10.30.17

Hi! I am praying for you right now! Our Fall Training in COS starts this Saturday and we would love your prayers!!!!
 
Daily Prayer Email: Please send ALL prayer requests for your class to: studentcbsprayer@gmail.com
 
Quotes:
Jesus promised his disciples three things—that they would be completely fearless, absurdly happy, and in constant trouble. #barclay
 
It’s not the size of the challenges; it’s your view of the challenges life brings you that determines your odds of victory. #furtick
 
Every man knocking on the door of a brothel is looking for God. 

God is knocking on the door of every brothel looking for man.  #bethke
 
If you wanna be a “leader” in the eyes of Jesus, get busy becoming a servant. #johnson
 
FYI:
1. Snapchat among teens gains… https://www.emarketer.com/Article/Snapchats-Status-Among-Teens-Notches-Another-Gain/1016615
 
2. 3 Questions for parents to ask before saying “yes” to another activity… http://michaelkelley.co/2017/10/3-questions-for-parents-to-ask-before-you-say-yes-to-another-activity/
 
3. 4 Ways to Learn Beside Your Kids to Strengthen Their Faith… http://coldcasechristianity.com
 
4. Poem by Annie Flint (below)
 
Here is what I just posted on the blogwww.studentcbsblog.org 
 
Updated: Are Young People Really Leaving the Church by J. Warner Wallace (Please read! Long but very important!)
Generation Z Under Academic Pressure by Karla Fernandez Parker
The Masked Generation: Five Ways to Build Confidence by Tim Elmore
A Growing Share of Americans Say It’s Not Necessary to Believe in God to be Moral by Gregory Smith

Here are 2 video links I think you might like to see:

http://www.youthworker.com/mini-movies/70042/who-i-am-in-christ?utm_source=YouthWorker%20Newsletter%20-%20NEW&utm_medium=email&utm_content=who_i_am_in_christ&utm_campaign=fp-10/24/2017-2257853
 
http://www.worshiphousekids.com/kids-worship-song-tracks/66467/amen?utm_source=WorshipHouse%20Media%20-%20Kids&utm_medium=email&utm_content=product1&utm_campaign=nl-10/28/2017-2258799
 
Here are 2 just for you:
 
Nine Promises for Battling Anxiety – By JOHN PIPER (Thank you Debbie!)
 
“Stop for a moment and think how many different sinful actions and attitudes come from anxiety. Anxiety about finances can give rise to coveting and greed and hoarding and stealing. Anxiety about succeeding at some task can make you irritable and abrupt and surly. Anxiety about relationships can make you withdrawn and indifferent and uncaring about other people. Anxiety about how someone will respond to you can make you cover over the truth and lie about things. So if anxiety could be conquered, a lot of sins would be overcome.
 
Let us follow the pattern of Jesus and Paul. Today, battle the unbelief of anxiety with the promises of God. Here are nine of those promises:
 
When I am anxious about some risky new venture or meeting, I battle unbelief with the promise: “Fear not for I am with you, be not dismayed for I am your God; I will help you, I will strengthen you, I will uphold you with my victorious right hand” (Isaiah 41:10).
 
When I am anxious about my ministry being useless and empty, I fight unbelief with the promise, “So shall my word that goes forth from my mouth; it will not come back to me empty but accomplish that which I purpose, and prosper in the thing for which I sent it” (Isaiah 55:11).
 
When I am anxious about being too weak to do my work, I battle unbelief with the promise of Christ, “My grace is sufficient for you, my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9), and “As your days so shall your strength be” (Deuteronomy 33:25).
 
When I am anxious about decisions I have to make about the future, I battle unbelief with the promise, “I will instruct you and teach you the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you” (Psalm 32:8).
When I am anxious about facing opponents, I battle unbelief with the promise, “If God is for us who can be against us!” (Romans 8:31).
 
When I am anxious about being sick, I battle unbelief with the promise that “tribulation works patience, and patience approved-ness, and approved-ness hope, and hope does not make us ashamed” (Romans 5:3–5).
 
