Archives for April 2013

William Summey: Christian Parenting & Life of Pi

I was a bit surprised when I watched the movie “Life of Pi” this weekend with my family. I was expecting a fanciful adventure tale but not the religious content. It seemed pretty clear to my wife and I that the movie promoted the syncretism and pluralism we often see in our society: “Whatever works for you.” We had a nice conversation in the few days following the movie about our understanding of who Jesus is and the message of John 14:6. “Jesus told him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.’”

But the discussion was perhaps a little too symbolic for my boys ages 8 and 12, so we really were not able to go very deep into the spiritual content. “Life of Pi” did remind me of the power of story and the importance of how we shape the lives of our children. We need to show them that the biblical story is their story as well.

We all experience the powerful shaping influence of story – how we picture ourselves and how others picture us. But there is power in truth. That is what my boys were seeking after. Overwhelmingly my boys wanted to know if the story was true, or partially true, or if it was about a real person. The movie was not willing to say, but it really does matter. We love a good story, but it is not enough to hang your hat on.

So how do we help our children understand the truth of the Bible? There is certainly no greater way than to live it ourselves. Live the Word. Let your kids experience it. The Bible and our relationship with God should shape who we are and everything we do. That is the Christian worldview. A daily discussion of how we fit into God’s great plan lets our kids know that they are part of God’s ongoing story … and there is power in that!

Real Life Solutions: Parental Conflict

We are proud to have Dr. Linda Mintle in ParentLife each month answering questions submitted from readers. To submit a question for Dr. Mintle, e-mail it to and include “? for Dr. Mintle” on the subject line. This month we have an extra Q&A from Dr. Mintle we wanted to share.

Q: Our home is filled with a lot of conflict because my husband and I don’t get along. The conflict is getting worse. We are yelling at each other and constantly upset. We have talked about divorce. I am sure my three and five year-olds can sense the tension. How bad is this for the kids?

A: Honestly, it is bad. We have numerous studies that show that high conflict between parents, hurts young children. When anger is evident between parents, preschoolers become physically, behaviorally, and emotionally upset. Their development is affected as the intensity of conflict impacts their attachment, beliefs, ability to process and regulate what is happening and much more. The issue isn’t the conflict. All marriages have conflict and the majority of it never gets solved. The real issue is the intensity of the conflict and how you deal with it. You can lesson the damage if you make a few changes. 1) Don’t ever use physical aggression in front of your children (or on your spouse for that matter). It is scary for kids. 2) Don’t say awful things about a spouse in front of your children. 3) Don’t do the opposite of a screaming match and give the silent treatment. Kids notice this and it is hurtful. 4) Don’t put your children in the middle of an argument and have them choose sides. 5) If you are going to address a conflict in front of your children, stick with it until there is an agreement or a decision to disagree so they can see you work through the issue. 6) Stay calm and respectful, guarding your mouth. 7) Leave your children out of the conversation so they don’t think they somehow created the problem. As you and your husband try to work through your differences, remember that you are modeling how to deal with conflict for both children. Do you want to pass your actions on to them? If not, do the above and see a couple’s counselor. You owe it to your children and yourselves before divorce is on the table. So many couples divorce over fixable problems. And divorce has its own set of problems for kids.

Resource: Resolving Conflict in Your Marriage by Dennis Rainey (Family Life Publishing, 2010).

Children Learn With Their Senses

Remember, children learn with all their senses. Guide them to see the toys, hear the echo in the bathroom, feel the warm water, and smell the soap. Children also learn through tasting; however, tasting may be best experienced while brushing teeth after a bath. Remember to teach your child to rinse and spit after brushing. Swallowing large amounts of toothpaste can be harmful to your child.

You can also play music during bath time. Play classical tunes for a bit of culture, or choose relaxing lullabies to help your child wind down after a busy day. Select simple, upbeat children’s tunes to allow your little one an experience in rhythm and rhyme.

BSFL winner chosen! Is it you?

Thank you so much for reading up on the new Bible Studies for Life with us this week and learning all about how it connects the unconnected, strengthens families, and helps you disciple with wisdom.
The winner of the Bible Studies for Life giveaway has been selected. Thank you to everyone who entered! 
And congratulations to Jon Cooper, our winner!  Jon is a student minister at Highland Baptist Church in Meridian, MS.
Don’t forget you can still preview three lessons of Bible Studies for Life for FREE!

