‘Dad, what is abortion?’ (4 ways to discuss society’s most-debated issue)

‘Dad, what is abortion?’ (4 ways to discuss society's most-debated issue)

As a parent, you don’t always get to pick the perfect moments for discussing life’s big issues with your children. In fact, sometimes they take place at the absolute worst times — like on a Sunday morning, when you and your spouse are frantically trying to get all the kids ready for church.

But that was the situation I found myself in recently when my 8-year-old son, in between brushing his teeth and combing his hair, broached the issue of politics, boldly declaring who he was for in a major election.

“And that’s who my friends are for, too,” he said.

His choice, though, was not my choice, and it boiled down to one issue: abortion. I have never supported a candidate who backed abortion rights, and this race was no different.

“What is abortion?” he replied.

Perhaps my son’s naive political position was my own fault. I enjoy talking about government and politics with my kids: We’ve toured presidential historical homes (so far, four as a family) and we’ve attended campaign rallies (of both major parties).

It’s been sort of a Civics 101 lesson for my kids, yet I’ve never gone into detail about why Mommy and Daddy support one candidate and not the other. It’s always been a generic “we’re not for them because they believe things that go against the Bible.”

Yet here I was, on a stressful Sunday morning, wondering if it was possible to explain the most divisive and debated issue of our time to my 8-year-old son … and preferably in less than three minutes.

Of course, a conversation about abortion will look different within different families, but most of them – within a pro-life framework – will share similar points. Here are four suggestions: Continue reading

3 lessons for kids and parents in ‘The Secret Life of Pets’

3 lessons for kids and parents in ‘The Secret Life of Pets’

Each time my young son and I walk into a movie theater, I give him a friendly reminder: Let’s look for a few lessons in the film we can learn. Most of the time after the credits roll, he’s great at rattling off a few ideas, but after we watched The Secret Life of Pets, he was stumped.

“What can we learn from that one?” I asked.

“Umm, I’m not sure,” he responded.

Perhaps that’s because he and I spent more time laughing at the movie than analyzing it. But upon reflection, there actually are several significant lessons in The Secret Life of Pets that all of us can teach our kids.

Here are three: Continue reading

4 lessons your family shouldn’t miss in ‘The BFG’

4 lessons your family shouldn’t miss in ‘The BFG’

Movies that include giants or tiny creatures can be some of the most enjoyable films on the big screen — and they often are accompanied by great life lessons for children and parents, too.

Consider, for example, the film and book Horton Hears A Who!, which included the famous phrase “a person’s a person no matter how small.” It originally was written by Dr. Seuss as a message about bigotry against Japanese people, but in recent years has been used by the pro-life cause in a powerful way.

In the biblical realm, the true story of David and Goliath displayed the power of God in the midst of a seemingly impossible situation, yet it also has been used by many pastors as a symbol of how God can slay everyday problems.

Steven Spielberg’s newest film, The BFG (PG), gives us another story about giants. It is based on the popular book by Roald Dahl and follows the exploits of a 24-foot-tall “Big Friendly Giant” (the BFG) and a 10-year-old girl named Sophie.

It is among the most family-friendly films I ever have seen and is full of lessons for children – some obvious, some subtle. Of course, this isn’t a faith-based movie in the technical sense, but as Augustine once said, all truth is God’s truth. So what can we learn? Continue reading

‘Finding Dory’: 4 incredible lessons for children AND parents

‘Finding Dory’: 4 incredible lessons for children AND parents

Kids once learned lessons about life through books. That’s still the case for many children, but for the rest of them, movies have helped fill the gap.

That can be scary thought when you consider what Hollywood is putting in theaters, but for families who watched Finding Dory – which set an opening-weekend box office record for an animated movie – it’s a good thing.

The Disney/Pixar flick is full of positive life lessons for both children and adults, as I discovered when I took my 8-year-old son to it on opening night. As we drove home, he and I discussed what we could take away from a film that, yes, was both entertaining and hilarious but that also had a great message.

Here are four lessons for families: Continue reading

‘Dad, I’m bored.’ (Here’s 3 things to tell your kids.)

‘Dad, I’m bored.’ (Here’s 3 things to tell your kids.) Adam and Even didn’t have children prior to sin entering the world, but I sometimes wonder what it would have been like.

Would Cain and Abel have played well together, all day long, without fussing? Would they have eaten their food – even the Brussels sprouts and spinach — without complaining?

Then there’s this one: Would they ever have told their mom and dad: “We’re bored”? And would it have bugged Adam and Even as much as it bothers me when my kids say that?

I look at my kids’ toys – the ones in the corner, the other ones by the bed, and then the toys in the basement – and I think to myself, “How can you be bored?!”

But then I realize that boredom isn’t limited to my kids or even your kids. Adults, too, get bored, even if we don’t realize it. The average American watches more than five hours of TV a day [1] and checks their social media accounts 17 times a day [2]. Meanwhile, the majority of Americans read their Bible only four times a year [3]. In other words, we’re bored with God. And we want to be entertained.

It’s been suggested that boredom is a modern invention, and I tend to agree. Think about it: Our ancestors grew and preserved their own food, sewed and washed their own clothes, and built and repaired their own houses. They had very little time to be bored, and they didn’t have modern technology to “fill” the void.

I don’t know how often boredom is a sin, but I’m quite certain it’s not God’s original intent. After all, do you really think we’ll be bored in heaven?

So on those rare occasions that my kids say they’re bored, I try to make a few points: Continue reading