Category: For Families

The Radical Book for Kids: Exploring the Roots and Shoots of Faith

I have a confession:

I have a hard time liking Christian books for kids.

I WANT to like them. I want to provide my kids age-appropriate tools that will help them to grow in their relationship with God– communicating to them the depths of God’s love for them, while also not being cheesy.

Apparently this is a tall order.

One of my friends recently posted this question to a Facebook group that we’re a part of:

I have two kids who are two and three years old. Does anyone have any suggestions for age-appropriate books or cartoons that come from a progressive Christian perspective?

I struggled to think of a response. Not just for 2-3 year olds, but for older kids too.

Because of this difficulty, I’m particularly excited to share this book recommendation for kids ages 8-14. And while I’m not sure I’d throw it into the progressive category, it comes closer than most.

radical-book-for-kids

The Radical Book for Kids: Exploring the Roots and Shoots of Faith, is a book that helps kids grow in their understanding of the Bible, spiritual practices, and knowledge of Christian history. The author also throws some crazy stuff in there like how to make pottery, building a sundial, and learning the greek alphabet- because learning about the roots of our faith can be really fun!

Format:

This hardcover book is divided into 67 short, 2-3 page chapters. Each page is filled with colorful illustrations and has a good sense of design. The style reminds me of books like Ripley’s Believe it or Not, Guinness Book of World Records for Kids, or sport statistic books: colorful, engaging, short chapters that don’t mess around with too many words.

Content:

The content is engaging, fun, smart, and hits on a variety of topics.

For word nerds, they’ll love learning the greek (and hebrew!) alphabet, becoming familiar with some common latin phrases, and learning about ancient texting (LOL! FRT).

For kids who care a lot about friends and relationships, there are chapters on friendship, relationship with parents, and dealing with enemies.

I know there are some kids who just want to DO and TRY and EXPERIMENT. For these kids, they’ll learn how to make a sundial, pottery, and a slingshot, among other things.

Most of the rest of the chapters dive into questions about God, spiritual practices, theology, and how to read Scripture in a way that honors the intent of the author.

There’s no guilt, no “shoulds”, no mention of demanding obedience out of fear of hell or damnation or God’s unhappiness with them.

Instead, it’s written with a tone of curiosity and conversation, focused on God’s love and rescue plan for all of creation. Sure, a part of that story is sin, death and Satan, but ultimately, the author is writing from a perspective of the bigger picture- God’s redemptive plan. The author says:

By now it should be clear that Christianity is not a religion that’s a list of advice for you to do. No, instead Christianity brings news of what Jesus has already done. It’s not about the accomplishment of your good works; it’s about the announcements of his good works.

I love it! And this is a perspective that’s missing from many books I review for kids. The temptation in these faith-based kid books are to focused good works because that’s what applies right then and there. We want our kids to obey and do the right thing. That makes sense.

BUT, without constantly putting in front of them the bigger picture- the more important picture, frankly, the gospel turns into this mucky, weird, shame-laden relationship with God that is messy to reverse later on in life.

The gospel is not good advice. It’s good news. The author gets that.

My Recommendation

I highly recommend this book for kids who are interested in learning a little more about the roots of their faith and how they can lean into the good news of the Kingdom of God and their journey with God!

Thanks to the publisher for this review copy! All these thoughts are honest and wholly mine :).

2016: The Year of Positive Parenting

positive parenting

 

We’ve had a rough year or two with parenting.

Jake and I started out parenting with a whole lot of energy. Sure we were stressed at different points and made poor choices at others, but overall, we had more than enough patience, compassion, and stamina to parent our kids well.

We were committed to spending a lot of quality time with them, listening, asking good questions, looking behind the behavior into the heart, calmly redirecting and being generally playful.

Somewhere along the way things began to shift.

We got tired.

We got distracted.

We got tired some more.

Our patience grew thin and our words got lazy.

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Winning, Losing, and Why My Mom Stopped Playing Games With Me

Today I’m over at Play Eat Grow, sharing some thoughts on Lysa Terkeurst’s new children’s book, Win or Lose I Love You as well as answering some questions on what it means to teach and shape our kids’ hearts as it relates to the Scriptures.

winorlosebookcover

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“I Win!!!”

These two words can create chaos out of calm in 5 seconds flat.

I must admit- I’m a recovering sore-loser. I still remember playing Hi Ho Cherrio as a kid with my mom, and totally losing it when I lost. SO MANY TEARS. My mom eventually told me that she wouldn’t play any more games with me.

And she didn’t for several years.

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Read more: Winning, Losing, and Why My Mom Stopped Playing Games With Me

Review: The Legend of the Christmas Cookie

I have a really important, dead serious question to ask you, dear reader…

How soon is too soon to start blogging about Christmas?? 🙂

For some of you, this post is too soon and I’m offending your holiday-timeline sensibilities. Totally get that. But, for the rest of you- read on.

What a sweet book about what really matters at Christmas! A must read for families with young kids.

Today I’m giving a quick review of The Legend of the Christmas Cookie: Sharing the True Meaning of Christmas. Last year I gave you my thoughts on The Legend of St. Nicholas: A Story of Christmas Giving as well as The Legend of the Candy Cane: A Inspirational Story of Our Favorite Christmas Candy. I’ve been feeling like my blog has been a bit incomplete without including the other Christmas legend books for kids, so here you go!  (more…)

Review: The Adventures of Rooney: Hannah, The Belle of Prayer

One afternoon a few weeks ago, I called Aly and Ada over to my desk because I wanted to read a book to them.

They were a bit confused because book and desktop computer don’t really make sense to them, but they came over anyway. They were curious. These ebooks are mysterious things! 🙂

Bible Belles Cover

I sat them down on my lap and read them a book coming out soon called The Adventures of Rooney Cruz:  Hannah- The Belle of Prayer by Erin Weidemann. We meet Rooney, a kind, spunky, modern day 9 year old girl.

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Review: NIV Faithgirlz Bible

As I’ve written about before, I’m on the hunt for a full-size Bible for Aly.

I didn’t become a Christian until middle school/junior high, and I was all into my teen Bibles. They helped make the Bible more interesting to me because the sidenotes and extra articles helped me to see how the Scriptures were relevant to my real life.

I’m hoping to find something like that for elementary kids too.

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Practicing the Spiritual Disciplines with Kids (+Free Printable)

Spiritual disciplines are fantastic and frightening.

They are fantastic because they are often a really great way to help me connect with God. Whether it be through prayer, reading the Scriptures, practicing generosity, journaling, walking a labyrinth, WHATEVER, these are places and times when I’m being intentional about slowing down and focusing on what God is doing around me and inside of me. It’s a time for me to listen and/or to enter into the Kingdom of God living that I might not naturally do on my own.

Spiritual disciplines are also frightening because when I engage in them, I’m giving up control. While I can decide when and what to do, I can’t decide what God’s going to say, how He’s going to move, or even if I’m going to sense His presence at all. Especially at the beginning, it’s sometimes frightening to be vulnerable, even when it’s with our Abba.

When I became a parent, I settled it in my mind that I would help my kids practice developmentally appropriate spiritual disciplines early. By practicing and learning how to connect with God on their own, I’m hoping that these disciplines will give space for God to create markers in their faith where the kids “know that they know they have heard from God.”

A good friend of mine is the teaching pastor at Catalyst Community Church in Rowlett, Texas, and he recently invited me to help make a spiritual disciplines guide for kids. What can we do as parents to help our kids practice the disciplines? 

Spiritual Disciplines with Kids

The result of this collaborative project is this helpful sheet that we’re sharing with you. Feel free to download it, print it, share it, whatever!