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How To Have A Family Bible Study With Toddlers

Bible Study App For Kids by YouversionFor us, our family Bible study time is a circus inside of a zoo on an airplane that’s going down.

We do a family Bible “study” most nights with our 3 and 5 year old.

What are they learning?  Well tonight we focused on a monotheistic view of a triune God.  Just kidding….

Actually. Tonight we “read” the story of Jesus’s empty tomb.

We currently use The Bible App for Kids by YouVersion.  The app is amazing.

Here’s how our typical family Bible study goes.

  1. I hold the iPad and start the app.
  2. My kids jump onto the couch with excited glee. “We get to do a Bible” they both squeal.
  3. They then fight for about 60 seconds over who get’s to pick the story.  In the end, I decide who get’s to pick the story, and the other kid cries as if they have just watched me toss all their toys into a bonfire.
  4. After we all calm down, we start the Bible app.  It reads us the story, and the kids listen to the first 3 words and then argue about who get’s to push the button next.

To be honest.  I can’t remember a time somebody didn’t cry.  So why do we keep doing this?

Because our five year can pretty much retell the entire story of Moses leading God’s people out of Egypt.  Our three year old know’s that God sent an angel to keep the lions from eating Daniel.

Is this knowledge going to get them into Heaven?  Nope.  But, one day…hopefully after they ask Jesus to be the forgiver of their sins and the leader of their lives….they will recall these stories when they need him.  When a bully is teasing my son, he will hopefully recall God’s promise and ability to protect us.  Our daughter will be able to recall God’s desire to lead his people to safety.

Our kid’s get excited about engaging in God’s words every night.  That’s worth the parenting challenge.

Will it ever get easier?  I sure hope so…at least that’s what I’m telling myself.  But until then, it’s working.

To many parents think they can’t lead their kids in Bible study because their kids won’t “behave” during it.  To often parents believe this myth that Bible study should be calm, peaceful and full of religious muckety-muck.  Trust me, get your kid’s engaged with the word of God.  It’s going to be messy, and that’s okay.

It’s not always fun, but it’s worth it.  Right now, as toddlers, I’m trying to simply lay a foundation of the habit.

I’d love to hear your idea or thoughts on Facebook.

Work/Life Balance Is a Myth

Work Life Balance is a myth. Steps to get your life and calendar under control.

Image courtesy of arztsamui at

I think it’s a mistake and a waste of time to put energy into finding a balance of “work” and “life.” I recently read a great article about the myth of work/life balance on the Relevant Magazine website. I like what the author, Tyler Ward, wrote about the flow and seasons of creation and about all other natural rhythms.

So what should people do when they feel overwhelmed? What should exhausted people do to get what they want, which is really control and peace. They often think that if they strike the right balance in their schedule, all their problems will go away.

Tips and Suggestions


  • Master the Word No  I’m a recovering people pleaser. Actually, that’s a myth also. I’m a recovering “I’ll say yes so you’ll think I’m awesome, feel validated as a person, and be my friend” person. I used to refuse to believe that time was a limiting factor on me, but it is—for all of us. Now, when I’m asked to do something new or to help someone, I say no. I’ll say something like this:
    • Thank you for asking me. I’m honored you think this highly of me. Possibly one day I’ll be able to say yes, but today I need to say no. My calendar is full for the foreseeable future.
    • Can I help you think of someone else you might ask? I simply can’t yes at this time.
    • Would you ask me again in one year? I can’t say yes right now.
    • I appreciate you asking me. I know when I ask someone to help me with something like this, I’m afraid they will get annoyed. Me—I’m not annoyed at all; in fact, I’m honored. I wish I could say yes. How can I help you find someone to take this on?
    • Notice, I never say “but” or “however.” I let my no be no. I used to give long, drawn-out explanations. I don’t anymore. And if someone doesn’t respect me or my no, they probably wouldn’t have genuinely appreciated my help in the first place.


