FBS: If I’m Not in Control, Something Bad Will Happen

A healthy True Belief System (TBS) to move to is “My needs are my responsibility, your needs are your responsibility.”  

If I'm Not in Control
Photo Credit: Hilary Storm

This post is part of a series I am doing on False Belief Systems (FBS).  What we believe matters because it affects how we think, which affects our emotions, which affects our behaviors.

A starting place to understand the FBS “If I’m not in control, something bad will happen” is to acknowledge that it comes from a good heart.  The reality is, you don’t want something bad to happen.  That’s good.

But, the main problem with it is the belief that you can and should control things you were never intended to control.  Some people would say you are “trying to play God”, but even God doesn’t control other people.  He has given us a free will.  So, the truth is, you are trying to create a happy and comfortable reality for yourself and for those you love.

But desiring to create a happy and comfortable reality for yourself isn’t the real problem.  Where it crosses into a problem is when you try to control things that you are not authorized to control, which is mostly other people’s decisions.

I know what you are thinking.  You are thinking, “but if I let a loved one make this decision (or not make a decision), something bad will happen!”  And with that hypervigilance, fear, panic and eventually exhaustion set in. An accident might happen, divorce might happen, failure might happen, or worse.  And there are actual consequences you may have to live with because of it.

So, if it comes from a good heart, why is this belief system so harmful?  It’s harmful because you take the freedom from others to make their own decisions.  This control fosters resentments, irresponsibility, rebellion, tension, and broken relationships.  You stand back scratching your head thinking, ‘this person (who won’t be controlled by me) has major problems.’  And maybe they do.  But it blinds you from seeing your part and letting go.

A healthy True Belief System (TBS) to move to is “My needs are my responsibility, your needs are your responsibility.”  The importance of letting others be responsible for themselves means they also must bear their own consequences.  This can feel devastating when it’s a loved one who loses a job, ends up homeless, leads to divorce, or ends up in jail (or worse.)  But the freedom you both experience and the health that comes to your relationship is amazing!

The truth is bad things might happen.  However, by attempting to be in control of other people’s decisions you ensure that bad things will happen because you’ve attempted to take away the autonomy of another and that is bondage.  Using fear, obligation, and guilt to control the outcome can be (and usually is) oppression, even when it comes with good intentions.

If (or when) bad things happen, you will need to take care of your responsibilities, and you can let others take care of their responsibilities.  If they don’t (or don’t do it in the way you approve) then it’s on them.

If panic is setting in right now, you have some work to do.  You are not alone as this is a common FBS that I work with people on.  Gather some community around you to help you let go of control and be accountable to them.  You will find freedom and so will those around you.

FBS: I Can’t Change

If you believe you can’t change, chances are pretty good you’re right.

I Can't Change
Photo Credit: Hilary Storm

This post is part of a series I am doing on False Belief Systems (FBS).  What we believe matters because it affects how we think about things, which affects our emotions, which affects our behaviors.  I’m not talking about theological beliefs (although those affect us too.)  I’m talking about beliefs about who we are and about God and others.  If we are stuck in cycles of harm that we want to break free of, this is a beginning point of where we look.

Since most people live with several FBS’s, it doesn’t matter which we start with…we just pick one and start.  But the belief “I Can’t Change” is a deal breaker.  It stops us from even trying.

Do you hear you tell yourself, “I’ve always been this way, I’ll always be this way, this is just who I am?”  Oftentimes we begin to believe we can’t change because we’ve tried many times to change and were not successful.  Perhaps we didn’t have the right tools to know how to change.  Perhaps we were young without the necessary capacity of freedom to change.  Or perhaps we were told we couldn’t change and so we believed them. Whatever the reason, it’s time to believe ‘I can change.’

