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Family Muscle is thrilled to welcome our first guest contributor, Rodney Wilson. Rodney has extensive experience is counseling families and couples into having a Christ centered family.

He and his wife, Selma are the authors of two books, Extraordinary Marriage: God’s Plan for Your Journey and The Parent Adventure: Preparing Your Child for a Lifetime with God. They are also regular speakers at conferences and in local churches. Rodney also serves on staff at LifePoint Church in Smyrna, Tennessee as Marriage and Families Pastor. Rodney blogs regularly at rodneywilsonblog.com.

Rodney will be answering parenting questions a couple of times a month. So, send in your questions and let us know what is on your mind. He is here to give advice on building strong families and we are thrilled to have him on board!

Start sending in your questions!!

April Fool's Ideas

March 30, 2011 — Leave a comment

April Fools is a great day to plan a family night! Here are a few Web sites with great ideas for planning a night for your little pranksters!

Food and Fun

Family Fun has Great ideas for planning your menu, crafts and pranks. You will find great ideas like Faux French Fries!

How about a meatloaf cake for dinner? You can find full menus for April Fool’s Day at AllRecipes.com. Even Martha has some great ideas for pranks on April Fool’s Day!

Bible Passages

Some great verses to share with your family on April Fool’s Day center on wise words and choosing them carefully.

18 Like a maniac shooting flaming arrows of death 19 is one who deceives their neighbor and says, “I was only joking!” Proverbs 26:18-19

People throw out the words, “I am only kidding” and think that it somehow negates the insult or funny words they just spoke. We make a choice to speak life into others or speak death into others. Our words are like a “maniac shooting flaming arrows of death” when we veil how we really feel and then claim we are “only joking.” We have all been in those conversations where we are just joking with others and slide in a taunt or insult, which often conveys how we really feel. It is pretty obvious how God feels about deception, foolish talk and “only joking.” Spend time talking about speaking life into others, being an encourager and someone who chooses their words carefully. Have each family member tell of a time when other’s words have encouraged them and made them feel valued. You can also talk about a time when the words of others have hurt them. Challenge each family member to speak words of encouragement to others this week and practice choosing their words wisely!

The Show Some Love Family Night is an interactive night as a family that will build the concept of expressing through words and, more importantly, show in actions our love for one another. Just as God put His love into action for us, we should demonstrate our love for others in word and deed. This family night is perfect for celebrating Valentine’s Day as a family or at any time of the year to strengthen the bonds in your family.

Highlights:

  • Gym Setup (decor): Red, Hearts and more…you get the idea
  • Diet (food): Go all out with a fancy dinner or how about a heart-shaped pizza. Fun dessert ideas, too.
  • Building Muscle (craft): Notes From the Heart
  • Cardio (games): Pick Up Hears
  • Strength Training (devotion): I John 3:16, 18 “Show Love”

Download a PDF of Show Some Love Family Night

Helpful Links:

Help other families have a great family night by sharing your experience, links to your blog and what worked for your family. For questions, visit our Contact page.

Football Family Night

January 25, 2011 — Leave a comment

Celebrate the great traditions, pageantry, excitement & camaraderie of football with a Football Family Night. The sport of football is a great sport to talk about teamwork and being a dependable “teammate” in the family. Just as football teams have goals for each season, families have goals, too. Ultimately, we want our family to team together to be a championship unit, that wins (and even loses) together!

Highlights:

  • Gym Setup (decor): Your favorite’s team gear around the house and dress up
  • Diet (food): Mini Football Subs, Nachos, and Football Brownies
  • Building Muscle (craft): DIY Flags for Flag Football
  • Cardio (games): Flag Football or Table-top Paper Football
  • Strength Training (devotion): Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 “Two Are Better Than One”

Download a PDF of Football Family Night

Helpful Links:

As always, add your ideas and tips for Football Family Night to help other families in the comments section. For questions, visit our Contact page.

Making Time

October 18, 2010 — Leave a comment

As the mom to three children, I often struggle to find time for one on one time with each of my kids. I want each one of them to know that they are loved and valued. I want to build confidence into how God has uniquely created them. The November 2010 issue of Disney Family Fun Magazine offers some great tips from parents on how carve out time for each child. In their magazine, they suggest trying some of the following strategies:

  • Two Twofer Tuesdays — Every Tuesday, this family divides and conquers! One parent and one child spend time doing an activity that the child chooses. The other parent is also spending time with another child. The next week, they switch. This is great for parents of two children. If you have more, the child not spending time with mom or dad can spend time doing something special such as playing on the computer, watching a special show or playing with a friend.
  • Bedtime Bonus — Another family, with five children, had a great solution for making special time for each child. Each night of the week, one child got to stay up 15 minutes past their bedtime. They get to choose with whom they want to spend the time with, either mom or dad. The other parent is responsible for putting the other children to bed! Brilliant! They spend time talking, playing a game, reading or even packing lunches for the next day.
  • Time Cards — In this family, also with five children, each child has a Special Time with Dad card, which is basically an index card. This card allows the child 10-15 minutes of undivided attention from Dad. To redeem, each child can use it weekly by giving the card to Dad. They spend the time, playing a game, working a puzzle or even running an errand. This gives the child the ability to request special time when they need it!

