How to Help Your Child Be a Daniel in School

be a Daniel

No matter where your child goes to school, he can learn to be a Daniel.

No matter who your child’s peers or friends are, there will be peer pressure. Whether your child is in homeschool, private school, church school, or public school, there will be peer pressure. We see it, not only in families and churches but in society at large. It is a part of life, and pretending that it does not exist is one of the greatest detriments to our families.

Dave and I chose to have our children in public schools in our county. This worked for us because of the community and county in which we lived. It might not work for you, and it might not be what you choose to do. No matter where your child goes to school, he will likely run into a conflict – either with an adult or a fellow classmate – at some time during his education. Even if he is homeschooled, he will experience peer pressure in church, sports, or other social events. That’s the way our enemy works.

be a Daniel

The principles of teaching our children to be a “Daniel” are true no matter how we choose to educate our children.

As we teach and train our children, we must constantly measure our instruction with God’s word. Is what we are teaching plumb with His Word? Is the bubble right in the middle or it is off to the side?  Our measure is His word and not those around us, even if they are family, friends, or church folks.

Our children are all we can take with us to Heaven. They are our greatest responsibility.  How can we send them out into the world to be inundated with the philosophy of ungodly wisdom? How can we expect them to dare to be a Daniel when their peers are moving with the crowd? How does a parent train and guide a child as he/she makes decisions which could affect the rest of his life? How, especially, can parents ask their kids to be different from their cousins or church friends?

Every parent knows the scripture in Proverbs 22:6. “Train up a child in the way he should go [according to his bent] and when he is old he will not depart from it.”

be a Daniel

Training is More Than Protection

Training is a life-long process. The purpose of this process is to develop an understanding and conscience against evil and a desire to do good.

In our effort to protect our children, we often fail to recognize that protection does not make a person stronger. All of earth’s nature tells us that! Children who are allowed to get dirty develop a greater resistance to bacteria and germs than those who are sequestered away from normal childhood dirt. Children who have learned to face new situations adapt better than those who always have someone working out the wrinkles for them.

be a Daniel

It’s true that we should never “throw our kids to the wolves”, but we can help them develop battle plans for when wolves are threatening to devour them. It’s true that we’d never want to push our child outside during a tornado, but we can help him learn what to do in the event of the threat of a tornado. The only way to do these things is to have our kids experience those maneuvers under our direction and supervision. By modeling for them and tutoring them, we are helping prepare them for dangers and pitfalls – and for life.

Sadly, some children and youth face peer pressure among their own church friends and youth group peers. It happens more often than most folks care to admit. Sometimes the pressure comes from uncles and aunts, and sometimes it even comes from leaders. It ought not to be so, but it happens.

Just because our kids are in church or in a Christian school does not guarantee there will be no peer pressure and no times when they might need to stand alone. Satan is alive and well. Why would we think he will leave our kids alone just because they are in church or in a Christian school setting?!

What Made Daniel Different

When Daniel and his Hebrew peers were taken captive to a strange country with foreign gods, they had a choice. They could give in to the king’s demands and eat what had always been forbidden by God, or they could offer an alternative and then be prepared to respectfully refuse and stand alone. You can read the story here.

Scripture tells us “Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way.”

What happened to all the other “young men” who were taken captive?  We don’t know how many were taken captive or if they were all in the same prisoner group. We do know that Daniel and his friends are listed here as those who took a stand.

Daniel and his friends could have used some peer support. What made them stand out?

They knew God’s law and what was required of them. They knew God was with them, even in this pagan land where the culture and language were foreign to them. They wanted to follow God instead of these pagan people.

I wonder if part of it was the training of their parents as well as their own developing faith and trust in God. I also think Daniel knew what God had commanded His people, and he wanted to follow those commands.

If I had been Daniel’s mother, I would have been so pleased. That’s the kind of son any mother wants to claim as hers.

When your child faces a situation where he must make a choice, there are certain steps you can take to continue that training process. You can help him learn to be different and to take a stand.

So what can we do to help prepare our children to find their way across the foreign territory and false teachings?

Seven Things to Do When You Feel Your Child is Being Tossed to the Lions

When your child faces a situation where he must make a decision or a choice, there are certain steps you can take to continue that training process. Your child can learn to be a Daniel, too.