  • Get a Task-Management System  Whatever system you will actually utilize is the system you should use. If a calendar system with everything on it works, use it. I work with a lady who still carries a large planner. It’s full of notes, business cards, her calendar, and who-else-but-her knows. But it works for her. I experimented with all sorts of systems. For the longest time I used Siri and multiple different lists in my Reminders app on my iPhone. But then I read Getting Things Done by David Allen. I combined his methodology with Evernote and Nozbe.  This combinations has been the system that has saved my bacon and brought order to the chaos of my tasks and schedule.


  • Delegate Decision Making  I first wrote about this here. A young leader once told me she is great at delegating tasks but terrible at delegating decisions. I identified with that, because it’s true for me as well.  I don’t need to be the gatekeeper whom all decisions must pass through. I still sweat the small stuff and have the pulse, blood pressure, temperature, CBC count, and all the other vitals of our organization in check, but I simply don’t make a majority of the day-to-day decisions.  Instead, I use a lesson I learned from Dave Ramsey in EntreLeadership. When I have new team members, I have them come to me with three solutions to every problem. After they present the problem and solutions, I let them know which solution I would like and why (even if it’s one of my own). Over time, they begin to anticipate what I’ll decide. After several weeks, I’m comfortable saying, “From now on, just decide this stuff on your own. Keep deciding like you are, but you don’t have to come to me anymore. I trust you.”


  • Set Clear Boundaries  I don’t travel away from my family for more than three nights in any 12-month period. I use Skype and attend online conferences like Social Media Summit 2014, webinars, and more. I actually get more continuing education and professional development now then when I’d travel to conferences and events more often. I network with my mastermind group every other week for a couple of hours via Google Hangout. I attend networking lunches and meet with peers for breakfast. I still get the job done, I just make sure I’m at home to get the most important job done—giving my wife and my kids a healthy dose of quality and quantity time together.  My team has been instructed that my wife is put through to my phone whenever she calls, regardless of what I’m doing. She is never told I’m not available.


  • Get Your Free Time and Family Time on Your Calendar First  Every few months, I have a calendar meeting with my wife. I try to get every family event on my calendar before I start getting work meetings, speaking engagements, etc added to my calendar.
    • I make sure I schedule time to exercise.
    • I have three recurring appointments to eat three meals a day with plenty of time at each meal to relax.
    • I have a block of time marked as “Family Time” in the evenings so I can play with my kids.
    • I have a block of time scheduled to read.
    • I have blocks of time scheduled to work. I used to try to schedule my work as specific tasks, but I need the flexibility to work on the projects I’m in the mood to work on. This is where Nozbe and the Getting Things Done methodology come into play.
    • I have a lunch or breakfast appointment once a week with one of my kids.
    • We schedule date nights for us.


  • Hire Help.  I use oDesk to hire virtual assistants to work for me for only a few hours a week. I wrote a complete post about the benefits here. There is no reason you can’t hire someone to help you, even two to four hours per week, not to free up time to work on something else but to buy you time to be with your family.  Plus, I hire other independent contractors for editing and other work.  I use in addition to oDesk.

Action Steps

  • Update Your Calendar
  • Read Getting Things Done
  • Check Out Nozbe

What About You

What is working right now for you? Share on Facebook.

The Four Zones of Leadership

The tagline for is; Leadership Happens Everywhere.

In fact, there are Four Zones of Leadership.

Four Zones of Leadership

Zone One


Leadership of Self

  • You can’t lead beyond your character.  So, it stands for reason; work on your character and become a better leader.
  • You can’t outlive your health.  So, it stands to reason; work on your health to live longer.
  • You can’t react beyond the capacity of your emotional health.  So, it stands to reason; work on your emotional baggage to be a more stable person (Read the Book Emotional Healthy Spirituality)

Zone Two


Leadership of the Family

  • Genuine leadership can’t happen from absent people.  So, it stands to reason; you have to be home as much as possible engaged in activity with your family that they enjoy to lead well.
  • More is caught that is taught.  So, it stands to reason; you need to show your love and respect for your wife and kids more than you tell them that you love them.
  • Leaders are all about moving other people forward.  So, it stands to reason; you should be your families biggest fan, coach and teammate.

