Rick tried to read to our kids most nights as they were growing up. These books I’m sharing with you today were all-time favorites. I know some of my kids have done the same with their kids, too.
What better Christmas gift could you give than books you can read together as a family?
1. The Little House Books- The Early Years by Laura Ingalls Wilder- Ok, I guess this first favorite isn’t just 1 book. It’s a whole series of 9 books!We have spent many pleasant hours as a family reading through the “Laura books” and reading them over again. The stories are wonderful classics of years-gone- by and the strong bond of a loving family through the good and bad times- perfect to read aloud as a family.
2. James Herriot Treasury for Children– Another family favorite has been the James Herriot books. Rick has read selected stories from these books to the family. We were glad to see a children’s version come available. Sweet, heart-warming stories based on the vet’s experience in the Yorkshire hills. Some are hilariously funny and others sweet.
We were careful through the years not to buy trendy toys for our kids. We wanted toys that would allow them to simulate real life situations. We often made suggested lists for relatives to buy from so that they wouldn’t get things we really weren’t wild about them having. Our goal for our kids is to prepare them for real life, to be responsible people who serve God and care for others- so generally that was our guideline in choosing purchases for Christmas or birthday giving.
Below are some of our recommended toys. (I’ll recommend some of our favorite books real soon.)
LEGOS– My kids spent many happy hours playing Legos. It encourages their creativity and dexterity. This is one activity I let my older kids participate in during “naptime” hours for little ones. The older kids would stay in their rooms for an hour and half each day. They would do their Bible reading and then quiet play. During this time, we played audio books in their rooms, and much learning was done. (although it was so fun listening, that they sometimes would stay after the required “quiet time” was over!)
Here are some of the Lego sets I recommend. We tried to get things that encouraged “real” kind of play and creativity rather than fantasy.
Through the years, we‘ve chosen to keepour children in church with us rather than sending them off to age- graded groups. It’s a decision we can say we‘ve been glad we made and stuck by even though others often misunderstood our intentions.
We felt it was important for our children to be together as a family while we worshiped the Lord. We found that they absorbed a lot more from being in the adult service than we ever expected, even as very young children.
We always saw the family as the primary place for spiritual training, and as such, was the place wechose to teach our children Scripture memory, doctrine and character building, instead of delegating that task to children’s programs. We would gear their memory verses to character needs we saw in their own lives as individuals.
Here is a fun activity to do with small children to celebrate fall! (tastes good, too!) I made these today with 2 of my grandchildren, and they had a blast making them. It’s even easy enough for even toddlers to help with!
What is attentiveness? Simply stated, it’s listening with the ears, eyes , and heart. It’s paying attention on purpose.
As our kids were growing up we had a family night every Friday night. For a number of years, we would have a “family Bible quiz“. The kids looked forward to this. Dad would simply read from the Bible or Bible story book when they were very young. During or after (depending on attention spans of the kids), he would pause and ask questions about what he’d just read.
In an airport recently I happened to see the final seconds of a televised basketball game. Because our family doesn’t have TV at home, it isn’t often that I see the mass hysteria that accompanies a close athletic contest. This particular game was a cliffhanger and the crowd was frantic as the seconds ticked off the clock and the buzzer sounded the climax. Then the field house erupted with noise as the clock decided the hard-fought contest. The fans were on their feet screaming, and the cheerleaders were leaping and doing handsprings at the edge of the court.
I remarked to Marilyn later what strange creatures we humans are. Two teams of five men each, selected from the best of the best and prepared by thousands of hours of training, throw an air-filled ball around a gym and through a net hanging from a metal hoop. All the while, thousands look on as though the fate of the world was being decided on the polished hardwood floor in front of them. We do love our play.
I have no quarrel with those who like to play. I like to play myself, and when work permits I’m always ready for a good time. Nobody denies that there is time in a Christian’s life for rest and recreation. Still, it seems that we’ve overdone it a bit. Isn’t there something wrong with a society in which professional game-players are worshiped while accomplishments of eternal importance go unnoticed?
As a parent advocate, I’d like to see more cheering for parents. I think what moms and dads do is worthy of some applause. In fact, a whole lot of applause. After all, which is more important—throwing balls through hoops or forming little souls who will live forever? Where are the cheerleaders who do handsprings when a frazzled young mom puts her preferred activity on the back burner for the umpteenth time in a day in order to read a story to a three-year-old child?
Who’s waving the pom-poms for the dad who works long hours at a job that’s not all that much fun, in order to provide a home for his wife and little ones? Not to deny the hard work and sacrifice it takes to excel at sports, but what group is more important and less appreciated than parents?