Parents Are Asking the Wrong Question

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“Did you have fun today?”
“What did you do for fun?”
“Did you have fun with your friends?”

What is the one consistent word here? Its the three-letter word fun

 

F-U-N. 
Fun.

This type of question is ruining our children’s ability simply to BE. I hear parents, grandparents, and siblings asking young people, “Are you going to have a fun day? What did you do that was fun? Did you have fun with your friends?” 

I hear people asking this sort of question all of the time, even in my own house.

Is this really the question we should be asking? Should we gauge the quality of a young person’s day based on whether he or she had fun? 

We need to ask ourselves what we are teaching our children by asking this.

We are giving them the impression that 
life is all about having fun.
I’m not trying to suggest that children—or adults for that matter—should never have fun. We should love what we do. We should be engaged; we should have energy for life. We should enjoy our lives because Jesus came to bring us life “to the full” (John 10:10 NIV).
On the other hand, Jesus also said, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33 NIV). 
 

Hardships are part of life. We will experience struggles. We must often deal with troubling circumstances. In times of trial, however, we can have peace and find strength because we know Jesus loves us. He understands our pain and is both able and willing to help us in all things. We can find joy in the growth of our relationship with Him.

It will not be fun, but there is GOOD in it.

Recently, I took care of a child for a friend of mine. When my friend came to pick up her daughter, one of the first things she did was ask her child, “What did you do for fun today?” Her daughter replied, “Nothing. I haven’t done anything fun today.” The reaction to this statement bordered on shock, as if such a circumstance were unthinkable.

Why is it unthinkable? What is horrible about a child not having fun all of the time? You shouldnt entertain your own children, and I shouldnt entertain them, either.

If I gear my children’s lives toward fun, I am setting them up for future failure, depression, and battles when life isnt fun. I am setting them up for disappointment in marriage because they won’t be able to appreciate those low-key days of rest and recovery with their spouses after hectic times. I want my children to be able to treasure the quiet moments of simple companionship. 

When we emphasize the value of fun, 
we are sowing in our children 
the need to be entertained continuously. 

We are setting them up to view other people in terms of how they can make life more fun. We are encouraging our children to seek relationships based on fun. We are teaching them that it is okay to avoid or abandon tasks and relationships that don’t seem fun.

Many children today are constantly asking, “What are we going to do now?” They are always seeking new ways to entertain themselves. Next time your kids are with a play date or hanging out with teenage friends, listen to them talk with each other. Take note of how often they ask each other what they will do next.

Listen to them tell each other that what they’ve been doing is getting old; they are bored and ready for the next source of entertainment. Girls who play indoors are always jumping to the next activity: “Hey, lets edit pictures. Lets do a photo shoot. Let’s play a game. Lets make a video. Lets make a song. Lets do all of these projects together. Lets go play this sport. Lets go play that. Im tired of this—lets move on.”

As a mother, I certainly appreciate when my children can entertain themselves and come up with activities on their own. The trouble is that kids don’t stay focused on a particular goal. They don’t stay engaged and committed. You don’t see kids building a fort all day long the way we did when we were young. These days its more of a frenzy. Kids dart from one activity to the next to the next to the next. Theres no break.

I don’t hear kids suggesting to each other that they hang out and talk for a while or read a book or study the Bible. I know these suggestions sound odd, but they shouldn’t. Life isnt about bouncing wildly from one fun activity to the next. I’m afraid that children who live in restless pursuit of entertainment will grow into adults who are never satisfied with simply being. God created us as human beings, yet we allow our children to be only human doings. We are setting our children on a dangerous course because, let’s face it, most entertainment for kids and for adults is of this world and not of God. 

The desire for stimulation can distract us from 
the values and purposes of God.

Will our children be too busy ping-ponging around to realize that?

I believe we need to stop asking children, “Did you have fun today?” We need to stop telling them when they leave the house, “Be sure to have fun!” Since it’s in our power to influence our children’s focus, let’s choose some different questions: 

Whom did you encourage today?
How were you encouraged today?
Did you share your beautiful smile with someone?
Did anyone surprise you with a beautiful smile?
Did you see someone do something kind today?
Did you share with a friend today?
Did you help your friends mommy when you were at their house all day? 
Did you leave their place better than you found it?
When you spent time with your friends, did you ask how they were doing and actually listen to the answer?
Did you ask them if they were hurting in any way?

We assume our children are too young and emotionally immature to have those kinds of conversations with us and their friends. How can we believe this when we know that children are not too young to be hurt? They could already, on any given day, be suffering rejection and deep wounds. They are already being challenged morally. They are already struggling with matters of the mind and spirit and body. Our children need adults who are willing to be transparent and dig deeply with them at the earliest ages.
We should never look down on people because they are young. We shouldnt assume children are incapable of deep conversation. It is up to us to teach them. 

If we raise our children to pursue fun, we can’t expect them 
suddenly to transform into insightful, compassionate 
human beings when they reach adulthood.

