Archive for the ‘Teachable Moments’ Category.

How to grow your own butterflies to teach that Jesus brings new life!

Ever since my kids did this in their Kindergarten class, I’ve been itching to do it at home.  Last year, with a tween and a teen, I decided it was now or never!  Though they are probably too cool to admit it, we all enjoyed the process.   Click on the picture to order the same kit we used.  Inside is a voucher for ordering the caterpillars.


I’m posting this now in case you want to do this as a Lenten learning activity with your family.  Lent begins on March 1 this year.  You still have time to order this and have it wrapped up and ready to surprise them.  Or, you could save it for an Easter present as we did.  If you plan to wrap it up, make sure you order the box that does NOT have the live caterpillars included.  (Note:  I noticed some cheaper options as I was linking the product, but they all seem to ship immediately WITH the live caterpillars.)


(…and this is why I need to remember to NOT buy wrapping paper with white background.
I had to double wrap it awkwardly with the leftover paper to keep it being see-through!)

I will only show the start and finish, so you can discover the other phases on your own.  It truly is a way to worship God through miracles of just one of His many creations!



For those of you with little bitties (and really any age!), simply use this home project as a springboard for talking a God, the creator, and how amazing He is!

For those with kiddos old enough to think more abstractly, the analogy of the caterpillar to butterfly is a creative way to talk about the idea of Salvation.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation;
old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.
2 Corinthians 5:17

As Salvation is foundational for our Christian beliefs, I devoted 4 pages to it in my book rather than 2 pages as with the other 100 topics.   Reference pages 190-193 of Parenting with Scripture: A Topical Guide for Teachable Moments  for related Scriptures and more ideas on how to talk with your children about Salvation.


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Can LITTLE kids make BIG connections?

Yup, and this story is proof positive why we need to be diligent in training our children in God’s truth at home and being connected to a solid, Bible teaching church that doesn’t just look at the preschool ministry as “childcare.” (Don’t get me on my soapbox about this! 😉 )

Facebook post from a mom of a 3 year old…
Deep conversation with Avery tonight-
A: Mommy, will you and Daddy die?
Me: (with deer in the headlights look) Well, yes… (I mean – I can’t lie!)
A: Will I die?
Me: Yes, but God knew we would die so He sent Jesus to die for us and if we accept Him into our hearts we can live forever in heaven with Him.
A: But we won’t live in our house?? (very concerned)
Me: (trying to recover) No, but heaven will be better than any place you’ve ever been.
A: Mommy, how do you know all of this?
Me: Well, God told us all of it in the Bible.
A: (starts chanting what she learned at Sunday school) Everything the Bible says is absolutely true. (then singing another song from church) The B-I-B-L-E, yes, that’s the book for me!

Conversations like that just melt my heart and almost make me forget the 3 year old sassiness and exorcist-esque tantrums. And it’s also a huge testament to the awesome volunteers who work with the little ones at church and BSF. They are soaking up more than you know!

I can just visualize all ministry volunteers who have a heart for little ones giving a giant fist pump!  I know I am!

And, I hope it’s an encouragement to be like this momma and make the most of teachable moments when they come up! Remember, parents are called to be the primary facilitators of spiritual growth in their children’s lives.
These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts.
Impress them on your children.
Talk about them when you sit at home
and when you walk along the road,
when you lie down
and when you get up.
Duet 6:6-7

Want to bring more of God’s Word into your child’s daily life?
People often ask what ages Parenting with Scripture: A Topical Guide for Teachable Moments is good for.
I hope that this post reminds you that little brains are like sponges soaking up information!  And, that this story encourages you it’s never too early to infuse more Scripture into your family’s daily life!  Likewise, we never outgrow God’s Word…a neat concept to point out to children of all ages!

At the beginning of the book, Parenting with Scripture has ideas for different ways to use the book (easily adaptable to your family’s ages and needs) as well as a tutorial of how to capture and create teachable moments.  Make use of these precious preschool years and beyond!

Little Kids, Big Connections

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Vacationing with Scripture…and a flat tire!

Ka-thunk, Ka-thunk, Ka-thunk….not a good sound at 6:30 AM when we have 12 more hours of driving to get back to Texas from Colorado.  We pull off and confirm our suspicions of a flat tire.

While Tim heroically tackled the tire, the kids and I sat quietly waiting.  That’s when our Vacationing with Scripture verse card caught my eye.
vacaDevote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.  Colossians 4:2

Hmmm….already frustrated that we were losing time on our already long drive home, maybe considering our blessings would be a good idea.

