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Mama’s K.I.S.S.

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Mama’s K.I.S.S. #58: Public Speaking

As you know, if you’ve been reading, for quite some time, I’ve occasionally been running little installments called “Mama’s K.I.S.S.” I know that lots of readers could give many more and far more creative ideas than I can offer, but these installments are just a few tried and true and mostly old-fashioned ideas for putting service hearts in our kids.  This is number 57  of a list of one hundred ways we train our kids to serve. K.I.S.S. is an acronym for “Kids In Service Suggestions”.

In my judgment, there are few activities which actually sharpen as many skills of service as does public speaking. 

Public speaking builds boldness that’s necessary for effective evangelism in a world that is intimidating toward and sometimes even hostile to Christianity. It sharpens skills for effective communication. This is needed when we communicate the gospel in any setting. Public speaking, about any topic that’s in any way controversial, demands the development of reasoning and critical thinking skills. These developed  talents of the best minds are critical for answering the skeptics in Bible studies. Public speaking teaches our kids how to be persuasive without leaving logic behind. This is what Paul did when standing before Agrippa in Acts 26. Finally, public speaking gives your kids opportunities to go where the average child, who’s afraid of getting before people, will never go. Those places, some of them political arenas and some of them mission fields, where few go, are still places that need God’s truth. 

A quick google search of “oratory contest” yields several great venues for high schoolers. (My kids loved the National Right to Life Oratory contest (https://www.nrlc.org/students/oratory-contest/rules/) and were representatives to (and of) the states of Alabama and Tennessee on multiple occasions. This opened doors for them to speak on pro-life related issues in other venues, locally, as well. We were enriched, as a family, by the Lads to Leaders program (https://www.lads2leaders.com)  and it prepared them for speaking. I believe this influence was a large contributing factor to the speaking that they do today in behalf of the kingdom. I believe it made them more evangelistic, too, as they learned to face and overcome fears associated with looking a critical audience in the eye and stating truth. I know they (and I) are, at best, still woefully inadequate in our representations of the gospel to the world, but every bit of preparation to face the giants of atheism, relativism and materialism in our world today is needed. Homeschooling programs like Classical Conversations offer regular speaking opportunities for all ages.

But  if programs are unavailable to you, I’d work hard to make the venue for your children to get to speak before audiences, even small audiences. Ask your elders or church leaders if they can have appropriate Saturday morning devotionals in which the children are presenting little lessons for encouraging audiences. Start a book club in your home and have the kids present their reviews of  books that are filling them with moral and ethical lessons. Have a game night in your home once a quarter and begin the fun with letting one of your children present a short, well-prepared lesson before the games begin. Ask your minister for opportunities in hospital or nursing home rooms to speak on topics that will bless the sick and elderly. Remember, reading scripture is a great thing, but the force of this particular activity is preparing and being able to present one’s own ideas in an engaging way. (Reading scripture to someone will never be adequate in reaching his soul for heaven. We have to be able to articulate and apply the gospel.) Speaking, rather than reading, is the skill we’re after here. 

Along the way, teach your children that large audiences and accolades are not the goal. You can do this effectively by taking opportunities as they come, rather than saying no to hospital room opportunities and yes to national contests. Just say yes every time you can. You can do this by teaching them to always say no to any temptation to speak in any arena that’s sponsored by sinful products or activities. Never allow them to apply endorsement of sin.  Teach them that God can make great opportunities for souls out of small venues. Teach your children to give generously to the church each time they are rewarded monetarily for speaking somewhere. Teach them that seeking, serving and saving souls is the ultimate goal. Teach them daily, that whatever they do in life, the vocation will just be a catalyst for helping souls to heaven. It will be a tool for helping those around them to know God and His will for their lives. 

Being able to communicate effectively in front of others, sometimes even enemies of the gospel, will help them put on the shoes of the preparation of the gospel of peace (Ephesians 6:15). This takes lots of “mom time”, but it’s is some of the most rewarding time you will spend. 

