More Great Financial Truths to Teach Our Kids
I was so encouraged by the response to Marybeth's post here on Tuesday that I asked her to stop by again and share more ways we can learn and teach our kids God's perspective of money . Marybeth Whalen, is a P31 speaker, mom of six, fellow blogger, and author of "Learning to Live Financially Free". Here is what she had to say:

It is good to learn from others. Proverbs 15:22 says, “Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers, they succeed.” If you have stories to share about your experience with money, share your stories. If you have family members who have been especially wise savers or investors, ask them to spend some time talking with your children. If there is someone in your child’s life that they respect, and that person is wise with money, use that influence to speak into your child’s life. Look around for resources that will communicate godly Biblical truths. These are especially helpful if you as the parent are learning with your children! Also, let your children see you seeking counsel from others on financial decisions. This might include a Crown Financial counselor, your pastor, or even just between husband and wife.

Money doesn’t come from the ATM. It bothered me when I noticed that if I told my kids I didn’t have money, they would impatiently reply that I should just go to the ATM and get some! Without some guidance, they have no concept that unless you put money into the machine, there will be no money coming out. Share the truths about income—how much taxes take out, how much goes to things like debt repayment, bills and groceries. Show them that while mommy and daddy certainly want to give them things and do things, they also have to be wise with their money so that there will always be money in that machine. (A note here: be careful how much you share about any hardships you experience, as you don’t want your child to feel anxious or desperate about your situation. Ask God to help you balance between communicating reality versus parental protection.)

Money is best appreciated when spending decisions are placed in their hands. We have given our kids control over their expenses for the past couple of years and have found that this works quite well for tweens and teens. We were constantly being nickled and dimed over this skating night, that shirt, this movie, that youth event, etc. So, we started giving them an allowance, paid each time my husband gets paid. We intentionally gave them enough to cover these types of events. Now when they ask to do something, we can reply, “I don’t know, do you have the money?” What has been the most surprising to me is how much more they will decide that an event is “not worth it” if it is their money being used! Additionally, instead of just taking our kids shopping for clothes, we give them the actual money, in cash, that we have budgeted and tell them they can spend it on whatever they want. But when it’s gone, it’s gone. You should see them checking price tags and working at making their money stretch! This has gone a long way towards teaching our children about the value of money.

Finally, the best way you can communicate financial truths to your kids is to:

  • Talk about money, don’t shroud it in secrecy
  • Make money management a hands-on experience.
  • Live out the principles in your own lives, modeling what you hope they will carry into their futures.

Another saying we all grew up hearing is, “Actions speak louder than words.” It is wise to make sure that your own financial practices line up with what your children hear you say. Your whole family will be blessed when this happens and you just might change your legacy for generations to come.

Thanks again Marybeth for stopping by to share such important financial truths we can teach our kids. I can't wait to read your book and give a copy away today. If you have questions for Marybeth or something you'd like to share, please post your comment below. Winners will be announced Sunday afternoon since I am leaving town today to speak in Sumter, SC this weekend. Would treasure your prayers for the event and our travel. And if you are nearby, would love to see you! Click on "Where I'll Be" to find out more.

NOTE: January is coming to an end, but my month of encouragement for moms isn't! (yet) I still have more ideas and information to share. On Monday, Micca Campbell will be a guest blogger talking about how we pass either faith or fear on to our children through the way we respond to difficult situations. I can't wait to hear what she has to say. And there will be another great give-away! See you then.

Today's Mom Give-Aways

We have 3 give aways today: A copy of Marybeth's book, "Learning to Live Financially Free", a copy of "Total Money Make-Over" by Dave Ramsey, and 2 tickets to the D6Conference!

To be part of these give-aways, click on "comments" below. PLEASE include your email so we can get in touch if you win. Also, I'd love to know the age of your kids and where you are from.

PS. Be sure to sign up soon for the D6Conference! Early registration ends February 2nd.