Over the course of the next several weeks I plan to address these FBS:

I must be in control or something bad will happen
I don’t need anyone
If I’m vulnerable I will get hurt
I’m dumb, worthless, or a failure
I’ll always fail no matter how hard I try
I cannot cope without____________
Whatever I do it won’t be good enough
I am responsible for other people’s feelings, problems, & behaviors
My worth is based on my performance
People will only like me if I’m happy
God won’t be there when I really need him
Authority figures will betray me
If I don’t feel, I won’t hurt

Here are some essential steps to change:

  1. Be Determined

Nothing changes until you determine it to change.  Ask yourself “What’s stopping me? What is hurting me? Where do I want to grow?”  Chances are the truth isn’t not going to pop out of the sky to rescue you.  Even when we recognize God is making changes in us, we usually partner with God to make them happen.

  1. Surround yourself with a team

You were not meant to be alone.  Find some trusted friends who may be working on their own changes and be accountable.  Check in with them daily or weekly.  Let them ask you questions to help you see your current belief systems.  And let them encourage you.  This part is admitting to others your real self and your need.

  1. Find out why the lie is there? What is it protecting you from?

Usually a lie is protecting you from something.  Perhaps, if you believed ‘I can’t change’, it prevents you from putting in the work to learning something new.  Or perhaps it’s there to protect you from some sort of suffering, rejection, or failure.

  1. Work on it daily for 30-60 days

Replace the lie with the truth.  For 10 minutes every day, think on, memorize scripture or quotes, discover, read, talk about, and practice the new truth.  They say a person can change any habit in 21 days.

I’ve found that in 21-days the new brain pathway is built as I begin to understand how the lie is affecting me and recognize what I need to do. Some habits die hard and can take up to a year of working on it for it to be eradicated from my life.  But it becomes much easier after the first 30 to 60 days.

  1. Take Risks

Recognize it’s hard to change.  You will eventually need to step out into a True Belief System (TBS) and that can be scary.    Taking risks by telling people your new belief and acting on the new belief is a part of taking ownership of the new belief.  It only feels like you might die, but chances are you’re just growing.

This is different from the power of positive thinking or even Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT).  I’m not against these things.  Positive thinking can go a long way in helping you when it’s grounded in truth.  CBT can truly help people, but I believe it stops short.  The goal of CBT is to reduce symptoms and distress to psychological disorders by teaching new information-processing skills and coping mechanisms.  The goal I am speaking of is to change entire belief systems and at the core trust in the truth.

If you believe you can’t change, chances are pretty good you’re right.  So killing this FBS is a great first step.   If you’re thinking this from previous experience or the changes you need to make are overwhelming, find your team and slay this dragon.

FBS: Don’t Trust Anyone, Ever

Relationships and experiencing emotion in relationships (even hurt) is an important part of our mental health and well-being. 

FBS_Don't Trust Anyone, Ever
Photo Credit: Hilary Storm

False Belief System (FBS): Don’t trust anyone because they will just let you down. 

The problem with this FBS is that people will let you down.  The opposite belief of “trust anyone because they won’t let you down” simply isn’t true.  So how do we think about this wisely and what is a healthy True Belief System (TBS)?

Relationships and experiencing emotion in relationships (even hurt) is an important part of our mental health and well-being.  So, let’s start by looking closer at the FBS.  “Don’t trust anyone” implies ALL people will let you down ALWAYS.  Of course, this simply isn’t true, but your guard is always up so it can feel true.  But ‘all people will let you down occasionally’, probably is true.  And, you will at some point let others down.

“You will just be let down” implies to be let down is bad, horrible, and you must control the relationship to not experience the pain.  My guess, is that when someone does let you down, you go into shut down mode in order to ‘not care’ and turn your emotions off.  Am I right?  It’s normal if you do.  The problem is once you start shutting down your emotions, it leads to shutting down all of your emotions because we can’t select to just turn off some emotions.  This leads to being numb, which leads to depression.

So…if I am right…the healing work that needs to be done is to list out those who have ‘let you down’ in the past, and actually let yourself FEEL the emotion of being let down; cry, get angry, have the regret.  Ask Jesus to come alongside of you to bring comfort, telling him of your emotions.  Share it with a few friends.  And then offer forgiveness.  Not because ‘they didn’t mean it,’ or ‘it was alright’ or ‘it didn’t matter’, but because IT DID MATTER and their actions were actually wrong and they hurt you.  You forgive by trusting the person and the hurt to God and letting God heal it.  To forgive does not mean that you need to trust the person who let you down.  But it also does not mean you can’t trust anyone.

