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 doesn't God do miracles so we can believe?

You’re drowning in the surf and what do you think about? How foolish you are or perhaps you feel embarrassed that you’re going to need rescue?

Apparently, that’s common to all surf drown survivors. But what if there’s no sign of a rescue?

You need a miracle right? Something miraculous would not only be life saving, but forever life changing one would think.

Many of us, including our kids have asked... ''if only God did something miraculous in front of me, then I'd be sure, then I'd have no trouble believing!''

I read a story in the paper recently of a young girl whose spontaneous dash into the sea on a remote Victorian beach quickly got her in danger. She got dumped then dragged into a rip that took her out to sea. The more she tried to get back in, the less progress she made and after a few hours, was becoming exhausted.

Safety tip for parents: As a surfer, myself I know the dangers and benefits of rips. It’s important to teach your kids about rips and help them understand where to look for them and most importantly how to avoid them and get out of them. The best thing to do when stuck in a rip is not swim back into the beach against the rip current but swim across the rip until you hit the breakers again and let them push you in to the shore.

While the fear pulses through her body, she is physically and mentally more in the moment than she has ever been in her whole life. Yet her brain, part of it, roams across time and as it does, her life passes before her eyes.

“I got a reel of my life that was completely unsentimental and truer than any reflections I’d had before. Maybe because of the concentration of time-that you know you only have a tiny bit left-there’s no self-delusion. It wasn’t just a narrative. It was heavily laden with all sorts of judgement calls and moral assessments and a very keen awareness of being answerable to something. I was agnostic but I had such a spiritual experience with this drowning”. (Good Weekend, Sydney Morning Herald, February 11, 2016 p23.)

She saw her life flash in front of her. Her worst moments. Her regrets. Her highs and lows. Where she had been kind and where she had been cruel. An incredibly sure feeling of being weighed and found wanting confronted her.

Then she prayed…for a miracle.

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Ten tips for answering tough questions from kids

I’m leading a devotion time at a Christian school. I think, these guys are nearly finished high school, maybe they can choose the Bible passage and talk about it today. And guess what they choose? John 3:16? No. Too easy. Hard to interpret apocalyptic oracles? Nup. Sexually charged metaphors from Ezekiel…yes!

So, what do I do?
What would you do?

You could choose another passage and say ‘thanks guys, but I’m disappointed in you, this is not time to have a giggle’.
But then I thought about the question or issue that was at the top of their minds but wasn’t being asked.

Often tough questions are easier to spot. Kids just ask them straight up, like ‘’what happens after we die?” or ‘’why does God allow suffering?”

I’ve written and performed a few shows for Anton’s Antics covering tough questions and recently we started working on a new show for the online screen. I reckon we should do more of them; online videos answering tough questions for kids. What do you think?

But what do you do right now if you get a toughy thrown at you?
Here’s a quick guide to answering tough questions from kids.


Ten tips for answering kid’s tough questions

1.Encourage curiosity
First, if you have kids asking you tough questions, that’s great. Don’t want to extinguish that flame! In our teaching either as a leader or parent, we need to be reading the Bible with a questioning mind. If we are curious readers, it will show in the way we teach others…and that will make for curious kids. We don’t want passive kids that just accept everything. What we want is engaged kids who can teach themselves from the Bible by following our example of curiosity.

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What every parent wants

Overwhelmed? Tired? Stressed? Not enough hours in the day?

Every parent feels this at times, if not most.

Once you have kids, you’re effectively living another life, a baby’s, a toddler’s, a teenager’s. I remember when my kids were very little, you had to do everything three or four times. You see, it’s not just your shoes you put on each day but your kids. And that applies to so many other things. Urggh.

In all the demands, it’s easy to lose sight of the most important and then feel guilty about it.

We need things that lighten our load, simplify life and make it easier for us to be effective with the things that matter most.

In this post I’m going to kick the year off by reminding ourselves of the most significant ministry we have as parents and let you in on a secret that is going to lighten the burden.

