My dear friend Bethany posted this blog on her blog and I thought, this is AMAZING!!!  How true is this.  But I wanted to add my own spin on it.  I added her blog post to the end of my blog post.

While we are expecting our 4th boy, I tend to agree with almost everything Bethany says.  Most people want to bless someone somehow, and not always sure how.  And while anything is very thoughtful and wonderful some items are better than others.  While Bethany loves blankets, I tend not to like them.  I have a hard problem getting rid of the them and we lack the room for storage.  I also tend to always try and find out if someone registered somewhere.  There are almost a few needed items per child and a registry is wonderful.  But some of the best gifts in non traditional forms in my opinion is meals, house cleaning, folding laundry, groceries, taking the older kids out to give the mom a break, and bring a coffee to a new mom!  These seem so simple but these are worth gold on so many levels.


Here’s a link and a copy of Bethany’s post:


Before we get started, let me clarify something.  There is not a 7th W on the way.  This is just a conversation that I think can be helpful for people.Ok, moving on.

I don’t use baby monitors, diaper warmers, changing tables, or some of the other things many families consider essentials.  I also have four kids, which means there’s not much I needed by the time babies 2, 3, and 4 came along.  Additionally, I fall into the “less is more” category and don’t want to accumulate a bunch of stuff I don’t have a use for and don’t want people spending money on things that won’t get used.

However, people still like to bless new or expectant mothers (whether pregnant, adopting, or fostering) with gifts.  So, what are some gifts that you can give a family with a new baby, but without a need for more baby clothes or toys? After all, gifts that are neither wanted nor needed are not a blessing … which sorta defeats the purpose.

While we have certainly appreciated and used all the cute clothes, both new and hand-me-down, that we’ve been given and have put the practical things, like some new crib sheets, to use, we’ve also had some non-traditional gifts that were great and some practical ones that were consumable time and money savers.

* Four passes to Sky High and a gift card to Baskin Robbins.  The intention was for Tim to take the three bigs out for a few hours to burn some energy jumping on trampolines while I rested with the baby in a quiet house, then to go out for ice cream and bring some home for me.  This gift was great a few weeks after Teebs was born, giving me a day to relax and for everyone else to have some rowdy fun.

* Handmade blankets.  I confess that we have a ridiculous amount of blankets.  However, there are few things I love more than wrapping up the little Ws in something that someone took a lot of time to create. Tangible love that our kids use for years and years, first to sleep in, then to snuggle under for a movie, then to build forts with.

* Meals.  Some people deliver meals through our church’s meals ministry, others do it on their own.  Some drop off meals and leave, others bring food over and stay to eat with us, then spend time holding the baby and cleaning up the kitchen.  We’ve had people give us home-cooked meals, had us order take-out and brought it over, bought food from the grocery story deli, or given us a giant fruit platter and a gift certificate to and menu for our favorite pizza place with the delivery number circled.  It doesn’t matter how fancy or simple, whether it was homemade or not … a meal that we didn’t have to plan, shop for, prepare, or clean up after is a huge blessing!  They are magic meals.

* Groceries.  Some people have come by for various reasons and brought some groceries with them.  Sometimes they’ve chosen items on their own, other times they’ve asked what we needed, but both ways it was nice to have a few staples, such as milk and produce, that we didn’t have to go out for.    Once we were given a pounding during a pregnancy.  Although it had more to do with our employment situation at the time than with being pregnant, it was a huge blessing and could definitely be a way to keep the fridge and cupboards full for a family with a new baby, saving them a trip to the grocery store for a while.

* Childcare.  Taking the non-baby kids for a few hours or overnight not only gives the mom and baby a chance to rest, but it gives the other kids a chance to do something fun.  Whether you take the kids over to your house for a low-key time of movies and snacks or take them out for some big adventure, the kids will enjoy the change of scenery and the mom will appreciate having her load lightened for a while.

* Diapers and/or wipes.  I know this isn’t a unique idea, but all babies pee and poop, so any way you can help take care of that will help the family out.  If the family is using disposable diapers, then giving diapers in a variety of sizes (babies will soon grow into the bigger sizes and you don’t want the family to have too many of the first size) is a huge money saver.  Same with wipes.  If the family is using cloth diapers, then you could give them money or a gift card to buy the brand and designs they like or pay for a diaper cleaning service, if that’s something that would appeal to them.

