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Celebrating Jesus

By Joey and Carla Link

December 16, 2020

How do your kids celebrate Jesus’ birthday? It’s one thing to play Christmas songs, have a manager set up in your home, and read Christmas stories to them. It is quite another thing for them to understand this baby grew up to die on the cross to take away their sins so they can live forever in heaven.
To kids, Christmas is all about the presents under the tree. They (and we) get bombarded with this picture everywhere we look. When you go shopping in a store, you see a glistening tree that is all about what you are going to get for Christmas. Rarely do you see a tree that celebrates the birth of our Savior. You can take your kids to see Christmas lights on houses and you might even say “Look! There is baby Jesus in his manager!” But when do you sit down with them to tell them in ways they can understand just what the Christmas story and its importance to them is?
If you feel they already know it, look for something new in the story. This year I (Joey) read this story looking for some fresh new facts about it to encourage my faith in the Christmas story. Carla is going through a Christmas Advent Devotional this month for the same purpose, to get excited about Christmas again. Not because we will see some of our kids and grandkids, but to once again be in awe of what God did to send Jesus to us in human form.
HOW CAN YOU GET YOUR KIDS EXCITED ABOUT JESUS THIS CHRISTMAs?1.    Celebrate Advent as a family. Each week represents one aspect of the Christmas story: prophecy, shepherds, wise men, angles and Jesus’ birth on Christmas Eve. When our kids were little we got candles that represented each of these and assigned one week to each of our children. We had them do research and present that week’s emphasis to our family. They were creative and it was a memory making time for our family.
2.    Read kid-friendly Christmas stories. Around the dinner table a couple nights a week would be a great time to read Christmas story books to your children. We encourage you to add a book about the cross one night too to bring Jesus’ life full circle.
3.    Read Christmas devotional books each morning or before bedtime. The Jotham’s JourneySeries, consists of 5 books about kids that lived during the time Jesus was born. This excellent series follows their lives and adventures as they intertwine with the life of our Lord. Imaginations come to life as they hear a story of a child on a Christmas adventure. Amazon carries these books so be sure to check them out.
4.    Christmas dramas bring life to the Christmas story. Act out a Christmas play in your own home with the parents as the narrator, having the kids play different parts, even dressing up with robes for wise men or shepherds, and getting a baby doll for baby Jesus.
The key to all these ideas is the discussion they should encourage your family to engage in. Get feedback from your kids on what they learned. Just as kids’ minds are stretched learning new math skills, they need to be stretched learning new facts and insights from the Christmas story to encourage their faith and for them to allow Jesus to be the King in their lives.

  • Ask your kids what new fact they heard. If they can’t come up with anything, they likely are not listening intently.
  • Ask questions like:
  • What do you think will happen next?
  • What would you have done if you were in their place?
  • Would you have made a different choice?
  • If you were a Wiseman would you think you were following the wrong star?
  • Would you have followed a star in the sky for 2 years, riding a camel and sleeping in the hot desert?
  • “If you were a shepherd, would you have really left your sheep, which was your responsibility in plain sight to go worship a baby?
  • What if someone came and took off with your flock? What would you do then?
  • If you were Joseph, would you be worried about finding a place for Mary to rest when she was in so much pain? Would you have felt like you failed her when you ended up in a stable with cows and camels?

It’s one thing to celebrate Christmas with your kids, it’s another thing to encourage and build up their faith in God through Christmas every year. May your family be excited about the celebration of our Lord!

How Is Your Child’s Judgement?

By Joey and Carla Link

November 11, 2020

I recently saw a boy riding his bicycle down the middle line of a road because he thought no cars were coming. There was no mirror on his bike and he had his earbuds in so he didn’t hear or see the police car coming up behind him. You may be thinking this boy’s brain wasn’t operating on all cylinders, and we would agree with that opinion, but how is this different from your kid when you tell him to do something and he keeps doing what he wants to do, not thinking or caring about the consequences? When you have to make a decision, whether you are young or old, you are using your judgement. Kids will face these dilemmas when faced with everyday issues: “Should I invite my sister to play with me when she asks if she can or turn my back to her and keep on playing by myself?” “Should I clean my room when Mom tells me to or just shove stuff in the closet hoping Mom won’t check there?” And the list goes on. These issues may not seem like big deals to you but they are big deals to your kids. For kids/teens, using their judgement wisely starts at a young age.

