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Shamefile000508293066 (1)

Joey & Carla Link

March 2017


Parents can actually stop their kids from learning without knowing it. How? By stopping them from feeling the consequences of the choices they make.


When I was growing up, I remember a friend of mine told a whopper of a lie to get out of trouble. It took a few days for his parents to track down all the details, but when they did, he told me how embarrassed he was that he had to go back to the man in our church and confess what he really did and tell him why he lied about it. It took my friend Mike a week of what seemed like solitary confinement before he agreed to talk to the man, but when he did, I remember Mike telling me how afraid he was. It turned out the man was kind but firm about Mike’s lying. Mike said after that he would never lie again. I learned that telling the truth was a lot better than the shame Mike had to go through that week.


Do you allow shame to teach your kids’ life lessons that can shape their character? We know parents don’t want their child to get hurt emotionally or they don’t want them to have to go through that kind of pain. When we look back at our lives however, we can see the pain we went through and how it taught us life lessons and shaped our character to be the person we are today. In the same way, for our kids to mature and grow in Godly character we need to allow them to learn from the choices they make as our Heavenly Father teaches them to follow Him.


A friend was sharing with me about a coworker, a brother in the Lord who was using his computer at work to look at things that he knew he shouldn’t be looking at anywhere, much less at his place of work. He was immediately fired from a job that would lead him into his lifelong dream career. He was depressed over the death of his plans but had no regrets about what he was looking at. It was just pictures after all. I wondered if his parents made him deal with the shame of his actions growing up because what he was looking at on his computer was shameful. Unfortunately, he only felt sorry for himself because of his job situation, not because of what he was looking at.


Do you take your kids to school when they are late getting ready in the morning and miss the bus? Why not let them be late? The shame of getting a tardy and eventually a detention should embarrass them enough to get up on time. Do you lie to cover up your kid’s ugly behavior?

What kinds of things do you let your kids off the hook for now that they need to learn from so they won’t have to learn that lesson tomorrow from someone else?

shame: a feeling of guilt, regret, or sadness that you have

because you know you have done something wrong; disgrace


Refereeing Your Kids

Refereeing Your Kids

Joey and Carla Link

April 12, 2017


Do you ever feel like you are a referee with you kids? While it seems to be natural for boys especially to wrestle around, it’s another thing when they are arguing and bickering with each other. It seems to never end. When you are pulled into the middle of their fight, they expect you to pick a winner and a loser, a no win situation for you. Maybe we should wear referee uniforms and blow a whistle when we see the poor choices our kids are making!


I can imagine Jesus felt this way at times. During his last meal with his disciples at the “last supper” Jesus’s students (the disciples) started arguing which of them was going to be the greatest in heaven. Just like a parent, Jesus had to step in and straighten them out.


Jesus gave us a powerful teaching that every parent should teach their kids. You can read the story in John 13, where Jesus said to his disciples, “One of you is going to betray me.” The disciples wanted to know who would do such a thing. Jesus looks at Judas and said, “What you are going to do, do quickly.” Judas leaves and Jesus goes on to give his disciples a command to live by; “Love one another as I have loved you, so you must love one another.” (John 13:34)


It’s one thing for kids to argue and bicker, but do they also show love to each other? Too many times parents only require their kids to accept one another, which is good, but not best. Best is showing love to each other even when you are mad at them. My (Joey) definition of love is “an unconditional commitment to an imperfect person.” How committed are your kids to each other? Are they more committed to other friends or teammates than they are to each other?


I (Joey) remember the day we were in the van and our teenage daughter Briana asked her sister Amy who could reach Briana’s backpack easily to get a book out of it for her. Amy did and the corner of the book was bent. Briana was so upset because her book was bent and began telling her sister what she thought of her for not being more careful. We had to step in and I eventually asked her if her best friend had bent the book would she be upset with her. Briana immediately answered “Of course not.” We waited a few minutes for her to see the irony in her response but she didn’t so we asked her why she wouldn’t respond in the same way. After listening to her friend’s virtues, we broke in and asked her what she was telling her sister. Briana wouldn’t respond because she realized she was telling her sister she wasn’t important to her and she loved her friends more than she loved her. We told her she was going to lose the freedom of hanging out with her friends until she could treat her sister better than she treated her friends. We told her she had to prove to us over time that her siblings were loved and valuable to her. By “over time” we don’t mean a few days or a week or two. We mean at least a month. We wanted loving her siblings to become a habit for Briana.


