The week before Christmas last December was when I did our latest fortnightly update which included stuff that was going on in our household ie how we are living out raising world changers in our home. So much seems to have occurred since then and I have been prompted each week to write topical posts instead of following my usual format. This week, due to having the flu and feeling miserable, I have decided if a blog post is to go out, then it will be an update as my creative juices are just not flowing at the moment. I am sorry but last week’s blog was missed due to my being really sick.
Helping children make wise financial choices:
Last Sunday, our Pastor preached about financial giving from the perspective of relationship. Friendship defined by love determines how you spend your money ie choosing to give out of who we are and who we are friends with and how they has fashioned our worldview. This Pastor intentionally places his children in situations where they become friends with kids in financial situations that are not the same as theirs. The whole family spent his long service leave in an orphanage in Cambodia where his children rubbed shoulders with these children and became life long friends. He tries to take at least one of his children on each mission trip he goes on, last year going to Indigenous communities around Broken Hill, thereby exposing his children to other children living in vastly different situations to their own. His son became friends in an indigenous community with a girl who has no access to most things he has access to. As his son is saving for a computer at the moment, his saving also reflects his friendship with this girl. He has decided to allocate a certain amount to this girl from his savings, not because he has been taught the principle of tithing 10%, spending 30%, saving 60%, or because his parents have imposed rules on him but because he has a heart connection with someone in a vastly different situation whom he realises doesn’t have the same opportunities as himself. I love this principle. Helping our kids in all areas of their life apply not formulas and rules and regulations but to operate out of relationship.
Importance of reading:
Everywhere I seem to be going lately, people seem to be emphasising the importance of reading. If a person can read, then that opens up so many doors of opportunity and they can practically teach themselves to do whatever. This is something I have believed for ages, thus why my emphasis on our kids schooling has been mainly reading and maths for these early years.
We have had a major breakthrough in Matey’s (9) reading this year. He could read alright beforehand, but it was mainly a confidence issue. I mentioned this in a blog several months ago and about how we were trying to overcome this issue. Also, he loved me reading to him and I would literally spend hours reading to him each day. I did think at one stage that if I pulled back on my reading to him, that would motivate him to read to himself. It didn’t. In fact, it made it worse as his love language is based around physical touch (cuddling up reading), quality time and words of affirmation. The very first thing Matey says to me each day is “Can you please read to me?” He loves the time spent together but also he thoroughly enjoys the books we read. They are all adventure stories and we both can’t wait to hear the next enthralling episode. For the past six months, we have been reading biographies of Christian heroes. This feeds Matey’s soul and life purpose. His confidence has risen and now the trouble we are having is getting him to put the light out of a night and stop reading.
Books we are currently reading:
“YWAM Christian Heroes: Then and Now Series” by Janet & Geoff Benge. I cannot recommend this series highly enough. Princess (12) read these when she was younger and is now reading some again. I enjoy reading them, as does my husband. Matey is reading some himself but I am reading others to him. The ones we have read the last couple of weeks are: Brother Andrew, Nate Saint, Jim Elliot, Daniel Boone, Loren Cunningham, and we are just commencing Betty Greene. Can you guess what Matey wants to be when he grows up? (missionary/explorer). We also had another motive for reading about Loren Cunningham. He is one of the guest speakers at the YWAM GoFest in Melbourne. It is aimed at high school youth but we have been assured that we can take our kids along to hear Loren Cunningham and Jackie Pullinger. Plus, Princess has been asked to give a 10 minute TED-like talk just before Loren Cunningham gets up on stage to speak. What an amazing opportunity!! (If you are in Melbourne, Sydney, Perth, Adelaide or Asia, please google YWAM GoFest and try to take your children along. The speakers are world class and will motivate your child to world missions.)
Parents – I can highly recommend these books for your children to read. I see one of my roles being to have the next level of appropriate and inspiring books ready for my kids to read so that I am feeding them inspiring stories about courageous individuals who have achieved far more than you can imagine. This helps my children to lift their vision on what they can achieve and do in life.
Matey is collecting children’s books (up to age 10) for an organisation called “Reading out of Poverty” to distribute to Indigenous Communities in the Northern Territory. Research has shown that if you have books at home, you are more likely to learn how to read and being able to read is one of the main avenues for being able to get out of a lifecycle of poverty. In the last few months, he has collected over 1,090 books. These books all help children who do not have access to books.
