Jill Aycock
Parenting for His Purpose - Week 4
by Jill Aycock on November 10th, 2016

​I can’t believe we are already to week 4 on this journey of Parenting for His Purpose. I have been blessed to be able to learn right along with you all. In the last 4 weeks I have taken a look at my own kids and our household and how things are running. I did a mental check on each child and their character. I also took a look at myself in the mirror and thought about how I must continue to walk the walk.
 
Talking the talk is easy. Reading books and articles about parenting is easy... sitting in this class listening to me is easy… but the hard part is in the work. It’s hard to parent through difficult situations.
 
It is much easier to just keep the peace and sweep the issues under the rug… but as we all know, that is not what God is calling us to do as parents.
 
Here is a funny video a friend sent me from YouTube
​ 
I am not saying pour wine in your ice cream, but I am saying this chick has some good advice… She didn’t use scripture, she used common sense.
 
God is not calling us to be friends with our kids… God is calling us to be the adults in the situation.
 
We may one day be our adult children’s friends, but not our little kids and especially not our teenager’s friends. I think she has some sound advice, if your kids are your best friends; you need to look for some friends your own age, that is weird to have 8-year-old friends when you are in your 40’s!
 
Our kids need to foster healthy relationships with kids their own age, most likely, they will go through lots of sets of friends through the years, figuring out different types of relationships, but God gave them just one set of parents. We need to do our job.
 
I do hope that one day, my children will respect me enough as a parent to choose to spend time with me and I do pray one day ReeseKathryn and I will BFFs, but for now, she has Julia Howell… I am first, her mother. I have a lot of work to do with her before I can consider her my friend.
 
There are a lot of parents out there who are looking for friends in their children…
 
Parents with little kids are buying their kid’s friendships with toys and candy and giving in when it’s tough.
 
While parents of teenagers are buying alcohol for their kids and their kid’s friends and allowing sleepovers at their homes… they are allowing their kids to do things that you might allow a friend your own age to do. This is not parenting.
 
The parents of teenagers buying alcohol for their kids are not only committing crimes, they are also teaching their kids it’s ok to commit a crime.
 
I know some people think allowing their teenager to drink and “teaching” their child to drink before college is beneficial, but I don’t think most kids need a lesson in beer bonging 101. They need lessons in self-respect and moderation. They need lessons in what it means to be a virtuous young woman and young man, not how many beers they can handle.
 
We need to teach our children to follow the law and the dangers of alcohol. They need to know that moderation is the key to everything in life. You need to have open, honest conversations about both alcohol and sex with your kids earlier in life than you would probably like to.
 
But you do not need to teach them how to drink or have sex. Take it from me, they will figure both of them out on their own.
 
In our house we tell our children, the danger isn’t in drinking, the danger is in the decisions that kids make when they drink. Their inhibitions are gone and they make life-altering decisions that could change the course of their lives, this is when people drink and drive and get killed. This is when teen pregnancies happen… this is when they decide to break parent’s rules and lose focus on their future.
 
They tend to focus on partying and getting high, rather than focusing on what’s truly important...
 
I have read you need to start talking to your kids about drinking and drugs as young as age 9. I know that sounds young, but kids need to be informed age appropriately. If you haven’t started talking to them, sit down tonight.
 
The earlier you talk about hard topics, the easier it will be when they are teenagers and those conversations aren’t about “those older kids,” the conversations will be about your kids and the decisions they need to be making.
 
 
And trust me, if you aren’t talking to them about it they are hearing it from their peers and getting mixed messages through their phone and social media. This leads me to what so many parents think is literally the devil.
 
SOCIAL MEDIA

 
I know lots of parents hate technology. They think parenting is so much harder with these phones that are in our kids hands all time and I could NOT disagree more.
 
Yes, we have much more to parent earlier, but we have an insight past generations did not have. We have more details about what our children are doing and saying and we have more parenting opportunities because of it. 
 