R.a.k. 'em with Kindness
Becoming a gold-mining mom has encouraged me to look for ways for us to live out God's truths in our family's life - not just tell my kids about them. It's not always easy, and believe me, I often fail. But finding creative ways to keep God's Words in front of us and put them into action with my kids has helped. That old saying, "It's better caught than taught" is so true. So, we've adopted the approach as a family that "we" are learning together how to live and love like Jesus - not just trying to teach "them." They seem to respond so much better when we make it a team approach.

As a continuation of yesterday's post, I wanted to share with you a few more practical ways we've focused on living and giving the treasure of "kindness." Here are some more "treasures of truth" that tell us how to show kindness through our words and in our actions:
  • “Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.” Proverbs 16:24

  • “An anxious heart weighs a man down, but a kind word cheers him up.” Proverbs 12:25

  • “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” Ephesians 4:32
A few years ago, we were on vacation, and we'd taken our Mining for Gold in the Heart of Your Child chart with us so we could do family devotions. We decided to focus on "kindness" that week. M husband came up with ways we could do Random Acts of Kindness, and developed a contest to see who could do the most. That afternoon we were headed to the grocery store and I heard him say, "Come on boys, let's go R.A.K. 'em." Here are few ways we have learned to "R.A.K ‘em" with kindness in our house:

1. Make a list of different ways to rack up R.A.K.‘em points. Here are some ideas:

Offer to take someone’s grocery cart to the “cart corral” in the parking lot.

Open the door for someone you don’t know.

Cook brownies for a new neighbor.

Pay for the order of the car behind you next time you are in the drive-thru.

Mow grass or shovel snow for a neighbor

Wash your spouses car.

Send a note of encouragement to a pastor at your church.

Take flowers to a nursing home.

Hug your mom or dad when they least expect it.

Make your brother or sister's bed.

2. Pick a day this week to do Random Acts of Kindness. Saturday is a great day to start!

3. Have everyone look for ways to R.A.K. someone at the grocery store, in the neighborhood, at work and even at home.

4. Keep a tally of how many times each person RAKs someone and see who has the highest score the end of the day.

5. The person with the highest RAK’em score gets to choose something special, ie. pick a family night activity or order their favorite dessert.

I don't think we can ever be more like Jesus than when we are kind! And I don't ever think we can emphasize it too much in our homes, our churches, our schools and communities. What are some other ways your family shows kindness?

Coming up....since we all learned so much from Marybeth's post here on Tuesday, I've asked her to share more financial truths we can teach to our kids in tomorrow's post. See you then!

Copyright 2009. Renee Swope - All rights reserved.

Today's Mom Give-Aways

Today we are giving away two D6 mom resources - a copy of Finding Home by Jim Daly, President of Focus on the Family, and a D6 gift pak that includes a D6 Mom Tshirt and a year's worth of Family Devotional Magazines from D6. Please include your email so we can reach you if you win.

We're giving away gifts each weekday, so be sure to come back for more mom encouragement and resources from D6 and Proverbs 31 Ministries!

God's Treasures of Truth

Welcome to my "Month of Encouragement for Moms" sponsored by D6 and Proverbs 31 Ministries. If you found your way here from my P31 devotion, I'm so glad you stopped by. And if you're one my regular blog readers, thanks for being here each day. Your comments encourage me when I don't know what to write; your thoughts and thanks let me know it's making a difference. I am loving this journey with you as we find practical ways to connect spiritual truths with everyday life experiences - for us and our families.

In last Wednesday's post, I talked about God giving me hope as a mom by giving me a new perspective of parenting. He challenged me to stop focusing on my kids' habits and invest in their hearts by looking for ways to notice and nurture their character. From that day forward I looked for ways to learn and live God's truths in everyday life lessons. Today's devotion came after that commitment. One day I was reading about Davids passion for treasuring God's Word in His heart, and thinking about my kids passion for a treasure hunt. I decided to combine the two and encourage my boys to approach reading the Bible like ooking for a treasure in a field, and find ways to share that treasure with others. One night around the dinner table, we talked about the character trait of KINDNESS. Here's a little family devotion I wrote as a result:

Todays' Treasure of Truth: 1 Thessalonians 5:15, “Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always try to be kind to each other and to everyone else.”

