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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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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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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