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Others First

Others First

Joey and Carla Link

December 2018

Christmas is a great time of joy, family and celebration. It’s also a time when everything around them encourages your children to think of themselves and only themselves. How do you teach your kids to think of others first this time of year? Jesus said,
So in everything,
do to others what you would have them do to you.”
Matthew 7:12
At Christmas when the sugar is flowing, the sleep gets less and the anticipation of new toys and lots of extra activities overwhelms your child, this is a great time to test what is in your child’s heart.
  • Do they want the biggest piece of pie or will they share with others?
  • Do they pout if they don’t get the best gift or best part in the program or rejoice in what others get?
  • Do they save up to give a nice gift to a sibling or do they look for the cheapest one?
I remember when I was growing up, my brother saved up to buy a calculator for our sister because she was studying math in college and he thought it would be a help to her. I also remember the stunned look on everyone’s face in the family when she opened it as the cost in the early 70’s was $99! There were no smart phones back then. My brother didn’t think it was a waste of money because she was overjoyed to receive this gift.
Putting others first doesn’t have to be expensive, but it should be thoughtful. “So in everything…
  • includes Christmas shopping
  • decorating the house
  • helping cook, clean, prepare for parties
  • helping a sibling wrap gifts
  • attending a sibling’s program
“… do to others what you would have them do to you.”
How well do your kids –
  • Think of others before they think of what pleases them?
  • Seek to help around the house vs. hiding out or doing things that steal your time and attention from what you need to do.
  • Have patience to wait their turn to open gifts?
  • Show appreciation for what they got instead of getting angry over what they didn’t get
  • Show willingness to play games with younger siblings?
These are just a few attitudes and character qualities you could work on over Christmas time and in the New Year. While we would hate to see anyone’s Christmas celebration or time with grandparents destroyed by working too much on what your kids don’t do well at instead of rejoicing in what they do well in. It might be wise to have a  family night talk about this before Christmas as a reminder of how your family followers the “golden rule” and ask them how each of them can think of others first.
There were times when we were working on grateful hearts and thinking of others first with our kids that we would put a basket on the coffee table with a small notebook next to it. When a member of the family saw someone else do something for others they were encouraged to write it down and put the paper in the basket which we read around the dinner table one night each week in December.
Your goal should be to help your kids learn that Christmas is not about them but about Jesus.
May you all enjoy the love of our God who gave us His Son Jesus Christ as our Savior so that all who believe in Him will celebrate eternally in Heaven. We hope to see you there someday!
Joey & Carla

Do Your Kids Have Grateful Hearts?

           Do Your Kids Have Grateful Hearts?

By Joey and Carla Link

November 2018

While out and about this week, watch and see how many people say “thank you” for the little things others do for them. What about children? Do kids and teens say it without being reminded to do so?
In today’s culture, thankfulness has gone out the window with other courtesies. “It’s all about me” is truly the mantra of most you meet. “ME 1st!” and “Thank you” rarely occupy residency in the same heart.
When was the last time you actually stopped in the middle of the day and thanked God for something little? We were getting ready to go out the door the other day and I couldn’t find something I needed. As I went back to my room, I asked God to make it visible to my eye and I saw it immediately, not where it was supposed to be but I saw it nevertheless. Don’t assume anything is by chance or luck. Assume everything is by God and take the seconds of time it will take to thank Him for it.
A few years ago I (Carla) was invited to be in a Thanksgiving-praise group with 4 other ladies. We often email each other a few things we are thankful for. The last several months, I have been taking the things that are tough to live with and turning them into a statement of gratefulness before our Lord and my friends. As many of you know in 2004 we were in a horrific car accident and I still suffer severe pain. As I was looking up at the ceiling the other night asking God for help to endure it, I decided I should find something about it that I am thankful for. What a difference this makes in my attitude.
Showing thankful hearts on a regular basis leads to contentment, a blessing in itself. Why not start your own praise group with your children? With little ones, ask them to share one thing that makes them happy and ask them to thank God for it with you. This is something you can do around the dinner table.
We would tell our kids they had to tell us 3 good things about their day before they could share anything they didn’t like about it. I remember our son, during his middle school years saying, “Here are the good things, now, here are the bad.” This made them realize good things happen every day.
How can you teach your kids to have grateful hearts? You can cultivate grateful hearts by giving to others. Make cookies together for an elderly neighbor. When they invite you in, go in and (set this up before you get there) have your kids ask the older folks to share a story about when they were growing up. Think about doing this every few weeks during the coming year. What a blessing it will be to both of you.
Ask your kids how they can show their thankfulness for all God has given them by giving to others. Come up with a few specific things and do them!
#gratefulhearts  #itisbettertogivethantoreceive  #showyourkidshowtodoit
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The Top 10 Parenting List

The Top 10 Parenting List

Joey and Carla Link

October 10, 2018


If we were to ask you what your “Top 10” priorities in parenting are, what would they be? Would getting your kids to soccer be more important than getting them to read their Bible? Would you be satisfied for them to get their schoolwork done, or do you insist they get it done with a good attitude? Would cleaning their plates at mealtime be on the list or making sure they follow through on what you say? Think about it for a few minutes. What are the “Top 10” parenting priorities on your list? Your spouse’s?


