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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I didn't get the big 'amen' in church

I was leading prayer in church the other day and when I finished I noticed this unusual hush. Normally when someone gets up and leads us in prayer, we all say a nice ‘amen’ at the end. It’s basically a way of saying ‘we all agree’ and that we’re in this together even though someone else is doing all the out loud words. But here’s the thing, when if finished, the ‘amen’ bit from the congregation was barely audible. It’s a bit like when you say to someone, ‘I love you’ and you don’t hear a reply. It’s a pretty big motza ball you got out there! You wonder, ‘did I say something wrong?’

Maybe it’s the Aussie laziness in my speech that left people wondering…’is that the end?’

Aussies are known for trailing off and not really finishing our sentences. ‘What did you get up to today?’ ‘Oh I went out and drove to the beach then I got a few….’ The meaning is clear enough, so we don’t bother properly concluding. Maybe I trailed off in my prayer and people weren’t sure that I’d finished. But I don’t think so, I gave a reasonably good prayer ‘wind up’ cue.

One of the reasons I don’t like doing public prayers or being the ‘MC’ for that matter, is that for me as soon as I’m on stage, it’s hard to stop the performer in me. It’s like a switch that goes on as soon as I’m on stage. I keep wondering to the Lord as I pray…’am I performing again?’. I reluctantly do the service but you see if I don’t get the big amen…well it’s like not getting the applause at the end of a show. You must wonder…did I do something wrong? It’s not that I need the applause or recognition, far from it. But I can’t escape the room, the stage and what that means in my bones.

What does the good life look like?

Many of you will know that I’ve been building a video series for family devotions called ‘Anton’s A-Z to the Good Life’. Anton and I are doodling our way through each stanza of Psalm 119, learning the Hebrew alphabet and reflecting on each letter’s significance for the good life. For my prayer at church I decided to base the prayer around the letter ‘Tet’ and the verse of Psalm 119:71

One word that gets repeated in this stanza that begins with ‘Tet’ is the Hebrew word Tov, often translated as ‘good’.

One particular verse stood out to me that uses this word was Psalm 119:71

‘It was good for me to go through a tough time so I might learn your laws’

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The scourge of sleep over parties

I never liked the sleep over party.

As a kid, I soon learnt that my bed was the best place to be not someone’s dusty rumpus room floor.

It’s not just the sleep over that I dislike. It’s the fact that our kids and their friends still expect birthday invites, presents and parties in their teens.

When I was a kid, we got a birthday party in primary school. Maybe an outing for our final year. But high school? I don’t remember a single party. If we wanted to celebrate it would be a not particularly memorable day organised by ourselves, at the beach or a trip to the movies for our 16th . Not so today…there’s no sign of the invitation, party, present thing stopping once kids finish primary school. Presents…I don’t remember those after primary school, not from friends anyway, maybe one from mum and dad but that was it.

Why don’t we as parents just say, ‘hang on a minute…wait! That’s it guys…no more parties…until your 21!

Is it because we don’t want our kids to grow up?

Perhaps, and I get that.

Or is it helicoptering parenting trying to control the inevitable celebration by having it on site?

Yep, and I get that too. If they're willing to stay home and party with us as chaperones, why knock it back?

Or is it our guilt, you know like we don't want to think of ourselves as bad parents because we won't put parties on anymore?

Could it be that our kids are actually better off with us encouraging them to stand a little more on their own two feet?

I don’t mind my kids going out with their friends to the movies or somewhere fun, but the days of us funding the whole scheme is over baby!

Now the sleepover is a cheapy, so why not support that? I mean how hard can it be right…just kids sleeping on your floor?

We tried very hard to discourage our kids from sleepovers and now that they have finally lifted the hood on them, we are all agreed: Sleepovers are dumb.

Here’s 10 reasons why:

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How to keep your family spiritually fit

Just the other day a friend with kids was telling me how he wanted to be more purposeful about leading his family in a spiritual way, but wasn’t clear on what that might look like.

Finding a good routine to keep your family spiritually fit, that your kids enjoy as well, is no easy feat.

What if I could give you a fresh routine your kids will enjoy, that will nourish your family spiritually and take out the heavy lifting for you?

Sound cool?

It’s called Anton's A-Z to a Good Life

It’s a brand-new, 23-part video course that will create a new routine for you and make it easy for you to be purposeful and encourage your kids spiritually.

Plus, built into every video is a bit of educational fun. Your child will learn the letters of the Hebrew alphabet!

Two really important things about this course right now...

1. FREE PREVIEW – I’ve made it super easy for you to try before you buy with a couple of free preview videos. But you only have 2 more days to use the FREE Trial.

2. LIMITED TIME 50% OFF SUBSCRIBER ONLY OFFER

I’m launching this course to you at the not to be repeated rate of 50% off! The course includes 23 videos (about 2.5-3 hours viewing!) and each video contains bite size entertainment that will both educate your children and stimulate them into godliness.

Let me do some heavy lifting for you with a fun course that will also help your kids keep learning without them even knowing’ it!

But you’ll need to be a subscriber and act fast as this is a one-time offer and it’ll be gone after Midnight This Friday 16th June @ 2pm, 2017 (Sydney Time)

How Anton’s A-Z to a Good Life works:
Anton and I will be sketching and exploring Psalm 119 through each letter of the Hebrew alphabet. The course includes an introduction/orientation video and 22 further videos covering the entire Psalm and letters of the Hebrew alphabet (upon which Psalm 119 is built). Your kids will learn each letter, how to write it, how to say it and how it helps us understand the ‘good life’.

This is a subscriber only special offer.

So join Anton’s community by subscribing to www.antonsantics.com now and check out the FREE video previews before they're gone!

Women, you’re better than this

Is it just me or is the whole world agreed that to be equal, women must behave the same as men?

It seems a woman is not equal with a man until she can waltz into the office and say alright you ‘f*#$$%#@ time to pull the finger out’.

Some celebrate this increase in females swearing as progress in the name of equality. Profanity equates power and so as women seek to rise to the same levels of leadership in the world, so they must, it is reasoned begin swearing like troopers. (“Swearing by It”, Sunday Life, by Tracey Spicer, May 28, 2017).

As we continue to define equality as ‘sameness’ we keep wanting men and women to be no different. Hence, if the men swear, so should the women. No-one asks the men to stop swearing and get a thesaurus. Some even argue it’s good for the kid’s vocab and playground assertiveness! Women, you’re better than this.

SPOILER: DON'T MISS the upcoming release of Anton's inaugural family devotion video series. Don't we need help to define God's way and make it relevant for our kids in these times? Just today I was doodling one of the videos in its early stages and began exploring the issues of equality, marriage and purpose in today's world. They're going to be a super way to work through the Bible together easily as a family.

Porn, now swearing...what's next?

A while back I remember writing about porn. Women it seems are growing in their consumption of porn. What was a primarily a male pursuit, now is being normalized into female behaviour. People cheer this outcome saying that it heralds another chapter in making women equal with men. But all it does is further debase women and lower them to the rung that men have stooped. Apparently, women have recently overtaken men in the swearing stakes, with the f-word used 540 times per million by men compared with 546 times among women.

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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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