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Is Your Child A Surprise?

Is Your Child A Surprise?

By Joey & Carla Link

February 26, 2020
A couple from my college youth group married. They were very surprised to find a couple months later that they had gotten pregnant on their honeymoon. We know others who thought their families were complete when years later a “surprisepackage” joined their home.
I really like what Rick Warren says in his book the Purpose Driven Life:
“Your birth was no mistake or mishap, and your life is no fluke of nature. Your parents may not have planned you, but God did. He was not at all surprised by your birth. In fact, He expected it.
 
Long before you were conceived by your parents, you were conceived in the mind of God. He thought of you first. It is not fate, nor chance, nor luck, nor coincidence that you are breathing at this very moment. You are alive because God wanted to create you!
 
God prescribed every single detail of your body. He deliberately chose your race, the color of your skin, your hair, and every other feature. He custom-made your body just the way He wanted it. He also determined the natural talents you would possess and the uniqueness of your personality.”
Each child you are given is specially created and designed by God and given to you to raise for the purpose God has for them. The question is, are you raising your children the way that God wants you to? Do you thank God for making your child strong minded knowing God intends for him to be a leader someday? Are you seeking from God how to raise each of your children to help them find their purpose?
Although our four grandkids all came from the same parents, they are intriguingly different! This makes it more challenging for their parents to raise them because when it comes to kids, rarely does “one size fit all”. Oh, how much easier it would be to have a mold you could put kids through to press them out to go the way they are supposed to. God did give us a mold, it is called the Bible! If you raise every one of your children by the principles within it, God will be able to use them as He designed them for!
Even though all your kids are being raised with the same biblical principles, it looks different for each child. Knowing their temperament helps as it gives you perspective on the “bent” of each child. You tell your kids to share their toys with their younger siblings. Your child with the Choleric temperament will give his brother one of his toys, tell him not to break it and walk away. Your child with the Melancholy temperament will take all day to decide which toy to give his brother then will spend the rest of the day showing him how to use it correctly. Your child with the Sanguine temperament will give his brother whatever toy he wants and play with him taking their imaginations to great heights. Your child with the Phlegmatic temperament will give his brother a toy and sit and watch him play without saying a word. All of these examples are demonstrations of kindness.
The problem with raising them with Godly standards takes time! This week, we would like to encourage you to go on a date to talk about your kids, looking at them from God’s perspective and to evaluate and think through the following questions:
  1. How are each of your kids uniquely designed?
  2. Describe each of their unique tendencies both positive and negative
  3. On a scale of 1-5, how well are you training them to build up their uniqueness?
  4. What are their strengths? What are their weaknesses? The opposite of each weakness is a strength. God gave you to them to turn those weaknesses into strengths He can use.
  5. What specific areas do you need to work on with each child to help him/her elevate the strengths God has given them?
  6. What specific weak areas do you need to work on with each child to help him/her develop the way God intended him to be?
Make a list of no more than 5 specific areas to work on with each child, but only work on one at a time until they have it down before moving on to the others on your list. Having a plan of how to work on each weakness and strength is the best way to work together to make this happen.
Training your kids “in the way they should go” as Proverbs 22:6 says, means training them the way God originally intended each one of your kids to be in their uniqueness. The only way you can properly train them is to seek God’s direction by asking Him how He wants to raise each of your kids keeping their uniqueness in mind.

“Understanding Character Training” 

  • Part 1: “Laying the Foundation”   CDNotesMP3PDF
  • Part 2: “Getting to the Heart of Your Child” CDNotesMP3PDF
Mom’s Notes presentations about Temperaments: 
Working with Your Child’s Besetting Sin” (3-Part Series)
  • Pt. 1: “The Choleric: Training the Angry Child” CDNotesMP3PDF
  • Pt. 2: “The Phelgmatic:Dealing with a Child who is Stubborn and Unmotivated and The Sanguine: Working with the Child who Lies’ CDNotesMP3PDF
  • Pt. 3: “The Melancholy: Teaching Your Child to Deal with His Emotions’ CDNotesMP3PDF
The Mom’s Notes are for both Mom & Dad!

Like, Love or Lust?

Like, Love or Lust?