We need to teach them while they are young: “Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it” (Proverbs 22:6 NIV). We need to teach our children how to be introspective, how to search their own souls and seek the Lord. We need to teach them to pay attention to their thoughts, emotions, and experiences. We need to teach them to take a genuine, loving interest in other people’s thoughts, emotions, and experiences. People are never too young to learn the Lord’s ways and do the Lord’s work.

It is important for our children to learn how to connect with their friends on a deeper level. Otherwise the friendships they have when they are young won’t be sustainable beyond this particular season of their lives. We should teach kids from a young age the value of developing sound, lasting relationships.
Spending time with other people isn’t about cramming in as many fun activities as possible. Rather, it’s about companionship. It’s about relaxing your guard and getting to know each other. It’s about learning how to love each other. Close friends know how to rest together. They find refreshment in each other’s company. Kids need to understand that it’s okay to say, “You know what, Im tired. Lets chill and hang out. Maybe we can read together or talk for a while.”
What’s not okay is complaining about being bored. Maybe one person enjoys sharing some quiet time while another person doesn’t. The main objective isnt to have fun and be entertained. When you are with the people you love, you can find enjoyment in the busy times as well as the quiet times.
I notice many children today who seem overstimulated and utterly exhausted. Adults allow and expect kids to stay on the go all of the time, jumping from one activity to the next to the next to the next. No wonder kids are tired! No one has taught them how to be still. No one has taught them the value of being still.
Stillness calms people. It is enjoyable. It allows us to rest and reflect. Kids, too, can learn to be comfortable enough with themselves and the people around them simply to be. 

How else will they ever hear the still, quiet voice of God?

Input-Process-Output Parenting

After I graduated from college with my accounting degree, I went to work with a worldwide firm. As part of my job, I consulted with many large companies to give them a great evaluation on their businesses. I would look at their inputs, their processes, and their outputs. When things aren’t working right and you are not getting the output you desire, you go back and look at the inputs and say, “Are we inputting the right things?” If we are inputting the right things, then we look to see how those things are processed. Are we processing them well, correctly and efficiently? If we are doing that, then we should have the projected outcome. Many times, clients would have losses or insurance issues. Those are the outputs they were having. We just went back and tried to figure out where the process was broken.
This theory can be used in every single area of your life. Let us start with children. Their behavior is an output. If you don’t like the behavior of your children, go back and look at their inputs. Are they watching TV that is a bad influence on them? Are they listening to music that is giving them ideas and embedding thoughts in their minds and imaginations? Are they on video games too much? Do they have friends who corrupt their character? Are you setting a bad example for your children? Are you seeing your own behavior toward your husband in your children? 

Look at your inputs. Whatever your inputs are is going to be what they process in their minds. It’s going to be what they think about, what they imagine, and probably what they dream of. All of those inputs go into a pot. They are stirred up, stewed, processed, and thought on until they produce an output or an outcome. You can look at the outcome, the outward behavior of your children, and see whether or not something is broken with the input.
Many times, as parents, we lose our cool and try to correct the output without correcting the inputs. We have to go back and correct the inputs. But you know what? Correcting the input is hard work for the parent. That is true parenting—true discipling, discipleship, or discipline of your children. It means starting with the input and carefully making sure the inputs are something you would eventually like to see as an output.
Secondly, we should be shepherding the hearts of our children by feeding them good, positive encouragement. What are they hearing from you? What is coming out of your mouth that is inputted into their minds? Is it encouraging or discouraging? Is it building up or tearing down? Does it align with God’s truth? Or are you just looking at the output and criticizing it? It is so easy to do. It’s easy to say, “You’re selfish. You’re bratty. You’re a complainer.” But those words just become new input that is processed and creates the same behavior.
What you want to do is make sure you are shepherding their hearts and listening to them or asking deeper than their behavior. What is going on in the processing part? How are they filtering what they are saying? Sometimes, we may have hurt our children somewhere along the way, and then they filter what we say through that hurt every single time.

Is there something broken in the processing of their minds or in the processing of their hearts? Are they beginning to build up walls against you as their parent? Are they holding a fit? Are they bitter? Is there something going on in their hearts thats causing them to process the input you are trying to give them negatively, which then produces this poor output? It all goes back to input-process-output.
That is how we should parent. We should really be looking at the inputs we have allowed our children to have, the boundaries and the room to grow, and the processing. How are they processing the things in their hearts? How do they filter things through their minds? How do they spend their time using their imagination? At the end of the day, that should produce good fruit, fruitful outcome, and a fruitful output. When we don’t see that, we must continually go back to the inputs, processes, and output.
If we constantly beat our children because they have bad output or bad outcome, it doesn’t correct the problem. It changes their behavior, but it doesn’t change the input. It doesn’t change the way they process. We are called to disciple and to discipline our children—which doesn’t mean to beat them into submission. It means to shepherd them into great outputs by caring about everything that goes in and how everything is processed. Then you will yield great results.

