SELF-CONTROL AT THE LIBRARY

SELF-CONTROL AT THE LIBRARY

This is how I taught my four toddlers how to grow in self-control during story time at the library. I figured it was an excellent place to train them because no one would notice either way. I sat them down at home and talked about the librarian. I asked Lauren to stand up and share the story of her birthday party. As she was talking, I began to interrupt, wave my hands, hang on her, and be super silly. Then I asked Emma to stand up and share what she had for lunch, and I did the same thing. Yes, we were all laughing hard, but we talked about how awkward it is to be trying to share and have people be disrespectful and rude. I role-played being the librarian reading a book. I taught them how to fold their hands and zip their lips. We talked about how we can be crazy loud monkeys at the park, but a library is a place where we use self-control and show respect. I was armed with training and ready to test it out. Before getting out of the van, I reminded them of the rules and what I expected. I praised them ahead of time, letting them know I believed in them. We entered, and chaos broke out as expected. A couple of times, they began to get up, and I would fold my own hands to model for them what I expected. If they were talking, I would motion to zip my lips, point to my ears, and then intently listen to the librarian. If they attempted to get up, I would give a firm no-no motion with my head. If one ran away, I would go after her and pick her up and set her back down. I would whisper that we are listening to the story. It took us three weeks before my children fully understood but let me tell you, the JOY they brought to the room was priceless. I noticed other moms trying to get their children to start listening, too. They got to enjoy the story because they were taught how to pay attention and show respect. I also had them go up to the librarian at the end of each story time and thank her for reading to them. The first time she had a tear in her eye and said, “I dread story time each week. It is the worst part of my job. Thank you for noticing my effort.” I don’t know about you, but as a mom, that isn’t okay with me. By the time school started, they were way ahead of the game because we had already gone after knowing when to be still and quiet and how to listen when adults are teaching/reading. It is training like this at an early age that sets them up for success down the road.

LOVE IN AISLE 8

Ellie (8) walked into the store and immediately grabbed this huge Valentine’s box of candy and declared, “We have to buy this!” to which I replied, “Oh, no, we don’t.” She said it wasn’t for her but for someone else. Her persistence caught me off guard, and she was clearly on assignment. I wasn’t sure what God was up to, but I was excited to see it unfold. She spotted a worker and knew immediately it was for her, but she was busy. We kept walking around, and Ellie had this ‘Christmas morning’ type of excitement about giving this girl a gift. We made our way to the seasonal section, and I tried to get her to pick out a less expensive one, but she said, “No, Mom, it can’t be small, but something that lavishes on her.” Finally, the worker was available, and Ellie explained to her that God told her to buy a gift for someone and that she was highlighted to her. She was so taken off guard and unsure how to respond. Ellie went on to say that God wanted her to know that she was loved and so special to Him and then handed her the (BIG) box of chocolates. 

Children have the ability to access people’s hearts in ways adults can’t reach. They are such sharp arrows in the Kingdom!

