Monday, April 25, 2011

Faithful Families Resources April 24 2011

Weekly Inspiration

Children are like wet cement. Whatever falls on them makes an impression.

Dr Haim Ginott

Story

With your family read John 20.19-31: Jesus appears to the disciples
Questions for Discussion:

What did Jesus say to the disciples first? Why do you think he said this?
Why do you think that Thomas didn’t believe all the other disciples, that Jesus was alive?
What did Jesus do to help Thomas believe?
Why did the author of John say these things had been written?
  
Discuss with your family what was interesting about the story or what made you think. What did the story tell us about Jesus? Try using some “I wonders” that emerge from the story.
  
You never know how much you really believe anything until its truth or falsehood becomes a matter of life and death. It is easy to say you believe a rope to be strong as long as you are merely using it to cord a box. But suppose you had to hang by that rope over a precipice. Wouldn't you then first discover how much you really trusted it? (C.S. Lewis, A Grief Observed)

Prayer and Celebration

Patterns of prayer and celebration in the home add to the richness of children’s experience of faith – here are some ways you can deepen the lived practices of a faithful life at home. Why not talk to your children about starting something this week.
  • Meal table practices of sharing and listening, grace and thankfulness with the things we have, like food. (How might your family begin a mealtime pattern? It can be as simple as a prayer, or even a pause for silence, or include elements such as bible reading, story telling, creating a special space using candles and table cloths, and always turning off the TV and other distraction.
  • Patterns of Celebration.(How does your family celebrate special occasions such as birthdays and anniversaries? What are some of the ways that these might be made special? Food. Story Telling. Photos. Prayers of Thankfulness.)
  • Reading the Bible together.(Growing like Christ requires us to know him and know about him. Reading the bible with your family and discussing it is a powerful way to open dialogue and grow.)
  • Sharing stories (Family stories, stories of faith, stories that teach about virtues and Christian character can be excellent ways of teaching children important values.

Service

Children need opportunities to learn how to serve. These can begin in the home by you providing them with chances to participate fully as family members.

How might children participate more fully in your family? God delegates to us much responsibility in the kingdom of God. I wonder how you delegate responsibility to your children.
Here are some ideas to help you delegate responsibility in your family.

1.        Define clearly and creatively the responsibilities being delegated to your children. What is it exactly you want them to do? How often do you want them to do it? Give them a job description, outlining their task, how they are to do it, how often. Put it on the fridge or somewhere prominent.

2.        Give them some training. One way is to follow the McDonald’s Model. I do it you watch. We do it together. You do it and I watch. You do it and I do something else.

3.         Delegate segments that make sense and not bits and pieces. Help your child to see how the task they are doing contributes to the life of your family.

4.        Choose the right task for your child. Make sure they have the skills and understanding to do the task.

5.        To mutually set goals and standards of performance. (expectations must be clearly defined) When washing the dishes what does clean look like.

6.        To give accurate and honest feedback.

7.        To really delegate. When handing over a job allow your child to do the job you have entrusted them to do.

Family Closeness
One way to develop family closeness is to have an intentional family night. A pattern may be used such as this:

Game
Sharing
Story with Discussion/Questions
Activity
Prayer

Using the resources provided above and below would enable you to have a family night once a week.

Games:

Faith Walk
Blind fold your family and lead them through the house on a faith walk. Get them to feel different things around the house. Spin them around a few times to confuse them, then see if they can tell what room they are in. Ask them what they learnt about their home seeing with ‘different’ eyes. (That is their fingers).

Sharing:
  • If you were told tomorrow that you had won a million dollars how would it change the way you act or live?
  • If you were told tomorrow that you were going to jail forever how would it change the way you act or live?
  • If you were told tomorrow that you were adopted how would it change the way you act or the way you live?
  • If you were told today that you are a special child of God how would it change the way you act or live? 

Bonus Family Activity

Tell your children every day how special they are, that you believe in them, that you love them. Write some letters to your children telling them what you think is special about them or encouraging them. Put the letters in a place they might find them or in their lunch box. At bedtime say a prayer out loud for your children. Pray that God might bless them, that they might feel special and loved, pray that they may become all God has made them to be. Make a pocket out of a paper bag, decorate it and stick it up in your child’s room. Put special messages and notes in it to tell your children you think they are special.