The kids and I started brainstorming what we could be thankful for –
*just off mountain passes
(ie – PAST the steep windy roads and BEFORE the desolation of New Mexico or West TX)
*able to get off the highway before the tire shred to the rim
*not horribly cold (surprising for a Colorado dawn in mid-March!)
*had a spare
*Tim knows how to put on a spare
*big shoulder for changing safety
*nice guy who stopped to see if we needed help
*Siri/Google helped us know where the repair place is
*tire repair shop close by
*tire shop is open early

Suddenly, the flat tire didn’t seem like a big deal anymore!   Yes, it made for a much longer day by adding 2 1/2 hours of repair time to an already 13 hour drive.  However, our hearts were so full of gratitude inspired by God’s Word that we no longer had an appetite for complaining.

Going on a trip this summer? 
Try Vacationing with Scripture!  
Click on the blue link above and scroll down to see more examples as well as a how-to. 

Flat Tire

Refer to your copy of Parenting with Scripture: A Topical Guide for Teachable Moments to get ideas for your vacation verse.



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How to encourage your kid’s losing team

Kalli’s Junior High Volleyball team was getting crushed last year.  They were a young, inexperienced, small (only 7!) team that usually played much larger teams with older, more experienced girls.  The first couple of games were brutal and the girls were quite disheartened.

Then a mom came up with a brilliant plan!

Set small goals:

Shauna realized the girls needed smaller, more attainable goals to work toward rather than actually winning a game.  She promised them cupcakes if they could get to 15 points in a set.  Once they achieved that, the next goal was 20 points in a set for chicken nuggets.  I’m sure it was amusing to those not in the know to hear us fans yelling out “CUPCAKES!” or “NUGGETS!” as encouragements!  A win, which they amazingly finally achieved, meant an end of season slumber party!

Celebrate incremental victories:
The opposing teams had to have been completely befuddled by our extreme joy, cheering, and pride in our girls after each game…especially all those “lost” games.  What they didn’t know is that we were elated about the improvements and increasing victories of calling the ball, working as a team, growing skill, and more points!  By the time our team actually won a game, we were so thrilled you’d think we had taken the state championship!

Thus, the season became less about winning and more about growth.  It was a blessing to see the girls’ confidence increase and attitudes brighten with each game. Yes, we will all remember how hard that season was.  You can’t lose that often and badly and it not make an impression.  However, I’m thankful Shauna saw an opportunity to teach the team (and parents!) lessons of persistence, encouragement, and keeping positive when things are down.

Here’s a way a teammate encouraged the remaining 6 girls when she was injured and unable to play.
See?  Encouragement is contagious!
Seems there was a food trend going.  🙂
I’d love to hear any non-food ideas you’ve seen or tried.  Please share!
volleyball verse

 Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.  1 Thessalonians 5:11
For other topical verses, refer to your copy of Parenting with Scripture: A Topical Guide for Teachable Moments

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How a “fight” with my hubby turned into a Teachable Moment

Fight is a bit of an aggressive word and can be construed many different ways.  So, I’ll define it as is typical in my marriage.

Fight (Durbin Marriage Style) – verb, when Kara and Tim bicker back and forth or have heated discussions in raised and irritated tones.  synonym – argument

One evening, Tim and I began squabbling over I can’t even remember what in front of the kids as he was headed back to shower.  Because of our almost 19 years of marriage (+5 prior years of dating), I knew 2 things:
1.  That neither of us was truly mad at the other.
2.  That we would resolve the issue before we went to bed.
Do not let the sun go down while you are angry.  Ephesians 4:26b

But as I glanced at my two kids sitting on the couch, a thought occurred to me.
Did our children know those two things?!

I called Tim back and we decided to work it out in front of the kids so they could see how Mom and Dad deal with conflict resolution.

We explained that…

  • Yes, Mom and Dad do have fights/arguments.  They’ve seen it before.
  • Even when we are trying to work things out and it seems like we are totally frustrated with each other (which we usually are!), we still love each other.  Both feelings are possible at the same time.  Love is patient.  1 Cor. 13:4a
  • Sometimes one of us has to walk away, like Daddy did earlier so we can calm down before trying to resolve the issue.   Refrain from anger and turn from wrath.  Psalm 37:8a
  • We never call each other names or get physical in our arguments.  That crosses the line.  Love is kind. 1 Cor.13:4
  • Sometimes we have to agree to disagree.  And that’s ok, too.
  • We try to never let the sun go down on an heated argument.  Do not let the sun go down while you are angry. Ephesians 4:26b

Then we carried on with our argument turned conversation, allowing the kids to see us work it out.

