Tales of Tattling

Tales of Tattling“Mom, Johnny is ….”

“Dad, tell Whitney to stop…”

“She touched me!”

“He looked at me!”

Tattling… it’s enough to drive a parent crazy.

But telling can be good.

What’s the difference?

To get a handle on tattling and to train children to tell, they need to know the difference. “Telling is a report that gets someone out of a harmful or hurtful situation. Tattling s a means to hurt the person being reported.”Tattling is meant to get a person into trouble. Telling is to assist in getting someone out of trouble.

Here are two examples.

1. Billy and Sydney are playing Legos when all of a sudden Billy comes dashing to his dad, “Sydney is being mean. Tell her to stop using the yellow Legos. I want the yellow Legos. “  Billy’s comments are meant to get the other child in trouble. This is tattling.

2. Big sister Ava is reading a book and notices her younger brother playing with matches on the hearth.  She comes running to her mom, “Mommy, Sammy found a matchbox by the fireplace and is playing with the matches.” This little girl is telling to keep her brother safe.

The best response is to ask a question, “Will what you’re going to tell me get someone in trouble or out of trouble?” Children will be able to discern the difference quickly. Praise the child who notices and comes alongside someone in need.

Some kids are police officers at heart, making sure their siblings and friends are sticking to the rules. Others will tattle if it improves their own situation. Children will learn the difference of tattling and telling if Mom and Dad take the time to explain the difference and then when a situation arises. Ask the question, ”Will what you’re going to tell me get someone in trouble or out of trouble?”

How do you squelch tattling at your house?

…those who would harm me talk of my ruin; all day long they scheme and lie.
Proverbs 38:12b NLT

1. Lori Wildenberg & Becky Danielson, Raising Little Kids with Big Love, Friendswood: Bold Vision Books, 2014, p. 152.

1C13P Series 2

Bible Basics for Big Kids

Bible Basics for Big KidsThe text read, “Mom-can you talk?”

When a message arrives from a college kid with a request to talk, a mama drops everything and texts back, “Yes!”

The phone rang a few minutes later. ”Mom, I’m really stressed out about finals.”

We talked for a few minutes about how he was studying for his exams, getting enough rest, and eating right. I asked him when was the last time he prayed. There was a long pause before he answered, “About 20 minutes ago.” I had to smile and I think God smiled too. He fell back on prayer when he needed help.

Like I wrote last week in Bible Basics for Little Kids, “Many parents in 1 Corinthians 13 Parent classes don’t feel well-equipped to lead their families in faith matters. Let me reassure you…you do not have to be a theologian. You do not have to be a bible study teacher. You are not required to have all the answers. No one does.” I struggled to figure out the how-tos as a parent, especially with teenagers.

Fitting in faith lessons can be difficult as kids mature. Life seems to accelerate. Everyday is spent in the fast lane with homework, sports, and activities. Quiet evenings with preschoolers and elementary age children are in the past. As parents we pray we’ve guided our kids to develop faith habits that will last a lifetime.

Foundational faith practices, praying and reading the Word of God, are habits kids can fall back on in times of need and celebration. The more kids know, the more they have to rely on. BUT…if you haven’t studied the Bible with your tweens and teens it’s NOT too late! Here are a few suggestions for weaving the Word into your daily family life.

Bible Basics for Big Kids
1. Choose a daily devotional that includes Bible verses. The real-life stories will capture interest. The scripture will encourage.
2. Use a concordance to find specific verses to meet the needs of your tween/teen. For example, anxiety is the focus in Philippians 4:6, Hebrews 13:5-6, and Luke 12:22-31.
3. Post verses on the bathroom mirror to equip and encourage your kids. 

“Parents are number one in leading youth to Christ.”The Bible is our parenting tool. Learn alongside your child. Chapter 10 in Raising Big Kids with Supernatural Love includes many tips and ideas for sharing biblical truth with tweens and teens.

As the rain and the snow come down from heaven,
and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish,
so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,
so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire 
and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.
Isaiah 55:10-11

1. Lori Wildenberg & Becky Danielson, Raising Big Kids with Supernatural Love, Friendswood: Bold Vision Books, 2014, p. 172.

The ideas are from the 1 Corinthians 13 Parent Series. More tips and strategies for training children, tweens, and teens in the Word of God can be found in Raising Little Kids with Big Love and Raising Big Kids with Supernatural Love.

