Summer Time – Reading Time!

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Summer is a time to read!!!

Summer is in full swing and I am loving it!! Although I can not believe we are already at the end of June! One thing that we love about summer in the Hanson Household is we have lots of time to catch up on our reading. Nate and I have a love for books, and that love has definitely carried on to the next generation. Today I thought I would share some of our fun reading resources that we go to during the summer months.

Book Series We Recommend:

Here are three different series for three different age groups that our family is currently enjoying and they are gender neutral so both your boys and girls will enjoy them!

The Adventures of Adam Raccoon Series by Glen Keane (for ages 4-7)

We were delighted to hear that the Adam Raccoon series was back in print! These stories are parables of God’s unfailing love and forgiveness, and they show our kids what to do when they make mistakes. I love how King Aren’s gentle strength paints a picture of our Heavenly Father and how the stories and illustrations make you feel like you are Adam Raccoon. They contain great nuggets of wisdom, such as: “It’s easy to get off track.  But when you do, get back on course and finish the race.” But the true beauty of these books is the way they connect with our children’s hearts and point them to their Heavenly Father! You can purchase these books at or on amazon.

Continue Reading…

Starting A Lifelong Conversation With Our Teens to Equip Them For the New Culture

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We have found a video that you have to watch tonight or tomorrow!

Our oldest is entering into the pre-teen phase and we are looking for backup.  How can we help her transition from childhood to adulthood?  We have stumbled upon something that we just had to share:  The Parenting Teens Summit. has assembled an all-star team of experts to cover a variety of issues that our teens will face:

  • Ravi Zacharias and Timothy Keller: Titans of theology in the real world
  • Kara Powell: The guru on instilling a lasting faith in our kids
  • Gary Chapman: Mr., sorry, “Dr. Five Love Languages”
  • John Eldredge: (Needs no introduction if you follow our blog)
  • And many more really smart people

Not convinced yet?  From their website:  “Join us for this online conference! Faithful Christian authors & thought leaders will provide practical talks to help you parent your teens.  Know their culture, develop their hearts, and connect the generations to build lifelong faith!”

Discipling Our Kids:  Our Culture Has Answers.  Do You?

We watched the first video last night and it was awesome.  The topic was our Culture and the speaker did a fabulous job of breaking it down to the essential questions:

  • What is my identity? Am I the image of God, fractured by sin, but restored through Christ?
  • What is the purpose of money, physical intimacy, college, and life itself? Do we know?  What does our Culture say?  Is that true?

For example, our culture has elevated affluence, safety, security, and instant gratification.  Our culture has normalized the idea that my happiness is the ultimate goal.  It has discarded old notions of truth, goodness, and beauty.  It has ignored character and the virtues and replaced these with personality.  Our culture tells us that what we feel and what we desire is more important than what is real and what is right.  It has normalized physical intimacy without relationship and magnification of the trivial.  This is our culture.  This is normal now.

What I liked about this video is that it is not a rant against our culture.  And it is not a celebration of the culture either.  It is practical training that equips us to begin a lifelong conversation with our kids.  As we have said before, we need to be students of our children.  This video series will help us become better students of our kids by helping us understand the culture that is shaping them.

We don’t need to be terrified or even discouraged about the culture around us.  We are the primary influence in our kids’ lives.  It is up to us to use that influence by talking with our kids about life’s questions.  It takes courage, but we can do it!


Here is the link:

The event takes place June 1-15.  Each video is available for you to watch for free for 72 hours.   Sign up and enjoy the Vimeo –it’s as simple as that.
(If you want permanent access you can buy that also.)

Watch the video and let us know what you think in the comments below!

Learn more about OPL’s take on parenting by clicking on the Family – Parenting menu.  And don’t forget to follow us by email by putting your email address in the Subscribe box on the right.  One step and you’re done!

Other Posts You May Enjoy:

Not Perfect but REAL!

Who Am I?

Parents As Teachers

A Frozen Conversation

Would You Rather?


Would You Rather?