Please don’t stick your head in the sand and say, “it’s too much… I can’t keep up with it.“ or trust that your spouse is the one taking on the responsibility. You both need to be aware of the dangerous tools our children have in their hands everyday, all day long and what is going on in that tool.
 
Your kids are probably praying you don’t look at their phone. I can tell the stress in my children eyes when I ask for their phone. I can tell if they are hiding something or if they are not afraid for me to look at their phone.
 
I don’t let my children claim this to be an invasion of their privacy. They don’t have $600 to pay for a phone or $40 a month to pay for the service… this isn’t their phone, this is my phone they are allowed to use and I don’t want a bunch of junk on the phone I own.
 
If you haven’t taken a look in awhile, it’s time.
 
I know more about my children’s personalities and their interest just by what Carter calls my “daily hover.” It’s not actually daily, but it does feel that way to him. I know last week we talked about helicoptering parenting and hovering. I don’t think checking up on what your child is putting out for the world to see is hovering. I believe this is responsible parenting. I don’t do it all day everyday, but I do it. I also think my kids keep it clean on their phones because they know they might be checked on. It is kind of like drug testing kids; they know you will check, they just don’t know when, so they stay clean.
 
I believe the Holy Spirit has led me to check my son’s phones when necessary; friends have also given me a heads up.
 
What your kids are writing and talking about via social media and on their phones is a good check of their character and their friend’s character.
 
I feel like I know more about what other kids are up to and how they speak by just looking through their text string and direct messaging with my boys.
 
And don’t be fooled, they don’t just text their friends… they are super sneaky.
 
Instagram has a secret Direct Message that only you can see if you get into their app on their phone and of course, Twitter has the same thing…. Please go home and take a look at your kid’s phone and see if they have an extra  calculator app on their phone. This is were the hide the horrible stuff...
 
A friend of mine from Arizona told me about some 7th grade boys who were hiding nude pictures of girls and videos of naked middle school girls doing sexual acts in this app and selling access to the pictures. 7th graders… 12 year olds! We need to make sure we know what is going on in our kid’s phones.
 
You also need to be readying about the latest technology and apps out there. There are tons of articles that we can be reading to keep our kids safe. Kids want parents to stay out of their business, so they stay on top of the latest “secret app” to stay one step ahead of us. We need to be talking to each other, sharing ideas and making sure we are up to date on what is “cool with the kids.”
 
Here are the top 5 most dangerous apps I found in an article on the internet. I think some kids at appropriate ages can handle some apps while others will be bullied or worst if we aren’t monitoring what is going on.
TOP 5 DANGEROUS APPS FOR KIDS
 
1. SNAP CHAT
2. YIK YAK
3. KIK
4. WHISPER
5. POOF, APP LOCK AND HIDDEN APPS 

SNAP CHAT - Experts say it is in the top app teenagers use to send inappropriate and risqué pictures…

Yik Yak - This app allows people to anonymously send messages to other users with a mile and half. It often turns into an anonymous message board for an entire school

KIK – Experts say sexting and bullying are common on this app because most parents don’t check this one. This one can be accessed online, so the kids don’t even need their phone for this app.

Whisper -  This app encourages teens to anonymously share deepest darkest secrets with a stranger. Experts warn this is an ideal app for predators to connect with teenagers and GPS is used on this app, so they can track down your child.

Poof, App Lock, Hidden Apps – Just because you can’t see a particular app doesn’t mean it’s not on your teen’s phone. They are apps that can be downloaded that hide apps or change the icons to make them look like different apps. That is what the calculator is… it’s the most popular. 

Let’s go back to an old favorite bible verse…
 
DEUTERONOMY 6:6-8
 
"These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. 7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 8 Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads."
 
We are called to instruct our children in biblical wisdom and today that includes teaching them how to apply biblical wisdom to technology. We need to be talking to them all the time about what is going on in this world… age appropriately.
 
Teaching our children how to choose appropriate apps and use them responsibly is part of our job in this media saturated culture.
 