Kindness means being nice to others with your actions and your words.

The Map of God's Word: Read John 1:43-49. While Jesus was walking down the road with his disciples, Philip saw his friend Nathanael. He was so excited to tell Nathanael that they had met Jesus. Nathanael’s first response was sarcastic and unkind. As soon as he heard where Jesus was from, Nathanael said, “Nazareth! Can anything good come from Nazareth?”

Instead of returning Nathanael’s comment with an insult, Jesus responded with kindness. When He saw Nathanael coming toward him he told the others that Nathanael was a person of character, true on the inside and out. Nathanael was surprised by Jesus’ kindness. He wondered how Jesus knew about him. When Nathanael saw the kindness in Jesus’ heart that formed the words on His lips, his sarcasm turned into faith. He returned Jesus’ thoughtfulness with kind words of his own.

A Nugget of Wisdom: Kindness is easy when others are being nice to us, but Jesus wants us to be kind no matter what.

Making Character Count: Developing God's character isn’t just about doing good things; it’s about being Christ-like in our attitudes and actions. Talk as a family about the importance of having a heart like Jesus, remembering that before we can offer others what God has given us, we need to take time to acknowledge and thank him for His kindness towards me and

Prayer: Jesus, thank you that your love is patient and kind. Please help us to be kind to each other and those outside of our family. Help us to think of ways we can show kindness each day. And please remind us of how kind you were with your words and actions to those who were not kind to you. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Ways to live and give the treasure of Kindness:

  • Say thanks when someone does something kind or gives something to you.
  • Say please when asking for something.
  • Offer to help a friend or sibling with homework.
  • Tell someone else what you like about them.
  • Let someone in line before you.
  • Be friendly by saying hello and smiling at people.
  • Give a thoughtful gift to someone for no reason.
Copyright 2009, Renee Swope - All rights reserved.

Today's Mom Give-Aways

Today we are choosing winners from the comments and giving away two D6 mom resources - a copy of my "Mining for Gold in the Heart of Your Child Chart and George Barna's "Revolutionary Parenting". Please include your email so we can reach you if you win.

We'll be giving away gifts every weekday, so be sure to come back for more mom encouragement and resources from D6 and Proverbs 31 Ministries!

Teaching Our Kids Financial Truths

Did you know that Jesus talked about money as much as He talked about eternity? As we look for ways to help our kids connect everyday life to spiritual truths, I think it's really important to talk to them and teach them God's perspective of money. Today, I've invited my friend, Marybeth Whalen, who is also a P31 speaker, fellow blogger, mom of six, and author of "Learning to Live Financially Free", to share with us some important financial truths we can teach our kids.

“Money doesn’t grow on trees.”

“You should save for a rainy day.”

“Waste not, want not.”

We all grew up hearing these little sayings as children, but did any of us really know what they meant? I know I didn’t enter marriage with much practical wisdom about managing money, so I went to the world for answers. This is what I heard:

“Buy now, pay later.”

“90 days same as cash.”

“No interest until you’re too old to care anymore!”

And for a young, broke married couple, all of this sounded pretty good. In hindsight, I wish my husband and I had been more prepared for life from a financial standpoint. Since we weren’t, we have determined that we will do our level best to prepare our own children. Here are some principles we have discovered that are important to consistently teach our children:

Debt is not “normal” or healthy. The culture will tell your kids otherwise, reasoning that to carry a credit card balance and car loan, not to mention a mortgage, is normal. They will go even further in telling your kids that to have a healthy credit score, you must carry some debt—as long as you pay on time. You can go a long way towards countering that by teaching otherwise within your home. Let your kids see you save for things you want instead of financing them. Explain why you turned down that store credit card at the register—even though the cashier made it sound like they would save you money. Begin to discuss what interest is, and how much actual money is spent on interest. If you have made mistakes in this area, share that with them so that they will see the dangers of debt.

