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What are Your Kids “Catching” From You, Dad?

What are Your Kids “Catching” From You, Dad?

Joey and Carla Link

June 12, 2019

Our son is the father of four young children. On a visit with them recently, I (Joey) had a flashback to a time when I was raising him. He was not happy with us about something and emphatically said he would never parent the way we parented him.

 

I think every new parent thinks they will know how to parent differently and better than their own parents did with them, and that works on their first child who has both of his/her parent’s undivided attention. But by child #4, what you really want from your children is obedience and a peaceful home and the only way you are going to get it is to teach your children to learn to do what they don’t want to do whether they like it or not.

 

It is good to fast forward and imagine what kind of parent each of your children is going to be. Ask yourself if you want them to raise their kids the way you are raising them. I can still hear my mother tell me when she didn’t like my friends that “more is caught than taught” and that is true for how your kids see your parenting. They see what you do a lot more than listen to what you say. Carla’s Dad would tell her and her sisters “Don’t do what I do, but do what I tell you too.” That didn’t work for her either.

 

Many kids grow up turning their backs on God because they can’t comprehend a loving Heavenly Father with the way their earthly father treats them. So, Dad’s how well are you reflecting the character of God to your kids? God wants your kids to look at you the way He wants them to eventually look at Him. What do your kids see reflecting back at them when they look into the mirror of your soul?

 

I encourage you to grade yourself on the following characteristics of God to see how you are reflecting a loving Heavenly Father to your kids. If you don’t get an “A” or “B” you know what you can work on.

  1. Loving yet firm (Lamentations 3:22-23)
  2. Faithfully keeps His promises (2 Corinthians 1:20)
  3. Holds His kids accountable for wrong-doing. (Micah 6:8)
  4. Forgives us when we ask for it (1 John 1:9)
  5. Helps us get back on the right path without guilt (Proverbs 3:5,6)
  6. Provides for our needs without giving us our wants if we aren’t ready for them (Philippians 4:19)
  7. Keeps His Word although it might not look the way we want (Psalm 33:4)
  8. All powerful yet He uses His power to empower us not to enslave us (Psalm 147:5)
  9. He knows everything we think and do yet he doesn’t use it against us (1 John 3:20)
  10. He is always with us yet He does not impose Himself on us (Joshua 1:9)
  11. He is full of wisdom and He gives it to us if we ask for it (James 1:5)
  12. He is good, patient and kind yet he does not give us too much that would spoil us (1 Corinthians 13:4)
  13. He is merciful and compassionate when we mess up yet forgives us when we ask for it and does not hold our past against us (James 5:11)
  14. He helps us strive for excellence when we are determined to achieve it (1 Timothy 2:2-5)

 

This is the barometer Dads that we need to shoot for. Every Dad should want the best for his kids. Please never forget your kids need and want the best from you as well.

“For you are great and do wondrous things, you alone are God.

Teach me your ways O Lord. That I may walk in your truth; unite my heart to fear your name.

 I give thanks to you O Lord my God, with my whole heart, and I will glorify your name forever. For great is your steadfast love toward me.”

Psalm 86:10-13

 

How Are Your Child’s Management Skills?

How Are Your Child’s Management Skills?