Dear New Driver

Dear New Driver,
As much as Disney and Pixar want you to think your car has a personality, I hate to tell you this, but it doesn’t. You can name it. You can put eyelashes on it. You can put a girdle in the front of it or decorate it with a tail on the back. You can call it by a name all day long, but your car does not have a personality. I’m so sorry. I apologize from the bottom of my heart that you have a friend you think is real and legit but it’s not.
Let me tell you this: since your car does not have a personality, it takes on your personality. When you hop in the car, if you are happy, your car is going to be happy. If you are sad, your car is going to be sad. If you are angry, your car is going to be angry. It’s probably going to be blasting through traffic, flying around people, completely annoyed. If you are in a hurry, your car is going to be fast. It didn’t turn into a sports car overnight. It’s not a Camaro. But you put that pedal to the metal and press it down because you need to get somewhere on time.
Just because you’re a new driver and you can drive does not mean you have to drive. When you are in a hurry or distracted, it’s okay to ask your parents to drive you where you need to go. Tell them, “I’m in a really big hurry, and I don’t want my car to be in a hurry,” or “I’m very upset right now. I’m afraid I won’t be able to drive through my tears,” or “I won’t be able to drive without anger.” 

If you recognize your car takes on your personality, then you can stop it. You can say, “It’s not okay to drive an angry car around town because that could hurt people.” There are consequences to driving your car when you are emotional. When your car is angry, you can end up in a wreck by hitting another car or hitting someone walking on the sidewalk. Wouldn’t that be awful? That is horrible. You would have to live with it.
We don’t want to do that. We want to make sure we realize our car does not have a personality—but it takes on ours.

Sucidal Thoughts

This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live—Deuteronomy 30:19 NIV
Have suicidal thoughts ever crossed your mind?

Maybe you were abused, and you just can’t seem to get past it. Maybe you did something horrible, and you don’t want to face the consequences. Maybe you are miserable and lonely.

I can tell you, from my personal experience, there IS a way out.

I met a girl this year who has really been struggling with her mind in this area. This is exactly what the enemy wants us to do. His goal is to steal, kill, and destroy YOU!

I don’t know about you, but I like to win. This is a challenge to me—that he is not going to prevail, PERIOD! I will not raise the white flag.
Wouldnt that just be doing to your kids what your parents did to you, in a way? Isnt it letting the enemy win and leaving your kids open to potential abuse? Would you leave them and not protect them? Is that really what you want to do?

Motherhood is the ultimate sacrifice of laying down your own desires and your selfishness for another. God gave you kids for a purpose. You have an opportunity now to turn it around. You can seize it, or you can continue to let the enemy steal your life and the lives of generations to come. The enemy has no power over you except deception. Deception is in your mind. You are allowing your mind to get out of control like a runaway train. 
I am sorry for your past. I am. Its truly hard to leave it, but its time. The past is just that—the past. Let it go so you can live for today. 
Today, you have a choice. Life or death, blessings or curses. 

Dont let someone else or your past choose for you.

Stop right now and make a list of 200 things you are thankful for. Start choosing to think on these things, and I guarantee you will see that Jesus Christ, the word of God, and a deliberate attitude of thankfulness are far more powerful than any drug or alcohol. Gods truth is permanent, free, and all-powerful. It defeats every enemy! 

You may know Gods word from when you were little, but maybe you dont understand that the word that was sown in you is a weapon— a mighty weapon! You have to choose to use it. You have everything you need. You already have victory in the Lord. You just need to claim it!

Dont think about the past. Instead, start dreaming about your future. What could your life look like in ten years? What can you do in your family, starting now? How can you help others like you and change their lives through your life and your testimony?

You need to surrender fully to Gods truth. You have to decide to believe that Gods word is more true than how you feel and what you think. Gods grace and love and wisdom are more than enough to help you cope with what happened to you and the trouble you will have today. His promises are true. He is real, and He is faithful! He loves you.

Its your choice.  

If you choose life, do these things:

1) Start speaking these truths over yourself. Say them out loud. In the morning, at lunch, at dinner, and before bed.
(Proverbs 18:21)

2) Get a Bible and start reading John and Ephesians. As you read, ask God to open your heart so you will understand. Write down these headings on a piece of paper: Who is God? Who am I? Now, as you read, if anything stands out to you, write it down.

3) Dont leave the house or do anything until you have written down 100 things you are thankful for. Take this list with you. Keep reading it. Add to it as you go. Dont leave anything out. The sky this morning was amazing.

4) Ask God to help you know Him better. Pray to Him. Talk with Him. Pour out your heart. He is listening.

5) Get in a church that proclaims Gods truth according to the Bible. Tell someone strong around you that you need encouragement. Give them this list of actions and have them hold you accountable.

6) If you are harboring any bitterness or an unforgiving attitude toward your past, your parents, or anyone or anything else, its time to work on letting it go so you can move forward in the freedom God wants you to have. Find something—anything—that you can be thankful for and think about that when bad feelings come up. Dont give bitterness a foothold any longer—not even an inch!

7) Speak the name of Jesus aloud when fear, doubt, hopelessness, and bitterness try to take hold of you (Mark 11:22-26; Ephesians 1:17-21). Resist the enemy! Resist past thinking. Resist negative thoughts. The only way to do this is with Gods word and being thankful. There is power and authority in the name of Jesus. Darkness must flee!

If you do these things faithfully, your thoughts will change and you will be a new person in 60-90 days. Your life wont look the same this time next year. Take your life back; dont give it back. 

