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Transforming Your Child

 

Transforming Your Child

Joey and Carla Link

September 18, 2019

I (Joey) was sitting with my grandson watching him transform his “Bee” from the movie “Bumblebee” into a car (Volkswagen bug). It took me back to when my own son played with transformers. I am still in awe how he could (and now my grandson) can remember the complicated maneuvers to manipulate the plastic parts without instructions and without breaking them.

 

It made me think, “Why can’t kids remember to obey their parents and follow the simple instructions they are given?” The answer is not complicated, it really is simple – it’s just not as much fun for them!

 

To encourage you – when you get frustrated with your kids for not obeying you or for not fulfilling their responsibilities, many times you are not dealing with disobedience as much as you are dealing with the distraction/temptation of what is moreimportant to them.

 

What parents need to do is work on training your kids to focus more, pay attention to the instructions you give them and work with them to remember and do them completely.

 

King Saul had the same problem as your kids do in I Samuel 15. The prophet Samuel told Saul to listen to what God told him to do (15:1). God gave Saul clear instructions (15:3). As you read through the chapter you will see that Saul didn’t fully do what God gave him to do the way God told him to do it.

 

God had to send his prophet Samuel to deal with Saul’s disobedience. “The word of the Lord came to Samuel: ‘I regret that I have made Saul King, for he has turned back from following me and has not performed my commandments.’” (I Samuel 15:11

 

Saul patted himself on the back for a job well done by setting up a monument to himself and when he saw Samuel he told him he had “performed the commandments of the Lord.” (15:13) When an outraged Samuel told him he didn’t do it the way God told him to, Saul blamed his actions on the children of Israel. (15:21)

 

When Samuel told Saul that God was removing him as the king over Israel, Saul tried to apologize but even then once again blamed the children of Israel for making him do it. (15:24)

 

Sound familiar? Put the names of your kids in place of Saul’s. What happened to obeying “immediately, completely, without complaining (whining) and without challenging God’s authority by doing it his own way”? When your kids are 85% characterized by these 4 signs of obedience, they will become transformed into living their lives God’s way.

 

God gave Samuel a great verse to give to Saul that every parent should have their kids memorize: I Samuel 15:22-23

 

“Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices
    as much as in obeying the Lord?
To obey is better than sacrifice,
    and to heed is better than the fat of rams.
23For rebellion is like the sin of divination,
    and arrogance like the evil of idolatry.”

Insisting your kids obey you and fulfill their responsibilities is not just for your convenience, it’s so you know you can trustthem. If you can’t trust them to obey you or fulfill the responsibilities you give them, then how will you know others can trust them to follow through on what your kids say they will do?

 

But this is not even the biggest reason you should want your kids to obey you; it’s because as they mature and grow up your ultimate job is to transform your kids by teaching them how to transition their obedience from obeying you to obeying God their Heavenly Father. If they won’t obey you, then how will they learn to obey and follow the tough things God will ask them to do?

 

Teaching kids to obey you, their parents, is foundational for them to have a great relationship with you and with Jesus and to fulfill the purpose God gave them life for.

 

At our parenting conferences we give practical teaching to help parents get their kids to obey. We have also created good resources to help you understand what obedience is and how to get it from your kids. We hope you will take advantage of the resources mentioned below so your kids will be able to be characterized by Colossians 3:20

 

“Children,

obey your parents in everything,

for this pleases the Lord.”

 

May We Never Forget  

May We Never Forget  

Joey and Carla Link

September 11th, 2019

 

Every year when September 11 rolls around, I remember a UPS man coming to our home to deliver some packages and he asked me if I saw what happened in New York City. He asked me to turn on the news so we could find out more. I turned the TV on and together we watched a second plane fly into the Twin Towers in what is now known as the worst terror attack in the United States.

I and many others were encouraged by another event that day. Another devastating hit was meant to be on the US Capitol but the plane never made it further than a field in Pennsylvania. Todd Beamer was a passenger on that plane. While talking to his wife Lisa on the phone, he learned about the other attacks. Realizing his plane was being taken over by terrorists, Todd, a strong Christian and several others on the flight chose to take on the terrorists so the plane would go down where few if any outside the passengers would get hurt. I have often thought of Jesus words in Matthew 16:24-26 in relationship to what Todd Beamer and others on the plane did that day.