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

MAMA’S K.I.S.S. #57: Bible Marking for Evangelism

As you know, if you’ve been reading, for quite some time, I’ve occasionally been running little installments called “Mama’s K.I.S.S.” I know that lots of readers could give many more and far more creative ideas than I can offer, but these installments are just a few tried and true and mostly old-fashioned ideas for putting service hearts in our kids.  This is number 57  of a list of one hundred ways we train our kids to serve. K.I.S.S. is an acronym for “Kids In Service Suggestions”.

It’s a simple suggestion, today, but it’s at the heart of service. The most important kind of help  any human can give another is the service that reaches beyond this life. It’s giving people the knowledge from the Word that can place their souls around the throne in heaven. 

So it’s important to equip our kids with the ability to tell people what to do to be saved. Why not take your child’s Bible, even from first grade on up, and begin with Romans 10:17? Highlight that verse with your child. Talk about what faith is and how we can never have saving faith if we never hear the good news about Jesus from the Bible. Impress on your child’s heart, as you study this verse, that the most important thing we can give our friends is the gospel. In the margin beside this passage, write “Hebrew 11:6”.

Turn and highlight this passage in Hebrews. Talk to your child about the importance of believing that God exists and that he will reward those who are searching the Word for His Will. Talk about the heroes in this context who did amazing things for God. (You may want to spend a few nights of your Family Bible Time camped right here in Hebrews 11— the “faith” portion of this evangelism equipping.)  Then, in the margin here, write “Luke 13:3” 

Turn there and highlight this verse. Define “repentance” for your child and talk, in practical terms, about what changing one’s mind about wrong-doing looks like in scenarios that may be familiar to the child. Have your child start watching for repentance in life around him/her. (Ezra, my grandson, was all about “repentance” as we watched “A Muppet Christmas Carol’ together this year.) In the margin beside Luke 13:3,  write. “Romans 10:10”. 

Talk about what confessing Christ means, being sure to make it understood that confessing Him is something we continually do at every chance throughout our lives; how we should never be ashamed of the One who loved us enough to die for us. In the margin at this point, write “Mark 16:16.”

Talk, from Jesus’ words in this passage, about this submission in water that puts a person into the kingdom when he is old enough to have sins, washing those sins away. For older children, at this juncture, it would be good to list some more passages about the mode, purpose and results of baptism. But for five and six-year-olds, just marking the words of Jesus in the Great Commission is enough. 

Congratulate your child on having the most important information in the world “ready” to share at any opportunity. Then pray, with her, for opportunities to share it. 

Be sure your child sees your attempts throughout your days and weeks to engage others about salvation. The kingdom will grow and people will be saved, years hence, through these little people to whom you have given a primer lesson in evangelism. 

Multiple benefits include:

  1. Your kids will learn to mark “paths” in their Bibles; a tool that will help them through life to be serious Bible students.
  2. You will be held accountable by your kids for sharing the good news.
  3. You and your children will bond over the important business of the gospel.
  4. You and your child will pray this most important prayer together.
  5. The “doing” of faith from Hebrews 11 will be concretely illustrated in your child’s heart.
  6. Souls will eventually be saved.

 

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

MAMA’S K.I.S.S. #56: Third World Mission Trip

As you know, if you’ve been reading, for quite some time, I’ve occasionally been running little installments called “Mama’s K.I.S.S.” I know that lots of readers could give many more and far more creative ideas than I can offer, but these installments are just a few tried and true and mostly old-fashioned ideas for putting service hearts in our kids.  This is number 56 of a list of one hundred ways we train our kids to serve. K.I.S.S. is an acronym for “Kids In Service Suggestions”.

Our children are, quite simply, growing up in an era and (for those reading in the USA, in a part of the world) in which they have way too much; way too much money, way too much access to media, and way too many material wishes granted.

Our kids are, on the other hand, growing up with way too little; too little restraint, too little discipline and too little responsible parental guidance. 

When our daughter was about fourteen years old, she and I traveled together on our first  foreign mission trip to New Zealand. The trip was one in which we worked very hard and I was extremely grateful for the chance to teach ladies from all over that country. Certainly one of the best aspects of the trip was that I had Hannah along and she was able to present lessons to the teen girls. While this was a great training trip for Hannah, she did not see poverty there and she did not experience negative receptivity to our message.