Ministry as a family:
Our family is joining with a team of youth and young adults and our Pastor and his 11 year old daughter and 9 year old son to travel to Broken Hill for a week to visit two different Indigenous Communities. We are going with the intention of making friends and being open to what God what us to do/be during that time. Our daughter and our Pastor’s daughter are responsible for the daily team devotions which will no doubt stretch them and probably do more for their faith with the preparation etc. It is exciting to see them putting their hand up for this and being prepared to get in and be an active part of the team.
After I travelled overseas on my second short term mission trip, I vowed to try to take our kids, once we had then, on a short term mission trip every couple of years. I realised that short term mission trips do more for yourself and your own faith than the people you are going to reach. I wanted our family to be mission oriented. Thankfully, the last several years we have been able to go to Mozambique for three months, Cambodia for three weeks, Scripture Union Beach Mission last Christmas and now to two indigenous communities this coming school holidays. Plus, we have agreed to co-ordinate the parents outreach on the Beach Mission this coming Christmas/New Year. Hubby and I were unsure but both children literally begged us to do it as they wanted to be involved in this outreach again. What an exciting position to be in.
January 1998 in India was life defining for both Hubby and I. We both had separate experiences where God literally arrested us and turned our future upside down. It changed our careers and ministry and defined our life purposes. Also whilst there, I was totally amazed with the Pastor’s son, then aged 7 or 8 years old and how he was bold and courageous in evangelism. I look back now and realise that he was imitating his father and mother and following what he had seen modelled as natural. I yearned for that for our children, when we managed to have children. Now, when people comment to us about our children’s prophetic and healing gifts, I have a quiet chuckle to myself. The same is occuring, just in different giftings. This time the prophetic and healing instead of evangelism. Our children are modelling what they see us do. We have been intentional also in immersing them in this culture. As a family, we are involved each month in the Stairway Healing Rooms. It would be easier not to go and instead to let the kids have either the morning off or be involved in sport or to go to friend’s places. We have made the choice though, just like going on mission trips and spending our Christmas/New Year period on beach mission, to incorporate this into our lifestyle. At the moment, Princess loves helping on the welcoming desk at the Healing Rooms instead of praying for people inside the auditorium. I don’t mind – she is still part of the team and is being immersed in the culture. Last month, two separate unrelated individuals came up to her after they had been into the Healing Rooms and thanked her for the pictures she had drawn for them three years ago. They both commented separately to her that they had had a very similar picture drawn by another child that morning and that they had been praying for Princess for the last three years. Princess was excited that they had been praying for her. I was excited that three years after the first picture was drawn for two separate people, they both received another identical picture.
Hubby and I were involved over several days in ministering to people heavily involved in the New Age Community and people seeking various spiritual answers to life. The kids were brilliant at being patient and waiting whilst hubby and I swapped shifts several times per day and thus swapped time with the kids. The kids were initially concerned with how Matey would go being in a spiritual charged atmosphere (since he picks up spiritual atmospheres and acts them out) that wasn’t Christian focussed (just while we swapped over at the stand etc), but he went well. We have been helping Matey learn how to process what he feels and picks up from the environment, and to talk about it rather than let it consume him and act like that. Hubby and I thoroughly enjoyed being able to minister to folk through dream interpretation, giving destiny words and releasing physical healing. God showed up big time. I was personally gob-smacked at the amount of parents who brought their children along plus also the children there without their parents. I gave a dream interpretation to two 11 year olds who had obviously been experimenting with the dark side together with a caution that not everything spiritual is wise to get involved in and to stay away from the dark side. Parents – please talk with your children, when they are old enough, about the occult and what not to get involved in and why. Please help them understand that a simple ‘party trick’ is not just simple and can have major implications on their life. The occult is not something to play around with.
