more4kids-kindness-2017

Help More4kids Make the World a Better Place in 2017 – one act of kindness at a time

“A Christmas Carol” has been an enduring classic since it was first released more than 170 years ago. It’s the ultimate story of redemption, a tale of why kindness needs to win, and why it’s everybody’s responsibility to look out for their fellow man and make this world a better place. That was a powerful message when Charles Dickens first wrote the novel, and it remains every bit as important today.

The world needs our help

There’s a lot of reasons to worry when we look at the headlines every day. There is so much divisiveness and hate not only in our country, but the world. It’s easy to think that most people are bad when you’re bombarded with stories about terrorists, school violence and police shootings.

But, deep down, most people aren’t bad – they’re good, even the ones who may have forgotten it for a while.

So we’re issuing a challenge, and we’re drawing our inspiration from a well-known quote that both you and your kids may recognize from a beloved children’s movie.

“So shines a good deed in a weary world.” – Willy Wonka, “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.”

Let’s remind everyone that while the world may indeed be weary, the spirit of mankind isn’t. We’re better than this and it’s time for us to prove it.

Take our kindness challenge

READ More on Kindness Can Change People – Join Our 2017 Initiative

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2017-coming-m4k

by Shannon Serpette

I make resolutions before I’ve ripped off the December page in my calendar every single year. I don’t just make one or two hastily thought out resolutions – each one is a subhead with its own mini resolutions attached.

Sometimes I’ve had success, and other times, I didn’t meet a single goal. I’ve been like Charlie Brown trying to kick the football – always landing flat on my keister and wondering where I went wrong.

But there was one common theme all my resolutions shared – they were all about me. They were all my goals, my hopes for the future, my vision of what my life should be like. This year, I’m changing the way I create my resolutions and I’m looking for ways to drag my entire family into my madness.

I’m hoping that having shared family goals will increase the excitement and the accountability it takes to be successful with my resolutions. It’ll be easier to lose those stubborn extra 15 pounds I’ve been trying to take off if I have my children giving me accusing glances every time my mouth starts to turn into a black hole when it’s near a bag of chips.

Having my children involved will make me less likely to make my resolution all about weight. While my husband and I could both stand to lose a few pounds, my kids don’t have that problem, at least not yet. So instead, our resolution should be about being healthier, not necessarily skinnier, which is really what my resolution should have been all along.

With obesity still a real problem in today’s world, this resolution will benefit my kids too. It will hopefully set them on a healthier path full of good habits they’ll carry into adulthood.

READ More on Tackling New Year’s resolutions family style

young-boy-praying

by Amy Mullen

There are a thousand questions parents ask themselves through the years as they raise their children. The biggest and most common parenting question has got to be: “Am I doing this right?” That question is often murmured as we shake our heads at ourselves. We want to do the best job we can, and we often feel as if we are failing, or are about to fail. As it turns out, some of this is not as hard as we think it is. Sometimes, the smallest things yield the biggest results.

My son was born early at twenty-eight weeks. I prayed a lot during the seventy-seven days he spent in the NICU. During those prayers, I promised I would raise him to be a good man. If there was one thing I could do in return for God’s healing touch, it was to raise him to love everyone and treat everyone with respect.

I had already done a pretty decent job with my daughter. This is not a brag because I have no idea how I did it. She, at fifteen, is the champion of the underdog. She befriends anyone who needs a friend, does not fit in, or seems lonely. She spends time with kids other children ignore. She is kind and open-hearted. I am proud of her, but I certainly cannot take all of the credit for the young woman she is becoming. I give her most of the credit.

I often thought I could use the same techniques with my son as I did with her. The problem with this is I am not sure what I did or how I did it. It was probably a hundred small things said during a hundred unremarkable conversations we’ve had. She was a talker and she has always been big on asking questions. Perhaps I said the right things at the right time, but I cannot be sure.

This hasn’t worked out with my son. He is not nearly as chatty as my daughter was at a young age. I had to think of new ways to introduce him to the same things my daughter asked me about as she grew up. My attempts to get his attention, at times, failed. If I was not talking about the limited number of subjects which caught his rapt attention, he was not interested for more than a few minutes.

My son is a shy boy so it was hard for him to open up to those outside our household for quite a few years. My neighbor is a Sunday School teacher and my son grew to trust her. He loves learning about God and Jesus through her. He took what he was learning and ran with it. This opened up the one possibility now within reach – prayer.

READ More on Raising Compassionate Children One Prayer at a Time

teen-girl-drug-addiction

by Dominica Applegate

The teen years are certainly interesting years for both teens and parents, as both are gradually letting go in order for the teens to become responsible, mature adults. Sometimes though, the teen years can be quite tough for both teenagers and parents.  After all, teens face all sorts of pressures during those years, all the while trying to figure out who they are and where they fit in.  They are going through rapid changes physically, emotionally, and cognitively, which can bring on more stress and confusion than they’d like.

Many teens get through the adolescent years without too many issues arising, but some tend to experience issues that pose a problem for them and their families.  Teens can certainly struggle with things like anxiety, depression, peer pressure, eating disorders, behavioral issues, substance abuse, and more. When the struggles get to be too much for parents to contend with, it’s important to know what to do to reach out for community help on the matter.

