Protecting our children from online activity is an important part of raising kids today. There is a calculated and intentional mission to seduce and desensitize children. It is crafty in the way it entices a child. It can also happen by pure innocence. A child confesses to their mom that something really bad popped up on their screen. Mom checks it out and deals with the issue with the child. Mom knows it can’t be there unless something else was clicked on, and Mom discovers in the history that said child got really cold at night, so they typed in “how to be hot in bed”, seeking answers and solutions to her temperature issue. Well, let’s just say she got what she asked for in today’s world. It’s funny, but it’s also a sad and true testimony. Stay ALERT! Know what they are doing on their computers, check them often, keep connection strong and check in!
Picture a funnel. Do you give your child so much freedom at an early age and then, as the year’s progress, begin to take away their freedom? Or do you start with smaller freedoms and gradually increase it as they display self-control to be able to use freedom wisely? Oftentimes, parents have this mentality that if they put restrictions on their small child, they are breaking their spirit, harnessing them, and controlling them. I beg to differ. When we allow our children to do whatever they want whenever they want, we are teaching them that the world is open and free. While that may be a perfect world, it is not the reality in which they live. The truth is if they steal, they will go to jail. If they speed, they will pay a fine. If they do not pay taxes, the IRS will knock on their door. The world is full of consequences and models God’s principle of reaping and sowing. There will be a time when you will have to say NO to your child, yet the more you teach them they can have whatever they want whenever they want it, the harder the battle will be for them when reality hits. Let’s flip the funnel upside down and limit their freedom as they have the self-control to manage themselves. We do not allow a one-year-old to climb the stairs because their little legs are not strong enough to carry them. We do not allow a ten-year-old to drive a car because it will create greater harm. The same applies to our parenting. You are not stifling them; you are building them up for success for the long haul.
P.S. Teenagers do not like their freedoms taken away! You will have fewer battles down the road if you start out small and build upon them. Entitlement is a tricky thing to break.
I called a family meeting and told the kids to act like Jesus was in the room and had the love language of words of affirmation. We popcorn-styled, going around and around, calling out the amazing things about Jesus. His character, goodness, faithfulness, the way He loves, is so smart, etc. It stirred up our faith in who He is and anchored us in His ability. So, give it a try today. Tell Jesus who He is.
Worthy is the lamb is more than a good worship song – it is the position of our hearts. The elders and angels bow down and worship WORTHY IS THE LAMB over and over and over for all eternity. The Lord owes us nothing. Not comfort, morning coffee, electricity, toys, expensive vehicles, nice homes, or a paycheck. He gives these things because He is a good Father, but He owes us NOTHING and deserves it all. In this hour, it is so important to teach our children that He is worthy – all the time – of it all!
Wor·thy – adjective – having or showing the qualities or abilities that merit recognition in a specified way.
Noun – a person notable or important in a particular sphere.
Have the kids glue cotton balls around a drawn or printed lamb and talk about the countless things He is worthy of.
We were away from home, and the kids were all getting in a funk; lots of small conflicts, attitudes, and agitations. Having to correct them constantly gets old, so I flipped the situation by turning it into a game. I gathered them together in a circle and asked them to keep their mouths closed, but they had to have eye contact with someone else at all times. I wanted them to SEE the people around them. Then I held up a mirror and said, “This is who you have been focused on, but I want you to keep your eyes on someone else.” When we went to breakfast, they tried to outdo each other by showing kindness and love to others. They were opening doors, putting garbage away, smiling, saying “thank you,” letting others go first, etc. The Kingdom is JOY, and sometimes partnering with the Holy Spirit to devise creative ways to get to their heart impacts them more than reaping the spirit of religious rules over their head!
Face it, errands are a child’s least favorite ‘activity.’ Look for ways to engage them vs. just having them follow you around. Who can push the cart? Who can find the can of beans first? Who can open the door? Who can guess how long the line will take? Use the wait times to fill up their love tank and connect with their hearts (not check your phone). For older kids, empower them to help plan the menu and pick out the groceries. They can get out and wash your window while you pump the gas (I also have a child gather the trash from the car while I get gas). Make it fun and look for ways they can own part of the outing.