* A nap.  A friend once scheduled a time to come over to my house and let me take a nap.  She came during a feeding time, then sent me to bed as soon as I was done nursing.  She took care of diaper changes and rocked the little W to sleep while I rested.

* A Groupon to Finnegan’s, a local toy store.  The intention was to get things for the bigs to play with after the baby was born.  We took the kids shopping a week or two before my due date and gave them the option of splitting the money to each get their own things or spending it on something larger they could all use together.  They opted for individual items and had fun looking around as they chose what they wanted.  We took the bag of toys and put it up in a closet at the time, then pulled it down on a day when the little Ws were getting antsy and I was getting irritable.  We pulled the bag down and the rest of the day was awesome.

* Cleaning.  Having a friend come over to run the vacuum and give the bathroom a quick cleaning is wonderful!  Whether for a sleep-deprived mom who only has littles that aren’t able to help with housework, who is recovering from a hard labor, or has limits on what she can do because of a c-section, doing a little bit of cleaning will allow the mom to relax in a home that isn’t filthy and free up her husband to help in other areas when he gets home from work.

Those are just some of the things that have been done for us, but I’m sure there are other great ideas out there.  Traditional gifts are awesome and sometimes we need things that are typically registered for at a store, so don’t bail on those entirely, but the goal is to give a gift that will be a blessing, not a burden.  So consider things that are consumable or that are something to do, not something to have.  Consider things that don’t require a tired mom to go out and register for things she doesn’t need or want, but that would still be helpful.  Remember that what you do for the rest of her family can often be an indirect, but equally meaningful, gift for her.

What are some gifts that were a huge blessing to you, but that weren’t something you’d register for, especially when you had multiple children and didn’t need more stuff in your house?  Please leave a comment and share what people have done for you or that you’ve done for other people and you know was appreciated.  If you answer on Facebook, then I’ll copy your answer over here for people to easily access later.

To listen to…

We are big on all things audio, from music to books on cd or radio drama.  Did I mention that we are big on these?  As much as I love audio books I’ve been searching for more radio drama for the kids.  Thought I’d start to compile a list for others.  These are all Biblical based. 


Our favorite is Jonathon Park (We’ve only listen to the adventures ones.)


But these other ones are not far behind.


Adventures in Odyssey by Focus on the Family  (We’ve listen to every volume and episodes, I believe they are on volume 57)



G.T. and the Halo Express



Life at The Pond


Down Gilead Lane by CBH Ministries (we’ve only listen to the first volume and this series has over 12 volumes.)


Link for listening online to some of these radio drama’s


Some others that we’ve just started to listen to are: (And while these are good, they are not our top pick, they are a little “homeschoolish” for us.  I think these are probably better for younger kids not for older kids)


A place to listen online with links


Karen and Kids


Paws and Tales




If you have other radio drama that you listen to please leave a comment.  I’d love to know if there is more out there.

Kid Websites

I’m starting to look into kid friendly websites….  If I don’t take sometime to put down some of these links, I will forget them.  I have not reviewed all of them all the way.  Some our educational and some are for fun.   -Read, play games, and conduct cool science experiments!     -Practice math and reading skills all while playing fun games!    -Have some of your favorite stories read to you by movie stars!    -Read, play games, and hang out with Dr. Seuss and his friends.     -Go “into the book” to play games that practice reading strategies.   -Learn all about geography and fascinating animals.    -Play games while practicing math and reading skills.     -Watch, listen and play games to learn all about amazing animals!     -Practice your phonics skills with these read-along stories.    or


Summer Things To do 2013

I tried to compile a list of local things to do for free or cheap for the summer.


Summer Reading Info:

Local Public Library – This is always a family favorite in our house with lots of great freebies!  (Clackamas & Washington County start June 1st.

Barnes & Noble  – Read 8 Books, log them in your journal, and receive a free book

Half Price Books – Read 300 minutes in a month and receive a $5 gift certificate to Half Price Books.

iVillage – Four week reading challenge with free games, printables, and chances to win prizes.