One Tool to Get into Your Child’s Heart

Pillow talk.
Did you know that our children’s minds review their day’s events every night? Every night in their beds, they review and contemplate everything that happened that day. Now, you have one of two options as a parent: you can stay up late as your child is processing and talk to him or her, or you can choose a tool called pillow talk.
Pillow talk is a journal passed between the parent and the child. At night, when children are processing the day, they can open up their journals and write down the greatest thing that happened to them, what part of the day was most disappointing, and that sort of thing. Children remember the good, but they also have regrets at the end of the day that they process at night—regrets about poor performance on a test or disappointing behavior or the way they treated someone. They also consider their wounds.
Actually, your children can end up monopolizing your time until the wee hours of the morning if you let them. I have many friends who stay up all night long with their children because that’s when their hearts are most vulnerable and open.
It sounds great in theory, but if you work or homeschool and need to be productive during the day, you cannot function properly without sleep. If you’re married, your husband may want some of your time, too. I believe if you stay up all night, every night, with your kids and make yourself available to them at every beck and call, two things happen: one, you lose intimate time with your spouse; and two, your kids don’t learn to process for themselves and communicate in a healthy way at an appropriate time. Plus, if you’re OCD, you need the time when your children are in bed to reorganize and clean up for your own sanity the next day.
Rest is an important part of healing, but I also don’t want to miss out on my time with my kiddos. I don’t want to miss out on their sweet, vulnerable hearts at the time when they’re processing. So what do you do? Do you clean and sleep or have late-night talks with your kids?
I personally cannot live without sleep. I’m exhausted by the end of the day. I’m ready for everyone to go to bed. I want to be horizontal. I don’t need to close my eyes, but I need to be horizontal. I found a tool that lets me into my children’s hearts and allows me to sleep: pillow talk. It’s a journal for the kids and me, and it’s a fun game.

I write a note to my child. I write what’s on my heart. I may write about something I’m disappointed about or an apology for some way I behaved towards her. I write about my life, being vulnerable and transparent. It may not even have to do with my child. Then I write some questions, such as, “Is there anything that has been bothering you lately? Is there an area in which I can encourage you more or an area where you’re feeling discouraged?” The answers dont have to be long; they are meant to help us have useful, quality conversations the next day when we’re awake and alert.

I slip this under my child’s pillow for her to read at night. It gives her something productive to think on and helps steer her thoughts. I may even put in a positive message of encouragement, a Bible verse, or a picture. Sometimes I draw pictures. I’m a horrible artist, but I draw pictures for my children’s entertainment. We sneak the journal beneath each other’s pillows and see if we can get in there without getting caught. It’s a lot of fun.

When it’s under my pillow, I read it and am able to see inside my children’s hearts. The next day, I pull them aside and make sure I have some one-on-one time to discuss what I read. It’s an open door to have healthy conversations with them at a time when we’re all rested.

Parents Are Asking the Wrong Question

“Did you have fun today?”
“What did you do for fun?”
“Did you have fun with your friends?”
What is the one consistent word here? Its the three-letter word fun


F-U-N. 
Fun.

This type of question is ruining our children’s ability simply to BE. I hear parents, grandparents, and siblings asking young people, “Are you going to have a fun day? What did you do that was fun? Did you have fun with your friends?” 

I hear people asking this sort of question all of the time, even in my own house.
Is this really the question we should be asking? Should we gauge the quality of a young person’s day based on whether he or she had fun? 

We need to ask ourselves what we are teaching our children by asking this.

We are giving them the impression that 
life is all about having fun.
I’m not trying to suggest that children—or adults for that matter—should never have fun. We should love what we do. We should be engaged; we should have energy for life. We should enjoy our lives because Jesus came to bring us life “to the full” (John 10:10 NIV).
On the other hand, Jesus also said, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33 NIV). 

Hardships are part of life. We will experience struggles. We must often deal with troubling circumstances. In times of trial, however, we can have peace and find strength because we know Jesus loves us. He understands our pain and is both able and willing to help us in all things. We can find joy in the growth of our relationship with Him.

It will not be fun, but there is GOOD in it.

Recently, I took care of a child for a friend of mine. When my friend came to pick up her daughter, one of the first things she did was ask her child, “What did you do for fun today?” Her daughter replied, “Nothing. I haven’t done anything fun today.” The reaction to this statement bordered on shock, as if such a circumstance were unthinkable. 

Why is it unthinkable? What is horrible about a child not having fun all of the time? You shouldnt entertain your own children, and I shouldnt entertain them, either.
If I gear my children’s lives toward fun, I am setting them up for future failure, depression, and battles when life isnt fun. I am setting them up for disappointment in marriage because they won’t be able to appreciate those low-key days of rest and recovery with their spouses after hectic times. I want my children to be able to treasure the quiet moments of simple companionship. 

When we emphasize the value of fun, 
we are sowing in our children 
the need to be entertained continuously. 


We are setting them up to view other people in terms of how they can make life more fun. We are encouraging our children to seek relationships based on fun. We are teaching them that it is okay to avoid or abandon tasks and relationships that don’t seem fun.

