March 2018 Posts

Broken and Beautiful: Teach Your Kids to Embrace Differences

 

We live in a world where conflict is often celebrated, forgiveness comes with conditions, and love has sometimes lost its meaning. What can we do to counter the negative impact our culture has on future generations?

As parents and grandparents, we each have remarkable power and influence over the future of our children and grandchildren. Their ability to resolve conflict, forgive, and love depends on how we resolve conflict, how we forgive, and how we love. Most important of these is how we love. Because love forgives without condition and never celebrates conflict.

 

Our society is filled with messages that scream, “Be like him!” or “Dress like her!” Through news and politics that propagate fear and dissension, differences have become focal points for conflict and pain rather than something to embrace. But stepping into conversations about differences with love and grace is one of the most important and formative things we can do for the children we love. So where do we start?

We begin by acknowledging that we are all different and that our differences should be celebrated and embraced. We begin by acknowledging that we are all broken in our own way and that in our brokenness there is so much beauty. Beauty in overcoming challenges together, beauty in allowing others to do for us what we can’t do on our own, beauty in lifting others up knowing that they will one day do the same for someone else.

 

In Matthew 25, as Jesus tells the parable of the goats and the sheep, there are many lessons. But perhaps the most important is one that should influence how we lead our children.

Feed the hungry . . .

Give a drink to the thirsty . . .

Invite the stranger in . . .

Clothe the naked . . .

Care for the sick . . .

Visit the imprisoned . . .

Because we are all hungry and thirsty in some way, we will all be a stranger at some point, we will all be stripped naked by life’s circumstances, we will all experience sickness, and we are all prisoners to something. Fear, weakness, addiction, a diagnosis—we are all broken in our different ways. But when we come together to carry each other, we are beautiful. God created us in His own image, and that image shines brightly when we love as He loves.

The greatest beauty we can ever experience, the greatest beauty we will ever witness, can be known only through our brokenness.

What do we do to counter the impact our culture has on future generations? We embrace our differences through love and teach our children that we are all broken and beautiful.

*****

Written by Patrick Gray, author of The Push.

When Marcus moved next door to John, they knew instantly they’d be friends. Now John and Marcus do almost everything together. They go on lots of adventures, with Marcus pushing John’s wheelchair and John fueling their escapades with jokes. Through their friendship, the boys discover that their unique gifts make them stronger together.

Based on the friendship of real-life best friends Patrick Gray and Justin Skeesuck, The Push teaches kids that people of all abilities have important roles to play and that we’re all better together than we are on our own.

Learn more about the book HERE>>

Enter to Win a Spring Book Bundle

Easter is coming soon, and it’s time to adorn your child’s bookshelf with new titles! The First Bible Memory Series by Kathryn O’Brien is perfect for early readers and is now available as board books! Learn more HERE>>

We are giving away a spring book bundle in March to one lucky winner. Enter to win this list of books below!

God Made the World by Sarah Jean Collins

God Made the World board book tells the story of creation in simple, easy to remember rhymes with art that is engaging and fun for young children. And it is sure to become a classic introductory creation storybook that will be used by countless families and teachers. Learn more HERE>>

 

 

Flash the Donkey Makes New Friends by Rachel Anne Ridge

Flash the Donkey Makes New Friends is the heartwarming story of a not-so-ordinary donkey who needs a special place to belong. Inspired by Rachel Anne Ridge’s memoir Flash, named one of Publishers Weekly’s Best Summer Books of 2015, kids will fall in love with this endearing donkey as they learn to appreciate the value of true friendship. Learn more HERE>>

 

Wow! The Good New in Four Words by Dandi Daley Mackall

For anyone looking for a fresh way to present the gospel to young children, Wow! The Good News in Four Words is a perfect resource. This whimsical and fun book outlines the gospel in a simple and memorable way (for both adults and kids!), using fun words to highlight the story. The book will present Creation/Genesis (Wow!), The Fall (Uh-oh . . .), Redemption/Jesus’ Life and Sacrifice (Yes!), Restoration/The New Heaven (Aaahhhh), ending with one last Wow because we get to go out and tell the Good News! Learn more HERE>>

 

Does God Take Naps? by Crystal Bowman and Teri McKinley

Kids ask a lot of questions. Some silly and some innocent. Some deep and some serious. The books in the I’ve Got Questions series address many of those childlike questions and offer satisfying answers. The content is lively and fun, yet meaningful and respectful of a child’s inquisitive mind. While the books have a strong educational component, the deeper purpose is to show parents how they can respond to their child’s questions with patience and love. Learn more HERE>>

 

The Character Builder’s Bible by iCharacter Limited, Agnes de Bezenac, and Salem de Bezenac

Featuring 60 Bible stories with colorful illustrations, definitions, and memory verses, The Character Builder’s Bible will show your little ones that God’s Word is relevant to their lives and will help you instill biblical character in their hearts. Learn more HERE>>

 

 

 

 

Your Magnificent Chooser by John Ortberg

John Ortberg addresses the ability to choose in a whimsical way by inviting children to use their “magnificent chooser” that God gave them to make right choices daily. Parents will love reading this book to their kids, and kids will enjoy the content while learning lessons that will stay with them throughout their lives. Learn more HERE>>

 

A Child’s Perspective on the Holy Spirit by Sharon Leavitt

Tyndale Kids

My granddaughter Emily is four years old and an interesting combination of cautious extrovert. She loves being on center stage but has a fair degree of anxiety about trying new things, and even randomly resists participating in normal routines at times. She internalizes stress, and it comes out as being clingy to Mom, refusing, resisting, etc. Not uncommon, I know.

I gave her a copy of Your Magnificent Chooser by John Ortberg when it first came out, and every time I’ve visited her, which is several times a year, she has me read it to her.

your-magnificent-chooser

Now to the part that made my heart sing.

Emily’s chronic anxiety surfaced recently, and she decided that she was finished with swim lessons.

My daughter Mary told her quitting was not an option because she needs to know how to swim from a safety standpoint. Mary said Emily could take her time getting in the water, but that she was going to learn how to swim.

Well, last Saturday, Emily called me to report, “Even though I was really scared and didn’t want to go into the water, I did! And it was okay!”

I asked her how she felt after doing that and how it happened.

She said, “It was fun. I heard something in my head say it was okay to go . . . It was my Chooser!”

Having had some training in spiritual direction and knowing that one of the most important things we can learn to cultivate is self-awareness and sensitivity to the Holy Spirit, I was floored!

Little four-year-old Emily was proving that the goal of this book – spiritual formation and sensitivity to the Spirit’s leading – had been accomplished!

I told her that the Chooser was God’s Spirit in her, helping her, and I was so very proud of her because I’m still learning that.

For a Christian grandparent, there is nothing more important than seeing evidence that your grandchildren are “getting” it and the Spirit of God is pursuing our beloved little ones.


Sharon Leavitt has been a part of the team at Tyndale since 2001. She works with authors, partners, and agents in her role as senior author relations manager. Sharon considers her role a calling to represent and champion Tyndale to authors, and, at the same time, to advocate for and represent authors to Tyndale. Her desire is to be a practical help to authors throughout the publishing process, ensuring that the creation of their books from beginning to end is a pleasant and navigable journey. Sharon graduated from Trinity International University with a bachelor of arts degree in communications. Sharon loves and prays for people, is a trained spiritual director, and tells her husband, Ralph, that she has the best job in the house.