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FAMILY LIFE: Practical Tips for Parenting Today 2

ENCOURAGE. My husband is way better on nudging our kids outside of their comfort zones than I am, and I am learning to embrace this as well. He was raised by a very strong and godly woman who pushed him to excel in many things. He may have hated it a lot when he was young, but it molded him to do so well in whatever God has placed before him. I, on the other hand, was given many opportunities to take lessons on the piano, violin, ballet, badminton, but I did not have the drive to master any. As I look back, I wish I was pushed more to keep learning those extra-curricular activities, which is what we are doing with our kids. Encourage them to keep going, to practice each week and see how they get better by the day. Many times they may complain, but as you nudge them to keep going, they get this sense of accomplishment and fulfillment in the hard work that they put in. We also encourage our kids to memorize verses. At first it was a battle, but now they memorize a chapter a week from the Psalms. Kids brains are like sponges, why not use it to sponge up all of God’s promises from His Word that will help them later. Right now it’s just memorizing, but later on God will use those to encourage them, to build them up, and to direct them.

Minimalism and Toy Rotation. I used to purchase various toys I thought my kids would enjoy, but noticed that they play with them for a little while and then not touch them again. I have purged a lot of my kids toys, and narrowed them down to toys they really use. This has made me more intentional about the kind of toys we invest for them. We also do toy rotation wherein I put out a set of toys every two weeks and hide another set of toys that does not seem to spark interest anymore. This also helps with the clutter in their play area and allows them to use just enough toys that they can responsibly put away without feeling overwhelmed. Following this concept, I have noticed my kids have become more creative and do really well with pretend play. There is never a dull moment.

Daily Devotion. Aside from Daniel’s full-time job, he is also the teaching pastor and I handle the kids in church. He also handles a Facebook page where he gives devotions in Spanish several times a week. I am also involved as a class leader in the kids program of an international Bible Study group. It is exciting to be involved in ministry, and it takes up a lot of time as well. But we have learned to set boundaries knowing that our primary ministry is to our children. We read the Bible with the kids at night before bedtime, and we also try to do some devotions at breakfast time. It’s a joy to see the kids’ knowledge of Christ grow each day but more importantly how they live it out in their day-to-day lives. The teacher of my youngest has enthusiastically commented how he freely talks about who Jesus is and what He might think when they misbehave in class. That for me, is like a pat on the back, knowing we are headed on the right direction in terms of raising a godly legacy and passing the baton of walking faithfully with Christ to our children.

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