Tithing is essential. I have a friend who always tells her kids, “God honors those who honor Him.” While I am not preaching a prosperity doctrine here, I do think that kids need to understand the importance of tithing from an early age. The earlier a habit is started, the more natural it becomes. Require them to tithe ten percent of any allowance, babysitting money, etc. to your church. Divide their allowance money up right in front of them. Consider starting an envelope system with them, with an envelope for saving, spending and tithing.

Delayed gratification builds character. In our flesh we want it and we want it now! And yet, we know that waiting and growing through that process is more often how God works in our lives. This is certainly true of finances. You do your child a disservice if you don’t teach them to wait, as this is a necessary life skill that they will have to learn at some point. Better to learn this in the protection and nurture of your home. Purchasing something that has been anticipated and savored is a shining moment in a child’s life—with much more benefit attached to that item in the end, I can assure you! The next time your child tells you they want something now, ask them how much money they have, and help them ponder how much they will need to save. Help them think of some extra chores they can do to raise the money, then give them a goal to work towards, and help them plan how to reach their goal. Most times, they will either forget about the item (showing you it would have been a waste of your hard-earned money) or have a character-building experience. While it might take a bit more time on your part, the life lesson they learn is worth it.

Eating out and other forms of entertainment (movies, etc.) are special treats, not a lifestyle. I have noticed a certain level of expectation among children, especially in the areas of eating out and being entertained, to the tune of high costs and little appreciation. Through my husband’s financial counseling, he has determined that one of the number one budget busters for families is eating out and entertainment. We as parents have learned to reward ourselves in this way, reasoning that we “deserve it.” And our kids have picked up on that. A shift in perspective for the entire family can save money and provide a more realistic attitude. Examine your family’s attitude and budget in this area, and see if there are changes you need to make. Make going out to eat a treat instead of the norm, rent movies (they come out so soon after they are released now you hardly have to wait anymore!) and have a family movie night complete with popcorn and sleeping bags on the floor, or ask the kids if they would like to spend their own money to go out. We have started doing this with our kids and it is amazing how quickly they decide they don’t want to eat out!

Marybeth, this is great stuff! I can't wait to read your book and give away a copy today. If you have questions for Marybeth or something you'd like to share based on what she gave us to ponder today, please post your comment here and then hop over to her blog to win some aqua juice!

Today's Mom Give-Aways

We're giving away a copy of Marybeth's book, "Learning to Live Financially Free" and "Total Money Make-Over" by Dave Ramsey.

To be part of these give-aways, click on "comments" below. PLEASE include your email so we can get in touch if you win. Also, I'd love to know the age of your kids and where you are from.

Cultivating Contentment with our Kids

Welcome to my "Month of Encouragement for Mom's" in January. Whether you're a mom or not, I pray that you'll stay a while and that you'll find something here to encourage your heart today.

I thought it would be fun to take what we talked about last week and go a little deeper with our kids. In today's economy and our "I-need-more-to-be-happy" culture, there is one character trait I think we always need to grow in (at least I do) and one we'd love to see developed in our kids - the character trait of CONTENTMENT. I wrote this little family devotion that can be adapted for varying kid's ages. There are a few options so you can do as much or little that fits your family's schedule and style:

means being happy with what you have or who you are.

Bible verse: Hebrews 13:5, “Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have."

Biblical character and story: Paul learned the secret to contentment. He had lived in wealth and in poverty. Paul had experienced the luxuries of a man with power and the miseries of a man being held prisoner. But he had learned to put his hope in God and not in his circumstances, knowing his circumstances could change at any moment. This decision brought contentment, which lead to a peace that was separate from his stuff. (Philippians 4:11-12)

A Nugget of Truth: In Philippians 4: 6-7, Paul tells us his secret: “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need and thank him for all he has done. If you do this, you will experience God’s peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” (NLT)

Family discussion:
Paul's prescription for peace is: talking to God about everything, trusting God and a thankful heart that reminds us of all He has already done and can do.

Explain to your children the importance of contentment and share the danger of comparison and the trap of getting more. Maybe share a time when the more you got, the more you wanted.