By Joey & Carla Link

February 19, 2020
I still remember the time when I was in 2nd grade and I was handed a folded up piece of paper from a classmate next to me that said on it “Pass to Sally.” The teacher grabbed it and read it aloud. The note said, “I love you, do you love me? Checkthe box yes or no. Signed Mike.” That stopped notes being passed in our class room, but it didn’t stop the feelings between these two second graders.
It’s normal for boys and girls to start liking each other, but when and where do they learn what love is? In 2nd grade the love they know is what they see and feel towards their parents and siblings. When a member of their family says “I love you” it makes them happy so when a friend makes them happy they will say it to them too. What then is “like”? Liking someone is having affection for them. “Liking” develops when you enjoy being around someone and friendship is the result.
When teens say “I love you” to a member of the opposite sex, do they mean it? Perhaps, however, while they may enjoy being around this person, when they think of love at this age guys are often confusing it with lust.
Teen girls allow their feelings to get carried away with wanting to have a boyfriend and all that entails. They may be coming from a home with divorced parents and are looking for someone to replace the consistency of having their dad around. Once their feelings get to a certain point, they confuse it with lovethen girls are vulnerable to physical intimacy.
Most people think of lust as an uncontrollable craving for sex, but lust can also be a strong and powerful craving for anything, including money, popularity and beautiful things. It’s the parent’s job to train their kids to learn to control their desires from toddlerhood, so when lust kicks in, regardless of its origins, they have the mental tools to control it.
Parents have many opportunities to work on kids’ lusts from an early age through teaching them self-control on issues like:
  • Going to their parent when called and saying “Yes Mommy, I’m coming!”
  • Picking up their toys when told to do so
  • When they want to eat more than they should
  • When they are playing with a sibling and the sibling is not playing fair they want to verbally or physically lash out at them.
  • Getting their schoolwork and chores done without reminders
  • Saving up money to buy what they want vs. giving it or loaning them the money to buy it.
  • When they want to wear clothes that are more revealing than you think they should wear.
Teaching kid’s self-control in areas like these are steps to learn to control lusting for things that hover out of their control. Focusing on a relationship between kids of the opposite sex, how can kids know if they are in lust, love or like? It’s like Paul said In I Corinthians 13:7 (TLB):
“If you love someone, you will be loyal to him no matter what the cost.
You will always believe in him, always expect the best of him,
and always stand your ground in defending him.”
Love will wait but lust needs to fulfill its wants and desires immediately.  Love seeks the best in others and never violates others like lust does. Lust has to please its own craving and ultimately only takes and has little left to give.

For teen guys: One of the best verses you can have your 13 (and up) yr. old teen boys memorize to help them with the lust of their eyes is Job 31:1 –

 “I made a covenant with my eyes
    not to look lustfully at a young woman.”
Why is this verse so important? Guys get stimulated through what they see visually. So exposing themselves to images that will make them think immorally is something they need to work on. Here are a couple things I (Joey) shared with our son when he started the puberty years.
  • I always wore baseball caps when I left the house. When my son started looking at girls with a new awareness, I told him to never leave the house without a cap on. Why? When pulled low it blocked your view. I also told him to stare at the ground when he walked in a place where the temptation was great.
  • I always taped football games and fast-forwarded through the halftime show. He understood why.
For teen girls: When I (Carla) took our teen girls shopping when they were in middle school and high school, I found a way to get them to see for themselves if they were dressed modestly or not. When they put on an outfit I would have them look down at the ground and close their eyes and when I counted to 3 look at the mirror and tell me where their eyes went first. I told them that is where boys eyes would first look when they walked by them. I asked them if that was where they wanted them to be looking and they always decided for themselves where exactly they wanted guys’ eyes to go. Our daughters, now young adults tell us that they still do this on occasion when trying on clothes if they are undecided about the modesty of an outfit.
Have your teen girls memorize 1 Timothy 4:12 –
“Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.”
Mom and Dad, how well have you taught your kids to control their desires and emotions? To learn to do this (along with lots of prayer) will give them the best possible chance at victory in this universal temptation.
3 Options for Getting
Dating, Courting & Choosing a Mate, WHAT WORKS?

Love “Pings”

Love “Pings”

Joey and Carla Link

February 12, 2019

 

How do parents explain to their kids what is going on inside them when they start to like a boy or girl of the opposite sex?In the “Dating, Courting & Choosing a Mate, What Works?” teaching we list four “pings” that set apart one particular guy or girl from the rest.