 

“Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?”

 

Todd Beamer, a strong Christian, made a God-thinking decision that day. Knowing he would most likely die, he didn’t let that stop him. He could have sat down in his seat and spent the remaining minutes of his life thinking about his wife and kids, wondering what their lives would be like without him. But he didn’t. He got a group of passengers together and they stormed the cockpit. While fighting with the terrorists, the plane went down into a huge open field.

 

Are your kids ready to make God-thinking decisions in such a time as September 11th? What would they need to make that kind of a decision? Todd Beamer didn’t have any advance warning so he couldn’t prepare. What he did have was a heart that loved God, lived by what the Bible said, possessed leadership skills that determined in his mind what the right thing to do was and then he didn’t hesitate to do it. Even if your kids weren’t born with the temperament of a leader, they can learn those skills or be trained how to know who and what to follow.

 

If you get this blog by email, today is the anniversary of September 11th. What do you plan to do to honor the lives lost that day? Why not visit your library and check out “Let’s Roll” by Lisa Beamer. Read it aloud together as a family if your kids are 10 years of age and above.

 

Carla & I intend to re-read it together. Last year we were on a trip and found ourselves near this field in Pennsylvania. We visited it on September 12thand found they were taking down the stands from a ceremony the day before. The memorial is profound and very insightful about the events of that terrible day, including those of the Twin Towers. We walked along a path from the museum that took us to a cement wall standing tall in the field. Every victim had a small plaque on the wall. As we stood there, we prayed for the families of those who knew God who were on that plane and asked that they would, if they had not already, forgive the terrorists so their hearts could move on. For those who did not know God at the time of their deaths, and we prayed that most did, we prayed for their families and that they would find Him before their time came.

 

What really disturbed me, after being reminded of all that transpired that day, is how few flowers and other memorabilia had been left at the base of the wall under the plaques. To that I only have one thing to say, especially to those of you reading this who were young children that day–

 

 

May We Never Forget

 

Are Your Kids Okay with Being“Different”?

Are Your Kids Okay with BeingDifferent”?

Joey and Carla Link

September 4, 2019

 

Do you remember playing “Follow the Leader” when you were a kid? We had one guy who liked to be the leader and if we didn’t walk exactly like him or twist and configure our bodies just like he did, he called us out.

 

When Christian kids are following Jesus it often makes others uncomfortable so they don’t like it. Living like Jesus can shine a flood light on the sinful actions of others, including other Christians so these “others” work hard to call the “living for Jesus” Christian kids out by embarrassing them so their peers won’t follow them. This is how they preserve and defend their leader status.

 

Some of the “living for Jesus” kids might have been long-time friends of the “living for self” kids  and they don’t want to be put out or kicked out of the group of kids they have grown up with, so they are tempted to go along with the group instead of being “different”. To decide to go along with the crowd is the exact opposite of what Jesus called us to do! In I Corinthians 6:17, He says “Come out from them and be separate, says the Lord.” God knows how hard this is for any believer as the standard of the world is becoming more and more anti-God.

 

Jesus talked about this separation in His “Sermon on the Mount” in Matthew 5-7. He says over and over again, “You have heard people say this, but I tell you to do this.” Jesus has always told us how to live and it is always different from how everyone else lives. We were made to stand out and should never be ashamed for doing so!

 

“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven.”Matthew 5:10-12

 

Questions To Ponder About Your Kids:

  • Do your kids need to be accepted by their peers? Or, can they be different than their friends and are they okay with that?
  • Rarely are Christians accepted in how they live. If your kids can’t learn to be accepted amongst non-Christians before they reach adulthood, when will they learn how to be friends with them and how to become their leader showing them how to live God’s way?
  • If your kids are called out for being different or for choosing not to use their peer’s bad language, act certain ways, watch certain movies or TV shows on Netflix, or dress a certain way because of how they live, is your family going to be a strong enough support system to hold them steady? Are your kids friendly with each other?