1C13P Series 1

Bible Basics for Little Kids

Bible Basics for Little KidsHow well do your children know God’s Guidebook for life? How well do you as a parent know the Word of God? Many parents in 1 Corinthians 13 Parent classes don’t feel well-equipped to lead their families in faith matters. Let me reassure you…you do not have to be a theologian. You do not have to be a bible study teacher. You are not required to have all the answers. No one does.

Scott and I were in the same boat. (And still are at times with our big kids!) Early on as parents with little children, we decided we needed to learn as a family, depend on our church for support, and accept the fact there would be questions from the boys we couldn’t answer. 

The B.I.B.L.E., basic instructions before leaving earth, is a roadmap, instruction book, and communication tool all rolled into one. How to live and how to be in relationship and communicate with God and others are all included in this bestselling book.

The Bible is 100% true. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work (2 Timothy 3:16-17). Reading the Word of God with children from an early age provides a solid foundation in faith. The lessons learned today will translate into truth for the future when the going gets rough. When Mom and Dad lean on God and scripture, children will learn to do the same.

Bible Basics for Little Kids
1. Find a good time that works for your family. Try out a few different times of day; bedtime, breakfast, after dinner.
2. Begin with stories. Throughout the New Testament Jesus taught in parables and stories. He asked questions too. Follow His example.
3. Short people = short lessons. The younger the child, the shorter the verse or scripture lesson. 

Lead your little ones in truth with a biblical worldview. Spend time in the Word of God to teach children about the One who created and loves them. Seek wisdom as a family through Bible study and prayer.

The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul.
The statutes of the LORD are trustworthy, making wise the simple.
The precepts of the LORD are right, giving joy to the heart.
The commands of the LORD are radiant, giving light to the eyes.
The fear of the LORD is pure, enduring forever.
The ordinances of the LORD are sure and altogether righteous.
They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold;
they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the comb.
Psalm 19:7-10

The ideas are from the 1 Corinthians 13 Parent Series. More tips and strategies for training children, tweens, and teens in the Word of God can be found in Raising Little Kids with Big Love and Raising Big Kids with Supernatural Love.

Join in next week for tips on bible study with big kids!

1C13P Series 2

Point to Prayer

Point to PrayerPrayer provides peace for the people of God, providing a sanctuary in moments of fear, doubt, and crisis. Prayer also gives us the power to go on. “The LORD gives strength to his people; the LORD blesses his people with peace (Psalm 29:11 NIV). Peace is exactly what families need today. That peace comes through prayer.

As a parent, I have prayed for years for protection, discernment, wisdom, … a whole host of requests for my children. Paul reminds us in Philippians 4:6, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” He writes not to be anxious about anything, not just some things. God wants to hear it all. What in your life makes you fearful rather than faith-filled? Fear envelops faith if allowed to persist. 

Because of Jesus’s gift to mankind on the cross, the curtain was torn in two allowing believers access to the throne room of the Most High. No prayer is insignificant. No request too small or too large. We need not go it alone. In our “I can do all things” society, we often forget Who can do all things. This is an important lesson for parents to teach their children.

Think of a relationship you treasure; your spouse, child, parent, friend. No doubt you enjoy spending time with this person, sharing life experiences. A relationship with the Lord is the same, a shared time of communication, speaking and listening, sometimes asking the hard questions.

Along with the Bible, prayer is our main tool for conversing with the Lord. Children are wired for prayer. Betty Shannon Cloyd writes in Children and Prayer: A Shared Pilgrimage, of a study conducted by Dr. Robert Coles. Children in a variety of social, economic, cultural, geographic, and religious backgrounds were interviewed regarding their understanding of God. Dr. Coles’ findings were amazing. He concluded children everywhere “have a deep awareness of God and the spiritual life.”1 Betty Shannon Cloyd goes on to tell of her own ministry to children and the deep connection and trust she witnessed between children and God. “In child-like faith, they present their needs to God trusting in a God who is able and willing to answer.”2

Nurture and assist your children in developing a desire to draw near to the Lord in prayer. One of the most powerful ways this can be done is through modeling prayer. Children may not do as we say but they always do as we do. If a parent prays, children will pray. This becomes a natural part of family life. My husband, Scott, and I have daily prayed for our boys as they leave for school. Even on hurried mornings, they waited to be blessed before heading out the door.  “For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them” (Matthew 18:20).

Mark your day with prayer. Emergency arrow prayers, rote memorization, prayers of thanksgiving, and requests for forgiveness can punctuate the day’s activities. End the day with prayer too. Children learn conversing with God matters.