Basically, I own 4 phones. Mine and my 3 boys and they know the rules… They will hand them over at anytime. If they delete a text message, they will lose their phone. They will not be a part of a disrespectful discussion and guess what... the older 2 have had their phones take away for all of the above violations.
 
There are times that I don’t look at their stuff, I don’t do a “daily hover,” and there are times when parents have contacted me to let me know my kid has said some inappropriate stuff on a text or that his name was on a text string that had porn associated with it.
 
I am glad I can say he is alive today because he didn’t send the porn pictures, but he sure did see them and didn’t make the decision to leave the conversation. His involvement was that he didn’t leave the conversation. He didn’t walk away.
 
That is an option. Just like physically walking away from a bad situation, our kids can also virtually get away from a situation. It just takes guts and parenting.
 
I also have had to contact a few of my friends to let them know their kids were involved in a text string that had some “concerning content.” I have told you all, I have a great tribe of friends who a long time ago made a pact to do this parenting thing together. We have always said if you hear of my kids being involved in something bad, it was their duty to tell me and my job is not to be mad at them for telling me.
 
 
After I told my friends about the text string and concerning content… I left it up to them to parent. I never followed up and never spoke of the incident again. It is not our job to judge or condemn other parents; we are to help one another. I always say, I can’t parent what I don’t know. We need to help each other out in these situations.
 
If an Aycock is making a fool of himself /herself, I pray my friends know me well enough that I would want to know. I want to parent my kids through the tough times in life. I want them to know that I am here to help them be better people and parenting them through the really tough times is when that happens.
 
Community of Accountability
 
I don’t think my friends are the only parents who want to know what their kids are up to. I believe we need to form groups or make a list of people who want to know what is going with their kids. I understand not all parents care to parent… but my heart tells me 99% of the parents out there want to be raising great kids and want help.
 
I think that is why God has led me to this subject. I am here to tell you parenting is hard and we need to form a Community of Accountability. I am sure the kids will call it the “Snitch Club” but truly it needs to be a place that we can all look out for each other’s kids. I have been hesitant in the past to inform parents of incidents because I was afraid they would be mad that I told them. These are people I don’t really know and people who don’t know me well enough to know that I give kids grace… I give all kids grace… we need to give our kid’s grace and we need to especially give other people’s kid’s grace.
 
James 4:11-12
"Brothers and sisters, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against a brother or sister[d] or judges them speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it. 12 There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you—who are you to judge your neighbor?"
 
 
When we condemn and judge kids, we are doing God’s job. It is not our place to judge.
 
It is our place to give kid’s grace. When we condemn, it makes us feel like our kids are better than other kids. That is prideful.
 
We need to show our kids that we are the adults. We need to show them that we can be forgiving.
 
In the fore mentioned situation when I had to let some parents know about some “concerning content” in some text messages… those boys knew it came from me. Not sure how but Carter came home from school saying they called him a snitch. Let’s be clear… One, when you write something in black and white and a parent finds it on their own, the kid isn’t a snitch, the parent is just an investigator. The kid that got caught was trying to deflect his poor judgment on someone else. Carter wasn’t too upset with being called a snitch. He knew he didn’t ask me to search his phone for porn, another parent told me to look for it… The tribe rocks! He was off the hook. However, it did bother him that the kids were mad at me and didn’t like me. I didn’t care, but he did. I had to tell him that just like I am not his friend, these boys are not my friends either.
 
A few days later these boys were going to the movies and miraculously no boy on the text string wanted to ride with me... shocking, they felt shame as they should. But that all changed after I told Carter to tell them that I wasn’t mad at them. I told him to tell them that I knew they made a mistake, their parents parented them and I had already forgotten about it. The next time I saw those boys I hugged them, asked how they were and probably asked about their last game. I showed them that I forgave and forgot.
 
I think it worked too because every single one of those boy’s body language and actions have changed with me over the last year. They were shown grace and love and understanding.
 
They made a mistake… they are kids, their job is to make mistakes and learn from them and our job is to make sure the mistakes are corrected.
 