I’ve never liked the game “Would You Rather.”  It’s a childhood game that may bring back good memories for many of you, but for me it brings up feelings of fear. For some reason, this type of game always makes me afraid of getting embarrassed.  What if I didn’t know what one of the things is? What if both options were terrible and I couldn’t fathom doing either one, what would I do then?  So, when hanging out with friends I usually tried to avoid this type of game.  

Fast forward 25 years and I am at a children’s ministry leaders meeting and the emcee starts the lunch with an unexpected “Would You Rather” game. WHAT?? Surely there is an age limit to this game, right?! I was pretty much trapped with no place to go.  But much to my relief, this version had an unconventional twist to it. It was “Would You Rather…Bible Edition.” Continue Reading…

Back to School Blessing

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Another summer has flown by, and school has started again.  As you settle into your routine, it is a great opportunity to reestablish faith in God as the center of your daily lives.  Despite the busy-ness, we can be grounded if we are purposeful.

In this printable we have a Back to School Blessing that you can speak over your kids, some Back to School Scriptures that may speak life into the challenges and opportunities that come from a new school year, and a Daily School Prayer that your family can use every day as they get ready for school or drive to school.  Prayer is powerful, and it is even more powerful when you model a God-centered life for your kids.


Printable: | PDF_Picture  Back to School Blessing |


Here are a couple more posts about back to school.

School Time Is Here

First Day of School Prayer

Learn more about OPL’s take on parenting by clicking on the Family – Parenting menu.  And don’t forget to follow us by email by putting your email address in the Subscribe box on the right.  One step and you’re finished!

I Love You 100!?!?

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“I love you!”

“No, I love you!”

“I love you more.”

“No, I love you more.”

“Well, I love you infinity!”

“Well then, I love you double infinity!”


Has this never ending conversation ever gone on at your house? I know it has at mine. That is until we put a stop to it. Continue Reading…

Not Perfect but REAL!

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My kids don’t need me to be a perfect parent.  They need me to be a REAL parent.

One of Satan’s tactics is to get us to think we are failures. One mistake and you have failed. One wrong decision and you are disqualified. Have you ever thought if you don’t get your act together you are going to ruin your kid? I know I have.  It is a relief to find out that your kids don’t need perfection; they need REAL.

Here are five ways we can be R.E.A.L. parents:

Remember your responsibility.

Have you ever seen an opportunity to instruct or train your child but you were just too lazy to get off the couch and do it? How about hearing the kids bicker in the other room and it starts to escalate and you go to another area of the house in hopes that it will just blow over and you can just ignore it? I know I have been guilty of both. But REAL parents don’t ignore the problem or situation and use as many opportunities as possible to train their kids how to handle life. Our kids will not be able to correctly handle situations that are thrown at them unless we teach them how to look at it and how to respond.

Deuteronomy 6:5-9 (NLT)

And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength. And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today. Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up. Tie them to your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.


Recognize attitudes and emotions

(I know there is 2 for the R-we couldn’t decide which one to do)

A lot of times the issue is really not the issue. One time we were praising one of our children for doing well in math, for working hard and for actually being a little ahead of her grade in ability. As supper continued an older child began to get snippy and short with us and their siblings. After reminding the child of the proper way to talk to others, it dawned on us what was going on in their head. Come to find out because of our praise, this child was feeling insecure and a failure because they were older and had some difficulty in this particular area. So we took that child aside, we explained to them that just because we praise one child doesn’t mean we are displeased with them. We also talked about how God gifts us differently and that is not bad, just different. If we would have continued to discipline that child for the incorrect tone we would have missed the chance to disarm a lie that Satan was trying to plant in that child’s life. As you teach and train your child ask God to give you wisdom and discernment to know what is going on in your child’s heart that is causing their attitudes and emotions to express themselves in this way.

Luke 6:45 (NLT)

 A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. What you say flows from what is in your heart.


Examine your example

Kids are emotionally in tune with those around them, even more so than most adults! Having kids around is like having little mirrors. They mimic you. Have you ever heard the saying, “do as I say not as I do”? Kids have way of proving how ineffective this saying is in reality. Before you discipline your child for the 20th time for the same exact offense, examine your own life. Where were they modeled that example? Kids are influenced by those they love and look up to. They see how you handle stress and irritation and will do the same. Make sure your example is worth repeating.

