childhood, so he has been able to give Big J advice and support from another glasses-wearer. He was nine-years-old when he had his first eye doctor appointment and we found out he was quite far-sighted. A prescription was given and glasses were ordered.

I will never forget our oldest son’s reaction when he first put on those glasses. He could suddenly see so many things he had never seen before – the individual leaves on a tree, our kitchen clock from far away, and much more. He was so excited and I was so emotional! I thought glasses might bum him out a little, but it was the exact opposite – it was all joy!

Big J Glasses

All of this happened right before he started going to school and I am so grateful for that timing! As we’re starting a new school year, I know that he is not impeded by poor vision in the classroom. No child should worry about their education suffering because they cannot see. And eye doctor appointments are not only for kids with glasses or contacts as 50% of parents believe. That’s why this new program, Think About Your Eyes, is so important!

August is Eye Exam Awareness Month, so now is the time to prioritize your child’s eye health. I’m partnering with Think About Your Eyes this month because 25% of school-age children have vision problems and I don’t want you to miss them in your child like I almost did with my son! 24% of parents are like me and wait for their child to complain about vision trouble before getting an exam. He didn’t know what “normal” vision was, but one comprehensive eye exam showed us that he needed help. I really wish we would have had his vision checked sooner.

80% of what children learn comes through vision, so getting those eyes checked as school starts up this fall is crucial. You will help ensure there are no visual obstacles to learning and you could prevent more serious complications that could occur from untreated problems.

Check out this video from Think About Your Eyes:

Need some help scheduling those exams? Check out this doctor locator from Think About Your Eyes! They’ve got you covered for making this important task easy on you!

Let’s celebrate Eye Exam Awareness Month by scheduling eye exams for our kids!

Have you had your child’s vision checked lately?

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Teaching Kids About the Character of a Jesus-Follower

I received this book to review. I have included affiliate links below. When you purchase through these links, I may receive a small commission. Thank you for supporting this site and our sponsorship of our Compassion child, Samson!

So here’s the deal…

I’m not a big fan of what the world thinks a “Christian” looks like these days. If you were to ask a person on the street about the character traits of a Jesus-follower, I’m afraid you would hear words like self-righteous, judgmental, and close-minded. These are ugly words and the furthest thing from the character of Jesus.

This is the world in which we are raising our children. It is more important than ever to teach our kids to be Jesus-followers not just in name, but in everything we do. My character has to speak louder than any label I may claim. And I want the character of my boys to do the same.  

When we look at the life of Jesus, there are so many character traits for us to emulate and teach to our kids. I like to narrow down our focus when the kids are little and build upon it as they grow and mature in their faith.

Jesus Follower Pin (1)

I Will Follow Jesus, a bible storybook by Judah and Chelsea Smith, is a great starting point for sharing these character traits of a Jesus-follower with our young kiddos. Every family should choose their own focus, but here are a few we emphasize from an early age:

Loving

Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. -1 John 4:18

Jesus loved people. All people. He loved like no one ever has because He is God and God is love. When we look at the two most important commandments given to us by God, they come down to love. Love God. Love people. A Jesus follower is loving.

“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?”And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.This is the great and first commandment.And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” -Matthew 22:36-38

Brave

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. -Joshua 1:9

We’ve already talked about the negative view much of the world has of Christians. Living and loving boldly in the name of Jesus takes courage. One day it might look like standing up for a classmate who is getting picked on at recess. Another day it may mean stepping out of your comfort zone to share a bible verse with someone who needs encouragement. We’re not scaling physical mountains, but sharing the love of Jesus in a hostile world most definitely requires bravery. And Jesus is the one who makes us brave!

In your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect… -1 Peter 3:15

Humble

Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. -Philippians 2:5-8

Jesus was the only perfect person to ever walk this earth, yet He was humble, even to the point of death. We live in a world where pride matters and we don’t want our pride hurt. Being a Jesus-follower means leaving our pride at the foot of the cross and walking in humility.

What does humility look like for our kids? Sometimes it means putting others’ needs before our own, which goes hand in hand with loving well. It also means not always having to be “right” all the time. We have some stubborn boys in this house (they might get that from their mama), and they like to be right about things. They also like to correct someone when they are wrong. A humble person knows how to take constructive criticism, as well when to keep their “right” thoughts to themselves. If we as Christians are always pointing out what others are doing wrong, we are exhibiting pride and opening ourselves up to a big fall when someone catches us in sin.

Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall. -Proverbs 16:18

When we look to Jesus and see His grace and mercy to us even when we were still sinners, we can’t help but be humble.

