Author: Parent Cue

How to Be Rich

With December here, we don’t have to wonder what our kids are thinking about. They’re making their lists and checking them many more times than twice. It might be a toy car for a child or a first car for a teenager. From Fisher-Price to Ford, there’s something for everyone at every age during this season of giving. As focused as our kids may be on what they’re getting for Christmas, sometimes that makes it even more surprising how much they want to give. The New York Post Office even has an Operation Santa division, where they watch for letters to Santa where kids describe someone in need. Volunteers match donors to the kids’ unselfish requests. The postal service’s Director of Elf Operations expects about two million such letters this Christmas, just in New York alone. Children seem to be the first to notice the homeless man on the street or know about the family with the unemployed dad. They’re wired for generosity, and how we approach the holidays will help determine if they stay that way. In each one of our lives, we have a tendency to move toward a lifestyle of generosity or a lifestyle of greed. Are we wrapped up in ourselves or our things, or do we reflect God’s character by giving freely to others? Kids will see this most clearly when parents and leaders...

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Intentional Influences

Earlier this week, we talked about how important it is to find other trusted adults who will have an influence on your children. We suggested several places to look: educators, people with interesting jobs, extended family members. While it might seem to just make sense that we’d want other voices saying the same thing we as parents are, our research shows that usually this just isn’t a priority. In the State of the Church and Family Report we commissioned with The Barna Group, only a quarter of the parents said they place a high priority on finding other adults to speak into the lives of their children and teens. Of those who do, here are some of the ways: • Connect kids with family members and grandparents • Encourage involvement in church or a youth group • Enroll in extracurricular activities, like sports or Scouts • Participate in community service and volunteerism Unfortunately, even when parents take these actions steps, they don’t go far enough. One-fifth are intentional about family connections. Ten percent actively encourage sports and clubs where coaches and leaders can take mentoring roles. Overall, only five percent articulate the importance of volunteering to help others. Even though many parents responded that they want other adults to positively influence their children, they aren’t intentional about what it takes to make that happen. Interestingly, parents who don’t regularly...

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Share Your Story

by Don Jacobson I didn’t originally want my name on God Makes Lemonade. I even tried putting someone else’s name on the cover, and I tried to squeeze the project into someone else’s story. But it just didn’t work. I was forced to accept that God has put me here intentionally and given me this message of hope to share. You see, I’m a walking, talking lemonade story. I was a happily married twenty-four-year-old who enjoyed a physically demanding job in commercial construction. Then, one winter night, a shooting accident changed everything. I nearly died as I lay for hours in a freezing field. I spent nine agonizing days in critical condition, and nearly a month in the hospital. When I left, things looked bleak, and I could no longer physically provide for my family. Could I still be a good husband and father? It took a while for that lemon to become lemonade, but in the end it was wonderfully sweet. I began to work in publishing, and the shape of my life changed forever, both at my job and at home. Now, twenty-five years later, I see that not being able to work with my hands forced me to work with my head and heart, and both my family and my career became better than I could ever have imagined. My wife, Brenda, and I know that...

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Messages of Hope

by Don Jacobson Over the last couple decades of working in Christian publishing, I’ve met hundreds of Christian leaders who are passionate about sharing hope. I’ve been working with Reggie for a few years now, and I love that the Orange community shares that same passion for encouragement. At the same time, you’ve probably noticed that many of those around us are discouraged. People are struggling with unemployment, under-employment, overwhelming debt, untreated medical concerns, lack of access to education, military deployment of loved ones, divorce and single parenthood, anxiety, depression, bankruptcy, disillusionment…sadly, the list goes on and on. Life has thrown a basket of lemons at a lot of us and it’s tough to hold on to hope. I was swapping stories with some friends, and we were talking about people in our lives who have been barraged by some really sour circumstances. A funny thing happened while we were talking: our conversation switched to stories about miraculous provision in our times of greatest need—the perfect job, an anonymous gift, reconciliation with a loved one, relief of a heavy burden. Hearing those stories of hope encouraged me. Sometimes it’s just when we think life can’t get any worse that something sweet happens and gives us hope. One of my favorite things about Orange is its emphasis on community. “When you’re Orange, you’re not alone.” During that chat with my...

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A Way to Make a Difference

Are you looking for a way for you and your family to make a difference this Christmas? What about putting Christmas in a box to have it delivered to someone who has never received a Christmas present? You can do that! Just pack a shoebox full of Christmas and deliver it to Operation Christmas Child. The Operation Christmas Child website walks you through how to pack a shoe box including what are great items to include as well as where and when you need to deliver it. You can even track your shoe box and know where in the world it is delivered. Plan a night this week to spend with your family to make a difference in a child’s life this Christmas. Have dinner together and then hop in the car to visit the local discount store. Walk through the aisles with your child choosing items that will bless another child somewhere far away. Then return home to pack up Christmas in a box. The time you spend with your family may end up beinan even better present than the one you send around the...

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