  1. Get a correct grasp of the situation. This will involve talking with the adults (teacher/youth leader/coach) and possibly other peers as well as your child. Ask God to help you understand the situation as it really is.
  2. Help your child understand the situation. Ask his perspective. He might be too young to realize that what is being asked of him is not best or right. Discuss the issue with your child explaining what the Bible says. Take him to the Word! Your child will find it easier to argue with you than with God’s Word.  Ask God to help your child correlate Scripture with what is being asked/required of him. When the son of a friend of ours was asked to do a paper on what sign he was born under, she took him to the Bible and showed him what God had to say about astrology. She asked him if he thought God would approve of this assignment.
  3. Discuss alternatives. This is what Daniel and his friends did. They recognized the king’s desire was for them to be in the best physical condition. They proposed an alternative to his plan (eating pulse and drinking water instead of the King’s food), then asked God to bless them and help them become as healthy as the king desired. The king granted their request and they were the fairest and finest in the land – proof that God can change the hearts of kings and bless those who are obedient to Him. Our friend’s son chose to ask his teacher for an alternative assignment and was granted it.
  4. Discuss the consequences of the decision he will make.  No matter which way he chooses, there will be consequences your child may face as a result of his decision. [“What do you think your teacher/youth leader will do when you tell him you won’t be able to do this assignment? What will your classmates/friends say? What are you going to tell your friends about why you can’t participate in this activity/assignment?”, etc.] Being prepared for battles helps win the war. What if the teacher still requires the assignment to be done?  What will you do?
  5. Do not run interference for your child. Allow him to do his own negotiating/reporting with his teacher/leader if he is capable. He will claim more ownership if he reports to his teacher/leader instead of having you do it for him. Encourage your child to discuss his experience afterward and affirm and encourage him. Just what was the response of his teacher/friends, etc.?  Was it difficult to be laughed at and made fun of? How did he feel? Did he make the right decision? What might he have done differently?
  6. Be sensitive to your child’s developing faith and conscience. Your child may make a decision which you feel is not necessary. One of our children chose not to dress as a cartoon character one year because he didn’t feel comfortable doing it the same week as Halloween. While we ourselves had no problem with the activity, we never told him. We supported him and his developing conscience as he made that choice to be different from the rest of his class. Certainly, there was nothing wrong with his choice, and it helped grow him up.
  7. Recognize your responsibility for the spiritual welfare of your child. When necessary, exercise your authority. At times you might need to refuse permission for your child to participate in an activity because of your convictions despite the desires of your child or other adults who want him to participate. Even though the adults might be believers or even fellow church members, you are the one responsible for your child. Remember that.

As parents, we need to recognize that each child and each situation is different. There are no hard and fast rules to follow (except for, of course, following the commands of Christ.) Our focus on eternal perspective helps us as we make decisions regarding the souls of our children.

be a daniel

 

 

Three Things I Love About Being an Anabaptist

anabaptistBeginning and Belonging as an Anabaptist

When you belong somewhere, you are home. That’s why I appreciate not only my Anabaptist heritage, but my current experience as well. I think Anabaptists have a special niche that many other church groups do not experience. This is my perspective, and I’m allowed to have it, of course. At the same time, you are allowed to differ with me – and I’m okay with that. We are not going to argue about this. I’m simply sharing my sentiments and my perspective as well as my viewpoint.

I’m an Anabaptist, and I’m at home. This is where I belong. Being an Anabaptist is how I live.

For starters, I recognize that since I grew up Anabaptist, I could be labeled as being partial. I agree with Chantelle Todman Moore, quoted in The Mennonite, No one, no matter how far back they can trace their Mennonite roots, has the corner market on being Anabaptist.” 

I don’t have a corner on Anabaptism, but I’ve experienced and lived it in one way or another ever since my birth. There are many others who have joined the Anabaptist faith after searching scriptures and choosing to embrace the Anabaptist way of life. If you’re interested, you can see a few of their links at the end of this blog.

I didn’t take a journey from another denomination to Anabaptist faith and living. I’ve never felt the need to search for other grass when the grass I’m living on is plenty green enough. When you belong somewhere, you’re home. When you’re home, you’re at rest and at peace. I like not being restless and confused. I like feeling secure. I like to belong, just like you do.

Each denomination has its strong (and weak) areas. I will be the first to admit that my denomination has plenty of areas where folks aren’t genuine. There are situations where things are done wrongly. Sometimes we fall short of living Kingdom lives. Yet, when the chips are down (we’re talking born-again, authentic Anabaptists), there’s something unique and special about these people whom I call my own. There are three areas where I think sincere, authentic Anabaptist people stand above other denominations.

