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Do You Love Me?

What Your Kids Need to Know Before They Leave Home

Do You Love Me?

February 14, 2019

Joey & Carla Link

 

It opened on Broadway in 1964, winning 9 Tony awards before its run ended in 1972. In 1971, it was released as a musical comedy-drama movie, winning 3 Oscar awards.  The movie was filled with songs with greatlines that had you humming the song all day long. Here are three of them. Can you guess the movie?
  • “If I were a rich man daidle deedle daidledaidle daidle deedle daidle dumb”
  • “Matchmaker, matchmaker, make me a match. Find me a find, catch me a catch.” 
  • “Do I love you? For twenty-five years, I’ve washed your clothes, cooked your meals, cleaned your house, given you children, milked the cow. After twenty-five years, why talk about love right now?”
It’s from the musical/movie “Fiddler on the Roof”. The setting of the story was in 1905 Russia and like most countries at that time, a father pledged his daughter in marriage to a man whether she agreed to it or not. But Tevye, the father in the story had a daughter who wanted to break this tradition and marry a man she loved. In this classic movie comes the question “What is love?”
As a parent when your child gets a crush on someone or wants to begin dating you are concerned, wondering if they know what they are doing. Is it puppy love or is it going to lead them into a dating relationship? Will you approve of this guy or girl? Will he/she be the best person for my child?
These Questions Often Go Through Parents’ Minds:
  • Have I taught my kids what they need to know about love, dating and the ramifications of giving their heart away to the wrong person?
  • Do they really know what love is?
  • Do they even have a definition of love or is it just a warm feeling that they can’t describe or explain? Do they know the difference between love and attraction?
  • Do they have right boundaries for dating so they won’t compromise their purity or other privacy areas that could cause them problems?
  • Could this guy or girl break my child’s heart?
These questions and this process is why we created “Dating, Courting and Choosing A Mate WHAT WORKS?” A 2-part video teaching series and workbook by Joey & Carla Link taught before a live audience of teens and parents. It equips parents to prepare their kids for this normal change in life.
We’ve taken the most common questions we have heard over the years from parents and answered them with a unique plan for each teen to develop what is right for them according to their convictions approved by their parents. This plan can take away a lot of the worry and stress in the whole dating/courting process.
In this email series “What Your Kids Need to Know Before They Leave Home”, we know how to handle the whole dating process is definitely on the list of things to address. They need to develop a philosophy that is biblical that works for them and you. They need to set their emotional and physical boundaries so they don’t get hurt and so they don’t compromise what God intended for them, which could leave them in a bad marriage or a single parent.
In this video series we list the “4 Pings of Attraction”. Each “ping” addresses a level of attraction teens/young adults feel. The more “pings”, the greater the possibility your teen will be drawn into a relationship with this person.
Pings are Attractions. 
►  Ping 1: Physical attraction. A girl thinks a certain guy is cute and her heart goes “ping” when she sees him.
►  Ping 2: Social attraction. He likes spending time with her, enjoying her sense of humor and intelligence.
►  Ping 3: Emotional Attraction.  She feels jealous when this guy pays attention to other girls. She gets possessive of his time.
►  Ping 4:  Spiritual Attraction. He is attracted to a girl’s spiritual maturity, her love for the Lord and how God is the center of her life.
Parents, how are you preparing your teens and young adults for the pings that go off in their head and heart? “Pings” begin in the later elementary years when your daughter’s friends say “He likes you, he likes you! Do you like him?” Valentine’s Day often becomes a starting point for kids to begin thinking about whether they have a crush on someone or not.
“Joey and Carla!
I just went through your teaching on “Dating, Courting & Choosing A Mate, WHAT WORKS”. Your teaching and approach is fantastic!  This is a unique concept; Your Friendship Dating Model is such a logical, well thought out, one of a kind process that deserves attention from all Christ followers.”
-A Blessed Mom 

