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Enjoying Your Family

Enjoying Your

Family

 
Joey & Carla Link
April 15, 2020
To enjoy one’s family is a desire every Dad has. But at the same time, it’s one of the greatest fears and scariest challenges for a Dad. He constantly wonders what he needs to do to make his family happy and feel like they are being well cared for.  Every Dad wants to have fun with his kids. Dads want to come up with fun things to do, but they may not be creative or havetime to think of things. They don’t have a regular family night because of this worry. The internet is filled with good ideas. The best things we did as a family were activities we all liked to do because no one felt left out.
If your family decides to do something one of your children is not old enough or is too old to do, find a way to make it fun for him/her. Our son often participated in things and events his sisters were fond of doing and they often did the same for him, and rightly so.
The most consistent way to spend time as a family is to have a regular Family Night. For us, this night was scheduled way in advance and was non-negotiable as far as attendance by all family members.
The Link Family Night Rules:
  1. It had to be enjoyable, if not fun for all.
  2. It didn’t need to cost a lot of money, though sometimes there can be special occasions where this will happen.
  3. Dad does not have to plan each family night. Everyone in the family was given one week a month to plan that week’s regularly scheduled night. If you have a little one in the family, ask him/her what they wanted to do for family night and they will tell you. One of our daughters always chose to dress up as princesses and another wanted to color.
  4. Technology was avoided for most family nights.
  5. Mom and Dad’s approval was required.
For a lot more ideas on Family Nights, We highly recommend you listen to our Mom’s Notes presentation
“Building Family Identity” on MP3 or download the PDF. We both (Joey & Carla) share lots of great examples of family nights with things to avoid and things to do.
 
The Link Family Favorites: (Memories)
  • Riding bikes after dinner and Dad surprises all with a stop for ice cream
  • Indoor scavenger hunts during winter months
  • Card games
  • Making up a story with all family members having a part about their favorite superhero – siblings would barter to get to be one of the heroes instead of one of the villains
  • A puppet or stage show all participate in
  • Going to look at Christmas lights then to a special restaurant and have dessert for dinner
Family Night Ideas that are Winners:
  1. Play charades but use Bible characters. Have the “actor” person tell what they remember about that person in the Bible.
  2. Put on a family talent show. Let your kids be creative and you too!
  3. Have a family sing along. Start with silly songs then move to praise songs. Have the older kids write down the songs they like to sing on paper first and see which songs are commonly liked. They have to sing part of the song to make it count.
  4. Read a book together like Little Pilgrim’s Progress or about great Christian men & women of the faith in a version kids would be interested in. The Trailblazer series by Dave and Neta Jackson put an 8-12 yr. old in the life of a great missionary (available on amazon). Have them tell what they learned in the story.
  5. Play favorite board or card games (our family has 3-4 they want to play every time we get together).
  6. Look at old family pictures, albums or videos. While you may be storing your kids pictures on your computer, how often do your kids get to see them? Older kids will have fun remembering what they looked like when they were younger and seeing how they have changed. Have each person point out in a positive way how someone has matured for the good of all.
  7. Go to a Dollar store or mall (when they open again) and give each person $2-$5. Then have them pull a name from a hat and see how they can use that money to buy something that would be special or meaningful for that family member. Remind everyone of 1 Thessalonians 5:11 and ask them how they practice this verse.

It takes work to have a family that enjoys spending time together. If it is your desire to have kids who want to come home for Christmas, who want you to be involved in their lives once they are married, then you need to build memories and family time memories now that will carry over to wanting to recapture those memories when they are adults.

