By Joey and Carla Link
April 14, 2021
My (Carla’s) roommates and I piled into Prudence, the name we all gave the pink and white 1957 Ford my grandparents loaned me during my college years. They lived about 30 minutes from the university we attended, and my roommates loved visiting them with me. We did our laundry while there and enjoyed the plates of freshly-baked cookies that were always waiting for our arrival.My grandparents were not raised to believe in and have a relationship with God. They became Christians at one of Billy Graham’s first tent crusades in Los Angeles, California. They didn’t talk about their faith much, but they faithfully attended church and read their Bibles. My grandmother, in every letter or card she wrote me always ended it the same way. She would write out this verse, found in Proverbs 3:5-7. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight. Be not wise in your own eyes, fear the Lord and turn away from evil.” “Trust in the Lord with all your heart.” Can I trust in God with all my heart? Can your kids trust you with all their hearts? Let’s look at what trusting you looks like for your kids.Trust is a “firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, integrity, or strength of someone or something.” (Webster’s Dictionary) Trust does not involve questioning. When you tell your kids to do something, they should not question your authority (your right to tell them what to do) or the specifics of your instruction unless they need clarification on what you are telling them to do. Trust = obedience. Your kids should obey you because they don’t have any reason not to. So why don’t your kids obey you? Surely they trust you, don’t they?
Trust = preparedness. When you tell or ask your kids to do something, or when they ask you for permission to do something they want to do, are you sure they are prepared to do it? Oftentimes we are too busy to think through all the ramifications of what we are sending our kids out to do, whether we are giving them an instruction or giving them permission for something they asked about. A lack of preparedness confuses your kid’s trust in you. Trust = emotional security. Your child’s emotions sit on a shelf, waiting to see if it is okay for him/her to pick them up and use them. These emotions include being kind, patient; self-control, manners, love; to have courage, bravery, steadfastness, security, and most of all, trust.
When one of your child’s emotions gets bruised or abused, he/she puts it back on that shelf but this time, it is placed in a box where it is a little harder to get to. If that same emotion is taken out again but it does not lead to emotional security for your child, this time it will be placed in the box and the lid of the box will be closed. The next time that same emotion is abused? The box will be locked. The emotion will not be taken out again by your child until he feels his heart will be safe if he does. Until then, when he needs it, let’s say the courage to try something for example, he will fall apart because he can’t find it or get into it on his emotions shelf in his heart. Trusting God with all your heart is trusting Him with your emotions too. It is firmly believing He will give you courage, perseverance, endurance and other character traits when you ask Him for them. How can you teach and prepare your emotionally sensitive kids that they can trust God to give them the character they need at the time they need it?1.Pray with them. Gather your child who needs to love someone who has hurt him in your arms and pray with him/her and for him to believe God will give him what he cannot find in his heart to do on his own. · Ask him for one thing he can do in that moment to show love to this person.· Tell him that is all he needs to do, just that one thing for now.· Watch to see how the one who hurt him/her reacts when approached by this child.· If the reaction your child gets is negative and is from one of his siblings, encourage the child who tried to show love that he did good, and privately take the other sibling aside and have him sit until he is ready to apologize. 2. Get books for them on how to be brave and kind and other emotional traits.· Give your child books they can hold in their hands and have access to at all times. They will read them again and again.· The Berenstain Bears have wonderful books on teaching kids character traits as do many of the Veggie Tales DVDs. Walmart has the very best selection of these book/DVDs. They also have the DVD-Character Builders which is excellent as well. If you have an emotionally sensitive child these books are well worth the investment.