Scholastic – Log the minutes your child reads online and they have a chance to win prizes.

Sylvan Learning – Find a book to read from their site and then take an online quiz to earn points to use toward prizes.

BJU Press – Complete required reading goals and earn free prizes while supplies last.  You will also be entered in prize drawings.

TD Bank – Earn $10 in a new or existing Young Saver’s account when you read 10 books and take it to your local TD Bank.

Pizza Hut – Book It has a summer reading challenge, but it doesn’t look like they’ve released the details at this time.  Sign up for email updates here.

Chuck E. Cheese’s – Read consecutively for two weeks and earn 10 free tokens.  (Download the Reading Rewards calendar.)

PB Kids – Kids earn a free prize after reading all the books on a pre-selected reading list.


Exodus Books

“Outside of a dog, a book is man’s best friend. Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read.”—Groucho Marx

Every year, half a bajillion local libraries offer incentive-based programs designed to get kids reading during the summer. While the aim is a good one, we’ve been consistently frustrated with the quality of literature and the general lack of direction. Instead of complaining about those, however, we’re proud to announce we’ve created our own recommended reading list for grades 1-12, complete with great books and a program offering prizes to kids who participate.

The Outside a Dog Book List offers approximately 50 titles for each grade. Our list doesn’t promote a liberal agenda, cater to the lowest common denominator, or present books designed to make anyone look smart. A lot of the books are classics, but just as many are Exodus Books staff favorites, designed to open the wide doors of reading to kids turned off by more standard fare. We think many of these books are a great place to kindle a love of reading, but we certainly don’t want anyone thinking these are the only books to read. The only books to read are ones you buy at Exodus Books (just kidding).

Contest Dates:

June 1–August 31, 2013.

Who Can Do It?

Any student grades 1-12. Younger students may also enroll, but the booklist starts at first grade. You DO NOT NEED TO BE LOCAL. You can download the booklist via pdf, and you can email us your completed book logs. Only local customers will get the bound booklist unless you want to pay for shipping.


$5 per participant. Download a copy of Outside a Dog (PDF) and a book log for each student (feel free to print more). Registered participants will get 20% off the retail price of new books from the booklist from June 1 – August 31. If you choose to sign up online, please include each child’s name and grade in the order comments. If you have more questions, please give us a call at 503-655-1951.

Basic Rules:

– Read at least three books from Outside a Dog (grade level or above). Each participant who does that will receive one $5 gift certificate to Exodus and one entry into the grand prize drawing (prize TBD).

– High school students need to choose one fiction book and one non-fiction, the third book is their choice.

– Parents need to verify that the books were indeed read.

– We will provide a book log to record titles read, authors, book rating, and place for parents to initial. Keep track and turn this in to Exodus before August 31.

– Keep reading, and you’ll have more chances to win. Each book read beyond the first three nets you an additional entry to the grand prize drawing. These books must be selected from Outside a Dog or anywhere on our website, provided they are recommended for the student’s grade level or above.


We’re still figuring out actual prizes, but we have determined how they will be awarded. If you would like to contribute prizes or help sponsor gift certificates, please give us a call.

Everyone who reads 3 books from their grade level booklist (or above) will receive a $5 gift certificate to Exodus.

– All kids in grades 1-6 who read 25 books will get a second prize.

– For grades 1-6, there will be one grand prize for most books read.

– Kids in grades 7-12 who read 5000 pages will get a second prize.

– For grades 7-12, there will be one grand prize for most pages read.

– Finally, there will be one grand prize random drawing taken from all participants who have read three books or more from Outside a Dog or our website. The prize drawing will be on the second Friday of September.



