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Kids, Get Self-Control!

StockSnap_F6KG0GB23AKids, Get Self-Control!

by Joey & Carla Link

March 7, 2018


When you think about it, it is kind of funny. Kids want to be in control and they want you to give it to them. However, they don’t want to use self-control to gain the freedom (control) they desperately want. Self-control is one of the most needed character traits in today’s society.  Yet it’s one of the most difficult to master. It’s also one of the fruits of God’s Spirit, evidence of His Spirit working in you.


How do you get your kids to work on getting self-control? We answer this in a brand new Mom’s Notes session titled “Kids, Get Self-Control!” It address specifics for younger kids and 8 key areas for kids 7-8 years and up with many ideas for parents to work on with their kids.


If you talk to your friends they will quickly tell you what area their children each need self-control in, whether it is their mouths, hands or feet. A key area we spend a lot of time on is getting self-control of their eyes. If our kids don’t develop self-control with their eyes, they will go after what they want, when they want it because the image won’t leave their mind.


Training kids to have self-control over one’s eyes will help them keep their eyes on their own paper at school, be content with the clothes they have, and make good choices about how they act or where they go and what they do. It would help them learn how to buy only things they can afford and to keep their thoughts pure when looking at members of the opposite sex.


There are so many things controlling our eyes can affect and impact our kids in so many ways.


Wise Solomon said it this way in Proverbs 25:28


“Like a city whose walls are

broken down is a man who

lacks self-control.”


Is your child like a city which has no walls? In biblical times, walls kept the cities protected from those who wanted to attack and take it over for their own gain. A child who hasn’t learned to control his/her eyes will grow into a teen who is vulnerable to temptation and won’t have the self-control to overcome it. Lust can overtake this teen and he goes too far with his girlfriend physically. When driving this teen leaves her cell phone on the seat next to her instead of in her bag and when it beeps, she doesn’t have the self-control to wait until she reaches her destination to look at it.


They don’t have the control to do the right thing when they are tempted with things they see, yet on the other hand this same child/teen can walk right past their bedroom and not see their bed isn’t made and the clothes all over the floor!


Your son creates intricate things with his Legos©, yet uses these same hands to smack his sister when she touches them. Your daughter slams the vacuum cleaner into the furniture and walls when she is completing her chores, yet she creates beautiful hairstyles when playing with her sister’s hair.


Every action our kids choose to do takes self-control. Listen to the NEW Mom’s Notes presentation “Kids, Get Self-Control!” on CD or MP3. You can order the Notes or get them on PDF at You will be blessed!


What Does God Have in Store For Your Kids?

What Does God Have in Store For Your Kids?

Joey & Carla Link

February 21, 2018



As parents do you ever look in on your kids while they are sleeping and simply stop to thank the Lord for them? Do you kneel by their bed, pray for them and ask God to use their lives? We know Psalm 139:13-14 says that:

“For you created my inmost being;

you knit me together in my mother’s womb.

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made.”


God doesn’t create something for nothing. Everything He creates He has a plan for, including your children and what they could do in this life.


I was impressed with this again when I read the story about Bobby Gruenewald. Someone most of you have never heard of, but someone you are grateful for because of what he did for you.


Bobby started and sold two technology companies before he graduated from college. Obviously this guy is crazy smart.


Bobby started volunteering for the church in his mid-twenties, where he was eventually hired. Although his contribution to the church was extraordinary, he didn’t feel like he was making a difference. Bobby considered quitting and going back into business.


It would have been much easier for him. As a pastor, he still had a lot to learn. Business was second nature to Bobby. But by the grace of God, he decided to stay in ministry. Among his many important contributions, Bobby came up with the YouVersion Bible App, an idea that has done more for Bible distribution than any idea since the printing press.


Around the time my kids were in 8th grade, I would take them out to lunch to begin asking them questions about their future and what God might have in mind for them. I remember my youngest daughter when we sat down said, “If this lunch is about what I want to do in life, I don’t know.” Her older siblings had warned her about this talk. I said that is OK. Let’s keep talking and exploring what gifts and talents God has given you and see how God could use your life for his honor and glory.


Today, I am not only pleased they love the Lord, but they look for ways to serve Him through their busy lives.