 

The first ping is the “ping” of physical attraction. Surely you all remember how it was when you saw someone of the opposite sex you couldn’t take your eyes off of. While the old saying “beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder” is true, it is your job to help your teen realize “Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting” as Proverbs 31:30 says and it will not sustain a long-term relationship if this is the only “ping”. The rest of the verse says “but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.

 

The second ping is theping” of social attraction. It comes when your teen simply likes being with someone of the opposite sex. They enjoy this person’s sense of humor and/or their intelligence. It’s one thing to be impressed with how someone looks, but it is entirely another to really communicate with each other. Marriages often get in trouble because one spouse’s idea of a stimulating discussion is asking what’s for dinner while the other wants to talk about spiritual or political issues or the like. This spouse’s mate often feels like the other uses his/her intelligence or sarcasm to “lord it over them” and they feel underappreciated and inadequate, this is why this “ping” alone won’t sustain a long-term relationship.

 

The third ping is the “ping” of emotional attraction. They like being with someone who makes them feel good about themselves. They enjoy the compliments they are constantly getting and feel empowered by them. They give their feelings or heart to this person way too fast becoming completely vulnerable to them. The compliments often fade away once the wedding is over so this “ping” alone won’t sustain a long-term relationship.

 

The fourth ping is the “ping” of spiritual attraction. Your teen is attracted to one of the teens on the youth worship team or one in their small group who is always talking about what he/she is learning in their devotions. Being drawn to someone’s spiritual depth and maturity, his/her love for the Lord and how God is the center of their life is hard to ignore. While it is good for a married couple to grow together in their spiritual life, what is most important is the effort you put into your own spiritual growth. This “ping” alone won’t sustain a relationship if it isn’t backed up by the other “pings”.

 

Carla was working with a young gal who was in her senior year of college. She and her boyfriend planned to marry after graduation. Carla talked to her about the idea of these “pings” and after describing them all she went back and asked this young woman to rate how strong each “ping” was for her. The spiritual ping rated very high. When they got to the physical ping, this gal’s response was “all my friends think he is really cute.” Carla was immediately alarmed and realized why. When this girl’s boyfriend would lightly touch her in any way she pushed him away. We knew her boyfriend thought this would change after marriage but Carla was aware it most likely would not. From counseling many married couples with me, she knew this relationship was in deep, deep trouble because no marriage will work unless both spouses are physically attracted to one another, and this couple themselves, were completely unaware.

 

This is why we developed the “Dating, Courting & Choosing a Mate, What Works?” teaching to help equip parents and teens to think through how they can manage a dating relationship with an array of questions and insights to help your young adult find a life partner. We hope you will find it helpful.

 

Mom and Dad, it’s your job to build a relationship of trust with each of your kids as they grow and mature so they will trust you to help them truly get to know someone on a level that leads to wanting to spend the rest of their lives together.

 

 

Please remember, your kids are watching you and your marriage.

They will be looking to copy you or someone else’s marriage they respect.

 

Dating, Courting & Choosing a Mate…What Works? DVD & 2 Workbooks

The Dating Question

The Dating Question

Joey and Carla Link

February 5, 2020

 