THE BACK STORY

Here is the back story of our online Kingdom parenting class. It was evident God was doing a good work in us as He taught me how to partner with Him in my parenting. He was showing up in all sorts of messy places and encountering my children. I was working on my computer when I heard the Lord say to post on FB how He had just encountered my son to bring healing. I heard it again and obeyed, feeling a little vulnerable. Instantly people started liking the post, but it wasn’t my Christian friends who liked it. It was my non-Christian friends. One comment said, “Now, that is the God I want to follow.” A few days later, I heard Him say, “Now post this” (another example of Him showing up). It became a lifestyle for us, and I would often share how God was parenting with me. One day God told me to gather 12 moms and sow into them so that they, too, could learn how to partner with Him as a lifestyle and not just an event. I invited them, and they eagerly agreed. Since they were all over the nation, I decided I would write out some of my thoughts to teach them in an online classroom format. We were all set for a given date, and in the weeks building up to it, I could not seem to get anything down. Writer’s block is a real thing. I assumed He would show me on our upcoming vacation – nope. I thought He would show me if I went away to spend time with Him – nope. I assume He would show me if I got up extra early to be focused – nope. The night before the class started, I still had NOTHING. It wasn’t that I didn’t know what to share; it was that I didn’t know how to organize it to share it clearly. I went to bed and soaked my pillow with tears. Apparently, I heard wrong about gathering these moms, and the only thing to do at this point was to come to them humbly in the morning and tell them I was wrong. I woke at 2 am, and it was like a computer download showed up in my brain. I could not turn my laptop on fast enough, and I typed for an hour straight, just releasing what was coming to my mind at record speed. I hit the send button (Lord have mercy, the spelling errors that were in that first draft) and sat there saying, “Jesus, I don’t ever want to feel that again. What do You have for Day Two of the class?” I labored ALL day long with nothing. I went to bed and cried again, assuming it was just going to be a one-day class and that I would have to wake early to tell the moms. At 2 in the morning, I woke up with my brain on fire again and raced to my computer to type as fast as possible. I told the Lord again, “I don’t ever want to feel that again. What is for Day Three?” and all day, I labored over the material, which produced nothing. I went to bed with tears… this went on for TWENTY-ONE days/nights. I never did catch on that He would be faithful to give me the message as He had done the day before. I walked those mamas through the material and assumed I would remain with them, but they had so much fruit in their parenting that their friends came to me and asked if I would mentor them, too. Easy enough now that the material was already written. And the following month, more people came again and again. Years later, God still keeps bringing people.

Here is the link to register for the class: Journey – ONLINE CLASS – Let the Children Fly

PROPHESY

Years ago, the kids and I went through the Kingdom training classes. One night, I was selected to be a part of the team to ask Jesus (prophesy) what He wanted to say to each person. There had to be well over 150 people lined up around the room. It was a powerful night of activation for me. I got to the end, and Jary was waiting, but when I got to her, she turned the tables on me and began to prophesy such deep rich words of life over me. It is hard to explain all that happened at that moment. All I know is that I received something so profound through this woman’s prayers. Years later, I can say that I am walking in what she released over me.

“NO ONE LIKES ME”

Has your child ever come home from school, youth group, or a friend’s house and declared that their peers do not like them? It is hard to hear, isn’t it? Let me empower you on how to help your child walk through it. It is brutal to feel like you don’t belong because God created us with wiring TO belong. Belonging was one of the things stolen in the Garden. When a child experiences belonging, they start becoming who they are called to be. When a child experiences a lack of acceptance, they shrink back and partner with timidity and smallness, which robs those around them of who they were created to be. There are reasons why children experience a lack of belonging with their peers. Sometimes they do not fit in because there is something within them that needs to be matured or revealed. Humility and intentional parenting are required to help them overcome. Let me give you an example.

Years ago, I was a nanny for one of the wealthiest families in Minnesota. The six-year-old girl loved opening soda cans and pouring out all of the sweet sugar. The bees loved it too. The family’s full-time caretaker asked her many times to please stop. She looked at him and said, “My name is Anna ___. I can do whatever I want.” Her parents almost lost two employees that day. My first thought was, “How sad that where your parents failed to teach you, your peers will.” That attitude won’t fly with peers; they could care less about how much money your daddy has or how spoiled you have been at home. You can’t do whatever you want just because you feel like it and have been falsely empowered to do so at home. In this case, the response from peers, while it wouldn’t feel good, is a gift to help you see where you may need to come into greater maturity. One of my goals in parenting has been to accurately discern my child’s weaknesses and help empower them with tools for success and growth so that they don’t have to learn it the hard way through the rejection of peers. But there are times when nothing about the child warrants pushback from peers, but it happens anyway. I want to open your view of what is happening. Satan hates unity. There is strength in numbers, and his goal is to separate and devour. When there is love and unity among us, God’s Kingdom advances. There is an assignment against your child in this area specifically, and none of them are exempt from having to walk through this. Something happens, say three girls are hanging out and one girl feels left out of the conversation, which feels uncomfortable, but then the enemy comes and whispers, “You are all alone. No one likes you,” and it may FEEL true at that moment. A child partners with it, and now the lie is a part of their belief system.

