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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Why we need to teach kids about irony

fidget spinnersThe latest craze to hit schools in Australia is fidget spinners. Essentially glorified ball bearings, normally hidden from view inside an engineering framework, now they’re in shops as a stand-alone item, glossed up and colourfully packaged to attract the attention of kids. They come in a range of styles and quality. Some spin effortlessly between your fingers for ages, without a noise. Others clunk away, feel cheap and stop well short of any spinning records.

Spinners are the latest cool thing to have in school and recently shops completely sold out of them in Sydney (“Fidget Spinners Taking Over the City”, SMH, May 7, 2017, p7). Originally intended to improve attention of kids with attention deficit disorder, now that everyone wants them, schools are having to create policies to restrict their use and some have even banned them from school. Why? Because kids are fidgeting with them in class! Oh, the irony.

IRONY- Why we should teach it to our kids

But here’s the thing…it’s worth discussing this current craze with your kids and getting them to think about ‘irony’. Irony is used by the Bible quite frequently to highlight the foolishness of the world’s thinking and direct us to a better path.

LOOK OUT: What’s the path we want our kids to follow in life? It’s the path to a healthy and productive life. This ‘good life’ comes from sticking to God’s path and avoiding worthless, harmful distractions. To this end, keep an eye out for a new course of Family Devotion videos I’m making for mums and dads to use with their kids. It’s going to teach your kids the Hebrew alphabet and how each letter directs us to the ‘good life’ God wants for us. It’s going to be awesome, 22 videos full of biblical, engaging, fun for your family.

How do I explain irony to kids?

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Why parents need to stop those chocolate fundraisers

So my daughter finished her project investigating the effects of sugar on the human body and walked in a day later with a giant box of fundraising chocolates.

Oh, the irony!

We want our kids to have healthy lives but it totally feels like we are swimming against a tsunami of sugar.

Is this kind of fundraising inevitable? What can we do about it?

Let’s begin by looking at why our kids are so quick to sign up for the choccy fundraiser before we consider what we can do about it.

First, we need to look at why do we do it. Why our kids just fall in line and don’t see the irony.

Peer pressure

If the sporting team your kid is on wants to raise money for the club using confection boxes, what chance have you got? You gotta support your team, right? No kid wants to stand out and be the only one poo pooing the fundraiser from their newly discovered high moral ground.

FOLDO

Fear of letting others down. Yep, we all do it. Someone asks us for help, they don’t think through the idea very well and we help them, cringingly, because we don’t want to let them down.

We’ve all been in the situation standing at our kids sporting event, focused on the game when we’re approached by kids selling chocolates from a giant box to raise money for the club. Even as parents we don’t want to let the team down. How can we be true supporters of the sport if we don’t buy the choccy? It’s for a good cause…what, are you tight fisted or something?

Sport wins over education

Why do advertisers promote cigarettes and alcohol at sport events? Because it works. Sport sells stuff. ‘You can power through your game’ with a boost from a sugar drink or an energy bar. Doesn’t matter what the health report says, sport wins.

But what kind of message is this saying: Isn’t it commending that ‘Sport and sugar’ go hand in hand and it’s good!

Perhaps I’m exaggerating, but don’t we think it’s important what products, food items included, are associated with our kid’s sport?

If they were alcohol or cigarettes, we’d be up in arms! Parents might like a beer while watching their kid’s game…but what would this be saying about the culture of the sport? Wouldn’t it commend alcohol to kids?

You see, association matters.

You might be able to rationalize it and think, ‘Ok my kid doesn’t eat the choccy, she just sells it’. Well, how is that any better? Encouraging other kids to eat it is hardly good for health promotion in our community. Remember, ‘love your neighbor’?

So, what can we do?

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How a homeschool mum became a martyr

If you’ve ever considered home-schooling your kids, I bet the possibility of martyrdom is probably not one of your biggest concerns. Yet, that’s exactly what one mom faced starting her own home-school in Afghanistan.

