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The Morality Police

The Morality Police

Joey and Carla Link

October 9, 2019
I remember the time my older sister got a lecture from our mom about the length of her dresses. She was told that they couldn’t go above the knee when she stood up. Carla tells the story that when she was in high school her mom had a similar standard about how long her skirts could be but when she left the house to go to school, she would roll up her skirt and pull out masking tape to put around the hem to hold it up. This was in the day when girls had to wear dresses to school every day. While her mom and church may have set the standard of modesty at home, the “morality police” were her friends and peers. This is when miniskirts and the “hippie movement” were coming into play and the Christian community had no idea what to do with it.
Who Are Your Kids “Morality Police?
Your kids’ morality police are whoever has the most influence on how and why they make decisions. Who has the most influence, power and sway over the choices and decisions they make regarding the clothes they wear, how they fix their hair, or the kind of music they listen to? Who decides the movies they see and the sites they visit on the internet, or even the kinds of foods they eat – you or their peers?
When you take your kids shopping for clothes, you direct them to certain tops and jeans that you think look good and are stylish for them. But what you don’t see is how they look at what they are trying on through their friend’s eyes and they wonder if these friends will like what they choose or not.
The same is true for the kinds of music they will listen to and the hair styles they wear. Even for guys, when a hairstyle is “in” everyone gets it. They want to fit in and be accepted just like girls do. There is still a “code” of what attire to wear and how to act according to what the popular kids think. Most kids want to fit in and be part of the group. Didn’t you when you were growing up?
Who chooses the “Morality Police”? Who decides what styles are in or out? It’s those who have the most influence in a particular group. As a parent, think back to your teen years and what clothes were accepted and which were not. You might even pull out photo books and yearbooks to see how you dressed back then. We did and one of our kids said “DAD, why did you wear that?” I could only tell my daughter it was what everyone wore then.
Ultimately, every child or person must decide what they will wear for themselves. The question is why they make the choices they do and who is influencing them? This is the question every parent needs to get to the bottom of before they spend money and time on pleasing their kids’ fashion and music whims.
QUESTIONS FOR PARENTS
  • Other than family, who is the biggest influence in your child/teen’s life?
  • Who do they hang around with?
  • Does your child have a bigger influence over them or do they have a bigger influence on your child?
  • If your child influences others to your standard, that is a great and commendable thing. If others have a greater influence on your child than you do, this should be a warning flag that your child will follow the crowd whether it compromises his convictions or not.
  • What is the character of the kids who police your child’s styles and behavior? If they are Godly kids, they should be an encouragement in Christ-like character and modesty as well as other standards.
  • If these kids’ are not pursing Godly things, you will need to have greater involvement policing your child’s friends and the influence they have on them. You will need to help your child learn how to be able to stand up to these friends or you will need to work with them to help them choose new ones.
How to Be Your Child/Teen’s Biggest Influence
  1. Keep Family Identity Strong – One of the best ways to do this is to have a weekly family night. In our family it was non-negotiable – meaning the kids and us worked our schedules around it. Each of us including the kids had a week of the month to plan it and the family rule was everyone had to cheerfully participate.
  2. Build a Relationship of Trust with Each of Them – This might seem hard to do when you feel that all you do is correct them, but the stronger your relationship is the less bad behavior there will be. No matter how old or young they are, take them on individual dates at least monthly. Our son and his wife recently took their 3 yr. old son on such a date and they couldn’t wipe the smile off this sober minded young fellow and he couldn’t wait to tell us this good news.
  3. Stop and Listen to Them – If you can’t give them your undivided attention when they are ready to talk, find a time when you can. Ask questions, don’t judge.
  4. Intervene Even if They Don’t Want You To – I remember when our son was in 5th grade, his teacher knew what we stood for and contacted us to tell us she could see he was being negatively influenced and was drawn to some boys that we would not want him hanging around. We thanked her for her honesty as we also had been seeing some changes in his behavior and attitude at home but were unable to figure out the cause. I (Joey) drove to the school the next couple of days and watched him from my car during lunch recess. I began asking him who he hung out with at school and what they did during recess. After that, instead of attending his sports games with Carla and the girls, I purposely got involved on the teams as an assistant coach or umpire to deflate the influence of these boys. I started picking him up for lunch every couple weeks to talk life with him and spent more time with him one-on-one riding bikes and playing Frisbee golf. As I watch the man of God, husband and father he is today I do not regret one second of that time together.
Mom and Dad, you will only have one shot at training your kids. Either you will be your kid’s morality police or someone else will. Are you relaxing your standards to please your children? Or are you standing firm to honor the Lord?