 

It is good for kids who are not accepted by peers to know they are accepted and loved by their parents and siblings. When they feel safe at home they don’t have to feel safe with their peers. Peers will come and go, but family is and should always be a safety net for kids.

 

So, we encourage YOU to be different AS A FAMILY! A few years ago a 10 year old boy we knew was going through cancer treatment and as a result he lost his hair. His dad and brothers all shaved their heads to show support for him as a family. It is one thing to say you are there for a person, yet it is an entirely different thing to show it. It was one thing for Dad to support his son, but another for the older brothers to signify they were supporting him too, and that he could count on each of them at any time. Those older brothers had to stand up to their peers, listening to their jeers and jokes about being skin heads. Did they care? No, they were proud to stand in support of their brother and what he was going through.

 

How far will your family go being different to support and encourage not only each other, but in support for each member of the family of God.

Back to School

Back to School

Joey and Carla Link

August 28, 2019

 

When your kids are back in school, whether it be public, private or homeschool, your home life settles back into a routine. While breaks are always good and vacations are fun, routine gives a sense of normalcy to daily life.

 

Going back to school can also bring about many changesas well as challenges. Kids are moving up a grade, which often comes in a package deal titled “I’m bigger and smarter” which shows in arrogance. In this package are freedoms earned with age yet the “I’m smarter and wiser” attitude shouts they don’t need to ask you for permission to get them. With new grades come new and often different activities and with these new friends loom on the horizon.

 

Mom and Dad, have your antennas gone up yet? Have you seen areas that may need to be reined in or opened up? Here are a few to think through:

 

  1. Freedoms:Kids have more freedom when school is out and they don’t want to give them back when school is in session. They might have had relaxed responsibilities in the summer time, not having consistent bedtimes or a structured flow to their days. They got to stay up late last night and will again tonight to watch a movie together and bedtime will be an unrealistic expectation the next few nights after that as relatives are coming into town for the weekend. Before you know it you have tired, cranky kids who aren’t getting along with anyone, especially you. It’s easy for parents to slide into the habit of reminding and nagging their kids instead of holding them responsible and accountable for what they know to do. How do you bring their freedoms in? Pull in their funnel which is their boundaries. How do you pull in their boundaries? Make them ask permissionfor anything they want to have (such as get into the refrigerator) or do.

 

  1. Friends:Summer activities and new grades in schools with corresponding activities and events open the door to new friends and acquaintances. New friends don’t come empty handed. They bring new (sometimes crude) words and phrases, new styles of clothing as well as different standards of what is right and wrong that are not always based on biblical standards. It’s not uncommon for parents to trust their kids will choose wisely when it comes to friends until the bad friend choices they make erupt into a hot, boiling mess.

 

It is like the Dad who recently told me he didn’t think he had a reason to check his teen’s phone until other issues started surfacing and a friend mentioned he should look at it. When he read the foul language used in his son’s texts with his friends and what they texted about, he knew both he and his son were like “frogs caught in a pot of boiling water and neither of us had any idea how to get out.” In fencing, “en garde” is a French phrase used as an instruction by officials to warnthe competitors to get ready.

 

Being “en garde” (on guard) when you know changes are coming into your kids’ lives is providing protectionfor them and helps you guidethem (holding true to biblical standards) through new situations with new peers.

 

  1. Sports:As school starts again, so do many sports and after school activities. If you ask your parents or grandparents how many of these sports and activities were available to them you might be surprised. “In the good old days” there were just 4 main sports – football, basketball, baseball and track. Today most schools have over 20 different sports for kids to participate in, not to mention the local rec programs or travel clubs. When kids are always on the go to practices, games, getting their homework done, church and other activities like music, parents have little time to train their kids in the way they need to go (Proverbs 3:5-6). We see sports and all other extra-curricular activities as freedoms, not non-negotiables in your kids’ lives until they are characterizedby obedience, self-controland are working on putting other Godly valuesinto their hearts and character. If you choose sports as a tool to teach them Godly values, that is fine, but remember to be “en garde” at all times, always watching for their downhill slides.