There are many prayer models available to teach children to pray. In our 1 Corinthians 13 Parenting classes, Lori and I train parents to use a variety of prayer models with their children. Here are some suggestions.

• The ACTS (adoration, confession, thanksgiving, supplication) covers all the bases. Children learn first to adore God by listing His attributes. Confession clears to way for earnest prayer. A thankful heart takes into consideration all God has provided before the requests begin. The relationship grows and God is not easily taken for granted when the scope of prayer is broad and worshipful as compared to a laundry list of wants.
Memorized prayers infuse prayer into a child’s day. “Rote prayers are a simple way for young children to pray. By age four, a child can begin to use his own words to speak with God. Teaching a child to pray is valuable. You amy not always be able to be there for your child, but God is.”3 Additional suggestions for leading your child in prayer can be found in Raising Little Kids with Big Love and Raising Big Kids with Supernatural Love.
Body prayers allow for a kinesthetic experience for children. Touch the mouth and pray for kind words to be spoken, the eyes to see those in need, the hands to help others, the ears to hear God’s voice, the heart to be open to Jesus and so on.
• Anxious days (new school, spelling test, etc.) call for the Alphabet Prayer. Listing God’s attributes in alphabetical order puts a burdened mind in a different place. Focusing on the goodness of God pushes worry out of the way.
Scripture is a wonderful tool to use in prayer with children. Use the concordance to find the area in which your child is struggling. For example, Psalm 4:8 can be used at bedtime to alleviate fear by inserting the child’s name into the text. “In peace Anna will lie down and sleep, for you alone, LORD, make Anna dwell in safety. Amen”

Prayer is a gift from God to deepen our faith and to allow us to draw near to the Lord. As children are taught that Jesus is our Intercessor, they realize the great love of their Savior. He hears every word. Comfort and peace comes from believing the Lord of the universe cares enough and loves so much as to listen to the quiet prayers of a child.

The LORD gives strength to his people; the LORD blesses his people with peace.
Psalm 29:11 NIV 

1. Betty Shannon Cloyd Children and Prayer: A Shared Pilgrimage (Nashville: The Upper Room, 1997) 19.
2. ibid, 21.
3. Lori Wildenberg & Becky Danielson, M.Ed. Raising Little Kids with Big Love (Friendswood, Bold Vision Books, 2014) 159.

1C13P Series 1

The Smile Business at Christmastime

The Smile Business at ChristmastimeChristmas Eve was not a typical day at my house as a child. Festive? Yes. Busy?  Definitely. Purposeful? Absolutely.

The day began early with preparations for the annual Christmas Eve deliveries. Sturdy paper plates were piled high with delicious cookies. Jars of homemade pickled herring were decorated with bows. My dad’s smoked chickens were labeled with heating instructions. My mom’s freshly baked Swedish coffeecake was wrapped tightly. All of the gifts were loaded into the back of my family’s red Suburban, appropriately nicknamed, Rudolph. We would be off, singing “Jingle Bells” and laughing all the way.

Mom was the navigator with “The List” in hand, directing Dad to the next drop-off location. Through his family dental practice, my dad knew of many older patients without children and shut-ins that would be celebrating alone. We would make 25-30 stops on Christmas Eve to brighten the spirits of these lonely, lovely people. Dad would often dress as Santa Claus with the three of us kids as his elves. The recipients of our Christmas treats were never fooled by his costume. They’d come to the door with smiles and hugs for each of us. Many times the visits were punctuated with tears, joyful tears, because they were not forgotten.

I remember the year I realized the impact of my parent’s choice to serve others on Christmas Eve. Rather than hanging our stockings with care knowing they would be filled with trinkets and treasures, we served others quietly sharing the real Reason for the Season. We were the hands and feet of Jesus, purposely giving rather than focusing on what we’d be receiving. 

And we were blessed! Around my grandparent’s dinner table, we’d enjoy a delicious meal and tell about our day. The man with the cute dog who was so glad to see us, the woman who was waiting, watching out her front window hoping we’d remember her as in years past. The couple whose children lived far away couldn’t be with them, standing on their front steps in the cold and crying, hugging, and thanking my parents for the holiday treats.

As an adult, I’m so grateful my parents took the time to make Christmas about giving, not receiving. I have such fond memories of our family Christmas Eve “sleigh ride” to deliver smiles to those who were lonely. My whole family was in the smile business on Christmas Eve!