We will never have every thing. There will always be someone who has more and something we just have to have more of. But we can learn to be content by being thankful for what we have! Talk about a time when you, or your children, were not content and how it led to anxiety. Remind each other that contentment is not getting what you want; it is wanting what you have. If your children are struggling with contentment after a barrage of gifts at Christmas or birthdays (like ours do), take time discuss these questions:

  • What did you get for Christmas or your birthday that you really wanted?
  • Do you still want it or do you think you’ll be happy if you get something else?
  • What are you going to do when you decide you want just one more thing?
  • List all of the things you have to be thankful for.

Family Activity

Idea 1 - Start a family gratitude journal.

  • Commit for one week to have each person list 3 things they are thankful for each day.
  • Continue your journal by listing things daily or weekly as a family. Encourage kids to vary what they list.
  • At dinner, have each person tell one thing they are thankful for about the person to their left.

Idea 2 - Commit to not buying anything you do not need for one week.

Idea 3- Start each day by practicing Paul’s prescription for contentment with your kids:

  • Tell God what you need.
  • Thank him for all he has done.
  • Thank him for all that you have.

FamilyPrayer: Lord, thank you for all that I have. Please help me want those things, instead of wanting more. Amen.

I'd love to hear your thoughts about learning and living contentment today. And if you have some things you experience - big or little - as a result this week, be sure to share it with us. Tomorrow I have a guest blogger stopping by to share with us how we can teach our kids a Biblical view of finances, stewardship and goals to grow up being financially free. I also have some Dave Ramsey books to give away.

Copyright 2009, Rene Swope - All rights reserved.


Today's Mom Give-Away

Last week's winners are posted below, under "Girl Talk". Today we are choosing winners from the comments and giving away two D6 mom resources - a copy of my "Mining for Gold in the Heart of Your Child Chart and Angela Thomas' best-seller "My Single Mom Life". (A great book for all moms, single or married. From mommy guilt, loneliness, healthy boundaries to living the amazing life God has for you and your kids, Angela covers it all. I am reading it and loving it!)

To be part of these give-aways, click on "comments" below. Please include your email so we can get in touch if you win and I'd love to know your city/state or country.

PS. Be sure to sign up soon for the D6Conference! Early registration ends February 2nd.

Girl Talk
I grew up with four brothers and wasn't much a of a girly-girl, although I wanted to be. I think I lost trust in the female species post slumber party trauma - when I woke up with bubble gum in my hair after falling asleep first. (Still need counseling, I'm sure:->) But eventually, I discovered a love for my girlfriends and the joy of some good girl talk! And that was one of my favorite parts of our Girls Day Out/ Girls Night Out in Houston.
We had Girl Talk between Kate Gosselin, LysaTerKeurst, Ayiesha Woods, and me, towards the end of the event when all of us came back on stage, plopped down in some comfy chairs and chatted about anything and everything. It was fun hearing everyone's answers to questions women emailed KSBJ asking how we deal with our emotions, balance busy lives, manage mommy guilt, make time for ourselves, try to live each season of life fully, and details about the "must haves" in our lives. We also threw in some random thoughts about glorified coupon/scripture holders and shoes! I wish you could see the shoes Kate wore - hot red pumps for the day show and cute black heels for the night show. Lysa was showing off her very trendy Aerosoles during girl talk, and Kate had the funniest comeback, inquiring if Lysa ever had anyone comment on how cute they are. Kate's comment sent Lysa hunting for some compliment-worthy shoes the next day. Wait til you see what she found! I had fun with Kate back stage trying to figure out if Lysa's new "must have" system for carrying around Bible verses in her handy-dandy plastic sleeve thingy was simply a coupon carrier. Sure enough - we found Lysa's "scripture case" and there was a big ole sticker on the back that said "$1.00 - Coupon Holder."

Another favorite part of the whole day was the unplanned "After Party" that night. Everyone had gone home except some very fun bloggers! Here I am with some of the coolest, cutest girls I've ever met! I got this photo off of Missy's site that I just love (who was very sweet to get rid of my red-eye. Thanks Missy!).