Anabaptist

1. Community – Experienced Among Believers 

In Anabaptism, there is a community of believers committed to supporting and helping each other. This support is felt whether it’s in raising your kids, repairs after a house fire, putting up a new barn, hosting guests overnight or for several days, or feeding several hundred people after a funeral. In groups where individuals fund their own health insurance, there continues to be support given when there is a need. For some Anabaptist groups, it includes your own health insurance, which means hospital bills of thousands of dollars are paid in full a mere few months after the bill comes in. On this, I am not exaggerating.

It’s a community that seeks to help bear the burdens of others by trenching it out in the daily activities of life. It’s a community that provides comfort, camaraderie, and compassion among its people.

Anabaptist

2. Convictions That Are Followed

Anabaptism is strong on core convictions. One of the distinctive traits of Anabaptism is the belief – and practice – that Christianity is not just being a Sunday-go-to-meetin’-Christian and whatever you do during the rest of the week is winked at or glossed over by others. In true Anabaptist communities, what you do on Saturday brings no cause for shame on Sunday. Your faith is exhibited in how you practice business or punch a time clock during the week and in how you file income taxes. It’s exhibited in relating to your neighbor every day of the week and not just on Sunday. The following tenets spell out the way authentic Anabaptists think and live.

  • Application of practices that include how we respond to our enemies and those in authority, using hospitality without grudging, a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and not just a “Yes, I believe in God” system. Application means claiming that the words of Jesus 2,000 years ago are still relevant to follow today. Therefore, we follow His teachings without picking and choosing. It means taking His words, “You have heard that it was said . . . but I say unto you . . .”  literally and not just if we feel like it, if it’s easy, or checking around to see if everybody else is doing it.
  • Belief and practice in the principles of God’s word and the conviction to follow them in the mundane of life. Many professing Christians live one way during the week and then go to church on Sunday. These professing Christians have a “feel good because I went to church” feeling that often isn’t lived out during the rest of the week. Integrity comes as a result of following the teachings of Christ. It means that your handshake is your word and is as binding as a written agreement. It means that following Jesus is a way of life and not just something we do when it suits or is not inconvenient.
  • Discipleship which combines teaching and practicing together. It means being accountable to live the daily grind in the reflection of God’s Word and His commands. Iron sharpening iron, shoulders rubbing shoulders, precept upon precept – that’s discipleship.
  • Practical living every day of the week no matter where one lays his head at night. Stewardship involves the wise use of finances, a life of simplicity and using resources frugally. It recognizes that God is the supplier of all things and that no man pulls himself up by his own bootstraps. Being practical involves using what we have been given and continuing to invest for the duration.
  • Returning good for evil, not because it’s easy or even fun, but because it’s the right thing (based on scripture) to do. In my Anabaptist heritage, there’s the validated story of my great-great-great grandfather who opened his home to a family after their house burned to the ground. (I’ve been in this one-room house with a loft above.) This family of several children lived with Benedict and his family at no charge for weeks (you see what I mean?)  During the time of feeding this neighbor family, Benedict noticed that corn from his corn crib was missing, so he set a trap. The trap didn’t produce a bear, but it produced a neighbor who had been stealing corn. Benedict brought him in and invited him to sit down at the table with everyone else to eat. When the man left, his stomach was full and he was given a bag of corn to take home with him. The corn was never missing after that. We hear these true stories and learn how people back then fleshed out their faith and belief, and it gives us the courage to follow their footsteps.
  • Sharing one’s gifts freely in aiding the community of believers. While Anabaptists believe in a strong work ethic where each man pays his bills on his own, there is also a sharing of gifts among believers. Whether it’s hospitality, generosity, or including everyone, Anabaptists practice community among themselves and with their neighbors.

Anabaptist

3. Cross-bearing for the serious Anabaptist

Life isn’t about being applauded and accepted; it’s about serving Jesus, my Master. Sometimes this means sacrificing and giving up my “rights” or being willing to give up the sentiment that I “deserve to be happy”. It means pursuing holiness instead of happiness.

It means that we follow Jesus’ teaching that to be His disciple requires taking up our cross daily and following Him. Anabaptists don’t always do it right. Yet, more often than not, authentic Anabaptists are willing to be hailed as weird or different or behind-the-times. This is because they choose to do things God’s way rather than trying to be like the crowd. In true Anabaptist churches, this biblical principle is taught as well as modeled.

In many circles in which I’ve moved, I don’t hear these sentiments readily. I hear about “rights”, “being happy”, “deserving to be happy”, and climbing the ladder to success. I hear these sentiments from folks who profess a faith in Christ. They are church- goers, but their goals are different from mine. Anabaptists do not view following scripture as an option. It is our calling. We don’t pick and choose which parts to follow. Following Christ means having a relationship with Him and seeking to obey Him, taking what He says as though He really meant it (because He does.)