Easter Joy

Easter Joy

Joey & Carla Link

April 8, 2020
Too many times we hear parents say they are too busy to train or spiritually teach their kids because of all the activities and events going on in life. Now that you are all home together, it’s a great opportunity to pass your faith and what you believeon to your kids.
I have always been impressed how Israel, although being enslaved in Egypt for some 200+ years, was able to keep their identity and faith. It was because of these words,
Now this is the commandments, the statutes and the rules that the Lord your God commanded me to teach you, that you may do them in the land to which you are going that you may fear the Lord your God, you and your son and your son’s son, by keeping all his statutes and his commandments all the days of your life.
It goes on to say, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
Deuteronomy 6:1-2,5-9 (ESV)
This is what each family was commanded by God to teach their kids so they would not lose their values, beliefs or faith in Him and there is no better time to talk about what God has done for us than Easter.
  • Read the Easter story to your kids and give them some insight into it. Get some nails and a hammer (ages 6 and up) and lay one of your kid’s hands on the table and ask the others if you should hammer the nails in. You want to give your kids a realistic picture of what God allowed Jesus to go through for each of us.
  • Memorize a Bible verse about Jesus dying on the cross and what it means to live in Heaven forever together as a family. If you have older kids, have them find a few verses to share with the family about what Easter means to them on Good Friday and Easter Sunday.
  • Watch a movie about the Easter story.
  • Have an Easter egg hunt inside or in your yard. We had one color of plastic eggs for each child and got very creative as they got older about hiding them. Our kids loved doing this through their teen years. Write on slips of paper one thing you appreciate about a particular child and put them in his/her eggs. Put treats in some too of course!
  • Spend the rest of the day playing games together. Let each family member pick a game and everyone plays with a good attitude.
With churches across the country closed this Sunday, it is a wonderful opportunity to teach your kids about the free gift of salvation they have or could have by asking Jesus to forgive their sins and invite the risen Christ to come live inside their hearts. (John 3:16) Talk about what “living inside your heart” looks like or should look like. Be creative!
Wishing you and your family the blessings of God as we celebrate Him together this Sunday.

Living in Fear

Living in Fear

Joey and Carla Link

April 1, 2020

The coronavirus has changed everyone’s life. It has made us look at everyone we come into contact with, wondering if they are infected or not. While urban cities are being hit harder than rural areas, that does not erase the global influence or impact of this event on everyone’s heart, mind and spirit no matter where you live. 
One of the worst things a parent can do is to pass the fears of what they hear on to their kids. We often do this in simple ways when we show our fear of heights, or of a mouse who has taken up residence in my kitchen, or things we can’t change like thunderstorms.
Fear is “an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief  that someone or something is dangerous and likely to cause pain.” Simply put, it’s what we believe about something that can cause our fears.
Fear of something or someone, whether the end result is good or bad drives our beliefs which drives our actions.
We heard once that F.E.A.R. is False EvidencAppearing Real.
While this virus is real and is affecting us in monumental ways, the Bible says,
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7). 
I (Joey) had an opportunity to practice this recently. Six weeks ago, I went to our local hospital’s Emergency Room due to pressure in my chest. Things started moving very quickly when the nurse saw my blood pressure was 211.  They admitted me and I spent the night waiting for tests. The next morning we learned that I had 3 clogged arteries around my heart, 2 of which were double blocked. I needed emergency open heart quadruple bypass surgery. There is no history of heart problems in my family and I work out regularly. This was a surprise for all of us!
I remember praying when I had chest pains, and saying, “Lord, If this is it, I am ready to go to heaven with you“. I was immediately flooded with an overwhelming sense of peace. Are you ready? If something happened to you, are you confident heaven awaits you? If so, what is there to worry about? If not, you have a lot to worry about. If you need someone to talk to about this, please email us. We would love to talk to you!
Our daughter Amy was a fearful child. Most children with the Sanguine temperament are because of their overactive imaginations. She feared the lightening that could come through her window in a storm. We have impressive thunderstorms here in the Midwest! When she was 3-5 years old, she would come running to our room with her blanket and would lay down in-between us and we would pray with her. When the storm was over, and they rarely lasted long, she would thank us for loving her and back to bed she would go.
You see, God gave us the way to deal with worry when He says not to be anxious about anything. We are to pray.
Whether or not her fear was justified in our minds, it was a reality to her. We worked with her, comforting her and letting her know we were right there just as Jesus is right there with her all the time. She ended up growing out of it years later, as that is what comes with maturity.
In the same way, as we grow in our faith in God, we don’t need to fear a virus or anything else that comes our way because, as a friend said to me before I went into surgery, “God’s got this!” Which was a great reminder for me that no matter what happens to me, God is in control and Satan can do nothing to us that is not approved by God.
If we, as Christians, are unable to display the peace that is attained through placing our faith and hope in our God, why should we expect the world to want to get to know Him?
As Romans 8:31 says, “If God is for us, who can be against us?” Faith in God conquers all our fears. From soldiers in a fox hole, to the coronavirus, to a little girl afraid of thunderstorms, God is in control and we need to trust and rest in the fact that He will not let anything bad happen to us that is not for our own good.
“And we know that for those who love God, all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”
Romans 8:28

