What is my elementary child learning?

Have you ever been watching a sporting event where one of the teams played like they were falling apart at the seams?

The pitcher giving up run after run.

The defensive line that just can’t stop anyone.

The full-court press that simply can’t get the ball back.

It’s a mess. Finally the coach calls it: “Time out!”

He brings the team in, takes a moment to regroup. He adjusts and recalibrates to get his team ready to get back on the field and face their opponent.

The same goes for life.

Everything can be going well. You’re happy at work. The kids are excelling at school, and they are even getting along with each other at home. Life seems pretty perfect.

Then overtime something happens. Not overnight and maybe even so gradually that you don’t notice it. But one day you wake up and it seems like nothing’s going right and everyone is grumpy.

Something is off.

Something is broken.

And everyone needs a time out.

There are just some things that need an adjustment.

God wants to work in your life and the lives of your kids to tweak some things in your character. In a lot of ways, He’s taking a time out and making adjustments to conform you to the image of His Son. In those times, it’s like God is pulling us over to the side and reminding us when we need to recalibrate a few things.

And it makes sense, really. If God made us, He knows what we need to give attention to. That’s why it’s important to pay attention to His instruction manual and what He has to say about certain attitudes. Take the idea of GRATITUDE, for example. If we never take the time to acknowledge what God has done in our lives or how others have helped us, we may develop an unhealthy ego or a growing frustration at the people around us. We might become bitter and complain about every little thing.

That’s why GRATITUDE is a really big idea that God talks about so much. It affects more of your life than you probably have ever imagined. That’s why we’re taking this month to talk about what it means to show GRATITUDE: letting others know how they’ve helped you.

For week one, we kick off the month by taking a closer look at our memory verse: 1 Thessalonians 5:18. It says, “Give thanks no matter what happens. God wants you to thank him because you believe in Christ Jesus.” (NIrV)

We want to help kids understand why God wants us to give thanks in all circumstances. We believe something will happen in the heart of any child when they learn to take a TIME OUT, think about this verse, and remember the Bottom Line: You always have something to be grateful for.

In week two, we will take a look at a powerful story in Luke 17:11-19 about 10 lepers who asked Jesus to be healed. But when their skin condition went away, they became so ecstatic about the miracle that they ran off and forgot to say “thank You.” All except for one, who came back. It’s great to influence children in such a way that they become the kind of people who put our Bottom Line into action: Take time to say “thank you.”

For week three, we’ll dig into a parable Jesus told one day about some vineyard workers. In Matthew 20:1-15, we read that a few of the workers started making comparisons to what others were getting paid and became ungrateful and started complaining. Then at the end of the day, they had a bad attitude because they thought, that’s not fair. Have you heard that around your house lately? Well, then, maybe it’s time for this week’s Bottom Line: Take time to adjust your attitude.

In week four, we’ll explore Exodus 23:14-19 and discover how some of the rules God gave His people included some major celebrating with entire DAYS and sometimes WEEKS set aside to give His people an opportunity to take time to celebrate. That’s what we want our kids to do too: Take time to celebrate what God has done.

Finally, we’ll look at how the Apostle Paul closed out his letter to the Roman followers of Jesus. He thanked people—a LOT of people—for helping him on his journeys. We hope kids come away with this Bottom Line: Take time to remember how others have helped you.

Sometimes gratitude takes a little bit of intentionality. Sometimes, you have to literally take a time out and remember what you have to be grateful for. A great way to do that is through giving.

This fall, we’re excited to put our gratitude into practice by giving to others. We’re giving kids a great opportunity to give to our friends and missionaries, the Mara Family. Kids will be encouraged to bring their change in to Antioch Kids this November to help raise money for this great family. And to make it even more fun, we’ll have a little contest between boys and girls to see who can raise the most money for the Maras!

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By Dan Scott ©2014 The reThink Group. All rights reserved. www.ThinkOrange.com *Used by permission.

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Once Upon a Time

Once upon a time, in a land not so far away and not so different than what you and I call home, there was a parent, someone who spent many sleepless nights trying to figure out how to instill values, virtue and good character in their child.

That parent might be you. That parent is definitely me. But this is no fairy tale. Life is tough, and raising kids is hard work. I often find myself wondering how to help my child recognize right and wrong, develop empathy and choose kindness – especially when I’m not looking.

This dilemma has motivated my calling and that of my co-workers here at Antioch Church in Bend, Oregon. We have spent years researching and developing resources to help kids develop compassion, kindness and concern for others. I want to raise kids who are in deliberate pursuit of the interests and welfare of others. Do you? If so, check out our “Favorite Four” below. These four free resources are either created by us or have become a favorite of ours. We’d love to share them with you!

Pursuing Justice: This book is a great read for adults, and is available at Barnes and Noble or Amazon.com. It also offers kid-friendly lessons and activities to help teach kids about the importance of justice and care for others. Each chapter discussion provides answers to questions kids often have, and suggests an activity that will allow you and your family to put these ideas about justice into practice.

