St. Patrick’s Day: How I am Celebrating This Year!

Last year I posted this article on why I choose not to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.  And yes, this header certainly looks like I’m reneging on that post.  But let me just say, I still stand behind each one of the points I made in last year’s blog post.  I do not believe that the missionary, Patrick, would have appreciated what this day of “honouring him” has become.

However, that being said, I have spent some time this past week re-thinking St. Patrick’s Day.

In last year’s article, I explained how some believe that St. Patrick’s Day is a day for “spiritual renewal and offering of prayers for missionaries worldwide.” (source unknown)  This phrase actually stuck with me, HARD!  And as I started seeing the shamrocks and the leprechauns floating around the internet and stores the past few weeks, I was again reminded of it and started to re-think my idea of St. Patrick’s Day celebrations.

What if, instead of teaching my children about leprechauns, I taught them about a missionary?  What if, instead of seeing a shamrock as “lucky” – I started teaching them about how this missionary, Patrick, used a regular clover (something God created!) to teach about the Trinity?

~And a huge light bulb went on over my head!~

And again, let me just say, if you do choose to celebrate with these symbols and others, I am not condemning.  This is my own personal preference and something I wanted to share with others.

I love the spiritual connotations that can be taken from this cultural holiday and this year I am excited about sharing them with Little Man.

I am a big supporter of missions.  Many of my friends are missionaries all over the world.  I have gone to many of these places myself and seen the need for missionaries.  I even admit that Canada needs more missionaries!  I want God to use me as a missionary here at home.

But, in the essence of St. Patrick’s Day, I wanted to come up with something to teach Little Man (and in the future, Little Miss) to pray for our missionaries and to think of them often.  What missionaries do in leaving their homes and everything they know is special.  It takes hard work, dedication to the Gospel, and a lot of emotional support (that comes mostly through prayer) to stay in the country they believe God has sent them to.

To help encourage Little Man to pray for those missionaries we know, I have created a simple printable for him to colour that we can mail to the missionaries our church supports.  Our church is small and we support 5 missionaries so it’s perfectly do-able for us.   In future years we may choose other missionaries and see where the Lord leads from there.

I also wanted to make it fun, because nobody likes to be bored all the time!  We are going to use glitter and paint to decorate the pages (he is so into painting right now!)

And to make this lesson a little more interesting I am going to make Shamrock cut-out cookies with Little Man.   Those who know him know how much he loves his cookies!  I’ll use them to teach him about the Trinity, the same way Patrick did so many years ago.

I am so excited to be able to share this printable with you.  Even if you choose not to use it for St. Patrick’s Day, you can edit it ad remove the heading on the page and use it to teach your children about the Biblical principle of prayer.

To download, just click on the link and save to your desktop:

Praying For Our Missionaries

I’d love to hear from you:

~What are some ways you let your missionaries know that you are praying for them?

 

 

photo: wikipedia (open source)

6 Ways to Communicate Love to Your Child

Communicate with your children

In this age of emails and text messages I find that the art of communicating is being lost.  Facebook and Twitter have made conversation almost non-existent as everything anyone could ever want to know is splashed across statuses.  Too often we spend more time in front of the computer than in communicating with our children.  Even children are spending their time in front of computers/tablets/ipods/ipads, now.

Lately I’ve been feeling the need to communicate more with my child.  And I’m not talking sit him on my lap and have a conversation.  There are so many other ways of communicating love to a child than just by talking.  And, let’s face it, a 2 year old doesn’t really get much when you sit down and try to have a conversation with him!  He’ll probably be more interested in the buttons on my shirt or that toy over in the corner.

Today I want to share some of different ways of communicating with children (that even I can work on!) and at the end I’m sharing a free printable that you can use for Valentines Day (or whenever you want really).