Homeschooling Basics

Homeschooling Basics

By Carla Link

      March 25, 2020

 

Our daughter Briana was chronically ill growing up. Each year she ended up in the hospital. To see if that could beavoided, when she was in 4th grade her doctors decided to pull her out of school trying to avoid colds and flu bugs. So like many of you right now, I learned to homeschool on demand.

Thankfully a friend of ours who was a teacher came to my rescue and helped me get through that year. Since she did stay out of the hospital, we became a homeschooling family when homeschool was just starting to catch parent’s attention.

There are a few non-negotiables for schooling at home just like there are for schooling in any format.

  1. Put a routine on paper that you and your family can stick to.
  • Have non-negotiable times to get up in the morning. Have a rule that your kids have to be dressed and beds made before they come down for breakfast. Give them 30 minutes after breakfast to get their teeth brushed and finish morning chores.
  • Rachelle, our teacher friend suggested I stick to time periods for each subject like they have in school. (If your school doesn’t provide curriculum there are great things available on the internet like Scholastic Adventures you can use for free.)
  • In each day’s time period for each subject, write down what you want your kids to accomplish each day. If you do this weekly it will save you a lot of time.
  • We started with Bible Time/Quiet Times, then moved to their hardest subjects
  • Give them adequate time for each subject. Stick with the amount of time each period has in school.
  • For younger ones, you don’t have to do every subject every day. Where we live they only required Math, Reading, and English every day through 5th
  • I got Science and History books from the library for them to read and did science and art projects during “Project Time” in the afternoon. Have them write a book report on every chapter.
  • If they take piano lessons or play another instrument work practice time into their school day. I know many teachers who are giving lessons online.
  • Do a video exercise program for kids for P.E. Your kids will need to get their restless energy out in a constructive way.
  • Have a Study Hall for the last hour of school. I graded my girls’ daily work during this time so they could make corrections and they could finish any subject they didn’t get done earlier in the day.
  • They do not get free time until they have completed their school work for the day.
  1. Plan a routine for your toddlers and preschoolers. Your school-age kids don’t need the distraction of little ones interrupting them while they are trying to concentrate on school. To help you out with this we are giving away Two of the Mom’s Notes presentations “Structuring Your Child’s Day, Pt.1 and Pt. 2” on MP3 and PDF! Giveaway ends 4/3/20. We know this is a difficult time for everyone and want to encourage you in this uncertain time. 

 

  1. Plan a routine for you.
  • What time do you need to get up in the morning and get your day started?
  • When can you get a load of laundry in the washer?
  • Make your crock or instant pot your new best friend. I loved getting dinner in the crock while my kids ate breakfast and did their morning chores. It gave me such peace of mind to know that dinner was cooking away.

 

  1. Plan into the routine your kids’ free time. What is free about time that is planned? I don’t know about you, but kids who are left to do what they want tend to fight and argue with each other and get into trouble. Having time planned for them to be together with your oversight and time for them to be alone keeps peace in your day. You will find lots more information on this in the Mom’s Notes presentation we are giving away.
  • Your older kids can plan their own free time, but have them write it on paper so they don’t get lazy and stay on their phones.

