by Christie Perkins
Recently I’ve had the feeling that I need to help my kids and myself work on recognizing temptations. I had a bunch of other things I wanted to write about but this is the one that keeps clomping me in the head.
Over and over.
And since I’ve been working on trying to follow my promptings I guess I better ditch the other fabulous (but flopping) ideas and do this. So here you go:
Temptation- Call It What It Is.
So I never realized how a child doesn’t really understand what a temptation is. That comes with longer legs and messed up moments. We’ve all had them. From my angle, it’s easy to recognize what a temptation is. I’ve checked off the mortal qualifications for understanding what that is. A few failed moments are prime opportunities to stare down the opponent and win. At least it can be. The first key is to understand what your temptations are.
So over the last month I have been prepping my kids for the temptation vacation. Right away I wanted to enforce the sticker chart (I’ll tell you about that later) but I got lazy and just started talking about it. You know, the good intention invention with lots of investors. Anyway, this time my procrastination has paid off.
“Mom what’s a temptation?” my younger two children started asking.
I tried to explain how its something that steers us away from where Heavenly Father wants us to be or do. These choices get us off track. My older children tried to explain it. But, words weren’t enough. Their eyes would just fixate on their lips and paralyzed movement indicated no aha moments.
We needed some real life examples.
So before long there was fighting (it’s the only time I’m actually applauding fighting). And instead of saying, “stop fighting,” my own head clomping begins: Call it what it is. Ah, yes.
It’s simple. Whenever you recognize that a temptation filtered from thought to action you simple point it out. Use the word “temptation” in your comments. And it’s even better if you catch it in your thought… but since I can’t read my kids’ minds I have to do it this way.
So now my response to their fighting is more direct. Resist the temptation to name call. Resist the temptation to hit. Resist the temptation to mother someone else. Resist the temptation to eat that rice krispy treat before dinner (FYI that last comment was directed to myself) and then a necessary follow up command: resist the temptation to follow your mom’s bad dinner ruining example. Yadda, yadda.
Anyway. I think you get it.
And this simple little thing has raised the awareness of what a temptation is. And it has made me fully aware of my own temptations. So this month has been the prep round for helping my kids recognize and master their own temptations.
Identify the temptation. It’s such a little thing to call the temptation what it is. But somehow it all works.
Awareness in anything is key to protecting against mishaps. Think about it. If you know seat belts save lives you will latch lock the lap belt. If you know If you know peaches go on sale in mid-May through mid-September you will plan your prime time jam making moment in those months. And if you know that snakes live in the grassy field down the street (and they give you the wall crawling reactions) you will take another road or borrow a bullet bike.
Likewise, if you know and recognize the times that you are being inundated with temptations you can latch lock the thought and toss it out. With a little work, you can jam the temptation out making life sweeter. Or you can choose another road to avoid your temptations or choose (unwisely) to play with the temptation snakes. (Good luck with that by the way.) Life will be more purposeful with temptation awareness.
Yes, you can still make jam in February but timing is crucial for best outcome. And since I want the best outcome I think it is important to become aware of our own temptations. Call it what it is.
It’s the first step to a better me. Today is the day to start working on being a little better than we were yesterday. So take the next month and issue a temptation awareness month (or week… whatever you feel like you need) then start in on the reward system.
Temptation Reward System- (Yep, Even for Teens and Adults)
So this is how it works. Make a chart of 100 squares (For small children under 8 years old who are learning to make good choices you can make a “Choice Chart” instead. You can make it smaller if you want but every time they make a good choice they get to put a sticker on). Determine what the reward will be when the chart is completed: money, ice cream, late night, lazer tag, whatever. Let your child help you choose the reward. It can be a different reward for each child. Write the reward on the bottom.
This part is simple. Just have your child count the number of times they resist temptations throughout the day. Join them in doing your own chart. It’s necessary for temptation awareness and helpful in overcoming our weaknesses.
I love this scripture: “Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you” (James 4:7–8). I believe that resisting temptations are the key to being a better people and choosing to follow God.
Let’s face it, it’s the key to having a little more perks in your life. I know that He will reward you more than you realize when you choose Him.
(PS if your kids refuse a sticker chart just have them tell you their resisting number at the end of the day- you track it for them.)
Rules for the Temptation Chart:
Here’s a few simple rules that I feel strongly about.
1- For the most part, don’t question your child’s number of stickers in a day. You never know how much they are bombarded with. Maybe your most difficult child resists a lot more than you realize. Encourage them.
2- They don’t have to talk about their temptations. The sticker chart is meant as a safety ground meant for practice resisting. It can be embarrassing to them to divulge what they are resisting. If they want to talk about it, then great! (But let them bring it up). Tell them no questions will be asked about it. (I believe it will help them to keep practicing resisting temptations). Just put yourself in their shoes and you will know how to approach it.
3- Before rewarding them, have a private exit interview. Just simply ask them what they learned about themselves in this process. Ask how they feel. When you finish your sticker chart, you do the same except you tell your children what you learned about yourself. Let them know that you are always having to learn to resist temptations. It’s normal. And temptations will flee when you learn to resist them.
4- Follow through as quick as you can with their reward. Compliment them for their success.
5- Start a new sticker chart with a new (or same) reward attached. You can immediately replace the chart, or hand a new one out on the first Sunday of the month, or however else you choose. Just don’t give up on the first 100. I’m aiming for 1,000 and a big reward dangling from it. You can do whatever you want though.
Ok, folks. Well that’s it. Call temptation what it is and track it when you resist it. It’s simple and I hope you find success in learning to recognize and resist temptations. You and your family will be well on their way to a vacation from temptation. Honestly. I can’t wait 🙂
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