Summer Camp Survival Tips for Children With Autism

Sending your child to camp for the first time can be an overwhelming experience for a Mama. Letting go and allowing them to be independent and away from home, even at a day camp, can be terrifying. Even attending VBS at your church might be a big step!  When your child has autism, there’s another layer added. Here are a few tips to help your child adapt to a camp setting this summer:

  1. Introduce camp to your child: Visit ahead of time, let them get the lay of the land, and allow them to explore and ask questions. If possible get a copy of the camp schedule ahead of time to share with your child. If they know when breaks are coming, it might help them tolerate the day. Go over the “camp rules” to be sure they understand what is expected.
  2. Introduce your child to the camp: Prepare a letter to the camp staff, explaining your child’s idiosyncrasies.  Let them know about your child’s food preferences, their fears, what gets them excited, and how to calm them in a meltdown. Most camp staffers are there because they love kids, and they can love yours too if they know how to handle what might be coming. Include several extra copies of the letter to give out to anyone who might be working with your child.
  3. Pack a survival bag: Extra clothes or a towel in case they get wet, a comfort object from home, even a special snack could help them get through the camp day. Think about what makes your child feel at ease, and send that thing in their bag. Don’t forget a special note from you to let them know how proud you are of this big step. Include a verse like “Be strong and courageous” from Deuteronomy 31:6 to remind your child that they are not alone.

Maybe camp is beyond the scope of what your child can do this summer. No problem! Just be sure to find engaging activities that stimulate their minds AND keep them physically active. A picnic, some new paints and canvas, or a baby pool filled with water in your yard can provide hours of summer fun in the safety of your own backyard.

Conversation Starters

Fine. Good. Boring.

My daughter is only 5-years-old, and she is already the queen of one word answers. It’s hard enough to get a good conversation going about her day, not to mention the tougher topics that all parents face.

But it’s so important for us as parents to keep starting those conversations with our kids. And I’m always looking for resources for faith-based conversation starters with my kids.


LifeWay is launching Bible Studies for Life for Kids this fall (you may be familiar with it now as Bible Studies for Kids). And along with several other great changes, there is also a new One ConversationTM overview that targets parents and makes it easy for them to lead one spiritual conversation each week. The link above is a sample of that One Conversation.

If you like what you see, let your Children’s Ministry staff know! They can get more details and overview of the exciting changes that are coming for Bible Studies for Life by going to

Trends & Truth Online: The YouTube Interview

laptop_computer_0515-0909-2120-0444_SMUFinally! Here’s your chance to hear the parent-friendly, inside scoop on – straight from Caitlin Hendrickson of the YouTube Education Team:

T&TO: Why is YouTube so popular among children and preteens?
Hendrickson: I think one of the reasons that YouTube is so popular is that it has an unlimited number of videos to satisfy your children’s interests, whatever they may be. Not only can you sit and watch Sesame Street or Baby Einstein together but you can explore the world by virtually travelling to places like the San Diego Zoo or learning about craft ideas on a channel like Handmade Modern.
Happily, YouTube can also help out when kids ask those tricky questions – like, “Hey Mom, what sound does a koala make?” YouTube thankfully has thousands of clips of koalas, and some of those koalas make their signature sound – which happens to be a low grunt. Question answered!
YouTube is also a great way to easily keep record of your child growing up. Scrapbooks are so last century! Unlike videotapes and files on your computers, once you upload your videos to YouTube, you will never have to worry about misplacing the original. Some people want to keep their family videos private, and YouTube makes this very easy: Any uploaded video can be set to either ‘Private’ which means that only certain users can view it, or to ‘Unlisted’ so that only friends and family with the link can view the video. In either case, no one can find your video through a YouTube search, so you have control over who is viewing your videos

T&TO: What tools and/or guidelines does YouTube provide to help parents and preteens enjoy the site together?
Hendrickson: We have a Family Safety Center, a one-stop shop that provides step-by-step instructions for using safety tools built into Google products and other best practices for families to consider. We also have a Curriculum channel, where we post videos about digital citizenship and staying safe online.