Light in a messenger’s eyes brings joy to the heart…
Proverbs 15:30a

How do you reach out to those who are lonely at Christmastime, sharing the Light? 

Parenting Unchained

10264495_821695001226037_8549450350683278683_nWhen I find a book that really speaks to me, I share it with you. Lori Wildenberg, my ministry partner, and I have had the honor of working with Dr. Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller, founders of the National Center for Biblical Parenting. Lori and I were on the NCBP team at an Association of Marriage and Family Ministries conference. I highly recommend the NCBP resources, including the newly released Parenting Unchained: Overcoming the Ten Deceptions that Shackle Christian Parents by Dr. James D. Dempsey.

Parenting Unchained takes a close look at ten lies parents fall for when raising children. Jim writes from his own experience as a parent with honesty. His transparency in sharing his personal journey of faith and parenting gives moms and dads true-to-life examples of how misconceptions and straight out lies can cloud the way one sees the world.

The chapters in Parenting Unchained address the ten deceptions, drawing on scripture. Each deception is followed by powerful parenting truths, taken from the Word of God, the best parenting book. This makes not only for an educational read but one filled with hope. We don’t have to believe the lies and we don’t have to parent alone.

The concepts laid out in Parenting Unchained are easy to understand and thought-provoking. The Home Activities are practical options for families to put the concepts into play. Parenting Unchained can be used as an individual, couple or small group study.

Really, every parent desires to raise good kids. This book will help guide parents raise great kids, with a heart for the Lord while building strong relationships within the family.

Jim10801562_820555544673316_3857179896950506741_nJoin Dr. James D. Dempsey and the Center for Biblical Parenting Team on Thursday, December 11 for the Facebook Release Party!

Find the book on Amazon or at the National Center for Biblical Parenting


Tissue & Bubble-Wrapped Memories

Tissue & Bubble-Wrapped MemoriesAs soon as the remnants of Thanksgiving dinner are packed away in Tupperware containers, my mind turns to Christmas. Traditionally on the Friday after Thanksgiving, Scott, our two boys, and I visit the local tree lot to choose the perfect Christmas tree. Scott trims the lower branches, fits the trunk into the stand, and with a little help hauls the tree into the house.

Then the fun begins. After twenty-five years of marriage, there are a lot of ornaments. Each speaks of a bygone time, when Scott and I were first married, when each child joined our family, memories of happy and difficult times. Like the tiny, red apple with “Scott loves Becky” printed across it. A fond memory of when my dear husband helped me write the names of all my students, two kindergarten classes, on apples as gifts. Then he made a special one for me. Others are of sad times. The heart inscribed with “Love” and the star, “Faith”. Each was chosen to describe Grandpa Doc by the boys the first Christmas without him after a long struggle with cancer.

The homemade decorations from Advent celebrations at church and Sunday school are always added to the tree. Popsicle stick stars dipped in glue and glitter, painted dough handprints, twisted red and white pipe cleaner candy canes, and paper plate angels. Each one is a memory, complete with the artist’s name scrawled in crayon.

The tree decorating can get silly with peals of laughter as the phases of the boys’ interests through the years are depicted in their choice of ornaments. There was the year of the “diggers and dump trucks” with a bulldozer to hang on the tree. They chose tiny Matchbox cars to clip to the branches during the racecar phase. The Hallmark speedboat my youngest had to have because it was his favorite color is always prominently displayed. And then there was the Star Wars year. Yoda always seems to always find a place on the tree.

The nativity ornaments are the most precious to me. One by Tomie dePaola a student gave me when I was expecting my first child. The highly polished wooden manger scene a friend gave me from the Holy Land. The darling miniature bunny hangs with wings and a halo peering into the manger to see the Holy Child. The most special is an intricately carved Mary, Joseph, and Baby Jesus found in a tiny woodcarver’s shop next to the Silent Night Chapel in Oberndorf, Austria. Two similar ornaments are carefully stored with the Christmas decorations for the boys to one day have for their own trees to remember our special family trip. 

As each memory is unwrapped, my family revisits Christmas past. With steaming mugs of cocoa and a roaring fire, the four of us tell stories, laugh, and sing Christmas carols. Traditions bind families together. Sometime in the not too distant future each one of my sons will be starting traditions of his own, maybe with his own family. And just maybe, memories around a box of tissue and bubble-wrapped ornaments

They celebrate your abundant goodness
and joyfully sing of your righteousness.
Psalm 145:7

What Christmas tradition do you and your family hold dear?

