Purposeful Parenting

Going for Broke

We all want was is best for our kids but what does purposeful parenting look like in practice?

Follow the creator of Anton’s Antics’ as he negotiates the challenges of being a parent.

“The blog's slogan started off as a joke between my wife and I, as it can be tough making ends meet and parenting is not easy. I want to hear Jesus say ‘well done, good and faithful servant’ with what He has entrusted to me.  We have to go for broke don’t we?

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Are you raising a narrow minded bigot?

narrowbigotblogRecently our pastor compared who Jesus is with a definition of a bigot.

Why? Because Christians often get labelled as bigots and this became particularly evident during a recent campaign in Australia over the redefinition of marriage.

Why do we stick to our guns?

Do we hate gays?

Why do we claim to have some ‘absolute’ reign over the definition of marriage?

Is Jesus a bigot…does he raise bigots?

What is at stake is truth.

Truth is at the heart of Easter.

Questions is, 'What's Truth?'

I’ve got some super videos for you in the lead up to Easter that explore the subject of truth and how we need to equip our kids to be able to give good reasons for their belief in Jesus as THE truth. You see we need to be concerned that our kids don’t just believe in the truth but can articulate why.

You can access the special 'What's Truth?' Parent Training Video by clicking on the graphic below:

whatstruthprnttrngFBshare

This purposeful parenting post is the first in a short series I’ve got planned for us all around the topic of truth and its place in the celebration of Easter.

Today, as we explore ‘what’s truth?’ we’re going to be looking at the very misunderstood and misused word of ‘tolerance’. I felt it seemed logical to piggy back on a recent issue in Australia to illustrate the point. So…

Is Jesus a bigot…does he raise bigots?

Let’s take a look at one of the definitions that fit this label of bigot:

According to the Collins English Dictionary, (in America) bigot means...

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Do our kids have good reasons for believing Jesus is 'THE' truth?

Our goal for our kids must not just be that they know about Jesus.

We want them to trust in him for salvation.

But that’s not enough either.

If our kids are to stick at it, they’ll need good grounds for believing in Jesus.

Otherwise we leave them open and defenseless.

How will they handle criticism like, “how can you believe that your religion is right and all others are wrong?”

How do your think your kids stack up right now?

Would they be able to give reasons for why Jesus is THE truth?

I’ve got a short quiz that will help you get a quick ‘litmus test’ on what your kids might need from you.

At the very least, it will give us all pause for thought...where to from here?

Complete the 'Giving Kids Reasons For Belief' quiz right now!

4 Essential Ideas for Reading the Bible with 9-13 Year Old’s

whatnextlibraryAs my kids got older I kept trying a bunch of things, but it was clear the picture Bibles and stories had to go; they were pitching too low and my kids needed some more ‘meat on the bone’.

I was struggling; the picture books and Bibles had been great but now what? Not wanting to make it feel like more homework and at the same time find something that pitched at their level, pushed them and was enjoyable seemed like a tough brief.

 

When your kids are too old for picture Bibles and story books, what next?

How do you regularly encourage the reading of the Bible and prayer with 9-13 year old’s?

Here’s 4 ideas that are both practical but also very ‘big picture’ and hence what I call, ‘Essentials’ for reading the Bible regularly with your older kids:

1. Show them what following Jesus looks like in practice through short biographies written for kids

Everyone loves a good story, especially when they’re true. Hearing about people’s real lives, how they grew up, how they were transformed by the gospel, what challenges they faced as the took steps of faith makes for engaging reading and listening. We bought some short biographies written for kids and have gradually introduced our kids to the lives of faithful Christians, missionaries, church leaders and martyrs who have trail blazed the gospel both in word and deed across the globe.

Stories like that of Amy Carmichael, Mary Slessor, Martin Luther, John Livingstone and Joni Erickson Tada have been immensely encouraging to our family. We’ve set aside about 10 minutes every couple of nights to continue reading a chapter and reflecting together on the story. Some are better reads than others, so be prepared for some ‘hits and misses’. Overall our kids have enjoyed these, and they really bring some variety into our ministry in the home.

One of the main benefits of reading them together is that as a family you get to see what faith in Jesus looks like in practice. You’ll see things like: Not everyone finds support from their Christian brothers and sisters when they pioneer a new ministry. Tragedy and opposition are common from all kinds of fronts. Incredible determination, love and perseverance are never wasted; God is faithful. Learning to have joy in all circumstances remain hallmarks of their lives.

Tip: Let the kids read sections as they gain confidence and at a length according to their ability as this drives up engagement through ownership.

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Disciplining kids: What's your greatest mistake?

paren tfrustratedI didn’t see it coming, but I should have. Why is it that I was so blind sighted?

What was it and how can it help parent or lead your kids?

I’ll get to that in a jiffy, first we need to get the baseline right.

GRACE.