Titus 2:7 (NLT)

And you yourself must be an example to them by doing good works of every kind.

Let everything you do reflect the integrity and seriousness of your teaching.

Admit your mistakes

Kids are not dumb-they know when we have messed up or misbehaved. When we do not admit our mistakes and instead hide them or act like it doesn’t matter we send them mixed signals. No one likes to be told they have to follow a stricter set of rules than those who are imposing the rules. When we own up to our mistakes and are humble enough to admit them and ask for forgiveness we are allowing the relationship with our children to be repaired and strengthened. It can also come as a relief to our children to know that they do not have to be perfect, just like we are not perfect. We give them opportunities to see forgiveness and grace played out so that they will have a deeper understanding of how God’s forgiveness and grace works in each of our lives.

James 4:6 (NLT)

And he gives grace generously. As the Scriptures say, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”

James 5:16 (NLT)

Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.

Love unconditionally

It is so important that your children know that your love is unconditional. That it won’t change based off of what they do or don’t do, or what they say or don’t say. Conditional love breeds fear and doubt and causes a child anxiety and frustration.  It isn’t real agape love at all. It is so important that each day you allow your child to start with a clean, fresh slate. Yesterday was yesterday and today is a new day. Along with that try your hardest to not label your kid, such as they are “just crazy,” or they “have an anger problem,” or they “just can’t get it together.” When we do that we cause ourselves to see our child only through that lens and they will become that, and continue to stay in that mold. Instead, recognize your child’s natural tendencies and then use that knowledge to train them and help them to use it for good and become all God created them to be. If at times your love is conditional based on their performance or behavior spend some time with the Lord reminding yourself of all that He has forgiven you for and it will help you do the same for your child.

Lamentations 3:22-23 (ESV)

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.

Ephesians 3:18-19 (NLT)

And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.

Parenting is hard, but remember that your kids don’t need a perfect parent.  They need a R.E.A.L parent.  Today is a great day to show them what that means.

Books For Parents and Their Kids

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As you know, we love books.  Today we have a list of books for parents.  Some are for the parents and some are for the kids.  We hope that they can be a blessing to you.  And there are so many more great books out there – please leave give us more ideas by putting your recommendations in the comments.

For the Parents

Books are a way to pass wisdom from one person to another. In our quest to be the most effective parents we can be, we have found a lot of books to help us.  We never blindly follow the advice from a book, but we can glean bits of wisdom from most books we read.

For the Kids

In “Honey For A Child’s Heart,” the author says that parents are responsible for giving their children both milk and honey.  Milk represents the nurturing and the necessities.  Honey “symbolizes the sweetness of life, that special quality that makes life sing with enjoyment for all it holds…Good books are rich in honey…”  These are some books that have brought both milk and honey into our own children’s lives so far.

Free Printable: |  PDF_Picture   Books For Parents and Their Kids   |

Books Matter

Humans tell stories.  We always have, and we always will.  This is a vital part of the human experience.  Good books tell stories that encourage, that inspire, and that reinforce the worldview that you are teaching to your children.  By reading, reading to your kids, and picking good books for them, you can set them up for a life made better by books.

We want your suggestions!  What are your ‘go-to’ books for parenting?  For your kids?  

Being Present When You Are Absent

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Being a parent is not easy.  It would be challenging if it was the only thing we had to do, but of course it is just one of many things on our weekly schedule.  These other necessary items, like maintaining the home, doing ministry, and earning a living all take away that most precious of resources:  time.  A child needs your time and your attention more than anything that is on their Christmas list.  You can’t create time from scratch, so what can you do to make the most of the time that you have?  The key is to be ‘present.’

Presence When Present and When Absent

Being present is difficult to describe, but I think you know what I mean.  The easiest way to imagine it is to imagine its opposite.  We have all been in the same room with someone who was absent – a growing problem with all the digital distractions.  So being present when you are home is a key.  But what about when I am not home?  As a working parent who spends 50 hours per week outside of the home, I have an even greater disadvantage.   Much of the day I am not physically present, but we have found a fun way that I can be ‘present’ even when I am absent.    Continue Reading…

Validating Your Kids’ Interests


What stamp are you using on your kids?

