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The Bible and the Brain

Research shows that reading to children is important for things like brain development, socialization, and literacy—even “soft” skills like empathy. That’s why we encourage reading the Bible to your children until they are old enough to begin to do so on their own.

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Prodigious advances in technology have revolutionized the field of neuroscience, allowing us unprecedented access to information on the brain’s inner workings. The New York Times has declared the next frontier in science as, “inside your brain”![1]

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Knowing how children’s brains process and store information gives us critical insight on how to help them experience and retain spiritual truths and biblical principles that will deepen their relationship with Christ.

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Here’s a snapshot of how the brain receives and stores information:

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The Bible and the Brain | Experience the Story

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Rote memorization helps lodge information in your short-term memory. But if it is not repeated or attached to prior knowledge—such as associating the new information with a catchy song or important memory—it will quickly be flushed from your brain’s short-term storage any time a new and “more important” piece of information is encountered.

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Getting new information into long-term memory takes work. A good strategy is to connect the information to an additional activity:

  • Using a question and answer format
  • Engaging in a discussion
  • Relating topics to real life situations
  • Role playing or actual application

The more ways something is learned, the more memory pathways are built.[2]

When the brain perceives information repeated in multiple ways, there is a priming process that makes encoding of that information more efficient. That is why writing a vocabulary word in a sentence, hearing classmates read their sentences, and then following the direction to use the word in conversation during that day will result in more successful long-term memory storage and retrieval than just memorizing the definition (Koutstaal et al., 1997).

In other words, the more often information is repeated, revisited, and experienced in multiple ways, the more deeply embedded it becomes.

So what does this have to do with us?

Here at OneHope, we are always searching for effective mediums and ways to communicate the truths of God’s Word to children. It’s our job to instill a deep faith in the next generation. We’re not psychologists or neuroscientists, but we do our best to understand how effective learning takes place so we can leverage those principles in our ministry work.

Ultimately, we trust the Holy Spirit to make the profound truth of the Scripture come alive and move children from simply learning basic Christian doctrine to a deeper understanding and heart knowledge for how to live.


[1] http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/12/31/brain-research-2014_n_6334088.html
[2] http://www.ascd.org/publications/books/107006/chapters/Memory,_Learning,_and_Test-Taking_Success.aspx

Honor Your Child’s Positive Character Traits

Parents, what are you doing to honor the positive character traits you see in your child/ren?

Whether they are brave enough to voice it aloud, or if it’s the question that runs silently through their minds, every grade-school boy and girl wonders: “Am I good enough?” … “Am I good enough for my parents? For my teacher and friends?”

The way they answer this question will shape their confidence for years to come. Child development by definition is the process of growth. And as parents, we have the main responsibility in guiding and informing that process.

Proverbs 31 begins with

“The sayings of King Lemuel – an inspired utterance his mother taught him” (Proverbs 31:1)

King Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived, held dearly in his heart and into his old age the words his mother had spoken to him throughout his life.

If we would see the power our words have over our children, and if we answered their silent cry with a, “yes, you are more than good enough!” there is no limit to the good that would fill their young souls!

The challenge at times is the need for genuine words. Children of this era desire truth and can see right through hypocrisy. I realized this when in praising my “special” eight-year-old son he replied, “Thanks mom. But aren’t we all special?” Stunned at his wisdom I began to describe what about him was special and was forced (in a good way) to articulate his uniqueness and positive qualities. I saw relief in his eyes. He understood I truly meant it when I called him special. I, too, was relieved and was enjoying a “proud mommy moment,” until my younger daughter who was listening asked, “And what about me?”

What makes Proverbs 31 a commonly cited passage of Scripture is the specifics it provides. It describes the character of a noble wife in every unique area – family, work and spirituality. It doesn’t just call her “noble,” it articulates the how, when and where and paints a clear picture about her.

This is what our children long to know – the specifics and uniqueness about them that we as parents have the front row seat in discovering and identifying. And when we voice it to them with authority and love, we shape a healthy esteem and sense of purpose.

The Bible commands us to “…encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing” (1 Thessalonians 5:11). God’s Word is specific. Its vocabulary is ample in describing a Christ-follower who is full of the Spirit in the way he or she thinks and acts.

To help you in this journey, we’ve created two sets of downloadable certificates to guide you in recognizing and building up the unique character traits in your children. Highlighting their positive qualities, and seeing their value through God’s Word will not only answer their question of “Am I good enough?” it will change the course of their destiny!