Testing your Kids

Testing your Kids

Joey and Carla Link

February 2019

When our kids were hitting the middle years, I wanted to continue building our relationships by having some good quality talks over a meal. I chose lunch time, giving them a break from school. For my monthly dates with each of my kids, I have fond memories of eating McDonald’s fries with my son, Arby’s roast beef sandwiches with one of my daughters and Taco Bell with the other daughter.
Last week in this series on “What Parents Need to Make Sure They Teach Their Kids & Teens,” we gave you a list of questionsparents can ask their teens over lunch. This list is a good starting point for parents to think through how their kids are growing spiritually and assimilating their biblical training.
In school, when a teacher wants to know if her students understand the material she has been covering she gives them a test. Have you ever thought about testing your kids on how they are doing at maturing and training their character? How about the subject of their Christian growth? Do you hold them accountable for reading their Bible, having devotions or praying? How often do they talk to their Heavenly Father?  Many adult Christians don’t have these as habits in their lives because they didn’t grow-up doing them. If your kids develop these disciplines while in your home, they will have a better chance doing them on their own when they go to college.
We want to encourage parents to test your kids like Jesus tested his disciples. In John 6, crowds were following Jesus because of the miracles He was doing and they were listening to his teaching. Jesus saw a teaching opportunity with his 12 disciples so he asked them “how can we buy bread to feed all these people?” Jesus knew there were over 5,000 people and there probably wasn’t one place to find enough bread to feed them. In John 6:6, the Bible says, “He (Jesus) said this to test him (Phillip), for he himself knew what he (Jesus) was going to do.”
Giving your kids tests is following the example of Jesus! When you decide to give your kids a test, please remember to do it in a time of non-conflict- meaning, when you are not upset with them and when they are not upset with you. Give them a scenario, asking them like Jesus did what they would do or how they would handle it.
Your goal is not to trap them or trip them up but to help them think to see how they might respond to challenging temptations Satan will throw at them once they are out of your oversight.
If asking questions like this is abnormal for you, we would encourage you to get our book “Taming the Lecture Bug and Getting Your Kids to Think”.  In it you will learn how to ask your kids probing questions to make them think so they can decide what the best thing for them to do would be.
Testing your child is giving him/her a chance to succeed or fail while they are still living under your roof. It reveals to both of you areas that they are weak in and what still needs to be worked on with your support and encouragement. It is teaching them to think outside the box that is the world’s way, dealing with real life scenarios Satan will throw at them that may not seem harmful at the time, but gives them the chance to choose to do it God’s way and to show you and them what is truly in their heart. (Acts 5:29)
In future blogs we look forward to working through additional areas you will want to breathe a sigh of relief about when you are at your teen’s graduation from high school, assured he/she knows how to live their life for Christ.

What Parents Need to be Sure They Teach Their Kids & Teens


What Parents Need to be Sure They Teach Their Kids & Teens

Joey and Carla Link

January 2019

 

 

Someday, your kids will be preparing to move out of your house. About that time, parents start to wonder if they have taught them what their kids need to know to go out and live in this world in a way that is honoring to Jesus Christ.  This is especially true for those parents who have heard of the statistics that show over 75% of kids that grow up in Christian homes walk away from their faith in Jesus in the College years.

This is why this series of Parenting Made Practical’s email blogs will focus on “What Parents Need to be Sure They Teach Their kids”. While it’s not meant to be a final checklist, we hope it will be a starting point for you to develop your own list to start conversations with your middle schoolers and teens and then look for opportunity to test them to be sure what is in their hearts. Knowing the Biblical principles you have taught them all their lives are embedded in their hearts will give you confidence these principles will motivate your kids on how they need to live for Christ.

If you don’t have teens, this series of blogs will be a good starting point to teach your kids 6 yrs. on up the way God wants us to live to show the world His glory. If you start teaching them these principles when they are 8-12 years, when you test them it is probable they will pass with flying colors!

If your kids are teens, we encourage Dads to begin taking your kids out to lunch or breakfast once a month and use items from this list to discuss what your kids believe and what kinds of choices they will make in various areas of their lives that could compromise their belief in God.

Some questions to ask and talk through with your kids/teens:

  • Do they really believe Jesus Christ is their Lord and Savior or do they go to church just because the family does? Are they living your faith or have they taken ownership of faith in God for themselves? “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.” Romans 10:9-10
  • Can they ever doubt God or their faith and still be a Christian? How can they deal with disappointment, trials, suffering, if things don’t turn out the way they planned? Will they blame God for failing them, for not answering their prayers their way? If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.” James 1:5
  • How are they growing as a Christian and what will their plan be to grow spiritually when they leave your home? “But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and savior Jesus Christ” 2 Peter 3:18
  • How will they find a good church? What will they look for in a good church?
  • What does “fear the Lord” mean? Do they think that is the way they should live? Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God.” 2 Corinthians 7:1
  • How will they convince themselves to forgive others when they don’t think that person deserves it? Do they know they must forgive no matter what or God won’t forgive them?  “And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.” Mark 11:25
  • Jesus said, “if you want to be great, you must become a servant of all.” What do they need to do to live a GREAT life? And he (Jesus) sat down and called the twelve. And he said to them, ‘If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all.’” Mark 9:35
  • What beliefs vs. convictions do they have? Do they believe there is a difference between the two? Do they think the difference would make a difference on how they should live? “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2:20
  • Will they stay true to the family identity you raised them with? If yes, what would they say your family identity is? If no, what would they want to change if they could?
  • How will they treat others? Will they put the needs of others first if they don’t like that person? “Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.” Philippians 2:3
  • Are they being ruled by “the love of money?” What would stop them from being ruled by money? What would that look like? For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.” I Timothy 2:10
  • How are they going to resist the lust of the eyes and lust of the flesh in regards to keeping their bodies pure? “For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions—is not from the Father but is from the world.” I John 2:16
  • How are they going to resist the lust of the eyes when it comes to wanting new video games or clothes and jewelry? Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.”  I John 2:15-17   (All Scripture taken from ESV)

We could list a lot more, but this will give you a starting point for some areas parents need to be sure their kids have convictions in, but also ideas for mom’s and dad’s to discuss with their teens how they are doing in their walk with the Lord as they look to leave their home one day.