Clackamas Bible Church VBS-Ellie’s church

June 24th-28th, 9-Noon


Calvary Chapel VBS (Tanta’s Church)

July 22-26th, 9-Noon


GFBC Soccer Camp

July 29-Aug 2nd, 5:30-8:30pm



Summer Lunch Program

Jennings Lodge Elementary

18521 SE River Road, Milwaukie, OR 97267
Site opens Jun 17, 2013


Lunch: 11:15 AM – 12:15 PM – M, T, W, Th, F


arts & crafts, reading, outside activities


Regal Summer Movies

Summer Movie Express

Welcome to the 2013 Regal Summer Movie Express! Below is a list of participating locations and start dates. Each location will host the Summer Movie Express on Tuesdays & Wednesdays at 10am for nine weeks. Admission is $1 and a portion of the proceeds will benefit the Will Rogers Institute.


Week Title Rating Start Time
1 The Three Stooges PG 10am
1 Ice Age: Continental Drift PG 10am
2 Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days PG 10am
2 Parental Guidance PG 10am
3 Mr. Poppers’ Penguins PG 10am
3 Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked G 10am
4 Monte Carlo PG 10am
4 Rio G 10am
5 Coraline PG 10am
5 ParaNorman PG 10am
6 Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax PG 10am
6 Big Miracle PG 10am
7 Yogi Bear PG 10am
7 Journey 2: The Mysterious Island PG 10am
8 Racing Stripes PG 10am
8 Happy Feet Too PG 10am
9 African Cats G 10am
9 Chimpanzee G 10am

Hilltop (Oregon City) Start date is June 25


Max Patterson Park

June & July Activities at 1pm

June 10th Field Day free

June 11th Tie Dye $.50 & something to tie dye

June 13th Ice Cream Sundaes $.50

June 14th & July 5th Snow cones $.25

June 20th Sidewalk Chalk free

July 2nd Watermelon eating free

July 8th Ice Cream Sundaes $.50

July 10th Penny carnival (1-3pm) $.20


RecMobile Dates: June 21 – August 9

The traveling RecMobile, loaded with tons of fun, visits parks throughout the North Clackamas Parks and Recreation District during the summertime. Kids ages 5-10 get to play a variety of games, sports, crafts and other fun activities. Each week the crafts and activities are planned around a theme such as beach fun, animals and more. This is a FREE drop-in program, and children may come and go as they please. Children under age 6 must have a parent or guardian present to aid the child. (* denotes a free summer lunch location).

Park Locations

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
11 a.m.-1 p.m. Oak Grove ES * Oak Grove ES * Oak Grove ES * Oak Grove ES * Happy Valley Park
2-4 p.m. Happy Valley Park Hawthorne Park Risley Park  Water Tower Park Village Green Park 

Each week will feature a fun theme:

Week of 6/24:  Splash into Summer
Week of 7/1: Red, White and Blue
Week of 7/8: Outer Space
Week of 7/15: Fairy Tales
Week of 7/22: Around the World
Week of 7/29: County Fair
Week of 8/5: Tropical Paradise


Home Depot Kids Workshops

  • Lawn Mower Pencil Holder (presented by Merlin Entertainments Group)

    • Dates:
    • Sat, Jun 1, 2013
    Time:   09:00 am – 12:00 pm

Come Out and Play with the Fun of “Despicable Me 2”!

  • Wait until you see the surprise craft that Home Depot & “Despicable Me 2” have in store for you!
  • Check out “Despicable Me 2”, only in theaters, starting July 3, 2013, from Universal Studios.
  • FREE hands-on workshops designed forKids Workshop Apron, commemorative pin and children ages 5 – 12 offered the 1st Saturday of every month at all The Home Depot stores between 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
  • Workshops teach children do-it-yourself skills, tool safety and instill a sense of pride and accomplishment.
  • All kids get to keep their craft and receive a FREE  certificate of achievement.

Lowe’s Kid’s Clinic

Build and Grow Clinics are free to the public and occur select Saturdays at 10am. Below is a list of upcoming clinics. Registration opens a few weeks before each clinic’s date. 

