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The Hunger Games Discussion Guide

The Hunger Games

A Thoughtful Discussion Guide for Parents

Whether or not you want your high school students and preteen kids to be reading the books and watching the movie, chances are high that families in your church are coming into contact with the current excitement surrounding The Hunger Games.

Our student ministry team has developed a response that we’re distributing to parents of our kids to encourage them to dialogue with their children and talk through some of the serious content and questions that The Hunger Games is bringing into the lives of our youth.

Feel free to take this resource and run with it.  I think a part of our jobs, as those who are called to serve kids and families in our communities, is to resource them to have significant conversations around their dinner tables about stuff like this.  And, I think that part of my job is to share neat things like this that our student ministry team made for our families.

Sharing is a good thing, right?

Hunger Games Discussion Guide (PDF)

CLICK HERE

A special thanks to our Student Ministry intern, Kailyn King, for doing the footwork to make this resource a reality.  One day, you’ll be allowed to hire her at your church to run your student ministry.  But… not yet – we want to keep her for a while 🙂

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Posted by on March 27, 2012 in Orange, Resources

 

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Where we got the name “Christmas”

[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ibyur0xMeBA%5D

Where we got the name “Christmas”

WITB Tour: The Tricky Bits of Christmas

Have you ever wondered where the name Christmas comes from?  And… why don’t we just call it “Jesus’ birthday-day”?

Today, I get to talk a little about an amazing resource that’s coming out this holiday season.  Each year, I come across some tricky questions from the kids at my church, and even the kids who live at my house, as Christmas approaches.  Questions about Santa, the date of Christmas, some more questions about Santa, what the deal is with Christmas trees, and… yes… more questions about Santa.  I’d imagine that, if you’re a parent or work with children at your church, you face some of these same questions every year.

Well, I just happen to be friends with someone on a team who has developed a new tool for parents and church leaders to answer some of those hard questions surrounding Christmas.  The guys and gals who produce What’s In The Bible?  are launching a new resource this holiday season called Why Do We Call it Christmas (You can order the series at this link).  At the end of this post, I’ll tell you how you can win a FREE copy of this resource.

I’ve been asked to tackle some of the tricky bits that surround the lesson about where the name “Christmas” comes from.  It’s probably one of the lesser controversial lessons in the series (tackling the Santa thing sure sounds tricky, but the WITB team actually did it better than I’ve EVER seen), but it’s an important question that I want my own children, and the children in my church, to have the ability to answer.  Christmas is kind of a big deal, our kids should be able to talk about it from a place of understanding… and their answers should sound a bit different than the other answers on the playground at school.

When we work through this series at Glenkirk in the coming weeks (and at my house with my own kids), I’ll be giving my volunteers and church parents a head’s up about some of the trickier parts of this lesson.  The things I cover will probably look a little something like this:

For Volunteers and Parents

  1. In explaining the origin of the name “Christmas,” the video talks a bit about Communion.  Be ready to answer questions about what Communion is and why we take communion.  At our church, Communion is something that we celebrate once a month… but, be ready to explain to kids that some churches take communion more often and some take it less often.  At the time that Christmas originated (not when Jesus was born… but when we started celebrating Christmas on December 25), Communion was a part of each church service.  Having that information in your back pocket is going to be pretty helpful.
  2. The video talks about the fact that the holiday that started out on December 25th wasn’t Christmas.  You should be comfortable talking about this and shouldn’t shy away from the history of the date.  Try asking the kids in your group or in your family what day their birthday is on and if they’d change the day they celebrate it, if they could.  For example, my birthday is on December 27th and I’d change the day I celebrate it in a heartbeat.  I’ve lost count of how many “Christmabirthday” presents I’ve gotten over the years.  I think I’d want to celebrate my birthday in early May, if I had the choice.  Or maybe February.  How about you?
  3. When explaining the history of the holiday, it’s easy to talk less and less about the actual Christmas story.  Make sure that you point your discussion back to the birth of Jesus if it begins straying too far away.  If we spend a whole lesson talking about Christmas and forget to talk about God sending his Son to rescue us, we’re failing.  We should make sure that we make a big deal out of what we celebrate at Christmas.

Ok, here’s how to win your own copy ($79.00 value).  You can enter for the drawing by sharing this post on Facebook or Twitter and by sending me an email at aprince(at)glenkirkchurch.org.  Your email should include a quick story about how you handle (or how your parents handled) talking about Santa in your home.  This post isn’t about Santa… but I’m working on one and would love to use some of your stories (I’ll keep them anonymous, I promise).

Write to me, tell me about Santa, share this link and I’ll choose the winner next Tuesday, Nov.15, and post your name here on the blog.

