Testing your Kids
Joey and Carla Link
When our kids were hitting the middle years, I wanted to continue building our relationships by having some good quality talks over a meal. I chose lunch time, giving them a break from school. For my monthly dates with each of my kids, I have fond memories of eating McDonald’s fries with my son, Arby’s roast beef sandwiches with one of my daughters and Taco Bell with the other daughter.
Last week in this series on “What Parents Need to Make Sure They Teach Their Kids & Teens,” we gave you a list of questionsparents can ask their teens over lunch. This list is a good starting point for parents to think through how their kids are growing spiritually and assimilating their biblical training.
In school, when a teacher wants to know if her students understand the material she has been covering she gives them a test. Have you ever thought about testing your kids on how they are doing at maturing and training their character? How about the subject of their Christian growth? Do you hold them accountable for reading their Bible, having devotions or praying? How often do they talk to their Heavenly Father? Many adult Christians don’t have these as habits in their lives because they didn’t grow-up doing them. If your kids develop these disciplines while in your home, they will have a better chance doing them on their own when they go to college.
We want to encourage parents to test your kids like Jesus tested his disciples. In John 6, crowds were following Jesus because of the miracles He was doing and they were listening to his teaching. Jesus saw a teaching opportunity with his 12 disciples so he asked them “how can we buy bread to feed all these people?” Jesus knew there were over 5,000 people and there probably wasn’t one place to find enough bread to feed them. In John 6:6, the Bible says, “He (Jesus) said this to test him (Phillip), for he himself knew what he (Jesus) was going to do.”
Giving your kids tests is following the example of Jesus! When you decide to give your kids a test, please remember to do it in a time of non-conflict- meaning, when you are not upset with them and when they are not upset with you. Give them a scenario, asking them like Jesus did what they would do or how they would handle it.
Your goal is not to trap them or trip them up but to help them think to see how they might respond to challenging temptations Satan will throw at them once they are out of your oversight.
If asking questions like this is abnormal for you, we would encourage you to get our book “Taming the Lecture Bug and Getting Your Kids to Think”. In it you will learn how to ask your kids probing questions to make them think so they can decide what the best thing for them to do would be.
Testing your child is giving him/her a chance to succeed or fail while they are still living under your roof. It reveals to both of you areas that they are weak in and what still needs to be worked on with your support and encouragement. It is teaching them to think outside the box that is the world’s way, dealing with real life scenarios Satan will throw at them that may not seem harmful at the time, but gives them the chance to choose to do it God’s way and to show you and them what is truly in their heart. (Acts 5:29)
In future blogs we look forward to working through additional areas you will want to breathe a sigh of relief about when you are at your teen’s graduation from high school, assured he/she knows how to live their life for Christ.