Our greatest goal as parents

Last weekend our minister pointed out from Philippians, how it’s easy for our prayers to get stuck on our kid’s happiness, security, health, balance and good friendships. Every parent wants what is best for their kids. Now the above things are good things but not the greatest thing.

Here’s the verse that shows us the greatest thing for our kids:

“And this is my prayer: that your love abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ- to the glory and praise of God” Philippians 1:9-11

The greatest service and job if you like, we have as parents is to our spouse and kids. Our mission is to see them wise in Christ, with a faith that leads to loving obedience.

But we feel guilty. Why?

Life overwhelms us.

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How to restart your year and fight ‘Blue Monday’

how to restart your year and fight blue mondayGetting back on the horse after a nice break from routine can be tough. Urgghh.

How do you get started again, where do you find the mojo?

Whether you're heading back to the office, rebooting your homeschool or trying to motivate the little entrepreneur inside to get back to it...here's a few tips I hope will encourage you.

Perhaps like me, you thought you’d be more organised, more on top of where you need to be by now. But the Christmas -New Year holiday period was different this year, a family illness, a broken holiday, some unfinished home renovations that made for probably the most chaotic Christmas we’ve ever had. No, that's not snow on the Christmas tree, its dry wall dust. And on the floor and EVERYWHERE!

Behind, that’s where I feel I am. Sound familiar?

On top of my ministry to kids making online videos and live show performances, I work part time as a barista, making coffee for all the tradespeople from 5:30am. It’s amazing how quiet it’s been over the first few weeks of January. Now the tradies are starting to come back to work and it’s funny to see the look of devastation on their faces as they square up to ‘the grind’ of daily work after the Christmas shut down. Perhaps they can see it in my face too.

Blue Monday

Blue Monday they now call it. The third Monday in January that is claimed to the most dreaded and depressing day of the year. ‘’More than half of Australians are dreading the thought of going back to the office, and the feeling is more intense the younger you are’’ (Blue Monday worst for Younger Workers, Sydney Morning Herald 15/01/17). Well we're in the throws of that week now, how are you going?

As I make those coffees there is this bus stop across the road and during school terms there are hordes of kids getting on buses plastered with massive advertising banners for university. They all promise the holy grail of a fulfilled life with slogans such as ‘’Find your ‘Why’’”.

Wow, that’s a big promise. Why am I here? What is my purpose in life? Way too much for any institution to bear and our kids are destined for disappointment if they swallow it.

‘’We’ve primed (millennials) to be more impatient, that you get right to that meaningful job straight away”. Consequently, they hit a brick wall when the finish university and start the slog in their so-called dream career.

The vanity of ‘why’

What can we do to prepare our kids for this inevitable disappointment?

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How Mel Gibson just made my Christmas

How mel gibson made my ChristmasWhat if I could give you one idea, one thing, that would be the best gift this Christmas or make anyone’s New Year resolution so simple and just awesome?

 

What is it? Where can you buy it?

 

Mel Gibson. 

 

Well, its not just Mel. It’s a verse from Scripture that I saw beautifully exposited in Mel’s latest movie, Hacksaw Ridge.

 

I don’t often get to see movies when they hit the big screen. But with wife away, I had the glorious opportunity of sitting in a cinema with a massive screen all to myself…almost. There was one dude who came in and put his feet on the seats near me…come on mate, there’s a whole cinema here…spread out dude. Then there was the chippy muncher who slid in a bit later. Followed by, as the movie started, the couple who thought it was Ok to chat for the first 3 minutes of Mel’s contemplative beginning where if you’re not careful you’ll miss the verse of Scripture that I’m so keen to share with you:

 

“Do you not know? Have you not heard?

The LORD is the everlasting God, the creator of the ends of the earth.

He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no-one can fathom.

He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.

Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall;

but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength,

They will soar on wings like eagles;

they will run and not grow weary,

they will walk and not be faint”

Isaiah 40:28-31

 

Familiar right?

A very famous passage, but how beautiful are those words.

