When a Child Connects the Dots

maxresdefaultWe recently took a vacation trip to Kentucky to visit several sights. We had an enjoyable time with my wife’s side of the family and enjoyed some incredible places. We adventured to the Cincinnati Zoo, the Newport Aquarium, the Creation Museum, and the Ark Encounter. The youngest children enjoyed the zoo and aquarium the most, and Aric and Alex enjoyed the Ark the most.

We as a family have been to the Creation Museum several times, the earliest being when Aric and Alex were 1 & 2, but this time as we went, they have gained a little more grasp and understanding on what the Museum was all about. Their favorite things to see were the dinosaur fossils, planetarium, and the insectitorium (there were some pretty cool bugs in there too.) After watching the planetarium presentation about just how amazing our universe is, it was fun listening to Aric and Alex talk about the things that they learned and saw and how God had created it all.

The following day we made our way to the Ark Encounter, a full scale replica of Noah’s Ark. This is where I could see the dots begin to connect in Aric’s mind. We had spent a good amount of time on the ark. It is an incredible museum that really brought the Biblical story of Noah’s Ark to life. There were three stories of artifacts and displays.

The bottom story mainly had examples of what the “kinds” of animals may have looked like, how Noah would have been able to fit all the “kinds” animals into the ark, and scaled model of what the layout of the rooms in the ark may have looked like.

The second story had some more animal examples, a video, and some other articles. We took a break before heading back to the last floor on the ark.

On the third floor, we came to two section that just fascinated Aric. One was a section of fossils and the second was a section about the ice age. Aric had studied about fossils this year in school, so because of that, he started reading a creation science approach about how fossils were formed. After reading it he turned around and told me “this makes much more sense then fossils being ‘millions’ of years old”, he wanted to stay and continue to read about fossils, but the rest of the family had moved on to the next section. The next section we came to talked about the ice age. It compared the creation science ideal of a single short ice age to that of the evolutionary ideal of many long ice ages, the ice age was another subject they had studied about in school. The dot was connected here when he was reading the story of “The Lost Squadron of WWII” and how a 2 B-17 bombers were buried in 250 ft of ice in less than 40 years and how that presents a problem for the ideal of slow ice ages that lasted hundreds of thousands or millions of years. Finally when we got done with our whole tour of the Ark, Aric piped up and said, “boy all this stuff we looked at today was great and makes me know the Bible is true. I know the flood really happened and it is clear to see.”

I loved seeing all this working in Aric’s and Alex’s minds and them learning to connect the dots of science and the Bible. They are learning to listen with discretion and look at things through Biblical glasses and know that science absolutely fits with the Bible without having to believe in millions of years.

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Turning the World Upside Down!

the-world-upside-down-wallpaperIn today’s changing world it is easy to get discouraged as it seems the next generation of Christians are falling away faster then any other generation before them. Statistics tell us that an alarming 70% of young people are leaving or don’t attend church regularly after age 18-22. But I believe that this up and coming generation has a great opportunity to “Turn the world upside down”. Continue reading

When Opportunity Knocks

Wow after 9 months of no activity, people probably thought I dropped off the face of the earth! But I am back ready to write another article at least for now. I know they have been few and far between lately, but what can I say I am a busy man!

Have you ever had a great opportunity just all the sudden pop into your life. An opportunity so beneficial to you and others that you just can’t pass it up? I have had several of those opportunities come into my life the past two years, but before I share what those opportunities are I first want to make a few points.
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Learning to adjust

Seven weeks ago my oldest child Aric started his first year of elementary school and I can say this has been a big time of adjustment for all of us. 4 weeks ago our third child, Alton, was born and added to the need to adjust. When change happens in life sometimes you can find it extremely hard to adjust and be just plain overwhelming. I know that eventually I will be adjusted to this new time of life, but here are a few things I have found a difficult time to adjust too.

1) Going to Bed Early

I consider myself to be more of a night owl than a morning person. Before Aric started school I normally was to bed between 12am-2am working on projects for my company, but since the start of the school year I have to adjust my schedule to getting up before 7am so going to bed so late isn’t a good ideal. I mentioned a little about this in the blog post from the first week of school.