Many children today are constantly asking, “What are we going to do now?” They are always seeking new ways to entertain themselves. Next time your kids are with a play date or hanging out with teenage friends, listen to them talk with each other. Take note of how often they ask each other what they will do next. 

Listen to them tell each other that what they’ve been doing is getting old; they are bored and ready for the next source of entertainment. Girls who play indoors are always jumping to the next activity: “Hey, lets edit pictures. Lets do a photo shoot. Let’s play a game. Lets make a video. Lets make a song. Lets do all of these projects together. Lets go play this sport. Lets go play that. Im tired of this—lets move on.”
As a mother, I certainly appreciate when my children can entertain themselves and come up with activities on their own. The trouble is that kids don’t stay focused on a particular goal. They don’t stay engaged and committed. You don’t see kids building a fort all day long the way we did when we were young. These days its more of a frenzy. Kids dart from one activity to the next to the next to the next. Theres no break.
I don’t hear kids suggesting to each other that they hang out and talk for a while or read a book or study the Bible. I know these suggestions sound odd, but they shouldn’t. Life isnt about bouncing wildly from one fun activity to the next. I’m afraid that children who live in restless pursuit of entertainment will grow into adults who are never satisfied with simply being. God created us as human beings, yet we allow our children to be only human doings. We are setting our children on a dangerous course because, let’s face it, most entertainment for kids and for adults is of this world and not of God. 

The desire for stimulation can distract us from 
the values and purposes of God. 


Will our children be too busy ping-ponging around to realize that?

I believe we need to stop asking children, “Did you have fun today?” We need to stop telling them when they leave the house, “Be sure to have fun!” Since it’s in our power to influence our children’s focus, let’s choose some different questions: 

Whom did you encourage today? 
How were you encouraged today? 
Did you share your beautiful smile with someone? 
Did anyone surprise you with a beautiful smile? 
Did you see someone do something kind today? 
Did you share with a friend today? 
Did you help your friends mommy when you were at their house all day? 
Did you leave their place better than you found it? 
When you spent time with your friends, did you ask how they were doing and actually listen to the answer? 
Did you ask them if they were hurting in any way?
We assume our children are too young and emotionally immature to have those kinds of conversations with us and their friends. How can we believe this when we know that children are not too young to be hurt? They could already, on any given day, be suffering rejection and deep wounds. They are already being challenged morally. They are already struggling with matters of the mind and spirit and body. Our children need adults who are willing to be transparent and dig deeply with them at the earliest ages.
We should never look down on people because they are young. We shouldnt assume children are incapable of deep conversation. It is up to us to teach them. 

If we raise our children to pursue fun, we cant expect them 
suddenly to transform into insightful, compassionate 
human beings when they reach adulthood. 


We need to teach them while they are young: “Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it” (Prov. 22:6 NIV). We need to teach our children how to be introspective, how to search their own souls and seek the Lord. We need to teach them to pay attention to their thoughts, emotions, and experiences. We need to teach them to take a genuine, loving interest in other people’s thoughts, emotions, and experiences. People are never too young to learn the Lord’s ways and do the Lord’s work.

It is important for our children to learn how to connect with their friends on a deeper level. Otherwise the friendships they have when they are young won’t be sustainable beyond this particular season of their lives. We should teach kids from a young age the value of developing sound, lasting relationships.
Spending time with other people isn’t about cramming in as many fun activities as possible. Rather, it’s about companionship. It’s about relaxing your guard and getting to know each other. It’s about learning how to love each other. Close friends know how to rest together. They find refreshment in each other’s company. Kids need to understand that it’s okay to say, “You know what, Im tired. Lets chill and hang out. Maybe we can read together or talk for a while.”
What’s not okay is complaining about being bored. Maybe one person enjoys sharing some quiet time while another person doesn’t. The main objective isnt to have fun and be entertained. When you are with the people you love, you can find enjoyment in the busy times as well as the quiet times.
I notice many children today who seemoverstimulated and utterly exhausted. Adults allow and expect kids to stay on the go all of the time, jumping from one activity to the next to the next to the next. No wonder kids are tired! No one has taught them how to be still. No one has taught them the value of being still.
Stillness calms people. It is enjoyable. It allows us to rest and reflect. Kids, too, can learn to be comfortable enough with themselves and the people around them simply to be. 

How else will they ever hear the still, quiet voice of God?



