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What Not to Do

Are your kids getting on your nerves? Do you wonder why you have to tell your kids to do the same thing over and over and over again? Why can’t your kids get along? The baby is screaming again and you have no idea what made you think you could handle another child. So, are you discouraged in your parenting?

Someone recently put on facebook an interesting article titled “21 Things Spiritually Strong People Don’t Do.” As I was reading it, I thought about what spiritually strong parents shouldn’t do. For the sake of space, I narrowed it down to:

Things Spiritually Strong Parents Don’t Do –


Rush to a Solution without Prayer

This should be the first and the last thing on this list. Spiritually strong parents pray. Did you get that? They pray – without ceasing. The only way to know if you are doing the right thing when parenting your kids is to be covered in prayer. Ask a few elderly ladies at your church to be your personal prayer circle. They will be delighted to be asked and you will be surrounded by prayer warriors. When giving them a specific request, tell them the truth. They won’t think less of you for not being perfect.  (I Thessalonians 5:17)


Ignore the advice of others

Spiritually strong parents look to those who have gone before them for advice and counsel. There is no excuse for going it alone. There are always parents who have kids older than yours who can spare you from making their mistakes. Don’t be afraid to ask. (Proverbs 13:13)


Reject help when it’s offered

There is no glory in being a lone ranger, especially when things are tough. Not only should you accept help when it is offered, spiritually strong people know when to ask for it as well. People don’t offer because they don’t know what the need is. People respect those who humbly ask for help and are gracious when they receive it. (Proverbs 21:21)


Resist change when it’s called for

Life is full of transitions. Things are going well with one of your kids and then he goes through a normal, age-related transition and everything is turned upside down. Why? “Transition” has a one word definition, and it is “change”. When kids go through a transition, they drag their parents through it too, willing or not. These changes are on top of transitions such as a move, new baby added to the family, new job, loss of job and so forth. Change is a normal part of life. Wise parents learn to pro-actively embrace it.

(Luke 12:22-25)


Be defined by what other people say about them 

Women love to pick each other apart – behind one’s back, of course. Why? We do this because we think it makes us look better. To whom? God? In His mind it makes us look worse. You give gossips victory when you let them get to you. When it comes to parenting, the only people you need to be defined by are God and your spouse. Your children have minds of their own from the moment they draw their first breath. When you least expect it and when you least want it, they are going to do something (intentional or not) that will embarrass the socks off you. The quicker you get over it and let it go the quicker others will as well. It is your choice.

(Romans 1:29-32)


Well, I think this is enough for one sitting, don’t you? If one or more of these applies to you in a negative way, pray about it and ask God how you can turn it into a positive thing.

With Responsibility Comes Freedom

With Responsibility

Comes Freedom

by Joey and Carla Link

© 1996,2002



One Saturday morning when our son Michael was about 13 years old, a friend called and asked him to go play ball with him. Michael asked me if he could go. I had gotten into the habit of hounding Michael to get his stuff done, as he couldn’t seem to ‘remember’ to do it on his own. I was totally exasperated with this, so instead of starting in on the list of things I knew he needed to get done, I said, “I don’t know Michael, can you go?”  He frowned, and said, “Well, I haven’t done my chores yet, and I have a report due next week in school I haven’t started working on.” He went on to list the responsibilities he had yet to fulfill that day. Meanwhile, I was thinking, “That stinker, he knows exactly what he is supposed to do, so why do I keep reminding him?” After finishing his list of unfinished tasks, he asked, “So, can I go?”

I couldn’t believe he had the audacity to ask, and shared this with him. He explained that if I said “Yes,” I would be giving him permission to finish his tasks later. ‘Later,’ by his definition, meant when his Dad or I got on his case to get them done. If I said “No,” then he would start arguing with me, telling me how unfair I was until I either gave in or got made enough to send him to his room.

I told him I would leave the decision up to him (This was divine intervention as there was much more I wanted to tell him, better left unsaid). This did not sit well with my son. He finally told his friend he did not have the freedom to play ball that day.

Joey and I were leading a Growing Kids God’s Way parenting class at the time, and soon after this incident, while watching the video in class one night, a phrase jumped out at us, and although we had been leading classes for many years, we were sure we had never heard it before. “With responsibility comes freedom.” We looked at each other and said, if Michael is so irresponsible, why does he have so many freedoms? We both started jotting down the freedoms he had, and finally understood why he didn’t feel compelled to get his responsibilities completed. Let’s just say his freedoms way overpowered his responsibilities by a long shot.

What freedoms have you willingly granted your kids because you want them to be happy? What percentage of the time is your child responsible with his chores, cleaning up after himself and doing his schoolwork? If it isn’t very high, then perhaps you haven’t even begun to use “loss of freedom/privilege” as a consequence in a way that will get to your child’s heart yet!

