As parents, we always find ourselves stressing the importance of working hard in school. Even though our children are young, it is so exciting to see them learn a new concept or master a new skill. The math, science, reading, writing and history they are learning is truly going to be the basis of the rest of their education and we cannot wait to see them learn and grow in the future. However, some of the most important things children are going to learn can’t be taught in a classroom. We think that the social skills our children develop early on are just as important as what they are read from their textbooks, but are perhaps even harder to teach and to master; that is why we see such value in encouraging children to play sports.
Through sports, kids learn skills they will take with them for the rest of their lives. They learn the value and importance of physical fitness and begin to find what kinds of exercises they like. They learn how to work through pain. They also discover that success doesn’t come without hard work; they realize that they have to practice to be good enough to win. When they do win, they feel a sense of accomplishment. Most coaches or organizations teach children how to win graciously. And how to be a good sport when they lose. Losing also teaches kids that sometimes things are not going to go their way, no matter how hard they worked. They learn to channel disappointment into motivation; even the best athletes have a bad race or a game that doesn’t go their way, so they must use these setbacks as motivation to work even harder to do better next time. Sports also teach kids the importance of teamwork and the relationships between childhood teammates often turn into lifelong friendships. Through sports, kids often learn how to prioritize and plan a schedule. Even if the parents are the ones doing the planning and organizing, kids see that if they want to be a part of a team, they have to commit their time to being at practice and at games, even if that means sacrificing other things they want to do.
Even if your child is never the MVP or decides that he or she wants to pursue other interests, trying a new sport is almost always a beneficial endeavor. Nothing teaches these important life lessons quite like being involved in sports. We encourage any parent to look for a team or organization for their child or children to participate in. Who knows, the adults might learn a thing or two as well!
This week we will celebrate Good Friday and Easter, commemorating the most important moment in the Christian faith; the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Even when we look past the Easter eggs, family dinners, and other worldly distractions of the holiday, it is still easy to forget the true weight of why we are celebrating.
Most of us know the gist of the story; Jesus died on a cross and a few days later, when his friends went to visit his grave, he was nowhere to be found. On Easter Sunday, we celebrate his resurrection and his sacrifice. We think of Christ as noble and selfless. We are thankful for all he has done and sing his praises in church. But once we leave, the impact of the Easter story often fades into the back of our minds.
There is another part of the Easter story that is perhaps less well-known. Matthew 27 tells the story of the actions and events leading up to Christ’s death. In those days, it was tradition for the governor to come before the masses and let them essentially vote on one prisoner to be released. Pilate asked the crowd if they would prefer he release Barabbas, a notorious criminal – think the equivalent of a serial killer today – or Jesus, the innocent “King of the Jews,” whom even Pilate said “had done no evil.” The crowd shouted their vote and it was unanimous: Barabbas should get to be released. Jesus would be crucified.
Perhaps your first thought when reading that story is “that doesn’t seem fair!” If such injustice happened in our own lifetime, we would probably be outraged, in disbelief. But do we have that same sense of disbelief, confusion, or outrage when we think of Christ dying for our own sins? We often forget to take it personally. We lose sight of the direct impact Jesus’s death has on our own individual lives. It is easy to remember that he is our Lord, but how often do we forget that for believers, he is our savior - and the true weight of what that means. Perhaps it is because we forget that we need to be saved. Romans 5 says “For one will scarcely die for a righteous person – though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die – but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” If we’re honest, it is tempting to consider ourselves those “good people” that perhaps one would even dare to die for. No matter what you are guilty of, how seemingly big or small your crimes, the Bible tells us in Romans 5:10 that “none is righteous, no, not even one.” We are all Barabbas – how blessed we are to have a loving God who willingly died in our place so that we may live freely.
This Easter season, as we celebrate what Christ did for us, let’s rejoice in the fact that we get another chance. Ask God to give you an awe and reverence for Christ’s grace and love that lasts past Easter Sunday. Because of His sacrifice, those who put their trust in Him can have eternal life!
We all have those things we dread doing each year. Paying our taxes, getting our cars inspected, annual checkups at the doctor and somewhere on that list falls the daunting task of spring cleaning. It is amazing how much stuff we can accumulate in such a short period of time – and how much of it we really don’t need. Though the thought of committing to such a challenging task may seem overwhelming, you might find motivation in knowing that cleaning and de-cluttering actually relieve stress. Additionally, taking note of things you bought but never used, finding items you’ve lost, or freeing up kitchen space can help you save money. Undoubtedly, one person didn’t make the entire mess, so cleaning should be a team effort as well. Here are a few ideas for getting the whole family involved with spring cleaning – and maybe even have fun while doing it.
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