Parenting: Look For Creative Ways To Teach Your Children

by Tim Stone - Date: 2007-01-25 - Word Count: 887 Share This!

I'm not talking about the alphabet, or math, although creativity in those areas will probably make learning much more fun. What I'm talking about here, is life lessons. I'm talking about the kind of lessons that your children will never learn in school. There are moments when we are just going through our routine of doing "life" when teaching opportunities will present themselves. Most of the time we blow right by those moments and miss those prime opportunities to teach our children some powerful lessons.

Let me give you an example of a time when I used a dead deer to teach my 3 year old son about the dangers of playing in the street. We live in an area that was once considered the "country." It is quickly becoming a large suburban area now, but we still have deer running through our neighborhood on a consistent basis. One Sunday morning as I left for church, I noticed a small deer lying in our drainage ditch. Apparently, it had been hit by a car over night. I thought to myself, when I come home from church I'm going to use this as an opportunity to teach my young toddler what can happen if you play in the road.

So, when we got home from church, I pulled into the driveway and while Mom went into the house, my son and I headed for the drainage ditch. I showed him the deer and explained to him that the baby deer had been playing in the street and as a result had been hit by a car and killed. I will never forget the look in my toddler's eyes as he stared at the dead baby deer. Needless to say, it left a lasting impression on him. Of course, when I went in the house and explained to my wife this ingenious lesson I had just taught our son, she was not as excited as I was. Most of you moms are probably in her corner on this one. Most of you dads, however, are thinking what an awesome idea and will be on the lookout for road-kill.

Did I go a little far on this one? I don't know. All I know, is we have never had an issue with our son playing in the street. I still believe it was a great way to teach my son a very important lesson and I don't think he is scarred for life. The fact is, death is real and we can either try to shelter our kids from it or use it to teach them about the value of life and the finality of death.

Incidentally, my son lost his grandfather, just a couple of months after the "dead deer" lesson. No way to shelter him from death here. Pa-Paw is not around anymore and he has questions that need answers. What an opportunity to begin teaching him about eternity and Christ's gift of salvation. Not sure what brought up the topic, but the other day my son who is now 4 years old, just out of the blue said, "I think Pa-Paw is in heaven putting together a race track for me. I like heaven because there are no diseases there and I don't like diseases." This statement tells me volumes about his understanding of Pa-Paw's death. He understands:

1. If Pa-Paw was here, he would be in the floor with him playing with the new race car set he got for Christmas.
2. Pa-Paw was sick but now he's not anymore
3. Pa-Paw is now in heaven
4. Someday, he'll see Pa-Paw again and when he does, he won't be sick and wearing an oxygen mask anymore.
5. And of course, when he gets to heaven Pa-Paw will have an awesome race car track set up for him

He understands, because we take every opportunity we can to teach him things as we just go through our daily routine. Trust me, the lessons are there, you just have to look for them. One day I saw a girl who couldn't have been more than 12 or 13 years old stopped by a security guard as she was leaving the mall. She had been caught shoplifting. If I would have had children with me at the time, trust me I would have been all over that one. Every day is full of moments just like these.

You can even be creative by planning events for the sole purpose of teaching your children. For example, if you have teenagers, take them to divorce court one day and let them see first hand the hefty price tag families pay for divorce. Spending an afternoon in an emergency room or volunteering at a hospital is a great way to teach them lessons on the frailty of life and how important it is to make every moment count. If you live in an affluent neighborhood, take a trip through a neighborhood that is not affluent. That creates an awesome opportunity to discuss the importance of being content with what you have. If you live in an area stricken with poverty, take a trip through an affluent neighborhood and teach your children to dream while discussing the pitfalls of being materialistic. The sky is the limit and the lessons are unending. The key is to just be creative.

Related Tags: children, child, family, parenting, teen, parent, dad, father, mother, mom, teenager, family life

Tim Stone is a veteran of youth ministry with over 15 years of experience in that field. He currently serves as youth pastor at Freedom Fellowship Church in Magnolia, TX. He is also the founder of, a website designed to inform and equip today's parents. For more tools and resources go to

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