 

Here is a sample day for a 7 yr. old 2nd grader:

 

7:00 am: Get up, dress, put pj’s away and make bed

7:45 am: Breakfast, morning chores

8:00 am: Bible Time, Quiet Time Devotions for older kids

8:20 am: School starts/Mom gets little ones settled

9:00 am: Math

9:50 am: Break

10:00 am: English

10:30 am: Break

10:45 am: Reading

11:15 am: Finish any work they did not complete above or you could ask each older kid to play with one of their younger siblings while you make lunch

11:45 am: Lunch, lunch clean-up, complete any unfinished morning chores

12:30 pm: Project Time – art

1:30 pm: Free Time – play with Legos

2:30 pm: Play Chutes and Ladders with 5 and 3 yr. old siblings

3:00 pm: Science – watch Cincinnati Zoo’s program online

4:00 pm: Free Time – chooses own activity

4:30 pm: Video Time with siblings

5:00 pm: Sets Table for Dinner & Dinner

6:00 pm: Time with Dad

7:00 pm: Get ready for bed

7:30 pm: Bed, story and prayer time with Mom or Dad

 

Teaching and Training

Teaching and Training

By Joey & Carla Link
March 18, 2020
I (Carla) just gave my 8 year old grandson a piano lesson via Facetime. I had to stop him several times as I was trying to explain a new concept to him, teaching him about musical “ties”. Teaching is “imparting knowledge”. This means teachers know more than the one they are sharing this new knowledge with.
Did my grandson take this new concept I was teaching him and run with it? No, he didn’t, and I had him go over it again and again during our lesson time. Why didn’t he get it? He had information but his brain didn’t have a way of remembering it yet. That’s where training comes in. Training is “learning new skills”. To learn new skills takes practice. You have to do it over and over again, making adjustments when you don’t do it right until you get it down.
Is my grandson excited about this new concept I was teaching him today? No, he wasn’t. He didn’t remember it when I would go back to it because it wasn’t important to him. Like most children, he doesn’t want to learn how to play the piano; he just wants to have fun playing it.
As his piano teacher, it is my job to make sure he learns what he doesn’t want to. That’s where practice comes in. I am requiring him to practice songs with this new concept in it every day this week. By going over it again and again his brain will absorb the way to do it correctly. If I give him at least one song with a tie in the score every week for the next 4 weeks, that will reinforce the concept of “ties” to him. What if a month goes by before I give him another song with a tie in it? Will he remember to play it correctly? Probably not, because I didn’t reinforce that teaching with consistent practice.
If you know how to play the piano can you teach it? Not necessarily. Teaching requires wisdom, which is using “knowledge, experience and good judgement.” I am a good teacher because I know how to read music and play it (knowledge), I have been teaching piano for over 30 years (experience) and I know when a student is and is not ready for a new challenge (good judgement). If you are a new teacher you most likely have knowledge and good judgement. A mentor can help you gain the experience you don’t have.
Let’s apply this to parenting. When your primary form of parenting is to stop your kids when they are doing something inappropriately by yelling at them or talking to them in a firm, abrupt tone of voice, what are you teaching them?
  • Are you giving them new knowledge or reviewing what they already know?
  • Are you showing them how to put this knowledge into practice?
  • Have you consistently reinforced this knowledge with adjustments (correction) or praise?
When my mom was frustrated with my sisters and I, she would say, “How many times have I told you…” If this is your mindset our response is “too many times.” You just keep giving them the same information over and over again, but you haven’t consistently required them to show you they know how to use it.
Every parent is a teacher, for in everything you do or don’t do with your kids, you are teaching them something. Let’s look at what teacher’s do.
  • They share new information.
  • They review information already shared.
  • They require their students to practice using the new or reviewed information.
  • They make adjustments to the way the student is using the information, then they require them to practice using it again.
  • They correct their students when they don’t use the information the right way.
  • They praise the student when he/she uses the information correctly.
Whether you are teaching your child a new skill like making his bed or a character trait like being kind when he doesn’t feel like it, following these steps will ensure your child has the opportunity to get it right.
“Train up a child in the way he should go;
even when he is old he will not depart from it.”
Proverbs 22:6