The Thanksgiving Proclamation

On October 3, 1863 President Abraham Lincoln issued the Thanksgiving Proclamation. The third Thursday in November was set aside as a national holiday of thanksgiving and praise. To celebrate our national heritage and to draw upon the words of this great president, here is the first page Lincoln’s address.

Thanksgiving-Proclamation-300x300By the President of the United States of America.
A Proclamation.

The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle or the ship; the axe has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consiousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom. No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.

In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States to be affixed. Done at the City of Washington, this Third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the Unites States the Eighty-eighth.

By the President: Abraham Lincoln

William H. Seward, Secretary of State


May your Thanksgiving be filled with gratitude and love!
xo Becky

Originally posted on 1 Corinthians 13 Parenting on November 28, 2013
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Fostering Thankfulness

Fostering ThankfulnessThanksgiving is a time for families to gather, celebrating with thankful hearts. To grow an attitude of gratitude in your family, recognize both the large and small gifts in life. Set the stage for thankfulness by noticing the blessings.

Be intentional about how you’ll portray gratitude at the dinner table on Thanksgiving Day. Start your meal off by saying grace, thanking God for the food as well as the family members and friends gathered around. The Bible provides wonderful examples of why we say a blessing before we eat. In Matthew 14:19, Jesus fed a large crowd of hungry people. Before the meal was served, he gave thanks to God. And he directed the people to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people.

Here are a few suggestions to make the Thanksgiving blessing special at your house.

• Hold hands at the table during grace.
• Start a dinner conversation around thankfulness by asking each guest what he/she is thankful for this past year.
• Say a traditional prayer in unison.
• Ask a child to say the blessing.
• Mix up the generations at the table; kids next to the grandparents, tweens and teens with the adults.

Here are a few former posts to help you and your family set the stage for gratefulness this Thanksgiving.

• Thankful Hearts Prepare What are the members of your family most grateful for? Use the download to record the blessings.
• Thankful Hearts Care Show your thankfulness by sharing with others. Operation Christmas Child is a great way for children to help less fortunate kids have a Christmas gift.
• Thankful Hearts Share Download scripture to share with your guests as napkin rings. Click here for Thanksgiving place cards your children can use to color and decorate the table.
• Thankful Hearts with Thanksgiving Fare The post includes a yummy and easy recipe for Orange Cranberry Sauce. I’m grateful each year because my kids make the cranberry sauce!

What are ways you foster grateful hearts in your children? 

Stress Reducers for Mom

Stress Reducers for MomLast week was all about creating margin during these busy holiday months. And in creating these margins we are actually giving ourselves the gift of time.

Stop and enjoy beauty: a bouquet of flowers, a fresh dusting of snow, a conversation with your little one. But when we’re in the midst of this busy season, here are a few tips to keep the peace…within yourself.

This is a repost of a popular top ten list for moms I wrote in 2013. I hope you find the suggestions helpful!

Top Ten Tips for Stressed Out Moms

1. Take a deep breath. Realize this too shall pass. The stress of today will be gone and replaced by another pressing issue tomorrow. You’ll soon forget what was causing angst today.

2. Give yourself permission to say no to volunteer requests. Saying no allows someone else an opportunity to serve and creates margin for you.

3. Be selective in activities for your child. Children do not have to experience every extra curricular activity before kindergarten. Hectic schedules can be the result of peer pressure to enroll kids in too many activities.

4. Rest. Get enough sleep to feel rejuvenated and ready to take on the day.

5. Eat well. Skip the quick pick-me-ups like caffeine and sugar. Opt for whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.

6. Stay hydrated to avoid a whole host of health problems including headaches. Nothing is worse than a stress and dehydration headache.

7. Take time to be with your spouse, alone. Time without kids to focus on the two of you builds a strong relationship. Keep in mind the kids joined your marriage.

8. Keep up with your own interests. Having a hobby helps to relieve stress and gives you personal time to enjoy your own interests.

9. Join forces with other parents. Organize carpools, homework helps, and babysitting. Find a friend, preferably one who is a good cook, and offer to share meals once a week, each making double to provide dinner for one another.

10. Pray! Reliance on God will take the pressure off you. As the old adage goes, “Give it to God, He’s going to be up all night anyway.” Quiet time to discuss the problems of the day is balm for the soul.

He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.
Isaiah 40:29

What would you add to this list of stress reducers?