God gave frogs long tongues to catch their food. They have to be very still and intentional about how they use their tongue, or else they will scare away their dinner and go hungry. Have the kids act out being a frog – jumping around, ribbiting, and sticking out their tongue. Then explain to the children that God has given us very powerful words. The Word says our words are like a sword, and we can either help or hurt others with them. We need to be very wise in how we use our tongues so that we don’t end up hurting those around us or ourselves.
Guarding Your Tongue – Nine out of ten times, when my children come to me to complain about someone else, I discover they are at fault themselves, and they end up getting disciplined for it. It was their ‘mouth’ that revealed there was an issue, and more times than not, the issue was with them. The goal is not to hide things from Mom and Dad but to teach children to choose their words carefully, to build others up and not tear them down. In the days ahead, when your children run to you to tattle-tale on their siblings, lovingly get down on their level and ask, “Honey, do you remember the wise frog? Are you using your tongue wisely right now?”
This lesson was taken from our Character Counts SOAR parenting magazine. If you are interested in more activities, you can purchase your digital copy here: Character Training SOAR Magazine – Let the Children Fly
I lived in Colorado when the Columbine school shooting occurred, and it is a memory that shapes you. As much as we want to shield our children from the evil in the world, there are occasions when the right response is to empower and equip them amid danger and uncertainty.
One summer, our town was hit with deadly wildfires that kept everyone on edge for weeks. A mom came to me for help with her children, who were fighting nonstop and acting out. I asked what she told them about the fire, and she said, “Oh, we are protecting them by not telling them about it.” I lovingly encouraged her to stop lying to her children. The reality is our town WAS in danger, and we were going through REAL fear. To tell a child who feels it in the atmosphere that it is ‘nothing’ robs them of having a sound mind. Their bellies scream one thing while their trusted parent tells them another. This causes them to be confused and feel wildly insecure (hence the acting out). Children do not need to carry the weight of all the gory details, but when tragedy and crisis hit their world, in this case, their schools, parents, you have the privilege and responsibility of walking them through it. There is no doubt when school resumes, there will be talk on the playground. Picture the child who was told it was nothing by their parents and gets an earful from peers yet is expected to carry on in math class with no one to help them interpret what they are hearing. Now picture the child who was told the truth and was allowed to process their concerns and emotions with a loving parent. Which one do you want your child to be?
I encourage you to call a family meeting and talk about what is happening and allow the Spirit to lead you. Age-appropriate details are wise but share the truth, nonetheless. I like to share word pictures that help my children understand big events. In this case, I might ask them if they remember a time where they had a big meltdown and explain that sometimes adults get super upset about things and throw temper tantrums. This is the simplest way to explain the irrational behavior of an adult. Instead of seeing the offender as a big bad scary person, we can expose them for their immaturity and weakness in character. Ask them if they ever remember saying things in anger when they were mad. You can tell them there is a person who threw a big temper tantrum and has made threats with their words. When a child says mean things, they get disciplined for it by a parent, but when an adult makes threats or comments that include being mean to others, it is the policeman’s job to keep people safe.
Now is a GOLDEN time to talk to your children about Jesus being their friend. Role-play how to go to Jesus when they are away from Mom and Dad, feeling scared or afraid. This applies to overnights at a friend’s house, at the mall, or even in their schools. The enemy wants to scream fear at your child through the event, but as parents, we turn to Him and teach our children to declare the name of Jesus. I would highlight the following truths: God is in control. They have police and leaders who take their safety seriously. They are not alone – Jesus is always with them. They can ask Jesus for help. They are not a victim but powerful. I encourage you to walk your child through taking AUTHORITY over THEIR school. Recently, my daughters had to walk through over 20 classmates getting suspended or expelled for vaping. They began to rise up and pray that their school would be a no-vaping campus (out of protection for their friends). They had authority because it was their school. They can declare no weapon is allowed on their campus. Ask God to release angels to protect their school. Pray for the teachers, that they would have a check in their spirit when they need to act on something. Make declarations over their campus regarding kids being safe and protected. Remind them that they are NOT in danger, but the schools were closed to keep them safe. Fill their love tanks often today, which helps them to roll with life’s bumps. Empower them in the face of evil, not to cower in fear, but to smear the power and love of Jesus all over all that belongs to them, which includes their school.
I just want to give a word of encouragement to those of you who are feeling the squeeze and tension of being transformed. One of the hardest seasons to steward is what I call seasons of ‘holy dissatisfaction.’ You have the revelation that there is more and can no longer be content with the former but are not yet in the new. It is like taking your foot off of a rock and not yet landing on the next one. This season is uncomfortable because we have eyes to see that our old ways of operating are no longer working, and we want to grab onto anything familiar and secure. Jesus is your anchor in these seasons. Grab onto Him, His Word, and focus on His presence. It is not up to you to figure everything out. Your job is to be humble and keep your eyes on Him. He is faithful to move us where we need to be. Trust Him in the process. Remember to increase your time spent reading the Word, worshiping, and declaring, “Jesus, I trust You!”
What if, instead of seeing our children as strong-willed little creatures, we see them as powerful world changers? What if, instead of treating them as immature, we treat them as leaders in training? What if, instead of letting their choices affect our comfort level, we put the discomfort back on them to create change? What if, instead of controlling them, we empower them? What if, instead of buying time, we invest in them? What if we call out the greatness in them even when they display their worst? What if we saw their weakness as an area to release heaven instead of partnering with the weakness? What if we stay connected with them at all times.
CHARACTER TRAIT: Handle the word “No”.
WHAT IT LOOKS LIKE IF NOT TAUGHT: “All about me” entitlement attitude, not a joy to be around, create a fear-based environment.
WAYS TO INSTILL THIS INTO A CHILD’S HEART: No means no! Stick to your guns, discipline for arguing, talk to them about why it’s important to obey, and explain that you need to obey authority, too (God/work/police). Read, role-play, and memorize Proverbs 13:1, Luke 11:28, and Colossians 3:20.
God has been growing this message for parents in my heart for almost ten years. It has been a challenging thing to steward as it was so opposite spirit of the current church model for children. This is the birthing of this message as we continue to move into the Kingdom Era which will be marked by parents taking their rightful places of authority.
You can watch here: Children & Church – YouTube
I LOVE the testimonies coming in from our Family Encounter video of children going to their parents and repenting for not coming under their authority. Such a sweet time of cleansing their hearts and reestablishing the covering God has given them. WOW, just WOW!
You can watch it here if you missed it: Family Encounter Night – YouTube