KiDSCOR

Category - Families

Easter Family Fun

In the midst of jelly beans and Easter bunnies, people often ask how we can help kids understand the true meaning of Easter.  Below, you will find some ideas! As you read through these, I hope you find one or two you can use to help your family celebrate Easter!

*Enjoy a family nature walk and thank God for all the signs of new life!

*Dye Easter eggs.  Talk about how Jesus changes us, just like we are changing the eggs.

*Bake and decorate cut-out cookies in the shape of a cross.  Share some with friends.

*Hide an empty Easter egg.  When someone finds it, discuss why that is important on Easter!

*If your children are young, enjoy a family Easter parade, complete with musical instruments and streamers.  Remember to celebrate Jesus!

The possibilities are endless, so choose one of these and/or create your own celebration of Jesus!

We wish you and your family a very Happy Easter!

-Pastor Lisa

Helping Kids During Tragedy

candles

After the events of Sunday. Here are some thoughts from Pastor Lisa Holliday about helping our kids through tragedy.

The news this week out of our beloved city is tragic and devastating.  People are asking, “Why?”  We are wondering, “If this can happen to them, can it happen to us, too?”  We are questioning safety and security in all sorts of ways.   We may be questioning our faith.

We are also grieving. We are grieving for the families impacted by the death of a loved one. We are grieving for the Jewish community and our church community. We are grieving for the sense of our own loss of safety and security.  We are grieving for our children and the effects this kind of tragedy has on their lives and the world in which they are living.

As we ask many unanswerable questions and experience grief, it is important for us to remember that if our children have heard the story, they have questions and are possibly grieving as well.  As Christians, we will want to respond to our children in faith and with a deep sense of love and respect for all people.  Below you will find ways to connect with your child and help him or her work through thoughts and feelings surrounding the tragedy.

Listen  
If your children want to express themselves by speaking, let them use their own words. As they voice their thoughts, they may be able to bring some order to what they are thinking and feeling. You may also become aware of misinterpretations or false information.

Pray
Listen first so you have a sense of what the child is feeling, then pray. Pray for the families, the emergency workers, our Jewish friends, the teachers and the students. Pray for our own community. Pray to be a person of peace. Pray to be one who shares Christ’s love and compassion with others.

Keep routines
As much as possible, stick with your family routine.  Let your child know if the routine needs to change.

Accept feelings
Your children may be sad, mad, guilty, nervous or angry. Acknowledge that these experiences cause us to feel many different ways and God loves us no matter how we are feeling.  As God accepts our feelings, it is important we accept the feelings of our children as well.  (Many children may not express these until weeks or even months later.) If your child seems happy, accept that, too.

Offer and accept affection
Your children may want to snuggle or hug more often.  They may want you next to them while they fall asleep.

Be truthful and real
Children know when we are being authentic.  They need to be able to trust what you say.  When they ask a difficult question to which you don’t know the answer, let them know you don’t know. Tell them many questions don’t have answers and that is hard for everyone.  Tell them you are working on this, too. You can pray for God to help you all.

Remember your reactions are yours
Children pick up words, actions, body language, facial expressions and emotions very easily.  Be cautious with what you say and how you say it, as well as what you do.

Assure them you will help keep them safe.
Mention a few ways you work to stay safe as a family.  If appropriate, let your child know the safety procedures in school and at church.  Remind them God is always with them wherever they are. Be very careful about promising you always will be.  Though we certainly hope we will always be present for our children, the reality is that none of us truly know.

Remind your children this was NOT from God  
Bad things happen in the world.  People choose to do bad things.  God did not want this to happen.  God is with each person who is sad and grieving.  Because we have God, we can have hope.  The worst thing is never the last thing.

Limit media
Children who are repeatedly exposed to a tragic event on the news actually believe the tragedy continues to occur over and over again.  They often learn much more information than what is age-appropriate.  Images can also cause nightmares and extreme anxiety.

Offer creative ways of expression
Often children cannot express their thoughts and feelings in words.  Instead they play, color, draw, or write.  They use sand and playdough.  Keep these materials available to them.

Respond simply
When your child asks a question, respond in a simple way.  Answer the question without giving extensive additional information.

