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Putting Others First

We thought we were teaching our children to put the needs of others first, according to the commandment found in Luke 10:27: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind; and love your neighbor as yourself.”


When we took Growing Kids God’s Way and learned the six areas and groups of people our kids needed to show honor and respect to however, we discovered all our previous efforts had been haphazard at best.


Another way of saying this is children need to show others they are precious to them. What are the six areas and groups of people parents should teach their kids to show ‘preciousness’ to? All of us should treat the elderly, our parents and people in authority with respect and honor. Add peers (neighbors) and siblings to this group and nature (plants and animals) and property (yours and others) and we have enough to work on for life.


Interestingly enough, the one group of people God does not command us to love is ourselves. Why do you think this is? In the verse quoted above He says to love your neighbor as yourself. What is implied here is the simple fact we already love ourselves. God gave each of us a love for ourselves at birth. If we did not love ourselves, we would not protect ourselves from harm and we would not have a reference point from which to love others.


How can you train your kids to think of others, especially in the culture of entitlement (being told we deserve everything we want without working for it) we live in? You will be surprised to find how simple this can be by using one phrase.


Next time your kids are headed for trouble, pull them aside one-by-one and ask this question: “Who are you thinking of right now?” Your child will respond he is thinking of himself. Ask him who he should be thinking of. He will respond he should be thinking of others.


Given the circumstance your child is in at the moment, get specifics. Ask him who he should be thinking about right now. (The sibling he just hit; the sister whose toy he just broke, even accidentally; you, for not taking the trash out)


Then ask him to think of one way he can show this person he is willing to put their needs above his own. When your child comes up with something, ask him if he is willing to do it right then. If he says “No,” he gets to sit and do nothing (including talk and get out of the chair) until he is willing to do what he came up with. Unless your child is under five years of age, resist the temptation to tell him what he could do to show ‘preciousness’ to the one he offended.


After you have been working on this for a while, all you will need to do is whisper in their ear, “Who are you thinking of right now?” or “Who should you be thinking of right now?” and more often than not, your child will change the direction he is headed in.


No More Reminders

No More Reminders

No More RemindersJoey & Carla Link

September 2012


“Caleb, have you finished your homework?” asked Mom. “Caleb, dinner’s in an hour, is your homework done?”


“Mandie, I told you to get your toys picked up before lunch. Why are they still on the floor?”


“Evan, it’s almost time to leave for school. Don’t forget it’s your turn to take the trash out. Here’s your backpack, put it by the door so you don’t forget it again. Where’s that note I need to sign for your teacher?”


How many times do you remind your kids every day to get their stuff done and keep track of their things? Do you think your kids can’t remember on their own, or do they not remember because they don’t want to?


We are often asked questions such as, “Can I expect my 7 year-old to remember to make his bed? “Why doesn’t my 12 year-old get his homework done without me hounding him?” “If I tell my 5 year-old to go upstairs and pick up her toys, why can’t she remember to get them cleaned up when she gets to her room?”


Our answer is the same to all these questions. Your kids can remember. The reason they don’t remember to get things done is because you don’t require them to.


About Reminders:


  1. You have trained your kids to wait to be reminded. Your kids don’t remember because they don’t have to when they can count on you to do their “remembering” for them.
  1. Give your kids consequences when they don’t “remember” to get things done. We can already hear many of you thinking, “Consequences don’t work.”
  • For consequences to work they must be painful. Trust us; taking away their phone for an hour is not Taking it away for a week is.
  • Take away what they misused. Think outside the box. They spoke to you disrespectfully? Take away their freedom to talk.


Caleb doesn’t get his homework done? Let his teacher deal with it. Or, if you homeschool he loses the privilege of doing anything else until it is. Our kids schooled until bedtime while their siblings were having fun. They schooled all day Saturday after their chores were finished and Sunday after church. They learned to keep up with their schoolwork.


When Evan can’t get everything together he needs for school he goes without. He didn’t get that permission slip for the field trip to you for your signature. Oh well, he doesn’t get to go. He forgets the shoes he needs for basketball practice? He sits practice out. If that means he doesn’t get to play in the next game, he can figure out how to make that up to the coach.


  1. Praise and encourage them when they get their stuff done with no reminders. When praise and encouragement are used effectively, they do wonders in the life of your child.


Stop reminding and your children will start remembering!


Reminding is a habit that is hard for moms to break, but you can do it! A terrific book, “What Every Child Should Know Along the Way” gives guidelines, preschool through college age on what you can expect your children to be able to do without reminding. It can be purchased at our online bookstore. Joey and I have written a book titled, “Taming the Lecture Bug and Getting Your Kids to Think” that talks about breaking the reminding habit as well.


No more reminders!

“Pulling Weeds”


pulling weeds2

Joey and Carla Link

August 2012, December 2018


I have never heard of anyone talk of time spent pulling weeds in their yard as time they enjoyed. Time well spent perhaps, but certainly not enjoyed, especially as it is usually a chore done under the hot summer sun.

Joey is the gardener in our family. We don’t have a garden per se, but he fills the borders around the yard with his treasured vegetables. For years we traveled all summer with our ministry to families as our kids were out of school then. We would come home every 3 weeks or so to catch up on mail, bills and other things. This was before you could carry the internet around on your cell phone.

One time on our trip home, Joey didn’t have time to weed his vegetables so he asked me to do it for him. I went out and took a look at one patch and it looked to me like the weeds had taken over so I got the weed-eater out and took care of them. As you can imagine, I still haven’t lived it down.

On our next trip home the weeds had come back up. My husband patiently (okay, maybe not so patiently) explained that they had come back up because I had not taken the time to pull them by their roots. I just whacked them across the tops. The results may have temporarily looked good, but the results were not satisfactorily permanent. The vegetables didn’t come back up, but the weeds sure did.