Doing these things might help your children see themselves in a new and special way. In seeing themselves as people who are loved, watch them grow into all that they might be.


Well, we hope you found these resources useful. Have a fantastic week as you grow in loving and sharing with your family. May the joy and love and peace of Christ fill your home. Stephen Harrison

 (This material is based on and draws from earlier Faithful Families emails by Stephen Harrison & Richard Browning: An Unless Ideas Production.) Unless otherwise noted all material on this blog is copyright Stephen Harrison and Richard Browning

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Faithful Families Resources April 17 2011 - Holy Week

As we begin Holy Week we provide you with a slightly different format for faithful families resources. The post this week does not provide you with games or stories but with a way of telling the story of Jesus' last week in your household, leading into the most special of days.

Story

One of the ways we might be faithful with our family is by telling the story of Easter really well. This might include dressing up and acting out the story or using some props as symbols to recall different events, it might include music and action. You might like to set up some stations in your house on Friday or Saturday and make signs with the days of the week, leave the different symbols in the different locations.

Alternatively you might like to read the various portions of scripture that recount the last week of Jesus life leading up to Good Friday and Easter.

Here are some signposts for telling the story  in your household.

Sunday before Easter - Palm Sunday
Jesus enters Jerusalem and people wave palm leaves to welcome him like a king.
Reading: Matthew 21.1-9
Symbol: Palm Leaves:
Question: What does it feel like when you are a winner or a champion? How do you think Jesus felt as he entered Jerusalem?
  
Monday
Jesus turns the tables in the temple.
Reading: Matthew 21.12-17
Symbol: Whip made of cords.
Question: What things make you angry? Is it okay to be angry sometimes? Why was Jesus angry?

Wednesday
Judas betrayed Jesus for thirty silver coins.
Reading: Mark 14.10-11.
Symbol: Bag of Coins.
Question: What does it feel like when your friends let you down? How do you think Jesus felt knowing Judas would betray him and his friends would run away from him.

Maundy Thursday
Jesus shares a meal with friends, washes their feet.
Reading: John 13.1-10, Matthew 26.17-30
Symbol: Bowl and Towel. Bread and Wine.
Question: What is special about eating with friends? What does it mean to be a servant to your friends? Why do you think Jesus washed his disciples’ feet?

Good Friday
Jesus dies on a cross.
Reading: Matthew 27.15-60
Symbol: Nails. Crown of Thorns. Cross. Hot Cross Buns.
Why is Friday called Good? (Reflect on childbirth…it is painful yet the result is wonderful)

Saturday
We wait. Jesus is in the tomb.
Symbol: Question mark.
What happens next? When have you had to wait to see how something turned out? How do you think Jesus friends felt on Saturday?

Sunday - Easter Day
Jesus is risen.
Reading: Mathew 28.1-10
Symbol: Easter egg. Broken in half looks like an empty tomb.
Question: What does Jesus risen mean to you?

Faithful Families wishes you and your family a wonderful and inspirational Easter, celebrate well, tell the story well. Our prayer for you and your family is that the truth of the Resurrection might fill your lives with much joy.

Stephen Harrison

(This material is based on and draws from earlier Faithful Families emails by Stephen Harrison & Richard Browning: An Unless Ideas Production.) 

 Unless otherwise noted all material on this blog is copyright Stephen Harrison and Richard Browning

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Faithful Families Resources April 11 2011

Weekly Inspiration


A child is not a vase to be filled, but a fire to be lit.
Fran├žois Rabelais

It’s not what you leave to your children, it’s what you leave in your children
Author Unknown

Story

With your family read Matthew 21.1-11: Jesus enters Jerusalem

Questions for Discussion: 
  • What did Jesus ride on into the city?
  • What was the name of the city Jesus rode into?
  • What did the people put on the ground in front of Jesus?
  • Why do you think they did this?