One Tool To Get into Your Child’s Heart

Pillow talk.
Did you know that our children’s minds review their day’s events every night? Every night in their bed, they contemplate and review everything that happened that day. Now, you have one of two options as a parent: you can stay up late as the child is processing and talk to them and stay up all night, or you can choose a tool called pillow talk.
Pillow talk is a journal that is passed between the parent and the child. At night, when a child is processing their day, they can open up their journal and write down what was the greatest thing of their day. So pillow talk journal, you may ask questions like, “What is the greatest part of your day? What part of your day was the most disappointing?” etcetera. Children remember the good, but they also have regrets at the end of the day that they process at night—regrets of failing a test or disappointing behavior that they showed or regretting the way they treated someone. They also consider their wounds.
This is actually the time of the night that they can monopolize your time until the wee hours of the morning if you let them. I have many friends that stay up all night long with their child because that’s when their heart is the most vulnerable and open.
It sounds great in theory, but if you work or homeschool or anything else that you need to do to be productive during the day, you cannot healthily live without sleep. And if you’re married, your husband may want some of your time too. I believe that if you stay up all night with you kids every night and available to them every beck and call that two things happen: one, you lose intimate time with your husband or your spouse; and two, your kids don’t learn to process and how to healthily communicate at an appropriate time. If you’re OCD, you need the time that your child is in bed to reorganize and pick up your house and clean it up for your own sanity the next day.
Rest is an important part of healing. But I also don’t wanna miss out on my time with my kiddos. I don’t wanna miss out on their sweet vulnerable hearts in the time that that they’re processing. So what can you do? Sleep, clean or have late night talks with them, help?
I personally cannot live without sleep. I’m exhausted. When it’s time to go to bed, I’m usually ready for everyone to go to bed. I want to be horizontal. I don’t need to close my eyes, but I need to be horizontal.
I found the tool that lets me into my child’s heart and allow me to sleep. Pillow talk. It’s a journal the kids and I used and it’s a fun game.
What we do is I will write a note to my child. I may write a note about my heart or maybe a way that I behave with them that I want to apologize for. I may write something that I’m disappointed in, and just my life, being vulnerable and transparent. It has nothing to do with them, but just something that I’m just being transparent about. And then I would write some questions like, “Is there anything that has been bothering you lately? Is there an area that I can encourage you more in, or an area where you’re feeling discouraged?” And these don’t need to be long answers, but the answers will help me ask and have appropriate conversations the next day when we’re alert and awake.
Then we sneak it into each other’s pillow. So I would sneak this under my child’s pillow and leave it there and when they read it at night. It also helps steer their thoughts at night. So at night it gives them something productive to think on. I may even put in a positive message or encouragement in their pillow talk journal, or put a bible verse, or a picture. Sometimes, I draw pictures. I’m a horrible artist but I draw pictures for their entertainment. So we sneak into each other’s pillows and see if we can get in there without getting caught. And it’s just a lot of fun.
When it’s under my pillow, I get to read it and I get inside to their heart. So I can be intentional about my time during the day to pull them aside and make sure I have some one-on-one time to discuss what I read. It’s an open door to have an healthy conversation with them at a time when we’re all rested and healthy.

Parents Are Asking the Wrong Question

“Did you have fun today?”
“What did you do for fun?”
“Did you have fun with your friends?”
What is the one consistent word here? Its the three-letter word fun


F-U-N. 
Fun.

This type of question is ruining our children’s ability simply to BE. I hear parents, grandparents, and siblings asking young people, “Are you going to have a fun day? What did you do that was fun? Did you have fun with your friends?” 

I hear people asking this sort of question all of the time, even in my own house.
Is the focus of this question the right one parents should be asking? Should we gauge the quality of a young person’s day based on whether or not they had fun? 

We need to ask ourselves what we are teaching our children by asking this. 

We are giving them the impression that life is all about having fun.
I’m not trying to suggest children—or adults—should never have fun. We should love what we do. We should be engaged; we should have energy for life. We should enjoy our lives because Jesus came to bring us life “to the full” (John 10:10 NIV).
On the other hand, Jesus also said, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33 NIV). 

Hardships are part of life. We will experience struggles. We must often deal with troubling circumstances. In times of trial, however, we can have peace and find strength because we know Jesus loves us. He understands our pain and is both able and willing to help us in all things. We can find joy in the growth of our relationship with Him. It will not be fun, but there is good in it.

Recently, I took care of a child for a friend of mine. When my friend came to pick up her daughter, one of the first things she did was ask her child, “What did you do for fun today?” Her daughter replied, “Nothing. I haven’t done anything fun today.” The reaction to this statement bordered on shock, as if such a circumstance were unthinkable. Yet why is it unthinkable? What is horrible about a child not having fun all of the time? You shouldnt entertain your own children, and I shouldnt entertain yours, either.
If I gear my children’s lives toward fun, I am setting them up for future failure, depression, and battles when life isnt fun. I am setting them up for disappointment in marriage because they won’t be able to appreciate those low-key days of rest and recovery with their spouses after hectic times. Will they be able to treasure the quiet moments of simple companionship? 