Zone Three


Leadership in the Workplace

  • Leadership is influence.  So, it stands to reason; you are a leader even if you don’t have a “team”.
  • Leaders are learners.  So, it stands to reason; you need to be involved in regular and challenging leadership development. (talk to me about Leadership coaching and consulting)
  • Leadership is about moving the organization forward.  So, it stands to reason; a leader works diligently to protect the organizational culture so the team can focus on work.  AKA, kill and keep gossip out of the workplace.

Zone Four


Leadership in the Community

  • Leadership is what changes the world.  So, it stands to reason; the world needs you to lead and fulfill your unique role that God has called you to.
  • Leadership is contagious.  So, it stands to reason; that you will notice your leading when people start to surround you and help.
  • Leadership lessons are universal.  So, it stands to reason; what you know about leading a paper company, a software team, a summer camp or your own online marketing business; the world needs you to know what you know.

Zone Order

I have these zones in the order I believe they should have in regards to your priority.  In fact, I lay my daily routine out according to these zones.  I also apply almost any leadership lesson I learn to these four zones.  I recently worked through and related action steps to each zone to the 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership by John Maxwell.   I’ll be launching a new podcast soon; Whole Life Leadership.  The episodes will focus on one leadership axiom, law or truth (whichever you want to call it) and there will be practical action steps to apply each leadership principle to the 4 Zones of Leadership.  One podcast that will help you take one leadership lesson and apply to every area of your life that you lead in.  This podcast will help you learn and grow your leadership and save you time.

Let me know you want to get noticed when the podcast is available by leaving your first name and email.



What leadership lesson do you apply most to the 4 Zones of Leadership?


Creating Family Core Values (Why and How)

Just like an organizations or companies core values, having core values as a family has several benefits.  But how do you write a set of family core values?  And, once you do have your core values for your family; what do you do with them?

My wife, Marissa and I decided to write a set of core values for our family.  We knew that the benefits would include at least:

  1. Providing us a tool to be on the same page in parenting decisions.
  2. Help us establish a more clear picture of where we want our family to head for the future.
  3. Help each of us make parenting decisions the other would make when we can’t talk a decision over.
  4. Give our kids the road map.
  5. Set our kids up with an easy to remember filtering system to have in making decisions as they get older.

So we set out to create the Dingler Family Core Values.

Family Core Values

The Dingler Family Core Values

The Process We Used


We talk about the core values for several weeks. Each of us spent time thinking and praying about what we should include.  We read other blogs posts, listened to some specific podcasts (okay, so that might have been just me) and talk with friends.

We made plans for a babysitter to watch the kids during and after a speaking engagement at the Parenting Expo in Pittsburgh early in 2014.

After we got off stage, we went to one of our favorite restaurants; Smokey Bones.

We got a table in the back corner and got to talking and writing.

After a few hours we settled on 7 core values.

We left and gave the core values a couple weeks to marinate.

One afternoon on a long drive, we decided to keep the 7 we had.  We wanted some easy way to remember them.  As we talked about several options, I realized that our last name happens to have 7 letters.  Once we started to assign each core value to one of the letters of our last name; we were shocked how fast and easy it happened.  (Almost freaky easy between you and me.)

Marissa found a store on Etsy and had our core values turned into the wall hanging you see pictured here.

Advice For You To Create Your Family Core Values


  • Give it time.
  • Pray about it.
  • Give it time.
  • Pray about it.
  • Talk about it.
  • Give it time.

How To Keep These From Just Being Art


Our next challenge is to make sure these don’t simply become wall art.  We strategically hung our core values beside our kitchen table.  We do (and will always) eat dinner together as a family.  Having these right there will guide our conversations as our kids get older and we speak truth into their decisions.