Discuss with your family what was interesting about the story or what made you think. What did the story tell us about Jesus? Try using some “I wonders” that emerge from the story. (I wonder how Jesus felt? I wonder what was going on in this story?) 

Once upon a time, two weevils travelled from the farm to the big city to seek their fortune. Upon arriving, the first weevil got a job in the movies. As time went by, he moved to bigger and better movies until he became internationally renowned as a great movie star. The other weevil, however, was unable to find any employment and, as time passed, he faded into total obscurity. That was fifty years ago. But today, do you suppose anyone remembers that weevil who was once a great movie star? No! But we do remember the other one-the one who was a failure-for, even today, we refer to him as "the lesser of two weevils."

Prayer and Celebration

Try to connect what you do in worship on a Sunday with what you do to worship at home during the week. Here are some examples:

  • Regular attendance in worship might be linked with a regular pattern of prayer and worship at home. Praying with our children is a key way that we may be faithful with our family. (we regularly offer ways to pray with children in this email)
  • Break bread at home. Even if your children do not receive communion, break bread with them at home reminding them of the story of the last supper. Assure them that at home, when we break bread together it is different to church, but that we may break bread to remember Jesus. This may be linked with a meal time pattern of prayer.
  •  “What prayer do we take to church today?”  As a family, be conscious of the prayers and hopes you take to place before God in worship. Ask this question before you go to church. 
Service

Throughout any year there are many days that are dedicated to different charities or issues in society. There are websites like the following http://www.ourcommunity.com.au/calendar/  that list these days  that are occurring in your state, region or country. This can be used as a tool to broaden the horizon of your children about the many needs in the world and the ways people seek to address them.
  •  Look up what is happening in any particular week.
  • Explore the organisation that is sponsoring it or the issue behind it.
  • Pray as a family for the needs highlighted by the day or week, being celebrated and for the organisations working in the area.
  • Consider attending events or running your own to support a particular need.
  • Think about ways you might contribute or donate to make a difference. 


Family Closeness

One way to develop family closeness is to have an intentional family night. A pattern may be used such as this:

Game
Sharing
Story with Discussion/Questions
Activity
Prayer

Using the resources provided above and below would enable you to have a family night once a week.

Games:

Blobtionary: Just like pictionary only using play doh. This can be played with two or more. Write twenty words down on a piece of paper and put them in a hat. The difficulty of the word will depend on the ages playing. One person picks out the word and has to make the ‘it’ using the play doh. The other person has to guess what word is being made. No speaking or gesturing to give hints is allowed. Words could include: Dog, Girl, Elephant, happy. Use your imagination. If four or more are playing then two teams can race to make the one word. 

Sharing:

Picture Sharing
Cut a picture from a magazine. How are you like someone in the picture? If you were in the scene pictured, what would you be saying, doing? What incident in your life does the picture remind you of?  Where would you rather be, in the picture or in a math’s class? What do you think about the picture? How are the people in the picture feeling?

Which are you like…why or how.
  • couch or a rocking chair
  • green or yellow
  • pizza or icecream
  • Saturday or Wednesday
  • an onion or an apple 

Bonus Family Activity

Many churches celebrate the coming Sunday (the Sunday before Easter) as Palm Sunday. On this day we remember Jesus entering Jerusalem on a donkey and people placing branches on the ground before him. This week why not make your own palm crosses at home as a way of helping your children remember the story.

Below is a link to a youtube video that will show you how to do it. There are many other websites online that will show you how to make them. 


Well, we hope you found these resources useful. Have a fantastic week  as you grow in loving and sharing with your family. May the joy and love and peace of Christ fill your home as we head towards Easter.

Stephen Harrison

(This material is based on and draws from earlier Faithful Families emails by Stephen Harrison & Richard Browning:  An Unless Ideas Production) 


Unless otherwise noted all material on this blog is copyright Stephen Harrison and Richard Browning

Monday, April 4, 2011

Faithful Families Resources April 4th 2011

Weekly Inspiration

The question for the child is not "Do I want to be good?" but "Whom do I want to be like?"