When we emphasize the value of fun, we are sowing their the need to be entertained continuously. We are setting them up to view other people in terms of how they can make life more fun. We are encouraging our children to seek relationships based on fun. We are teaching them that it is okay to avoid or abandon tasks and relationships if they don’t seem fun.
Many children today are constantly asking, “What are we going to do now?” They are always seeking new ways to entertain themselves. Next time your kids are with a play date or hanging out with teenage friends, listen to them talk with each other. Take note of how often they ask each other what they will do next. Listen to them tell each other what they’ve been doing is getting old; they are bored and ready for the next source of entertainment. Girls who play indoors are always jumping to the next activity: “Hey, lets edit pictures. Lets do a photo shoot. Let’s play a game. Lets make a video. Lets make a song. Lets do all of these projects together. Lets go play this sport. Lets go play that. Im tired of this—lets move on.”
As a mother, I certainly appreciate when my children can entertain themselves and come up with activities on their own. The trouble is, kids don’t stay focused on a particular goal. They don’t stay engaged and committed. You don’t see kids building a fort all day long the way we did when we were young. These days its more of a frenzy: Kids dart from one activity to the next to the next to the next. Theres no break.
I don’t hear kids suggesting to each other to hang out and talk for a while or read a book or study the Bible. I know these suggestions sounds odd, but they shouldn’t. Life isnt about bouncing wildly from one fun activity to the next. I’m afraid children who live in restless pursuit of entertainment will grow into adults who are never satisfied with simply being. God created us as human beings, yet we allow our children to be only human doings. We are setting our children on a dangerous course because, let’s face it, most entertainment for kids and for adults is of this world and not of God. The desire for stimulation can distract us from the values and purposes of God. Will our children be too busy ping-ponging around to realize that?
I believe we need to stop asking children, “Did you have fun today?” We need to stop telling them when they leave the house, “Be sure to have fun!” Since it’s in our power to influence our children’s focus, let’s choose some different questions: Who did you encourage today? How were you encouraged today? Did you share your beautiful smile with someone? Did anyone surprise you with a beautiful smile and prompt you to smile back? Did you see someone do something kind today? Did you share with a friend today? Did you help your friends mommy when you were at their house all day? Did you leave their place better than you found it? When you spent time with your friends, did you ask how they were doing and actually listen to the answer? Did you ask them if they were hurting in any way?
We assume our children are too young and emotionally immature to have those kinds of conversations with us and with their friends. How can we believe this when we know children are not too young to be hurt? They could already, on any given day, be suffering rejection and deep wounds. They are already being challenged morally. They are already struggling with matters of the mind and spirit and body. Our children need adults who are willing to be transparent and dig deeply with them at the earliest ages.
We should never look down on people because they are young. We shouldnt assume children are incapable of deep conversation. It is up to us to teach them. If we raise our children to pursue fun, we can’t expect them suddenly to transform into insightful, compassionate human beings when they reach adulthood. We need to teach them while they are young: “Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it” (Prov. 22:6 NIV). We need to teach our children how to be introspective—how to search their own souls and seek the Lord. We need to teach them to pay attention to their thoughts, emotions, and experiences. We need to teach them to take a genuine, loving interest in other people’s thoughts, emotions, and experiences. People are never too young to learn the Lord’s ways and do the Lord’s work.
It is important for our children to learn how to connect with their friends on a deeper level. Otherwise the friendships they have when they are young won’t be sustainable beyond this particular season of their lives. We should teach kids from a young age the value of developing sound, lasting relationships.
Spending time with other people isn’t about cramming in as many fun activities as possible. Rather, it’s about companionship. It’s about relaxing your guard and getting to know each other. It’s about learning how to love each other. Close friends know how to rest together. They find refreshment in each other’s company. Kids need to understand that it’s okay to say, “You know what, Im tired. Lets chill and hang out. Maybe we can read together or talk for a while.”
What’s not okay is complaining about being bored. Maybe one person enjoys sharing some quiet time while another person doesn’t. The main objective isnt to have fun—to be entertained. When you are with the people you love, you can find enjoyment in the busy times as well as the quiet times.
I notice many children today who seemoverstimulated and utterly exhausted. Adults allow and expect kids to stay on the go all of the time, jumping from one activity to the next to the next to the next. No wonder kids are tired! No one has taught them how to be still. No one has taught them the value of being still.
Stillness calms people. It is enjoyable. It allows us to rest and reflect. Kids, too, can learn to be comfortable enough with themselves and the people around them simply to be. How else will they ever hear the still, quiet voice of God?