Every parent is faced with a list of their top priorities every minute of every day because how you make the parenting decisions you are faced with each day is based on what these priorities are. It is possible, perhaps even probable that the priorities you would rattle off to us after a few moments of thought have nothing to do with what they in reality look like.


You also need to make sure that it is a goal of yours to work on these priorities instead of letting your children determine what they will be. So, as a quick evaluation, is the tail (your child) wagging the dog or is the dog (you) wagging the tail?


Can you list what your top 10 goals/priorities are for raising your kids? Take a few minutes and jot them down, then think about the following:


  • How well are you reaching these goals versus compromising them?
    • If you are compromising more than 10% your kids might be more in control than you think they are.


  • How often do you allow “context” to interrupt your child’s day so that life often seems chaotic and out of control?


  • At the end of the day, how often do you find you didn’t accomplish what you intended to in training your kids?


  • When you say “no” to your child does he/she accept it with a good attitude even if it goes against want he/she wants to do?


See if you can get your spouse to tell you what his/her “Top 10” priorities in parenting would be, then merge both your lists into one, because you and your spouse should be working on the same page. Write down ways you can make the “Top 3” stay the “Top 3” by week’s end. Every night, review with your spouse how the two of you did on keeping the “Top 3” on top.

When keeping those 3 on top of the list (in reality) is no longer difficult, work on ways to keep the “Top 5” true priorities and so forth until you are working on your “Top 10”. This is the best way to stay focused on how you want to work on training your kids in Godly character instead of letting those good ideas slide into the big black hole of busyness.


Were you able to come up with your “Top 10” fairly easily? Was it difficult to merge your list with your spouse’s? Why do you think they were so different?


#top10 #harderthanitlooks #stayfocused #charactertraining #biblicalparenting


I am NOT Listening!

I am NOT Listening!


Joey and Carla Link

September 26, 2018


What do you do when your kids are not listening to you? Most parents keep repeating themselves, or try somehow to coax them into getting their child/teen to do what they told them to do. Our question for you is why are you talking to a child that is not listening to you or does not want to hear what you are saying?


Most parents think they can talk their kids into paying attention to them through their great oratory skills but it rarely works. The more talking you do the more your child’s mind is traveling somewhere else. If your child finally gives in it is to get you to go away or get off his back. What kind of attitude will he/she have while getting the task done if he was coerced into it?


It doesn’t matter if his wrong attitude is because he is mad, sad, lonely or another reason. It is still a wrong attitude. We find parents all too often correct for the wrong action and remind for the wrong attitude because the task got done and parents are satisfied with that. Do you get away with wrong attitudes at your place of employment? Then it shouldn’t be allowed at home either. Your home is the training ground for your child being a good employee someday.


We learned a long time ago our kids attitude drove their actions (8 years and up), and we needed to focus on their wrong attitude and we would get the right action. We had to continually remind ourselves that two of the four characteristics of obedience we learned about in the Growing Kids God’s Way parenting class have to do with attitude. So why did we and why do most other parents let their kids with wrong/bad attitudes off the hook?


Wrong attitudes show in the looks your kids give you, their body language and in the tone of their voice. You need to learn what your kids’ body language is telling you. Look at the pictures at the top of this blog. The first girl has the Phlegmatic temperament and you can see her attitude on her face, but generally she will stay quiet and stubbornly hang on to her attitude until her parents use a bulldozer to get her to wipe it away.


The second girl has the Melancholy temperament. When confronted with something that upsets her or with something she didn’t do the right way, her perfectionistic spirit has to work it through with her mind which takes time away from others. Melancholies will usually find a place to hide until they work whatever is bothering them through.


The girl in the third picture has the Choleric temperament. You can see attitude written all over her and she doesn’t care that you can. She is not happy and she makes sure you and everyone else knows it. The girl in the final picture has the Sanguine, happy go lucky temperament. When she isn’t happy however, especially if she has done something wrong, she will do something silly (in this picture she is pretending her parents can’t find her) to get her parents to laugh, hoping they will forget what she did. What temperament are each of your children most like?


