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3 Phrases To Start Using With Your Kids

How often do we hear our kids coming out with crazy things that they’ve picked up from us? And it is either hilarious or horrifying! “Daddy, you had better get out of the room!” — “That’s enough fighting you two” — “Thanks babe” — “I’m sick and tired of this” — “This is a delish dish worthy of a kiss”. They pull them out because they hear us saying these phrases again and again. But imagine if we could harness the principle of repetitive phrases for their spiritual training? What if there were some phrases that we said again and again that taught our kids some incredibly profound things, that they just know to be the reality because they’ve heard them so many times? Here are 3 killer phrases to start saying again and again.


1) How good is God!


This one is incredibly simple, but so profound. It is what I like to call a wonder phrase. It is said, not as a question to be answered on a scale of 1-10, but rather with a sense of awe.

There are so many things for us to be grateful to God for, and the fact that he has given them to little old us ought to blow us away. When we throw in a wonder phrase (and it doesn’t have to be the word good – it could be how epic is God! How awesome! Incredible. Majestic. Wonderful. Sweet. Amazing. etc) it tells our kids that we think God is awesome. And we do don’t we? It seriously doesn’t matter how old our kids are, when we show affection towards something, the impact on them is real.


Another thing that this phrase does, is grow gratitude in our kids’ hearts. Because as we regularly comment on God’s goodness in things, our kids come to know that Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights” (James 1:17). This is a great thing for them, because not only does it keep the invisible God in their vision, but it inevitably will lead to thankfulness. Why will it lead to thankfulness? Because after saying How good is God! you follow up with “let’s thank him”. I reckon it is super easy to slip this in every day (even multiple times a day!). It will train your kids how to see God’s world and give him thanks, filled with wonder.


Super Practical Tip: Have a crack at pulling out a wonder phrase for at least 1 thing from creation each day (morning sunshine, stars, cold water, a bird that flies overhead, tasty food – whatever). Or ask your kids to find something epic that God has made or done for them to be blown away by.


2) People who trust in Jesus…


If the first phrase helps our kids see God’s good world properly, this one helps them view the human race properly. You see, the Bible very clearly divides mankind into two groups; those who are his people, and those are not.


All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. Matthew 25:32-33


The sheep are his people – those he will save – and the goats aren’t his people – those he won’t save. And just as clearly, the New Testament tells us the only difference between the sheep and goats is faith in Jesus. Trust.


We who are Jews by birth and not sinful Gentiles know that a person is not justified by the works of the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law, because by the works of the law no one will be justified. Galatians 2:15-16


However, to the one who does not work but trusts God who justifies the ungodly, their faith is credited as righteousness. Romans 4:5


Therefore, there are 2 groups of people in the world. People who trust in Jesus – those who will be saved – and people who don’t trust in Jesus – and won’t be saved. When you use the phrase people who trust in Jesus regularly, you are teaching your kids that there are people who do trust in Jesus, and people who don’t. For a kid growing up in Christian home, it can take a while to realise that not everyone in the world is a Christian. It takes some kids to get to high school before the discover this fact. But repetition of phrase number 2 will teach them from very early on that this isn’t the case.


This will do some wonderful things for your kidlets. It will help them see how key of a concept faith is. If people’s defining feature is their trust in Jesus, or lack thereof, your kids will realise how critical faith is to our identity. This will help them to chat to people about spiritual things. It will also help them pray wonderful prayers for people. In our house, w`henever we pray for a Christian, for whatever reason, we pray that they would keep trusting in Jesus. When we pray for a non-Christian we ask that they would start trusting in Jesus.


Super Practical Tip: Don’t just talk about people who do or don’t trust in Jesus in general terms. Talk about real people. We talk about people in our extended family who do and don’t trust in Jesus. We talk about our neighbours as people who don’t trust in Jesus. We wonder with our kids whether people walking out on the street are people who trust in Jesus or not. Then we pray for them. Sometimes. We don’t always do this – but it is a super helpful category to work with regularly.


3) Who is in charge?


I love this question. And yet answering it is trickier than you would first guess. Because, for us, there are 2 key answers. One answer is God, the other answer is Mum and Dad. And it is tricky, because our authority is very real and somewhat absolute when it comes to our kids, and yet it is very different to God’s authority. He is the Lord of the universe.


The LORD reigns, let the nations tremble; he sits enthroned between the cherubim, let the earth shake. Great is the LORD in Zion; he is exalted over all the nations. Psalm 99:1-2


Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Matthew 28:18


So the first answer to the question of who is in charge? is God. It’s Jesus. He’s always in charge of everything all the time. Bringing this reality out for our kids is super helpful. Yes they can be friends with God (how incredible!!), but at the same time they are his slaves (1 Peter 2:16). And they ought to serve their master with unswerving obedience. Now we don’t hold this need to obey over them ruthlessly – it will crush them. But we do keep pointing to the Lordship of Jesus as a constant reality. He is a good and gracious king, and it is an absolute privilege to serve him.

But the other people who are in charge are us. We don’t want our kids to sing the famous Colin Buchanan song to us, “Mummy’s not the boss, uh uh, Daddy’s not the boss uh uh, Grandma’s not the boss uh uh, Jesus is the boss…”. We want them to know that we have authority as well. The fifth commandment reflects the order God has given families in the world:


Honor your father and your mother, as the LORD your God has commanded you, so that you may live long and that it may go well with you in the land the LORD your God is giving you. Deuteronomy 5:16


How do we hold these 2 levels of authority together? And how do we teach our kids? Well we need to realise that our authority is God-given. He has given us authority in the home. And so we teach our kids that God is in charge of everything, and he has put Daddy and Mummy in charge of our home. We all need to obey God (and trust Jesus when we don’t!), but as kids, they need to obey us as parents. And bonus – when they obey us, they are also obeying God, cos he has commanded them to obey us. It’s a 2 for 1 deal! So the answer to the question of who is in charge? is “God, and he has put mum and dad in charge of this house.”


Super Practical Tip: Try pulling this question out a few times when the kids aren’t in trouble, before using it when they are. Also, using it after you have finished getting them in trouble when things are all good again can also be a good time for this kind of chat.

 

These 3 phrases are all pretty simple, but will have a huge impact on your kids if you start pulling them out regularly. Can I encourage you to do that? I’ve love to hear how it goes for you in the comments below.

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