I think the benefits of this were many –

  • The kids saw Mom and Dad practicing what they preach.
  • They realized conflict resolution is skill they will need all their life, so they might as well keep practicing with siblings and friends!
  • They saw that conflict is normal.  The important thing is how it is handled.
  • They felt security as Mom and Dad explained that the squabbles don’t change their love and commitment to each other.  (Single parents – These same principles can be demonstrated with a good friend or even parent to child!)
  • They heard how the Bible has practical helps in dealing with conflict.

The next time a “fight” begins in front of your kids, consider blessing them with a similar teachable moment!  PS: Though I think this a great idea and helpful to play out in front of your kids every so often (when appropriate), in general I’m not a fan of arguing or fighting in front of the kids. 

For more verses, discussion questions, and take action ideas on the topic of “Fighting,” see your copy of Parenting with Scripture: A Topical Guide for Teachable Moments.


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Help your kid be a Modern Day Good Samaritan!

Are we going to teach our children to pass on by or help when possible?
Here’s a modern day example of being a Good Samaritan from a friend’s recent Facebook post-

Great teachable moment this morning on the way to karate…an elderly man had McCreary Rd blocked because the large load of food (breads, cakes, bags of candy, coffee, etc) he had in the back of his truck had shifted and fallen all over the road. The only way around was through the Target parking lot. Instead of following through the parking lot, we stopped, jumped out and ran to help him clean up. When we stopped, more & more stopped and it was soon cleaned up. He was visibly moved and thanked us all. Thank You, Lord, for this lesson today!  ~Gina Burrage

Notice that others were passing on by UNTIL the Burrages stopped to help.  THEN, others followed their kind example.

I want my kids to be the sort that stop and help and even positively influence others in the process, don’t you? 

Tonight at dinner, read the story of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37), share this story, and discuss ways that your different family members could be Good Samaritans.  Such as…
– Helping a friend who dropped her books
– Helping a mommy or daddy who’s having to clean up a big mess
– Stopping to let a co-worker know you are praying for a difficult situation in his life.
– Being ready to act when an opportunity presents itself!

Never walk away from someone who deserves help;
    your hand is God’s hand for that person.
Proverbs 3:27 – The Message
Good Samaritan

For more verses and ideas how to expand this idea, see the topic “Kindness” in your copy of Parenting with Scripture: A Topical Guide for Teachable Moments.

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Read this & you’ll be ready next time you see an “honor roll” bumper sticker!

You know those “My child is on the honor roll” bumper stickers?

On Dennis Prager’s 2/18/14 radio broadcast, I heard him mention something interesting regarding those car labels…

He said, “I’ve never been impressed with that saying.  How about, ‘My child is honorable!’  What’s more important?”

TRUTH, Mr. Prager!

Next time we see one of those stickers on the back of a car, let’s make use of that teachable moment with our kids! 

Ask and discuss:
Would I rather you be a honor student or honorable?

What does it mean to be honorable, what does God say about it, and what are some creative ways to help my child understand?
Refer to the related topics of Character and Integrity in your copy of Parenting with Scripture:  A Topical Guide for Teachable Moments. 

Pray for us. We are sure that we have a clear conscience and desire to live honorably in every way.
Hebrews 13:18

What a beautiful verse to turn into a prayer for our children…

“Dearest Heavenly Father,
Please help our children to have clear consciences before you and desire to live honorably in every way.
Please give us YOUR wisdom as we teach and parent them to this end.
Let us, as parents, have the same desire for our own lives.
Thank You for Your grace when we are less than honorable.
Help us love our children the way You love us.
In Your Son’s Holy Name,


Image courtesy of Creative Commons

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Do you and your kids know the Secret of Being Content?

Being content certainly makes all-year-long Thanksgiving easier.  So what’s the secret?

The portion of the verse “I have learned the secret of being content” was floating around my head the other day and made me realize I needed to check the passage to make sure I knew what the secret is!

How many of us are familiar with both Philippians 4:12 and Philippians 4:13 separately, but have never tied those two together in our heads?  Please tell me I’m not the only one!

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.  I can do all this through him who gives me strength.  Philippians 4:12-13

Try this discussion at your next family meal or devotional time:

1- Ask your kid if he knows the secret of being content and read Philippians 4:12-13.