You then trust God with the consequences their actions had on you.  For instance, if you told your best friend in 6th grade a secret and they told it to your class, that wrong needs to be forgiven.  It affected you.  You felt like you couldn’t tell anything about yourself to anyone and never learned to develop deep friendships again.  This affected your marriage because your spouse feels shut out and you ended up divorced.  You need to accept responsibility for your part of the fail marriage, but you also need to forgive your 6th grade friend again for the affect their actions had on you.

So, if “trust everyone because they won’t let you down’ isn’t true, what is a TBS I can go to?  One possibility is to replace the FBS with a TBS of “When people let me down, (because they will…I even let myself down) I can trust God because He is bigger than the disappointment.” God, in His amazing grace, can take any loss and bring good out of it (Genesis 50:20).  That never makes the original offense ‘good’, but we can expect good to come out of hurt when we trust God with it.

Or perhaps the new belief is “To love others well means I will be hurt by them.”  You see…God wants us to be conformed to HIS image.  He uses others to rub away our self-centeredness in order to sculpt us to His image.  If He is trying to help us be forgiving people (because He is a forgiving God) then what do I need in my life to become a forgiving person?  I must have people offend me.  There’s just no other way.

You see, relationship IS in the emotions.  If we deaden ourselves in our emotions so we don’t get hurt, we hurt ourselves because we end up in isolation.   In relationship, you will also experience joy, excitement, interest, a sense of not being alone, etc.  It’s all fine and dandy to sit and have an intellectual talk with someone, but you don’t have a relationship with them in the intellect.  If a person FEELS excitement or connectedness in the intellectual talk they can feel friendship.  But if a person FEELS dissension or disconnectedness in the intellectual talk they can feel like enemies.  So, relationship happens IN emotion.  It’s shared enjoyment in life that brings connectedness.  It’s hurt that brings disconnectedness.  When we shut down all emotion it brings isolation, even when people are present.

It doesn’t mean you trust everyone, but you learn to identify safe people who are willing to forgive you as well.  You will need to know how to process that hurt so you don’t shut down in isolation.  Being willing to experience hurt in relationship is a risk worth taking.

A God of Rest

The God of the Bible is not a taskmaster.

A God of Rest
Photo Credit: Hilary Storm

I remember the day clearly…my alarm clock started blaring after what seemed like only minutes after my head hitting the pillow.  Annoyed, I looked up to see that, in fact, seven hours had vanished and a new day had begun.  I hit the snooze button and began to catalog the events of the coming day.  I began to organize each item on the to-do list in my head in the most productive order possible.  If I had coffee, then checked email, and then exercised I could be done in 55 min.  But if I exercised first, then had coffee and then checked email I might be more awake and therefore shave off a good five minutes of email time.  After cataloging my entire day this way (before landing on the floor) I suddenly realized that I couldn’t work harder, faster, or smarter and I would still be further behind at the end of the day than when I started.  Depression started to set in, but I clearly didn’t have time to deal with that so off I went.  It ended up being true too.  At the end of the day, I was further behind than when I started and depressed.

Now, to top this off, not only was I getting further and further behind, there were all sorts of expectations I felt were on me that never even got on to the to-do list.  In this, I seemed to have a nagging sense that I wasn’t quite enough.   I wasn’t thin enough, involved enough, smart enough, or spiritual enough.  I didn’t write a book, change my household decorations every season, have my family in matching outfits for family pictures, or preserve my struggling wanna-be garden.  Every night I would fall into bed steeped in depression because I hadn’t been enough.  Something was wrong with this picture!

I began to wonder if God was a taskmaster and never satisfied with me.  Was He really “calling” me to all of this?  The things on my to-do list were not bad.  In fact, for the most part, they ran the gamut from daily necessities to really great endeavors.  And clearly, if someone else would deal with all of these tasks, I could easily fill my schedule over with other amazing things to do.  I suddenly realized that perhaps it was not God giving me my daily to-do list, but maybe I was putting more on my to-do list than God had for me.