So what's different about these familiar words that I feel so strongly about?

I want you to hold these dear wherever you are at this Christmas. Maybe everything is fine; maybe life is falling apart. The point is look at the vigour of young people, then realise that even they grow faint under the harshest circumstances. But not so those whose hope is in Jesus. You can be 102 or mid-llfe and fighting cancer. Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. You have to see the movie to see what I mean. When all the strong fail, the weak who have faith rise on the wings of eagles. True story, wonderful testimony.

 

Mel’s story is a war story, so girls, be warned this movie is pretty full on, may not be you're cup of tea, but for the men in your life, it’s worth the effort, if not for yourself. Make a good Chrissy gift for him. Definitely don’t take your kids.

 

The LORD, Jesus is the greatest gift. In the new year, make sure your hope, your strength remains in Him. He's more than a match for whatever is coming your way.

 

Thanks for sticking with us throughout 2016. What’s 2017 got in store for you?

 

I’m looking forward to next year. Anton’s got some big plans: Online content that will really benefit your family, your ministry. It’ll take time, but we’ll get there with your input. Exciting stuff.

 

But right now me and my family need some real R&R, so I’m gonna take a little break from blogging and catch up with you in the new year, January some time.

 

Merry Christmas from Anton, Stevo and Skito!

Free Christmas gift for you!

Free Kids Christmas story videoIs it possible that my kids could be taking a fresh look at the Bible’s Christmas story this year through a FREE live action video using fun characters, live drawings and rap music? The answer is, Yes!

Ever struggled to explain the importance of the Christmas story in a way that is relevant to your kids?

Want to break the boredom and not hear your kids say, ’yeah we know that old story’ and instead engage them in a completely fresh approach that shows how recent political elections are the perfect backdrop to Christmas?

Then make sure you sign up for Free access to ‘Who’s For You?’, a free live action video from Anton’s Antics available for a limited time.

Get the FREE Christmas video from Anton here!

You'll need to enter your email, but don't worry, Anton will make it worth your while and we don't do spam.

Plus I'm keen to hear what kind of content you're missing. What are the Bible focussed videos and resources you would like to see online in 2017 from Anton? I want to make resources that will help parents in the home raise godly kids. If I can do that, ministries like churches and schools will naturally benefit too. But I want to see parents equipped to be thoroughly purposeful in 2017. 

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Give the real Christmas away to your kids

Want to get your kids engaged in the real meaning of Christmas

 

Do you ever struggle to explain the importance of the Christmas story to your kids? 

 

With all the glitz, gifts and Santa/reindeer stories, wouldn't it be great to have something tangible, fun and inexpensive we could give our kids that took them into the meaning of the Bible's well known stories? 

 

I've seen people photocopy colour in sheets from the internet for their church to give the kids something to fill in time on Christmas day services.They’re hardly inspiring and usually teach the kids very little.

 

In the home we can be so busy eating, gifting and stressing over the day that we barely mention Jesus. So before you get to the day, here’s a solution.

 

What we need is activities they enjoy that actually mean something and help them understand the real meaning behind Christmas.

 

Over the past 4 or 5 years I’ve been publishing a range of mini-stories packed with activities and even  stickers to make sure kids interact playfully with the real Christmas story.

 

Antons’ sticker story range will make your job a lot easier. They’re simple, four page stories that retell the Christmas event from different Biblical narratives and perspectives.

 

Which real Christmas story should you give away this year?

 

We’ve got all the main Christmas narratives from the Bible covered and each one give kids enjoyable activities to complete and makes the importance of the event easy to understand.

  • Discover the importance of Mary and Joseph’s surprise pregnancy…with ‘The Visitor’
  • See God’s trustworthiness unfold to some common shepherds outside Bethlehem…in‘The Shepherd and the King’.
  • Follow the wise men’s journey to discover why they came to worship a little baby in ‘Star Struck’
  • And with all the elections going on recently, don’t miss  out on showing your kids what a great leader Jesus is in ‘Who’s for You?’

