By Joey and Carla Link
March 31, 2021
I (Joey) looked out the window and saw that the snow had melted and I was surprised to see fresh green grass popping up today. Now that spring has sprung, I started to wonder what is cropping up in the hearts of kids? What new influences could be starting to take root in your child’s mind and heart?Here is a list of some things that are typical yet parents often don’t see
- New words, terms or phrases become part of their language. They pick them up from friends at school, church, social media, the internet and television. Are these words sarcastic, cruel, meant to tear down and make one feel bad about themselves or are they uplifting, gentle, fun-loving and meant to make one feel good about themselves? Are they words that fit with your family standards and please God? If your kids are using words that tear down instead of lift up, take away the freedom to speak for a few hours (8 yrs and up).
- They stop saying “Yes Mom/Dad” when you call their name. When our son was about 11 yrs. old, he said “yes” but dropped the Mom/Dad. We could see a slide in his behavior and attitude but couldn’t figure out where it was coming from. One of our girls overheard us talking about it and told us he stopped saying “Yes Mom/Dad”. We called his name and sure enough, all we got was “Yes”. While this may not seem like a big deal to many of you because it was after all, still polite, the point is – who changed the family standard? We made sure he understood he didn’t have the freedom to make that decision and soon the son we knew was in there somewhere came out again.
- They start leaving things done partway they used to do completely. After making them go back and re-do things for weeks on end, Carla had our kids all gather upstairs and had them make their beds and she timed each of them doing it. They all made them the way they had been taught in under 3 minutes. She asked them why they couldn’t find 3 minutes every morning to make their bed before they came down for breakfast. She took them around the house and repeated this exercise with all their chores until they were all asking for our forgiveness for not getting their things done completely.
- It’s light outside later, so they think they should be able to stay up later. Did they ask to talk about making their bedtime later or do they just decide themselves to make it so? Again, maybe we should have titled this “Who Decides?” It would be one thing to ask if they could have a later bedtime, or if they could read for 30 minutes before it was light’s out, but they didn’t. When our kids tried this, we had them go to bed even earlier to show them asking for a freedom is always better than taking one.
- They want the same freedoms their friends have. As they near the end of another grade in school, they see their friends have more freedoms than they do and they think they should have the same freedoms too. We asked our kids to write down the freedoms their friends had they didn’t, and then we would look for one we could give them. They knew if they took more freedoms they didn’t have they would lose that one so they stuck to their boundaries like glue.
Spring is a fun time to see newness of life. We want to plant things and watch them grow. It is a great time to plant new Godly character into your children’s hearts. Don’t forget you have to weed those planters too, whether they are flowers or food. If you don’t, the weeds will take over and squeeze the life out of the good plants. That’s what sin does to us and our kids if left unchecked. What kind of behavior issues do you need to refocus on with your kids to be sure the Biblical principles you have been putting into their hearts are taking root? At times our kids need some fertilizing or weed killer to put in their funnels of irresponsibility before these roots grow too deep. It’s always easier to hold back some of their freedom’s until you know they are ready for them vs. trying to take freedoms away once they have had them. What new things are your kids starting to notice or do that could grow bad roots? Are they good, holy and honorable things, or could they bring some bad, sinful irresponsible corrupting tendencies into your child’s life and your home?