It was surprising one day when our son who was in the second grade had a phone call from a girl inviting him to go roller skating with her. We knew there was a couple’s dance during the event where they would hold hands and skate around.We were pretty sure this was her plan in getting him to commit to “going together”. You read that right – second grade. They were 7 years old!
Are you ready for when your child gets asked out on a date or when your son or daughter wants to start dating? We don’t think any Christian parent truly is.
When it comes to dating, do you have guidelines or a plan to work from? Or do you think you will wait and deal with it when the time comes? We have found that most parents have expectations of what their kids will or won’t do when they are on a date, but they have not articulated it to their kids (or themselves) before they get hit up by their kids with the big question, “So, can I go?”
When I (Joey) was a youth pastor, I started working on how to help teens and college kids have confident dating experiences when I saw how frustrated they were in their lack of understanding about the dating experience. I was surprised to find these teens didn’t feel comfortable talking with their parents about dating, even though one day they would want to bring “that special one” home to meet their parents.
All this is why we put together a 2-part video with a 50 page workbook titled “Dating, Courting & Choosing a Mate, What Works?” Filmed before an audience of parents and teens, it’s designed to help both groups get on the same philosophical and practical page of what would work for them in their dating experience.
I remember when our son was interested in a girl that grew up in a strong Christian family who had a very different dating philosophy than we did. It was challenging to work through the different viewpoints to get to agreeable standards that would work for both families. While in this process, our son decided the differences were too great and the dating relationship ended soon after.
We have heard from many families over the years how this 2 part video series helped them think through both courting and dating in a whole new way. Many have said they were thankful to see the differences in the differing standards families could have and how confusing it can be to see that since the Bible doesn’t have a lot to say about dating itself, there is no right or wrong philosophy. These families have told us this resource helped them find their own dating philosophy that would work for their families.
One Dad wrote us the following note after going through the session because his ten daughters were being asked out.
“My wife and I were having trouble figuring out how to give our kids an overall picture of dating. Joey and Carla gave us a grounded, logical approach that goes way beyond just teaching them the importance of remaining pure. “Dating, Courting & Choosing a Mate, What Works?” shares 4 levels of getting to know the opposite sex and how your teens can determine what each level should look like in the relationship they are in, looking to us for guidance along the way. My wife and I appreciate understanding how we and our teens can work together to make wise decisions regarding who their life-mate will be.”
Whether you use this teaching or not, we hope you will get prepared with a blueprint for the framework you want to use when your kids get to be teenagers. You will want to be ready to help them learn how to go through the process of finding a life mate that will help them live for Christ and bring glory to God through both their dating and marriage relationship. The day will come when they come to you and say “So, can I go?”

 

Dating, Courting & Choosing a Mate…What Works? DVD & 2 Workbooks

Honest Mistakes

Honest Mistakes

By Joey & Carla Link

January 29, 2020
I (Joey) was intrigued when I read a story about Lee Ann Walker a professional woman’s golfer. While playing in a tournament in 2019 after taking 8 years off from the sport, she learned she didn’t know about a rule change that said hercaddie could no longer line up her shot, which she had been allowing him to do. When another golfer told her about the rule change half way through the tournament, she on her own initiative went to the tournament directors to tell them what she had done and to ask them how to right the wrong.
Lee Ann made an honest mistake. What is that? An “honest mistake”is “a mistake made unintentionally or unknowingly and without the intention of causing harm; a mistake that anyone might have made in similar circumstances.” If your kids were confronted with an issue they didn’t know they were doing wrong, would they on their own initiative try to make it right? If there was a consequence, would they take it graciously?
How to help a child own his mistakes:
  1. Children need to climb over their feelings of failure and realize everyone makes mistakes. This can be especially hard for a child with the melancholy temperament.
  2. When a child makes a mistake, he/she needs to own it to clear his guilty conscience, apologize to get rid of it and to make the offense right with the person he offended.
  3. The question to ask a child is “What is stopping you from owning up to the fact you made a mistake?” Is it pride, selfishness?
  4. Help them realize it’s their choice to apologize quickly for a simple mistake or as a consequence for not being willing to do the right thing, to miss out on fun the family has planned.

One of the hardest things to teach kids is to take ownership of something they did that has caused a mess or an offense with another when they don’t think they have done anything wrong. We used to tell our son when dealing with one of his sisters, “You said something that hurt her feelings. It doesn’t matter if you didn’t intend to, it doesn’t matter if you think she should toughen up. What matters is she is sitting in her room crying. What do you think you should do about that?”

Kids (8 years and above) need to learn to see themselves honestly, as others see them. Do you have a child who is mean-spirited, rude or obnoxious to his siblings but kind and gracious to others? When we dealt with this with our kids they lost the freedom of being with their friends until they could show us they could be kind to their siblings.
If kids don’t learn to see themselves through an honest lens of reality, they will grow up to be prideful, arrogant adults.
By the way, Lee Ann Walker, the professional golfer we talked about in the beginning of this blog received 58 penalty strokes for all the times she hit the ball her caddie had lined up for her. That is the most any professional golfer has ever received in a major tournament! Her response?
“I wasn’t mad; I wasn’t upset,” said Walker. “Setting the record for the most penalty points ever isn’t exactly the record you want in golf, but at that point what can you do? Obviously, it’s my fault for not knowing the rule changes before I entered the tournament.”
There are consequences to breaking rules whether you know you are breaking them or not. They help us learn the right thing to do and remember not to do it again. We doubt Lee Ann will ever enter a tournament without checking the rule book again. What do you think?
“Learn to do good, seek justice, fight oppression.”
Isaiah 1:17