Date Day Kit Time
Jun 08, 2013 Saturday Monsters University Scarers 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM
Jun 09, 2013 Sunday Monsters University Scarers 02:00 PM – 03:00 PM
Jun 22, 2013 Saturday Monsters University Chest 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM
Jun 23, 2013 Sunday Monsters University Chest 02:00 PM – 03:00 PM

31 Days of Praying for Your Husband

 31 Days of Praying for Your Husband
“She does him good . . .” (Proverbs 31:12a)
Bless your husband by praying for him! The Apostle Paul instructed all Christians to pray for one another (Ephesians 6:18). This includes wives’ responsibility and privilege to pray for their husbands. Earnest prayer for your husband is good for him, for you and the spiritual health of your home (Proverbs 31:11-12).
Satan desires to destroy your husband, especially his character and his leadership in your relationship. Trust God through prayer as you daily surrender your husband and marriage to the Lord’s wise, loving care.
Day 1 Pray that your husband will grow spiritually and consider his accountability before the Lord. Pray that he will guard his heart by developing spiritual disciplines—Bible reading and study, prayer, meditation, scripture memorization, etc. (2 Peter 3:18; Prov. 4:23)
Day 2 Pray that your husband’s relationship with God and His Word will bear fruit in his life. Pray that he will be a man of wisdom and understanding, fearing the Lord. (Prov. 3:7, 9:10; Ps. 112:1)
Day 3 Pray that your husband will be humble and quick to agree with God about his sin. Pray that his heart will be tender toward the voice of the Lord. (Ps. 51:2-4; Micah 6:8)
Day 4 Pray that your husband will grow in leadership skills in your relationship—protecting and providing for you. Pray that he will lead you wisely and love you sacrificially, so that God will be glorified in your marriage. (Eph. 5:25-29; Col. 3:19)
Day 5 Pray that your husband will be faithful to his wedding vows. Pray that he will have a desire to cultivate your relationship as a sign of his loyalty and commitment to you, and as a picture of Christ’s love for the Church. (Prov. 20:6; Gen. 2:24)
Day 6 Pray that your husband will love righteousness and hate wickedness, especially the evils of the culture. Pray that he will recognize and avoid wickedness in his own life, and if necessary, take a clear, strong stand against evil. (Prov. 27:12; John 17:15; 1 Cor. 10:12-13)
Day 7 Pray that your husband will safeguard his heart against inappropriate relationships with the opposite sex. Pray that his heart will be pure and undivided in his commitment to you. (Prov. 6:23-24, 26; Rom. 13:14)
Day 8 Pray that your husband will work hard to provide for your family, to the best of his ability. Pray that the character qualities necessary for a successful career and ministry will be a growing part of his character—persistence, decisiveness, strength, an analytical mind, organizational skills, positive relationships with people, determination, etc. (Rom. 12:11; 1 Cor. 15:58)
Day 9 Pray that your husband handle finances wisely, will have discernment concerning budgeting and investments, and will be a good steward of his money in regard to giving to the Lord’s work. Pray that money will not become a source of discord in your family. (Prov. 23:4-5; Rom. 12:13; Heb. 13:5)
Day 10 Pray that your husband will cultivate strong integrity, and not compromise his convictions. Pray that his testimony will be genuine, that he will be honest in his business dealings, and will never do anything that he needs to hide from others. (Prov. 20:7; 1 Tim. 1:5, 3:7; Eph. 6:10-12)
Day 11 Pray that your husband will have a humble, teachable spirit and a servant’s heart before the Lord. Pray that he will listen to God and desire to do His will. (Prov. 15:33; Eph. 6:6)
Day 12 Pray that your husband will yield his sexual drive to the Lord and practice self control. Pray that your sexual intimacy together will be fresh, positive, and a reflection of selfless love. (Prov. 5:15, 18; 1 Cor. 7:3; Song of Solomon 7:10)