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Kid Bios: The easiest way to develop empathy in kids is to stimulate their imagination. Kid Bios give children the opportunity to read true, age-appropriate stories about kids from around the world. Each Kid Bio gives our young people the opportunity to imagine themselves in someone else’s situation and think through how they would feel in that child’s circumstance. Each story also helps parents teach about other cultures and help their kids get involved and pray for different areas of the world. Check out a Kid Bio samples below!. To access all of these Kid Bios, visit www.justicekids.org/antioch

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Family Activities: We love it when families have fun together, and it’s even better when that fun has a purpose. Our Family Activities feature fun games, craft projects, experiments and challenges for adults and kids to do together and also provide a suggested conversation starter to make each activity purposeful in developing value and virtue. Check out three Family Activities below. To access the other 150+ activities, visit www.justicekids.org/antioch 

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 Computer Games: Screen time is a reality for many families, and we have found three games that challenge kids to use their computer skills to help others. What an awesome way to use technology for a great purpose! Check out FreeRice, Charitii, and Answer4Earth by visiting www.justicekids.org/kids.

Don’t you wish you had a Fairy Godmother to help your kids care for others, make wise choices, and share their belongings?

While we cannot guarantee that any of the above resources will provide a happily ever after, we hope these resources will help your family develop a strong sense of right and wrong and a deep care for others. We’d also love to know what things have helped you instill character, values and virtues in your kids. Feel free to leave us a comment with your experiences or questions!

Do your kids like stories?

If your kids like to read, we have a great, FREE resource for you!

Each month we interview, research, gather pictures, and write a short story about a kids that lives in another part of our world! Each story is told in a kid appropriate manner which explains what life is like, gives ways to pray, and has suggestions of ways to get involved. They can be read on your computer, on a smart phone, on a tablet, or can be printed as well!

Currently, we have 25 stories, or “Kid Close-Up’s” available for you and your family to enjoy! There is a preview at the bottom of this post!

Here are the two most recent Kid Close-Ups:

  1. Meet Abubakarr!
    Meet Abubakarr, or “Abu” for short! He is a ten year boy living in Bo Town, Sierra Leone. Imagine living with his entire family in mud huts, searching for “bushmeat”, and making musical instruments out of gourds!
  2. Meet Irmak!
    Meet Irmak, a ten year old girl who lives in Izmir, Turkey. Imagine living on the 5th floor of an apartment overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, having water delivered by motorcycle, and hearing the Muslim call to pray 5 times a day!

To access all of them, click here!

Enjoy!

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Uganda Team is home!

Have you seen pictures or heard stories from the group that went to the orphanage called Otino Waa?  In case you missed it, we wanted to show you some pictures, tell you some stories, and give you a few simple ways to pray for the kids at the Orphanage in Uganda!

Can you imagine enjoying some delicious ice cream on a hot summers day in Africa? The child below, named Betty, got to enjoy a cup of ice cream with the couple from Antioch that sponsor’s her each month. The wife, Amanda, tells this story:

“Around 11am Andrew (my husband) and I walked to the house where Betty stays with seven other children who are taken care of by Mama Florence. She had finished her house chores of washing, had taken her bath and was wearing her best outfit made by Mama Florence. We walked hand in had to the café and ate the most refreshing ice cream. Betty is still learning English and often times response with a simple “yes” or “no” but she is sharp and picks up on things quickly. We taught her a new word today: Delicious.”

On this trip, the group led many Bible studies, taught the kids new sports such as basketball, and did whatever they could to help the orphanage. For more stories and pictures, make sure to check out their Facebook group and Amanda Winger’s blog!

There are lots of children that live at this orphanage. Pray that they will feel love from others and love from God every day. Pray that their needs are met, and that they treat each other with kindess and respect.

You can also pray the prayer below for them as well! The kids at the orphanage pray this prayer every day. It is packed full of amazing truths and deep pleas for help and forgiveness. We hope you love it as much as the kids in Otino Waa do!

“I am a special child of God. Chosen and saved for a unique purpose

My life has been difficult; but God has been and will be with me

I have my own guardian angel who watches over me

It is not my fault my parents are dead. I will miss them until the day I die.

I choose to forgive the people and circumstances surrounding their death

Because I know, my own healing and well-being begin in forgiveness

In the future, whenever I feel sad or angry,

I will find someone who loves me and tell them how I feel.

I know I can always talk to God in my heart.

No one can take His love for me away.

I am learning to be grateful for my life knowing that God will use me to help

others, who also have a difficult life,

Life is hard, but God is good!”

 

 

 

Nicaragua update!

You might remember that a group from Antioch went to Nicaragua this past Saturday! While they are down there, they will be blogging about their experience. What a great way to teach your kids about life in Nicaragua! You will see pictures and hear of ways God is working amongst the group. Click on this link to read about their adventures and pray specifically throughout the week!

While the nature of the trip is for mature audiences (see last week’s blog post “Nicaragua Here We Come” for suggestions on explaining the project to kids), we think your kids will love the pictures and some of the stories!

While you are learning about Nicaragua, we recommend reading the Kid Close-Up titled Meet Jose! Kid Close-Up’s are short stories that tell of life around the world. In this Kid Close-Up, read about Jose, a nine-year-old boy from Nicaragua. Imagine life as he knows it then pray specifically for kids in Nicaragua! Enjoy!