Integrity

Integrity

Joey and Carla Link

September 25, 2019

 

Every child loves a good Bible story. They hear the story and often see it as a great adventure. What little ones don’t see and can’t see is the integrity of the men who are God’s heroes in these stories. As your kids get older, do they ever go back and re-read the Bible stories of the Old Testament especially? Or do they think they already know them by heart?

 

What is Biblical integrity?

According to Webster’s Dictionary, it is defined as “following a moral code; to be incorruptible.”

 

According to a Bible Dictionary, the biblical virtue of integrity points to a consistency between what is inside and what is outside, meaning, are your beliefs acted out in your behavior for example.

 

Between 

  • belief and behavior
  • our words and our ways
  • our attitudes and our actions
  • our values and our practice

 

A person of integrity will put the needs of others before his own. He will “turn the other cheek” rather than hurt the other person. A person of integrity would rather die than deny, or turn away from what he believes in.

 

During a Family Night, ask your kids what their definition of “integrity” would be.

  • Have them write it down and have all share with the other family members.
  • Ask them each to share an Old Testament Bible character they think was a person of integrity and have them share why.
  • Ask them to come up with Godly character traits they think a person of integrity should have.
  • Ask if they know a verse where that is mentioned.
  • Assign someone to keep a list of all that are shared.
  • Have that person read them all and ask everyone to silently pick one they need to work on.
  • Tell them in a month you will meet with them to see how they are doing working on the one they picked (great accountability). You can do this individually or as a group.
  • Have them share the one they are working on.
  • Have everyone else share how they have seen them working on it.
  • During the month before the meeting, pick one night a week and read a story out of a Children’s Bible Story book you know they think they know by heart. Ask them to share why these Biblical heroes are men of integrity.

 

“The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul. The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple. The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the Lord are radiant, giving light to the eyes. The fear of the Lord is pure, enduring forever. The ordinances of the Lord are sure and altogether righteous. They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold; they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the comb. By them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward” (Psalm19:7-11 NIV).

Transforming Your Child

 

Transforming Your Child

Joey and Carla Link

September 18, 2019

I (Joey) was sitting with my grandson watching him transform his “Bee” from the movie “Bumblebee” into a car (Volkswagen bug). It took me back to when my own son played with transformers. I am still in awe how he could (and now my grandson) can remember the complicated maneuvers to manipulate the plastic parts without instructions and without breaking them.

 

It made me think, “Why can’t kids remember to obey their parents and follow the simple instructions they are given?” The answer is not complicated, it really is simple – it’s just not as much fun for them!

 

To encourage you – when you get frustrated with your kids for not obeying you or for not fulfilling their responsibilities, many times you are not dealing with disobedience as much as you are dealing with the distraction/temptation of what is moreimportant to them.

 

What parents need to do is work on training your kids to focus more, pay attention to the instructions you give them and work with them to remember and do them completely.

 

King Saul had the same problem as your kids do in I Samuel 15. The prophet Samuel told Saul to listen to what God told him to do (15:1). God gave Saul clear instructions (15:3). As you read through the chapter you will see that Saul didn’t fully do what God gave him to do the way God told him to do it.