 
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Posted by on November 10, 2011 in Kidmin, Resources

 

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End of the Year Celebrations: Parent Resources

As our mid-week programs are wrapping up at our church, I thought I’d share an idea that we put into practice last year and are still in the process of refining.

A few years ago, as we handed out awards and recognition for our students at the end of the school year, I began wrestling with how empty our awards ceremony felt.  There we were, with a ton of our committed parents in the room, handing out ribbons, certificates and trophies and then sending families on their merry way for the summer months.

So, last year, I decided to turn part of the night into a vision casting session for parents.  First, we show this video:

[vimeo http://vimeo.com/18984255]

this video is courtesy of Orange and 252 Basics which we use as our Sunday Morning Strategy at our church

Then, with moms in the room getting all teary-eyed because they think of their baby leaving the house in a few short years, we give them a vision for making the next years of parenting count.  We explain that our church desires to come alongside them and partner with them to raise their children to become fully devoted followers of Jesus.  With the term “partnership” in mind, we then offer them resources that we feel will help them a) catch the vision of partnership with the church and b) equip them to parent more confidently over the next year.

This year, we offered three resources for parents to choose from.
You can read about them here: http://www.glenkirkchurch.org/articles1-170/ParentingResourceList

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So… here’s my question, have you done something like this and, if so, what resources are you putting in the hands of the parents in your community?  If you haven’t… tell me why not.  I’d love to hear your thoughts!

 
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Posted by on May 12, 2011 in Kidmin, Resources, Thoughts

 

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Kids in Alabama Need Your Help

Speaking of talking with your kids about death, I was just informed of an amazing organization that is coming alongside families who are recovering from the devastating tornadoes that hit the South last week.

Mitzi Eaker has put together a really neat project that is a very practical way for your family to lend a hand in bringing hope and love to kids who need to know that God and the Church are still looking out for them.  Think “Operation Christmas Child” – but in May.  Here’s some quick info I was provided by some friends who are close to the project.

“We are asking that families and children’s ministries across the country get involved by creating “Boxes of Hope” for children which will be distributed in disaster relief centers, emergency shelters, and area hospitals to storm victims. These boxes will contain a personal note to the children with scripture for encouragement, fun activities such as a coloring book, small toys or games, and a few toiletry items. “Boxes of Hope” are aimed at providing a distraction and encouragement to children who have lost everything in this heartbreaking disaster. As parents, we know that seeing our children receive such a gift in this circumstance would help put our minds at ease as well.”


Read more,  including how your family can be involved by visiting kids4al.com.

 
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Posted by on May 4, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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Talking with your Child about Death

There’s no way to avoid this simple fact: death happens

And, when it does, we often struggle with how to approach talking to our kids about the subject.

Recently, in our community, a young mom passed away suddenly – leaving behind her husband and two children, a 1st and a 5th grader.  In other parts of the country, recent tornadoes have devastated communities and left hundreds of families grieving the loss of loved ones.  Across an ocean from us, Japan is still reeling from one of the largest earthquake/tsunami combinations many of us will see in our lifetime – with a death toll that has surpassed 10,000 lives lost.

In the midst of dealing with death, our children often approach us looking for answers.  At the same time, we’re faced with the daunting task of balancing our own grief with guiding our kids through the process.  Here are some thoughts that I keep in mind as I guide families tackling important questions surrounding death and mourning.

The question I’ve been asked the most in my years of ministering to families and communities who are grieving is whether or not a child should attend the funeral of someone outside of the family.  When answering this question, it’s good to think about where a child is developmentally.  As parents, we often project our emotions and desires on our children – for better or for worse.  If one of my closest friends lost a family member, I would want to be there for that person to provide a sense of community in mourning.  My four year old son, however, wouldn’t provide that same sense of community for a peer – children’s friendships are different than adult friendships and parents often lose sight of that during times of emotional crisis.

I encourage families to talk openly about the grieving process, but forcing a young child to attend a memorial service might cause more harm than good.  However, if a child wants to attend a service with their parents, I see that as an opportunity for a family to share the grieving process together.  I discourage families from having their younger children sit amongst peers – again, they aren’t looking to each other for support – adults are most often viewed as their protectors/comfort.  Peers rarely operate in this role for young children.

The most important thing I try to tell families during the grieving process is that children need to know that they aren’t alone.  Parents don’t have to have everything “figured out” in order to give children a sense of safety and comfort.