2) Being Productive Between Drop-off and Pickup times

This has been the biggest adjustment for me. I already kept a busy schedule before Aric started school, but now that he has started school it seems like the 6 hours between dropping him off and picking him up is hardly every productive. I know that I really am being productive, but it is hard to grasp that it actually is. I work 2 (sometimes 3) jobs. I am an Assistant Pastor, a Freelance Graphic Designer, and a Substitute teacher.

Many times when I get home from dropping Aric off I get home and try to start working on graphics projects or getting things ready for church. Just about the time I finish with some of my projects it is lunch time.  Then by the time lunch is over, I only have an hour before I have to leave and pick Aric up from school (2:00pm). So even in just a little paragraph you can see it can be a heart thing to make sure I am productive. But over time I will figure it out I am sure.

3) Taking extra time to spend with my children

You might be thinking, “Well, Duh! It’s your responsibility to spend time with your children”. It isn’t that I didn’t spend time with my children before, but now that we aren’t all at home, all day together, it takes some adjustment. With a new-born baby in the house, it takes a time of adjustment to juggle things back around and make sure my children get the time with their father that they need. Sometimes this means taking my individual children out and just hanging out with them. But it still is a hard adjustment to make when so many new things are going on in my life.

What type of adjustments have you had to make in your life either when your children have first started school or when summer has ended and your children are headed back to school?

Book Fair Volunteer

This past week I had my first opportunity to volunteer to do something at my son’s school. They were in need of parents to volunteer to help with the book fair they would be holding in the Library of the school, so as I feel it was my responsibility to help I volunteered  for a few hours on Monday. I had hesitated to volunteer for a little bit, with having a new baby in the house, trying to figure out a new sleeping schedule, and needing to complete jobs that were already behind, it was easy to make excuses not to help. I began by rationalizing that there would be plenty of children who’s parents had volunteered to help and that they really wouldn’t need me, but since I had already said I would be there I needed to keep my commitment.

When we arrived at school I walked Aric into the school building, checked in, and headed to the library. I expected to find a library full of parents jumping in to help, but there were only 2 other parents ready to help. I stayed for the time that I had volunteered and asked if they would need my help again the next day. The librarian told me she would love to have my help anytime I wanted to be there as there weren’t very many who had jumped on the opportunity to help.

Tuesday was “Book and Breakfast” day, a day that they offer to let you come eat breakfast with your child and check out the book fair together. I arrived a little early and thought that there would be a bunch of parents excited about eating breakfast with their Pre-K – 2nd Grade students (approx. 260 students). But when I arrived there were only a handful of parents there to eat with their children, a few more arrived after Aric and I had ate our doughnuts. Once back in the Library there weren’t but maybe 8 parents who came through with their child to pick out books.

Before I left for the day the Librarian was telling some of the teachers how thankful she was that she had some new parents coming in to volunteer for helping as all the parents who had helped in times passed no longer had children in the school and had moved on with their children.

Three quick things I learned from being a “Book Fair Volunteer”:

1) Schools really do like parents to volunteer

2) Not many parents will take the time to volunteer

I do understand that not all parents are able to because of their jobs

3) Not many parents took advantage of spending quality time to get to know more about their child’s school.

It isn’t that I expected every child to have a parent there to eat breakfast with their child. I would say at least 3/4 of the students ride the bus, but still to only have 8-10 parents show up to have breakfast with their children just baffles my mind. Every morning when I go to drop off Aric at school there are at least another 16 cars there, and that is only the parents who get their early. As I have stressed before, I believe in order for a child to succeed in ANY school, parents need to be involved as much as possible, but it is obvious that many parents do not take the time to do so.

Say No to the Phone: Lesson from week #2

I am sure there are a few lessons I could elaborate on from week #2, but I really just want to stress one thing that I learned and determined to do as a Father for the sake of my children.

Say No to the Phone

As a freelance graphic designer, I get request to call people or get phone calls at all hours of the day. Many times I end up doing work at hours that I would rather be spending time with my family, but I also know how important it is for me to work to provide for my family. With that said, spending and making time for my family is more important than working all the time.