Joey and Carla Link

June 5, 2019
Do you have a child who tells his/her siblings when to get their stuff picked up, to get their homework done before computer game time and get their things ready for soccer practice yet have none of these things done herself? Ah, the know-it-all yet never getting around to doing-it-all. Children can learn to manage their time and activities by the time they get to their teen years.Children can’t learn to manage themselves unless they are characterized by having a high standard of self-control.
To help parents with this we wrote a Mom’s Notes presentation titled, “Kids, Get Self-Control!” which is available in our bookstore Parenting Made Practical.
Grade Some Areas of Your Child’s self-Managerial Control
Try grading each of your children on how well they manage or control themselves in the below areas. How well do they have control of:
  • Their hands and touching other kids or things, especially those that are off-limits?
  • Their mouth and what comes out of it? Is this child kind when he talks to his siblings and his friends? Is he respectful when he talks to you? If you have a child with the Sanguinetemperament, does he/she have the ability to know when to stop talking and what are appropriate times to talk and when to be quiet?
  • Their eyes? Does this child look at other things when you are talking to him/her? If you take your kids to a restaurant where there is a TV on with something you think is inappropriate to look at, does he have the self-discipline to not look at it?
  • Is your child careful about what he hears? If people are using bad language, telling foul stories or just gossiping about others, do they have the self-discipline to not listen or walk away? Or will he start picking up the language and repeating the gossip he/she heard?
  • Is he/she responsible? Does he get his chores done on time every day without reminders from you? His schoolwork?
Recently we went to dinner at a home-style pizzeria with a young family who had an 8 year old boy. While we waited for the pizzas to cook, there was a TV screen showing a movie the parents did not want their child to look at and told him he didn’t have the freedom to watch it. It wasn’t in his direct line of sight, but he kept looking at it even though his parents were working diligently reminding him to stop looking at the TV.
Now most parents would simply move the child so he could not see the TV and this would definitely be appropriate for young children, but this wise mother was working with her son to help him learn to have self-control over his eyes, a skill that will help him as a teen when he will be encouraged by his peers to look at girls and what he can access on the internet.
Summer time is a great opportunity to evaluate your kids and to work with them on gaining skill and maturity in self-control, the ability to manage themselves in the above areas. If you feel your kids are lacking self-control, set goals with your spouse to train them in it as it is the foundation along with obedience in all future character training efforts.
Questions for Parents to Think Through:
  • What areas do each of your kids need to develop management of their own behavior in?
  • What areas do they need additional training from you in?
  • What areas do you need to start thinking of transferring ownership to your kids in? This means they will get no more reminders or warnings from you, but will still get consequences when things aren’t done on time and praise when they are.
Summer time is a great training opportunity as kids have fewer responsibilities with no school or homework. If you don’t have a plan to accomplish this however, the weeks will slip by and before you know it school will be starting again. You and your spouse should take time to evaluate each of your children and decide on 1-2 areas they need training in if they have a high level of self-control and obedience. If they don’t, then start there. Set small goals that are do-able.
Some of you might be thinking you want to have fun with your kids this summer, not work on your kid’s behaviors. Believe it or not, when you are actively working on their character, they step it up in other ways as well and you will not only have fun with them, you will have more funthan if you let the summer days slip by.

SUMMER TIME!

SUMMER TIME!

Joey and Carla Link

May 29, 2019

 

The Beach Boys’ popular song “We’ve Been Having Fun All Summer Long” is what kids and teens eagerly anticipate the month of May. Kids assume no school time = play time.

 

That may have been the way it was when Carla and I were growing up, but when we became parents things changed. Since our kids’ schedules were not jam packed with activities, events and responsibilities at school, home and church, we saw summer time as the best time to work on character trainingwith our kids. (Yes, they had fun too)

 

We would like to offer you some thoughts on how to use summer time as character training time with your kids.

 

  1. Step up your obedience training. With kids under 5 years of age give them a grade for coming “right away”when you call their name. We found with this age I would say “Amy, come to Mommy” and I would pat my thigh. Giving them a destination gives definition to what your expectation is.
  • Give them a grade for coming “all the way”. This means they have to come to me and touch where I patted my leg. I would squeeze their hand to let them know I knew they were there. Give them a grade for coming with a “happy heart”. Define what a happy heart looks like and ask them at least twice a day, “When Mommy calls your name you are supposed to come with a happy heart. What does Mommy mean by that?” You can’t expect kids to meet your expectations if they don’t know what it looks like to do so.
  • For older kids, grade them for coming immediately, completely, without challenging you and without complaining (whining). If they don’t have at least a “B” in all of these areas step it up. If they have a mix of “A’s” and “B’s”, step up the areas with the “B’s”. Your summer will be a lot calmer if your kids know you expect them to obey.

Obeying=Playing

 

  1. Teach them to be responsible. Use summer as an opportunity to hold kids responsible for getting their chores and other responsibilities done on time and the right way. If you need a booster shot to get back on track with this, the Mom’s Notes teaching “ Understanding Freedoms Part 1 and Part 2” or our book ”Taming the Lecture Bug and Getting Your Kids to Think” will help you help them take ownership of their responsibilities.