I have found the following online articles helpful in shaping my conversations with parents talking to their children about death:

One of the best articles I’ve read on natural disasters and our response as Christians was written by my Senior Pastor and friend, Jim Miller

http://pastorjamesmiller.com/2011/03/14/religion-disaster-and-japan/

Children’s Ministry magazine provides more than just information on the subject, they actually provide suggestions for how to talk with kids about death

http://www.childrensministry.com/articles/helping-children-deal-with-death

http://www.childrensministry.com/articles/helping-children-grieve

iVillage gives an in depth answer to the question “Should my child attend a funeral?”

http://www.ivillage.com/should-your-child-attend-funeral/6-n-146437

The most useful article I’ve ever read on the subject is from hospicenet.org

http://www.hospicenet.org/html/talking.html

If you don’t want to click through right now because you don’t have time, I encourage you to at least read their summary of how children mourn, based on age and developmental stage. (below)

Characteristics of Age Groups (to be used only as a general guide)

Infants – 2 Years Old:

  • Will sense a loss
  • Will pick up on grief of a parent or caretaker
  • May change eating, sleeping, toilet habits.

2-6 Years Old:

  • Family is center of child’s world
  • Confident family will care for her needs
  • Plays grown-ups, imitates adults.
  • Functions on a day-to-day basis.
  • No understanding of time or death
  • Cannot imagine life without mum or dad
  • Picks up on nonverbal communication.
  • Thinks dead people continue to do things (eat, drink, go to the bathroom), but only in the sky.
  • Thinks if you walk on the grave the person feels it.
  • Magical thinking
  • you wish it, it happens (bring the dead back or wishing someone was dead)
  • Death brings confusion, guilt [magically thought someone dead]
  • Tendency to connect things which are not related.

6-9 Years Old:

  • Personifies death: A person, monster who takes you away
  • Sometimes a violent thing.
  • Still has magical thinking, yet begins to see death as final, but outside the realm of the child’s realistic mind.
  • Fails to accept that death will happen to them – or to anyone (although begins to suspect that it will).
  • Fears that death is something contagious.
  • Confusion of wording [soul/sole, dead body, live soul].
  • Develops an interest in the causes of death (violence, old age, sickness).

9-12 Year Old:

  • May see death as punishment for poor behavior.
  • Develops morality – strong sense of good and bad behavior.
  • Still some magical thinking.
  • Needs reassurance that wishes do not kill.
  • Begins an interest in biological factors of death.
  • Theorizes: People die to make room for new people.
  • Asks more about “what happened”
  • Concerns about ritual, burying
  • Questions relationship changes caused by death, life changes.
  • Worries about who provides and cares for them.
  • May regress to an earlier stage
  • Interested in spiritual aspects of death.

Teenagers:

  • Views death as inevitable, universal, irreversible.
  • Cognitive skills developed
  • Thinks like an adult
  • Questions meaning of life if it ends in death
  • Sees aging process leading to death
  • Sees self as invincible – it will not happen to me.
  • Sees death as a natural enemy
  • Need for adult guidance (grief process, coping skills).
  • Needs someone to listen; to talk with.
  • May feel guilt, anger, even some responsibility for death that occurred.
  • Not sure how to handle own emotions [public and private].

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Other thoughts or questions?  Do you have resources you’d like to suggest?  Share them in the comment section below!

 
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Posted by on May 2, 2011 in Kidmin, Resources, Thoughts

 

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Review: Spiritual Parenting DVD Curriculum

I recently had an opportunity to continue reviewing products from the Spiritual Parenting series produced by David C. Cook and written by Michelle Anthony. Michelle Anthony, by the way, has served as the Pastor of Family Ministries at ROCKHARBOR Church, the Family Ministries Architect for David C Cook and is the author of the book Spiritual Parenting (which I previously reviewed here: https://westcoastcm.wordpress.com/2010/11/24/kidmin-book-review-spiritual-parenting).

Here’s a quick video intro from Michelle, herself:

I want to keep this review concise, so let me jump straight to the Digs and Dribbles…

Things I Dig

I love, love, love the quality of these videos.  All too often, DVD curriculum is simply footage from a fixed camera that someone clearly pushed record on and walked away during a conference.  This is not the case with this curriculum.  This DVD set is creatively put together with multiple shots and great editing.  Seriously, my hat goes off to the guys and gals over at David C. Cook who put this package together – well done!

I’m also blown away with the depth of the content provided in this series.  Michelle and her team didn’t hold back when they put this series together.  There’s a ton of information to be gathered from this curriculum… I’m impressed with the effort that was put into this series.

Things that Dribbled

If you read my last review of Spiritual Parenting, you’ll know that I’m often asking what the parent who’s not already engaged in the church should do with this resource.  I’m still asking those questions with this curriculum.  As a church, we would offer a series like this on Sunday mornings at our parenting gathering/fellowship – which, believe it or not, is not a room full of Christian parents (some are… but not all).  With that said, this could be a great resource to pass on to families who are already committed believers – that’s just not our target audience.

