The best illustration we can use for triggers is Jesus hanging on the cross. When we hear the words, “my God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” we recognize that as some of Jesus’ last words. But it also happens to be the first line of Psalm 22. Scholars believe when Jesus spoke that line, the Jews of the time would have heard and understood the entire of Psalm 22; an amazingly accurate description of the suffering Jesus would endure on the cross.

In the same way, we’ve tried to teach “triggers”; short phrases that our kids would connect to an entire message. It requires us to teach the lesson… but once we’ve done that, all that’s needed is to recite the trigger. So a phrase like, “remember who you are”, as they walk out the door for the evening, preaches the entire sermon… be kind, stay out of trouble, listen to those in authority, represent our family and the Lord well.

Following are some “triggers” we’ve collected over the years. Please feel free to add to our list. In fact, send us your favorite triggers, especially if you don’t see it on our list. Enjoy, and remember WHO you are and remember WHOSE you are!

  • Be a GOOD finder and a good FINDER
    •  Find the good in others – develop the skill of seeing what needs to be found
  • Good Things – High/Lows
    •  Around the dinner table to hear from everyone about their day
  • Remember who you are/ whose you are
    •  Before leaving our home to go out, on a trip, or to an event
  • Make it easy on the person in charge
    •  Anytime we are leaving them in the care of others
  • May I please be excused; the food was wonderful and the cook was beautiful (or handsome)
    •  To acknowledge gratefulness for providing a meal
  • Please say 2 good things
    •  To remedy sarcasm and name calling between kids
  • If I gave you a million dollars…
    •  A statement we use when a child gives up too easily
  • Give it a mommy look
    •  When a child half-heartedly looks for something
  • How are you going to solve that problem? You’re smart, I’ll pray for you. Let me know how that turns out!
    •  Part of training our kids to be self-governing and independent
  • Try that again please.
    •  You have one more chance to say it correctly or do it with the right attitude
  • Be nice. If it’s not fun for everyone – it’s not fun!
    •  A quick principle to guide kids when playing in groups
  • It’s not enough to just not be part of the problem, look for ways to be part of the solution.
    •  All that evil needs to exist is for good men to stand by and do nothing
  • Be a diligent worker.
    •  To work hard and fast until the job is finished the right way and then look for something extra to do.
  • Your eyes.
    •  Look at people when you are talking to them
  • Do the right thing so that I can go to bat for you.
    •  Even if authority is doing the wrong thing (other than illegal or immoral) you do the right thing – then we can advocate for you
  • Unless it is illegal or immoral; then do it.
    •  Submit to the authority that God has placed in your life
  • Stand-alone
    •  Training them to swim up stream – They never truly stand alone. We are always there. More importantly God is always there.
  • Use a big strong voice.
    •  It sure beats whining!
  • Get a happy face / Fix your face
    •  Right action with wrong attitude equals creative disobedience
  • Are you telling me this to help them or to get them in trouble?
    •  No tattling
  • I don’t want to have to ask the right questions (to get to the truth).
    •  Teenagers know what I’m asking so answer the question you know I’m asking
  • Walk away/ Flee
    •  Sometimes God gives you the courage to stand up to evil – and sometimes he provides you a way to escape – take it!
  • That is not how we get things in this family.
    •  Whining, begging, crying, demanding, rudeness, impolite… you get the picture
  • 24 Hour Rule
    •  After a victory or defeat, 24 hours to process and feel the emotion of the event before returning to family life again
  • Be a problem for our culture / A Remnant
    •  Act in a way that surprises the world – love the unlovable, serve those that can’t return the favor
  • That’s interesting. Tell me more.
    •  Automatic response if our kid says something shocking.
  • I love you and we will get through this
    •  Automatic response if a hard truth is revealed by one of our kids
  • We want to hear it from you first
    •  We don’t want to read about it in the morning paper
  • You have until… I will go with you…
    •  If someone needs to get help this is a way to put a timeline on some action – whether it is to confess to something they’ve done, or get counseling or whatever is appropriate.

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5 thoughts on “Triggers

    • Jenny, thanks for stopping by our page. I hope you will keep coming back. We have loved triggers in our parenting and I hope they are as much a blessing for you along the way. “Remember who you are – and remember whose you are!”, David & Kelli

  1. Remember – quick to confess and quick to forgive
    This means we confess what we did wrong and our wrong desires, even when we think we are just a little part of the problem, and we work hard to learn the forgiveness languages of those in our family and ask forgiveness in a different way depending on the person. Then we are quick to give forgiveness and ask Jesus for help.

    • Great trigger. We couldn’t agree more. We are so committed to modeling and teaching the principle of keeping short accounts… to be “quick to confess and quick to forgive.” We’ll make sure we get it added to the list.