Help Them Control Their Behavior

Help Them Control Their Behavior

Help Them Control Their Behavior

All of us at Celebrate Kids are passionate that children know who they are. And, parents and educators need to know who they are. Identity controls behavior.

I’ve enjoyed writing this series on helping children develop a complete identity. A complete identity is important for many reasons I’ve included in the posts. Let me summarize it this way:

Children with a complete identity will be healthier. They’ll be more secure and confident. Why? If one part of their identity fails them, they’ll know more about themselves to rely upon. For instance, if children think they only have an intellectual identity and their grades begin to slip, they may panic. This won’t help their concentration and they may earn lower grades in the next week. But, when they know their character, they can rely on the choice to be diligent to raise their grades. When they know their social identity, they may think of someone to study with. Knowing their emotional identity can help them calm down. I trust this makes sense.

During the past 2 weeks, like me, have you paid more attention to the weather than normal? Have you been glued to the TV and watching reports about Harvey and Irma? Have you been on Facebook more than normal to check on your friends? Praying about protection more than usual?

Have you felt out of balance? Out of sorts? This is what might happen to children who all of a sudden rely on just one of their identities.

Let’s study our children and know all of who they are. Then let’s make sure we pass our observations onto them. It matters.

 

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You can read the earlier blogs in this series here:

Introduction to blog series about a complete identity

Intellectual identity

Emotional identity

Social identity

Character quality identity

Physical identity

Spiritual identity

God Intervenes – True Hope For Texas

God Intervenes - True Hope For Texas

God Intervenes

True Hope For Texas

It’s hard to watch TV coverage of the devastating hurricane and rain damage in the Houston, TX, area. It’s hard not to watch. But, it’s hard to watch. Hard not to watch. Hard to watch. …

Interspersed with that coverage, there’s news about this and that. And “this” and “that” aren’t good.

Tragedy here. More tragedy there. Tragedy everywhere. This is how it seems sometimes.

While, in the old days, you could decide not to turn on the television and you could probably avoid the news. That’s not the case anymore. There are headlines here, there, and everywhere. There are TVs everywhere. Email blasts. Text alerts. Facebook posts. Tweets.

Discouragement can set in. Children who are also aware can be scared.

As a believer in the God of the Bible and His Son, Jesus Christ, I don’t want to be discouraged. I don’t want you to be either.

I believe what God’s Holy Word declares about Him. He is on the throne. He is omnipotent – He has unlimited authority and power. Nothing surprises Him. He intervenes when He wants to. While I admit I can get concerned and I wonder why God allows some things to occur. I also remember God is God. He gets to decide. God is interested in the big picture I can’t see.

Scripture encourages me. Because Scripture reminds me that God intervenes. I need to remember this today, and tomorrow and the day after that. He is active and aware and not wringing His hands worried about what His people are or aren’t doing.

The book of Esther has some of my favorite truths about God intervening.

In Esther 2:1-9 we learn that Esther was “lovely in form and features.” God intervened because only beautiful women could be in the harem from which the new queen would be chosen. God also intervened because Esther won Hegai’s favor. He was the king’s eunuch in charge of the women.

In 2:17 we learn Esther was chosen to be the queen. And this changed everything. Any number of women could have been chosen. God intervened.

Another evidence of God intervening is found in chapter 2:21-23. Esther’s cousin, Mordecai, who raised her when she was orphaned, “just happened” to be in the right place at the right time to learn that some men were plotting to kill the king. As a result, he was able to save the king’s life. This, too, changed everything.

If you’re not familiar with the fascinating story of Esther and Mordecai, I encourage you to read the short Old Testament book of Esther. You’ll find other evidence that God intervenes.

So allow God’s Word to encourage you. Know that God is active and involved. Talk with your children about this so their faith in God is strengthened during challenging times.

Also, allow your past to encourage you. Remember times when God showed up and made a positive difference. When did He last intervene for you?

God intervenes. Pray expectantly! Watch optimistically! Finally, let’s not be discouraged.

Spiritual Identity – Helping Your Kids Develop A Deep Relationship With God

Spiritual Identity - Helping Your Kids Develop A Deep Relationship With God

Spiritual Identity

Helping Your Kids Develop A Deep Relationship With God

In the first blog in this series about raising children with a complete identity, I drew an analogy between parenting and archery and bowling. I wrote this:

You have to know what you’re aiming for when you think about raising your children. What does your bull’s-eye look like? What would you consider a strike? Being intentional is wise. Having strategies to help you accomplish your goals makes it more likely that you will be successful.

Do you agree with me that it may be most important to have strategies for developing children’s spiritual identity? As important as the other identities are, if you’re raising your children to value faith and a personal relationship with Jesus, then strategies definitely matter.

But, first, what’s your bull’s-eye? What’s a strike when it comes to their spiritual growth and identity? Do they know? Do they agree? Knowing your goal – your bull’s-eye and strike – will help you determine strategies.

When asking 7th graders in June what they would consider a high compliment in the spiritual category, they answered with these phrases:

  • Be a good Christian with actions.
  • Peace
  • Close to God, godly man
  • Teachable
  • On the right path
  • Loving
  • Christ follower, faithful
  • Christ follower, disciple maker, missionary, the hands and feet of Christ, Christian
  • Faithful
  • Believer, passionate, bright from the inside
  • Disciple maker, believer
  • Have a strong faith in God
  • Close to God
  • Christian, heart for Christ, faithful
  • Faithful

Like with the other identities, their answers encouraged me. If these were my children, I’d be pleased. Do you see something here that you hope your children would list? What’s missing that you’d love them to aspire to?

I encourage you to make a list. Ask your children what they’d list and compare. This will help you see if they’re catching what matters to you and/or if you need to talk about everything more.