The prevalence of substance abuse

Substance abuse among teens has remained steady throughout the years. With peer pressure and much of mainstream media promoting alcohol, many teens aren’t too concerned about drinking and/or trying drugs.  They feel like they can handle such and rarely think they could actually become addicts.  But what could begin as an innocent binge drinking night at a party could eventually turn into full fledged addiction.

In addition, teens that are prescribed drugs for pain, anxiety, or depression could become addicted to prescription drugs as well. They start off innocent enough, but addictive drugs can rope in even the most mature, responsible kids at times.

READ More on How To Get Your Teen Into Alcohol or Drug Treatment

proud-mom-and-son

Parenting is all about communication. We are generally aware of what we say to our teens. We try to be positive, not use negative language, try to speak clearly so that there is no question about what you are trying to communicate to them. But did you ever think about what you don't say to your teen? Are there things that you aren't saying to your teen that they want or need to hear? "What do you wish your parents would say to you?"  This was the provocative question posed on a recent website I visited: Words are Powerful: The Love Project.

The answers ranged from simple to complex, from funny to heartbreaking, but through it all, a pattern emerged. There are some consistent things that children not only want, but need to hear from their parents. Words are powerful, but the words we don't say can be just as powerful. Just because you think it does not mean that your child automatically knows it or doesn't need to hear it.

Have you said these ten things to your child recently?

1) I love you!

Of course you love your child, no doubt about it, but when was the last time you actually said it? Sometimes we get so wrapped up in what we are doing in our jobs, in our personal lives, in our relationships that we forget to say the obvious but important things. Don't take it for granted that your child knows that you love him or her. Say it. Sometimes they just need to hear the words.

2) I am proud of you.

There are things about your child that make you proud. Maybe they have a gentle, giving heart or maybe they have an exceptional artistic ability. Find at least one thing in your child that you are proud of and let them know about it. When you talk about your child to others, what do you say? What elements about him or her do you mention, even brag about to others? If you find that you are only seeing the negative, then it is a good time to find something positive, something good. Then let them know about it. You might be surprised in the attitude change that a simple "I am proud of you" can bring.

3) I support you in the things you want to do in your life.

Your teen is not you. They have different likes and dislikes, they have different interests. To many teens, the feeling that they are not recognized as individuals is very real – and very frustrating. Maybe they grew up in a family of lawyers, but they want to be a writer. Maybe they feel drawn to a different religion or lifestyle. Maybe they grew up in a large family with lots of kids, but have chosen to only have one or two children when they "grow up" and start a family. Whatever the differences are, there is usually at least some anxiety involved when they tell you about it. As a loving, supportive parent, just saying "I support you in the things you want to do in your life" can make all the difference.READ More on Ten Things your Teen would like to Hear you say to Them

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Christmast Wish

As the Christmas season comes to a head we at More4Kids want to wish you and your family the best of the Christmas season. May your Christmas wishes come true and may you and yours experience the true joy of the holiday. Pause for a moment and contemplate the true meaning of Christmas. If you can teach your kids this one simple truth, imagine what a blessing they will be when they grow up and walk in this truth.

Jesus is the reason for the season. The first Christmas gift came from God, Himself. He gave mankind his only Son to offer us a way back to Him. We exchange gifts in honor of Jesus’ birthday every year. We give to each other to express our love and gratitude. Because God loved us so much He sent His son to us to blaze the trail right back to Him. Can you imagine when you get to spend your first Christmas in Heaven?

Our Christmas wish for you is that you help your kids see the best in others in the same way God sees us. Teach them the true meaning of Christmas and help them to walk in Christmas joy not just on December 25 but in all of 2016 and 2017. It’s not a joy that occurs due to happy circumstances. It’s a joy that lives within our hearts. We hope you experience this with your family no matter what life my bring your way.

READ More on Christmas Blessings and Wishes

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jesus-and-kids-sm

by Lori Ramsey – real life parenting with a mom with 6 kids

The real meaning of Christmas has nothing to do with the whole Santa Claus shebang, or does it? Too often the real meaning of the holiday season is lost in the commercialism of the time. We get carried away by all the holiday parties and festivities we forget the very simplistic reason we celebrate Christmas at all. But the Santa Claus belief and the total retail extravaganza is a big part of the season and for many children it’s the magic that lights their eyes on Christmas morning. The best way to teach children about the real meaning of Christmas while still allowing the magic of the season to flow is to talk to them about what occurred over two thousand years ago.

Put the emphasis on the truth that we celebrate the holidays in honor of the birth of Jesus Christ. There are many parallels with the birth of Christ and the way the people react to the way we celebrate. These are the points we need to make clear to our children.

First, read the story from the Bible and teach your children about the birth of Jesus Christ. Take your time explaining each step of the story so that your child will have a clear understanding from the angel appearing to Mary and Joseph, to the miracles surrounding Mary’s pregnancy, to Mary’s visit with her cousin Elizabeth who was pregnant with John the Baptist, to the trip to Bethlehem. Important to share with children are the special visitors the baby Jesus received after his birth and the giving of the gifts.

READ More on Teaching Children the Real Meaning of Christmas

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