Memorial Day Posts

Make Memorial Day Weekend with Your Kids Unforgettable by Jon Farrar

Tyndale Kidsamerican-flag-memorial-day

Ah, Memorial Day weekend . . . the first three-day weekend of the summer!

If you’re anything like me, you have big plans for the weekend. Beach trip? Hiking in the mountains? Maybe, a relaxing backyard barbecue?

It’s fun while it lasts. I wouldn’t want to miss a moment of the activity—from hearing my six-year-old daughter shout for more ice cream to having a short “real conversation” with my teenage son.

If your experience is anything like mine, the weekend goes by so fast! Then, the clamor of work the next week pounds away the memories. So, let’s plan something radically different for this Memorial Day.

Memorial Day weekend is a call to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country. What a great weekend to resolve to remember  better!

Before you pack your bags, before you start corralling the kids into your car, before you plug in that address to your GPS, take a moment to consider two things.


siblings-playing-together-in-sunshineRemembering is an important—even sacred—act.   One of the reasons I let life slip through my memory banks so quickly is that I don’t realize how important remembering is. The Bible encourages us to “remember the deeds of the Lord” (Psalm 77:11).

Recently, I’ve become convinced I take far too many things for granted, including those precious three-day weekends scattered throughout the year. I fail to realize that the work of God during daily life is just as important as his work during big turning points. The moments of sunshine and laughter God has allowed me to enjoy with my daughter are equally significant to anything that happens at work.

Sometimes I may consider these moments of joy as God’s small  blessings on my life—his little deeds. But, in light of eternity, God has an entirely different perspective.

Those moments are worth cherishing. They are worth remembering because they represent the goodness of God toward my family.

Resolve that this weekend you will remember the “small things.”


father-and-child-at-beachYour kids need you to remember. What you decide to remember about your life will become part of your family’s ongoing storyline. Every family has a story it tells itself. Your job as the parent is to shape that narrative and make sure it’s a life-giving story for your children. The few long weekends each year are perfect times to shape your family’s story in a profound way. It’s not hard to do. Here are some ideas to help. 

  • Choose a phrase or word for the weekend. The word could be anything from God’s gifts to hope to laughter. Ask each one of your kids to be on the lookout this weekend for a story about that word or phrase. This technique helps you and your kids filter all the events of the weekend and look for the extraordinary moments.
  • On the way home, ask your kids to tell stories about the weekend using the chosen word. Don’t let the last day of a fun weekend put everyone in a bad mood. Instead begin the remembering process while traveling home. Tell stories about the weekend, emphasizing what you want to remember for years to come—the calm walk on the beach, the intense game your family played together, the arduous hike that led to a magnificent view. Think about God’s gifts of time and relaxation. Avoid stories that put anyone in a bad light. Shape the story your family is telling about the weekend.

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  • Create a memento. Our memories are activated by an object. That’s why the ancient Israelites on several occasions constructed a memorial altar with stones. They needed an object—in this case, a pile of stones—to help them remember God’s powerful deeds. You can do the same thing the Israelites did years ago with all types of objects. Everyone does this differently. In the cell phone age, many simply snap pictures and upload them. Others buy small physical mementos of a place. At times, I have simply picked up a large shell or a shiny stone and told a story around those objects.

You’ve worked hard for your long weekends, so relax and enjoy these special days. Memories of times spent with your loved ones are important in God’s sight. Take a moment to frame this weekend so your family will be nourished by these memories for years to come.

Your kids won’t forget it.

I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago. I will consider all your works and meditate on all your mighty deeds.

Psalm 77:11


Jon Farrar is a senior acquisitions editor for Tyndale’s nonfiction team with more than sixteen years of publishing experience.  Recently, Jon has enjoyed partnering with Alister McGrath on C.S. Lewis: A Life, with Chuck Swindoll on Searching the Scriptures, and with Scott Sauls on Jesus Outside the Lines. Jon also manages the One Year devotional line. Before publishing, he earned a master’s degree in history and theology. Jon loves to jog on Chicago’s lakefront when he has the time to do so. Most of his time, however, is spent maintaining the Wi-Fi network for his two kids at home.