I read with horror and astonishment the story of Jamil Abraham and his wife, a Muslim scholar originally born in Afghanistan. They moved to Pakistan in 1992 during the civil war and while there his wife converted to Christianity through the witness of a Pakistani missionary. When they returned to Afghanistan in 1995 his wife gave birth to two daughters. However since Taliban regime was against girl’s education, his wife started an underground home-school for girls in Kabul. She also shared the Gospel with her students through the classes.

Isn’t this a wonderful reminder of the opportunity home-school parents have to ‘instruct their kids in the ways of the Lord’ that is quite unusual compared with regular-schooled kids. Of course, it is what you make it, right? Home-school or not, we as parents need to be proactive, use our time wisely and not let our teaching of our kids in the Lord, slip off the radar. This woman knew her highest goal. Education was very important but the sharing of the gospel in her home-school could not be sidelined, even with the threats from the Taliban.

Amazing right!? Let’s ask ourselves… ‘what do our actions in the home say about how important God’s word is in our family’s life?’ If we leave it to the church or the occasional prayer at the dinner table…what does that say about the importance of the Gospel for our family’s daily living? Remember our family is our ministry. We don’t get to choose; we’ve already chosen and God has given us this fantastic opportunity to shepherd our kids through His word.

Parents need easy, resources that work!

Of course, parents need help; they need simple ways of grabbing their kid’s attention and getting them engaged in God’s word.

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How to 'make do' with your imperfect family (or ministry!)

Ever felt like your family is never on top of things?

Do you wish your kids, your husband, your home or your life were different?

I have a new mantra for your family but it could also apply to your ministry at church if you have one:

“Embrace the imperfect”

“Finished is a fallacy”

Do you like the sound of these sentiments?

I actually got these from an interior design article!

But what I loved about them was how they could become a useful life philosophy.

Aren’t we often tempted to look sideways and compare ourselves with other mums, dads and families?

We compare where our kids are up to, our work, our homes, our holidays our marriages. Facebook and Instagram have connected us even more closely to other families making their ‘glamorous’ lives filled with incredible cooking, awesome holidays and award winning school kids unavoidable.

But what use is there in comparing?

‘Work with what you have!’

Why try and live a life or be another family or, as was the purpose of this article I read, design a home in another’s shoes? Each family is unique. You are the first one of your kind. Your family is your own creation.

Now granted the article was about some guys beach house, where ‘permission to be imperfect’ is granted and often part of the charm. Isn’t it refreshing to go out the city and into some village or cove and stay in a place that works its charm on you with what it has, not what it hasn’t? When you let, a place speak to you and inform you over time, you gain empathy for it and work with it, not against it. Plus, and perhaps more importantly, it’s about your family’s interaction with the space and the dialogue that takes place over time that makes the home…a home. We need to respect that unique dialogue and let it inform and shape our home, the way our family works, not try and be something we can’t or aren’t.

You see people all the time putting in the latest style of kitchen layout, ripping up the floors, going on trend with their bathrooms…but does it really work for their space they have and their needs? Pursuing the next thing just puts us on the joyless treadmill of comparison.

Instead how about trying this mantra:

“that will do”

It’s not an excuse to be lazy or justify mess and lack of love. It’s not about being mediocre because you don’t want to excel. It’s a choice to let your family be and not try and live someone else’s life. It’s about finding your home’s quirks both in terms of formal structure and the personalities living in it.

This kind of ‘undecorating’ interior design philosophy recommends considering the ‘existing conditions’ and advises us to stop ‘lamenting the things you can’t change’.

So let’s start with your family…

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Too much sugar? How to protect your kids from sugar addiction

One of my kids recently did a research project on kids eating too much sugar.

You see Australia is having a discussion about the introduction of a possible sugar tax.

Do you think your kids eat too much sugar? Who can help? What can you do?

Here’s some stats gleaned from an up-to-date news article:

  • Men aged 14-18 years averaged 92grams or 21 teaspoons of free sugars/day (10% consume 160g/day). However, the recommended average consumption per day is just 6 teaspoons.
  • Australia is among the leading markets for sugary beverages, consumed by 47% of kids and 31% of adults.
  • In 2011-12 Australians consumed an average of 60g of free sugar per day (14 teaspoons of white sugar), with 52grams coming from added sugars in energy dense nutrient poor discretionary foods and beverages.

