By Carolyn Tomlin
Correspondent, The Alabama Baptist
During the month of February, our thoughts turn to ways to express love. And with the climate that children grow up in today, they need that love more than ever.
A wise mother once said, “Children need Christian parents to love and guide them. When a child is hurt emotionally or physically, some youngsters have no one to turn to. Adults can seek the help of a friend or counselor. Children do not have these resources. They hurt. And they often hurt alone.”
When children know God loves them, they know how to love others and they have self-respect. They mature into children with a healthy self-concept and later into caring adults.
Love is one of the most powerful emotions. Parents are the first and best teacher.
One of the most important lessons that parents can teach their children is that God loves them unconditionally. He is forgiving, compassionate and generous in His love.
What can parents do to instill this truth? They can establish a Christ-centered home, make prayer a priority with their family, apply the Bible to daily living and attend church together.
Fighting against bullying
When children are secure in that love, it makes its way into their relationships with others.
In recent years, bullying has become common. When a child is the victim of a bully, this mental and physical abuse can disrupt a child’s education and social life. Their emotional wellbeing is at risk. A recent report by the Bureau of Justice Statistics states that bullying occurs on a daily or weekly basis in 23 percent of public schools in the United States.
This increase is due in part to technology and communication. The Internet, cellphones and social media are often used as an outlet where kids can have anonymity online and become cyberbullies. Mature adults can usually ignore bullying, but for children and youth this is a real problem with serious consequences.
What can parents do to prevent their child from being a bully? You can model for your children how to treat all people with respect. You also can avoid using demeaning language in the home and keep lines of communication open between parent and child. Pray for your children and let them hear you pray. And when needed, seek professional help.
It’s important for children to feel loved so that they don’t feel the need to put others down to feel validated.
But it’s also important for your children to feel secure in God’s love when other children bully them.
Working to prevent suicide
Suicide is on the increase. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that from 1999 to 2015 more than 1,300 U.S. children ages 5 to 12 took their own lives.
For some parents whose children have taken their own lives, there is no explanation. For others there were relationship problems, arguments with family and friends and boyfriend/girlfriend issues among older children. More children under 13 who kill themselves are boys; overall, however, girls attempt suicide more frequently. The number of children ages 5 to 12 hospitalized for suicidal thoughts or actions has doubled over the past decade.
What can parents do to help? Recognize warning signs, identify risk factors, promote protective factors, talk to your kids and seek mental health services, if needed.
What does the Bible say about love?
The word “love” is mentioned numerous times throughout the Bible. Here are a few references:
• John 3:16
• John 15:13
• Matt. 5:43–45
• 1 Cor. 13:4–8
• Mark 12:30–31
• John 13:34–35
• Rom. 13:8
• 1 Pet. 4:8
• Prov. 17:17
• Eph. 4:2
Valentine cookie recipe
The heart-shaped valentine is a symbol of love. Young children can make this simple Valentine cookie to share with family and friends.
One box cake mix
2 eggs (beaten)
1 stick margarine, melted
2 round pans, 8-inch
Melt margarine. Combine it with beaten eggs and cake mix in a large mixing bowl. Line pans with
wax paper. Divide dough into baking pans. Using a toothpick, outline a large heart on the unbaked dough. Fill this line with M&Ms. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Carefully remove Valentine cookie onto paper towels until cool. Cut or break into pieces to share with family or friends.
Share with others: