TRAIN THEM

TRAIN THEM

I was at the mall one day and witnessed something that I wanted to speak into. A child was given a toy by her grandma while the adults shopped in a store. The child was happy and content. A few minutes later, the four-year-old wandered over to the table with perfume bottles and began to play with them. Grandma came and yanked the girl’s arm away, and the girl resisted. She went back to the perfume bottles again and was playing with them. Grandma returned only to scold the girl sharply. A power struggle broke out. I 100% agree that it is not wise for a four-year-old to be playing with perfume bottles BUT can we take a small tour into the world of a four-year-old? She was given a toy and that is okay, but finds something else to play with quietly and is yanked, scolded and reprimanded. How is she supposed to know at four what is and what is not okay to touch unless someone teaches her? What would it have looked like if Grandma understood she was just touching and playing because it was there and on her level of reach and in her mind she honestly did not know the value of the bottles or what could happen if they fell on the floor or worse yet sprayed in her face? How do you think the girl would have responded if Grandma got down on her level, gently held her hand, looked in her eyes, and said firmly, “No, no touch,” and began to train the little girl to honor her voice? Grabbing, yanking, scolding, and yelling, do nothing to teach a child what is and is not okay. It breaks connection and confuses a child. TRAIN them in self-control and responding to your verbal command.

JOIN ME IN PRAYER

I am encouraging every parent to STAND IN THE GAP for the voiceless children in our nation who are being used and abused and read out loud Psalms 10. God is not sleeping. His eyes do not close. It is time to take the mask off our mouths and declare that the scales will be tipped. I am on my face weeping on their behalf. Cry out on behalf of the children. Be their voice. Stand in the gap on their behalf. This is God’s battle. We will do our part on our knees. Children, we are battling for you. Heaven, send the angels. God is the God who judges all things.

HEARTWORK

Parents – you have homework! Love is a VERB. Grab some paper and begin to write notes to your child. So tuck them in their underwear drawer, by their toothbrush, in their favorite book. Let them find your nuggets of love!!!! You can do it for your children or have them do it for each other.

RUNNING ON EMPTY

I can assure you that when your child’s love tank is low, you are going to smell the fumes somewhere! Adults have learned (not-so-healthy) coping mechanisms to pretend that a low tank is still running just fine, but a child will not. Kids don’t need oceans full twice a year; they need continuous drops. I encourage you to sit down and write out at least ten easy, simple ways you can speak your children’s specific love language. This will help you to stay proactive in filling their tanks, even when your plate is full. I cannot tell you how many times a “Hey bud, go set up a game of cards, and I will play a round with you,” can change their heart, attitude, and the atmosphere of our home.

POWER OF WORDS

In our online Kingdom parenting class, I share, “People act out what other people have spoken over them.” If this is something that you have struggled with in life and is now affecting your parenting, I encourage you break agreement with that and walk into the truth of who you are (so that you can parent from that place). 

TAKING RESPONSIBILITY

Before moving forward to the new school year, let’s take a look at the previous school year. How we end is generally how we will begin. Meaning if nothing is done to steward your child’s weakness from last year, you can bank on it being an issue again the next year. Let’s break the cycle and help our children become more successful in the area they need to grow the most. Take a moment and ask yourself these questions about each child: What is something that caused continued chaos or frustration (Low grades? Disciplinary issues? Being late? Attitudes? Missing items?)? We cannot help our children grow in their capacity if we are not willing to first acknowledge there is a need for growth.

For my son, the area that brought a lot of frustration was taking out the garbage. I wanted to scream every Friday morning, “You had but one job,” but that is NOT the issue. The issue had nothing to do with the garbage cans overflowing. It had everything to do with taking responsibility for the things that have been entrusted to him. Oh, and I can see that this is also an issue with turning in his reading logs and remembering to bring his gym uniform to school. He was learning how to manage and steward responsibility, which is a lifelong trait that will bless him or hinder him. If I want to HELP HIM grow his capacity, I need to be able to look deeper than the behavior or subject line (trash, gym shirt, reading log) and see the underlying character issue beneath. If we only parent the subject, life becomes a list of rules: “Thou shall not forget the trash.” “Thou shall remember to bring thy gym shirt.” But what is REALLY going on is that he lacks faithfulness, which is the fruit of the spirit that lives within him (Galatians 5:22). When I only see the failed trash, it creates frustration in me as a parent. When I see that my son has an issue where he needs to grow, I am positioned to equip and train him to increase his capacity. One focuses on the subject; the other focuses on his heart and character so that he can carry that character growth everywhere he goes.

Here is the catch about increasing capacity. It does not happen by expectations, demanding, or threatening. It comes by creating a PLAN. Let me explain. I can hound my son, give consequences, discipline him, take away his phone, etc. But it will do little to produce faithfulness in him. However, if I take a moment and create a plan, I would see that his lack of taking out the cans, turning in reading logs, and bringing his uniform to school has more to do with learning how to manage things that occur once a week. It is not that he isn’t willing or even has a bad attitude about it. It is that he needed a plan to remind himself of these items that needed to get done that were not a part of his daily routine (which he is great at). Whoa. Now I actually feel compassion for him and want to help him vs. being mad and frustrated at his failed chores. He put a reminder on his phone the night before and a note on the wall that he sees every morning. Suddenly his capacity to be faithful with weekly items increased. What is one area that brought continued chaos or frustration last school year?