Left to right: Lindsey, Paula , Sandy, Missy, Vern , Me, Linda, Lysa, Lisa, Melanie

I also want to share this photo of me with Lisa from the Preacher's Wife for two reasons. One she has her beautiful eyes closed above. Two, I did something that felt kinda crazy that I sensed God telling me to do last week, and it was all part of something crazy God was doing to get Lisa to girl's night. Lisa shares the amazing details of God's provision on her blog.

God knew this event was a really big deal for me personally. Like Lysa, I've dreamed of doing an event like this for years, but never imagined our first one would be so special - and so big! He knew I was nervous. He saw me pacing and praying. And then He did something really special just for me. Well it was special for others too, but it was special for me in a really special way.

Many have asked if meeting Kate Gosselin was a highlight. As precious as she is and as much as I enjoyed meeting her and talking with her, my highlight was when I got to meet Amanda from Baby Bangs. She came backstage with Melanie from Big Mama for just a little while. Amanda doesn't know it but that was one way God said to me, "I see you. I remember what we've been through. I know how far you've come and how big this is - and here is one way I want to bless you."

There are times in your life when God uses certain people to be role models and voices of truth in really dark and hard places. Her mom was that for me 10 years ago when God lead me through a time of healing and hope, using His Word so powerfully captured and applied through Breaking Free, Living Free and Jesus, the One and Only. I always wanted to tell her but never wrote the letter on paper - just in my heart. And for many years I watched (and read) to see how their family balanced life and ministry. I would pray protection over Amanda and Melissa, like I prayed for my boys, knowing the enemy tries to go after a momma's kids. I have loved seeing and knowing they are both doing so well in their faith and families and continue to pray for them. Meeting Amanda right before I was going to share my story of hope, satisfaction and security found only through God's redeeming love
with 4000 women was such a God-gift. Neither her nor her mom know it, but next to Jesus, their family's "yes to God" had a whole lot to do with this captive being set free!

Well it's late (11:00pm) so I better get to bed. More photos coming soon...

Last Week's Give-Away Winners!
I am so sorry to be so late in posting last week's winners. It's Monday at 3pm but I am posting it as Sunday so todays' post for moms is at the top. I have a serious sleep deprivation hangover from our trip to Texas. Didn't sleep much - can't imagine why :-)! I had planned to post the winners this morning after carpool but Andrew stayed home and we both went back to bed - and slept until 11:30am!! Oh my, I needed that. So, here I am finally to congratulate you, my winning bloggy mom friends!

Monday's Winners
Cheryl ( wins a copy of Real Issues, Real Teens: What Every Parents Needs to Know .

wins a copy of Finding Home

Tuesday's Winners
Laya ( wins a copy of Real Issues, Real Teens: What Every Parents Needs to Know .

( wins a copy of
Angela Thomas' best-seller "My Single Mom Life".

Wednesday's Winners

( wins a copy of "Mining for Gold in the Heart of Your Child Chart and CD

( wins a copy of
Revolutionary Parenting".

Thursday's Winners

( wins a copy of "Mining for Gold in the Heart of Your Child Chart and CD

Valerie ( ) wins a D6 Mom Tshirt and a year's worth of Family Devotional Magazines from D6.

Friday's Winners
Debbie ( wins a copy of "Mining for Gold in the Heart of Your Child Chart and CD

Kasey ( wins a copy of "Mining for Gold in the Heart of Your Child Chart and CD

Lisa ( wins a 2 tickets to the D6 Conference, a D6 Mom Tshirt and a year's worth of Family Devotional Magazines from D6.

Be sure to keep trying we've got more prizes and winners this week!!!

Shaping Your Child’s Character
UPDATE: I'm back from TEXAS!!! Wow, what an amazing time we had. I have photos and stories to share as soon as I get come braincells back. If you were there, I'm so glad you joined us. I hope I got to hug your neck or see your smiling face in the crowd!! Wasn't it a blast? Truly, one of those times that will be forever engraved in my heart! Never in a million years did I imagine I'd have the honor to be part of something so God-sized. I wish all of you could've been there with us!!