Starting next week I’m going to focus on one core value per week.  I plan to study each of our core values one at a time, one week at a time, forever.  I will look for different supporting Bible passages. (I will assigned each core value a color highlight and I’m highlighting corresponding scriptures in the appropriate color or two or three etc)  Is this a commitment of time.  Yes.  But, it’s just one small way I’ll ensure I’m being the Leader for my family that God has called me to be.

Finally, we have to talk to our kids about these core values all the time.  Marissa and I realize that our kids are going to roll their eyes every time we quote one of these core values. And I’m okay with that.  Because when the darkness comes, they’ll be equipped with the light of truth to scare away the monsters in the world.

Care To Share


What about you?  What’s the first core value you plan to recommend to your spouse for your family?


If you have any questions email me directly.



22 Parenting Goals To Raise Great Kids

Do you want your kids to behave?

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at

Me to. We all want our kids to behave.

Do you know this isn’t a goal however?  In fact, having “kids that behave” as a goal will only lead to great frustration that will lead to anger.

Anger is the result of a blocked goal.  Goals that rely on others are desires.

We have lots to desire for our kids, we desire for them to behave, choose good friends, want a relationship with Jesus, and so on.  But, since we can’t make our kids choose these things…they are desires not goals.

So, we have to set goals that help us achieve our desires.

With mindset shift, you will see a significant decrease in your anger, because your goals will be properly placed.  Below our suggested starting points for goals you can use or alter for your goals.

These goals all: 

  • rely only on you to achieve them,
  • rely on the truth that more is caught than is taught, and
  • will help you parent your kids into positive decision making machines….one day.


Desire: Kids have great marriages:


  • Treat your spouse every day with love and respect.
  • Tell your spouse daily you love them and one reason why…in front of the kids.
  • Talk positively about your spouse in front of your kids when your spouse isn’t around.
  • Be intentional about your marriage…more than you were about the wedding.

Desire: Kids have a good work ethic:


  • Talk about the benefits of work.  Such as having a sense of purpose, money to live on, give, save and have fun with.
  • Don’t gossip about your boss or others at work.
  • If you don’t like your job, change it.  Live your dream responsibly   Your kids will do the same one day.

Desire: Have good friends:


  • Hang out once a week with good family friends.
  • Don’t gossip about your friends.
  • Talk about the impact your friends are having on your life.

Desire: Have a relationship with Jesus Christ.


  • Go to a Bible-teaching healthy church.
  • Don’t complain about the pastor or people at church.
  • Don’t just do church on Sunday…live a love relationship with Jesus Christ every day.
  • Read the Bible and pray as a family.
  • Don’t punish your kids with church, youth group, reading the Bible, etc.
  • Don’t tell your kids that “going to youth will help/fix you”.  Jesus does that, not youth group.

Desire: Raise generous kids.


  • Do mission work with your kids.
  • Tithe. And pray about your tithe with your children.
  • Let your kids choose what they want to give a portion of their money to.  It doesn’t have to be Sunday School…in fact, it probably shouldn’t be.

Desire: Kids that choose clean entertainment.


  • Don’t watch a TV show or movie you wouldn’t let your kids watch.  This just shows your kids that one day they can stop worrying about protecting their minds and hearts from being corrupted by unhealthy things.

Desire: Kids that have character and tell the truth.


  • Never ask your kids to tell little white lies for you. For example, when the phone rings don’t say….”If it’s for me, I’m not home.”
  • Don’t lie.
  • Check out the Character Growth Chart, it’s designed to help develop character in our kids that measures up.


  • In your Bible, in a journal, in Evernote, anywhere really….start a list of desires that you have for your kids future.  Then, you can start figuring out goals to set to give these desires the best chance they can have.
  • Don’t have time right now to do this.  Email me when you’d like to be reminded to work on it.  I’ll email you a reminder and follow up with you to see how it’s going.




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