Holy Spirit

Maybe your parents always told you that you were the best and the brightest. You are the smartest and the sharpest. You’re the best looking and the kindest. Maybe they always told you great things. Maybe you made tenth place in your athletic event and your parents are like, “Good job for trying! We’re so proud of you. You’re so awesome.” Maybe they always spoke in positive and encouraging words even when you fail—if you got an F on your test, they were like, “It’s okay. It’s no big deal. You still are smart and sharp. You’re the sharpest and the brightest.” But the truth is that there’s a lack of understanding there.
The truth is that we’re made up of three parts: body, soul, and spirit. In your spirit, that is all true. In our spirit, we’re perfect. We couldn’t be more perfect. Our spirit is seated at the right hand of Jesus Christ and a finished work. Our spirit is perfect, a masterpiece, chosen, holy, blameless and so loved. So viewed from the eyes of God that our sins are so far removed from us. But while we are on this earth, our body and our soul—which is our mind and spirit—they are being renewed in the likeness of Jesus Christ every single day.
Our job on this earth is to tame and renew our mind so it comes in line with the Holy Spirit. Our job is to train up our body to come in line with the spirit. Our job is to command the body to stop craving the desires of this world like sexual immorality and quick fixes. Our job is to train up our emotions to not be emotion-led but to be spirit-led; to understand when our emotions flare that tells us that we have a trust issue with God. There’s an issue when our emotions flare up. We need to go seek God about and say, “God, why am I so angry about this? Father, why am I so sad? Help me align my emotions with you, God.”
They are a dashboard—like in a car. Your car has a dashboard. It will show up a yellow light and say “low fuel.” Everybody knows what to do. Go to the gas station. Well sometimes, a light comes on and it says, “check engine.” That might actually spark a panic attack in you or anxiety because you start thinking like, “I don’t have the time or the money to go have my engine replaced. Am I going to have to replace my car?” You automatically start thinking about the negative what ifs because it’s expensive and you think, “Oh my goodness!” But that’s not what the car manufacturer intended it for. They gave you the dashboard so they tell you there’s a problem. Don’t continue on this trip any longer until you have this problem checked out or you may have a bigger problem. It’s a warning system to give you a warning to tell you, “Hey you need to check the engine. There is a problem.” They didn’t do it to frustrate you or to cause you to have an anxiety or a panic attack. They did it to help you.
God did the same thing with our emotions. What he did with our emotions is he gave us a yellow light to tell us, “Oh my goodness, there might be a problem here. Don’t go any further. Stop blabbing your mouth. Don’t tell someone off. Just stop and pause and check in the engine,” which for us would be do a heart-check. “Heart-check me, God. Show me what I’m missing or why is this causing me to get so flared up?”
So our job on this earth is to continue to get our emotions and our will in line with the Holy Spirit. You know what, God has a work that he wants you to do. He’s called you, he’s chosen you, he’s pulled you out, plucked you before you were born to do work. And the truth is, you can say no or you can say yes. He’s got it for you and it’s your choice. So what is your decision? Well, every day we have to get constantly conform our will into God’s. Even like, Jonah. God told him to go to Nineveh, but you know what, he was like, “Whatever. I’m not gonna line my will with yours, God. I’m gonna align my will on my own. I’m gonna go to Tarshish and I’m gonna do what I wanna do.”
Our job on this earth is to stop and listen to God and say, “God, I wanna do what you want me to do. When you say go to Seven Eleven, I wanna go to Seven Eleven. When you say, turn left out of your neighborhood instead of right today, I wanna go that direction.” That’s maturity. Maturity is learning to obey at the very moment God speaks and to not delay.
Our job is to continue to reconcile our mind and our will into the Holy Spirit’s perfection; continue to say yes; continue to be refined by fire; continue to make the hard decisions even if you don’t want to just because God said so; and to get our body in line with the Holy Spirit. Like, “Body, you know what, you’re not gonna sit here and lie to me and tell me all these things are wrong. I’m going to command you to listen up and obey the Holy Spirit. I’m not gonna be sexually impure anymore. I refuse to use my eyes for purpose which they were not designed. I refuse to use my body for that which it was not designed by God and I refuse to allow pain to rule me so I can’t do the work of God. I refuse. Body, you listen up to the voice of the Holy Spirit.”

The truth is, sometimes our body and our soul, they fail. We make mistakes because we’re human and we’re being transformed. We’re in the process of being transformed. Because we’re being transformed and we’re in the process, we’re going to fail. So if you were raised by parents who never let you see your failures or they caught you every time before you failed—or you’re a parent raising kids, you catch your kids before they fail or you never let them see their failures, you’re doing them a disjustice, because they’re going to hurt so bad later when they fail. They’re gonna be so mad, they’re not gonna know how to respond or how to even handle any negative criticism from an employer or spouse or a child for that matter. You are doing them a complete disservice.

The truth is, your spirit is perfect but your body and your soul is not. You have to understand that it’s not so you know you need a savior to get through every day and you need to day yes. It gives you a dependency on God when you know that you fail without him. Failing doesn’t mean, “I am a failure.” Failing means, “I did something that wasn’t in the perfect mark of which God has asked me to. Failing means I did something without a hundred percent of my heart or I didn’t do it unto the Lord. I didn’t do it as if I was serving God. Failing is doing it on my own apart from God. Failing is leaning into my emotions and giving way to them and yelling at my children or my spouse or my friends and taking them out because I’m mad and I choose to fail. Failing is not recognizing that I’m still human and I need to make the decisions that God has asked me to make so I can be made into his likeness in every area and bring those other two parts into submission into the Holy Spirit.”
The truth is, everyone needs to understand you’re made up of body, soul and spirit and your spirit is perfect. Yes, you are a masterpiece. When you know who you are and you stand on it, it’s way easier to bring your body and your soul into submission and say, “Hey soul, stop trying to go your own way. Stop trying to be emotion-led because you know what, God is worthy and he’s made me a masterpiece already and I’m gonna stand up in the masterpiece, chosen, loved, holy, blameless person of God that I am and I am gonna stand fully on that. I refuse to go my own way, I refuse to live out of my emotions, I refuse to let the sun go down on my anger tonight because my Father who has named me and adopted me is worthy. I refuse to let my body command me and lust to rule me and selfish ambition and my selfishness to take me to places where God never intended me to go.”
I, Father, wanna stand in who you say who I am and bring my body and soul into submission, the end. In Jesus’ name, I bind all these. In the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.