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Monday, August 6, 2012
Thursday, August 2, 2012
Choose an Olympic event to watch as a family. Bring some kind of map, whether it is on paper or a computer. Find the countries represented at the event. Learn about the foods the people eat and what days they celebrate. Listen to the music from the country. Choose one or two competitors to research. What are their stories and the stories of their families? What has it taken for them to be able to compete? What will they return to when they go back home?
Throughout the year, volunteer in areas different from where you live. Spend time in homeless shelters and food pantries. Attend cultural events at museums and parks. Sponsor a child from a different country. Show compassion and care for those different than you. Travel as you are able and explore new areas and places.
As we embrace the larger world, our children will begin to understand that the world is bigger than them. That they can make a difference. That they can be people of peace and hope. Share God’s love with the world and the world will be a better, brighter home for all.
Friday, July 27, 2012
Last week two of my daughters (who are 12 and 14 years old) participated in the church’s youth mission trip to downtown Kansas City. We had reviewed the packing list several times, and even as we were backing out of the driveway I said, “You have swimsuits? Shower bag? Bible? Sleeping bag and pillow? They responded “Yes” to each item—even saying they had blankets and pillows when I asked about the sleeping bag.
I dropped the girls off at the church where they would be sleeping, gave them hugs, and headed home. Twenty minutes later, my phone rang. I knew it was the girls and I chose not to answer it. However, I listened to their message right away. “Mom—my sister forgot her swimsuit and I forgot my sleeping bag and pillow. Can you bring them down to us, please?”
I did not respond. I wanted the girls to have some time to figure out their situation on their own. Six hours later, the phone rang again—I answered and heard the same information—however not the request. I asked, “So what is your plan?” I was pleased to hear they had one—and it didn’t involve me bringing anything to them. (They knew better than to ask me again because my answer would be “No.”)
Sometimes it is hard to let our kids make mistakes. We want to help them out. We want to protect them. But they need to learn how to solve problems and do things differently the next time around. Pray for God’s guidance as you parent and pray that we all, young or old, can grow from our mistakes.
Friday, July 20, 2012
One of the highlights of our New York City mission trip was worshiping at a Jewish synagogue. The service we attended was filled with singing in the Hebrew language. Though we did not understand the words, we did understand the spirit. The congregation was filled joy and gratitude towards God.
About halfway through the service, the rabbi identified us as a visiting group and we were asked to join him at the front. He spoke briefly on the importance of accepting and loving one another and understanding our differences. He spoke of us as part of the family of God and asked the children to bring forward cups of white grape juice for us to drink as a symbol of sharing our faith with each other. He also asked the congregation to sing a song of blessing upon us. We were all very moved by this amazing act of hospitality and love.
How does your family seek to understand those of different faiths? Do you know how they pray and worship? What traditions or rituals do they honor? What are the basic theological beliefs? What is the history of the faith? What special days to they celebrate and why?
Build relationships with those of other faiths. Seek to understand and love. Be people of peace and hope. Reach out to all.
Saturday, July 7, 2012
The Friday faith builder is one day late so let's make it the weekend faith builder!
I love celebrations—birthdays, holidays, graduations, anniversaries—any milestone is celebration-worthy in my mind! And yet, why wait for a milestone to celebrate? What if this summer, we each took at least one day to celebrate life! God has given us an amazing gift in the ability to use our senses of taste, touch, smell, hearing and sight to experience this incredible world around us—so let’s give thanks and enjoy!
Choose a day to celebrate. Then as a family, talk about how could you use all of your senses to rejoice! You might choose some favorite treats to create and eat. What games or activities could you do that would be fun for everyone? Do you have some music that everyone enjoys listening to—or playing yourselves? How about seeing balloons, colorful confetti and God’s creation? Would you want to invite any friends to join you in your celebration?
Through the year consider bringing moments of celebration into everyday life. Bring home a bouquet of colorful balloons on a dreary day. Learn how other cultures celebrate and choose one to join in on. Throw a party for the first day of fall or spring and give thanks for the seasons God created. Throw a surprise party for someone who may not have family around. Celebrate efforts and not just accomplishments regarding school performance and activities.
Commit to celebrating life! And have fun!