I cannot think of a safer place for a child to be in than the wells of deep love from their family. Go love deep today!
I have a great teaching tool with magnets for parents to teach children about the pull of connection in our hearts. I was so excited when I received this testimony from a mom taking our class. Kids understand this language!
“For the last two days, my son has shown me how magnets attract one another… I had not done this demonstration of attraction with him yet. Thank You, Father, for opening a door for sharing that beautiful lesson. A little later in the day, my son told me I was pushing him away like a magnet. Boom! Yes, son, I was. I’m sorry. Here is what you were needing. The way you were asking for it pushed me away. Let’s flip our magnets and connect again.”
I have a family of five people. That means we have five different journeys, opinions, and experiences. My goal is not to have my children look, act, and talk just like me but to figure out how to do life together in unity because I trust God put us all together for a unifying purpose. I need them as much as they need me. Marrying our differences to make us better people. I do not tolerate things like slamming doors, screaming “I hate you,” or a child feeling isolated in my home. I have core values for unity, connection, and peace. Not superficial peace that suppresses one’s heart but actually processing things so that peace is the organic fruit. I believe my heart for my family comes from the Father’s heart for His family.
A friend sent this to me. Boy, is it relevant for today!
“Early on in parenting, I noticed how powerful it was to communicate my love toward my children with a glance. It happened one day when I was looking at my sweet toddler with such delight in my heart and eyes, and I could somehow literally see the impact move down his whole body. It was as if he swallowed my delight through his eyes like a delicious piece of chocolate cake that would fill his belly for days. Later I learned that there is brain science that explains the power of forming bonds and connections through eye contact. Our eyes and expressions do not lie like words can. Expressing sincere love and delight in someone through a glance carries incredible power. Specifically, when we make left-eye-to-left eye contact with someone, we are able to connect in a more powerful way because the left side of our bodies is connected to the right hemisphere of our brains, and the right brain is the relational side of our brain. Knowing this continued to fuel my intentionality to communicate my heart toward my children through my eyes, facial expressions, and voice tone. It has been a beautiful thing to watch the power an expression of love can have on a person – it can uplift, fill, satisfy, calm, and settle all in one moment. Just this year, I was driving my boys to school, and as I dropped them off, my youngest gave me the most amazing, long goodbye glance, expressing such joy in seeing my face before he took off. It filled my whole body with peace, satisfaction, and joy. The next day, I longed for that connection with each of my kiddos before they were off for the day. I made a point to look them each in the eyes as they got out of the car and told them, not only with my words but with my glance, how much I loved and enjoyed them. It was beautiful. I could tell that even my oldest son, who was slightly hesitant to look me in the eyes, was blessed by it. Ever since that day, I have made a point to connect in this way with my children before they leave for the day. It is such a small thing, yet it sets them up to start their day in a relational and secure place – knowing that they are seen and deeply valued – as they go out into the world.”
Ephesians 2:14 – “For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility.”
This word is in reference to the Jews and Gentiles and the relationships of the five-fold ministry, all working together, not divided. If this verse is for nations and opposing people groups, SURELY, it is applicable to our families as well. Next time you have two sibling groups that are walking in disunity and conflict, show them this verse and remind them that Jesus is their peace and He has destroyed the inability to work together!!!!!
A mom shared: “My husband was verbally praising one of our daughters. Just moments later, she was in an angry outburst toward one of her siblings. When we asked her what was going on inside her after we had just spent the time telling her how wonderful she was, she responded, ‘Words of affirmation is my lowest love language. You guys saying all that great stuff about me didn’t do anything for me.’ Yikes! But she was right and honest. It was a big wake-up call.”
Lisa’s response: May I add to that? Intentionally filling her up with a different language triggered her because it reminded her that *her* language was not being spoken. It is like you are craving chocolate, and someone gives you a fish. Fish is good for you, but it triggers your longing for chocolate. While words of affirmation is always a good thing, because her tank was low, it actually had a negative effect. I think that is what was behind her anger at that moment. Love that she was able to articulate it so well and that you could hear her heart. Go for her language to get a bulls-eye into her heart.
I love how this mom took the love languages quiz and put it into action! Love is a verb.
“Since taking the love languages quiz, we have implemented daily times with each other as a family. Each day, my husband and I spend 10 minutes with each child and 30 minutes with each other. The kids have 10 minutes with each other as well. One day a week, we have ‘dates’ – we each spend 1 hour with each kid and 1-2 hours with each other. It has been a game-changer. A month or so ago, my son said, ‘I think the reason we are so close and connected is because of our 10 minutes.’”
Do you have an issue with hurtful words (and tones) in your family? Try this teaching exercise.
