Nude selfies: how do we protect our children?

social media

It’s not uncommon for young people to share a nude or nearly nude selfie of themselves via social media – and not to think twice about it. How do you help raise their understanding that this action might not be wise? CEOP have created four short videos to give parents a way into these awkward but important conversations.

Dad Matters! … The Spiritual Influence of Fathers

dad and daughter

On the Formingfaith website, a Lutheran pastor shares his learnings, thoughts and reflections on the joys and challenges of forming faith in children, youth and families.

Here’s the start of an article on how important dads are to the spiritual life of their children@

This Sunday will be observed by many in North America as “Father’s Day” (in my home country we wait until September). My experience is that the observance of Father’s Day in churches is more subdued than that of Mother’s Day. One obvious reason is that, on any given Sunday, there are typically fewer fathers than mothers in our churches. The “spiritually absent” father is increasingly commonplace, and the impact on church life is apparent. The impact on home faith life and faith transmission is even more concerning. In many households, fathers are passive or inactive in expressing their faith to and with their children. Studies and surveys reveal that in families where both parents are people of faith, it is mothers who tend to be most active in processes of child faith formation.

Based on research, it is axiomatic to say that in most families the mother is the primary figure in children’s religiosity. … Why do mothers have such an influential role, and what mechanisms are at work? Women are more religious than men and attend worship services more often, and adults recall seeing their mothers pray more often than their fathers did. In general, mothers speak with their children more than fathers do and in conversations about religion mothers are much more involved than fathers are. In one study testing a diary method, mothers participated in all diary conversations in almost 90% of families, whereas fathers did not appear in any diary entries in almost half of the families. In a [USA] national study, 3000 mainline Protestant youth reported they had regular dialogue about faith issues with their mothers almost 2.5 times more often than with their fathers. (From Boyzatis, Dollahite & Marks “The Family as a Context for Religious and Spiritual Development in Children and Youth” – published in The Handbook of Spiritual Development in Childhood and Adolescence).

The reduced involvement of fathers in the practice of faith in the home not only places a greater burden upon mothers to embody and demonstrate the Christian faith, it also robs families of the unique contributions that fathers seem to make. Put simply, various research studies suggest that when it comes to faith transmission, fathers and mothers are not altogether interchangeable.

Read more here.

Church of England training and development partnerships: Survey for children’s, family and youth workers

logo_church-of-england

The Church of England’s Education Office is not only concerned with education within Church Schools, but also with the nurture and formation of children and young people in the Christian faith. They are currently looking at the provision of training and development across their networks, in line with their vision of transforming people for the transformation of the world.

This survey will help to fully understand the training and development requirements of all those involved in nurturing children and young people in the Christian faith within a church setting. They want to make sure that any new approaches meet your needs and complement rather than duplicate what already works well.

The survey will take no more than 10 minutes to complete and will give you a chance to record the training (if any) you have already received and the training and development that you need in order to help children and young people grow and flourish within the Christian faith.

Click here to take part.

Think like a child, grow your children’s ministry

think like a child

Dale Hudson gives us the following timely reminders on Relevant Children’s Ministry:
When Walt Disney was designing Disneyland, he had the engineers get down on their knees to ensure they built Main Street on the eye level of a child.  He wanted to make sure Disneyland was built with kids in mind.

One of the keys to growing a children’s ministry is the ability to think like a child.  But how do you think like a child when you’re an adult?  Here’s five ways to think like a child and grow your children’s ministry.

Think like a child when you decorate.  Think about what colors kids like.  Consider what themes are popular with kids.  Take cues from companies like Disney and Nickelodeon who are leaders in decorating for kids.  Ask kids for their input when you are planning your children’s ministry areas.

Think like a child when you plan lessons.  What are their learning styles?  How long is their attention span?  What do they find engaging?

Think like a child when you pick music.  What style of music they like?  What’s coming through their ear buds during the week?

Think like a child when you talk.  Keep your words simple.  Justification, regeneration, atonement and other words are not in a child’s vocabulary.  When you use illustrations, use illustrations that kids can relate to.  And when you are talking to kids individually, think about their interests.  Talk to them about video games, movies, sports, school, etc.

Think like a child when you advertise.  This goes along with the first point.  Use kid-friendly colors, images and wording on your flyers, posters, invite cards, etc.

One final tip.  Want to know if you’re thinking like a child?  Ask them.  A kids’ focus group is a great way to evaluate how well you’re connecting and get new ideas for thinking like a child.  You can read more about how to host a kids’ focus group here.