At long last I feel that I have found just about all the curriculum we need that I love and that suits the kid’s personalities and strengths. We do a lot of reading in our schoolwork and so I am adapting our history curriculum towards this. Both Matey and Princess sat the Year 8 Australian History Competition this year. Matey is only in grade 3 but I felt that he had a great knowledge of history as he listens to a lot of audio’s about historical events and we read a lot of novels, especially about the war. I was thrilled with how he went. From my estimates (as we don’t have the results back yet), I think they both got 4 or 5 wrong answers out of 50 multiple choice questions, the 4 wrong answers being different for each kid. I was pleasantly surprised at what Matey knew and had picked up over the years (eg that Steppe in Mongolia is the expansive grasslands.) Princess also sat the Australian Science exam but I think she barely passed – I didn’t know some of the answers myself. This reflects that we don’t give enough priority to science in our home schooling. We are using Singapore Maths, All About Spelling, Institute of Excellence in Writing and Mystery of History for our main subjects.
Our rhythm with daily life and school work has changed. I now have a lot less time for ministry and other activities. Princess has 5.30am starts three mornings per week with squad swimming. On those days, she is really tired and goes back to sleep for two – three hours of a morning. Thus, her schoolwork is now pushed out to the afternoon. It means that I can spend quality time helping Matey in the morning and then her in the afternoon, but the negative has been that I get far less other stuff achieved since schoolwork seems to take over the whole day. They reckon that teenagers are like toddlers, just subtract twelve years from their age and see the same issues. When they were toddlers, they slept 12 hours per night. Princess is definitely needing her sleep at the moment. Boundaries also get pushed and the control issue reflected in toddlers behaviour is becoming evident. We are learning to navigate this season with appropriate choices.
Acts of Kindness:
Sheila, from www.penniesoftime.org in America is a lady who has a life mission to do an act of kindness every single day. They have amazing stories of how this plays out in their lives (even stopping on driving interstate to a holiday to help a single mum sick with cancer to shift house and then paint her room. They had never met this lady and her children before but saw her struggling on the side of the road and stopped.) Sheila has a program where she mentors families for 8 weeks in helping them become more intentional. She has offered to mentor our family. I highly recommend her program. It is tailored to suit your family. She skypes each week and has had a couple of skype chats just with Princess to see if she can help her take the next step in looking for a new project to undertake.
The first week we had a challenge to be kind to our own family members. I was totally shocked during that week how unkind we had become to each other. This was the right timing for us to implement the kindness activities we undertook each day in choosing to do something kind for another family member. The following week, we were challenged to do something kind for a neighbour. This wasn’t hard for our family as we always seem to be doing something for someone in our street, whether baking a cake or a meal, reversing a car into the garage for an elderly nearly blind lady, helping with mulch for someone else’s garden etc. The following week was to research a local community organisation and become more aware of the needs in the community. The next few weeks are focussed on what we would like to incorporate into our life – that of helping families look at modern day slavery, especially child labour and child trafficking. Did you know that there are more slaves today than when Wilbur Wilberforce was trying to legislate against it in Parliament over 200 years ago by abolishing slavery? There seems to be a lot of organisations who are involved in this field but there is a real lack in the area of how families can be involved, apart from giving financially. Also we are looking at resources to help families talk about this issue and become more aware. If you are aware of any organisations or resources that deal with this apect of it, I would love you to let me know.
Our family loves playing board games but lately we have concentrated on card games. Currently the game “May I?” is being played numerous times each day. We could see this as a waste of time, but the kids love it and there are some great benefits from it. Adding up, following rules, kindness, strategy, responding to cheats, learning to shuffle cards, family time, bonding. It is the latest fad and it is helping our relationships within the family by spending quality time together.
JUMP – a 2 day event for school age kids grades 1-8 at Stairway Church, Nunawading in the July School Holidays. Cost $35. Dates – 8-9th July 10am-3pm, lunch provided. This is a fantastic opportunity for your kids to experience more of the supernatural and realise their identity in God’s Kingdom. If you are in Melbourne and have kids in this age range, then I encourage you to register them via the Stairway Church website.
Ancient Paths (Craig Hill from Family Foundations) is running a seminar at Clayton Church of Christ in Melbourne. The cost is $45 per couple. Limited numbers. August 13-15th or September 10-12 (Thurs /Friday 6.30-10pm and Saturday 9.30-5pm). This seminar is brilliant at addressing generational issues and also looking at key times in your life that people need to receive a blessing – when and how and why etc. Brilliant teaching on how to most effectively parent.