Once you’re set on some spiritual goals, then think about the strategies. How will you partner with God to try to cause your children to become who you want them to be?

What role will each of these play? Why?

  • Worship (Private and corporately)
  • Church attendance (youth group, Sunday school, children’s church)
  • Church involvement/volunteering
  • Bible reading
  • Bible study
  • Scripture memorization
  • Prayer
  • Quiet time
  • Family devotions
  • Service
  • Giving
  • Fasting
  • Sacrifice
  • Rest

Again, look at the list you made of goals for your child’s spiritual development. I hope you have more statements like, “Loves God” and “Spending time with God is important” than “Prays daily” and “Reads the Bible.”

Let’s always remember and explain that we do what we do to become who we are.

Read that sentence again. I hope you agree! We read the Bible to become devoted to God’s truths, to fall in love with God, and to discover how to live rightly. Pray to develop a more intimate relationship with God. We give to become more aware of needs and to discover God is generous. We fast to increase our reliance on God and to grow our faith.

You get the idea. Talk with your kids about who you hope they are spiritually and how you’d love to help them become those things by doing what’s relevant.

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You can read the earlier blogs in this series here:

Introduction to blog series about a complete identity

Intellectual identity

Emotional identity

Social identity

Character quality identity

Physical identity

Complete Identity – Your Physical Self

Complete Identity - Your Physical Self

Complete Identity

Your Physical Self

Today I continue the blog series about helping children develop a complete identity with a look at the physical self. I’ve already written about the importance of several others. When you think about children having an identity related to their physical selves, what do you think of?

There are three components to this identity.

  • There is physical health. I remember when I was in grade 6 and a boy named Jay tripped me while we were ice-skating. He used a broom that we were supposed to be using for a fun game. His choice resulted in my right arm breaking. For weeks, all people seemed to notice about me was that I was in a cast and had a broken arm. That’s all they wanted to talk about. And I bet I enjoyed talking about it, too.
    • Children and teens with ongoing health issues can perhaps put too much of their identity in this component. Or, they might be forced to if that’s all people ask about or talk about when with them. People might not know about their intellectual, emotional, and social identities and which character qualities they highly value. This is definitely limiting.
  • A second component of the physical self is physical abilities. This certainly includes athletics. Teenagers who value this part of them, when asked who they are, will tell you first that they are a starter on the basketball team or that they enjoy playing soccer. Drama is also associated with physical ability because if you’re good at drama you can make your whole body look old even though you are young, you can laugh with your whole body to exaggerate when you are on stage, and you can stand as still as a statue if your role requires it for a while. Working with your hands with clay or the small motor coordination to do science experiments carefully is also part of the physical ability self.
  • The part of the physical self that most people think of first is probably the appearance self. Tall, short, overweight, slender, beautiful blue eyes, fair skin, naturally curly hair, …  you get the idea.

How Can We Talk To Our Kids About Their Physical Self?

In 1 Samuel 16:7 we read that God looks at the heart. He would want us to also. I enjoy telling children that there are very few people described by physical appearance in the Bible. When we do know something about the physical identity, it is because it is relevant to the purpose for which they were created. For example, we know Esther was beautiful because it is relevant to her story. We know Sampson had long hair because it’s relevant to his story.

If you don’t want your children and teens to over-emphasize their physical appearance selves, don’t talk about it often. If they hear you talk with others about their beauty or if you compliment them more about that than anything else, they’ll start to prioritize it. They might think it’s the basis of their security with you. They may think, “My dad doesn’t know much about me, but he sure thinks it’s important that I’m pretty.”

Would you want your children to talk about all three components of a physical identity if you were talking with them about their physical selves? Why or why not? What would you prefer them to say or value? How do you want them to prioritize this identity in relation to their social, emotional, character qualities, and intellectual identities?

What I Thought Teens Would Say

Those of you who have been reading my blogs, know that earlier this summer I spoke with several hundred 7th graders about who they were created to be. I asked them to identify a high compliment they could receive about their physical identity. I was stunned and very encouraged by some of the responses. These were what I thought many teens would list:

  • Strong, athletic
  • Fast, good-looking, athletic
  • Strong, beautiful
  • Sexy, fast, strong
  • Strong, fast
  • Pretty, athletic, fit
  • Beautiful, strong
  • Athletic, strong, in shape
  • Good at sports
  • Handsome, muscular, athletic
  • Physically fit, strong
  • Athletic

Check out these responses. What do they indicate? I think these young people are mature and were able to think of others and respond with maturity. How I wish that schools and church groups would be full of kids wanting these physical identities and looking for these identities in others.

  • Diverse
  • Beautiful in their own way
  • Comfortable, different, unique
  • Comfortable with yourself
  • Confident
  • Naturally healthy

What do you think?

Again, what would you prefer your teens or children value regarding their physical selves? Are you strategically parenting so they will? What are you talking about? Not talking about? What do you affirm? Do you criticize something over and over again?

Also, when we find out what children and teens value, what can we do to help them either achieve their preferences or change them if we believe they’re unhealthy or unrealistic? Think about this, too, and maybe talk with your children. For instance, 7 groups of my 7th graders value “strong.” I wonder what they mean by that and why it’s important to them. Would they like to work to become strong or do they just hope it will happen? What about “beautiful in their own way”? (I LOVE this one!) What thinking patterns do they need so they can believe this of themselves and others? What difference might it make? This would be such a great discussion!

As always, thanks for reading the blog. I praise God for your interest and teachability. Now, invest in your children because you took the time to read it. Oh … what if we invested in ourselves and our thoughts regarding our physical self? Yes, that might be worth it, too. For sure!

 

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You can read the earlier blogs in this series here:

Introduction to blog series about a complete identity

Intellectual identity

Emotional identity

Social identity

Character quality identity