What natural skills, abilities, talents and desires did God give your kids that He wants to use in them? One of the greatest jobs of parents is to guide their kids in the way they need to go. How can you help your kids keep their focus on God so He can use their lives for the purposes He created them for?


  1. Make sure they are growing in their knowledge and understanding of God and living one’s life for Him.
  • Family Devotions
  • Personal Devotions
  • Read books on Christian growth
  • Attend Church weekly over other activities


  1. Encourage them to pursue their passion.
  • Understand their “passions” can and will change over time
  • Don’t let their pursuit overwhelm the rest of the family
  • Do be interested in what they are interested in


  1. Make sure they are well-rounded in sports, music, art and other non-academic areas of life.
  • Don’t overwhelm them with too many activities at one time. Other than weekly church kid’s program, one is enough.
  • Give them time to just be kids and play.
  • Encourage imaginative play like dressing up and having pretend dramas


  1. Make serving God a lifetime habit.
  • This starts with the family.
  • Have an area where you serve together.
  • It doesn’t have to be a huge time commitment. Greet newcomers at the door at church one Sunday a month. Work in the nursery as a family. Take cookies to elderly people in your neighborhood or church and play a game with them.


Growing up, it is possible Bobby Gruenewald was considered a nerd. He was likely too smart for others his age. Yet, as an adult he used the skills and talents God gave him to honor God, and God used them for purposes way beyond what Bobby could have thought or dreamed of. Don’t underestimate what God can do with your kids.


* Bobby Gruenewald story taken from “Divine Direction”, by Craig Groeschel

To Love No Matter What


Love is

Joey & Carla Link

February 7, 2018


To love, honor and cherish… On your wedding day as you spoke these words they seemed simple enough. But are they? To love our spouses unconditionally means to love them no matter what.


Joey likes to cook. He doesn’t clean as he goes or after the meal. He doesn’t close the cupboard doors he uses either. I nagged, I whined and I am sure I yelled but to no avail. I decided this was not going to be a deal breaker in our marriage so I cleaned and I closed doors. To slam them in his face or let him know how much longer it took me to clean up his cooking mess than it would have if he had rinsed stuff as he went was not showing love to him.  Cleaning the kitchen and shutting cabinet doors with a smile on my face, thanking him for cooking supper is showing love, no matter what.


When I make a list of “no matter what’s” where Joey is concerned, I remind myself that his list of my “no matter what’s” is most likely longer. I jot down a way next to each of them how I will show him love when they happen. The best way to do this is to be thankful for what your spouse does do instead of focusing on what he/she doesn’t do.


What are the “no matter what’s” you need to love your spouse in spite of? By showing you love your spouse no matter what, you are showing your children how to love their siblings and others no matter what, which will help them love their future spouses no matter what. Loving no matter what –  isn’t that the greatest love of all?


Action point: Make a list for your spouse and each of your kids to remind you how to love them no matter what.


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Head Knowledge vs. Heart Knowledge

How Think

Head Knowledge


 Heart Knowledge

Joey & Carla Link

January 27, 2018

You have told your 6 yr. old son he has to be kind to his 4 yr. old sister no matter what. God said to be kind to each other and so that is what you all were going to do. (Ephesians 4:32) Yet time and time again he is hitting his sister when he gets mad at her. Never mind she broke apart the Lego© set he had been working on putting together for days.
What do you do when he hits his sister again? Do you just tell him he has to be kind to her no matter what one more time? When you “tell” your kids the way it is supposed to be, you are just giving them information. He probably does remember what you have told him when he hit his sister, but how is he supposed to be kind when she broke apart his Legos©? Have you told him that? Have you shown him how by your example, or is he remembering you shouting unkind things at a car that cut you off when you pulled into school that morning? Have you opened your Bible to this verse and talked to him about why God thinks showing kindness is so important?
Telling your kids to be kind is not training them to be kind. That is Step 1 of the training process, to give them information. If you are telling your children what to think instead of working through with them HOW to think, you become a lecturing, reminding, threatening, demanding parent. Step 2 is telling/showing them how to do it. Tell him how hard it would be for you to be kind to him if he walked across your clean floor with muddy shoes. Tell him what you would do to convince yourself to be kind to him instead of letting him have it. For you, being kind doesn’t mean taking away a consequence, since he was told to take his shoes off before he came into the house, it means not yelling at him first. Ask him to come up with a way he can stop himself before he hits her and come to you to ask you to intervene instead. For him, not hitting her is being kind.
Okay, you have told him why he needs to be kind, talked with him about what it looks like to be kind, so why is he still not kind? Where does the want to come from? Good or bad, it comes from the heart.Unless Step 1 and Step 2 get to the heart it won’t stick.
There’s one more step. Step 3 has two different looks. One is to give your son praise and encouragement when you see him showing his sister kindness. When you do this, make sure you let your husband know too, so he can praise your son when he gets home from work. The other thing to do is to give him a consequence when he isn’t kind to his sister. Once ALL 3 of these steps are in place, you will see what you tell your children go into their hearts.
If you would like to learn how to teach your kids to think for themselves, you will want to read our book “Taming the Lecture Bug and Getting Your Kids to Think“.