Love Is…


by Joey & Carla Link


“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude.

It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;

it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.

Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” (NIV)



Before we talk about what love looks like, let’s talk about what love is NOT.


  1. Never show your appreciation for anything your spouse does for you(“Do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.” Philippians 2:4)


  1. Nag and whine when things aren’t going your way. (“A nagging wife annoys like constant dripping.” Proverbs 19:13)


  1. Never admit that you are wrong, but be sure and rub it in your spouse’s face when he/she makes a mistake.  (“Love forgets mistakes, nagging about them parts the best of friends.” Proverbs 17:9)


Now let’s look at ways you can show your spouse you DO love him/her.


  1. Be an encourager.  When I (Carla) get discouraged, it is usually because I am overwhelmed with criticism.  For me, the issue is not that I can’t handle criticism. It becomes a problem when it is not balanced with encouragement.  During these times, I get so overwhelmed with my ‘faults’ (as others perceived them) that I lose confidence in my strengths.  Charlie Shedd, in his book Letters to Karen states, “Tell your husband he is wonderful.  You can only tell him he isn’t wonderful where he isn’t if you have already told him he is wonderful where he is!” 


I am greatly encouraged by my husband when he praises me in front of others.  At these times I feel highly esteemed by him, and I know he feels the same when I share his good traits and praise him in front of others too. It is not enough however to only praise our spouses in front of others.  Unless we are continually encouraging him in the privacy of our homes, especially in front of the children, public praise will seem false and insincere.  “Think about things that are pure and lovely, and dwell on the fine, good things in others.” (Philippians 4:8)


  1. Have realistic expectations.  We all have expectations of each other.  I expect Joey to know what I am thinking and feeling without having to express it and vice versa.  Much of the conflict we have experienced in our marriage has been a result of unrealistic, unspoken expectations.  We finally learned to share our expectations and at the same time express to each other how we need those expectations to be met.


It has helped me a lot to have these thoughts regarding my expectations:


v Is there any way he can meet them? (Or am I demanding what he is unable to give?)

v Will he have to compromise too much of what he thinks and believes to meet me on this?  (Is the price too high?)

v Am I being selfish?


  1. An old saying goes, Do not remove a fly from your friend’s forehead with a hatchet.  In other words, don’t rub your spouse’s mistakes in his face. Joey may have said something that was insensitive and although he apologized for it, I won’t let it go and my actions and attitude show it.


Another old saying goes, “A real friend is a person who, when you’ve made a fool of yourself, lets you forget it!”  Where do we get the freedom to withhold forgiveness when it is asked of us, or if we grant forgiveness, to choose not to ‘forget’ the offense?  Does Christ refuse to grant us forgiveness when we ask Him for it? “If we confess our sin, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sin, and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (I John1:9) Does God, once forgiveness is granted ‘remember’ the sin and continually bring it back to us? “Their sins and lawless acts I remember no more.” (Hebrews 10:17) When we refuse to grant forgiveness until we are ready, or won’t ‘forget’ his sin when we let him know we do forgive him; we are setting ourselves above God’s willingness to do so, and this is unacceptable.


When you need to talk with your spouse about something you know he isn’t going to want to hear, ask yourself first, does he need to hear this?  Is there a better time or way I could approach him with this? “…Convince, rebuke, and encourage with the utmost patience…” (2 Timothy 4:2)


So, how can you communicate love to your spouse? Your perspective and your attitude towards your spouse and your marriage all depend on one thing: Your perspective and your attitude.  Remember, you can only change yourself. As your perspective and your attitude move from negative to positive, what once seemed horrible and ugly to you will become beautiful and wonderful. 


It would be well if our spouses could say of us,

“I have come to have much joy and comfort in your love.”

(Philippians 1:7)


This article was taken from the Mom’s Notes presentation, “Is Your Spouse Your Best Friend?” (Volume 1) This presentation is on sale until February 28, 2014. Buy the Notes for $5.00/ and get the CD teaching for free!

What, Why and How

What, Why and How

by Joey and Carla Link

January 2014



Your child misbehaves. You don’t know what you should do. Parents should not discipline their children unless they are sure their child not only knows what he did that was wrong, but why it was wrong. This means you need to take time to train your children.


Training has 3 steps. They are:


  1. Training is teaching – “Whatis information. Your 4 year old son hits his sister. You tell him he can’t hit his sister because it is not kind. Does he understand what being kind is? I look definitions of words up to explain them to kids. The dictionary says “kind” means to be loving, affectionate. “Why do I have to be kind to her?” wails your son. “Whycomes from the Bible. Ephesians 4:32 tells us to be kind and tenderhearted towards others. “Why” we are kind is because God said it is important we act this way.