  • Will your kids choose to do what you say?
  • Will they choose to remember to pick up their toys after playing with them?
  • Will they choose to play nicely?
  • Will they choose right friends?
  • When their eyes see something they shouldn’t be looking at, will they choose to look away?

 Many parents will discipline, lecture or remind their kids for their disobedience, but they really need to be teaching them to use good judgement that comes from the teaching and training of God’s Word. This happens when parents hold kids responsible for what the parents have already taught them. You do this by insisting your kids tell you WHY they didn’t do what they were supposed to do in the first place. Before kids are allowed to ride their bike on a street, their parents will teach them which side of the street to ride on, and where the imaginary bike lane is. A wise parent will also take their child for several bike rides showing him/her how to ride on the busy street before they let them ride anywhere alone. When the police follow your son home to tell you he was riding his bike down the middle line of a busy street, it isn’t that he didn’t know the right way to ride his bike, but that he chose to do it his own way. It was a judgement call on his part to see if he could get away with it or not. WHY didn’t he use his wisdom and sound judgement? Many parents let their kids get away with the response of “I don’t know”. Please don’t do this, because we can assure you, they do know! The wise father Solomon wrote this to his sons: “My son, do not let wisdom and understanding out of your sight, preserve (like canning fruit, put away for future use) sound judgmentand discretion.” (Proverbs 3:21) Dad: Did you use sound judgement when you were riding your bike in the street?Son: No!Dad: Then why did you do it? (Dad is thinking his son was just messing around while riding his bike so he will consider taking away the freedom of his bike for a month.)Son: I don’t know. (He didn’t want to confess to messing around while riding his bike)Dad: Until you can answer that question, you have lost the freedom of riding your bike. And you have lost the freedom of using your earbuds until you are ready to talk about the proper use of them. Dad’s goal here should not be to just punish his son, but that the consequences should give him wisdom. As Solomon said, “Do not let wisdom and understanding out of your sight…” What this boy did was let his dad’s wisdom and teaching go in one ear and out the other. When he was thinking about weaving all over the road, discernment should have yelled into his ear, “Dad said…” and his judgement monitor should have kicked in and stopped him. Don’t think about punishing your kids, think about training your kids to right thinking and Godly character. Solomon gives 10 reasons in Proverbs 3:22-26 for giving your kids “wisdom and understanding and preserve good judgment and discretion;
They will be life for you,    an ornament to grace your neck.Then you will go on your way in safety,    and your foot will not stumble.When you lie down, you will not be afraid;    when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet.Have no fear of sudden disaster    or of the ruin that overtakes the wicked,for the Lord will be at your side    and will keep your foot from being snared.”

5. How To Trust Your Untrustable Child

It drives parents crazy when they cannot trust their child who says “I will never ever do it again.” Yet in the next few days or weeks, that trust is broken once again! Find out how your untrustable child can become trustable again.

Recommended Resources from This Session:
Mom’s Notes: – “Parenting As Partners” CD/MP3 & Notes/PDF Notes

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4. What Do I Do With A Child Who Talks Back To Me?

When kids talk back to their parents it is to question and challenge their parent’s authority over them. Learn what parents can do and how to change this merry-go-round.

Recommended Resources from This Session:

  1. Mom’s Notes: – “Understanding First Time Obedience” CD/MP3 & Notes/PDF Notes
  2. Book/MP3: – “Why Can’t I Get My My Kid’s to Behave” – Book & MP3 read by Joey & Carla
  3. DVD: – “Navigating The Rapids of Parenting”

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3. Does Your Child Have The Freedom To Do That?

This is a powerful phrase with a powerful punch, throwing the ball of responsibility back in your kid’s irresponsible court. Learn how to teach your kids to be responsible for their own stuff.

Check out the resources we recommended in the podcast!

Mom’s Notes
Understanding Freedom’s”
Part 1
Part 2
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