BROWNIE RECIPE

 A father of some teenage children had the family rule that they could not attend PG-13 or R-rated movies. His three teens wanted to see a particular popular movie that was playing at local theaters. It was rated PG-13. The teens interviewed friends and even some members of their family’s church to find out what was offensive in the movie. The teens made a list of pros and cons about the movie to convince their dad that they should be allowed to see it. The cons were that it contained ONLY 3 swear words, the ONLY violence was a building exploding (and you see that on TV all the time, they said), and you actually did not ‘see’ the couple in the movie having sex – it was just implied sex, off camera. The pros were that it was a popular movie – a blockbuster. Everyone was seeing it. If the teens saw the movie, they would not feel left out when their friends discussed it. The movie contained a good story and plot. It had some great adventure and suspense in it. There were some fantastic special effects in this movie. The movie’s stars were some of the most talented actors in Hollywood. It probably would be nominated for several awards. Many of their Christian church members had even seen the movie and said it wasn’t ‘very bad.’ Therefore, since there were more pros than cons, the teens said they were asking their father to reconsider his position on just this ONE movie and let them have permission to go see it. The father looked at the list and thought for a few minutes. He said he could tell his children had spent some time and thought on this request. He asked if he could have a day to think about it before making his decision. The teens were thrilled, thinking, “Now we’ve got him! Our argument is too good! Dad can’t turn us down!” So, they happily agreed to let him have a day to think about their request. The next evening the father called in his three teenagers, who were smiling smugly, into the living room. There on the coffee table, he had a plate of brownies. The teens were puzzled. The father told his children he had thought about their request and decided that if they ate a brownie, he would let them go to the movie. But just like the movie, the brownies had pros and cons. The pros were that they were made with the finest chocolate and other good ingredients. They had the added special effect of yummy walnuts in them. The brownies were moist and fresh, with wonderful chocolate frosting on top. He had made these fantastic brownies using an award-winning recipe. And best of all, the brownies had been made lovingly by the hand of their own father. The brownies only had one con. The father had included a little bit of a special ingredient. The brownies also contained just a little bit of dog poop. But he had mixed the dough well – they probably would not even be able to taste the dog poop, and he had baked it at 350 degrees, so any bacteria or germs from the dog poop had probably been destroyed. Therefore, if any of his children could stand to eat the brownies, which included just a ‘little bit of crap,’ and not be affected by it. Of course, none of the teens would eat the brownies, and the smug smiles had left their faces. Only Dad was smiling smugly as they left the room. Now when his teenagers ask permission to do something he is opposed to, the father just asks, “Would you like me to whip up a batch of my special brownies?”

COME ON IN

God seems to be highlighting a particular area, and I want to camp out and create some conversation on the topic of parents’ concern over keeping their children sexually safe. I have ministered to a handful of parents as God is setting them free from fear and moving them to rise up in their God-given authority. We welcome what we FEAR. It is like opening the front door and saying, “Oh, I see you. Come on in.” While that is not our heart, it is the nature of what fear does in the spiritual realm. Fear is not a tool of heaven and will not produce the Kingdom fruit you desire. YES! There are real dangers in today’s world, and there is a full-on demonic assault against our children’s identity and sexual purity. BUT God has answers and solutions to help us equip and protect them. You are on the front lines, and now is not the time to shrink back, surrender or admit defeat. It is time to rise up, get your armor on, and declare that your house will be passed over with the schemes of the enemy.

LANGUAGE OF LOVE

Once you know a child’s love language, you learn how to fill their hearts easily. I could spend my last dollar on a child, but if their love language is quality time, it won’t hit their heart as much as the child with the love language of gifts. I could spend every waking moment with a child, but if their love language is words of affirmation, they will still feel empty/low after spending all that time together. I could smear my child with endless praises, kisses, and words, but if their love language is acts of service, they will wonder why I don’t love them enough to help them. If you want to hit a bullseye into their heart, LEARN your child’s love language and go after it daily.

PSALM 5

Psalms 5 reflects how the righteous man prays for deliverance not only for freedom from suffering but to allow himself to serve God without distraction. This is an excellent passage in the midst of all the turmoil in our government. Read this chapter as a family and talk about the reality of how one person’s choices affect those around them. But God has keys and a strategy for overcoming and thriving in the midst. 

Prayer for Help – Psalms 5:1-12 – “Hear my words, O Lord. Think about my crying. Listen to my cry for help, my King and my God. For I pray to you. In the morning, O Lord, You will hear my voice. In the morning I will lay my prayers before You and will look up. You are not a God Who is pleased with what is bad. The sinful cannot be with You. The proud cannot stand before You. You hate all who do wrong. You destroy those who tell lies. The Lord hates liars and men who kill other people. But as for me, by Your great loving-kindness, I will come into Your house. At Your holy house I will put my face to the ground before You in love and fear. O Lord, lead me in what is right and good, because of the ones who hate me. Make Your way straight in front of me. For in their talk there is no truth. Their hearts destroy. Their mouths are like an open grave. With their tongues, they say sweet-sounding words that are not true. Hold them guilty, O God! Let them fall by their own plans. Throw them out because of their many sins. For they have fought against You. But let all who put their trust in You be glad. Let them sing with joy forever. You make a covering for them, that all who love Your name may be glad in You. For You will make those happy who do what is right, O Lord. You will cover them all around with Your favor.” 

SOAKING

The first time I introduced soaking to my children, I invited them to bring their pillows and blankets and lay in my room. We invited the Holy Spirit to be with us and sat still while we played Mike Seth’s Soaking CD. Ellie was having a hard time being still, and I kept ordering her to “shhh” until Holy Spirit whispered to me to cuddle up next to her and do it WITH her. She finally settled down and could enter the place of rest with Jesus. Soaking is an incredible thing to do with a family when there is a high level of stress or when a child has gotten hurt over something. I look at soaking as wrapping up in the biggest, warmest blanket from Heaven! At bedtime, my son would say, “Mom, will you put that blanket on?”