Honor Your Character Traits | Experience the Story | OneHope

Download positive character trait award certificates:
  Perseverance, Obedience, Courage, Peacemaker, Forgiveness, Good Attitude, Honesty, Fairness, and Good Choice

 

Honor Your Character Traits | Experience the Story | OneHope

 

Download the Fruits of the Spirit award certificates:
Goodness, Faithfulness, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Self Control, Love, and Gentleness


Related:

Owning the Spiritual Growth of Your Child
4 Drucker Principles For Better Parenting
Your Child’sName in Bible Verses

Your Child’s Name in Bible Verses

Every child is special, and every child has a name. Most of them love hearing the story of where their name came from, or what it means. Now you can give any child an extra special gift and encouragement using Scripture.

Speaking Scripture over your child is powerful. It’s our duty as parents to impress God’s Word on our kids’ hearts. Surrounding them with God’s Word to help impress it on their hearts is a biblical mandate of parenting.

We’ve made it easy to create a special and unique collection of Scripture for each child in your life!

Simply spell out your child’s name like an acrostic. Then use the chart below to match the verses to the corresponding letter. If they have a double letter –like in the example below– dive into God’s Word together and find another verse for that letter!

Hang it in their room as a reminder that God’s Word is forming them into the person they are becoming.

Example:

ADDI

Undeterred.net | Your Child's Name in Bible Verses-34

BUTTON_Undeterred Prayer Downloadable-09Undeterred AZ Downloadable-11

We’d love to see how you creatively display your child’s name and Scripture—be sure to post a comment with pic to inspire others!

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Who can get your teen to behave?

Every teen is an enigma. Yet, we’ve found a global norm among teens around the world.

Over the course of 4 years, more than 152,000 13-19-year-olds in 44 countries on five continents responded to our teen research study, answering questions about their lives and beliefs. Our Spiritual State of the World’s Children research examines the true daily life of teens and trends around the world.

What we discovered is that family life is one of the biggest influences of teen behavior. The research suggests that regardless of family makeup, it is the degree of positive family experience that determines positive outcomes – fewer instances of substance use, sexual behavior and suicidal thoughts, as well as increased academic drive.

This trifecta of positive family experience, involvement in a faith community, and engagement in religious texts all contribute to positive outcomes and increased vibrancy in teens. And universally, family is key.

ABY Family Vibrancy-01

What do you think is the most important thing a family can do to help raise spiritually strong teens?

Related:


updated 4/16

 

How to use Bible App for Kids

We’ve made it easy to help children best know how to use the Bible App for Kids using this simple guide!

  1. Download the app.

It’s free, educational and honorable.

BAK-09Search “Bible for Kids” and look for the Jesus icon in your app store.

 

  1. Encourage your child to play it OFTEN

It takes repeating information 5-7 times before it is memorized. This app is designed so players must read each story at least 3 times to receive 3 stars. In-story collectibles keep inviting players to return and experience each story multiple times.

How to BAK-05

 

  1. Read the story from the Bible. Before you play the story, you can read the actual Scripture the story comes from! Just tap the Scripture highlighted above the read button.

How to BAK-06

The Bible App automatically guides you to the Scripture referenced in the story.

How to BAK-07

 

  1. Talk about the story. Questions you can ask to discuss any of the stories in the Bible App for Kids are:
  •  Who is this story about?How to BAK-04
  • Did the person in the story need or want something?
  • Did anyone in the story change?
  • What is something you learned about Jesus?
  • What were the good and bad things that happened in the story?
  • What is the meaning of this story?
  • Why is this story important?
  • How can you connect this story to your own life?

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6 Bible verses to build a child’s confidence

A child’s self-esteem begins to develop at age 3 or 4[1]

Parents have a huge responsibility of speaking life into their children’s lives and to ensure that, like other parts of their development, their self-esteem is growing and thriving. Without healthy development, a child’s spirit will likely shrivel up and life will become a monotonous routine.

UNDETERRED.NET | KID'S SELF ESTEEMHealthy self-esteem in a child’s life must be rooted in Jesus and His Word.

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” John 10:10

Satan wants nothing more than for our children to consistently look for self-esteem in all the wrong places. He wants to steal, kill, and destroy every part of our child’s spirit and joy. But the “I” referenced in John 10:10 is the one that came to give life, and not just life, but a life filled to the brim with joy, hope, and love. The “I” is Jesus. The “I” is the One who whispers love and draws us to Himself and His love letter, the Bible.

“Kids don’t need self-esteem, they need God-esteem. If they esteem God they will understand their value but not make too much of themselves.” –Dannah Gresh

UNDETERRED.NET | BIBLICAL SELF-ESTEEM FOR CHILDREN

Next time you see your son or daughter slumping into feelings of insecurity based on other’s opinions of him or her, remind them of the Truth found in the Bible.