Teaching kids to love properly is a lengthy process because they like us are selfish and self-focused. We are all trying to take care of ourselves and it’s always easier to treat a sibling worse than a friend because your sibling will always be in your life but you could lose friends if they don’t like how you treat them.


The best way to stop refereeing you kids is to teach them to love one another just as much as they love themselves and to treat each other the way they wanted to be treated.


When you kids are squabbling with each other ask them, “How are you showing love to each other?” if they are self-focused they will likely start pointing out how the other is not showing love to them. When our kids did this, we saw it as a great opportunity to have them sit alone in an isolated place until they came up with a way to show love to each other just like Jesus showed love to his disciples.


Look for an opportunity to read to your kids John 13:21-35, reminding them of the story of Jesus demonstrating love to Judas (by giving him Jesus’ piece of bread) and giving us the same command that we must love each other the same way by loving those who hurt and betray us. This can help them deal with friends both Christians and non-Christians who hurt or betray them.


If your older kids are unwilling to work on forgiving and loving their siblings you might ask them if they truly are a Christian. Jesus ended John 13:35 saying, “This is how the world will know that you are Christ followers (Christians) by how you love each other.”

Right is Right and Wrong is Wrong

Right is Right


Wrong is Wrong

Joey and Carla Link

Wrong Way

March 2017

No parent wants to believe they have a rebellious child. We may say our friends and neighbors have a rebellious child but rarely do I speak to a parent who says “I have a rebellious child!”  Actually, few people today use the word “rebellious”. It is more common to say “Their kids are out of control!”

We have a tendency to see the best in our kids therefore it’s difficult to see the worst. What parent doesn’t celebrate when their child on the soccer field kicks the ball to shoot the winning goal and forgets the same child couldn’t remember to get his soccer shoes packed for the game even after you reminded him 4 times, so you had to go home and get them!

Or for some strange reason, this same child that can have so much endurance on the soccer field can’t seem to push through and get his homework done on time without your constant reminders, or get his bed made or take his laundry to his room and put it away.  But they sure can remember when it’s time for soccer practice.

Parents think, “Surely it can’t be rebellion if my child simply forgot to get his shoes packed in his bag.” I think parents fall into this trap because we don’t have a good definition of what rebellion is and ultimately it allows kids to rewrite their parents’ code of what is right and wrong. So, what is rebellion?

“Rebellion” is “knowing and believing what is right and what is wrong and still choosing the wrong.” Many times it comes out in “I forgot” or “I didn’t have time” but what did he spend his time doing instead of getting his responsibilities done? Watching television, playing on the computer or on his phone?

The rich young ruler in Luke 18 very self-righteously asked Jesus what he had to do to go to heaven and Jesus said “Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” This young man knew that he should do this and he chose not to do it. He would never think he was rebellious. Was he? Yes!

Just as Jesus was disappointed when this rich young ruler was unwilling to make the right choice, we as parents need to not only be disappointed, but take action every time our kids choose to be rebellious by choosing to do what they know is wrong.


Taking action has 3 sides.

  1. Teach them how to do the right thing even when they don’t want to
  2. Be willing to correct them when they choose not to
  3. Be sure to praise them when they do

Remember: Right is right no matter if no one is doing it, and wrong is wrong no matter if everyone is doing it.

Three things that can help you teach your child how to choose right over wrong are:

1. For kids 4 yrs. and under: After giving them an instruction, ask them what they are to do when Mommy/Daddy tells them to do something. Ask them what they need to do to obey. For older kids: Ask them what the right thing to do would be and what would be the wrong thing to do, then ask them if they are ready to do the right thing.

RIGHT is RIGHT if NOBODY is doing it andWRONG is WRONG if EVERYONE is doing it2. Have a family time where each child (age-appropriate) makes a sign describing “Right is right no matter if no one is doing it, and wrong is wrong no matter if everyone is doing it.”

For younger kids, have pictures cut out showing right things to do and have them glue them to a paper.

3. Read the story of Saul and the rebellious ways he chose. Ask your kids what they would have done if they were in Saul’s shoes. If they come up with good answers, ask them why you can’t count on them to get their chores done and so forth. Point out the consequences he experienced in I Samuel 13-15.





“Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices
as much as in obeying the Lord?
To obey is better than sacrifice,
and to heed is better than the fat of rams.
For rebellion is like the sin of divination,

    and arrogance like the evil of idolatry.”