(“Sweet Relief: sugar tax plan for a fat nation”; The Sydney Morning Herald, February 18-19, 2017 p6-7)

Cumulative evidence links weight gain, diabetes and dental problems with sugary drinks.

So, would a tax like we have on tobacco and alcohol curb consumption or shape our behaviour?

Immediately after forming her opinion she started finding food items in our pantry and identified their sugar content. Armed with the knowledge of what is an appropriate or safe daily sugar intake, she was surprised to see how much sugar was in so many foods that she enjoyed.

You see, you can think you are being reasonably healthy until you do some homework and realise that your sugar intake is considerable.

What did my daughter decide on the idea of a sugar tax? 

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How to Grow Godly Kids

Growing Godly Kids SP-500x280 pixelsThere’s so many distractions plying for kid’s attention and hearts.

If we don’t proactively teach our kids how to engage with tough issues, then someone else’s thinking will fill the void and steal them away. The cost of them losing faith in Jesus is huge.

Perhaps you’re stretched thin over many responsibilities and want to drastically reduce your preparation time?

Maybe you’re a busy parent and left it to the church to look after your child’s faith?

Or perhaps you grab whatever you can and try your best to pastor your kids but you’d like more clarity and focus, but don’t know where to find it?

You’re not alone and there is a way forward!

What we want is to feel organised and confident that we are doing a great job to equip kids to follow the Lord and make wise decisions.

But their pressing educational requirements and the cut and thrust of ministry leadership can soak up a lot of our time and energy.

I've got a special solution to help you but its only available for a limited time...

What if you could be ‘killing two birds with one stone’?

That’s why I shared Anton’s Free preview course of videos with you.

The first video, “Are the Bible Stories About Jesus True?” showed how we could be equipping your kids to make wise decisions. Plus, there was a free e-activity booklet so you, with little or no preparation, could reinforce and expand the video into a full lesson.

With my Quick Sketch Tutorial (video 2, Drawing Backgrounds) I showed you how to be more effective in your communication of God’s word. Plus, the same video could be used to encourage your own kids to improve their drawing skills.

Our third, Family Devotion video set down the foundations of a healthy and productive life being God’s law, through an engaging, voice over-sketch devotional video. You can build up your school ministry or encourage your own family or the families in your whole church by showing this third video in the series.

Wait, isn’t that killing 3 birds!?

“Could it really be possible that I could have access to a video series for kids that will teach them to make wise decisions and drastically reduce my preparation time, saving me energy for other things?”

The answer is YES!

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Free Kid’s Video: Is the Bible true?

freekidsvidcourseblogThere are so many distractions trying to grab our kid’s minds and hearts.

We want our kids to be strong in faith and character so they make wise decisions in life.

But it doesn’t happen automatically.

Trying to juggle all their educational requirements can make us feel overwhelmed and guilty we’re not doing enough.

But you’re not alone and there is a way forward!

I want to lighten your load.

No more guessing or hoping the kids are alright.

Let’s get organised, take control and kill a few birds with one stone!

 How I’d like to help you

When I was studying at Bible college, about 10 years ago now, my first kid was born. I was kind of freaked out. She was so fragile. So precious. I knew then that I wanted to somehow impart to my kids the tools for walking in the ‘’wild world’’. This of course means making the Bible their ‘’go-to’’ source of wisdom in life and behaviour; but that is easier said than done. It certainly doesn’t happen just because we ‘hope’ it will. Parents and kids’ ministry leaders need support; they need content that really ‘works’ and makes their job easier.

Here’s where we begin:

Today, I am going to help you answer a tough question that threatens to undermine the very foundation of every kid’s faith:

 “Are the stories about Jesus true?

How do we know? How do we explain that to kids?"

 "Is it True?" is a FREE video from me to you that I’ve been working on using my drawing skills, Anton’s crazy antics and a little help from rapper, Skito.

 I think your kids will have fun with this video and it will help you discuss this question in a direct, no-fuss, engaging way.

I’ve also got a FREE activity booklet to go with it…so be sure to open your next email from me!

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Are the kids alright?