 

  1. Clothes, styles and new shows:The influence of the internet on today’s generation has become the go to standard of how to dress, act and what shows to watch. Your older kids ask SiriorAlexawhat to wear, what shows their classmates are watching, how to respond to a friend who told your child she wasn’t liked by the popular kids… we are sure this isn’t new information for you. Whatever happened to WWJD(What Would Jesus Do?)

 

In all the back to school changes and challenges, where is Jesusin them? When your children go to school whether homeschool, public school or private school; do they take Jesus to school with them or do they leave Him in their bedroom until they go to bed that night?

 

A good verse for your family to memorize as your kids go back to school is Joshua 1:9 

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous.

Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed,

for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

 

We hope you are helping your kids take Jesus with them

wherever they go and whatever they do!

Blown Away At Worship

Blown Away At Worship

Joey and Carla Link

August 21, 2019

 

We visited a church in downtown Chicago one Sunday morning. It was an old church building that survived the infamous “Chicago fire”. A modern day worship band replaced what must have been where the church choir with full orchestra and bellshad once rang out their majestic call to worship. While the contemporary sound from the band didn’t fit the building, something else caught my attention in this ornate structure.

 

Two hundred or more older teens were standing in worship of the Lord their God praising Him with all their hearts, many with hands raised, others with heads down in contemplation to the words of the songs that were penetrating their hearts. What an amazing sight to watch young adults who had committed their hearts and lives to Christ expressing honor to the Lord their God for forgiving them of their sins and filling them with His Holy Spirit.

 

Would this have been the picture we would have seen of your family had you been part of that worship experience? The church was full of young teens and adult professionals. Will this be your children when they leave your home? Recently a friend shared with me his disappointment and frustration of his daughter’s upcoming marriage. She is marrying a man who doesn’t go to church and who grew up in a church that most Christians call a cult. This dad is now beating himself up for not making church and worship a greater part of their family life as his kids were growing up.

 

When your kids go to church with you as a family:

  • Why do they go?
  • What is their purpose for going?
  • What do they expect to get out of it?
  • Is it to see friends or to meet with Jesus?
  • Are they open-minded to God working in their lives?
  • Are they singing from their hearts like these kids giving their Heavenly Father their honor and praise?

 

As our friends Gary and Anne Marie Ezzo have said many times throughout their parenting curricula, “Begin as you mean to go”. If you want your kids to grow up to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, then you need to train them up in how to worship.

 

Practical Tips for Training Your Kids for Worship:

  • Have them dress differently than everyday dress. It’s a mindset of going someplace for specific purpose, like you would dress for going to a sports event. While it is not the norm to dress up for church, there is something about dressing your best to meet God in worship.
  • Play worship songs on Sunday morning in the house before you go to church.
  • Encourage your kids to carry their own Bible. We know many use their phones for this, but how does that make God’s Word different from everything else on their phones. The question is, what will help make God’s word special to your kids?
  • Have them memorize a Bible verse each week and ask them to share it with you on Saturday night before they go to bed.
  • Make going to church a priority each week and not an add-on.
  • Ask them what they learned at church or in the children’s program.
  • Ask them how that can help them live for Jesus and to share one way they will work on it that week.
  • Throughout the week play Christian music they can sing along to. Especially songs your church sings.
  • Read Bible stories to younger kids. Have older kids read them to you and their siblings.
  • Talk about the stories and have your children imagine what it would be like to have been there at the time the stories took place.
  • As your kids grow, transition them to have their own “Quiet/Devotional Time” where they read the Bible, devotional book and pray.
  • Talk about what they are learning around the dinner table a couple times during the week.
  • Several times a week, read a devotional book as a family. Discuss what the book and verses share.
  • Pray with your kids when you tuck them into bed. It’s something they will always remember!
  • Pray with your children throughout the week as things come up that are praises or stressful to them.

 

These are all acts of worship whether you do them at church or at home. Going to church is an outward expression of the priority God has in your life. For your kids to worship God when they get to be teens and young adults, they need to be brought up worshiping God in their daily lives so that the Sunday morning worship service is truly a weekly celebration of who God is to them.

 

What can you work on with whatever age your kids are

to help make Jesus real in their everyday lives?