When I am anxious about getting old, I battle unbelief with the promise, “Even to your old age I am he, and to gray hairs I will carry you. I have made, and I will bear; I will carry and will save” (Isaiah 46:4).
 
When I am anxious about dying, I battle unbelief with the promise that “none of us lives to himself and none of us dies to himself; if we live we live to the Lord and if we die we die to the Lord. So whether we live or die we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ died and rose again: that he might be Lord both of the dead and the living” (Romans 14:8–9).
 
When I am anxious that I may make shipwreck of faith and fall away from God, I battle unbelief with the promise, “He who began a good work in you will complete it unto the day of Christ” (Philippians 1:6). “He who calls you is faithful. He will do it” (1 Thessalonians 5:23). “He is able for all time to save those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them” (Hebrews 7:25).”
 
 
The greatest of virtues

Two essential words deserve special attention– Thank you!

Gratitude is a mindful awareness of the benefits of life. It is the greatest of virtues. Studies link it with a variety of positive effects. Grateful people tend to be more empathetic and forgiving of others; less envious, less materialistic and less self-centered.

Gratitude improves self-esteem and enhances relationships, quality of sleep, and longevity. If it came in pill form, gratitude would be deemed the miracle cure. It’s no wonder that God’s anxiety therapy includes a large, delightful dollop of gratitude.

The anxious heart says, “Lord, if only I had this, that, or the other, I’d be okay.” The grateful heart says, “Oh look! You’ve already given me this, that, and the other. Thank you, God.”

Worry refuses to share the heart with gratitude. One heartfelt thank-you will suck oxygen out of worry’s world. So say it often!

 
Poem:

He giveth more grace when the burdens grow greater,
He sendeth more strength when the labors increase;
To added afflictions He addeth His mercy,
To multiplied trials, His multiplied grace.

When we have exhausted our store of endurance,
When our strength has failed ere the day is half done,
When we reach the end of our hoarded resources
Our Father’s full giving is only begun.

Fear not that thy need shall exceed His provision,
Our God ever yearns His resources to share;
Lean hard on the arm everlasting, availing;
The Father both thee and thy load will upbear.

His love has no limits, His grace has no measure,
His power no boundary known unto men;
For out of His infinite riches in Jesus
He giveth, and giveth, and giveth again.

Blessings, Kendall

10.23.17

Hi! I am praying for you right now!
 
Daily Prayer Email: Please send ALL prayer requests for your class to studentcbsprayer@gmail.com
 
Quotes:

As Culture, Media, and school Campuses Move Further from Christian Values Students will require Daily Discipleship to Survive Adolescence. #powell

As long as we think we are not that bad, the idea of grace will never change us. #keller
The highest call of leadership is to unlock the potential of others. #brown
We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give. #churchill
 
FYI:
1. The Stress of Eating Lunch at School… http://www.seventeen.com/health/a10326983/10-teens-get-real-about-the-stress-of-eating-lunch-at-school/
UGH!
 
3. Juuling: Cigarettes for the next Generation… http://theroar.marincatholic.org/1955/opinion/juuling-cigarettes-for-the-next-generation/
 
4.  Are Today’s Teens Putting the Brakes on Adulthood?… https://consumer.healthday.com/kids-health-information-23/adolescents-and-teen-health-news-719/are-today-s-teens-putting-the-brakes-on-adulthood-726634.html
 
Here is what I just posted on the blogwww.studentcbsblog.org 
 
9 Leadership Principles You Need to Know by Todd Jones
The Movement That’s Changing the Way We Teach Kids by Dale Hudson
Five Steps to Fight Fake News by Tim Elmore
Young Children Are Spending Much More Time In Front Of Small Screens by Anya Kamenetz

Here are 2 video links I think you might like to see:

http://www.worshiphousemedia.com/mini-movies/70315/jesus-you-alone?utm_source=WorshipHouse%20Media%20–%20Around%20the%20House%20(CD%20Update)&utm_medium=email&utm_content=jesus_you_alone-2255633&utm_campaign=fp-10/21/2017-2255633
http://www.worshiphousemedia.com/mini-movies/68936/only-one-worship-intro?utm_source=WorshipHouse%20Media%20–%20Around%20the%20House%20(CD%20Update)&utm_medium=email&utm_content=only_one_worship_intro-2255633&utm_campaign=fp-10/21/2017-2255633
 
Here are 2 just for you:
 
Who Are You? 
 