If you are new to my blog, welcome! We are in the middle of some parenting posts. Today I want to share some practical ways we can learn and live God's truths with our kids. If you're just joining us, please read Wednesday's and Thursday's post to help this all make sense.

I eventually took down our poster board, which was faded and falling apart after a few years. I had started speaking and had lots of moms asking me to create a chart for the. I wanted it to be more easily accessible - something I could keep on my kitchen table or on the refrigerator, so I designed the Mining for Gold in the Heart of Your Child character chart in the size of a calendar. We had them professionally printed and are about to go into our third printing this month.

The chart includes 24 character traits. It has four columns for each train. The first column lists the traits as "Golden Attitudes and Actions" with a child-friendly definition for each trait. The second column includes a corresponding "nugget of truth" (Bible verse) for each trait. The third column is called "Bring it to the Surface" and includes three ways we can live out each trait and put it into action. The fourth column lists the "dirt" (sinful traits) that bury the gold within.

Although the concept is geared toward kids between 4-11, the principles can be adapted to live and learn with older kids, too. Having easy access to the information makes it so much more doable for me. And I have to say, God has used it to shape my character and make me more aware of how I can act and thinking like He does.

Here are a few simple steps to get you started (either with the MFG chart or with a list of traits you create yourself):

Discuss the Value of Character
Talk with your children about the importance of character. Explain to them that God is most concerned with who we are on the inside, which is reflected in our character. To get familiar with the different character traits, review one trait along with the definition and verse each day or so for the next month.

Determine to Learn and Live God’s Word
After reviewing the traits, look for ways to live out a golden attitude or action and verse each week. Each character trait includes a definition and a list of ways you can model it in everyday life. When our kids were younger, we put the verses to the tune of a favorite song or made up a jingle of our own. It really helps the kids and us memorize the verse that goes with each trait.

Dig for Pre-existing Nuggets of Gold
Give this new adventure a positive start. Look for attributes that come naturally for your child. Here are a few examples to help you identify the gold already hidden within:

  • Is your child compassionate — caring about someone who got hurt on the playground?
  • Is your child generous — offering to give a friend one of her toys or part of her snack?
  • Is your child responsible —taking out the trash or making his bed without being asked?

Develop a Reward System
Be sure to praise your children for showing good character. Take time at dinner, in the car and at bedtime to talk about ways you and your children have lived out the traits and verses. Kids live for affirmation.

Don’t Get Overwhelmed
Teaching character doesn’t have to be another to do on your list. God wants it to be an everyday part of your life. But it will take some time and some tools to help you get started. Here's how I have formatted each trait in the chart.

Use Kind Words
Speak with words that honor others.

Nugget of Truth: Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones. Proverbs 16:24

Bring It to the Surface
Say thanks if someone does something for you or gives something to you.
Say please when asking for something.
Tell others what you like about them.

Dirt that Buries the Gold
Sarcasm: Proverbs 4:24
Rudeness: Ephesians 4:29
Bragging: James 4:16

You may want to develop your own list of traits, verses and ideas on index cards, or click on this link to find out more about the"Mining for Gold in the Heart of Your Child" chart. It includes everything you’ll need in a simple format to make it easy and fun. And I'll be giving two sets today, too.

I would love to hear what traits you'd like to start learning and living with your family!

Copyright 2009, Rene Swope - All rights reserved.

Today's Mom Give-Aways

We're giving away two sets of my "Mining for Gold in the Heart of Your Child" CD and chart, two tickets to the D6 Conference and a year's worth of Family Devotional Magazines from D6.

To be part of these give-aways, click on "comments" below. PLEASE include your email so we can get in touch if you win and I'd love to know where you are from.

Mining for Gold in the Heart of Your Child

Yesterday, I shared my story of becoming a gold-mining mom. You might want to scroll down to read the first part, then come back for the rest of the story. It will will make much more sense if you start with the beginning.