As I looked at my entire life, I realized I had been running at this speed since I was about thirteen years old.  Perplexed, I began to wonder if the problem was not God’s but rather my problem…(don’t laugh).  I needed to come to terms with my striving, and the reasons for it.  I don’t think I was looking for my “personal identity” in my accomplishments, though that is always a possibility.  There certainly was a strong measure of self-sufficiency in the mix.  I wanted to ‘have my act together’ whether the world noticed or not.  I wanted to handle life, get it right, and be a “good Christian.”  More than wanting to succeed, I really just didn’t want to fail.  But when life did fail in epic proportions, striving and self-sufficiency were right there to take it to the next level of escapism.  At one point in my life, to escape tremendous emotional pain, I worked a full-time job and four part time jobs for a total of about 75 hours a week.  Can you say, ‘crazy?’  At this point I was living under a taskmaster.  My work wasn’t good, it was enslaving.  I was saving myself through self-sufficiency.  I thought I could master my problems.  I could manage it.

What I have learned since then is that the God of the Bible is not a taskmaster.  He has good work for us to do, but He isn’t a taskmaster.  In fact, when I looked to Scripture what I see is He is a God of rest.  From the beginning, He created a day of rest each week.   He called it The Sabbath, and commanded everyone to rest.  And when you look at the feasts the Israelites were instructed to have, they were often commanded to rest.  That strikes me kind of funny that they would need to be told, “stop working…step away from the work.”  If you think about it, all other god’s of the universe are enslaving gods. But our God gives us work that He calls good and then gives us rest.

Dear Husband

No really, let’s talk for just a minute about a husband’s role.

Dear Husband
Photo Credit: Hilary Storm

Today’s blog post is short and sweet.  Mostly because this is not all that complicated.  Also because I sit with countless women in abusive marriages who have been taught from one or two verses of Scripture what marriages are supposed to look like.  If they do bring up other Scriptures, they have been told they only need to worry about their role in marriage. No really, let’s talk for just a minute about a husband’s role.

Dear Husband,

Are your prayers being answered?   Consider 1 Peter 3:7

“You husbands, likewise (as in 1 Peter 2:23 as Jesus was being reviled he did not revile in return and while suffering he uttered no threats; it’s not just a woman’s role to suffer her husband’s self-centeredness), live with your wives in an understanding way (considerate, kind, attentive), as with a weaker vessel (guess what? You are stronger, you are more domineering, you are meaner…so be nice!), since she is a woman; and grant her honor (respect, dignity, regard) as a fellow heir (equal, partner, co-inheritor) of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered (well that’s serious).” (italics mine.)

Words That Change Reality

I want to encourage you to think of your words as a commodity to be spent and invested wisely.

Words RealityToday, I’d like to remind us (myself included) that words matter.

Prov. 18:21 “Death and life are in the power of the tongue,

And those who love it will eat its fruit.”

Over and over, Scripture warns and encourages us regarding the power of words.  

There is a linguistic theory called The Speech-Act Theory, which says that words not only have a surface meaning, they also have an intended meaning, which in turn, have an effect on the world.

This theory is used in hermeneutics (how to interpret God’s word) because it understands that God not only has said something in His Word, He had an intended meaning, which was meant to have an effect in the world.  Since we are made in His image, our words also have an intended meaning, which will affect our world. In other words, our words change reality.

I’d like to look at several Scripture references which show us the power of the tongue.

Creation

In Gen. 1:1 it says, “And God said” and creation happened.

He created the worlds by speaking! He brought order out of chaos.  Now, think about this…we are made in His image. What do we create with our words!  Chaos? Conflict? Peace? Rest?

Confession

Rom. 10:9 “if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.”

James 5:16 “Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.”

1 John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

Confessing with our words has huge impact on reality.  I can be saved!!! I can be healed!! I can be forgiven and cleansed!  How amazing is that!

Promise & Vows

Psalm 89: 34 “My covenant I will not break, nor alter the word that has gone out of my lips.”