Like all siblings, my kids can grate on each other, irritate and squabble like…well, like I did when I was a kid with my siblings.

They’re human and subject to human weaknesses.

The first thing we must accept is the fall of humanity. We no longer live up to our ideal. We fail in many ways. In fact, the Bible says, before we are ‘born again’ we are given over to a depraved mind, one that is bent on self-autonomy and disobedience (Romans 8). This ‘depravity’ can be willful, arrogant, fist high in the air like Hitler, or it can be private, under the radar and ‘I don’t even know why I don’t like the name of Jesus, but I just don’t’.

Even with the Holy Spirit behind us, as we are being ‘remade’ into Christ’s better image of humanity, we still fail. Knowing this is true of our lives as parents, it also should lend us to be gracious, compassionate and perseverant with our kids (and spouse, though I have little to complain about on that count. But I’m not asking if it’s reciprocated!)

So, there’s the baseline. GRACE. We all need Jesus, the great high priest. We and our kids fail in many ways.

When it’s OK to spare the rod

Doesn’t mean spare the ‘rod’, however.

But in this case, I did spare the ‘rod’ because it was my dumb fault for not seeing it coming and not providing reasonable steps to avoid the clear and present danger that would be caused by my in inaction.

What was this inexcusable passivity of mine?

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7 Tips for making regular Bible reading with your kids a success

kidreadingbibleblogIt’s hard enough just keeping up with all the meals, housework, school work, sports and being the kid’s taxi service that regular Bible reading with our kids can easily fall by the wayside.

Most of us know it’s a good idea and feel it might be our responsibility but don’t know where to start, have tried and given up or need some fresh inspiration.

With the new year well and truly upon us, I thought it timely to lay down some of the best tips we’ve found as a family, for creating and maintaining regular Bible reading and prayer (family devotion time).

Note, some of these could easily deserve much greater detail, but here’s my...

7 point ‘cheat sheet’ making regular Bible reading and prayer with your kids a success:

UPDATE: Since posting this I also went LIVE on FB taking these 7 points even further so be sure to check out the Extra Bonus material on the video here!

1. Start early and make a habit of it because young kids LOVE routine

It’s never too soon to start. We prayed with our kids while they were in the womb. We wanted to start the habit early with the intention of continuing it. Playing Christian hymns and other contemporary music and singing along to it also got some neat reaction from some of our little womb dwellers too.

While reading to very young children (under 18 months) is limited, that is, they started crying, crawl off (tough audience!) or just such and slobber on the edge of the book, I still think the habit of reading to them and praying with them, albeit very, very short, is worthwhile. Remember one day they will stay for the whole story. One day they’ll say ‘amen’ just to copy you. Habits are cool and young kids LOVE habits and ritual. So, use that to God’s glory. Pray out loud while they are in the womb.

Bonus tip: Aim for 1-2 minutes tops. Try a bath tub Bible story (that can get wet) with just pictures and no words. You supply the drama. Pray aloud while you’re bathing them if you like! They’re sometimes chilled at that time. But not all!

2. Nothing works forever, so be ready to change gears FAST!

Just when you think you’ve nailed it or you’re onto something that’s working, BAM! It no longer works and your confidence in judging what works and what doesn’t is shattered.

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How to Rethink Easter Outreach

In Australia we are just waking up from the comatose state of summer holidays.

As the summer holidays come to an end we grudgingly drag ourselves out of the post-holiday blues and try desperately to resurrect our weekly habits, church structures and ministries that will carry us through until late December.

Easter is not something we really want to think about, right now.

So, every year we blow it.

Every year we let it pass through to the keeper, squandering ‘outreach gold’.

Easter is a better moment than Christmas, more reflective. Less going on. A time where people who don’t normally come to church, quite possibly will.

So, I was very excited to see some friends of mine in the States cracking on with the task of assisting churches make the most of Easter for outreach.

I wanted to share FREE access with you to a series of videos that will get your church into shape for Easter outreach and beyond.

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How NOT to holiday next time

What’s the last thing you pack for a holiday?

What’s the thing you easily forget?

I reckon it would be my toothbrush. You’ve got to leave it out till you’ve used it one last time before you go.

Or it could be my pajamas. I must sleep in them and it’s all too easy to get up, get dressed and leave them behind instead of packing them in the suitcase.

In both cases I fully intend to take them. I’ve even added them to my packing list now, so I don’t forget them. With one last check of that list before I leave and lock the door, I can quickly sigh, thank my list and run back to my room and grab the toothbrush or the pj’s.

On that list for my holiday suitcase might also be some reading material, hat, sunnies and of course my travelling coffee kit. A holiday with bad coffee is a bad holiday. But Something that may not even get on the list is one’s Bible. One’s prayer list. Unless you put it on that list too.

The Bible and prayer list are probably the things that get skipped on most people’s list for a holiday.