But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Philippians 3:7 (ESV)
“Who are you?” This is one of the most foundational questions anyone can ask, and one with which our culture seems largely obsessed. We long for significance, for meaning, for something unique and special and elite to be true of us. I think this is largely why we are so fascinated by things like a DNA genetics test or ancestry searches. We hope to find something that sets us apart from everyone else. We don’t go hunting to find that our ancestors were from Kansas!
Though genetic testing wasn’t available in Paul’s day, ancestry was still a big deal. Everyone knew where they came from, and that linage meant everything to them. It shaped their levels of influence, passed on power and prestige, and made them someone worthy of affection and attention. Paul checked every box in every category of desired identity for the Jewish people. As he essentially says, “just try and find anyone more perfectly Jewish than me” (Philippians 3:4)!
And yet, he says in the same breath that every single bit of this is now loss and something to freely let go of if it means he is able to know and be known by Christ. This isn’t hyperbole for him or a compelling illustration from a preacher trying to drive a point home. He had lots of gains, and lots to lose!
The more status, wealth, or knowledge you acquire, the harder it is to keep it from becoming a part of your core identity. These identities creep closer and closer to our hearts, becoming foundational and essential parts of our identity. “Who are you?” “I’m from a great family, wealthy, and well educated.” It comes out of us without even thinking! And if this isn’t your story, the danger still persists in the way you might aspire to such levels of success and status. “Who are you?” “I’m working on becoming someone significant and worthy of praise!”
Paul’s words remind us today of one of the greatest truths in the whole Bible. To find your true identity and purpose in life, you must reorient your core identity around Jesus. This is true of every single disciple, whether you have a great deal or very little at all.
The LORD wants to set you free from the identities that promise to give you meaning yet always break that promise and leave you confused and unfulfilled. Encounter the love of Jesus afresh today, and receive a new identity as a beloved daughter or son. That is who you truly are, and it is worth losing everything else in order to gain it!
Prayer: Father, thank you for the amazing love poured out in Jesus Christ. May he be my all in all today and everyday. Amen.
Application: What identity are you still clinging to that’s keeping you from stepping into the joy of Christ today?
Learning to Live Like Jesus
According to my earnest expectation and hope that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ will be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain. Philippians 1:20-21, NKJV 
Without reading glasses all I see is a blurred semblance of letters, words and sentences. My 2X readers magnify the print and bring into focus what my aged eyes alone are unable to see. The writings of a good book are always present, but only apparent with the assistance of glasses. In a similar fashion, Jesus is ever at work in and around me, but at times it may only be apparent when I see it magnified by another Jesus follower. A life surrendered to the Lord brings into focus what only seems like a blur in my unbelief. Christ magnified in a life brings clarity and comprehension.
Paul pours forth his earnest desire, expectation and hope to not be ashamed of the gospel, but with boldness to show and tell the truth of Jesus Christ. In life he magnified the Lord by living for the Lord. Paul suffered imprisonment and the intense pain of shipwrecks, suffering and beatings at the hands of persecutors. What he, as an unbeliever, inflicted on believers, he now received the same interrogation and affliction. In shackles he magnified Jesus with joyful praise lifted to the Lord throughout the jail. Paul’s words and way of life focused in on faith in Jesus.
“Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in the one Spirit, striving together as one for the faith of the gospel” (Philippians 1:27).
What does it mean to magnify Christ in our body? How do we conduct ourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ? Our body language can fluently communicate faith in Christ or it can become a confusing dialect of the devil’s devices. A smile is an invitation into a safe place, while a blank stare screams I don’t care. Eye contact and calling another’s name says you matter, you are unique and I want to know you. Learning to live like Jesus starts with a look, a listening heart and a caring word. Our body language can turn up the volume of the Lord’s tender voice.
Learning to live like Jesus is a lesson in being with Jesus, both in solitude and in community. You get alone with the Lord so He can prep you to conduct yourself in a manner worthy of the Lord. As you reflect on the life of Christ, being transformed by the inner workings of grace, your life begins to reflect Christ. Before you go out to represent Jesus, you must go in to be molded by Jesus. You can be assured God is with you and He grows even more apparent in the presence of other Jesus followers. You learn to live like Jesus by being with Jesus and His people.
“As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received” (Ephesians 4:1).
Prayer: Heavenly Father, lead me to live a life worthy of the gospel, in Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.
Application: How can my life best magnify Christ with my words and actions?
Blessings, Kendall