Duet. 23: 21-23 “When you make a vow to the LORD your God, you shall not delay to pay it, for it would be sin in you, and the LORD your God will surely require it of you. “However, if you refrain from vowing, it would not be sin in you. “You shall be careful to perform what goes out from your lips, just as you have voluntarily vowed to the LORD your God, what you have promised.”

James 5:2 “But above all, my brethren, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or with any other oath; but your yes is to be yes, and your no, no, so that you may not fall under judgment.”

When God makes promises we can be assured it will come to pass.  The world will be different because of a promise. I then wonder, what happens in the spiritual realm when I make a promise?  Or when I break a promise? It seems we are warned to be very careful with our words when it comes to promises and vows (and it’s different than a yes or a no), because they have implication that it changes something in the spiritual realm.   

Forgiveness

Matthew 6:14-15 “For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.  But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions.”

When we forgive, something changes whereby God can then forgive me!  The reality of my own bondage is broken.

Truth

John 8:32 “and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.”

Speaking the truth brings freedom.  If you feel in bondage, Scripture says we break free by speaking the truth about it.

Blessing

Gen. 1:22 God blessed them, saying (with words), “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.”

1 Peter 3:8-9 “To sum up, all of you be harmonious, sympathetic, brotherly, kind-hearted, and humble in spirit; not returning evil for evil or insult for insult, but giving a blessing instead; for you were called for the very purpose that you might inherit a blessing.

We see many accounts of blessings in Genesis: Abraham blessed Isaac, Isaac blessed Jacob, Jacob blessed his twelve sons including Ephraim before Manasseh. And we see multiple accounts of God blessing Abraham’s descendants.  We see Jacob stealing Esau’s blessing, showing it’s a thing that can be stolen and it’s a thing to be inherited.

A blessing calls out good and impacts the trajectory of an heir.  We are called to give a blessing even to those who are evil to us so that we also might inherit a blessing. Sweet!   Our words of blessing have impact and changes the world around us.

Prayer

Matthew 26:41 “Keep watching and praying, that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.”

James 5:16 “Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.”

Can prayer really keep us from even being tempted?  Can we find healing through prayer? Of course, prayer always changes things, even if it just gives me peace.  But there are millions and millions of stories of God interceding because of prayer.

Encouragement

Hebrews 3:13 “But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called ‘Today,’ so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.”

It seems here that encouragement helps keep us from a hardened heart.  That’s pretty important!

Warnings

Luke 6:37 “Do not judge, and you will not be judged; and do not condemn, and you will not be condemned; pardon, and you will be pardoned.”

We are warned here that judgments, condemnation as well as pardon all have a boomerang effect.  They have an impact on us. These are not just emotions that sit inside of us. These emotions come out in everything we do including our expressions, actions, and words.  Words of judgement and condemnation also have impact on the world.

We also see in many parts of Scripture huge warnings to be careful with our speech.

Ecc. 10:12 “Words from the mouth of a wise man are gracious, while the lips of a fool consume him.”

Matthew 12:35-37 “The good man brings out of his good treasure what is good; and the evil man brings out of his evil treasure what is evil. But I tell you that every careless word that people speak, they shall give an accounting for it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”

Eph. 4:29 “Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.”

Eph. 5:4 “and there must be no filthiness and silly talk, or coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks.”

Col. 3:8 “But now you also, put them all aside: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech from your mouth.”

This is a short list of the many, many times in Scripture we are warned to watch our speech because it has incredible impact on our world.  And it has incredible impact on us! We are not called to shaming, condemnation, or ridicule. This does not exhibit the heart of God. Our words matter.

I’m going to stop here because this is a blog post and not a book. But I could go on with what the Bible tells us about grumbling, disputing, empty chatter, worship/singing, wisdom, teaching, preaching, thanksgiving, and the Word of Life.

Walk by Grace

My friends, I want to encourage you to think of your words as a commodity to be spent and invested wisely.  Words of derision, mockery, contempt, ridicule, judgement, and shame will all take away from this world. Words of truth, blessing, forgiveness, love, and prayers will bring the Kingdom of God crashing into earth!  Because they have impact on the world, “Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person.” (Col. 4:8)

 

Calling Children Up

Calling them up means to believe in their capabilities.