As the ultimate figure in your children’s lives, you have the power to stamp “Valid” or “Invalid” on their interests.  My friend recently reminded me of this fact.  He remembered how it felt for his dad to dismiss his childhood interests as dumb and a waste of time.  To a boy, this makes a big difference.  It struck me as an example of a simple way that we can show our kids that we think they are valuable and we accept them how they are.  We of course will be helping them to grow and improve, but we want to make it clear that our love and acceptance is offered without strings attached. Continue Reading…

A Tony Evans Character Curriculum

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I have said before that parents are teachers.

Kids start out in this world with a blank slate. They don’t know anything. Much of what they learn, they will learn simply and instinctively, from their surroundings. (That’s why it’s so important that you put them in good surroundings!)  Those lessons happen naturally, but you can influence them with your purposeful questions. Other training is more formal.  There’s reading, writing, arithmetic, and all of the other practical skills that they need to learn to make it in this world. But the part I want to talk about today is the curriculum for character.

Character Curriculum

Question: what character traits do you want to make sure your children exhibit?  Put another way, when your kids are older, complete this sentence:  “I want my kids to be _________.”  And from their perspective, as adults you want them to say “My parents always made sure that I _______________”. Fill in the blank:  Was a hard worker, honest, always fair, etc, etc.  This legacy is more important than academics, and it takes purposeful effort to accomplish it.

Where to Begin?

Of course all good qualities are important, but what are your highest priorities?  What are your top five? What are your top 10?

Author and speaker Tony Evans has a book called Raising Kingdom Kids.  In it, he lists 6 virtues to pass on to your children, and we are going to share those today.   A brief summary is below, and you can download the list with definitions, Biblical examples, and supporting Scriptures here:

| PDF_Picture  6 Virtues |

Tony Evans’ Virtues For Kingdom Kids

  1. Wisdom:
    1. Tony calls this “The ability to take spiritual truths and consistently apply it to life’s realities.” It is application, not just information.   Wisdom allows you to make “the best possible decision in light of Biblical principles.”
    2. Application, not just information.
    3. Proverbs 9:10 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.
  2. Integrity
    1. Looking the part and being the part
    2. Like popcorn, the inside will eventually come out!
    3. Daniel is a good example of integrity. The only thing they could criticize was his faith.
  3. Faith
    1. Tony says that Faith is “…not some feeling. Faith is acting like God is telling the truth.”
    2. Teach your kids that they can rely on God and His Word.
    3. Faith will lead to action.
  4. Resiliency
    1. Faith grows through obstacles and adversity.
    2. Trials and problems will come, but they can be an opportunity for growth.
    3. This virtue allows kids to bounce back and be flexible. To not be crushed by disappointments.
  5. Purity
    1. Our sexuality is deeper and stronger than most people realize.
    2. Tony says, “The kingdom reason for sexual purity is that sex is a spiritual event. Our bodies are the temple of God.”
    3. The culture is purposefully teaching our kids a message about sex. We must be just as purposeful and relentless in teaching the opposite message!
  6. Service
    1. Our modern culture is selfish and isolated.
    2. Lead by example
    3. Ask the questions: “What did you do for your siblings today?”

How can you instill these six virtues into your children? Where are they today? More importantly, where are you today?  Are you living out these virtues?  Please understand my tone on this, there is not 1 ounce of judgment or guilt placed in the sentences. For me this is an incredible motivator to live my life the way I know I should.  Passing on these virtues will be worth it!

Please share – what are a few of the virtues you want to instill in your kids?


Parents as Teachers

Parents As Teachers

The 4 roles of the preceptor parent

A dad is a teacher

The Fine Art of Child Delegation

Character Cards

Contentment Not Complaining 





Using Books and Storytelling to teach your kids and others about character.

Storytime: Easter 

Storytime: You Have What It Takes!

Storytime: Work Hard!

Storytime: Thanksgiving

Storytime: A Savior Is Born! 

Storytime:  How God Sees You

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