Share a gift
Often kids need to do something tangible to help others as they deal with their grief. Your child might want to make a card or bake some treats to share with a neighbor.  Encourage your child to share the love and compassion of Christ with those at school, in their neighborhood, in sports/dance teams and other places they go.

This Easter season, we are reminded that Christ is Light of the World and the darkness has not and will not ever, ever overcome it. May we all be assured of God’s love for each of us and for the world.  Our hope is now and forevermore in Him. No matter what our age, we need to hear that good news!

If you have further questions, or you are particularly concerned about how your child is handling the news of this or any difficulty, please feel free to contact Rev. Lisa Holliday, Minister of Children and Their Families at lisa.holliday@cor.org or any of our KiDS COR staff listed at kidscor.org. We are here to support you through prayer, resources and personal connections.  We wish you and your family the peace, comfort and hope of Christ this season and always.

-Pastor Lisa

Prayers For Our Children

It had been a challenging week of parenting and I had read a couple of devotionals in the early morning hours from previous days that I thought would help.  So I decided to put the two devotionals together to form one.

They stated that our children are not the enemy, but there is an enemy trying to steal our kids (John 10:10).  Thankfully, that enemy, according to the Word of God, has an opponent who’s a force to be reckoned with.

You.

And  me.  And all parents who are willing to get on their knees and cry out for the hearts  of their children.  It says in James 5:16b , “The prayer of a person living right with God is something powerful to be reckoned with” (The Message).

Here are two powerful prayers to help you pray for the heart of your daughter:

  1. May she find comfort in Your ability, God, to reach her, hold her and rescue her (2 Samuel 22:17-18).
  2. Let her find confidence in You, God, even when hard times come and she doesn’t know what to do, by keeping her eyes fixed on you (2 Chronicles 20:12).

Here are two powerful prayers to help you pray for the heart of your son:

  1. May my son walk after You, God, and fear You and keep Your commandments and obey Your voice.  May he serve You and hold fast to You (Deuteronomy 13:4).
  2. May my son be strong and courageous and not fear or be in dread, for it is You,  Lord, our God, who goes with him.  You will never  leave him or forsake him (Deuteronomy 31:6).

Our children may still make mistakes, cross lines and give the principal reasons to call us.

But where would we be if the power of the One who answers our prayers wasn’t in the mix of our lives?

Proverbs 31 ministries/McGlothlin,Terkeurst

Carole Hardy

Helping Our Kids During Tragedies

The news out of Connecticut is tragic and devastating. People are asking, “Why?” We are wondering, “If this can happen in a small town, can it happen where we live, too?” We are questioning safety and security in all sorts of ways. We may be questioning our faith.

We are also grieving. We are grieving for the families impacted by the death of a loved one. We are grieving for the community of Newtown. We are grieving for the sense of our own loss of safety and security. We are grieving for our children and the effects this kind of tragedy has on their lives and the world in which they are living.

As we ask many unanswerable questions and experience grief, it is important for us to remember that if our children have heard the story, they have questions and are possibly grieving as well. As Christians, we will want to respond to our children in faith. Below you will find ways to connect with your child and help him or her work through thoughts and feelings surrounding the tragedy.

Listen If your children want to express themselves by speaking, let them use their own words. As they voice their thoughts, they may be able to bring some order to what they are thinking and feeling. You may also become aware of misinterpretations or false information.

Pray Listen first so you have a sense of what the child is feeling, then pray. Pray for the families, the teachers, the emergency workers, the neighbors, and the students. Pray for your own community, schools, etc. Pray to be a person of peace. Pray to be one who shares Christ’s love and compassion with others.

Keep routines As much as possible, stick with your family routine. Let your child know if the routine needs to change.

Accept feelings Your children may be sad, mad, guilty, nervous or angry. Acknowledge that these experiences cause us to feel many different ways and God loves us no matter how we are feeling. As God accepts our feelings, it is important we accept the feelings of our children as well. (Many children may not express these until weeks or even months later.) If your child seems happy, accept that, too.

Offer and accept affection Your children may want to snuggle or hug more often. They may want you next to them while they fall asleep.