Just the other day when I was waiting to pick up Aric from school, I had received a Facebook message from a client asking me to call them. My first instinct was to call them right that moment. I had been praying for work. I pray every week for 3 jobs to help us meet our financial needs. This was job #3 for the week! I must return the call, right? I decided at that very moment though, that making that call, and getting that job was not my priority at the time, spending time with my child was.

Say Yes to your Children

I looked down at the clock before making my decision. Aric would be getting out in just 5 minutes. Many times my phone conversations can last for 15-30 minutes or more depending on how much detail a client shares with me about their project. Knowing I only had 5 minutes before my son would be in the car, I decided his time was more important. I have since made a rule in my life, that unless their is an emergency (outside of my business), that I will not be on the phone at all while I am taking my children to school or when I am picking up my child from school. That 10-15 minutes on the way to school and on the way back home is a good opportunity to learn about my child’s day at school. It allows me to give instruction, pray with my children, and allow them to ask questions. It is so important for me as a Father to make sure that I make time for my children. I believe the Lord will bless me for saying “No to the Phone and Yes to my Children”.

What thoughts would you like to add to this short post?

9 Things I Pray for Each School Day

Man prayingIt doesn’t matter whether you are a person who sends your children to the public school, a private school, or is home schooled, prayer should be an important part of your day. Each night before I go to sleep and each morning before we leave to go to school I spend time praying for certain things. So here are a list of 9 things I pray for each school day:

1.Wisdom as a Parent of  school age children

In general no matter what age your child is, seeking God’s wisdom is a must.

James 1:5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.

2.For my children to make wise choices

No matter the age of my child I should be taking time to teach them to seek God’s face in all the choices that they make.

Proverbs 3:5-6Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.

In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

3.For my children to remember instructions given to them

Each morning on our way to school I talk to my children about things they need to remember and work on for the day. During the first few weeks of school we talk about remembering to listen to the teachers and to pay attention. These times of instruction and instruction given in the home are a special time for our children to learn how to behave and what is expected of them.

Proverbs 1:8 My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother:

4.For my children to avoid troublemakers

No doubt troublemakers can be found most places that your children go, so it is important to teach them to guard themselves from them. One conversation that Aric and I have had lately on the way to school has been,

Me: Aric what should you do if someone asks you to do bad?

Aric: Tell them I can’t do it because it is bad.

Me: And then what should you do?

Aric: Tell my teacher.

Proverbs 1:10 My son, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not.

5.For my children to remember Who Created them and Who they should serve

Another conversation that Aric and I have been having on the way to school is: Who created everything, did dinosaurs live millions of years ago, how old is the earth, and did men come from monkeys.

Ecclesiastes 12:1 Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them;

6.For my child tobe testimonies of Jesus Christ

I want my children to learn early in their lives that they have an opportunity influence others for Christ.

Matthew 5:16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

7.For the teacher to be encouraged

One of the most underrated jobs in my book is that of a teacher. Parents treat them like jerks when their child gets in trouble. Parents act like their child is an angel and the teacher is the devil himself/herself. Being a teacher can be a very discouraging position.

Ecclesiastes 9:10Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.

8.For the teacher to have patience

If you have a child or even a few children you know how hard it can be to be patient at times. Imagine the teacher there in the classroom with 20+ students all coming from different home lives with different standards. Some children may be well-behaved, while others may have no discipline whatsoever. It can be quite overwhelming for a teacher to face a classroom each day, so pray for your children’s teachers to have patience.

Proverbs 16:32 He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city.

9. For the teacher to teach with wisdom

Now some people might say, “how can you expect a Public School teacher to teach with wisdom when many of them probably aren’t Christians?”. Well those people probably don’t use that same logic when they ask prayer for Doctors to have wisdom when they are facing a health situation. Not all Doctors are Christians but we still ask for God to give them wisdom and we should pray that God give our children’s teachers wisdom as well.

Hebrews 13:17 Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.

Lord, there are many things that can be prayed for when it comes to having children in school. But above all we want you to be pleased and glorified in everything that we do. We need wisdom as parents. We need your guidance and direction when it comes to teaching our children. We also need you to work in our children’s lives to be a bright and shining testimony for you, no matter what type of school they go to. A-men

What are some things that you pray for when your children start their school day?