Welcome to the easiest family devotional you’ll ever come across- Marshmallow Madness! There are many wonderful devotions available, but these are for those of us ~myself included~ who have the best intentions but just can’t seem to get it together. We can do this!

I challenge you to spend 20 minutes a week being intentional about passing your faith onto your kids
           …and all you need is a bag of marshmallows.

This week: Wise Words

applesnewYou’ll need mini-marshmallows, an apple and something sweet and sticky like honey, jam or peanut butter.. For younger children, slice the apples yourself just before the snack, and provide each child with their own “lips”, some marshmallows and whatever sticky ingredient you’ve decided on. Not only are these mouths fun to make, they taste delicious. Personally, I recommend peanut or almond butter.

It’s a good idea to look up the Bible verse BEFORE the assemblling of the snack, or else have cloths available to wash up sticky fingers. If you look up the verses together before hand, it’s handy to be able to discuss them during snack assembly.

Study the scriptures below with the kids. Have a contest to see who can find the verses fastest. Younger kids can be paired up with older siblings or parents. Ask them why these verses go with the snack. You might be surprised at the insights your children have on the subject of kind words. What are sweet words? How can words be healthy for our bodies?

Psalm 119:103 (NIV)   How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!

Proverbs 16:24 (NLT)  Kind words are like honey—  sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.

For older kids, challenge them with an extra twist:  In addition to the tasty treats, create one apple snack but instead of spreading the apple with a sweet sauce, use hot sauce instead. If you have a child in love with hot sauce you could use vinegar, baking soda, or worchestershire perhaps? Challenge them to have a bite. What’s the principle here? A little bit of harshness ruined all the sweetness. We can’t mix good and bad words, praise and cursing.

James 3:10 (NIV) Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be.

Here are some more scriptures for discussion, if time allows:

Ephesians 4:29 (ESV) Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.

Ephesians 5:4 (AMP) Let there be no filthiness (obscenity, indecency) nor foolish and sinful (silly and corrupt) talk, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting or becoming; but instead voice your thankfulness [to God].

Colossians 3:8 (ESV) But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth.

Let’s use our mouths to bring sweetness and life to others!

Finish off with a quick family prayer. God cares about every area of our lives, let’s encourage the children to pray about whatever is on their hearts. Keep a prayer journal and each week add in your prayers. Your kids will grow stronger in their faith when they can look back and see what the Lord has done.

How did this work for you? Did you adapt it to fit your family?

ImageFREE Parenting Resource Feb 14-17!

This book is perfect for busy families!  There are 8 chapters- each introduced with a relatable story that you really CAN read to the kids. The chapters are stand-alone so you can select which topic your family should work on first.

Some topics are: how to stop yelling, making discipline time work, dealing with anger in children, helping kids change bad habits, and encouraging children to listen.

As a parenting coach, these are the most common areas I am asked to help with. This book gets right to the heart of the issue and offers practical tips that you can use immediately.

I highly recommend getting a copy- and you can download it for free from Feb 14-17th.  Please share this great deal with everybody you know!

Click here to download.

Ding! Ding!

In this corner, we have “Getting out the door in the morning!” In the other corner, we have “Bed time!

Standing in the other corner is “Coming home from school!” and in our final fourth corner, we have… “Meal Times!

These can be fun family moments, instead of what feels like 12 rounds for the heavyweight title. This two hour training session will show you how to create a realistic routine, that will tear down the boxing ring! Get equipped to win for your family!

Monday, January 20th at 7pm at at Regina Apostolic Church (808 Assiniboine Ave. E.)

If you would like more information about the workshop or have any registration, payment, or childcare questions, please call 306.789.1772 and ask for Mackenzie (Family LIFE Administrative Assistant). Cost is only $20 per person or $30 per couple and supervised childcare is included so register the kids! Register online today at www.familyliferegina.com or phone Regina Apostolic Church 306-789-1234.

The latest Milk Bone ad is troubling me. Each time I see it, my annoyance increases. I’m not against dogs, although I don’t own one, but apparently I’m emotionally attached to this commercial.  You know, the one where the mother gets home from work and greets her dog with a Milk Bone dog biscuit.  Have a look:

Let’s follow this path in terms of parenting, because there are many lessons in the world of dogs that also apply to children.  Now here me out, I’m not suggesting our children are animals and need to trained as such (although I sometimes feel like a zoo keeper!). Our children are God’s gift to us, we endeavor to raise men and women who will change this world, and we are to have dominion over all the animals. Uh oh, my apologies to my pet-parent friends who would counter that their dog is like an equal member of the family. .. Ummm, Can we concede that a very large aspect of both pet and child parenting is training? Agreed?

The tagline reveals,     “Nothing says I’m happy to see you too, like a Milk Bone biscuit.”       Really?!

Doggie, upon hearing the familiar click of the key turning, bounds over to mom and showers her with loving licks because she has been truly missed all day. Would that dog still greet mom day after day for her delicious company? Hopefully. Possibly the pup is salivating for the gain of the biscuit. Digest this: How about our children? Do you ever catch yourself saying things like “If you’re good at the grocery store mommy will get you a cookie.” Is your child behaving similarly, salivating only for cookie? Or because of a genuine hunger to please you.

Would you need to keep candy in your pockets to encourage your children to come to you? Notice that neither son nor husband appeared to welcome mom home; maybe she needed to keep a stash of goodies at the door or give out gift cards.

Here is the real test- Stop Supplying Biscuits! Does your pet still come? Even more important, do your children? Does the cookie crumble when it’s futile to strive for bounty?

But wait, you implore, these are rewards! Parenting books, teachers, and talk shows encourage us to use reward charts. Stickers, toys and candy are all endorsed by SuperNanny to teach appropriate behavior.   Yes, they are often successful. There is a very fine line, however, between rewarding  and bribery.

Interestingly, the music underlay sings “I can see your heart through your eyes”. Now that is some good parenting advice! Present your best self to your family. Entice them to your side with contagious smiles and laughter, not a short-lived sugar rush. Your eyes will inspire them more than any amount of charts or stickers, and have lasting results.

In my next post I’ll be discussing what I believe is the proper use of reward charts. I’ll show you how to reach the hearts of your children to crave honor, not cookies.

 What do you think is the difference between a reward and a bribe?