Be truthful and real Children know when we are being authentic. They need to be able to trust what you say. When they ask a difficult question to which you don’t know the answer, let them know you don’t know. Tell them many questions don’t have answers and that is hard for everyone. Tell them you are working on this, too. You can pray for God to help you all.

Remember your reactions are yours Children pick up words, actions, body language, facial expressions and emotions very easily. Be cautious with what you say and how you say it, as well as what you do.

Assure them you will help keep them safe. Mention a few ways you work to stay safe as a family. If appropriate, let your child know the safety procedures in school and at church. Remind them God is always with them wherever they are. Be very careful about promising you always will be. Though we certainly hope we will always be present for our children, the reality is that none of us truly know.

Remind your children this was NOT from God Bad things happen in the world. People choose to do bad things. God did not want this to happen. God is with each person who is sad and grieving. Because we have God, we can have hope. The worst thing is never the last thing.

Limit media Children who are repeatedly exposed to a tragic event on the news actually believe the tragedy continues to occur over and over again. They often learn much more information than age-appropriate. Images can also cause nightmares and extreme anxiety.

Offer creative ways of expression Often children cannot express their thoughts and feelings in words. Instead they play, color, draw, or write. They use sand and playdough. Keep these materials available to them.

Respond simply When your child asks a question, respond in a simple way. Answer the question without giving extensive additional information.

Reach out Children may want to help. They can make a card and send it to the school at Sandy Hook Elementary School 12 Dickenson Drive Sandy Hook, CT 06482 They could also bake cookies and take them to emergency workers or teachers in your area. Affirm any way of serving others.

This Christmas season, we are reminded that Christ comes as the Light of the World and the darkness has not and will not ever, ever overcome it. May we all be assured of God’s love for each of us and for the world. Our hope is now and forevermore in Him. No matter what our age, we need to hear that good news!

If you have further questions, or you are particularly concerned about how your child is handling the news of this or any difficulty, please feel free to contact Rev. Lisa Holliday, Minister of Children and Their Families at lisa.holliday@cor.org or any of our KiDS COR staff listed at kidscor.org. We are here to support you through prayer, resources and personal connections. We wish you and your family the peace and comfort of Christ this season and always.

-Pastor Lisa

Friday Faith Builder

Our extended family recently returned from California.  We began by visiting family in Santa Barbara.  Then we journeyed to San Francisco and on up the coast to Mendocino.  As we prepared to leave each place, I said, “I don’t want to leave.  I want to stay here.”  But when we arrived at the next destination, I was thrilled to be there and felt the same way as I had in the previous place.

Yesterday, my husband and I sent our younge

st daughter to middle school and our oldest daughter to high school.  For eight years, I loved our elementary school and as last school year ended, I was sad for our family to go.  But I was—and am—also excited for this new part of life’s journey to begin.  I am excited for each daughter to begin a new phase of life, to watch each one grow and become more independent, to celebrate and commiserate with each one through all that comes in the teen years.  And they are excited, too.

As trite as it sounds, I may not know what the future holds, but I do know who holds the future.  God has been faithful every step of the way in the past and I trust God will be faithful each step of the future.  My prayer for all of us today is that in all seasons and stages of life, we are open to receive the many blessings God has for us and our families, and as God and life nudge us forward, we can trust God is traveling the journey with us.

Pastor Lisa

Friday Faith Builder-Breathing Space

School is starting.  Fall is coming. Schedules are filling. And breathing space is…..?

Breathing space.  Time with nothing to do.  No expectations.  No plans.  No place to be. 

Those are not typically words we associate with fall—or really much of life.  But what if we did?  Imagine open time on the calendar to simply enjoy the gift of living.  Imagine free space to nurture your family and faith.  Imagine time to simply be.

Adults need this time, and children and youth do, too.  Time with no pressure or expectations. Time to open our hearts and minds to the Holy Spirit.  Time to rest and relax.

As you prepare the fall schedule with activities and events, also mark time off each day, week, and month as “Breathing Space.”  Experiment with different times and see what works best for your family. Use the time to create, discover, explore, imagine, learn, rest and relax.  Anticipate the wonderful things God will do with the open time you have.  Pray for God to lead you and your family in this.  Thank God for the gift of breathing space. And enjoy God’s gift.  

-Pastor Lisa