Another example is that a child makes a foolish comment that lacks maturity (which happens all the time and should be expected of a child who has not yet become a full adult), and the receiver owns the comment as truth. They must be taught that not all comments, even from the popular kids, are true and accurate. Another example might be when the teacher calls on a student, and they don’t know the answer. This is common and normal in a classroom setting where everyone is learning and growing. The child feels embarrassed, and the enemy whispers shame and smears their intelligence with lies. They then shrink back in shame with their peers. When a child is partnering with shame and rejection as their identity, other children can feel it, even if their minds don’t understand it. It is like they have a sign on their back that says, “I am rejected.” Sometimes when a child reports over and over how others are treating them, it is wise to ask Jesus to reveal what lies they are believing about themselves (and therefore projecting). The next time your child declares no one likes them, ask Jesus to show you if this is a lack of character on their part that requires additional parenting help or if it is an attack of the enemy on their identity.

PURE GOLD!

“This morning before school, we had an episode at home where a lie was involved. It resulted in us disciplining the child who had lied, who then decided to throw a fit, storming to her bedroom and locking herself in it. Daddy came to the rescue and managed to bring the child downstairs again to finish breakfast and get shoes on to head to school. I felt my child needed a little more explanation on why she was disciplined. I went on to explain that lying breaks Mommy’s trust and her heart. I tried to explain it from many angles and as easily as possible. The other child, who was not involved, comes in and says, ‘Mommy, could I try to explain it in a different way?’ I agreed. Said child puts her two hands together in the format of a bridge and says: ‘This is you (…), and this is Mommy. You guys are close, and you trust each other. When you lie, this bridge gets weaker.’ Slowly separating her hands, she proceeds, ‘Then, if you keep lying, the bridge will break because there will be no trust.’ So, we made an agreement, building a little bridge with our hands, that we would always tell the truth no matter how difficult that truth is and even if we are scared of telling the truth. I realized she was feeling a lot of shame because of telling a lie. So, Daddy (being the most amazing daddy in the world) said, ‘I also lied when I was a kid.’ Her eyes widened, and she asked, ‘Why?’ He said, ‘I was scared.’ I could sense shame falling off of her as she realized that she was not the only person that ever lied. I took the opportunity and also said, ‘Mommy has also lied because I was scared of being punished if I told the truth.’ I could tell she was mind blown by both of us admitting we had lied before. We reinforced the importance of telling the truth no matter what and got them ready for school. As soon as we were done, she jumped up and walked around like the full confident self she was. She came over to say goodbye to me, and we did our special handshakes, and at the end, we built a bridge again, and this time around, there was no shame in her eyes. Lessons learned in this. I’ll definitely take that illustration of trust with me forever. That’s gold! Vulnerability breaks shame! Boom! I love my family more than anything after Jesus!”

I AM A TEACHER

I homeschooled the kid’s elementary years, so I was used to being their ‘school teacher’ in the classroom setting, but it was years into homeschooling when I realized that one of my primary roles as a mother was to be a teacher. As they were getting older, the tones and attitudes in their speech started to really wear on me. It was not what they were saying but how they were saying it. As I was praying about it, Proverbs 16:24 came to mind, “Kind words are like honey-sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.” I suddenly got this idea to cash in on the science lesson I had just taught on senses. I told them to meet me in the kitchen and blindfolded them. I asked them to stick out their tongue and I put a small dab of horseradish on it. They yelped and moaned. We tried it again, but this time I put honey on their tongue. Yum. That was much better. I shared the verse with them and talked about how sometimes their words sounded like horseradish, but that God wants us to use words and tones that are like honey. We role-played what that sounded like when someone took their toy, when they wanted something, or were asked to do something. I pretended to be them and modeled what kind and sweet tones looked like, and then I molded what horseradish sounded like. They thought it was funny, and we all laughed.

Here is what I want you to see. I was good at teaching science and math, but when it came to teaching principles of the heart to train and equip them, I felt shy and ill-equipped. I was so tired of their tones and needed to do something, but honestly, after the teaching, I remember feeling like it was flat, not deep enough, and I doubted they would retain any of it. I felt awkward and so unsure of myself that it was making a difference. My delivery felt skinny and weak. As the days went on, I would come to them, get down on their level and say, “Remember when I put that stuff on your tongue? How do you think you just sounded?” They had to stop and think and redirect their choice of speech. I began to get the revelation that they were not mini adults and did not need the 12-week course or 2-hour lecture on a subject. They understood me fully, and I had their hearts because I was teaching them through connection and releasing joy through the science experiment. They got it, and I grew in understanding that if I just show up and teach them, they will respond. To this day, with tweens and teenagers, all I have to say is, “That doesn’t sound like honey to me,” and they know immediately their tone was off.