 

God had to send his prophet Samuel to deal with Saul’s disobedience. “The word of the Lord came to Samuel: ‘I regret that I have made Saul King, for he has turned back from following me and has not performed my commandments.’” (I Samuel 15:11

 

Saul patted himself on the back for a job well done by setting up a monument to himself and when he saw Samuel he told him he had “performed the commandments of the Lord.” (15:13) When an outraged Samuel told him he didn’t do it the way God told him to, Saul blamed his actions on the children of Israel. (15:21)

 

When Samuel told Saul that God was removing him as the king over Israel, Saul tried to apologize but even then once again blamed the children of Israel for making him do it. (15:24)

 

Sound familiar? Put the names of your kids in place of Saul’s. What happened to obeying “immediately, completely, without complaining (whining) and without challenging God’s authority by doing it his own way”? When your kids are 85% characterized by these 4 signs of obedience, they will become transformed into living their lives God’s way.

 

God gave Samuel a great verse to give to Saul that every parent should have their kids memorize: I Samuel 15:22-23

 

“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.
23For rebellion is like the sin of divination,
    and arrogance like the evil of idolatry.”

Insisting your kids obey you and fulfill their responsibilities is not just for your convenience, it’s so you know you can trustthem. If you can’t trust them to obey you or fulfill the responsibilities you give them, then how will you know others can trust them to follow through on what your kids say they will do?

 

But this is not even the biggest reason you should want your kids to obey you; it’s because as they mature and grow up your ultimate job is to transform your kids by teaching them how to transition their obedience from obeying you to obeying God their Heavenly Father. If they won’t obey you, then how will they learn to obey and follow the tough things God will ask them to do?

 

Teaching kids to obey you, their parents, is foundational for them to have a great relationship with you and with Jesus and to fulfill the purpose God gave them life for.

 

At our parenting conferences we give practical teaching to help parents get their kids to obey. We have also created good resources to help you understand what obedience is and how to get it from your kids. We hope you will take advantage of the resources mentioned below so your kids will be able to be characterized by Colossians 3:20

 

“Children,

obey your parents in everything,

for this pleases the Lord.”

 

May We Never Forget  

May We Never Forget  

Joey and Carla Link

September 11th, 2019

 

Every year when September 11 rolls around, I remember a UPS man coming to our home to deliver some packages and he asked me if I saw what happened in New York City. He asked me to turn on the news so we could find out more. I turned the TV on and together we watched a second plane fly into the Twin Towers in what is now known as the worst terror attack in the United States.

I and many others were encouraged by another event that day. Another devastating hit was meant to be on the US Capitol but the plane never made it further than a field in Pennsylvania. Todd Beamer was a passenger on that plane. While talking to his wife Lisa on the phone, he learned about the other attacks. Realizing his plane was being taken over by terrorists, Todd, a strong Christian and several others on the flight chose to take on the terrorists so the plane would go down where few if any outside the passengers would get hurt. I have often thought of Jesus words in Matthew 16:24-26 in relationship to what Todd Beamer and others on the plane did that day.

 

“Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?”

 

Todd Beamer, a strong Christian, made a God-thinking decision that day. Knowing he would most likely die, he didn’t let that stop him. He could have sat down in his seat and spent the remaining minutes of his life thinking about his wife and kids, wondering what their lives would be like without him. But he didn’t. He got a group of passengers together and they stormed the cockpit. While fighting with the terrorists, the plane went down into a huge open field.

 

Are your kids ready to make God-thinking decisions in such a time as September 11th? What would they need to make that kind of a decision? Todd Beamer didn’t have any advance warning so he couldn’t prepare. What he did have was a heart that loved God, lived by what the Bible said, possessed leadership skills that determined in his mind what the right thing to do was and then he didn’t hesitate to do it. Even if your kids weren’t born with the temperament of a leader, they can learn those skills or be trained how to know who and what to follow.