We can talk about all these characteristics to help our children in their walk of faith, but being a Jesus-follower comes down to one thing. We must be willing to follow what Jesus asks of us – no matter the cost, no matter what we look like.

We look at the life of Jesus, as told so well for kids in I Will Follow Jesus, for how to live, but we must also pray and listen for His voice, calling us to do the work He has just for us here on earth. Invite your kids to live out these characteristics, open their heart to the call of Jesus in their life, and follow Him!

Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” -Matthew 16:24

I Will Follow Jesus

GIVEAWAY: I’m giving away three copies of I Will Follow Jesus to you lovely people! Just use the widget below to enter!

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Art Works for Your Kids!

Omaha has so many amazing things to offer for families! At the top of that list is the Joslyn Art Museum. Thanks to a grant starting last year, museum admission is now free, with the exception of the featured traveling exhibit.

We’ve always loved the Joslyn, but our love has grown with the addition of Art Works, a 1,500 square foot interactive space where kids can experience the visual arts!

Art Works

Art Works features nine stations where kids can paint, draw, build, and create art of all kinds! This permanent space offers new experiences with each visit as stations are updated to go along with current museum exhibits! During our latest visit, the focus was on Georgia O’Keeffe’s Flowers!

Art Works 1

The digital painting stations are a big hit with all of the kids!

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Art Works 4

Double J would paint there with real brushes (and no mess) for hours – every mom’s dream! All of the boys enjoyed this, especially when they realized they could email me their creations, like this one:

Masterpiece

Isn’t that fun?! They were so proud of their masterpieces and my inbox filled up quickly!

Art Works 6

The portrait station is super fun! You can use the mirror to draw a self portrait or the transparent side to draw a portrait of a friend! Or just draw around the oval like Double J.

Art Works 7

I personally love the pottery station where kids can draw on vases with dry erase markers! It’s brilliant! The station has photographs of ancient pottery for inspiration. I think I enjoyed drawing on these vases as much as the kids did!

But the biggest hit with all of us was…

Art Works 3

…the stop motion animation station! Seriously – this was SO MUCH FUN! The station has two computers with two different backgrounds and tons of figurines to use.

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The boys were so creative once they figured out how to put together a movie. I love this exposure to an art form they wouldn’t normally experience! They were also able to send their finished videos to me by email so we can enjoy them over and over.

Art Works Collage
I haven’t even touched on all of the great stations in Art Works – sketching, wooden building blocks, and lots more! We’ve been twice and will be going back frequently to create and explore. And remember – it’s FREE! If you live in the Omaha area or you’re visiting, make sure you take your kids to the Joslyn for all this interactive art fun!

What kind of art does your child enjoy? Which stations would they like at Art Works?

By the way, this is NOT a sponsored post and I was NOT asked to write this post by the Joslyn Art Museum – we just love it and I wanted to share it with you!

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High Five Morning Routine for Kids

Two years ago, the lovely Laura Booz posted on her blog about her girls’ morning routine called the “High Five!” You can see my comment still on that original post where I said I was going to make my own for the boys right then. And I actually did!

We’ve been using that “High Five” routine for two years now. It was simple because they were 5 and 3. The five things on their hand were all things they could do mostly by themselves. I could just say, “Go do your High Five!” and they knew exactly what to do! It’s a lot easier to say that than list all of those things over and over again!

As the boys have grown up, I’ve seen a need to “grow up” their High Five as well!

The older two boys {7 and 5} and I sat down to talk through the different parts of their current morning routine and determine which of those things needed to happen EVERY morning.

Here is what we came up this time around:

High Five Morning Routine

These five things are to be done in order from left to right. Bible + prayer time is first because I want it to be the first thing they do each morning – now and in the future!

Once all five are completed, they get to slap the hand on the wall – actually high five the “High Five!” Boys love getting to hit anything, right?!  The rule in our house is no playing until the High Five is done! The boys each have an assigned daily chore which I prefer them to do in the morning, but we didn’t make it part of the High Five because some need to be done later in the day.

The High Five could be easily adapted for children of any age. Other things that could be included in your morning routine depending on age and time of year:

  • Pick up toys
  • Put pajamas away
  • Feed a pet
  • Get backpack ready for school
  • Wash face
  • Morning chore
  • Brush hair
  • Take vitamin
  • Hug Mommy & Daddy
  • Thank Jesus for today {original idea from Laura!}

Isn’t this a fun idea? I’ve found I felt less like a nagging mom in the morning when I just say, “High Five time!” It’s a morning routine that has worked for us for two years and I think it will stick around for a long time!

What would be on the hand for your High Five morning routine for your kids?

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