Day 13 Pray that your husband use practical skills to build your family and make wise decisions for your welfare. Pray that he will serve unselfishly. (Gal. 5:13; Phil. 2:3-4)
Day 14 Pray that your husband will speak words that build you and your family, and reflect a heart of love. Pray that he will not use filthy language. (Prov. 18:21; Eph. 4:29)
Day 15 Pray that your husband will choose his friends wisely. Pray that God will bring him men who will encourage his accountability before God, and will not lead him into sin. (Prov. 13:20; Prov. 27:17)
Day 16 Pray that your husband will choose healthy, God-honoring activities. Pray that he will not live in bondage to any questionable habits or hobbies, but that he will experience freedom in holiness as he yields to the Spirit’s control. (1 Cor. 6:12, 10:31; 2 Tim. 2:4)
Day 17 Pray that your husband will enjoy his manliness as he patterns his life after Christ and strong men in the faith. Pray for his physical, emotional, mental, social and spiritual strength. (Eph. 3:16; 1 Peter 2:21; 1 Cor. 10:11)
Day 18 Pray that your husband will have an eternal perspective—living in light of eternity. Pray that he will reject materialism and temporal values and put God first in his life. (Matt. 6:33; Deut. 6:5; Eph. 5:16; Ps. 90:12)
Day 19 Pray that your husband will be patient and a man of peace. Pray that he will not give in to anger, but will allow the Holy Spirit to control his responses. (Rom. 14:19; Ps. 34:14)
Day 20 Pray that your husband will yield his mind and thoughts to the Lord. Pray that he will not entertain immoral or impure thoughts, and that he will resist the temptation to indulge in pornography. (Prov. 27:12; 2 Cor. 10:5)
Day 21 Pray that your husband will learn how to relax in the Lord and, in his greatest times of stress, find joy and peace in his relationship with God. Pray that he will submit his schedule to the Lord. (Neh. 8:10; Prov. 17:22; Ps. 16:11)
Day 22 Pray that your husband will practice forgiveness in your relationship and with others. Pray that he will recognize any roots of bitterness, and yield any resentment and unforgiving attitudes to the Lord. (Eph. 4:32; Heb. 12:15)
Day 23 Pray that your husband will be a good father—disciplining his children wisely and loving them unconditionally. If he is not a father, pray that he will find a young man to mentor in the things of the Lord. (Eph. 6:4; Col. 3:21; 2 Tim. 2:1-2)
Day 24 Pray that your husband will have a balanced life—that he will balance work and play. Pray that he will fear God, but also gain favor with people he knows at work and church. (Luke 2:52; Prov. 13:15)
Day 25 Pray that your husband will be courageous in his stand against evil and injustice, and that he will stand for the truth. Pray that he will protect you and your family from Satan’s attacks. (Ps. 31:24; Eph. 6:13; Ps. 27:14)
Day 26 Pray that your husband will discover and live his God-given purpose. Pray that he will offer all his dreams to the Lord, and pursue only those goals that will bring God glory and count for eternity. (Jer. 29:11; 1 Cor. 10:31)
Day 27 Pray that your husband will understand the importance of taking care of his body—the temple of the Holy Spirit—for the glory of God. Pray that he will practice self-control by making wise food choices, and get sufficient exercise to stay healthy. (Rom. 12:1-2; 1 Cor. 6:19-20, 9:27)
Day 28 Pray that your husband will be a man of prayer. Pray that he will seek and pursue God in purposeful quiet times. (1 Thess. 5:17; Luke 22:46; James 5:16)
Day 29 Pray that your husband will surrender his time and talents to the Lord. Pray that his spiritual gifts will be manifest in his career, at church, and in your home. (Eph. 5:15-16; 1 Cor. 12:4, 7)
Day 30 Pray that your husband will serve God and others with pure motives. Pray that he will obey the Lord from his heart, and glorify Him in everything. (1 Cor. 10:13; John 7:17-18; Col. 3:23-24)
Day 31 Pray that your husband will recognize the lies of the Enemy in his life. Pray that his attitudes and actions will be guided by the truth as he brings his thoughts into captivity to the Word of God. (John 8:44; 2 Cor. 10:4-5)
Download 31DaysPrayingHusband pdf