My ladder to success is often different from others as well. When my goals are different, the road I travel will also be different. This is where people of Anabaptist faith walk a different path, in essence “marching to a different drummer.”

Birth, Living, and Dying

From birth to living and dying, there is a more specific difference in the Anabaptist faith and culture than in many others. This is the way it looks to me from where I live and from what I’ve experienced.

Children are recognized as a gift from God and are often publicly dedicated by the parents while the congregation affirms support in raising the child in the fear of God.  Baptism symbolizes outwardly what has taken place inside. It is more than a rite or ritual. Nuptials are a celebration of the Bride of Christ and the Bridegroom. The focus is not so much on the bride and groom as it is in the beauty of the covenant of the church and the Bridegroom as well as the permanence of marriage. Celebration? Yes. Frivolity? No.

Similarly, the death of a saint is heralded as a glorious homecoming because of salvation and grace, and not on the merits of the person himself. I’ve attended many funerals of both Christian and non-Christian alike, and often (in non-Anabaptist churches), the person is heralded as now fishing on the shores of Heaven, playing tennis on the golden streets, singing in the heavenly choir, or serving up potato salad or hot dogs in Heaven – all things which the person has been known for here on earth. Death is glossed over, as though not thinking about it will make it easier. I come away from these services feeling empty and realize I was expecting much more because of my heritage. In Anabaptist churches, a funeral is a cause for considering one’s own soul and future destiny. It’s not morose or gloomy, but a reason to celebrate the salvation of a soul that is bound for Heaven.

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When It’s Really Over – and Just Beginning

For the follower of Jesus, success is following Christ in the every day of life and not just on Sunday. Following Christ means being faithful in church attendance and participation. It is giving one’s abilities and talents to enhance the Kingdom of Christ, not to pad an IRA or savings account. We recognize that our highest calling is not in being successful in the eyes of those who are part of the worldly kingdom. Success is hearing Him say at the end of our journey, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

For the Anabaptist Christian, the goal is to follow the commandments of Jesus regardless of what others are doing. It means we follow His calling to “come out from among them and be separate.”  We recognize that being chosen and royal in His kingdom also means, sometimes, to be considered peculiar because being part of the Kingdom truly means being different from many around us.

Our greatest ambition at the end of the day – and at the end of life – is to hear Him say, “Welcome Home! Well done, good and faithful servant. Enter into the Joy of the Lord.”

No matter your denomination, to hear Jesus say those words means true success. That, my friends, is what matters most.

Pinterest Anabaptist

For stories of folks who have joined the Anabaptist faith from a different faith practice, you can hear their personal testimonies.

Click on any of the links below to find out more about these people:

Amazon Page with information about Sherry Gore 

Sherry Gore’s book Plain Choice

Becky McGurrins book From Street Lights to Stars

Marlene C. Miller’s book Grace Leads Me Home

Dean Taylor’s book A Different Allegiance

You Tube Video of Stephe Russell From Catholic to Mennonite

 

http://amzn.to/2uWsujt

Searching for Treasure

treasure

At this Hilty cousin reunion, these kids are related through their great, great grandparents. They are cousins: some are 1st, some are 2nd, and some are 3rd cousins. (They really don’t care because the goal is the treasure.)

Treasure Time

The kids could hardly wait until it was time. They’d watched us spread out the wood shavings on the lawn. Then they stayed to watch us toss pennies, nickels, and dimes into the shavings.

Finally, it was time. At the end of the count, the kids swooped down onto the pile of wood shavings. Some of them moved the shavings gingerly. A few picked them up in a clump in their fists; one guy picked them up in clumps and tossed them into the air.

They found a few coins here and there, but frustration mounted when they realized there were over 200 pieces, and they’d only found a dozen or so.treasure

An older set of 1st, 2nd, or 3rd cousins, all related through their great, great grandparents.

 The Way to Search for Treasure

“You’re going about it wrong,” Dave told them. “You have to go through it gently, looking deep down in the shavings to find the pieces. They are there, but you have to take the time to really look. I used to do this when I was a kid, and I know how to do it!”

That’s how it is with finding the treasures in God’s Word. We can sit down to read and just rush over the pages; we can take entire chunks without really paging through slowly, finding treasures hidden there. We can be flighty, tossing the treasures of God to the wind, not taking the time to dissect and read each word.

There’s a toss-up between reading long passages at a time in order to read through the Bible in a year and taking the time to devour just a few verses. I think both are necessary to get the whole of the messages in there for us. Reading chapters and books at a time helps us get an overall view. Chewing on a few verses at a time helps us digest the meat of the Word.