1. Pray with them.  I think this is monumental in communicating with children.  Since I’ve started praying with Little Man I have seen his heart really soften towards the Lord and church.  At his young age I want him to understand what a real relationship with the Lord is like.  And you should hear the things he prays for all on his own!  It’s a really sweet time for us together.

2. Play with themNo, I’m not going to alliterate all of them (grin).   I read somewhere once that children feel more loved and accepted by their parents when moms and dads spend just 20 minutes of one on one time with them each day.  20 minutes!  That, seriously, is nothing when you consider how many minutes are in a 24 hour day.  I bet we lose that amount just checking Facebook once a day.

3. Love your husband.  Your children need to see you spending time with your mate.  That communicates so much to them!  Let them see you sit together on the couch, hold hands, kiss, etc.  Knowing that you love each other will communicate your love to your child as well.

4. Discipline them.  This is not a very popular topic in our world today.  However, children need rules.  And they need to know that you love them enough to discipline them when they don’t follow the rules.  Hebrews 12:6 tells us that God loves us enough to chasten us.   Love disciplines.  Children will respect you if you are consistent and often will disobey just to get attention, even if it’s the wrong kind!

5. Listen to them.   I don’t have time as a mother to sit with my child on my lap all day and let him talk to me.  However, Little Man will often come and tell me things (whether or not I understand him) while I’m working around the house.  And he knows when I’m not actually paying attention to him.  His voice gets louder and louder and he repeats himself over and over until I fully give him my attention.  As women, we do have the gift of multi-tasking and it’s not that difficult to give your child your attention while continuing to wash dishes or fold laundry.

6. Send them messages.  I love sending notes to people.  My children, however, are not old enough to read, therefore it would be a little silly on my part to send them a hand written note.  For older children this would be great, though (remember the mailbox idea from last week’s Valentines Round-up?).   I still have some notes that my mom left under my pillow when I was growing up.  However, there are many neat ideas of ways you can “send a message” to younger children.  Especially around Valentines Day!

a.  Make a badge for them to wear.  You can make it look like a war medal, a sheriffs badge, or an athlete’s medal (Olympics start tomorrow!).  Just put the simple word, Loved, on it and tell your child what it says (or another word that you like).  I can guarantee they will be so proud to go around wearing it and show it off to Daddy when he comes from work.

b.  Use your child’s name to make a mural on the wall.  In October, we had a Thanksgiving Tree on our wall.  The falling leaves (our handprints) held the things we were thankful for each day.  I had Little Man’s name on one leaf and he knew it!  He loved that his name was up on the wall and would point it out to people.  No, he can’t read.  He just knew which leaf had his name on it.  Something simple will mean the world to them!

c.  Decorate their bedroom doors so they get to run through something fun when they wake up in the morning.  And we come down to the free printable I’m sending your way.  I’ve seen this done for birthdays, but I decided to do this for Valentines Day this year.  Owls was our theme for Little Miss so I made a set of pink and purple owls for girls and a set of blue and red for boys.  I can’t wait for Little Man to wake up to this next week!

Communicate with your children

I made my owls bigger for the purpose of the picture.  They are smaller and I would space them farther apart.  The hearts have little messages on them.  Little Man’s “song” that we’ve shared since his birth is, You Are My Sunshine, so that is on one heart.  And we love the book by Robert Munsch, I’ll Love You Forever, so I used the phrase, “My baby you’ll be.” on one heart.  Another heart says “Love”, and a fourth says, “Be Mine”.  I left a few blank so you can add your own phrase/note, or just leave them blank.  Just click the links below to download the set you’d like to use!  I also made one set just black and white so if you don’t have colour ink for your printer and want different colours you can personalize them to your taste.  Just print off as many pages as you’d like.  Cut out the pictures.  And attach them to yarn. It’s as simple as that!

Girls Valentines Printable

Boys Valentines Printable

Black and White Valentines Printable

 

Communicating with your children is very important.  Are there other ways you communicate to your child?  I’d love to add my list.  Please leave me a comment below!