Promoting Schoolwork

A great article from Jay Younts at Shepherd Press
“Promoting schoolwork” may seem like strange language. Sporting events, school plays, and political causes are promoted, but schoolwork?However, the Bible uses this language. Over and over, Proverbs pleads with young people to listen to instruction and warns of the folly of those who ignore it.
Proverbs 16:21 assumes that promoting instruction is a good thing, and this verse states a simple but profound teaching principle:

The wise in heart are called discerning,
and pleasant words promote instruction.

This translation is from the NIV. Here are three other translations of the same verse; the additional translations help to clarify the importance of the way in which instruction is given.

The wise of heart is called discerning,
and sweetness of speech increases persuasiveness. (ESV)

The wise are known for their understanding,
and pleasant words are persuasive. (NLT)

Anyone with a wise heart is called discerning,
and pleasant speech increases learning. (HCSB)

Pleasant words encourage and attract; harsh words discourage and alienate. Threats may produce fear and compliance, but they are not nearly as effective pleasant words, which encourage cooperation, enthusiasm, and affection. Pleasant words promote instruction!

Children need the encouragement of pleasant, sweet words to do their schoolwork in a God-honoring way. You want much more for them than just completed school assignments; you want your children to be wise and discerning in the inner man, and you want them to be drawn to God’s ways. From the world’s perspective, finishing the assignment and getting a good grade is all that is required. From a biblical perspective, every challenge carries the opportunity to know God more deeply. This is where pleasant, gentle persuasion from loving parents and teachers comes into play.

Schoolwork provides an opportunity to hold out the gospel. God’s grace, his help, is available to those who come to him humbly and ask for it. And God is honored when children depend upon him for strength to do the things he has give them to do. God is not honored by attempts to accomplish tasks by the sheer force of human will, apart from the help and purposes of God (Proverbs 19:21).

Use pleasant words to help children see that God wants them to trust him, to come to him for strength for each assignment. That is one aspect of why Jesus died. All of life is about living out the implications of the gospel, and schoolwork, too, is an opportunity to encourage your children to turn to Christ for strength if they do know him, and an opportunity to seek God’s forgiveness and grace if they do not. Don’t miss the opportunity to point them to Christ.

How to do it? Here is an example. If your child is procrastinating in finishing his work, you might be tempted to say something like this in a stern, exasperated tone:

“Schoolwork is just part of life; the sooner you finish the sooner you can play. The Bible says not to complain, so stop complaining and get to work! When I come back I expect your work to be done. Do you understand?!”

Now, the content is accurate. Schoolwork is part of life. When the assignment is completed other things can be done. Complaining is wrong and needs to be corrected. Setting time limits for getting work done is often a good idea. Making sure that children understand your direction is also a good thing. But, as Christians, we have to be more than accurate. We must also, in addition, speak with love, compassion, understanding and persuasion. Speaking this way is not natural, any more than it is natural for children to their work eagerly with a thankful spirit. The power of gospel grace is needed as well! James 1:19-20 illustrates the truth of Proverbs 16:21 this way:

My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.

It is important for your child to know that there is no alternative; he must do his schoolwork. But how this reality is presented or promoted is also important. What is going to promote instruction and persuade him to do his work? Sweet, pleasant words delivered with firm resolve. So, let’s recast the above example from the viewpoint of Proverbs 16:21.

You see that your child is not being diligent in completing his task. Your tone is pleasant and sympathetic, but it is also firm, indicating that there will be no alternative to completing the work at hand. Your words might be something like this:

“I know it’s difficult to do your work sometimes, isn’t it? Is there anything bothering you that is keeping you from doing your work?”

If the answer is yes, determine quickly what the problem is. Usually, it will be best to address the issue after the schoolwork is done so that the problem itself doesn’t become a way to procrastinate. However, occasionally you may discover something that needs your immediate attention.

To continue:

“Okay, I know there are other things that seem more interesting. But remember, this work is part of what God has planned for you so that you can know him and learn to follow his ways. God tells us to be diligent. Is there anything about the assignment you don’t understand, or is there something I can help with? Okay, then, let’s pray right now for God to help you focus on your work and ask for his strength to finish. I’ll check back with you soon to make sure things are going well. I know there are some fun things that you want to do, and I want you to be able to get to them as soon as you are finished. I love you.”

Obviously, you will have to adjust the language to fit your situation, but be sure to cover these points in encouraging your child to do his work.

Please note, this approach will not be helpful unless you are modeling this perspective as a teacher or a parent with the responsibilities that you have. If you can’t show it, don’t promote it. Also note that this approach requires consistency. Alternating between pleasant words and words of anger and frustration will only complicate things. It is always wise to remember God’s amazing patience with you when you are tempted to frustration with your children.