Labor Day

Labor Day logo - Various cartoon workers

Let’s always teach our children the reason for the holiday being celebrated – that it is not just a day out of school or a time for a picnic. There is a story behind each one.

Labor Day is a day set aside to pay tribute to working men and women (whether they get paid for their work or not). It has been celebrated as a national holiday since 1894. Read the history of this holiday here so you will be equipped to tell your children what the day is about as you go about your celebration.

Use some of these suggestions to emphasize the importance of work to your children:

  1. Read the story of Nehemiah in your Bible. Then tell it in your own words or try to find it in a children’s Bible and read it to your children. The walls of Jerusalem had been destroyed and Nehemiah led the people to rebuild them. They had a mind to work. (So we built the wall, and the entire wall was joined together up to half its height,for the people had a mind to work. Nehemiah. 4:6)
  2. Build a wall together out of pillows and talk about having a mind to work and working together.
  3. Think of ways your children can ‘work’. Find suggestions here for age appropriate chores.
  4. Memorize as a family Col. 3:23 ‘And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men,’ Talk about doing your best at whatever you do and doing it cheerfully.
  5. Thank God for the work that Dad does and the work that Mom does.
  6. Play charades acting out different jobs.
  7. Lead your children (by example) to appreciate those who have a mind to work. Say ‘thank you’ to those yall encounter doing their work – waitress, teacher, trash collector, doctor, policeman, etc. Especially notice those who are doing their work heartily!
  8. Don’t forget to appreciate those who work to support your family.  One stay-at-home mom wrote a poem and made a card with her 4 1/2 month old to show appreciation for her husband diligently working to provide for them. FullSizeRender

 

Enjoy Labor Day with your family!

 

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Celebrate the Fourth of July

Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.
John 8:36

Another holiday is another opportunity to teach your children.  Try to always have a centerpiece that represents the holiday so you can be reminded to talk about it at meal times.

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While we may not agree with everything happening in our country right now, we still need to celebrate with our children the fact God has allowed us to live in a free country and that many brave soldiers have fought physical and spiritual battles to ensure we have freedom.

Conversation:

Explain that we have physical freedom in our country to go where we want to go and do what we want to do.   Soldiers gave up their lives so we could live in a free country.  Tell your children about America’s history.  Watch these informative Early American Series videos and then retell the stories in your own words to your younger children; be animated and use visuals if possible.  Older children might enjoy watching the videos.

Be sure and emphasis that we have the highest form of freedom, spiritual freedom, because Christ died on the cross to set us free from the punishment for sin and free from the power of sin which is freedom to make wise choices.  Since Christ’s death and resurrection, many soldiers for Christ have fought spiritual battles against the enemy, Satan, so we can know the message of salvation.

Prayer:

Thank you, God, for the freedom we have in our country to go where we want to go and do what we want to do.  Thank you, Jesus, for dying on the Cross so we can be free from the punishment and power of sin.  Thank you for the soldiers who fight for freedom.

Crafts:

Printable color by number American Flag

Printable ‘Pray for Your Leaders’ coloring page

Activities:

Start a tradition of each 4th of July reading the Midnight Ride of Paul Revere and/or The Declaration of Independence and playing patriotic music all day.

Watch patriotic movies
Our favorite is the old Disney classic Johnny Tremain [DVD] (1957)

Here’s a great site with lots of info and ideas http://powerofmoms.com

Sing:
I’m in the Lord’s Army – video

March to patriotic music holding flags you made or purchased.

Patriotic Music:

http://www.patrioticon.org/patriotic-soundfiles.htm

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Making Glad Dads

On Father’s Day and every day we need to teach our children to be grateful for their fathers, listen to their instruction, and make ‘Glad Dads’.

…children take pride in their fathers
Proverbs 17:6

My son, hear the instruction of your father…
Proverbs 1:8

A person who loves wisdom makes his father happy…
Proverbs 29:3

Bible Lessons:

Proverbs 29:3 Are you doing those things that please your Dad?  The Bible says the best way to make your dad happy is to be wise – to do and say those things that please God – to choose to do the right thing.  We can ask God to help us make our  ‘dad glad’.

John 8:26-28 Jesus said, “I do always those things that please the Father:  His Father is God.  Jesus always pleased God.  Jesus said that He only talked about the things He had heard His Father talk about.  He said He did nothing but what His Father had taught Him to do.  God is our Father too and we should always please Him.  But God, who is our Heavenly Father, has given us an earthly Father.  We please God when we listen to our dads just as Jesus listened to his Dad.

Luke 15:11-22 There was a young man who didn’t listen to his dad.  He decided he wanted to leave his dad so he asked for all the money that belonged to him and he left.  When the son got far away, he began to do bad things in bad places with bad people.  Soon he had spent all his money and had nothing to eat and no where to go but back home to his father. He went home and told his dad that he was sorry for all the bad things he had done.  His dad was glad he came home; he forgave him for everything.

Ephesians 6:1-2 God tells children to obey their parents and to honor their father and mother.  This will please God and it will please your dad.  Obeying your parents means doing what they say to do.  Honoring your parents means to have respect for them – like when your dad is talking, be quiet until he has finished – or when your dad says something, don’t argue with him.  Obeying and honoring your parents will please your dad and it will please God.