  1. Training is showing – After you share the “what” and the “why” with your child, you need to show him “how” to put this information into action. “What could you do right now to show your sister you love her? “How” he shows her he loves her is to apologize for hitting her. When apologizing, he should tell his sister hitting her was wrong, why it was wrong and how he wants to make it right with her. To do this, he needs to share the toy she wants to play with.


  1. Training gives consequences – Once your child understands what he did that was wrong and why it was wrong, he needs to be disciplined the next time he hits someone. Discipline guides and corrects. It motivates your child to do the right thing the next time he is tempted to hit in anger. When training your child in a new behavior, it works best for you and your spouse to decide ahead of time what the consequence will be when he needs it.


Plan training opportunities based on what each of your children is lacking in. Galatians 5:22-23 shares the fruits of the Spirit, meaning what our lives should show once we have asked Jesus to live inside us. Is your child loving? Is he kind, patient, gentle? Is he characterized by self-control? If not, pick one and put a plan together to train him.



Sharing the Bathroom

Sharing the Bathroom

by Joey and Carla Link

January 2014


 Do you have kids that just don’t seem to get along at times? At times they seem to be best friends, but when it comes to sharing a bedroom or a bathroom, they just can’t seem to work out their differences. You can set shower schedules and bathroom times but for one reason or another (one’s alarm didn’t go off, it took longer do her hair that morning), things don’t go according to the schedule for one, which puts the other one behind, which sets him/her off, which sets you off, which frustrates the whole family. Maybe one leaves his dirty clothes on the floor or forgets to hang up his towel, or only half the clothes make it into the clothes hamper, so the next person to go into the bathroom has to put the rest of theirs in the hamper. Or, one leaves the toothpaste cap off, or doesn’t put the tooth brush back in its spot, or one leaves her hair stuff on the counter.  Need we say more? Can you tell we have lived through this?!

Sharing a bathroom is when a number of issues can come up which frustrates us as parents and we react to them vs. looking at it as a teaching opportunity. Yes, it’s easy to get frustrated (and none of us are exempt from this) because you know you have taught each one what they are supposed to have done in that given situation or at least you have given them the principle to think through. But your kids aren’t thinking it through. When they don’t think it through, this is your perfect opportunity to help them learn and grow some more, which will most likely cause some growing pains for them and time and energy for you.

When one child doesn’t put the toothpaste away or doesn’t get her clothes in the hamper where they belong, or he doesn’t get out of the bathroom on time – what is a parent supposed to do? Have a chat with the ones involved after they are home from church or school or wherever they had to go in such a hurry. This gives everyone time to calm down and get perspective. We would share with them this terrific verse in Romans 12:10. Assuming they are in 3rd grade on up, have each of them read this verse from their own Bibles.


Be devoted to one another in love.

Honor one another above yourselves.



Be devoted to one another in brotherly love;

give preference to one another in honor.”



Ask your children what “Be(ing) devoted to one another in love,” means? Have them look the word ‘devoted’ up in the dictionary. Ask them each to share one way they can ‘be devoted to their sibling in love’? Then have them look the word ‘honor’ up. Ask each child:

  • What it means to “Honor someone above yourself?”
  • How does he/she demonstrate honor to each other in the bathroom?
  • Is leaving things out on the counter, not hanging up one’s towel or being out of the bathroom on time showing devotion and honor to each other?
  • Do they think they should work on it because of this verse? OR, Because you tell them to? Why?
  • Then why does it continue to be a problem?


If your kids get silly or won’t talk, give them a few minutes to write their answers on paper and read them aloud when they are finished. Have them write on paper two ways they are going to show honor to each other. They need to show you what they wrote down but they don’t have to show it to their sibling – let the sibling be surprised!

Your goal Mom and Dad, is not to set their schedules (assuming they are old enough to do this for themselves). Your goal is to help them think through what is happening and how they can work this out on their own. You are preparing them for college dorm life and sharing a bathroom with a husband or wife someday. You want them to show preference to their roommate and spouse. You want them to honor their roommate and spouse by giving him/her first choice. Where do your children learn to do this other than in your home? Teach them to live with their siblings and show them the same honor, respect and preference as they each expect to be treated with.

Be positive Mom and Dad! This is a training time, not a disciplining time.  Be prepared to share with them how you see them devoted to each other as siblings so they know you see the good with the bad.


Ah, sharing the bathroom…your kids’ future spouses will thank you!


DID YOU KNOW the Mom’s Notes presentations, “Dealing with Sibling Conflict, Part 1 & Part 2”  CDs/Note set are on sale this month? “Dealing with Sibling Conflict, Part 1 and Part 2” – $15.00/SALE $10.00