Like it or not, if you are a parent, you ARE a teacher. It might not be of other children or in the classroom, but you are, by God’s design, a teacher of your own children. The more you embrace this part of parenting, the easier life will be for both you and your child. I encourage you to say this out loud a couple of times until it really sinks deep. “I AM a teacher. I proactively teach my child in times of peace how to succeed in life.” “I AM a teacher. I proactively teach my child in times of peace how to succeed in life.” “I AM a teacher. I proactively teach my child in times of peace how to succeed in life.” Have you received the revelation that to be a parent means to be a TEACHER?

DAUGHTER GOOGLES

I ministered to a 20-year-old mom who said with tears streaming down her face, “Lisa, you gave me Daughter goggles. Suddenly all I can see now is the orphan spirit in operation, which makes me so hungry to act like a Daughter.” I couldn’t help but laugh. I like the sound of that. And then we prayed for the gift of discerning identity to be activated in her life. She is a force to be reckoned with and will be used mightily in the Kingdom to give others Daughter goggles.

YOU ARE NOT WHAT YOU DO

I shared a post about Ellie bombing a test and having to deal with the shame that was trying to come on her. She was able to identify it and not come under it, but it took her a bit to process. A week later, she put a note on my bed about how smart she was, and it struck me funny. While yes, I celebrate the amazing grades, I wanted to make sure she was staying in alignment with the truth. She came to me puzzled by my note and said, “Yes, I am a good student,” to which I said, “No, that is not who you are.” She was confused. I told her, “Your worth and value are no more in your great grades than when you bombed your test. Either way, you are good.”

We have got to help our children separate their identity from their successes, or else we are doing nothing more than praising them for being performance-driven.

WHAT HAVE I DONE TO TEACH THEM?

When a child misbehaves, you first have to ask yourself this question. “What have I done as the parent to teach them?” If you have never talked to them about lying, stealing, hitting, disobeying, etc., and discipline them for their choice, it is nothing more than punishment. When you see a behavior you do not desire, you can correct it, but that is your clue you need to be proactive and teach them on their level right and wrong. Take a recent issue that came up. Ask yourself, “What have I done to proactively teach them in the time of peace how to respond? How have I taught them how to succeed in that situation?” There is a difference between the child who is being foolish and has never been taught how to respond appropriately and the child who has been taught and willfully chooses to disobey. Sometimes a child’s behavior is a reflection of where we need to do our part to teach, empower and equip them.

SEXUAL SAFETY

One of the most vulnerable households for child sexual assault is the house that is run by ‘because I said so,’ and a legalistic one because they operate out of a list of rules and total parental authority and often fail to listen to the child. Children cannot hold in such a horrendous lie and/or the worry that abuse causes. They might not come right out and say that XYZ happened, but they will let it leak out, and we need ears to LISTEN TO THEM!

Here is a sad but true example: A little 4th grader came home from his youth group in a foul mood. The mom repeatedly disciplined him for his attitude, but he would not shake it. Finally, she asked him how youth group went, and he said, “I hated it.” She replied that he must go anyway because it was expected of him. He yelled out that his teacher was gay, and the mother swooshed him to his bedroom for talking inappropriately about someone. Had the mother listened to the child, she would have seen that he used to love youth group, and the sudden change warranted investigation. When a young child talks about an adult being gay, it should warrant you to find out why the child thinks that way, how he knows that of the youth leader, etc. If she had only asked and inquired deeper, she would have learned that her son was molested that night, only to come home and be disciplined for not wanting to return. I call it ‘pulling on the rope.’ When a child makes a harsh comment, pull on the rope by asking WHY questions. Not all ill words are a character issue; sometimes, they are flags waving to get our attention.