10.23.17

Young Children Are Spending Much More Time In Front Of Small Screens by Anya Kamenetz

npr.org

It’s not your imagination: Tiny tots are spending dramatically more time with tiny screens.

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, just released new numbers on media use by children 8 and under. The nationally representative parent survey found that 98 percent of homes with children now have a mobile device such as a tablet or smartphone.

That’s a huge leap from 52 percent just six years ago. Mobile devices are now just as common as televisions in family homes.

And the average amount of time our smallest children spend with those handheld devices each day is skyrocketing, too: from five minutes a day in 2011, to 15 minutes a day in 2013, to 48 minutes a day in 2017.

James Steyer, CEO and founder of Common Sense Media, calls this “a seismic shift” that is “fundamentally redefining childhood experiences” with “enormous implications we have just begun to understand.”

Other eye-grabbing highlights from the survey:

  • 42 percent of young children now have their very own tablet device — up from 7 percent four years ago and less than 1 percent in 2011.
  • Screen media use among infants under 2 appears to be trending downward, from 58 minutes a day in 2013 to 42 minutes in 2017. This decline correlates with a drop in sales of DVDs, and particularly those marketed at babies, such as Baby Einstein. Updated pediatricians’ recommendations released last year call for limited, but not banned, screen use among the youngest set.
  • Nearly half, 49 percent, of children 8 or under “often or sometimes” use screens in the hour before bedtime, which experts say is bad for sleep habits.
  • 42 percent of parents say the TV is on “always” or “most of the time” in their home, whether anyone is watching or not. Research has shown this so-called “background TV” reduces parent-child interaction, which in turn can hurt language development.

The growth of mobile is a dramatic change. But other aspects of kids’ media use have been more stable over time, this periodic census reveals.

When you take every source of screen media together, children 8 and under spend an average of about 2 1/4 hours (2:19) a day, a figure that’s flat from 2011 (2:16). That implies mobile is apparently cannibalizing, not adding on to, the boob tube and other types of media.

And, whether young kids are looking at small screens or big ones, most often they are passively watching videos, not using interactive apps. Video watching has dominated children’s media use for decades.

Finally, young children are still being read to by their parents about 30 minutes a day.

More questions than answers

What does all this mean?

Researchers don’t really know, and that concerns observers like Pamela Hurst-Della Pietra, the founder of Children and Screens: The Institute of Digital Media and Child Development.

“How different is the brain of a child who’s never known anything but sustained digital media exposure to the brain of her parents, or even older siblings?” she asks. “And what are the implications for parents, educators or policymakers?”

Hurst-Della Pietra says these are questions “we’re only beginning to ask, let alone answer.” Children and Screens is getting ready to release its own series of reports that sets an agenda for future research.

Steyer, of Common Sense Media, agrees. “I would argue there are big implications for brain and social-emotional development, many of which we don’t know the answer to,” he says.

The public conversation about kids and screens is somewhat schizophrenic. American schools, even preschools, are buying millions of electronic devices, and there are tens of thousands of apps meant to enhance learning for even the smallest babies.

On the other hand, doctors warn, and parents worry, about negative effects from too much screen time, ranging from obesity to anxiety.

One part of the Common Sense report that really plays up this contradiction is the section on the so-called digital divide. The phrase reflects the idea that learning how to use computers and the Internet at home helps kids get ahead in school and in life.