Why is it so easy for me to drop this habit?

You see it’s holidays and holidays are meant to be time to liberate ourselves from all routines. Poo-Poo anything that vaguely resembles the mundane routines of the non-holiday life.

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7 Ways to Beat the Post Holiday Blues

Getting back on the horse after a break is often not easy.

Some of us never get a break, hello mums! But the vacation provides at least a break in routine.

Some of us love our jobs and find holidays an intrusion. Some of us just love holidays (Anton!). Most of us work because we must, not necessarily in jobs we love. Some of us are in Christian ministry and that can be very stressful. The thought of cranking up another year…all those kid’s clubs, all those small groups, all those camps, oh and by the way, we need to start planning the Christmas carols event again…in February! Yep, hello new year.

Coming off the holiday or Christmas vacation can be brutal. My family just got back a week ago and I got sick straight up, barely making it out of bed for a couple of days when we returned…at least there was cricket to watch. But that return home left us low. Like we were on some emotion-muting drug.

A friend of my wife who is also a psychologist posted some helpful tips on Facebook recently to help people deal with the let down of coming off holidays. I thought I’d share them and encourage you with one of my own thoughts.

I've also shared some personal reflections with my subscribers, so if you want to be part of that, just hit subscribe on this page.

7 Ways to Beat the Post-Holiday Blues

  1. Practice helpful self-talk such as not dwelling on what has come to an end. Instead remind yourself that it will come around again
  2. Consider how you might feel good at times when you are working again
  3. Remind yourself that it’s not black and white, that is, holidays are awesome and works sucks or I can only relax on holidays.
  4. Practice gratitude
  5. Connect socially face to face with family and friends and appreciate them
  6. Practice ’mindfulness’: Five things you can see. Four things you can feel. Three things you can hear. Two things you can smell. One thing you can taste
  7. Reduce alcohol intake. Cut back on the food and increase whole foods.

Finally, I want to add my own…Scripture.

I want to dwell more on in my next posts.

In essence, dwelling on God’s word is an essential, crucial ingredient to beating the post-holiday blues. Often we can let the reading of scripture and prayer slide off the menu in vacations and that only deepens the ‘blues’ or let down of coming back off holidays.

Christmas video course special (limited time) offer

christmas video course for kidsLooking to save time but do something fun and different that will teach kids the Christmas message?

Low on leaders this Christmas holidays?

Wanting something for your kids to watch, do and learn from on their ipads that will entertain and stretch them this Christmas?

 

Anton’s Star Struck Christmas Video Course is here!

Star Struck has existed as a live show for many years.

It’s also been a very popular sticker story for quite a while too.

Now it’s a comprehensive video course with support resources that will make any parent happy and any leader an instant star!

Star Struck Video Course follows on from (and includes) our recent parent training video:

"Shine a Fresh Light on the Old Christmas Story: Move Your Kids from Jealousy to Joy"

Now with the new video course you and your kids can go further into God's word with awesome features such as:

-Star Struck Feature Video

-Shine A Light Music Videos (with and without lyrics, Bonus kids vocal version)

- Teacher resource kit

-Kid’s activity pages

-Song audios and lyric pages

-Parent training video

-and more…

You can check out all the details on the landing page for the course right here:

Anton's Star Struck Video Course

You can even watch a short preview of the Feature video for kids right there on the course landing page!

The course will be offered with almost 40% discount until December 21st, 2017.

So, don't delay and turn up the joy in your Christmas with Anton's Star Struck Video Course

Stephen (aka Anton)

PPS: Please note that you can alsobuy Skito's 'Shine a Light'  song from other outlets, such as Amazon, Google as well as iTunes. So get among the fans, be an early adopter for your kids and start listening to some refreshingly fun, beats in your home, car or ministry.

PPS:Don't miss out on the early discount for the Star Struck video course here

Merry Christmas from Anton, Stephen and Skito!

Out Now! Fresh Christmas music for kids

Shin A Light SingleI’m super excited.

I love bringing Christian ministry to kids back into the home.

We’ve done that together with our deep dive training video, Shine a Light on the Old Christmas Story.

You’ve also been introduced to rapper, Skito, the third character of Anton’s Antics and his brand new music video for kids, Shine a Light

Make sure you’ve shown your kids the music video Shine a Light today!

WATCH SHINE A LIGHT MUSIC VIDEO

Please also share this music video with your friends so they can grab the song for their kids and start equipping their kids to move from jealousy to joy not just at Christmas time but as a life long skill.

The song is now officially released so do your kids a service this Christmas and go straight to iTunes now and get your copy of Shine a Light!

 

P.S. In a day or two I’ll be giving you heads up about getting access and a great early bird discount to the ‘Star Struck’ video course that you can use this Christmas or over the holidays.

P.P.S Here’s that link again to buy ‘Shine a Light’ for your kids on iTunes