Teach Proverbs 15:1. Get a really fancy plate at the thrift store. Speak in a soft, gentle tone and explain to the children the dish is like a person’s heart and how careful we need to be with it. When they least expect it say something hurtful in a sharp tone and smash the plate to the ground (this works great in the garage on a tarp). They will be shocked that you just did that. Begin to put the pieces back together again but show them that you can’t. Share with them that once our words are spoken, we can’t take them back, and sometimes we say things in a way that hurts their heart. Another great way to do it is with a tube of toothpaste. Have the kids squeeze it out on wax paper. After a few moments of fun, ask them in a serious tone to put the toothpaste back in the tube. No matter how hard they try, they won’t be able to. Explain that the tube is like their mouth, and we have to be careful what comes out because we can’t put it back in.
**Obviously, there is always forgiveness, and God is faithful to clean up our mistakes and messes when we ask for help, but this teaching focuses on teaching children to be wise with their words. In the days ahead, when you hear them speaking to one another in a harsh tone, ask them if they want to deal with the mess their tone will create if they continue. Chances are, if they aren’t able to change, it could be that their tone is revealing a deeper hurt between siblings that need to be addressed.
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
As a parent, how does this story make you feel? Johnny walks up to his younger sister, minding her own business, punches her, and then tells her she doesn’t belong in the family. OUCH! What if mom walked in and got all the other siblings against Johnny, making him feel like the outsider, as if his bad attitude meant he no longer belonged? This is the recipe for some serious family dysfunction and pain. Johnny’s behavior clearly needs to be addressed because it is not in alignment with God’s heart, but he is operating out of being an orphan and needs the love of a Father, not rejection. This would not be okay in our family and should not be okay in God’s family. Can’t you see? It is not a gay/straight, John/Beth, He said/She said, Kanye/Church, Pastor/Flock issue. This is a dividing issue from the enemy bent on destroying God’s family. DO NOT PLAY THE GAME. Do not pick sides. Do not pick a winner because if there is a winner, there must be a loser, and we do not treat family that way.
There are only two camps of people – those who are Sons/Daughters and those who are still operating as orphans (even Christians can be orphans). If Johnny does not have eyes to see his sister’s worth, then he needs a revelation from God. The Bible says people cannot see because they have scales on their eyes. Isaiah 44:18 reads, “They know nothing, they understand nothing; their eyes are plastered over so they cannot see, and their minds closed so they cannot understand.” Your prayers that the scales from a brother’s eyes be removed will be more effective than your social media posts against him. If you are taking sides and have not prayed for the scales to be removed from his eyes, then you could very well be just as guilty of participating in dividing God’s family. We are ONE family. ONE Body. If a brother and sister argue, they need love, not sides. I ache over the words spoken against family members, but I want to be an agent of restoration (through prayer), not further division. Which side are you on? Neither! We are on the same side, serving the same God as ONE Body.
We were watching a movie one night, and the character made this comment. I made the kids rewind it so I could hear it again. “The most severe punishment in any country is solitary confinement.” PARENTS, WE HAVE GOT TO GET OUR CHILDREN OUT OF ISOLATION! Moms and dads, we are fierce over our children, and now is the time to rise up and fight for them in your family room.
Here are some ways to help them connect with others: Know their love language – take the test and talk about it as a family. Siblings are a lifeline for their sense of belonging right now. Help them learn how to get along, play games, and enjoy each other. Have them call or text a friend DAILY. We limit phone time in our home, but I will ask them, “Have you reached out to someone today?” or we will all meet in the family room and have friend time with everyone texting their friends, me included. Set up weekly ZOOM meetings with their closest friends so they can see them. Set up creative outlets with other families, such as play dates, meeting at the park, or doing school at each other’s houses. Get to know your neighbors and get involved. Give hugs DAILY! Get in the habit of looking into their eyes – not in a staring contest but in the exchange that happens when there is eye contact. Set up pen pals amongst classmates and friends. Ask grandparents, cousins, aunts, and uncles to set up weekly calls, FaceTime, or write letters. Take them with you to the store or outings so that they interact with others. Make sure they are out getting out every day for something (even for a walk around the block). Read more books helping to engage their minds on creative subjects such as cooking, arts, crafts, music, etc. Biographies are great as it connects them to their life. Watch more documentaries! Ask other parents to form a small group and come up with creative ways to keep the kids interacting (pen pals, ding-dong-door-ditch, homework groups, etc.). Grab a bunch of fake flowers, flags, or flamingos (Dollar Store), create a hashtag, and put them in a friend’s yard at dark with a note that says “TAG – you’re it. Take a photo and put it on social media using this hashtag, and then pick another friend and place these in their yard.” Each day a new child would join the group. Speak over your child that even though it is a hard season, they are NOT alone!