Calling Children Up
Photo Credit: Hilary Storm 

When my daughter was an infant she sucked her thumb non-stop.  I had been told this would be a difficult thing to help her to overcome.  Many parents had gone before us and battled this with much frustration.

My husband, in a stroke of brilliance, sat down with her and said, “Michelle, you are now two years old.  You are a big girl and big girls don’t suck their thumbs. That’s for babies. You are no longer a baby, so as a big girl we’d like you to stop sucking your thumb.  Can you do that?”

Now, I must confess, I was standing behind them and I rolled my eyes.  I did. I did not believe. I thought, “oh, so you’re just going to ask this two-year old, who has been sucking her thumb since day one, to just stop.  HA!”

Guess what?  I never saw her suck her thumb again.  Not during the day. Not during the night.  Not in times of high stress. Not once.

Now, this is NOT an article on how to get your kids to stop sucking their thumbs.  I really don’t think this would work on every child. It may not work on ANY other child…ever!  But I did learn something that day. I learned that most children want to grow up; little kids want to be big kids, big kids want to be teens, teens want to be adults.  So, as parents, we can use that to our advantage.

Responsibility Leads to Privilege

One of the best things parents can do is to tie privilege to responsibility.  Rewards should be tied to responsibility and/or skilled growth, not behavior. For instance, a child can be given the reward of an hour of television because their room is cleaned and homework done, not because they didn’t throw a temper tantrum at the store.  When rewards are given for behavior, they learn quickly how to blackmail you…it’s kind of human nature.

When rewards are tied to responsibility it means you can often say yes to their request. When a child asks, “can I watch t.v.”, a parent can say, “yes, as soon as your bedroom is cleaned.”  My daughter asked, “Mom, can I have a car?” I said, “Yes, as soon as you can afford it” (hoping it would buy us another 6+ months of driving maturity.)

So often, I found that when I didn’t tie it to responsibility it was because it was convenient for me.  I either didn’t want to deal with getting them to take responsibility or I wanted the convenience of just giving them something.   

Behavior

Good behavior should somewhat be expected.  So if they throw a temper tantrum or stomp out of the room, this is a violation of relationship and the relationship needs to be repaired through owning behavior, confession, and making amends.  To offer a reward or privilege for them to not misbehave means they get to up the ante whenever they want something.

However, one way you can tie behavior with privilege is through the loss of privilege if they don’t behave instead of telling them they are being a ‘bad boy.’  For instance, “because you hurled your toys, I will need to put the toys away until you can be responsible with them.” This is a natural consequence and calls them up into maturity.     

Calling Them Up

What do I mean by ‘calling them up’?  Calling them up means to believe in their capabilities.  Tying rewards with responsibility teaches them about the real world.  If you want a child to wake up with a decent attitude and get themselves ready for school, let them know that this is a part of being a mature person.  Instead of, “Johnny, are you ready? Johnny, get up. Oh my gosh, Johnny, I can’t believe I have to tell you again!! GET UP!!!” You can say, “You know, I think you are getting old enough to get yourself ready in the morning without a lot of help. It’s a pretty grown up thing to do.  Do you think you are ready?” When they have done it for a few weeks, then bring on the rewards by allowing them to stay up for a half hour past their brother and read books in bed. Or better yet, offer the reward of telling some of your friends how mature Johnny is now that he’s responsibly getting himself ready in the morning.  Praise goes a long way. If they are not able to do the task, let them know that it’s ok to not be able to do it, and you can work on one aspect of getting themselves ready like brushing their teeth on their own every day. Calling them up says, “I think you are capable.”

Balance

Now, everything needs to be balanced.  This is a guideline, not a rule set in stone that can never be broken.  Think through what your child needs in a given situation and use wisdom.  Sometimes they just might need a blessing out of the blue and for no reason.  Sometimes you just might need a break to regroup so you don’t lose your mind. Some kids may like being babied and need another strategy all together.  Just be aware of what you are communicating to a child. Also, realize every child matures at a different rate and in different ways, so we can’t really compare and contrast our kids.

The goal is to know your child, see where they need to grow in responsibility and call them up.