Answers in the Treasures

When we have questions, we can find answers if we will go to this gold mine and dig deeply. Instead of flitting and flipping, tossing the sawdust into the air, taking the time to sift gently and search deeply, we can find the answers, for they are surely there.

treasure

In this treasure hunt, there were pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters. Each of the coins adds up to the total value of the treasure hunt.

So it is with verses and scriptures. Each one adds up to give us a sum total of God’s Word.

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Digging Deep for the Best Treasures

To get it all, we have to dig deep. We don’t throw out the penny verses and horde the verses worth quarters. Each penny is valuable. So is each quarter. Together, they give us the whole of Who God is and what He expects of us.

When was the last time you took the time to dig deep and hunt for the treasures hidden in His Word? They are there, all right. You have to take the time. You have to really look. You keep searching until you find the treasure. There’s no better treasure anywhere that can be found!

treasure

 

Like A Nibble from a Cookie – an Eclipse

 

eclipse

Like a nibble from a cookie, the first sighting I had of the eclipse made me want to ask, “Who did it?”

Who took a bite of the cookie?!

While my kids think I was the worst at figuring out guilty parties, I did a better job than they realize. It’s true that I never could tell if the second-born was telling the truth, but I still knew. All I had to do was watch first-born, who was as honest as his Grandpa Slabach. By watching first-born’s face, I could tell if second-born was lying or telling the truth. Even if first-born wasn’t there when a mishap occurred, he knew whether or not his brother was lying or telling the truth, and his face told all.

I figured that out early, and I was smart enough not to let them know that I knew.

I was also good at finding tell-tale signs, letting me know when something happened and who all was involved. There was the time we found a pacifier in the middle of boxes of seed in the corner of the office. My husband was positive it was our oldest (who adamantly denied it, so I believed him), but the pacifier confirmed that second child who could barely walk had been in that corner, digging into the seed.

While I couldn’t always tell if a child was being truthful when he said he’d brushed his teeth, I still knew. I learned to put toothpaste on the toothbrush. If the toothbrush still had the paste on its bristles, it had not been used. Sometimes when I didn’t get to the bathroom in time, I just checked to see if the brush was wet. I was smart enough not to tell my kids that, or they would have been running water over the brush just to make it wet, thereby appearing that it had been used.

eclipse

Sometimes a mother’s instinct lets her know who done it. We can often predict the responses of our kids or others we know well. Yet, none of us can predict like scientists, who are able to explain and predict things that we never could understand on our own.

However, before scientists understood what they know now, a total solar eclipse in 840 upset an Emperor so much that he died a few days later. For three years, his sons fought over who was going to rule Europe. Finally, the land was divided into France, Italy, and Germany.  Each son had a land to rule.

If only they had understood the eclipse before it actually occurred! When we know and understand, there is no reason for fear.

This past Monday, along with millions of others, we watched the partial eclipse in our area. For a few moments, daylight changed to dusk.

Hummingbirds that had been feasting at my feeder minutes before disappeared to their nests and birds became silent. Crickets started their evening song while quail chirped their “Bob White!” call around two o’clock in the afternoon! For those moments, I began to feel tired and sleepy, for it seemed to be nearing the end of the day. There was no sunset, but a soon-coming-darkness-feeling occurred.

We watched the moon cover more of the sun, and soon an entire half of a cookie seemed to have been devoured.

eclipse

A cloud cover caused more darkness with no cookie sighting. Thirty minutes later, there was just one bite of cookie left. We got to watch that, for the clouds had moved on. One little bite, and that’s all there was.

Who did it?  Who “ate the cookie”?

This time, I didn’t have to wonder, I didn’t have to ask any of my kids. I knew. We all knew.

Every one of us knew that this was happening. There was no need to begin sleuthing. No reason to fight over territory. No reason to ask any questions.

Who orchestrated this? Who was behind the “eating of the cookie”? It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know the answer to this question. Only God.

Our almighty, awesome God. That is Who.

Even though scientists predicted this and knew the path of totality, it was not done by their orchestration. Even though we knew the approximate time for the eclipse to occur in our area, no man set those times.

Whose idea was it? Not man’s.

Who chose the path of the eclipse? Not man.

Who designed the solar system and planned its orbits? Not man.

Who “ate the cookie”? Not man.

No one else could design or plan or orchestrate such a phenomenon.

We have an instinct. If we are honest, we know. We know there is a Higher Power.

Who orchestrates the eclipse?

Only God. That is Who.

 

eclipse