I think these are great, easy ways to incorporate special one on one time with each child. Here are some other suggestions:

  • Daddy Dates —Once a month, Dad can take one child on a special date. This can be to get ice cream, out to eat or even to the park. What is important is to show your child a special time!
  • Kitchen Duty —Have one child help you in the kitchen while cooking dinner. This allows you to spend time together making dinner for your family and having the chance to talk to your child about their day.
  • Breakfast Buddy — Take your child to eat breakfast before school for a special way to start the day. Mom or Dad can take one child to eat breakfast while the other parent takes care of the other children.

It truly isn’t about QUALITY time with our children. What matters to them, is QUANTITY time. How are you investing in each of your children? Let us know how you make an effort to spend time with each child!

Raising World Changers

October 13, 2010 — Leave a comment

Teaching children about putting others first and serving others is not something that we can just do with our words, it is something we must show by our actions. For our children to be world changers, we need to teach them to think beyond themselves and their corner of the world. In her article, Serving as a Family, Grace Fox writes that we must “teach our kids to think beyond themselves and their own needs.”  She offers some great ideas that she found just by looking around her. Some suggestions she offers are to house missionaries who are home on furlough, deliver meals to a pregnant friend on bedrest, or provide transportation to kids who need a ride to church.

Here are a few other suggestions from Family Muscle for incorporating service into your home:

  • Sponsor a child through Compassion International and write letters to your sponsored child as a family.
  • Visit nursing homes during the holidays and take cards.
  • Make a dessert and deliver it to your neighbors.
  • Pray for countries around the world and for missionaries serving in those areas. Two great Web sites are Operation World and the Joshua Project.
  • Pay for the person’s meal at the drive in who is behind you in line.
  • Go on mission trips as a family.

Service is a lifestyle, not an event or a one time activity. When you practice service as a family, those qualities become a natural response in your children.

What are ways you serve others in your family?

Serving as a Family, first appeared in the April, 2005 issue of Discovery Years. Copyright © 2005, Grace Fox. All rights reserved.

Warning: Your child is following a “mutant” form of Christianity, and you may be responsible.

These and many other compelling words come from a CNN article by John Blake highlighting the research of Kenda Dean, a professor at Princeton Theological Seminary and youth ministry leader. The article is a must read for any parent or church leader. It shines a spotlight on today’s teenagers and how in many ways parents and the church are failing them. It stirs conversation of how parents will and should impact their children. Plus, the church has an a crucial role and some thought provoking results and implications are presented.

Here are a few quotes to draw you in:

  • Dean says more American teenagers are embracing what she calls “moralistic therapeutic deism.”
  • “Others practice a ‘gospel of niceness,’ where faith is simply doing good and not ruffling feathers. The Christian call to take risks, witness and sacrifice for others is muted.” Continue Reading…

We all know that the early years of our children are paramount to the foundation for their entire lives. What actions, words and attitudes you are sending to your kids? We send hundreds, if not, thousands of messages to our kids, many unintentional. What if we were intentional about the message we gave displayed and gave to your children.

During the first eight to nine years of their life, there are five specific messages we need to send to our children:

1. You are loved.
2. You are unique.
3. You have gifts.
4. You are safe.
5. You are valuable.

What are some intentional ways you are sending these messages to your sons and daughters?

We are so excited to announce our winner! We relied on random.org to give us our results…..

Random Integer Generator

Here are your random numbers:

5

Timestamp: 2010-09-01 21:09:11 UTC

The winner is:

Rachel Sullivan August 31, 2010 at 9:37 am 

My ideal Family Night would be something that both my boys could be involved in (with an 8 year old and a 3 year old, sometimes that is difficult). Something where we built or cooked together as a family that will either last longer than a day or be consumed completely…and something where the message of the devotion or Bible verse will stick in their heads (and mine). Sometimes I feel like that stuff is forgotten as soon as we leave the activity, and then, what did we do it for. I am delighted to find this website and hopefully, we can get some great ideas! I am going to explore right now!

Rachel also added to her odds by liking us on Facebook and following us on Twitter.

Congratulations Rachel!!

Thank you to all who participated in our first giveaway! Be looking for a new family night later this week.  Think….backwards!

How Often?

July 24, 2010 — Leave a comment

How Often Should You Have Family Night?

This is a question that each family has to answer when they begin the journey of themed family nights. A themed family night is different than a general night, hanging out with your family. While spending time with your family is essential to developing strong kids, a themed night, is focused around a specific characteristic or scripture passage. A themed family night also takes more planning, so the question becomes how many is realistic for you to plan and carry out during a month. Here are a few questions to discuss in determining how many themed nights to have each month:

  1. How much time do I have to plan for each themed family night? Planning, researching, and shopping for a family night takes time. You can estimate between one and four hours of prep time for each family night, depending on how intricate and elaborate your night is. This does not include the day of preparation time to get ready for your family night.
  2. What activities does our family participate in each week? Look at your calendar  to determine how many evenings you have free each week or during the month.  If your Thursdays are generally free, then you know that this is a good day to have a themed family night. It is important to schedule your family nights and put them on the calendar.
  3. How many do you think seems reasonable or realistic? Each family is different in makeup, stage of development, involvement in outside activities and if parents work or stay home. All these things effect how many family nights you feel you can pull off each month.

After discussing and answering these questions, set the number for a month that seems reasonable. For our family, we have a goal of two themed family nights per month. Some months it is more, some less. The important thing is to be together as a family. Be aware though, that your children will love themed family nights! They will ask for more! So, set a goal for your family and then after having a few, determine if it is a good amount for your family. Remember, your children are worth it!