The next day, Joshua and I created a character chart on poster board. We made cards to attach that included a character trait and Bible verse and clip art Joshua selected to illustrate the actions and attitudes. We made gold nuggets by balling up foil and spray-painting them gold. That afternoon I showed J.J. our new invention. He liked the idea and agreed to join the adventure.

We decided to focus on a different trait each week while looking for ways to live them in our everyday lives. At dinner or bedtime we’d talk about ways we shared, showed patience, persevered, etc. We incorporated that week’s verse in prayers for our family and others. When we saw Joshua displaying one of the golden actions or attitudes we gave him a gold nugget. We also set up a system so he could save and redeem the nuggets for special treats or family activities. This became our way of encouraging him for showing good character. It also helped him learn delayed gratification; the perfect fix for those “I want one of everything” days.

As we read Bible stories with our boys, I started looking for examples of people who showed good or bad character. The new perspective God had given me for parenting started shaping my prayers as I asked God to mold our children’s character and our own to look more like His.

Although I was the one who initiated this new idea, my husband, J.J., caught on quickly and even started making up games to teach the kids traits we were learning each week. One day he tied a blanket around Joshua’s waist and put M&M’s in a cup on the other end of the room. He told Joshua to pull against the opposing force of dad holding the ends of the blanket to get to the cup.

While Joshua pulled, J.J. shouted discouraging comments like, “You might as well give up. You are never going to get to the other side. It’s just not worth it to work so hard.” He also had Andrew, our youngest son, cheer Joshua on with encouraging statements like, “You can do it. Just keep your eyes on the M&M’s. Don’t give up!” Finally J.J. allowed Joshua to get to the cup. While they M&M’s together, J.J. talked with Joshua and Andrew about the rewards of not giving up even when things are really hard and the power of encouragement to help someone persevere.

Isn’t it just like God to take a mom's mess and give her a message that she needed - and one she could eventually share with others. I pray that it is giving you hope. You see, our home changed the week I was ready to give up! And it has never been the same. With new perspective in our parenting, my husband and I have become a gold-mining mom and dad. It’s been almost 10 years since then, and we are still looking for new character traits to learn and we ways to live out God's Word in our everyday lives. It has taken our kids beyond the basics of Bible stories and made following God’s commands more of an adventure rather than a set of rules and regulations. The golden nuggets have become tangible blessings and reminders of God’s promise to reward us for following Him.

Although the world tell us to seek the treasures of big houses, new cars, skinny bodies and expensive vacations. God tells us to mine for gold in our own backyard by investing our lives in shaping the hearts of our children. The Bible says children are an inheritance and parenting is a high calliing. Today's kids are tomorrow's leaders - for our communities, our churches, our schools, and our nation. Shaping their character is the most worthy investment we can make.

But it won’t happen just because we think it’s important. It will only happen if we take time to show them what it looks like and coach them through circumstances where they can choose character over convenience. Like any learned skill, character has to move from the head to the heart and then be practiced in everyday life.

After several years of shaping our children's character with God’s Treasure Box of Truths, mining for gold in the heart of our children has become a reality, and we are richer for it. Bringing out God’s best in them has gone beyond gold nuggets to the reality that we are accomplishing in our kids what God wants to accomplish in us. He wants all of His children to have a heart like His. The good in each of us is because we are created in His image. The gold we find in the hearts of our children is that which reflects the heart of God and the golden truths of His Word.

As I shared yesterday, the day I almost quit being a mom was actually the day I started becoming the mom I wanted to be and the mom God created me to be – a mom with a heart like HIS.

Tomorrow, I've got some very practical steps to share to help you get started. See you then!

Copyright 2009, Rene Swope - All rights reserved.


Today's Mom Give-Aways

Today we are choosing winners from the comments and giving away two D6 mom resources - a copy of my "Mining for Gold in the Heart of Your Child Chart and CD, a D6 Mom Tshirt and a year's worth of Family Devotional Magazines from D6. We're giving away gifts every weekday, so be sure to come back for more mom encouragement and resources from D6 and Proverbs 31 Ministries!

To be part of today's give-aways, click on the words "comments" below this post and PLEASE include your email in your comment so we can get in touch if you win!