 

  1. Read, read, read. There are great books in libraries that can open your kids’ minds and imaginations to a whole new world that movies don’t give them. Movies are based on someone else’s imagination of what a story looks and feels like. Since statistics show too much screen time is bad for kids, we strongly recommend they read printed books.

 

In the teen years, I had our kids read a spiritual book each summer and write a book report on a topic that would help them grow in their faith. I remember one of our daughters had lots of questions about what different religions believe and I had her read a book that covered all the religions in the world. It helped her confirm what she believed and why she believed it. My son had an interest one summer on the end times as he had been reading Tim LaHaye’s “Left Behind” book series so I had him read a book on pre, mid and post-tribulation and write a report on what position he thought was right and why. I wanted my kids’ faith to have a strong foundation so when they were young adults and needed to choose what church they would attend, they knew what they were and were not looking for.

 

Be aware of what your kids are reading and be sure it is spiritually and morally healthy for them. Ask them what they are reading and have them tell you about it. This is time for parents to join your kids’ personal world.

 

  1. Discover new frontiers. After the popular movie “Bucket List” came out it is common to hear people talk about what is on their “bucket list”. Encourage your kids to have an endless bucket list they can add to as they grow. One of our daughters loved animals and wanted to ride horses. She found a horse camp run by the Navigators ministry in Colorado and wanted to go there. We helped her figure out how to earn money so she could go. She went back the following summer as a counselor. We know of several families whose goal is to visit all the National Parks in the United States before their kids graduate from high school.

 

  1. Do family things! Ask your kids what they would like to do and have them help plan it when they are old enough. If you can’t do a vacation, try “staycations”. Go on day trips and do things you have never done before. Rarely do people check out things to do in their own area. We always say we will check it out “one day”. Make this summer “the day”. We have a dam near us with a lift for barges that carry cargo up and down the Mississippi River. We went to a small park near the dam, had a picnic and watched how it lifted the barges. It was fascinating to watch. Let each of your kids 6 yrs. and up come up with an idea for a staycation this summer. Be with your kids and have fun with them. Let this be what they remember about their summer.

Memorials

Memorials

Joey & Carla Link

May 22, 2019

 

We all need reminders/memorials of who God is, what He has done for us and how much He loves us. When trials come for your children when they are adults, these markers will strengthen them, reminding them of God’s faithfulness to your family when they were kids and the incredible blessing of how He met all of your needs.

 

One year our family was driving home from a conference in Cincinnati, OH.  We had many responsibilities at that conference including bringing the conference bookstore, so we took both our vans to carry all the product and our son Michael drove one of them. We stopped at the pastor’s home of the church who hosted the conference to thank him and his wife for all the work they put into it. As we were getting ready to leave, this pastor pressed a $20 bill into my (Joey’s) hand and told me about an ice cream parlor they were fond of and told us to take our kids there before we started the long drive home.

 

I was anxious to get on the road, and did not want to spend unnecessary time in an ice cream parlor but this was an unusual gesture from this gentleman who we knew well, and I didn’t want to offend him. When we found the place Carla and the girls piled out of the vans as Michael and I drove around and around the block because there were no parking spots available, waiting for them to make their choices. When they had the cones in their hands, the girls got in our old blue van Michael was driving and Carla was getting ready to get in our other van with me.

 

I was getting impatient waiting for Carla to get in the van. She was looking at the other van and I figured the kids weren’t getting along and she was waiting to see if they would settle down without her interference. She finally opened the door and asked me why there was smoke coming out from under the hood of the other van. We drove a few blocks back to the host church’s parking lot so I could get out and take a look. When I popped open the hood, to our shock the engine of the van Michael (a new teenage driver) was driving with his sisters as passengers was in flames!

 

Thankfully once we called our friend, he and other men came to the church and helped us as we were frantically unloading the bins in that van and they put them in a church storage room. We left the van there to be worked on. If we had given in to my impatience and had gotten on the road with no ice cream, we could have been out in the middle of nowhere with no place to leave our product when I or Michael finally saw the flames. Plus, this was in the day before cell phones and we could have been stuck waiting for someone to stop and help us while our van burned up.