-  Bruno Bettelheim

Story

With your family read John 11.1-7, 17- 45: Jesus and Lazarus

(The lectionary readings for Lent are very long, especially for very young children -  the whole reading is John 11.1-45 – if you want to read the whole passage with your family  it can easily be broken into three episodes  - 11.1-16, 11.17-37, 38-45)

Questions for Discussion: 
  • How long had Lazarus been in the tomb for when Jesus arrived?
  • Why didn’t the people want to roll away Lazarus’s tomb stone?
  • What did Jesus do before he called out Lazarus?
  • How did Mary and Martha react differently when Jesus arrived? 

Discuss with your family what was interesting about the story or what made you think. What did the story tell us about Jesus? Try using some “I wonders” that emerge from the story. (I wonder how Lazarus felt coming back from the dead? I wonder why Jesus raised Lazarus?)

A few years ago in America, a letter appeared in a national newspaper that was sent to a dead person by the Department of Social Services. It read: "Your food stamps will be stopped in March because we received notice that you passed away. May God bless you. You may reapply if there is a change in your circumstances."

Prayer and Celebration

Ball Prayers
Use a small ball to throw around to different family members. The person who throws the ball begins the prayer. “Thank you God for…” and throws it to someone who then finishes the prayer with one or two words…” eg. Family, rain, happiness. Keep throwing it around for as long as you can.

Thanking God often, and naming all the things we have to be thankful for is, I believe, one of the most important Christian prayer habits we can develop, especially in a consumerist society that encourages us to focus on what we don’t have as opposed to the abundance we have been given by God.

Service

Start a mini project with your family to discover the local charities or service organisations in your neighbourhood or local area. Find out what they do, who they help and how people can contribute to them in terms of service or goods.

Encourage your family to go without a particular treat for a week or a month. Save the money you would have spent and donate it to a charity that you have discovered.

With your family donate some things you no longer need to a local charity such as LifeLine or Salvation Army. Encourage your children to think about what toys or clothes they no longer use that they might give away. Talk to them about how some children have no toys.

Family Closeness
One way to develop family closeness is to have an intentional family night. A pattern may be used such as this:

Game
Sharing
Story with Discussion/Questions
Activity
Prayer

Using the resources provided above and below would enable you to have a family night once a week.

Games:

Trust Walk:Blind fold members of your family and lead them around the house or the garden. Ask questions such as: What does this feel like? What kind of music comes to mind now? What does this remind you of? Do you feel safe?
Alternatives:
Smell – collect some interesting smelling things from around the kitchen, see if your family can guess what they are.Taste – same again using different flavours.Touch – gather a variety of common objects from around the home and see if your family members can guess what they are by feeling them. Sound – do the same with a variety of sounds. If you have a tape recorder, record sounds from around the home.

Face Pass: Sit in a position so all can see each other. Make a strange or funny face and turn to the person on your right. The person you turned to carefully copies your face, then slowly changes his or her expression to make a new face which s/he passes on to the person on his or her right. And so on around the circle 

Sharing:
These questions are to stimulate a sense of openness, sharing and discovery about your family. The key is to listen!! 
  • What is one thing you don’t think you could live without? Why?
  • If you could only take three things to a desert island what would they be?
  • If you could change one thing about yourself what would it be?
  • What does it mean to adore something?
  • Do you remember a time when someone praised you for something you did? what did it feel like? did you like it? What are some of the words that might express praise? 

Bonus Family Activity

This week work on building a meal time pattern with your family. More than anything else this is about making meal times a special time. This might include turning the TV off and turning on the music, setting the table with some special things, lighting a candle, sharing a prayer, telling a story. Your family sharing time could be based around the dinner table and include the meal as one of the activities.


I pray you are using some of these resources in your home. Please let us know in the comments section which bits you use and how you use them.
Grace and peace to your family this week.


 Stephen Harrison 


 (This material is based on and draws from earlier Faithful Families emails by Stephen Harrison & Richard Browning: An Unless Ideas Production.) 


 Unless otherwise noted all material on this blog is copyright Stephen Harrison and Richard Browning