Parents Tools for Discipleship

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.  These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts.  Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Deuteronomy 6:5-7.

 In this passage, we're invited to guide and disciple our children basically in all of life’s moments - but sometimes it can seem really difficult to know HOW to do this. On this page, we want to empower you with some simple tools that you can use to engage your kids in some of life’s regular moments. 

How to talk about advertisements

For a quicker conversation use the 7 simple questions. For a more in-depth conversation, use some of the additional questions. These questions could be used spontaneously or planned.

Why use this tool?

Discipleship is less about teaching people information about God and more about actually helping people apply biblical faith to everyday situations. It’s been suggested that people see thousands of advertisements every day and millions of dollars are spent every year on these advertisements. Clearly, these advertisements must work. The problem is that most advertisements don’t just sell a product, they sell an idea, a lifestyle, and a worldview. We can try and protect our kids from them (which is impossible) or we can teach our kids to apply biblical thinking to what they’re seeing every day.

7 Simple Questions

1. What product is this ad selling?

2. Who is this ad targeting?

3. Besides the product, what ________ (ideas, lifestyle, worldview, behaviours) is this ad promoting?

4. Have your child complete this sentence: This ad tells me, use ___________ (name of product) and __________ (the result the ad promises)

5. Does the ad tell the truth? What? How?

6. Does the ad tell a lie(s)? What? How?

7. How does this ad and its message agree or disagree with God’s truth? What does that mean for me?

Additional Questions

1. Who made this ad?

2. Why was this ad made?

3. What do the makers of this ad want me to do?

4. What’s the plot?

5. What are the ad’s themes and assumptions?

6. What techniques are being used to sell this product?

7. How is the camera/music used to manipulate my emotions and create mood? How are they used to distort and manipulate reality?

8. What longing/need does this product promise to fulfill?

9. How are people treated and portrayed? Men? Women? Children? Parents? Authority Figures?

10. What inadequacies, anxieties, and aspirations does the ad exploit?

11. What promises fulfillment in this ad? Who is the saviour in this ad?

12. Is this ad exploitive or manipulative? How?

13. What role do you think this ad plays in shaping the lives of your peers?

14. Is this product necessary? Why or why not?

15. How does this ad try to make me need the product?

General Movie/TV Discussion Questions

These questions are designed to be used as reflection questions after a movie/tv show. The goal is to help children not just consume content but actively think about what they are consuming and how it informs their view on life.

Why?

Pretty much every movie we watch, says something about what it means to be human. There is an implicit worldview – suggesting to us what is good and what is bad. What is right and what is wrong. Movies use stories in order to teach us something. They pull at our emotions, they stretch our imaginations. Every movie has a set of values in which it seeks to instill in the viewer. And sometimes when we watch movies, we don’t realize that they assume a set of truths about the world and what it means to be human. So we can end up just accepting them without questioning those values or asking ourselves – are those really true? The Bible also uses stories or narratives in order to teach us about what it means to be human. Sometimes what movies try to teach us is not always the same as what the Bible tries to teach us. Sometimes they seem the same because they might be similar. So we want to teach our children to apply biblical faith to what we watch.

For Older Children:

1. Parent: Share a time a movie/show really influenced the way you think. (Perhaps it was related to romantic expectations, maybe to an idea of heroism, etc)

2. According to this movie, what makes life or someone good or bad? Is this true? Why or Why not?

OR

What does __________ [name a character from the film] believe about what it means to be human? Is this true? Why or why not?

3. What does the Bible say about this? Where does Scripture agree with this perspective? Where does Scripture disagree with this perspective?

4. Where is God in this movie? What does this movie assume about God? [Is there a God? What’s God like? Does God care about people? Is God near/distant? Can God be known?]

5. What brings about salvation/redemption? Who or what are the saviour(s)? Who is saved and how?

6. What can we affirm about this movie as true? What should we be more hesitant to accept as true?

7. How might it impact the way you live if you accept the ideas in this movie as true? 

For Younger Children:

1. Parent: Share a time a movie/show really influenced the way you think. (Perhaps it was related to romantic expectations, maybe to an idea of heroism, etc)

2. Who are the bad guys in this movie? Who are the good guys in the movie?

3. What makes [insert answer from previous questions] good? What makes [insert answer from previous questions] bad?

4. Are all people who do [insert answer from previous questions] good? Are all people who do [insert answer from previous questions] bad? Why or why not?

5. What does the Bible say about this? Where does Scripture agree or disagree? [Depending on your child’s biblical awareness, you may want to direct them to certain Scriptures rather than ask the question]

If you want to check out an accessible book on theology and film, see Jesus Goes to the Movies which along with a discussion on the intersection of film and theology includes discussion questions for specific movies. 

Cell Phone Contract

Should I give my child a cell phone or not? If so, what boundaries should I set up? Perhaps you can relate to these questions. If So, iMOM has created a great resource to help establish healthy boundaries and agreed upon consequences: a CELL PHONE CONTRACT. Download the recourse and use it as is or modify it to suit your own family's needs.

Social Media Contract

Which app should I let my child use? How often do I set up healthy expectations around social media use? Once again, iMOM has created a very useful resource to engage your child in the process of establishing boundaries and consequences for social media use: SOCIAL MEDIA CONTRACT. Download the resource and use it as is or modify it to suit your family's needs.

After School Conversation Starters

1. Tell me one thing you learned today!

2. What was the best thing you did at school?

3. Tell me the names of the four kids who sat closest to you.

4. What was the most interesting thing your teacher said today?

5. What was the best thing your teacher asked you to do in class today?

6. Who did you enjoy talking with the most?

7. Did anyone have anything fun or interesting to talk about?

8. What were most kids doing at recess? What was the best game at recess? What did you talk about at recess?

9. What were the other kids eating for lunch?

10. What was the funniest thing that happened today?

11. When were you bored today?

12. How did you help someone today?

13. How did somebody help you?

Avoid questions like this:

1. How was school?

2. Did you have a good day at school?

3. How was lunch?

4. Did you play with anyone at recess?