Some of the best memories I have with my kids is taking the out to lunch to just talk. Sometimes I had an agenda of something I wanted to ask them and sometimes it was a time to just chat and let me hear about their world and offer some insight and wisdom to save them from some normal teen pitfalls.

Next up “How to Test Your Kids”

Others First

Others First

Joey and Carla Link

December 2018

Christmas is a great time of joy, family and celebration. It’s also a time when everything around them encourages your children to think of themselves and only themselves. How do you teach your kids to think of others first this time of year? Jesus said,
So in everything,
do to others what you would have them do to you.”
Matthew 7:12
At Christmas when the sugar is flowing, the sleep gets less and the anticipation of new toys and lots of extra activities overwhelms your child, this is a great time to test what is in your child’s heart.
  • Do they want the biggest piece of pie or will they share with others?
  • Do they pout if they don’t get the best gift or best part in the program or rejoice in what others get?
  • Do they save up to give a nice gift to a sibling or do they look for the cheapest one?
I remember when I was growing up, my brother saved up to buy a calculator for our sister because she was studying math in college and he thought it would be a help to her. I also remember the stunned look on everyone’s face in the family when she opened it as the cost in the early 70’s was $99! There were no smart phones back then. My brother didn’t think it was a waste of money because she was overjoyed to receive this gift.
Putting others first doesn’t have to be expensive, but it should be thoughtful. “So in everything…
  • includes Christmas shopping
  • decorating the house
  • helping cook, clean, prepare for parties
  • helping a sibling wrap gifts
  • attending a sibling’s program
 
“… do to others what you would have them do to you.”
How well do your kids –
  • Think of others before they think of what pleases them?
  • Seek to help around the house vs. hiding out or doing things that steal your time and attention from what you need to do.
  • Have patience to wait their turn to open gifts?
  • Show appreciation for what they got instead of getting angry over what they didn’t get
  • Show willingness to play games with younger siblings?
These are just a few attitudes and character qualities you could work on over Christmas time and in the New Year. While we would hate to see anyone’s Christmas celebration or time with grandparents destroyed by working too much on what your kids don’t do well at instead of rejoicing in what they do well in. It might be wise to have a  family night talk about this before Christmas as a reminder of how your family followers the “golden rule” and ask them how each of them can think of others first.
There were times when we were working on grateful hearts and thinking of others first with our kids that we would put a basket on the coffee table with a small notebook next to it. When a member of the family saw someone else do something for others they were encouraged to write it down and put the paper in the basket which we read around the dinner table one night each week in December.
Your goal should be to help your kids learn that Christmas is not about them but about Jesus.
May you all enjoy the love of our God who gave us His Son Jesus Christ as our Savior so that all who believe in Him will celebrate eternally in Heaven. We hope to see you there someday!
Joey & Carla
 

Do Your Kids Have Grateful Hearts?

           Do Your Kids Have Grateful Hearts?

By Joey and Carla Link

November 2018

While out and about this week, watch and see how many people say “thank you” for the little things others do for them. What about children? Do kids and teens say it without being reminded to do so?
In today’s culture, thankfulness has gone out the window with other courtesies. “It’s all about me” is truly the mantra of most you meet. “ME 1st!” and “Thank you” rarely occupy residency in the same heart.
When was the last time you actually stopped in the middle of the day and thanked God for something little? We were getting ready to go out the door the other day and I couldn’t find something I needed. As I went back to my room, I asked God to make it visible to my eye and I saw it immediately, not where it was supposed to be but I saw it nevertheless. Don’t assume anything is by chance or luck. Assume everything is by God and take the seconds of time it will take to thank Him for it.
A few years ago I (Carla) was invited to be in a Thanksgiving-praise group with 4 other ladies. We often email each other a few things we are thankful for. The last several months, I have been taking the things that are tough to live with and turning them into a statement of gratefulness before our Lord and my friends. As many of you know in 2004 we were in a horrific car accident and I still suffer severe pain. As I was looking up at the ceiling the other night asking God for help to endure it, I decided I should find something about it that I am thankful for. What a difference this makes in my attitude.
Showing thankful hearts on a regular basis leads to contentment, a blessing in itself. Why not start your own praise group with your children? With little ones, ask them to share one thing that makes them happy and ask them to thank God for it with you. This is something you can do around the dinner table.
We would tell our kids they had to tell us 3 good things about their day before they could share anything they didn’t like about it. I remember our son, during his middle school years saying, “Here are the good things, now, here are the bad.” This made them realize good things happen every day.
How can you teach your kids to have grateful hearts? You can cultivate grateful hearts by giving to others. Make cookies together for an elderly neighbor. When they invite you in, go in and (set this up before you get there) have your kids ask the older folks to share a story about when they were growing up. Think about doing this every few weeks during the coming year. What a blessing it will be to both of you.
Ask your kids how they can show their thankfulness for all God has given them by giving to others. Come up with a few specific things and do them!
#gratefulhearts  #itisbettertogivethantoreceive  #showyourkidshowtodoit
#parentingmadepractical
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