When your child has a wrong attitude he/she is NOT teachable, so what is the point of trying to get them to see your point of view?  Instead of fighting with your child or trying to make him do something against his will, have him sit and do nothing including talk until he wants to apologize to you for his wrong attitude and agrees to have a good one for the privilege of joining the family again. For more teaching on this, check out the Mom’s Notes presentations of “It’s All About Attitude”, “Understanding Freedoms, Part 1” and “Understanding Freedoms, Part 2” (in CD/MP3 & Notes/PDF) and our book “Taming the Lecture Bug and Getting Your Kids to Think”. They can really help you deal with your child’s attitude. All are available in the www.ParentingMadePractical.combookstore.

How is Your Kids TRUE North?

How is Your Kids TRUE North?

Joey and Carla Link

 September 13, 2018

Do your kids really know where they are going? Do they know how to stop and think when the Holy Spirit is prompting them to not do something or do they run through the red light telling them to stop and go no further?

Your kids “True North” is where they need to be going and keep going. “True North” points upward. It gives kids direction and guidance. When kids are headed there it indicates they know right from wrong and are willing to do the right thing even if no one else is doing it. It guides them to where they need to go to get back on the right path when they know they got off it or when they got caught doing something wrong.

So how do kids know where their “True North” is?

  1. They have to be teachable. To be teachable is to be “able and willing to learn.” To be teachable your kids/teens first have to be willing to admit when they are wrong with a willingness to be told or find out what the right thing to do would be.


It is okay to be wrong as no one is right all the time. But to be wrong and stubbornly refuse to admit it is quite another story. Children with the Melancholy temperament struggle to admit when they are wrong because they are perfectionists and in their mind to do so is to admit failure which is unacceptable to them. Stubbornness is a weakness of the Phlegmatic temperament. They don’t make a fuss about not admitting they are wrong, they just dig their heels in a bucket of cement and don’t move to a new way of thinking.

Kids with the Choleric temperament are going to let you know in no uncertain terms that they are never wrong and that is that. Your Sanguine child doesn’t care if he is wrong and will apologize quickly but when confronted with the same choice will have no reason not to go the wrong way again.

  1. When kids/teens are headed to their True North, they will be willing to apologize when they offend someone without having to be told to do so. We learned to break it down like this for our kids.
  • Your child/teen says he was wrong and says exactly what he did that was wrong.
  • Repentance is turning around and going in the opposite direction. Your child needs to say what he needs to do to accomplish that.
  • Forgiveness is restoring the relationship with the one they offended by asking for forgiveness. We don’t know why it is so hard to say “Will you forgive me?” but it truly is.
  • Restitution/Restoration is giving back what they took away. If your child is 6 yrs. and up he needs to figure out how to do this. You can guide him with questions.

What does this look like? Our son forgot to take out the trash. He goes to his dad and says, “Dad, I’m sorry I didn’t once again get the trash out to the alley for trash pick-up. I know it was wrong and I need to figure out a way to remind myself. Will you forgive me for not choosing to remember to get it done? To make it right I will get it out next week and pay for the tag for the extra can.”

This is what admitting you are wrong looks like.

  1. If at first you don’t succeed try again. Baseball players are doing great if they have a .500 batting average which doesn’t happen very often. This means they hit the ball 50% of the time, which also means they don’t hit it 50% of the time it is pitched to them. Let’s say a player’s batting average is around .120. This isn’t very good. Does he just throw his hands in the air and give up? No, he works extra time at practice with the batting coach to improve his swing.

When kids/teens are headed to their True North, they don’t give up when they don’t make it on their first try. Along the way to a kid’s True North are his/her Bible, you, church, youth leaders, mentors, and so forth. Anyone who points them towards living like God wants them to qualifies. Our grandson recently called his Papa to pray with him to lead him to Jesus because “his Papa was always telling him about God.” On that very special day Joey was his guide to his True North.

How teachable are your kids? Do they know how to overcome the temptation of sin (doing the wrong thing) when their conscience is poking at them to stop? Are they willing to admit they did something or said something wrong to themselves and others? When professional baseball players strike out, they do it in front of thousands of people. Their failure to get on base is a very public thing. But when they get to the dugout, teammates and coaches are quick to encourage them to keep on trying. You, siblings, grandparents, and friends need to be the encouragers to help your kids/teens try and try again.

Being teachable is one of the greatest character qualities you should work on getting into your kids’ hearts. For if they are not teachable to you as their parents, how will they ever learn to be open, honest and teachable with their future spouse one day?