We all want what is best for our kids, but how do we know if they’re doing Ok?

I'm working on something special that I believe will help parents raise their kids to be strong in faith when I read this article about a new art exhibition that set my wheels spinning a little faster...check it out:

I love art and want my kids to appreciate art in any form they can. We take them to galleries, plays and like many a tired parent, we slog away at making them practice their musical instruments!  

The other day I read about a famous art gallery in Tasmania (MONA) known for its alternative and some might say risky art installations. MONA has recently sought four well known professors to co-curate an exhibition exploring the origins of creativity and art. (‘’Seeking the Source’’, Sydney Morning Herald, Spectrum, March 11-12, 2017, p10).

The origins of creativity

The reviewer of the exhibition was blunt in his assessment: ‘’Realistically, there was never any chance of reaching conclusions about the origin of art, especially through the medium of an exhibition. We may at least be thankful that one museum was crazy enough to make an attempt”. It seems that the exhibitions of the four curators often reflected their tastes, and helped little to explain origins. The exhibition’s selection of curators also appears based on the gallery’s assumption that the origin of art must lay upon evolutionary theory. Curiously not a single curator brings a theological perspective, a spiritual source for creativity.

I'll have art please, but without God thanks

When we think about art, isn’t it impossible to think of Italy? When you think of Italy, you think of art inspired by faith. Giant frescoes, the Sistine Chapel, the statue of David and on and on in every corner of the country and almost exclusively this art was inspired by Christianity. Yet here we seem to have a modern art exhibition with its blinkers on, denying ‘intrusion’ from perhaps the greatest work of art that has influenced the world, The Bible. MONA sets up the ground rules, ‘’Let’s discover the origins of art, minus God, please’.

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Parents in Mosul defeat IS: Why parents have the power to change the course of history

Here’s something to encourage you as a parent. If you’re not a parent but ministering to kids, then this will be a strong reminder of the value and power in parenting.

If you thought parenting could get tough, check out what some parents faced in Mosul under IS.

Imagine for a moment that you have kids and they are going to the local school. What if the school your kids went to directly undermined everything you wanted your kid to know and do?
I mean, how bad could it get? When would you pull them out?

Schools under IS became overt indoctrination cells
 “Outside in the cement schoolyard the men held Sami as the rest of the school gathered to watch…One of the men raised his sword and hacked off Sami’s head”. Sami was Shiite and considered under IS rule, an apostate, punishable by death. “They told us to learn like this. This is how to cut people’s heads off’’ (‘The Innocents’, The Sydney Morning Herald, News Review, March 4-5, 2017 p26)
Some had initially welcomed IS in Iraq’s Sunni majority north in 2014. But then things changed and within months, it soured. Police and military officials were killed, prices went up, food became more scarce and then they started enforcing dress codes, beards and banning TV, smoking and mobile phones. All the while the IS soldiers smoked, watch tele and sat on their phones. Go figure.

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God moments and treating your family to scabies

God moments and treating scabies in your familyMan, I’m itchy!
Look at these raised red bumps!
I’m sure that’s a mosquito bite. Or maybe an insect got at me in the garden the other day when I was building those stairs?

I don’t like admitting to health issues. I like to consider myself immune from all ailments facing humanity. I live in denial. But then I got itchy. Not just the occasional mosquito bite itchy that goes away after a day or so. No this was perpetual itchy and new spots appearing each day. How could that be since I hadn’t been out at night the day before? Maybe it was eczema. Oh, yes, I do suffer from that, though I try to forget. Glad it’s under control. Boy I feel for those poor babies born with it, at least mine cranked up in later life and not when I was a tot wrapped up in linen.
The internet is a wonderful place for self-diagnosis…if you get it right! My fears started to be confirmed…this could be scabies!

I read that you should wash your sheets and clothes in hot water. That got me thinking…perhaps I could try blasting the beggars with hot water by having super-hot showers. Take that you sucker! But then learnt that maybe warm water was better? Then I started wearing insect repellent all over just to give them ‘’a shot across the bow’’ to let them know that I knew what they were up to and hoped they’d move on.

Praying for a God moment
Then I prayed...

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