WHAT IF…

WHAT IF…

What if, instead of seeing our children as strong-willed little creatures, we see them as powerful world changers? What if, instead of treating them as immature, we treat them as leaders in training? What if, instead of letting their choices affect our comfort level, we put the discomfort back on them to create change? What if, instead of controlling them, we empower them? What if, instead of buying time, we invest in them? What if we call out the greatness in them even when they display their worst? What if we saw their weakness as an area to release heaven instead of partnering with the weakness? What if we stay connected with them at all times.

HOUSEHOLD RULES

I want you to ponder your children and the way they interact and speak to each other. What does it look like? What do you tolerate? What don’t you tolerate? What are the stated household rules for getting along? What consequences can be expected when they don’t? I am not asking for what you hope for; I am asking what the current reality of your household is. Are your children allowed to hit their siblings? Are they allowed to slam doors? Say, “I hate you”? Are they allowed to pick their friends over their family? Every family has its own rhythm, and no two families will flow alike. Every family will have a different set of core values and different standards which they are governed by. As parents, it is important to be able to see the vision you have for your family. If you don’t know what you are aiming for, you will parent inconsistently, which will produce inconsistent and frustrating results for the whole family.

For me, growing up, there was freedom to hurt and hate each other, which affected me greatly. When I started having my own children, I drew a line in the sand and was determined to teach them that we would be a family that communicated belonging and acceptance. True change doesn’t come from just outward performance; it comes from within. Instead of giving you a list of tools to use to whip your children into shape and force them to love each other (which, by the way, never works), I want to help you come into alignment in your heart first. It is out of that place where real change happens. Spend time pondering and processing this with the Lord. Ask Him to shine His flashlight into your heart (Psalms 139:23) and show you how He sees and feels about the way the siblings treat each other. Oftentimes there is a pang of great guilt for parents because they WANT their children to get along more but simply don’t know how. Confess that to the Lord – that perhaps you have allowed (for whatever reason) your children to be unkind to each. Allow Him to speak to your heart. I am going to provide you with some questions to ponder with Him. I encourage you to get a journal and write down whatever you heard or see Him saying to you. If He is really the head of your household, then give Him room to speak into this situation.

“Father God, would You please show me what makes You happy when you see family?”

“Jesus, would You be willing to reveal to me what in our family needs to come into alignment?”

“Holy Spirit, what does my child really need from me when there is conflict?”

“Father, what area do You want me to focus on with my children?”

“Jesus, if You were here today in the flesh, how would You handle my children?” (You may be surprised by the answer).

God is a perfect Father and knows how to lead your family into greater peace. Holy Spirit is your Helper, and there is nothing but hope ahead to have the family you have dreamed about. Let the Children Fly!

SCHOOL PARTNERSHIP

What would our schools look like if every parent sat humbly with their child’s teacher, asked for an honest review of their child, and then spent the summer months empowering and equipping them to grow in character? Teachers have a great view of how your child treats others, responds to authority, and interacts with peers. Simply put, they see how your child behaves when you aren’t watching. Every child has areas to grow in; it is the nature of a child. Childhood isn’t the time to expect perfection but rather the time to empower them with tools to be successful in life. Areas of growth in the classroom include listening well, respecting authority, serving others, being kind, being able to control their body and mouth, stewarding what they are responsible for (homework, gym clothes, library books), and being a blessing vs. distraction in class.

ANTI-BULLY

Bullying is an imbalanced use of power that operates out of intimidation and control. Bullying starts in the home, not on the playground. Before you call a family meeting, do an Internet search on the characteristics of bullying. Ask your children what bullying means and what it looks like to bully someone. Role-play different situations and talk about how each person may feel if that happened to him or her. Now talk about what it could look like in the home, how it would make siblings feel, and discuss creative ways things like sharing and communicating could be done to show respect for others. Why are the weapons of fear, intimidation, and control not healthy options? Create an anti-bully pledge card and ask if they would be willing to make an agreement to abstain from bullying their siblings. In the days ahead, when you hear sharp tones or see aggressive or inappropriate demands between siblings, go to them and, in a respectful tone, remind them of their pledge not to partner with intimidation and control. Ask them how they could handle the situation differently.

As a family, write out pledge cards like this: I will not bully others. I will not leave anyone out. I will help others who are being bullied. If I can’t stop a bully, I will tell an adult. I care. I can help. I can make a change! I will stand up for what is right. The end of bullying starts with me! I, _____, pledge not to be bully. Signed _____ (me), Signed _____ (Mom & Dad). Let’s send our children back to school with a wider understanding of how to be kind to those who are different. 