I Samuel 15:22-23

How to Stop Arguing With Your Kids

How to Stop Arguing

With Your Kids

Mauricio no cree

Joey & Carla Link

March 2017

How do you stop a child from arguing with you? It is very frustrating when you give your child an instruction and they start arguing with you. Every loving parent feels like they should listen to anything their child says. This is how you build trust and relationship with your child.

But how does your child build trust with you? By doing what you tell them to do? If you can’t trust them to follow through with it but they expect you to stop and listen whenever they want to say something to you, who is really in control?

A man we knew was working out in the yard with his 5 year-old son. The boy kept going towards the busy street and the dad kept calling him back, even running to pull him out of the street then scolding him for not obeying him. Dad was in a critical point in his project and didn’t see his son going into the street again. A car hit the child, killing him. Your child doing what you say, when you say, and how you say it is more important than you listening to him argue with you just for the sake of letting him have his say.

When you give your child a direction or expect them to obey you, parents should require a positive, submissive response like “Yes Dad, I will do it.” Or in the above scenario, “Yes Dad I will stay out of the street”.” Dad could follow it up with a boundary like, “Do not go past the sidewalk,” and expect to hear “Yes Dad, I won’t go past the sidewalk,” instead of “But Dad, I only wanted to count how many cars drove by.” Dad takes the bait, arguing and negotiating with his son.”

One day I was in a convenience store buying an item. I knew the lady who was helping me and her daughter came to her several times asking for candy. The mom told her she wasn’t getting any candy but the girl kept coming and asking for it. Knowing what we teach, she finally realized she didn’t have to negotiate with her daughter anymore and the next time her daughter came to her she said, “I will hear a yes mom” and the 4 year old girl said “Yes Mom” and walked away and put the candy back and didn’t ask again.

Did you catch how to stop arguing with your kids? Require them to give you a positive verbal response when you give them an instruction. If you can tell your child is in a bad mood before you give him an instruction, tell him to go sit and get his attitude under control and come back to you when he is ready to apologize for his bad attitude. The best way to stop your kids from arguing with you is to stop arguing with them.

Do you let your kids argue with you? Do you argue with them? Does arguing get either you or them what you want other than putting everyone in a bad mood? Check out Understanding First Time Obedience and Why Can’t I Get My Kids to Behave? Available on our website.

Loving Your Family

Loving Your Family

Joey & Carla Link


February 2017


February is the month to celebrate love. What do you think of when you think of the word “love”? To me (Carla), it is kind of like a warm fuzzy feeling that wraps around me and gives me a big hug.

We don’t usually like to think of loving or being loved as a command, but that is exactly what Jesus said in John 13:34-35,

“A new command I give you that you love one another as I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

Did you catch “you must love one another”? Carla and I are coming up to our 39th wedding anniversary. You can’t be married that long without knowing you must love each other whether you feel like it or not. I don’t think married love is what Jesus is referring to. He is talking about loving people in general.

Where does that kind of love start? It starts at home. One of the best things we learned in the parenting class “Growing Kids God’s Way” was “Couch time”. When Dad gets home from work, he and Mom sit on the couch for 10-15 minutes talking. The kids have to see or know you are having couch time, but can’t interrupt you. It shows them that you give priority to each other. Showing priority is a form of love. When our kids could tell things were tense between us, they would say, “You need to have couch time!”

What about kids? It is hard for a 3 year old to understand why he must love his brother who just hit him. An 8 year old won’t get why she must love her sister who just spilled chocolate milk on her favorite top. A 10 year old won’t get why he should love kids at school who bully him. Your teen won’t get why she should love girls who make fun of her clothes.

Where does it start? You need to require your kids to show love whether they want to or not. Isn’t that what a command is? While you certainly deal with your 3 year old’s sibling who hit him, you also ask your 3 year old how he can show love to him in return. Your 8 year old’s sister needs to be willing to replace the top she ruined, even if it was an accident, but your 8 year old can’t stay mad at her either. One way of showing love is to grant forgiveness when it is asked of you, which means you won’t hold grudges and you won’t allow your kids too.


A hard verse for any of us to follow is Matthew 5:44,


Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.”


In the moment a sibling becomes an “enemy”, teaching them to love him/her is giving them the tools they need to love others. Your 10 year old and teenager can love those who hurt them easier if they have been doing it all their lives. We used to ask our kids to tell us one way they could show them love when they were hurt by others.

The biggest hurdle to a loving family is the tone we use with each other. Parents would be wise to not deal with what your kids say, but with how they say it. A helpful Mom’s Notes presentation is “It’s All About Attitude”. Good attitudes are infectious!