Pulling Weeds:

  1. Are you parenting the symptoms in your kids? What do we mean by symptoms? They are the behaviors you see such as running in the house, not getting their chores done again, the pets aren’t fed and so on. Dealing with symptoms only is not training them for the long term goal of becoming Godly, successful adults.


  1. Deal with the roots. When you parent the symptoms you see each day, even though you may be giving consequences (whacking the weeds) the bad behaviors keep coming back up because you haven’t dealt with the roots. What are the roots? They are character traits God instructs us to live by in the Bible, such as patience, kindness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23).


  1. Roots take proactive training to get them to grow into healthy plants. What do we mean by “pro-active training”? “Pro-active” means you have a plan to “control a situation by causing something to happen rather than responding to it after it has happened.” Instead of yelling at your child when he hits his sister, you have a plan to teach your kids how to be kind and respectful to each other.


Once you have a plan in place and you have worked with your kids on how to be kind, then you need to encourage them when they are and correct them when they aren’t.

We have a Mom’s Notes presentation titled “Using the Bible in the Instruction and Training of Your Children” that will help you get ideas on how to proactively train your children in Biblical character traits. We also have Mom’s Notes presentations titled “Understanding Character Training, Pt.1 Laying the Foundation and Pt. 2 Getting to the Heart of Your Child.”

Pull those weeds up by the roots!

Joey & Carla

The following are resources For you on getting to the heart of your child you can find in our bookstore!

  • “Using the Bible in the Instruction and Training of Your Children”
  • “Understanding Character Training, Pt. 1 Laying the Foundation”
  • “Understanding Character Training Pt. 2 Getting to the Heart of Your Child”

For Instruction in Righteousness by Pam Forster

Training Children’s Hearts

Moms frequently tell us they intend to catch up on the training of their children, which gets away from parents with the busyness of life. When is life going to slow down enough for you to catch up? It is not. You are going to have to slow your life down by saying “No” to things for yourself and your kids. Do you need to catch up on the moral character training of your children? If so, we want to give you a boost of encouragement to get back on trackbefore more time gets away from you.

First, keep your training ‘to-do’ list narrowed down to working on one thing at a time. I used to make a list of four things I wanted to work on with each of my children. We would actively work on the first one or two items, and give reminders for the third. The fourth was just there as a reminder to me we would get around to it eventually!

Do you have a plan to train your children? Do you even have a firm idea in your mind of what ‘training’ entails? There are three steps to training:


1) You have to impart knowledge – Your kids need to know why this is important to you and God and why it needs to be important to them. Kids don’t retain lectures. Come up with creative ways (I know, this takes time!) to teach them the moral character traits that are instilled in hearts that live for Christ.


2) Knowledge alone will not motivate children to work on a character trait. They need the practicalapplication that goes with the knowledge. In other words, they need to know how to do what you are teaching them. You tell your 3-yr old to be kind to her brother. Do you think she really knows what ‘be kind’ looks like? Instead, ask her to tell you one way she could show kindness to her brother. These types of questions will show you if your kids know what you mean when you say a certain word or phrase.


3) Children will need motivation to follow through with putting what you are teaching them into practice. Another word for ‘motivation’ is ‘consequences. Before you start working on a character trait with your child, have in mind what appropriate consequences can be applied when necessary that are agreeable to both you and your spouse.


Knowledge, practical application and consequences are the three steps to effectively training your children, and all three are required to do the job successfully. Step back and evaluate the level of obedience each one of your children has. If it is not better than 75%, then put that at the top of your list. Sit down with your spouse and come up with a list of three things for each of your children that need work. Think in terms of character traits. Don’t put down you want to teach them to remember to do their chores. Put down you want to teach them responsibility instead. That is thinking in terms of character traits. Now you might use following through with chores as the tool to accomplish this, and that’s okay. Take your spouse on a ‘kid date’ (because you are going to talk about the kids) and come up with goals and a plan and get to work!


Summer Routines

Summer is a kid’s delight! They look forward to the end of school with anticipation. It is not long however, before many moms are counting the days until school starts again, even if they homeschool. Why? With school comes routine.

Let me ask you this – what do your kids do with too much free time? Do they look for creative things to do or start irritating each other? Do they follow you around telling you they are bored, wanting you to entertain them? Do they constantly want to go, go, go (another form of entertainment)? The number one way to eliminate chaos in your home is to get your household on a routine. A routine brings predictability, order, and stability to a home. As adults, you know how much better you feel, and how much easier life is for you when you are in a routine. It is the same for all ages of children.

How do you come up with a routine? Write down the things that you would like to see happen in a day. You want your kids to play together, play alone, read, have computer time, playtime with you, rest time and so forth. It is a good idea to have time blocked out where two siblings have time together as opposed to them all being together in a group.

Work in ½ hour segments. The first segment should be breakfast, followed by Devotions, then chores. After that, Justin and Austin and Abby and Samantha can play together in two separate places. One gets to pick what to do on Monday and the other gets to pick on Tuesday and on it goes. When the timer goes off they have individual reading time. The next block of time they switch, and Justin and Abby play together and Samantha and Austin too. I trust you see the flow and rhythm of how this works. Don’t forget to work in free time too!

If you have young children, make a list of things they can do alone and a different list of things they can do that requires supervision. Make a schedule each day of what you need to get done. Slot an activity they can do unsupervised for the few minutes you need to change a load of laundry. Next, do something with them that requires supervision and follow this with one that doesn’t require supervision. Keep alternating these and you will get your chores done!

For more ideas on establishing a routine, the Mom’s Notes presentations, “Structuring Your Child’s Day, Parts 1 and 2” are just what you need!