Are you Hitting the Mark in Your Parenting?

Are you Hitting the Mark in Your Parenting?


Joey & Carla Link

January 2018


Have you ever tried to play darts? If so, have you ever hit the bullseye dead center? What a feeling of satisfaction that gives when you hit the mark dead on! Are you hitting the mark in your parenting? What is your goal in raising your kids? Do you have a defined target so that once your kids are raised you can look back and say, “We did it! We hit the bullseye!”, or will you say “We missed the mark totally and the dart is barely on the board. How did that happen?” It is one thing to hit the target, but it’s another to hit the bullseye!


What bullseye are you aiming for in your parenting? What is your goal(s) in parenting? It is interesting how different each family is and how many different standards families can have when it comes to setting goals and fulfilling them and that is okay. The worship and ministry style in different churches and denominations can be very different, yet they still believe in the same God, worship the same Jesus and all evangelical churches are encouraging people to be saved from their sins in the name of Jesus and are encouraging them to live a Holy Spirit guided life.


But in the end, what is your target? When your kids leave your responsibility (which is different from leaving your home) will you be able to say the same thing Jesus said when his work on earth was done, “I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do.” (John 17:4)


Are you bringing glory to God through the life your kids live by how you raised them? While they are in your home you may only see glimpses of their maturity as they grow. But when they leave your home the fruit of your labor is apparent to all. So again, we will ask you, what is your goal? What is your target? Here were some of ours:


  1. They choose to follow God and live their lives for their Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
  2. They seek to love others just as much as they loved themselves and forgive others.
  3. They read their bibles and pray regularly.
  4. They attend a church of their choosing.
  5. They seek opportunities to serve the Lord in their church.
  6. They share their faith with people who don’t know Christ.
  7. They know what their spiritual armor is and how to use it to fight Satan when he tempts them.


Now, these are what the goals we strived for in our parenting were, meaning they were our end results. We could write a book on how we achieved them and we are thankful to say our kids are living them as young adults. We encourage you to write one way you can work on your goals next to them and evaluate them monthly to see what progress has been made.


In the Mom’s Notes presentations we go deeper in how we put these into practice. You can hear our 3 kids answer questions when they were teens about how they were making their faith their own in the Mom’s Notes presentation “The Family Forum” . You will find the presentation “Using the Bible in the Instruction and Training of Your Children” helpful too.


Our kids are grown now and have their own families. They do some things differently as they have the influence of other people (spouse/friends/small groups) and the churches they attend. But do they love the Lord and serve Him with all their hearts? YES! Which we think is the most important goal of all.


The way we treat our kids, and the way they respond to us profoundly reflects how our kids will view their relationship with their Heavenly Father!

One of the primary jobs of a parent is to transfer ownership and responsibility from them to their Heavenly Father. They need to move away from going to church because you said they have to so their relationship with God is personal and real to them and they choose to serve God because He loves them and laid down His life for them.


So do you have goals you would like to see accomplished in your children before they leave your home, goals you and your spouse have intentionally decided to work towards as you train your kids, not abstract things you hope will happen. The start of a new year is often seen as a time of new beginnings, so if you haven’t thought about setting goals in your parenting before, this would be a great time to do it! Bullseye!