  • They are created in the “image of God” Himself Genesis 1:27
  • They are flawless in God’s eyes Song of Solomon 4:7 because
  • They are the “workmanship” of a perfect God Ephesians 2:10
  • They were created with intention and on purpose! Down to every last hair on their head Luke 12:7
  • God created them and knows them better than they know themselves. They are His children 1 John 3:1
  • They are more valuable than they will ever realize Matthew 10:31

The world defines self-esteem as “a feeling of having respect for yourself and your abilities”[2]. While others struggle towards this healthy sense of self-worth, the Bible places all of those “feelings” in the person of God. It says our self-esteem is all about Jesus, and it’s not a feeling; it’s a fact.

Teach your children to see themselves through the eyes of the One who created them from the pages of His book. Using the Bible as the basis for self-esteem will help develop a humble, God-fearing spirit that roots their confidence in Christ alone.

Click the button below to download a worksheet your child can use to look up verses in the Bible and build their self-esteem!

BUTTONS-08

Print out and decorate this truth. Hang it on a mirror as a reminder that God has made you amazing! Memorize this verse and be sure to share it with others who might be struggling with their self-worth.

PSALM 139 | UNDETERRED.NET | SCRIPTURE COLORING SHEET

Get a coloring sheet version of this verse by clicking the button below!

BUTTONS-09

 

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[1] http://raisingchildren.net.au/articles/self-esteem_different_ages.html
[2] http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/self-esteem

5 Creative Ways to Surround Kids with the Bible

What do you want most for your children? Most Christian parents want their children to know God and His love for them.

One of the best ways for kids to get to know God and His deep love for them is to expose them often to His Word.

Hebrews 4:12 Coloring Sheet for Kids | OneHope | Undeterred.net

Reading God’s Word is essential to understanding God and His love. God speaks, instructs, and loves throughout every page.

Thankfully, the Bible isn’t a boring textbook full of codes and rules. Instead, His Word is a love story that depicts His love for and pursuance of the human race. It is a road map for every hill and valley of life’s journey. It is both an adventure and mystery book, filled with the truest stories of God’s unexplainable power and might.

Here are some creative and fun ways to invite kids to get to know God through His Word.

Bible App for Kids | The Brave and Beautiful Queen

Watch and Listen. Instead of playing the radio while driving to and from grandma’s house or the grocery store, use this “extra” time to cultivate your child’s love for the Bible. The Bible App for Kids is a great resource that allows your child to listen to the Bible while watching its stories come to life.

Fill their Lunchbox. Write a Bible verse on colorful scrapbook paper, their napkin, or even a banana, and slip it into their lunchbox. In the midst of bullying, peer-pressure, or just the stress of school, a lunchbox note can remind them where the best words of comfort and encouragement come from.

Decorate. Surround your kids with Scripture by decorating your home with Bible verses! Use a chalkboard to display a weekly Bible verse. Many stores offer wall décor printed with Bible verses, as well. Make sure your home showcases a love for God’s Word and watch the influence it has on your children.

Gameify. Use that chalkboard in your kitchen to have a Bible verse memorization competition. Introduce your children to sword drills and make a game out of Bible trivia questions. Using your child’s competitive nature is a great tool to use in cultivating a love for Scripture.

Create traditions. On Christmas morning, read aloud about the birth of Jesus found in Matthew and Luke. Make a tradition of praying a certain Bible verse over your child before a test or game. Some fitting verses might be 2 Timothy 1:7, Numbers 6:24-26, Philippians 4:13. Use family vacation as an opportunity to read a chapter of the Bible together before hitting the beach or amusement park.

The Bible says to train children while they are young (Proverbs 22:6). What better area to train children than a love for God’s Word and a desire to know the contents of its pages!

As the rain and the snow come down from heaven,
and do not return to it
without watering the earth
and making it bud and flourish,
so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. ~Isaiah 55:10-11


 

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4 ways your family’s Christmas can focus on the Bible

Rejoice! Christmas is coming!

Before you know it, the holiday season will have come and gone. The twinkling lights that once wrapped the tree and stockings that once hung above the fireplace, will both be tucked back into their boxes. The tangible, more superficial parts of the season will fade away with the Christmas music, but the memories and lessons planted in our children’s hearts will linger on.

4 Ways to Make the Bible the Center of Your Family-01

Here are 4 inventive ways to make the Bible the center of your family’s Christmas season:

4 Ways to Make the Bible the Center of Your Family-041) Pretend. Take simply reading the Christmas story (as found in Luke 2 and Matthew 2) a step further by suggesting to your children that they “pretend” that they are a part of the Christmas story. Discuss how they would feel if they were Mary or Joseph, or even one of the shepherds who were greeted by the angels! Would they be scared, anxious, excited, etc…? You might also suggest acting out the Christmas story for extended family members or family friends. Pretending to be a part of the Christmas story will give your children the opportunity to let their imaginations run wild while engaging them in God’s Word.