T&TO: Some parents believe YouTube offers too much content that’s inappropriate for children. Your thoughts on that?
Hendrickson: YouTube is not a site for under 13s, but just like a library: it’s a repository of content from a really wide range of sources and it’s designed to be experienced with an adult.
That said, there are tons of educational resources just waiting to be shared. Whether it’s used for explaining Newton’s laws of motion through a Rube Goldberg machine or learning more about the world’s population, there’s so much material which is fascinating to children and adults alike.
We also work with child safety organizations’ efforts to educate Internet users through new media, including YouTube. YouTube has partnered with many organizations in multiple countries and languages who have their own channels and whose expertise we’ve incorporated into our help resources and safety tips. Some examples are Beat Bullying, Childnet, eEnfance, Save the Children, ICMEC, Ad Council and others.

A Bible Just for Your Preteen Boys (Giveaway!!)

guysTyndale House Publishers delivers all new designs for the Guys Life Application Study Bible, specifically designed for guys 11-14. The Guys Life Application Study Bible offers guys an approachable, attractive Bible that they can study, understand, and apply in their everyday lives. Packed full of a variety of features, the Guys Life Application Study Bible is easy to use and helps answer the questions preteen guys may have about God and life.

This time around, the Guys Life Application Study Bible takes glow in the dark to a whole new level. The Glow edition features a cover that actually glows in the dark, as well as special glow-in-the-dark ribbon markers and head and tail bands that are sure to grab guys’ attention. This Bible is also available in a new Iridium edition and redesigned hardcover and softcover editions.

For more information on the Guys Life Application Study Bible, check out


And we’ve got 5 copies to giveaway! Enter through the form below!

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Those Fabulous Fruits Book List

On page 32 of this month’s issue of ParentLife, Cari Stone gave us tangible ways to live out Galatians 5. Here are a few of Cari’s recommendations for great literature to read to kids to show them the fruits of the Spirit.

Picture Books

Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney

Thy Friend, Obadiah by Brinton Turkle

All the Places to Love by Patricia MacLachlan

The Carrot Seed by Ruth Krauss

The Selfish Giant by Oscar Wilde

The Way I Act by Steve Metzger


Chapter Books

The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes

The Family Under the Bridge by Natalie Savage Carlson

Farmer Boy by Laura Ingalls Wilder


Bible Stories

The Jesus Storybook Bible by, Sally Lloyd-Jones

This version is especially accessible and contains many stories which highlight these attributes, including:

“A New Beginning” – Story of Noah

“The Good Shepherd” – Based on the Psalms of David

“The Captain of the Storm” – Jesus Calming the Waters

“The Friend of Little Children” – Jesus reaching out to the children

Are you a new mommy? (Giveaway!)





Bestselling author and mom Sarah Arthur knows that bringing a baby home from the hospital can be daunting. She also knows that moms experience a myriad of emotions and can feel overwhelmed in this exciting new chapter. Sarah Arthur wants to remind new moms—in the midst of crazy emotions and busyness—of God’s awesomeness. In the drowsy confusion and excitement of new motherhood, moms will be reassured that God is in control, his timing is perfect, and he is near—even in the chaos.



Sarah Arthur, a new mom herself, confesses, “If you’re anything like me, you’re craving Mommy Time. Time to yourself, time to breathe, time to actually finish a meal.” In writing Mommy Time, Arthur endeavors to help new moms recharge their spiritual batteries in this marvelous yet exhausting new chapter. This book is the perfect gift for any new mom and will serve as a great companion in her scant amount of free time, offering true refreshment in God’s Word. Arthur’s goal is “cultivating awareness of God’s presence in the small things, in the daily tasks of caring for infants.” In each of the ninety devotions, moms will feel centered in God’s Word and closer to the heart of Jesus. Arthur encourages her readers to “ditch the spiritual guilt. Take a breath. God is here, as close as your baby’s heartbeat.” Even when life feels a bit out of control, with the addition of a wonderful new bundle of joy, Mommy Time will encourage and remind new moms that God is awesome and still in control.

About the Author . . . Sarah Arthur is a fun-loving speaker and the award-winning author of seven books, including the bestselling Walking with Frodo: A Devotional Journey through the Lord of the Rings. A graduate of Wheaton College (BA in English and Christian Education) and of Duke University Divinity School (Masters in Theological Studies), Arthur served in full-time youth ministry for seven years before launching her writing and speaking career. She and her pastor-husband, Tom, live in southern Michigan with their young son, Micah John, who can say mama and dad but is still working on Christological.


We’re thrilled to have 5 copies of Mommy Time to give away this month at ParentLife Online thanks to Tyndale House! Simply use the Rafflecopter below to enter. (Subscribers may need to click through to the post.) Winners will be selected April 10, 2013. Please see terms.

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