Small Group Tools
Contemporary Comments 2018
Texts: Ephesians 5:15-17; Colossians 3:23; Luke 12:35-48; James 4:14; Acts 3:21; 1 Corinthians 9:24-27
March is National Nutrition Month, which encourages healthy eating habits in children. Promoting healthy attitudes towards food in childhood gives kids healthy habits that last a lifetime. With the recent news that childhood obesity is on the rise, here are four ways parents can teach children to eat well and enjoy a varied diet.
First, encourage kids to eat their greens. Harvard researchers found that when school lunch chefs cooked vegetables that are more palatable, children ate up to 30% more. Parents can experiment with different cooking methods and add herbs and spices to help change children’s minds about eating their greens. Next, eat together as a family. German researchers found that regularly eating together helps pass healthy eating habits to children that last well into adulthood. Frequent family meals lead to lower BMI numbers in children. It’s not just the quality of the meal that sets a healthy attitude towards food, but also a pleasant atmosphere at meal times improves eating habits.
Taking time for meals encourages healthier eating habits compared to rushing meals. Harvard researchers found that children need at least 25 minutes for school lunches, and by allowing more time, they are more likely to add a fruit and vegetable side to their main meal. When a child had less than 20 minutes to eat, they were less likely to eat a balanced meal. Finally, getting kids involved in food preparation can help them develop a healthy interest in what they eat and make more nutritious food choices. Kansas State University’s Tanda Kidd says that parents and children should cook together, go grocery shopping together, and read food labels together to teach children about the nutritional value of their food. Kidd also adds that planting a garden together gives children an appreciation for vegetables, as well as giving families some quality time together.1
Developing good stewardship habits also takes intentionality. Our lesson this week lists several strategies to make good stewardship choices a way of life. Seeking God first is a good practice for every aspect of life; it puts everything in perspective as we make God our first priority in how we manage our time and resources. When we keep a focus on Jesus’ second coming, it encourages us to use our means to proclaim that good news to the world.
We often think of stewardship in terms of financial resources, but those who develop good stewardship practices also learn to manage their time in ways that give honor to God. Of course, if our health is deliberately compromised we can do little for God’s cause. Practicing good health habits, including nutrition and exercise, is critical to our ability to contribute to Jesus’ mission to the world. Ultimately, these habits can only develop when we practice self-discipline, one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit. This brings it full-circle: God first, only, and always.
~ For Reflection
Connecting: Write your favorite habit on a slip of paper and place it into the bag. Distribute the papers among your group. Read the habit written on your paper and see if you can guess who wrote it.
Sharing: Read Ephesians 5:15-17. How does stewardship affect the way we live and our lifestyle choices?
1. When we are faithful in our tithes and offerings, we are more careful in how we spend our remaining funds.
2. Intentional planning to live as good stewards helps us be intentional in all areas of life.
3. Since we are not naturally wise, we must ask God the Holy Spirit to give us wisdom, and that Spirit will transform every aspect of our lives.
4. True stewardship involves not just our money but also how we manage our time and health.
5. Since the current “days are evil,” stewardship helps protect us from falling victim to seductive temptations.
Applying: What strategies are helpful to you when developing new habits? If you have Internet access, search online for strategies. After pondering your own experiences and what you found online, choose one strategy that you can recommend to your group—and be prepared to defend your choice.
Valuing: As you honestly evaluate your own life, have you slipped into some unhealthy patterns that you’d like to correct? Choose one area to pray about and put it into God’s hands.
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