I remember the day we left the hospital after my wife gave birth to our first son. I was afraid and nervous and clueless! I think we took 20 minutes making sure our precious bundle was in the car seat correctly. We were literally reading through Graco’s Instruction Manual to make sure we got everything right. That night, strong storms blew through our neighborhood and knocked out the electricity. My wife and I huddled in the basement with a candle and our newborn son. Both my son and wife were crying like babies and I was thinking, “so this is parenthood?”
It took one day for me to realize, what all parents realize; parenting is the hardest thing you will ever do! And, just to add a little more pressure, parenting is also the most important thing you will ever do. I wanted to be a great father because I grew up without one; but quickly learned that I was over my head. I’m sure I am not alone in this insecurity.
Sixteen years later, I am still insecure as the diapers have been replaced by a driver’s license. As the Children’s Pastor of The Chapel for the last 13 years, I believe, more than ever, that God wants us to band together with parents for the benefit of our children. We all know that our culture is not always building up families and parenting. That makes it even more important for the church to come alongside parents and help them strengthen their families.
The purpose of every product created by Tadpole Tails is to help your ministry “Join parents on the adventure of raising kids who are livin’ for Jesus”. Parents need help and are open to partnering with you for the benefit of their children. One of the best products we’ve seen at partnering with parents in a fun and effective way is The Great Adventure cards. These Bible-based Trading cards use children’s natural enjoyment of collecting to connect them to your ministry, godly friendships, their parents, and ultimately God’s Word. Check them out today!
Recently I was reading a blog from someone in #KidMin who I respect very much (Roger Fields). However, after reading the seven reasons he is not a fan of multi-media, I had to respectfully disagree. Below was my comment...
I respectfully disagree with your conclusion and would challenge you to think outside the box a little. I have been passionately writing and producing Teacher-Driven, Media-Rich curriculum for over 10 years and have put it into practice in a large multi-site church for nearly 15 years. Media is only a problem when it is used to replace people instead of equipping spirit-led teachers. Here is why I’m a fan of this innovative style of teaching we use every weekend with 1,500 children…
1. Reliable technology.
Just like our lights turn on nearly all of the time, curriculum containing media will work nearly all of the time – it’s 2011.
2. It’s a great vehicle for creativity.
All or our lessons, no matter if they are flannel-graph or video, need creativity. Remember that content is king, but then give creativity the royal treatment!
3. Excellence is acheivable.
There are pieces of our curriculum that we can communicate with much more excellence and impact if we put them on video. None of us has the budget of Pixar/Disney, but that is not an excuse to make lame videos. Yes there is very little in KidMin, but that’s all the more reason to work hard to change that. I’ve worked hard to find free-lance professionals to acheived alot with very little money.
4. Teacher-driven, Media-rich curriculum teaches children using all of their senses.
This style has not lost steam after 15 years! The goal is to teach One Truth Multiple Ways each week. Kid will zone out if you teach to one sense for too long. Our curriculum has over 10 transitions which keeps kids zoned in, not out.
5. Multi-media equips workers significantly.
Media-DRIVEN curriculum is an abuse of media, but Teacher-Driven, Media-Rich curriculum maximizes the benefits while involving workers to lead a game, tell a story, demonstrate an object lesson, pray with kids, etc. Media is not the enemy if it is a strategic part of a well balanced lesson.
6. Flat screens magnify the message.
I would strongly agree with Jim Wideman and you that “There is no substitute for a Spirit-led person”. That is exactly what propelled me to create an innovative style of curriclum instead of just tossing the baby out with the bathwater.
7. Multi-media engages kids when it is used in a strategic way.
Kids will zone out whenever they do anything for long periods of time – even playing a game. Just because most multi-media fails to engage, doesn’t mean we need to stop using multi-media. Our objective is to communicate the life-changeing message of Jesus to today’s children and media is a big part of our children’s world today.
My inclination was to just read the blog and get back to writing my Grades 2-5 lesson, but I couldn’t. I will enthusiasitcally be at the 2011 CM Expo again this summer in Lexington with a booth that sells affordable and innovative Teacher-Driven, Media-Rich curriculum. Check it out for yourself at http://www.TadpoleTails.org before just proclaiming media bad.
Thanks for allowing me to share my passion…
Children’s Pastor of The Chapel
I began promoting Tadpole Tails products at the Children’s Pastor’s Conference in San Diego in March and then at the Children’s Ministry Expo in Lexington last July.
My number one question was, “Why the cute tadpole?”. The second question was, “Do you sell preschool curriculum?” I actually began wondering if I chose the wrong logo for this venture. I don’t believe I did.
First of all, our products are all about transformation and frankly tadpoles are way cooler than butterflies. I wouldn’t be caught dead manning a booth with a cute butterfly in the background! Secondly, kids, even older kids, don’t mind cute…in fact they think cute is cool. For example, kids love the Geico Gecko and they aren’t even the target audience. Phil Vischer, who I have tons of respect for, picked a very cute Jellyfish as the logo for his latest venture, www.JellyTelly.com.
Finally, the most important reason I chose a tadpole was it summarized why I want to invest my very best into every product we sell. You see, I had first-hand experience with tadpoles that never transformed into frogs. Years ago, my children received a Grow-A-Frog kit and were very excited to see the tadpoles turn into frogs. This excitement quickly wore off and those little swimmers were abandoned to the corner of our kitchen. As the water evaporated out of their tank, I became involved. I kept them alive by filling up their water, but as the weeks and months went by, I began wondering if they were ever going to turn into frogs. After doing some research (yeah I just googled it) I learned that tadpoles needed warm water and food. So, only after I added a heat lamp and tadpole food, did these little swimmers turn into little hoppers. I learned that transformation only happens when we are intentional.
Tadpole Tails exists to help “big people” help “little people” grow spiritually strong. If there are kids in our lives, whether teaching at church or parenting at home, we are in the transformational business whether we like it or not (see Matthew 28:19-20). The question I asked myself, after letting those little frogs hop free in my backyard, was, “Do my children have everything they need to transform into spiritual hoppers; I mean spiritual champions?” As a children’s pastor, I also asked that question about the many children God brings to my church week after week. Sadly I wasn’t sure the answer was yes. You see, I’ve been exposed to the statistics. Between 50% and 80% (depends whose study you look at) of the children in church will abandon their faith when they go off to college. Since I’ve been ministering to children for over 15 years, these statistics aren’t just numbers, their faces. I’ve seen children, wonderful children, who were excitedly participating in my classroom for years, leave the faith and go over the deep end. I won’t describe the stories here because frankly they are too depressing.
These days, I am not faithfully pouring water and food into a tank full of tadpoles. I am pouring all my energy and creativity into developing curriculum and tools that communicate God’s love and truth to today’s children in powerful ways they understand. I certainly don’t want to contribute numbers to a terrible statistic. I want to build into every child God brings my way, not to mention the ones He put under my roof, so that they flourish spiritually and transform into fully developed disciples of Jesus Christ.
So, if you’re interested in this type of transformation, embrace the cute little Tadpole knowing that inside there is a strong frog just waiting to hop out. And by the way, we do hope to be providing preschool curriculum in the future.