I melted into my bed and was asleep within moments. About 20 moments later, I woke up with a gross X-rated picture racing through my mind. I quickly took the thought captive as I knew it wasn’t me (all I wanted was sleep!). It came back again and again. But a sense of genuine danger came with it. In my mind, I could tell this woman was overpowering a man with demonic seduction. The same image repeatedly played in my mind, no matter how hard I tried to take it captive. Finally, I realized God was allowing me to see something so that I could pray. My spirit was gripped with the realization someone was in trouble and needed help, but I couldn’t figure out who. Who is it, Lord? Who is in danger right now? He never did allow me to see or know, but my spirit felt so protective of this person. I sat up in bed and went into warfare prayers against the spirit behind the woman and to release the man from this trap of the enemy. I have revisited this event countless times, so in awe over the way God alerts our spirits to become a part of His movement on earth. It is an honor to be woken and given an assignment from God to stand with someone in need. We don’t need a platform, stage, or microphone to change the world. We need to be willing to obey at all costs when He gives us an assignment. Being faithful in the ‘little’ assignments is what proves us faithful for bigger ones. Look for the God assignments being released to you TODAY!
Take a moment and introduce your child to Psalms 100:4-5. Children of this generation understand the language of needing a ‘password’ to enter. I love how we get to write His word on their hearts!
Psalm 100:4-5 (NIV) – “Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the Lord is good, and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.”
Do children need to be believers to play in the Kingdom or do they play in the Kingdom to choose Him? I think it is both. When did God speak the loudest to Saul (Paul)? When He was Jesus’ enemy #1. When did Jesus invite Matthew? When he was full of greed. When did Jesus welcome the man on the cross? When he was destined to hell. God’s most profound act of love was a free gift to those who didn’t know Him. Oh, yes, He cares for those who do not yet know Him. God speaks and interacts with unbelievers. And in doing so, it provides an encounter with the One who is worthy of it all. Encounters become the gateway in which many realize He is the One and make the choice to follow Him. This is a glorious, beautiful event because it becomes their testimony which no man can argue or deny. Our goal as parents should be to seek to provide our children with encounters with Him and the joy of playing in His Kingdom so that they experience Him. Head knowledge is religion where encounters are relationship.
Some ways to usher our children into an encounter could include: showing them a Scripture of how much Jesus cares about them (not just to correct their behavior), asking Jesus questions that pertain to their world, heart and cares, inviting Jesus into their pain, taking them to church, allowing them to stay with you during worship, sharing with them what He showed you during your quiet time, telling your own God stories, letting them dance at home with worship music, soaking (simply sitting/lying quietly generally with music on to feel His peace), asking God to help them with something (and then helping them see how He responded).
When my children were little, I had a sign on the wall that said, “Dear Jesus, thank You for ______. Would You please help me with ______”. Each day they would pray filling in the blanks. I was modeling for them how to be thankful and come to Jesus with what was important to their heart. At the end of the day, we would play the High/Low game where they would share what was the high and low of their day. Their highs would almost always reflect the very thing they asked Jesus for. One day my daughter asked Jesus to help her get a sweet treat. It felt rather insignificant to me, but hours later we were at a store, and a clerk said she made one too many ice cream cones and offered it to my daughter. I immediately reminded her of her prayer that morning. I saw my role as a dot connector. Teaching them to pray, then helping them see the way God was responding and speaking to them. Their faith grew each time leaving them hungry for more. We were building their stories with Him long before any of them made a personal decision to follow Him.
Have you ever said, “PEOPLE ARE SO BLIND”? Raise your hand. How many people have read something on social media and thought, “They are crazy. How can they be so blind?” How many of you have seen the war of words with people attempting to change someone by proving they are wrong? STOP this! It only furthers the insanity. Here’s why! The Bible says if someone cannot see the truth, pray that the scales of their eyes would be removed. They aren’t trying NOT to see in many cases. They simply have scales on their eyes, making them blind. Speaking to their intellect and getting into a debate is not how God tells us to respond. We are to pray for them to have eyes to see. Give it a try. Instead of being the social media police telling people why they are wrong, try praying for God to remove the scales from their eyes. Trust me, GOD bringing revelation to someone is where real transformation occurs. Psalm 119:18 – “If you have eyes to see, pray for their eyesight to be as clear as yours. Open my eyes to see the wonderful truths in your instructions.”
We should be praying this over ourselves often too. “Jesus, open my eyes so that I may see as You see.”
Children might be world changers in training, but they still have childlike immaturity that needs to be cultivated so that they can endure the assignments God wants to give them to change the world around them for a lifetime. Character is a stone in their foundation that must be laid in childhood.
Character Counts is a downloadable digital resource that we created to give parents the How-To in equipping their children with godly character. We provide you with fun and engaging activities to do with your child to empower good character.