HEART PLAY

HEART PLAY

People have asked me over and over to show them HOW I taught my children different things. Years ago, the kids and I sat down and recalled some of the key lessons I taught them over the years, and we put together a kit for parents to use in their own homes. 

This is a sample lesson: Heart Play (Playdough) – Teaching children to care for the hearts of others. Intentionally play with playdough with your children for a bit, and then ask them to make you a huge heart. Ooh and aah over their heart creation while you hold it in your hand. Talk about our physical hearts and why God gave each of us one, and how important they are to our survival. Every human has a heart – it is what makes them alive. Take the heart creation in your hand and talk about how gentle we need to be with people’s hearts. Now take one finger and smash it deep into the heart, then smash another finger in another place. Show them that the shape of the heart changed when you were not gentle and caring about it. Words aren’t just words; harsh words are hurtful to people’s hearts. Also, explain that many people have wounded hearts (not from us), but when we say loving things to them, it is like their hearts go back to the way they were originally. Act this out a few times and role-play how we can both squish and help people’s hearts.

In the days ahead, when your kids are having issues with unloving words, remind them of the playdough heart. Ask them, “Hey guys, do you think you just put love in that person’s heart or poked it?” “How could you do that differently without hurting his/her heart?” Also, when they get their own heart poked, show them how we can ask Jesus to put His hand on our hearts and heal them. “Jesus, my heart got hurt. Will You please touch it and make it all better?”

BUTTING HEADS

Have you ever had those days when you feel like you are constantly butting heads with a child, or they seem to be going out of their way to be a bully to their siblings, yet nothing you do seems to work? Try intentionally meeting their love language, and I bet you will see a sudden change. Children with empty tanks, even with siblings, will often fight to get it filled (obviously, in the wrong way), Love languages matter!

CONNECTION OVER BUSYNESS

Testimony from a mom: “I have a memory of my mom in the kitchen, having her back turned against us and doing dishes. My dad, brother, and I were in the living room chatting, eating, and watching TV. I realized God was showing me a lack of connection with my mom. My mom was a busy homeowner taking care of two young kids while caring for a huge extended family. I always yearned for some time with her (later on, I learned that my love language is quality time). God showed me that He wants me to connect with my children by spending time with them. The sad truth is that I spend a lot of time cooking, cleaning, and just taking care of a family. All the chores weigh me down, and I can’t seem to find time for them. God is shining a big flashlight in my heart and my past to let me know that He wants me to put down my chores and spend time with my children (my older one’s love language is also quality time). Thank You, Jesus, for showing me this.”

JUST A LITTLE

A dad was struggling to get his teen daughters to understand why their choice of music wasn’t edifying. The girls argued that it was ‘just a little’ bit of bad language and that it wouldn’t hurt anything. The dad prayed for a creative solution to get into his daughters’ hearts on the subject. The next morning, he announced he was making a very special dessert with “a very special ingredient.” He made a big deal of the upcoming dessert all day, and after their dinner plates were cleaned, they were begging for the much-awaited sweet treat. They scarfed down the yummiest batch of brownies, and while smacking their lips, they inquired about the ‘special ingredient.’ The dad sat back and calmly announced, “Dog poop, but don’t worry, it was just a little bit.” They seemed to understand in that moment that ‘just a little bit’ can indeed be harmful. This glorious creative teachable moment can be used with music, swearing, drugs, disobedience, alcohol, lying, slander, etc. Sometimes kids need a visual to understand your point.

15-MINUTE DATES

A mom from our online Kingdom parenting class shares this powerful strategy to connect with her children. I wish parents could see that God uses our children to align, heal, and restore what was stolen, lost, or hurt in our own childhood. This is His design for family restoration. 

She shares: “I hinder my connection with my children at times by making myself distant or unavailable. I do this because I become overwhelmed and stressed and just want to disconnect from ‘parenting.’ My folks were this way to an extreme when I was growing up. In the last month or so, I have begun to dedicate 15 minutes per day with each kiddo just to connect with them. I knew this would be good for my kids, but I have been astounded by how much that has helped me feel at ease, more confident, intentional, and joyful again. I went through a season where I literally forgot how to have FUN with them! All I could see was all the work, and I was sorely burned out. He is restoring my heart.”

HEARING GOD’S VOICE

In preparation for a speaking engagement I sensed Holy Spirit wanted me to ask the kids, “What would your life be like if you loved Jesus, but couldn’t hear His voice?” This list surprised me just as much as it will you. This is in their own words and behind every word is a testimony and story of them hearing His voice.