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

HEAVEN’S TOOLS

Some of you are battling things that are consuming you and causing you to be so weary. While we live in a fallen world with a real enemy, many of you are losing the battle simply because you are not armed with heaven’s tools. It doesn’t have to be this way. In fact, becoming equipped and empowered is not only available to every believer, but it is God’s mandate on your life. It is the honor and privilege as a Son/Daughter to walk in strength, radical love, and a clear mind. Whatever you are dealing with today does not need to defeat you. Heaven has tools and strategies to help you overcome, come out from under it, and bear fruit. There is hope!

OLD TOOLS

Testimony from a parent taking our online JOURNEY class: “I see an improvement with my son already since starting this class. We went to a nearby park, and a random kid came to me and said my son slapped him for no reason. When I asked my son what happened, he said that was true, and the reason was that he wanted to be playful. I couldn’t comprehend, and I knew I couldn’t just discipline him or try to make him think differently. So we went on a walk and asked Holy Spirit what was going on in his heart. He felt Holy Spirit was saying the same thing that he intended to be playful and then later said that he thought that was a good way to start playing with kids – by hurting them and apologizing and then they would be talking to each other. This was the key! My old tool was to have him apologize and sit out for a while and promise to be kind. That wouldn’t have worked. When we stepped away to talk to Holy Spirit, we saw that on the fence of the park were pictures drawn by kids of dragons, monsters, and a scary clown. I felt right away that there was a presence invited onto the playground through the art displayed. I asked my son what he thought about those pictures, and then we asked Holy Spirit what presence was here that needed to go. We took authority over the presence my son felt was on the playground and commanded it to go, and we invited Holy Spirit to come and be in charge of us and the kids. I love how God gives me opportunities to practice what I am learning here!”

HONEY VS. HORSERADISH

Do a teaching with your children on our mouth and taste buds. Explain that our tongue tastes things that are bitter and sweet. Next, blindfold the children and lead them into the kitchen for a science experiment. Place a tiny dab of horseradish on their tongues and ask them what they think and then place a drop of honey on their tongues. They will probably beg for more. Share with them Proverbs 16:24 and discuss how our words need to be like sweet honey, not bitter horseradish. Practice role-playing some scenarios: What would words full of honey sound like when someone takes your toy? Is in your space? Has hurt you? How can you use words of honey to encourage others? Show honor to your parents and teachers? The goal is not the absence of negative feelings or reactions but to respond in love despite being upset or hurt. You can also take the opportunity to teach them how to be intentionally ‘sweet’ with their words as opportunities arise to bless others. In the days ahead, when you hear harsh tones and unloving words, call out, “Oh, that sounds like horseradish to my ears!” When you hear them speaking kindly, you can say, “Oh, I love the honey coming out of your mouth!”

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

TOUCHPOINTS

A mom recently asked me what to do when her child has to face hard things that are outside of her control to change. We talked for a moment about how to keep our children safe, but then I introduced her to what I have called ‘touchpoints.’ Touchpoints are those places where two places touch each other. The one end is our child’s need, lack, or hard circumstances; the other end is heaven’s tools and strategy. When the two of them touch, it no longer becomes just the hard or challenging circumstances but where our child gets strengthened, equipped, armed, and empowered to overcome, grow, conquer and become victorious. While I may not be able to prevent every negative thing that comes their way, I surely can give them the tools of heaven to win the battle. Where is your child enduring hardship, lack of pain? How can you, as their parent, equip them in that area with the tools of heaven?

JOURNEY NOT DESTINATION

The goal is not to be airlifted and dropped in the middle of the ocean just to say you have arrived in the depths. The goal is to do the journey with Him every step of the way. He is much more interested in your JOURNEY with Him than He is with your destination. So, what do you have going on today? Do it WITH Him.

ME, ME, ME FIRST!

We had a situation when the twins were four years old down at the park – they both wanted to go up the ladder first and stood there arguing about it. Finally, I explained that someone had to give in and let the other person go. Every time they went down the slide, they would come back and repeat their argument. Finally, I declared “park over,” and we came home. I sat them down and had an intentional teaching time. Jesus says those who are last are first in the Kingdom. We practiced someone being first and someone being last. We instilled a phrase in them: “Ah, no, YOU go first!” It works because they see the heart of being last, which means you are blessed, and there is no lack. Years later, we are still using that phrase as a reminder. 

***My twins are now adults, and they often talk about this day. It has reaped so much good fruit in them. If you need to teach your children about character, check out our Character Counts digital resource: Character Training SOAR Magazine – Let the Children Fly

ANCHOR THEM

Want to give your children a gift today? Read through Psalms 139: 1-18 with them at the breakfast table. This is a powerful revelation of the goodness of God and rebukes the lie that we are alone. Anchor them today in His Word.