I told Carter there was not one word, not one picture, not one action spoken in those texts that shocked me. I am a grown woman; I know the ways of the world. What I was shocked at, was finding myself parenting this situation with my own kid and his friends in 8th grade. We are so past that incident… those boys learned many valuable lessons from that incident and I did too.
 

Show kids God’s love and they will love you for it. It doesn’t mean trying to be their best friend, it means loving them like God has called us to love them. God is a god of order. He likes discipline.
 
Disciplining our kids is scriptural. This is not a cultural thing. Our Heavenly Father tells us without discipline we will be without success.
 
Hebrews 12:11
"For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it."
 
 
Kids like structure and they like rules, no matter what they say. They find comfort in structure and rules. They feel love when they are disciplined. Scriptures doesn’t say those who discipline their children hate their kids, it actually says the complete opposite. This is Proverbs 13:24
 
"Whoever spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him." 
 
If you spare your children discipline and structure you will not get them to love you or even like you. You will not be making friends with your kids. You will be creating kids who do not respect authority.
 
Proverbs 29:15
"The rod and reproof give wisdom, but a child left to himself brings shame to his mother."

 
OUCH! I do not want to be known as a softie and I do not want my children to bring me shame because I wasn’t strong enough to discipline them. I want them to bring me joy. I want my boys to be the type of men that are honorable and have integrity.
 
I want ReeseKathryn to be a kind soul and strong woman, all at the same time… These virtues are taught and learned through discipline. They don’t just happen. I can’t wish or hope or cross my fingers that my children will be virtuous adults. I have to train them and we need to make sure we can do it together.
 
There is an old African proverb that says “It takes a whole village to raise a child.” I believe it does take a whole village.  That means an entire village. It takes all of us. We need to come together and support one another in raising our children. We need to stop judging each other and start helping each other.
 
We need to be modeling the life we want our children to emulate and we need to start discipling our children at home.
 
Faith starts at home. We need to be teaching our children the Gospel and showing them how to live the life God intended for us, but we can’t show them what we don’t know.
 
We can’t pass on great habits of what we do not possess… We can’t give what we don’t live.
If you think you can train a child up but have no training yourself, you are sadly mistaken. You need to get right with God yourself before you can expect your child to live like Jesus. Remember, they do what we model.
 
If you don’t have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ… it’s time to get one.
 
First, you must be reading the Word everyday…. Get into your bible. If you don’t know where to start, start in the Gospels. I love Matthew; Jeff loves Mark… it doesn’t matter where just do it!
 
I love Jen Hatmaker’s book “ Modern Girls Guide To Bible Study.” It changed my daily walk with the Lord a few years ago. She gives you step-by-step instruction on what to do and how to do it.
 
I personally suggest continuing in a bible study or small group. I believe weekly accountability is awesome and studying the word of God with your neighbors and friends is very bonding.
 
Don’t say you don’t have time; it’s just about priority. We all have the same amount of hours in a day and days in a week; we just choose to use them differently. Choosing to attend a bible study makes the rest of the hours of a day and days of week much better… trust me!
 
Getting another workout won’t make life better, it won’t make your marriage better, it won’t make your relationships with your kids better… but studying the Word of God will… I promise.
 
 
I believe if our number one goal would be to raise Disciples of Jesus Christ, the other parts of parenting wouldn’t be so tough. Disciples aren’t going out and getting drunk and having sex…. They are focusing on Jesus and what He wants them to do.
 
Disciples aren’t bullying other people, they are kind. Disciples aren’t mean…. They are loving. Let’s teach our children the Fruit of the Spirit.
 
It is Galatians 5:22-23
 
"But the Fruit of the Spirit is Love, Joy, Peace, Forbearance (patience), Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self Control"
 
These are the virtues I want my children to have and I want to have them.
 
I found this check-up list on line and wanted to go over it with you in class to see how we are doing possessing the fruit of the spirit in our daily lives.
 