“Life would be… hard, hurts in my heart, stay offended, bitter, very fearful, unkind, unconnected, lonely, lack of favor, unforgiveness, anger, aggression, scared, broken relationships, pressure, controlled, orphan spirit, more sickness, less creativity, bored, less adventures, hopeless, discouraged, rejected, struggle in school, trapped, believing lies, embarrassed, ashamed, forget things, nightmares, no honor, bullied, lack of confidence, difficulties, no hidden treasures, sad, heartbroken, exposed to bad things, lack of protection, lack of wisdom, no encounters with His presence, unsafe, lack of provision, couldn’t be used, powerless believers, lack of peace…”

OVERFLOWING

Ever had a hard day as an adult? Children have hard days at school, too. Sometimes they get tired of managing being told what to do, constantly learning new things, the pressure of tests, managing peers, the constant bombardment of atmospheres, and missing you! Children need to be filled with love and connection when they come home from school. This is why knowing their love language is so important. Be intentional and fill their tank. It doesn’t take long. Remember, children’s hearts leak quickly but fill fast. Simply showing interest in their day, offering an intentional hug, or spending time with them can align their hearts. I once met with a couple who talked about peers on the playground not being kind to them when they were younger. The wife said mean comments just rolled off her back while her husband became quite wounded from them. What was the difference between the two? Her love tank was filled often, and she was told who she was, while her husband felt isolated and empty most of the time growing up – filling the tanks DAILY matters!

FORGIVE FORGIVE FORGIVE

Forgive.Forgive.Forgive.Forgive.Forgive.Forgive.Forgive.

Forgive.Forgive.Forgive.Forgive.Forgive.Forgive.Forgive.

Forgive.Forgive.Forgive.Forgive.Forgive.Forgive.Forgive.

Forgive.Forgive.Forgive.Forgive.Forgive.Forgive.Forgive.

Forgive.Forgive.Forgive.Forgive.Forgive.Forgive.Forgive.

Forgive.Forgive.Forgive.Forgive.Forgive.Forgive.Forgive.

Forgive.Forgive.Forgive.Forgive.Forgive.Forgive…

…and then forgive AGAIN! 

“I make the choice of my will to forgive _______ for _______ so that satan has no hooks in me that he can use to influence my mind, emotions, confidence, identity, calling, or blessings! I release the offense and turn it over to God to judge and deal with accordingly.”

TEACHING COMPASSION

A while back, we went out to eat, and this man was cursing up a storm and yelling loudly. When we sat down, the kids wanted to call out the bad and do the whole, “Did you see that man…?” I stopped them and said, “Ask Jesus what He wants you to know about that man.” They started saying things like, “He was hurt as a boy,” “He doesn’t know who he is,” “He doesn’t know Jesus.” Hurt people do hurtful things. People act out what other people have spoken over them. When we ask Jesus to show us what’s going on inside of others, our perspective changes. One of the most powerful ways we can release the Kingdom as a family is to see stuff like that in our normal everyday life and ask Jesus to show us what He sees. We will shift how we view, judge, and see that person when we see through His eyes.

ORPHAN VS. SON/DAUGHTER

#1. The orphan spirit operates out of insecurity and jealousy. The spirit of sonship functions out of love and acceptance.

#2. The orphan spirit is jealous of the success of his brothers. The mature son is committed to the success of his brothers.

#3. The orphan spirit serves God to earn the Father’s love. The mature son serves God out of a sense of divine acceptance and favor.

#4. The orphan spirit tries to medicate its deep, internal alienation through physical stimulation. The mature son walks in the joy and presence of the Lord for comfort.

#5. The orphan spirit is driven by the need for success. The Spirit leads the mature son into his calling and mission.

#6. The orphan spirit uses people as objects to fulfill goals. Mature sons serve people to bless the Kingdom.

#7. The orphan spirit repels children. The spirit of sonship attracts children.

#8. The orphan spirit has anger and fits of rage. The spirit of sonship rests in the Father’s ability to control and guide the future.

#9. The orphan spirit is always in competition with others. The spirit of sonship is always blessing others.

#10. The orphan spirit lacks self-esteem. The spirit of sonship walks in the love and acceptance of Father God.

#11. The orphan spirit receives its primary identity through material possessions, physical appearance, and activities. The spirit of sonship is grounded in sonship and the Father’s affirmation.

HONORING YOU

It is very difficult for a child to release the Kingdom at the store if they are on the floor pitching a fit because you did not buy them a toy. They will have a harder time hearing God’s voice if they haven’t been taught to listen to yours first. You will have a greater challenge getting them to be ‘others’ focused if they have been taught that they are the only ones that matter. Character matters!