 

Carla and I sat in our van and said a heartfelt prayer of thanksgiving as we realized Michael may not have noticed the flames until they came inside the van and we could have lost all our children. But thanks to our friend, Pastor Jim Holt and his $20 bill we were in a place where we noticed the smoke when it first started and where we could leave everything with good people who took care of everything we left behind. We put a $20 bill in our family’s memorial box to look at periodically and thank God that Pastor Holt listened to His prompting that day to insist we stop at a particular place to get ice cream and to remind ourselves of God’s protection and provision for us. We encourage you to set up your own God markers in a way that will remind your family of God’s faithfulness to you.

 

Question:

  • Do you have any memorial stones for your family?
  • Do your kids have any visual memorial markers of what future generations will see as the important history of your family?

 

Can Your Child Lead Someone to Jesus? 

Can Your Child Lead Someone to Jesus?

Joey & Carla Link

May 15, 2019

The small town I grew up in was hosting a weekend dirt bike racing competition. Thousands of bikers came to our small town which drew the motorcycle clubs and gangs like the infamous “Hell’s Angels” along with many others. 

 

I was 16 and our youth pastor asked me and another friend to go down and learn how to do street evangelism. Even though we both had grown up in church, he had to teach us how to share our faith as we didn’t know what we would say.

 

As we walked on the sidewalk right through the middle of the biker clubs, I was scared. I had never seen anything like it and yet, I knew from their lifestyle, they needed Jesus.

 

Most kids who grow up in Christian homes come to faith in Jesus asking Him into their hearts at an early age. They go to church and Bible Studies to grow in their faith. But when do they get disciplined in how to share their faith with their friends or learn how to help someone become a Christian? Most adult Christians don’t know how to lead someone to Christ and have never done so. It seems to be one of the most fearful things for most Christians to consider doing, yet one of the most exciting privileges Jesus gives His children to-do.

 

Questions:

  • Do your kids know how to help their non-believing friends become a Christian?
  • Are they afraid their friends will ridicule them if they talk to them about Jesus?
  • What about inviting them to church? Let them know you will pick them up and take them.
  • Do they have a list of friends/family to pray for that they will come to know Jesus as their Savior and Lord?
  • Do your kids look for Christian events they can invite their non-Christian friends to go to with them like concerts?
  • Do your kids (3rdgrade and up) have non-Christian friends? Do you?

 

There are many “methods” to help lead someone to faith in Jesus Christ. Most all of them come from the verses below. We would encourage you to be sure your kids learn these verses and develop a plan with them and practice their plan on how to lead someone to faith in our God with you or their siblings. Here are 3 of my favorites along with locations on the web for more information.

  1. The Bridge Method. https://www.navigators.org/resource/the-bridge-to-life/
  2. The Romans’ Road https://www.allaboutgod.com/the-roman-road.htm
  3. The 4 Spiritual Laws http://www.4laws.com/laws/englishkgp/default.htm

 

Common verses on salvation we encourage your kids to memorize to both share their faith and remind them of the free gift of God they have:

  • Romans 3:23
  • Romans 6:23
  • Romans 5:8
  • Romans 10:9-10
  • I John 1:9
  • John 3:16
  • John 14:6

 

You never know when the opportunity will come to share your faith with someone. A few years ago I was checking into a hotel when a lady was standing there talking to her friend at the counter. She said, “With all this going on, how can you believe in God?” As she glanced at me, I said, “Well, I do!” which opened up a conversation for the next hour where I shared many of the above verses with her from 11 to midnight. She was so teachable. I never saw her again, but after sharing with her how she could know Jesus personally in her life, she promised to go home and read the book of John in her Bible.

 

One of our “Life Goals” for our children was that they would not only be able to share Christ with non-Christian friends, but that they would have the awesome privilege of leading someone to Christ. They started inviting their friends (5-10 years) from school to church and all would openly share with their friends by the time they were teens. Please be sure your kids leave your home prepared to know what they believe, and how to defend their faith in God and they have the ability to share it with those who God brings into their lives. I (Carla) remember hearing at a conference during my college years that nobody crosses your path by accident. It is up to us to teach our kids how to figure out what God wants them to do with those who are standing in their way.

 

“In your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you, yet do so with gentleness and respect.”

I Peter 3:15