I’d also have to agree with my friend, Gina McClain, when she noted that these sessions are LONG.  When you factor in discussion and activities, these sessions will clock in at nearly 90 minutes… an amount of time that I think is a stretch for our programming – on campus or in small group settings.  Again, it’s not a knock against the content – it would be 90 minutes of greatness.  We just don’t have that time in our context.

Wrapping Up

Overall, this is a resource that I’m going to pick up and give to a small group of parents in our church who are looking for a “next step” in nurturing their family’s faith journey.  I’ll probably even take the DVD’s for a test run with my wife as we wrestle through some of the great questions that Michelle brings up.

You can purchase the series here.

Follow Spiritual Parenting on Facebook here.

Follow Michelle on Twitter here.

 
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Posted by on May 2, 2011 in Resources

 

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Kidmin Book Review: Spiritual Parenting

Earlier this week, I mentioned that I’d be reviewing Spiritual Parenting by Michelle Anthony… and just that teaser post peaked interest from parents and fellow kidmin leaders.

I’ll tell you this up front – I think this is a great resource for some parents and it isn’t the right resource for many others.  I think there are truths in this book that any parent can take away, don’t get me wrong… I’m just not going to suggest that you put a copy in every parent’s hands.

Who is Spiritual Parenting written for?

Our goal as parents should be to endeavor to pass down our faith to the next generation in such a way that they will be able to pass down their faith to the following generation in our absence.

Go ahead, read that quote again.  If you agree with Michelle’s premise (and I do!), then you’re going to dig this resource.  If that doesn’t resonate with you, if that’s not the end you have in mind, then your going to struggle with the house that gets built on that foundation.

So… who is this resource for again?

The answer to this question is simple and complex.

The simple part – this book is for those of us who deeply desire to pass the faith on well to our children, our grandchildren and the generations that will follow.

The complex part – it’s not just for parents.  This book is for children’s minstry leaders, pastors, moms, dads, grandmas, teachers – anyone who can shape a child’s life and wants to shape it in a way that makes a lasting impact for generations to come.  Anyone who has the power to help shape a child’s environment should take the time to read through this resource.

Digs and Dribbles

Not familiar with what “Digs and Dribbles” means?

That’s okay… I just made it up.

Basically, there are parts of this book that I really dig.  They will shape the way I parent and the way I minister to families from here on out.  There are other parts of this book, as there are in any resource, where the content dribbles a bit.  That is, if the book were a fountain of take-aways, there are sections where the water merely dribbles out.

Things I Dig

The best gift we can give our children is the confidence to see that we believe everything is filtered (even the bad stuff) through God’s hands.  We need to release our control of their circumstances.

More than any chapter, Michelle’s chapter “A Heart of Dependence: An Environment of Out of the Comfort Zone” (chapter 7) is one that I want the families at our church to own.  I would buy this resource and pass it out to every parent in our Homebuilders class and every family that hangs out with us on Wednesday nights if you could guarantee me that 10% of them would own this value after reading the book.

I think what I dig most about Spiritual Parenting is how Michelle takes values that I think I own and challenges me as a parent to cultivate environments that help produce what God desires for my son and daughter.  Her concept of cultivating environments is fascinating – it’s going to help shape the way I parent.  Because, in the end, it’s not about perfect behavior.  It’s about passionate hearts. (her line, not mine)

Things that Dribbled

Throughout the book I kept wondering – what about the parent who isn’t “there” yet?  How do I walk a parent to a place where they care more about their child’s spiritual development than their test scores, their soccer practice or even their safety? (seriously, I DIG chapter 7)

The only dribble is that I think you need to have built a ton of trust with a parent to put this resource in their hand and have them begin to own the ideas behind it.  Let me compare this to a book I recently put in the hands of as many parents as I could – Parenting Beyond Your Capacity (this year alone, we handed out copies to over 100 families).  At their core, the parents in our community feel overwhelmed – and that book speaks to that in a mighty way!  It was easier to hand it out because it answered a felt need.  I’m not sure, in the hustle and bustle of family life, that parents know how much they need a resource like this. (but they do. They really do!)

Wrapping Up

I want families to be as transformed by this book as I have been – but, it’s going to take some work on my end.

If you’re a parent reading this post, you’re probably already in a place where this book can touch your life and your parenting style – heck, you’re already looking to have other voices and thoughts in your parenting circle.  However, if you’re a leader of parents, you’ll need to pick up a copy and start planning baby steps for the parents in your community to get to a place where they feel like they need a resource like this.  Because they do – they really do.

 

Order your copy here.  Share your own review here.  And, as always, share your thoughts below.

Disclosure:  A complimentary copy of Spiritual Parenting was provided by David C Cook for purposes of review.  I didn’t promise them I’d be nice… and, I’m pretty sure they’re cool with that.

 
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Posted by on November 24, 2010 in Book Review, Kidmin, Resources

 

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