My kids easily learned this verse from the Seeds Family Worship: Power of Encouragement CD we listen to in carpool every Wednesday.  You can hear a sample of the song, buy the CD, or download the single MP3 through the link.  Also, you can read here about how to incorporate Scripture through music into your drive time.

2 – Discuss ways your family members struggle to be content. 

3 – Now, read together this passage and discuss what Paul, the writer of Philippians, had been through.

*Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one.
*Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was pelted with stones,
*three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea,
*I have been constantly on the move.
*I have been in danger from rivers,
*in danger from bandits,
*in danger from my fellow Jews, in danger from Gentiles;
*in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea;
*and in danger from false believers.
*I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep;
*I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food;
*I have been cold and naked.
*Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches.
2 Corinthians 11:24-28

4 – Kinda puts things into perspective doesn’t it?!  If Paul can be content, surely we can too!

Are you going to ask your family if they know the secret of being content?
I bet you’ll have a great discussion!

Click here or on the image if you are interested in purchasing this beautiful wall art or similar items from Wise Décor.


For more verses, discussion questions, and Take Action ideas on the topic of “Contentment,”
see your copy of Parenting with Scripture: A Topical Guide for Teachable Moments.

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Do you live in a neighborhood or strangerhood?

Do you live in a neighborhood or strangerhood?

Our pastor has often used the apt term “strangerhood” in referring to the way many streets have become.

If you are in a neighborhood where people know each other, are there for each other, and even have fun with each other, then count your blessings.

If you’re realizing that your block is more of a strangerhood, then consider being the catalyst for change!

We lived in our old neighborhood for 13 years.  For the first few years, we didn’t know very many neighbors.

Then, our subdivision had a rash of burglaries.

Our local police department encouraged us to develop a neighborhood watch program.  Because everyone was concerned about our neighborhood’s safety, there was heightened interest in getting to know one another.

I’m sad that it took a serious problem to bring us together, but thankful for the resulting relationships and connectivity.

Think about what your family enjoys & ways the kids can help and be a part. 
FOR US, that’s looked a number of different ways throughout the years:
* Baked holiday goodies dropped on doorsteps.  My kids love delivering them!
* Ice Cream Sundae Sunday party one summer evening.
* Neighborhood Night Out gatherings in a common area or our front yard.
* New Neighbor Welcomes.  For more, click here.
* Aaaaaaannnnnnnndddddd, our all time fave, the ANNUAL NEIGHBORHOOD GROUNDHOG DAY PARTY!

Yes, you read correctly.  Groundhog Day Party.  Why not?  Our family loves finding ways to celebrate and creating traditions.  So here we are 6 years later, continuing our neighborhood Groundhog Day Party and I’m about to run out of new ideas.  There are only so many ways you can get creative with these furry little critters and their shadows!
groundhog 1

The purpose of this admittedly odd tradition is not to glorify rodents or predictions.  We express that it’s just silly fun.  Rather, we relish the bond it’s creating for our neighborhood families.  After all, not many kids will be able to say they grew up going to annual groundhog day parties!

This “groundhog” snack from last year isn’t the cutest idea out there.
But it certainly was the easiest because the kids made it instead of me = part of the fun!


It’s also helpful for me to remember that WE ARE THE CHURCH wherever we live.
Consider this verse…

From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth;
and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. 
Acts 17:26

Pretty awesome when you think about it, isn’t it?!
God has each of us uniquely where we are for a reason.


What is your family doing to help make where you live more of a neighborhood than a strangerhood?

For more verses on topics like hospitality, that can help you teach these principles to your kids, don’t forget to reference your copy of Parenting with Scripture: A Topical Guide for Teachable Moments.

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I want my family to have a contagious thankful hearts, don’t you?!

“Honey, every day is Thanksgiving to me!” 

This is what a sweet older neighbor exclaimed when I asked her what she was doing for Thanksgiving.
She didn’t know yet when her kids or grandkids would be able to come to share a meal, but it mattered not to her!  She is one of those people who exudes the light of the Lord and joy and gratitude in Him!

The cheerful heart has a continual feast.  Proverbs 15:15b

I want to have a contagious heart of joy and gratitude, too, and teach that to my kids!
Don’t you?!

“Thanksgiving is always in our hearts!”
One of my favorite decorations and reminders –
thankful plate 5

For more on the topics of Appreciation and Thanksgiving, see Parenting with Scripture: A Topical Guide for Teachable Moments.

For more parenting with Scripture Thanksgiving ideas, scroll through these posts.
*Thankfulness Tree
*Grateful Hearts
*Thankful Travel Time
*Thankful Turkey


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