Our next trip, though, was the one for which I will always be most grateful. We traveled to Jamaica and our work was done in parts of that country in which people did live in poverty. She worked very hard for all of those days in extremely hot temperatures and on rugged terrain. The physical exertion to take the gospel was teaching her that what we were doing was important—critical, even. It was a catalyst for comparison, too; knowing that the ultimate price had already been paid by One who was also on a mission (His was from heaven.) to a place where He experienced, for the first time, dirtiness, sin, crying, persecution and death. Our price, in trouble and expense, for carrying His message, was extremely minute. 

When we returned to our middle class home in Alabama, was when I realized the full benefit (and the primary lesson) of that trip. Hannah went into her room and sat down on the floor, looked around, and cried. There was her pink bean bag chair, the multicolored lamp for which she’d asked Santa at Christmas-time, the Snoopy telephone, the cherry rope bed her Dad had built—the one with the trundle underneath for guests, and the curtains made of fabric she had chosen at the fabric store. There were two closets in that room and her own bathroom was off to the side. She sat down in the floor of that room and cried “Why me? Why am I privileged to have all of this? Why do I get to live like this when Princess lives with eight people in a room smaller than this one; a place where they sleep on shelves and they have to go outside to use the bathroom; a place where she’s never even had a hot shower?”

It was then that I knew her life had been changed. I knew she would never again be ungrateful for the material blessings in which we basked. Princess was a girl in Jamaica, the same age as Hannah. It had been a long and hot day and the older gentleman with whom Hannah had been knocking doors did not want to ascend the very steep and rugged little footpath that led up to Princess’ little shack. He, unable to see anything at the top of that little mountain, said “I am not going up that rabbit trail.” Hannah said “Well, I am going to go.”  And so, at the end of that trip, Princess, who lived at the pinnacle of  that mountain (a mountain that Hannah did need to climb), along with her young friend, Nigel, had been immersed into Christ. The life lessons about the real concept of the grace of our Prince were just being poured out by the real King into Hannah’s heart and she would never be quite the same again. 

So I urge you to do it. If you can take the opportunity to take the gospel, with your young teens, to a place where kids don’t have it as “good” as your kids have it, then do it. This might be the one segment of Mama’s K.I.S.S. that has the premier lifetime benefits among all the service suggestions. Hannah raised her funding to go by writing faithful churches and members who might be able to give small amounts toward her air flight (another great  preparation experience for “adulting” in the body of the Lord).

All of the benefits of all of the service examples in the Mama’s K.I.S.S. series are largely voided if we fail to place in our children the value of the eternal souls for which we ultimately are serving and the concept that all of our blessings belong to the One in whose grace we live both physically and spiritually; thus those blessings should be constantly used in His service for souls. 

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Mama’s K.I.S.S. #55:–Translating for Missions

As you know, if you’ve been reading, for quite some time, I’ve occasionally been running little installments called “Mama’s K.I.S.S.” I know that lots of readers could give many more and far more creative ideas than I can offer, but these installments are just a few tried and true and mostly old-fashioned ideas for putting service hearts in our kids.  This is number 54 of a list of one hundred ways we train our kids to serve. K.I.S.S. is an acronym for “Kids In Service Suggestions”.

Have a student in a foreign language in your home or high school? While I know that second-year Spanish students are usually not able to translate lessons on the mission field, they are able to take the correspondences (letters and emails) sent by Spanish speaking missionaries and translate them for your eldership and/or missions committee. What a great way to accomplish a three-fold purpose. You can enhance the foreign language skills of your student while getting his/her “feet wet” in foreign missions while building relationships between elders in a church and young students. so go to your elders and volunteer your kids. Better yet, let your kids go to the elders and let them know they’d love to be in-house translators.

Additionally, if your congregation works with a correspondence evangelism program, this is also a great niche for your teens who are working on foreign language skills. Often the foreign students send Bible questions that are difficult for the Bible school workers to understand. Volunteering in such a program focuses malleable teen hearts on souls and promotes a zeal for evangelism that will last a lifetime.

