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This morning I served with our church in their Easter Block party for the community doing face painting. Before the kids arrived, we discussed moments we could take to share Jesus and biblical truth with the kids. The kids lined up and off we went.

Painting animals gave opportunity to share God and His creation. Painting a shield gave opportunity share about God’s protection over us. Painting a symbol of Easter gave opportunity to share the real meaning of Easter. Once the block party finished, I continued to think about those brief opportunities and how I don’t know what seeds I planted.

As parents, the same applies. Every moment gives opportunity to speak into our children’s lives. Words of affirmation, instruction, encouragement, teaching, correction, and love. All are chances to plant seeds, nurture growth, or challenge for future change.

Each and every day opportunities abound. Take time to seize each moment and speak truth into their lives.

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SAT. ACT. GPA. Majors. Scholarships. College and career choices. College acceptance. Financial Aid. Demands,  many of which are performance based, for today’s high schoolers. What pressure!

Our daughter is a junior this year and is in the throws of all these demands, deadlines, and decisions. However, her decision making process began when she was in elementary school concerned about her GPA and focused on getting into college. We didn’t even know she knew what a GPA was let alone why she was so focused on college acceptance already. But she’s always been a goal-oriented planner.

The truth is who doesn’t like to meet goals, pass tests, and amount to something. There is nothing wrong with that. The idea of failing isn’t exactly something we strive for, right? But the danger comes when fearing failure overshadows the process of learning and growing.

Failure then becomes the enemy. But is it really? Isn’t the potential for learning and growth there when we fail? I once heard at a writers conference, “Failure is evidence that you tried.” How true. If we never try so we won’t potentially fail, that isn’t success. Failure just shows that you gave it a shot!

We are all human and we all will fail from time to time at something. The problem isn’t that we fail, but in how we respond when we do. Do we get back up, learn and tweak things, and try again? Here are some people that did:

*Walt Disney was fired by the editor of a newspaper for lacking imagination and not having great ideas.

*Abraham Lincoln failed when he campaigned for a seat in the Illinois General Assembly.

*Henry Ford failed at businesses which left him broke five times before he started the Ford Motor Company.

*Bill Gates dropped out of Harvard his junior year of school and failed at his first business.

*Colonel Sanders had difficulty selling his chicken at first with his secret recipe being rejected 1,009 times.

*Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team.

Failure isn’t the end, but an opportunity and springboard to learn and grow into what’s ahead!

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One of the earliest parenting concepts I knew I wanted to implement with my children came long before I became a parent: Commit to always tell my children the moral reason why. Rather than just a list of do’s and don’ts, I saw the importance of instilling in my children the moral reason behind the rule, guideline, or boundary.

I knew from my own experience growing up, just having a rule given without the moral understanding of why, was a recipe for disaster. I lacked the moral understanding of consequence and affect on my future beyond the obvious grounding or that it wasn’t what a “good Christian” does.

When my daughter was two-years old, it was harder to get out a full explanation of moral reasoning as her attention span waned quickly. I remember telling myself, “Get it out quicker next time!” Clearly the appropriate explanation for a two year old differs from that of a teenager. However, at each age, deeper understanding is important.

Just like us, our children have a sinful nature and it’s a natural tendency to want to take the path of least resistance, rebel, push the limits, or think we are somehow exempt from “that” every happening to us.

Often, the quick response we give to our children asking why is, “Because I said so” or “It’s the right thing to do.” But how will that reasoning suffice when our children have their moments of, What if I don’t want to do the right thing or I’m mad at her right now so who cares what she said!

As parents, we need to make sure we teach our children the whole picture. What happens when we break that rule—physically, spiritually, or emotionally? What is the greater purpose of the boundary? What affect does thinking on destructive or immoral things have on our heart and mind and how does that change our overall focus long term? What does the Bible say about it?

It may not be the fastest response, but it’s the more complete response that gives our children tools to do life in their future!

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