 

If you get this blog by email, today is the anniversary of September 11th. What do you plan to do to honor the lives lost that day? Why not visit your library and check out “Let’s Roll” by Lisa Beamer. Read it aloud together as a family if your kids are 10 years of age and above.

 

Carla & I intend to re-read it together. Last year we were on a trip and found ourselves near this field in Pennsylvania. We visited it on September 12thand found they were taking down the stands from a ceremony the day before. The memorial is profound and very insightful about the events of that terrible day, including those of the Twin Towers. We walked along a path from the museum that took us to a cement wall standing tall in the field. Every victim had a small plaque on the wall. As we stood there, we prayed for the families of those who knew God who were on that plane and asked that they would, if they had not already, forgive the terrorists so their hearts could move on. For those who did not know God at the time of their deaths, and we prayed that most did, we prayed for their families and that they would find Him before their time came.

 

What really disturbed me, after being reminded of all that transpired that day, is how few flowers and other memorabilia had been left at the base of the wall under the plaques. To that I only have one thing to say, especially to those of you reading this who were young children that day–

 

 

May We Never Forget

 

Are Your Kids Okay with Being“Different”?

Are Your Kids Okay with BeingDifferent”?

Joey and Carla Link

September 4, 2019

 

Do you remember playing “Follow the Leader” when you were a kid? We had one guy who liked to be the leader and if we didn’t walk exactly like him or twist and configure our bodies just like he did, he called us out.

 

When Christian kids are following Jesus it often makes others uncomfortable so they don’t like it. Living like Jesus can shine a flood light on the sinful actions of others, including other Christians so these “others” work hard to call the “living for Jesus” Christian kids out by embarrassing them so their peers won’t follow them. This is how they preserve and defend their leader status.

 

Some of the “living for Jesus” kids might have been long-time friends of the “living for self” kids  and they don’t want to be put out or kicked out of the group of kids they have grown up with, so they are tempted to go along with the group instead of being “different”. To decide to go along with the crowd is the exact opposite of what Jesus called us to do! In I Corinthians 6:17, He says “Come out from them and be separate, says the Lord.” God knows how hard this is for any believer as the standard of the world is becoming more and more anti-God.

 

Jesus talked about this separation in His “Sermon on the Mount” in Matthew 5-7. He says over and over again, “You have heard people say this, but I tell you to do this.” Jesus has always told us how to live and it is always different from how everyone else lives. We were made to stand out and should never be ashamed for doing so!

 

“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven.”Matthew 5:10-12

 

Questions To Ponder About Your Kids:

  • Do your kids need to be accepted by their peers? Or, can they be different than their friends and are they okay with that?
  • Rarely are Christians accepted in how they live. If your kids can’t learn to be accepted amongst non-Christians before they reach adulthood, when will they learn how to be friends with them and how to become their leader showing them how to live God’s way?
  • If your kids are called out for being different or for choosing not to use their peer’s bad language, act certain ways, watch certain movies or TV shows on Netflix, or dress a certain way because of how they live, is your family going to be a strong enough support system to hold them steady? Are your kids friendly with each other?

 

It is good for kids who are not accepted by peers to know they are accepted and loved by their parents and siblings. When they feel safe at home they don’t have to feel safe with their peers. Peers will come and go, but family is and should always be a safety net for kids.

 

So, we encourage YOU to be different AS A FAMILY! A few years ago a 10 year old boy we knew was going through cancer treatment and as a result he lost his hair. His dad and brothers all shaved their heads to show support for him as a family. It is one thing to say you are there for a person, yet it is an entirely different thing to show it. It was one thing for Dad to support his son, but another for the older brothers to signify they were supporting him too, and that he could count on each of them at any time. Those older brothers had to stand up to their peers, listening to their jeers and jokes about being skin heads. Did they care? No, they were proud to stand in support of their brother and what he was going through.

 

How far will your family go being different to support and encourage not only each other, but in support for each member of the family of God.