Philippians 2:13 For God is working in you, giving you the desire to obey him and the power to do what pleases him. Jesus did always those things that pleased His Father.  How can we always do those things that please God and our dad?  The Bible says that God will work in us to do those things that please Him.  Sometimes when you find it hard to do the things that please God or your dad, remember that God promises to help you do the right things if you ask Him.

Prayer: God, thank you for my dad.  Help me to listen to him and obey.
Thank you that my dad takes care of me.  God, please take care of my dad and help him with all the things he has to do.

Suggested Activities:

  1. Make a poster for the fridge with one of the Bible verse and a picture of dad and pictures of some things he does.
  2. Play ‘Follow the Leader’ with dad being the leader.
  3. Play ‘Dad Says’ like ‘Simon Says’.
  4. Show things that belong to dad. Cover the items, sneak one item away, and let child guess what is missing.
  5. Make hand prints on a plaque for dad.
  6. Greet Dad with hugs and kisses at the door when he comes home from work.
  7. Make a thank you card for dad.  List, draw, or find pictures of things dad does and thank him for doing them.
  8. Color one of these pages from Ministry-to-Children.com
  9. Bake cookies for Dad in shapes of things he uses such as a car, tie, hat, ball, tools, etc.
  10. Talk about ways to make a ‘Glad Dad’
    1. come when he calls
    2. listen when he talks
    3. hear and obey his instructions

Songs:

God Made My Daddy (listen)

(lyrics) God made my daddy; he helps me do so many things.
I love my daddy; he takes care of me
or
God is my Father; He helps me do so many things.
I love my Father; He takes care of me.”

Glad for Dad (listen)
(lyrics)I’m glad today; I’m glad today.
For my Dad, I’m glad today.
God, please help me make my Dad glad

Books
We’re Very Good Friends, My Father and I
The Prodigal Son (Arch Books)
Just Me and My Dad (Little Critter)

If your child does not have an earthly father, emphasize his relationship with his Heavenly Father and share Psalm 68:5 “A father of the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in His holy habitation”

(This post is one of the 52 lessons in my book, Here a Little, There a Little)

 

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Tell Your Children about Memorial Day

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 God made a decree many years ago that we set up memorials to help our children know about the things that happened in the past:

Joshua 4:6-7
We will use these stones to build a memorial. In the future, your children will ask, “What do these stones mean to you?” Then you can tell them, ‘They remind us that the Jordan River stopped flowing when the Ark of the Lord’s covenant went across.” These stones will stand as a permanent memorial among the people of Israel.”

 

During this Memorial Day weekend be sure to talk to your children about the reason for the celebration. Help them know it is more than just grilling out or going to the beach.

Memorial Day originally began in 1868 as a day to decorate the graves of soldiers who died in the Civil War. In more recent years our government passed a resolution that Memorial Day be observed on the last Monday of May as an occasion to remember and honor the men and women who died in all wars.

Talk about the picture below with your children.  Tell them that brave men fought and died so we could have freedom.

Home of the free because of the brave

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How Can St. Patrick’s Day Teach Us About Forgiveness?

 

 

Did you or your children ever wonder why we celebrate St. Patrick’s Day?    I’m not sure what lies behind some of the traditions associated with the day, but the man that the holiday is named for has a story children need to hear.

Did you know Patrick isn’t Irish? About 385 years after Jesus lived, Patrick was born into a wealthy English family.  When he was 16 years old, he was kidnapped by Irish pirates and taken to Ireland as a slave where he worked as a shepherd.  During this time he was lonely and afraid; this caused him to turn to God with his whole heart and he began to experience the love of Jesus..  After about 6 years as a slave, Patrick escaped and returned to his home country where he began studying to be a priest.

However, he did not forget Ireland; he had a desire to go back one day and tell them about Jesus.  He did eventually return there as a missionary.  Isn’t that amazing that he would want to go back to the place where he had been enslaved and tell them of God’s love?  What an act of forgiveness! Eventually Patrick was called a saint by the Catholic Church because of his love and kindness to the people of Ireland.

So because Jesus loved Patrick, Patrick was able to love and forgive the people of Ireland and then he spent his life telling them about Jesus. Patrick died on March 17, 461 and now we celebrate St. Patrick’s Day each March 17.

Please make your children aware in the midst of the stories of leprechauns and the various ways of observing the holiday, that the reason for the activities this week is because Jesus loved and cared for Patrick and then Patrick loved and care for the people who had wronged him.  It would be a good time to share these verses:

Ephes. 4:32     And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ forgave you.
John 15:12     This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.

It is believed that Patrick brought the shamrock plant to Ireland and used the three-leafed plant to illustrate the message of the Trinity. This would be a good time to teach about the Trinity.  This site can be helpful in sharing the concept of the Trinity to your children: The Best Way to Explain the Trinity to Kids

A good children’s book to illustrate the Trinity is 3 in 1: A Picture of God.

Go outside and look for clover and talk about the Trinity; be like St. Patrick teaching the Irish.  Color this picture and scripture as you talk.

Order a shamrock craft at Apples for the Teacher.

Here’s a great link about Patrick’s courageous life that will inspire you to stand firm in Christ as you tell others about His love and forgiveness.

Order this illustrated book about Patrick:

Watch this 8 minute Veggie Tale story of St. Patrick: http://youtu.be/UociNQHztiY

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