I’ve seen more than one young translator end up doing great mission work on foreign soil. It’s one idea for preparing a heart to be a sower!

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Mama’s K.I.S.S. #54: Devos for Younger Kids

As you know, if you’ve been reading, for quite some time, I’ve occasionally been running little installments called “Mama’s K.I.S.S.” I know that lots of readers could give many more and far more creative ideas than I can offer, but these installments are just a few tried and true and mostly old-fashioned ideas for putting service hearts in our kids.  This is number 54 of a list of one hundred ways we train our kids to serve. K.I.S.S. is an acronym for “Kids In Service Suggestions”.

This one really doesn’t need an explanation. If your children are upwards of ten years old, then they can easily host a devotional for younger children. Of course, these younger children could be the children in your congregation or they could be community kids. Help your children plan a Bible theme, like “The Big Fish” (the book of Jonah) or “The Men Who Would Not Bow” (Daniel 3) or “When a Lame Man Walked”(Acts 3-4). Practice the storytelling and related songs with your kids. Make visuals or plan to use puppets to tell the story or help your kids dress up as Bible characters as they tell the story. Make sure your children are prepared to pray with the younger ones.

Make little invitations with your kids or have your kids invite the children personally.  Alternately, if you are inviting children from your congregation, your kids could write out the invitation and submit it to the one who is making public announcements or to whomever prepares the bulletin. It’s important to let the kids pick the theme (with help and advice) and do the legwork and artwork. It’s important to specify the ages of children who are invited on the invitation, as well. Having kids present,  who are older than the hosting kids, may intimidate the hosts, especially the first time around (and you really want this to be successful). On the other hand, having babies present (especially without moms) may also distract from your children’s ability to focus and complete their plans. Just think ahead and try to make the big day whopping success for your own children, by indicating, on the invitation, just who the devotional is targeting. It saves last minute angst. Then be loving and gracious when the day comes if there are hitches in your original plan. Remember, the goal is servant hearts in your kids, so, in every Mama’s K.I.S.S. activity you are, most importantly, modeling the behavior of the Lord.

As the time draws near, practice a game or activity with your kids– a Bible verse scavenger hunt or a sidewalk tic-tac-toe game where questions must be answered before the Xs and Os can be placed. It could be a treasure map locating theme-related favors or preparation of a Bible food. Any of these activities should be related to the devotional story your kids are telling and your activity should be something kids can complete within a thirty or forty minute time period.

Snacks and favors are optional, but your kids might love to make or buy story-related snacks. Pinterest is a great source for ideas.  Be sure, if you are hosting community kids, to include info about the church in any favor bags.

Just be sure to let your kids take ownership of this little event. Talk about young souls that are being influenced while you are preparing. Then have fun with this!

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Mama’s K.I.S.S. #53: Help a Homeschooling Mom

As you know, if you’ve been reading, for quite some time, I’ve occasionally been running little installments called “Mama’s K.I.S.S.” I know that lots of readers could give many more and far more creative ideas than I can offer, but these installments are just a few tried and true and mostly old-fashioned ideas for putting service hearts in our kids.  This is number 53 of a list of one hundred ways we train our kids to serve. K.I.S.S. is an acronym for “Kids In Service Suggestions”.

When our Hannah was about 12, she began tutoring a kindergartner who lived in our neighborhood. It was a big blessing for her and I think it was also a blessing for the family of little Lindsey, I was close by, just in case there were any issues that required an adult for any reason. Responsibility and service were great take-aways for Hannah. It was a hands-on prep for the school-teaching and home education that Hannah would be doing later in life, as well. Most of all, it gave Hannah some real-life experience in handling issues that required discipline and ethical choices.

There are home-schooling moms who can use a helper once a week. Why not have your teen approach one you know and offer their services as grocery store helpers, math tutors, piano teachers, once-a week casserole-makers or free Thursday backyard  babysitters for toddlers for an hour a week? It could be the beginning of a win-win situation for two families, as was the case in our neighborhood.