4 Ways to Make the Bible the Center of Your Family-062) Pray. After reading the account of the birth of Christ, take the time to pray as a family. Make a special memory out of holding a yearly “Christmas prayer time.” Simply circle up, bow heads, hold hands, and thank the Lord for the precious gift of His Son.

4 Ways to Make the Bible the Center of Your Family-053) Practice. Dig into God’s Word by looking up verses on generosity, followed by a time of making individual lists of all the good things God has bestowed upon you as a family, including the gift of His Son! Practice emulating God’s generosity by brainstorming names of people that each member of your family would like to buy a gift for this Christmas season. This list of people could include a friend that is less fortunate, another family member, or even the mailman.

4 Ways to Make the Bible the Center of Your Family-034) Party. What child doesn’t like the idea of a party?! Make a family affair out of throwing a birthday party for Jesus on Christmas Eve, complete with a birthday cake and “Happy Birthday, Jesus” cards.[1] Throwing a birthday party for Jesus will spark a newfound excitement over the gift of both Jesus Himself and His life-giving Word, the Bible.

These are just a few inventive ways to center your family’s Christmas season around our Savior and God’s Word. Don’t let this beautiful season come and go without whispering the goodness of God into the hearts of your children. Make it a meaningful Christmas full of joy and fond memories as you savor the goodness of the Lord in sending His one and only Son to die in our place (John 3:16).

More:


[1] http://www.pioneerclubs.org/11980-2/

How to Handle a “Church is boring” Attitude

“Church is boring, I don’t want to go.”

Your perfectly blissful Sunday morning comes to a screeching halt as your oldest utters those dreadful words.

Just five minutes ago, your hands were wrapped snuggly around a mug as you inhaled the life-giving scent of fresh-brewed coffee. The serenity of a perfect Sunday morning was complete with fresh-baked pumpkin bread and two giggling children at your kitchen table. Fast forward five minutes and you feel like you’ve entered the twilight zone.

From the comfort of his bed, your oldest continues by explaining that since he has just turned twelve, he gets to decide if he wants to go to church or not.

Do you laugh? Cry? Yell? Do all three?

You’re racking your brain for an appropriate response to this shocking defiance. Suddenly, the Holy Spirit does what He always does. He whispers truth, comfort, and love into your sometimes overly dramatic thoughts. “It’s just a phase,” He says. “Be kind,” He says. You take a deep breath and gently convince your son that he is going to church; you are the parent, and he is the child. That is that.

Parenting a child who refuses to go to church can be tough, but there’s hope. The Holy Spirit and God’s Word reminds us that “…we do not belong to those who shrink back and are destroyed, but to those who have faith and are saved.” Hebrews 10:39 Make that verse your battle cry for the trying phases of parenting.

Church is Boring

Five effective ways to pursue your child’s heart when they’re struggling with a “church is boring” attitude…

  • Pray. One mom put it best when she said, “We have a direct line of communication to the God who created our children and chose to put them under our care.”[1] God’s Word tells us to give our burdens, including our anxious and worrisome thoughts, to Him and to simply pray; pray hard! Philippians 4:6.
  • Don’t give up. 1 Corinthians 15:58 says, “Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” When you feel like giving up, don’t. Rest in knowing that He hears, knows, and loves both you and your children.
  • Speak life. Proverbs 18:21 says, “The tongue has the power of life and death….” Never underestimate the power of your words. It was amazing to watch parents handle a child who was struggling with whether or not he even believed God existed. They never criticized or scolded him. Instead, they told him Jesus still loved him. They spoke encouragement; they spoke life.
  • Crown them. Refusing to go to church with the rest of your family can automatically make a child feel like an outcast. They may be “proud” of their newfound rebel status, but don’t let them push you away. Instead, “crown” them. Psalm 103:4 says that the Lord “crowns [us] with lovingkindness and tender mercies”. The Lord pursues us and loves us in every season of our relationship with Him. In tough seasons, follow Christ’s example and “crown” your children with unconditional love.
  • Check your church. Maybe the reason they don’t want to go to church is because your church makes Jesus seem boring. Maybe the other kids aren’t very nice, or maybe their youth leader is insensitive or hypocritical. Ask your child to give specific reasons for not wanting to go to church, and be willing to change churches for the sake of your child’s relationship with the Lord. “Check” your church, and do what needs to be done.

Five Effective Ways

When the “church is boring” day comes, take comfort in the fact that the Lord knows and loves our children better and deeper than we ever could. He wants to empower us as parents during a time when we need His power the most. Trust God’s sovereignty, and pursue your children in faith!

Related:


[1] http://www.todayschristianwoman.com/articles/2014/march/when-your-child-doesnt-like-church.html?start=1