All versions come with before school and school age versions*

 

Check the Christmas range out now and order with free postage for 2 packs or more (Australia wide only)

 

Order the devotional packs and get a range of both Christmas and year round sticker stories for your families

 

Family Devotion packs are available in both before school and school age packs here, check them out!

 

*star struck school age out of print.

 

Shop now for sticker stories

Is Santa real? What parents should tell their kids about Santa

I’m being asked to perform Anton’s Antics for a large private school in Sydney but before they confirm the booking there’s a catch. They want me to give an outline of what I’ll be teaching. Fair enough you say, so do I. But here’s the thing.  It’s not a concern over what part of the Bible I’ll be teaching from or what topic I might cover. It’s not about whether the show will fit or enhance the school values. It’s not about whether what I’ll say will be doctrinally sound. No. The big skeleton in the closet is something far more sinister.

 

What is it?

“What will you say about Santa? Will you tell the kids he doesn’t exist?”

 

You can hear my gasp of relief…that’s the biggy!?

 

They’re worried that Anton come and spoil Christmas by saying there is no Santa. I thought I was going to be grilled about doctrine or about how I might present Mary Us Protestants aren’t known for giving her much of the limelight. But no, it’s not a concern about Mary’s portrayal or what Christmas is really about, it’s a concern that the school might be embarrassed and be having to apologise to family’s they love and support because some goose came in and spoiled the fun.

 

Fair concern it is and I’m glad to say, Anton is no party pooper when it comes to Santa. Folks, Santa really exists for Anton and he can’t wait for Christmas day.

 

What's your family's take on Santa? 

 

How do you make the real Christmas complement and not compete with Santa?

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How to teach kids Christmas

Cue cute sheep, glamorous wise men and a comfy looking manger under a brilliant star and you’ll deliver the expected, the predictable.

Read on if you’d like to:
-    Teach the Christmas story in a fresh way that will make your community listen again
-    Truly engage kids through enjoyable activities that are purposeful not just filling in time
-    Give parents talking points and even resources they can use to reinforce the Christmas story at home

Now let me apologise and say it is OK to go cute and predictable. Look at Carols in the Myer music bowl in Melbourne. Same-same every year. People love that sentimentality. People come back every year for that same singer, singing that same song at the same time on the same night for the past 20 years.

But here’s the downside. You might not be heard. You might just reinforce people’s comfort and artificial appropriation of Christianity for one night. Yep, just like the syncretistic Israelites in Solomon’s latter days, people will worship anything for a night if you don’t raise the stakes.

Want to do more than just entertain people for a night with sentimental memories of a bygone era and reinforce their attitudes that the Bible promotes an outdated faith?

Ofcourse you do.

So how do you take a fresh look at Christmas?

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Trump or Clinton: Why parents should teach their kids about politics

clinton trump splitMost of us would prefer to ignore politics. In the US people have the luxury or some would say disadvantage of non compulsory voting. In Australia we winge about having to vote especially in light of recent years where no particular party seems worthy or capable of running the country. With all the media attention it’s impossible for our kids neither to have noticed the US election nor to have missed the name Donald Trump.

Our attitudes towards politics and government will also shape what our kids make of them.

Is there anything good about human government?

Should we vote? Should we teach our kids it’s a waste of time?

What is the role model we should be offering our kids on politics?

Christmas will soon follow the current political race in the US (but not before Thanksgiving) and the great thing about having all this political election stuff going on is that it actually ties into Christmas really nicely. I was so struck by the political nature of Christmas I wrote a live show and publish a sticker story for kids to enjoy that  highlights this key aspect of Christmas. Both the live show and the sticker story are called ‘Who’s For You?’

Why politics is essential to understand Christmas

Christmas is ‘the greatest political event of the all time’, yet we rarely hear or see anyone talk about it in such terms. Sure we see rustic mangers and sheep, wise men and moving stars, but not voting booths or polling banners. What, you didn’t see those in the gospels too?

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