#FamilyFavoriteFriday - Emotional parenting, the power of story, and art criticism

It's time for #FamilyFavoriteFriday! Here's what we found to share with you around the web this week ...

For Parents ...

How do you process your emotions as a parent? Are you even aware when you respond emotionally to your kids? This article talks about the "emotional practice" of parenting. It might be enlightening ... and it will probably be challenging!

For Ministry Leaders ...

We tell stories all the time as part of children's ministry (and adult ministry, we just call them "anecdotes" or "illustrations" - let's be honest folks, we all love stories!), but how often do you think about why stories are so powerful? There's a reason God chose a book of stories as one of the many ways God communicated with humanity.

For those of you who are just feeling alone this week, know you're not. And check out these thoughts on how to know if your church doesn't value children's ministry the way it should.

For Fun ...

Are you more impressed by your kids' artwork than some of what you've seen in a museum? There might be a reason ... check out this video of art experts expressing their criticism of mass-produced prints from IKEA.

For thought ...

  • What emotions do you feel most often when you're in conversation with your kids? 

  • In what ways does your church value children's ministry? 

  • What is the most valuable piece of art you own from your kids? Post a picture in the comments! 

#FamilyFavoriteFriday - Coloring, kids in traditional worship, and books, books, books!

It's time for #FamilyFavoriteFriday! Here's what we found to share with you around the web this week ...

For Parents ...

Ever felt guilty for spending time coloring with your kid - and realizing you've enjoyed it as much as they do?! Turns out that coloring isn't just for kids - it is a de-stresser for adults too! (This is one of the many reasons we always have coloring sheets available at The Mary Retreat for busy women!)

This one was an interesting find - are you having trouble getting your boys to wear jeans? Turns out it's a more common challenge than one might have thought!

For Ministry Leaders ...

There are some pretty flashy curricula out there nowadays, but some of the best and most kid-friendly material is actually ancient stuff! Using Tactile Prayer experiences both connects our kids to church traditions and engages their best learning styles.

In the same vein, we have to stop perpetuating the myth that "traditional" worship isn't kid-friendly! The MOST kid-friendly worship is the MOST liturgical! If you're wondering why kids don't want to stay in worship in a contemporary setting, it's because it doesn't engage them. From following a finger from word to word in a hymnal, to reciting a creed or litany, to walking forward to receive communion (or help serve it!), to placing a small sum in the offering plate, the most "traditional" elements of worship are the ones kids can latch onto the most.

For Fun ...

Are you a bookworm? Just can't bring yourself to get rid of the tomes that are taking up your shelves? Check out these pieces of furniture made from books!

For thought ...

  • How are your kids engaged in worship? Are they allowed in worship at all? 

  • What "kids" activities do you love? 

  • What was your favorite book to read as a child?

#FamilyFavoriteFriday - Kids in church, VBS choices, and parenting "hacks"

It's another edition of #FamilyFavoriteFriday! Here's what we found around the web this week ...

For Parents ...

It's the question I'm asked more than just about any other, and often parents don't like the answer ... Should your kids stay in the church service? If you've been a part of any of our LECFamily workshops, you already know that our answer is a very enthusiastic YES! This article gives a great background as to why it's so important.

And on the same note, the idea of kids "getting something out of church" is also missing the mark - there are amazing things happening when kids are in church. They aren't "getting" the same things you are out of the service (not to mention worship really isn't about "getting" but "giving"!), but they are receiving important developmental experiences. Plus, they're providing an opportunity for other generations to grow in their faith in a different way. Check out this article all about what kids "get" out of church!

For Ministry Leaders ...

It's that time of year! VBS planning is probably already underway at your church. How do you choose your VBS curriculum each year? If you're looking for a great resource for understanding the theological background as well as the pros and cons of each of this year's VBS curricula, Virginia Theological Seminary puts out a great VBS review each year. Check out their evaluation of all of this year's VBS options!

When we think about how we're forming the faith of our kids, we have to remember we're trying to start a lifelong process. So this article asks "Why aren't Millenials attending your church?" It answers it with a really surprising response that is all about how we do church entirely, including children's ministry!

For Fun ...

Who isn't enthralled by the "life hacks" we see posted on social media constantly? Well, here are some great ones specifically designed for parents. #4 is the kind of thing we do at camp all the time!

For thought ...

  • What memories do you have of being a part of a church family as a child?

  • What are the key things you look for when choosing your VBS curriculum each year? 

  • What is the best "life hack" you've discovered as a parent or ministry leader?