1. Love.  This word for love doesn’t refer to warm feelings but to a deliberate attitude of good will and devotion to others. Love gives freely without looking at whether the other person deserves it, and it gives without expecting anything back.
 
Question: Am I motivated to do for others as Christ has done for me, or am I giving in order to receive something in return? 
 
2. Joy.  Unlike happiness, joy is gladness that is completely independent of the good or bad things that happen in the course of the day. In fact, joy denotes a supernatural gladness given by God’s Spirit that actually seems to show up best during hard times. This is a product of fixing your focus on God’s purposes for the events in your life rather than on the circumstances.
 
Question: Am I experiencing a joy of life on a regular basis, or is my happiness dependent on things going smoothly in my day?
 
3. Peace.  It’s not the absence of turmoil, but the presence of tranquility even while in a place of chaos. It is a sense of wholeness and completeness that is content knowing that God controls the events of the day.
 
Question: Do I find myself frazzled by the crashing waves of turmoil in my life, or am I experiencing “the peace that passes all comprehension” (Philippians 4:6-7)?
 
4. Patience. Other words that describe this fruit are lenience, long-suffering, forbearance, perseverance, and steadfastness. It is the ability to endure ill treatment from life or at the hands of others without lashing out or paying back.
 
Question: Am I easily set off when things go wrong or people irritate me, or am I able to keep a godly perspective in the face of life’s irritations?
 
5.Kindness. When kindness is at work in a person’s life, he or she looks for ways to adapt to meet the needs of others. It is moral goodness that overflows. It’s also the absence of malice.
 
Question: Is it my goal to serve others with kindness, or am I too focused on my own needs, desires, or problems to let the goodness of God overflow to others?
 
 
6. Goodness. While kindness is the soft side of good, goodness reflects the character of God. Goodness in you desires to see goodness in others and is not beyond confronting or even rebuking (as Jesus did with the money changers in the temple) for that to happen.
 
Question: Does my life reflect the holiness of God, and do I desire to see others experience God at a deep level in their own lives?
 
7. Faithfulness. A faithful person is one with real integrity. He or she is someone others can look to as an example, and someone who is truly devoted to others and to Christ. Our natural self always wants to be in charge, but Spirit-controlled faithfulness is evident in the life of a person who seeks good for others and glory for God.
 
Question: Are there areas of hypocrisy and indifference toward others in my life, or is my life characterized by faith in Christ and faithfulness to those around me?
 
8. Gentleness. Meekness is not weakness. Gentleness is not without power; it just chooses to defer to others. It forgives others, corrects with kindness, and lives in tranquility.


Question: Do I come across to others as brash and headstrong, or am I allowing the grace of God to flow through me to others?
 
9. Self-control. Our fleshly desires, Scripture tells us, are continually at odds with God’s Spirit and always want to be in charge. Self-control is literally releasing our grip on the fleshly desires, choosing instead to be controlled by the Holy Spirit. It is power focused in the right place.
 
Question: Are my fleshly desires controlling my life, or am I allowing the Spirit to direct me to the things that please God and serve others?
 
 
How are you doing? How are your kids doing? Do you have some areas to work on?
 
This is what we need to focus on if we want to Parent for His Purpose. We need to be raising children with values that reflect scripture. We need to be making sure this is our checklist for healthy happy children, not society’s checklist.
 
All of this starts at home. We can’t pay someone to do the work for us, we must dig into the scriptures and figure out what we are suppose to do and how we are suppose to live before we can lead these kids.
 
We must equip our children with the right tools. This is a crazy world we live in. I couldn’t imagine I would be parenting “smart phones” when I brought Carter home from the hospital 15 years ago, we still had dial up at the time, but I can assure you, none of this is a surprise to God.
 
He knows what is happening, how we are handling it and what is to come. I believe he wants us to stick to the basics and more importantly stick to what the Bible says. 
 
We always want our children to be aligning their lives with Christ and it is our job to give them the tools… and it starts in studying the Word of God, having a relationship with Jesus Christ and allowing the Holy Spirit to be your co-parent.
 
Let’s Pray.


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