 

Ebenezer: Memorial Stones to Guide Our Children by Sarah Rubio

Tyndale Kids

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Monday, we will celebrate Memorial Day. If you visit or drive by a cemetery or war monument, you’ll see wreaths and flowers laid to honor and you’ll remember those who sacrificed their lives while serving in our country’s armed forces. These flowers, and the stones they decorate, serve as memorials—reminders—to those of us who have benefited from that sacrifice.

Thinking about memorials reminds me of my favorite biblical monument, the one Israel’s last judge, Samuel, called Ebenezer: “Samuel then took a large stone and placed it between the towns of Mizpah and Jeshanah. He named it Ebenezer (which means ‘the stone of help’), for he said, ‘Up to this point the Lord has helped us!’” (1 Samuel 7:12).

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The Ebenezer monument commemorates a miraculous victory God won for his people against one of their greatest enemies, the Philistines (see 1 Samuel 7:3-13). Following Samuel’s instructions, the Israelites had gathered at Mizpah to recommit themselves to God. The Philistines got word of this convocation and decided to attack. The terrified Israelites begged God to save them, and the Lord responded in dramatic fashion: “The Lord spoke with a mighty voice of thunder from heaven that day, and the Philistines were thrown into such confusion that the Israelites defeated them” (1 Samuel 7:10). After the battle, Samuel set up the Ebenezer stone to remind Israel of their God’s faithfulness.

I think remembrance is one of the most important reasons we start recounting the Bible’s historical narratives to our children from such a young age—not just because they are entertaining, or an engaging entry point into Scripture, but because of what they help us remember about God. The creation account reminds us that God is our Source, that he is joyful and creative, that he delights in what he has made. The story of Noah and the Flood reminds us that God preserves even as he purifies. In the story of Abraham’s near-sacrifice of Isaac, we remember that God provides (see Genesis 22:14); his provision of a ram to sacrifice in Isaac’s place foreshadows his greatest provision of all—Jesus, the perfect sacrifice and substitute.

It has been my privilege in recent years to edit some beautiful Bible storybooks for Tyndale Kids—books that I use to set up “memorial stones” for my own children, and that I hope and pray will become such memorials for thousands of other parents and children. Here are some of my favorites:

 

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God Made the World by Sarah Jean Collins—Author/illustrator Sarah Jean Collins celebrates God’s artistry with her beautiful geometric illustrations. The fun shapes and bright colors are a feast for grown-up and tiny eyes alike, and the sturdy board-book pages are easy for little hands to turn. This is the perfect first Bible storybook for babies and toddlers. (Releasing October 2017.)

 

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The Faith that God Built series by Gary Bower—These four cumulative rhyming stories (The Beautiful Garden of Eden, A Patch on the Peak of Ararat, The Hurry-Up Exit from Egypt, and The Frightening Philippi Jail) commemorate big moments in the history of God’s people in a fresh way. Each book points the reader back to the Book with a key Scripture verse and a reference to the entire passage the story is taken from.

 

the-story-travelers-bible-tracey-madder

The Story Travelers Bible by Tracey Madder—This 85-story volume is a great entry into the world of the Bible for young grade-schoolers. Kids join Lana, Munch, and Griffin on an epic adventure to find out more about the people, places, and events of the Bible. The book includes informational features, application points, and memory verses to help kids go deeper, and each story includes its biblical source reference.

It is good and right for us to place or contemplate one of the memorials honoring our fallen soldiers this weekend. But I pray that you will also take some time to place a memorial of God’s faithfulness in the life of a child dear to you. “Up to this point the Lord has helped us!”—and because “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Hebrews 13:8)—we know that he will help us through every point ahead.


sarah-rubioEditor Sarah Rubio grew up as a missionary kid in Ecuador and holds a bachelor of arts in communication from Wheaton College. She joined Tyndale’s editorial team in 2007, working mainly on Spanish books until transitioning to English nonfiction and children’s in 2014. One of the first Tyndale products she encountered was a One Year Bible that her father read with her every year from the age of eight to eighteen. Sarah loves challenging authors to be better writers while they’re challenging her with the ideas in their books. She lives in Chicago’s northwest suburbs with her husband and children.


Find more #tyndalekids books today for your young readers at tyndale.com/youth.