Unlike in previous years, this census shows both rich and poor families now appear to have nearly equal access to smartphones. At the same time, kids from lower-income families are spending twice as much time with screens daily as those from the most advantaged families. Is this a boon or a danger?

Lynn Schofield Clark at the University of Denver studies media use with a focus on disadvantaged youth and youth of color. She says the missing ingredient in understanding the real impact of the digital divide is time.

That is parenting time: showing a kid how to use a laptop, how to do Internet research, picking out highly rated educational apps or steering a child toward programs with positive messages.

“People who have more advantages have more time and education to help their kids use the technology,” she explains. “We have set up a society where it’s structurally very difficult for families to spend time together.”

10.16.17

Hi! I am praying for you right now! Monica, Nancy, Michael and I are headed to LA today and would love your prayers!
Daily Prayer Email: Please send ALL prayer requests for your class to studentcbsprayer@gmail.com
 
Quotes:
WWJP: “What would Jesus Post?” (Bracelets coming soon) #johnston (Haha!)
Your praise is contagious – So is your complaint. What are you carrying today? #furtick
God isn’t nearly as concerned about what we’re doing for Christ as He is committed to forming Christ inside us. #voskamp
“If your life does not worship God, your lips do not worship God either.” #Tozer
 
 
FYI:
 
 
 
 
Here is what I just posted on the blogwww.studentcbsblog.org 
 
The Scary Truth About What is Hurting Our Children by Becky Mansfield (Blog post but some good data.)
Genius Ways Companies get Kid to Do Their Marketing for Them by Caroline Moore (Interesting!)
3 Vital Tips for Leading Discussion in Small Groups by Trey Gilmore (You know this but still good!)
What the Future of Leadership Looks Like by Tim Elmore

Here are 2 video links I think you might like to see:

http://www.worshiphousemedia.com/mini-movies/70470/the-one-who-died-for-all?utm_source=WorshipHouse%20Media%20–%20Around%20the%20House%20(CD%20Update)&utm_medium=email&utm_content=spot1-2249484&utm_campaign=nl-10/11/2017-2249484
(I’m playing this at training! Zo and Jon… start learning your moves!!
 
 
Here are 2 just for you:
 

Alarm Bells for Leaders

“Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.”  (Galatians 6:7-10)

We can’t pull a fast one on God. He sees all and cannot be deceived. He notices our shortcuts and also our efforts when we do well. To ensure that we live by this truth, seek others to hold you accountable and act as your “alarm bells.” Invite others to ask you tough questions, such as the following:

  • Is my personal walk with God up-to-date?
  • Am I keeping my priorities straight?
  • Am I asking myself the hard questions?
  • Am I accountable to someone in authority?
  • Am I sensitive to what God is saying to the whole body of Christ?
  • Am I over-concerned with building my image?
  • Do I put more stock in “events” rather than “process”?
  • Am I a loner in my leadership and personal life?
  • Am I aware and honest about my weaknesses?
  • Is my calling constantly before me?
Learning to Lead Like Jesus
 
And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man. Luke 2:52
Learning to lead like Jesus is a lifetime journey that begins with humility. “Better to say I am learning, than to say, I have learned,” wise and humble words indeed from Dr. Charles Stanley spoken to me and several staff members at First Baptist of Atlanta in the late 1980’s. As a young pastor, this seasoned leader helped me understand to first follow the Lord Jesus by continuing to learn and grow. For example, don’t say “I’ve learned to be a patient leader”, rather, “I’m learning to be a patient leader”. This reminded me to be a humble, teachable and ever-growing leader who is desperately in need of God’s grace to carry out my responsibilities.
Learning to lead like Jesus is for leaders who desperately need the Holy Spirit’s direction, the Father’s wisdom and the Son’s encouragement. Leaders who are learning to first follow Jesus, learn well. Learning to lead is a lifelong education. We never graduate from Christ leadership school, but we do advance as we become wiser students through our own struggles, failures and successes.
“Say to wisdom, ‘You are my sister, and call understanding your kinsman” (Proverbs 7:4).
Wise leaders are learners, but if they stop learning they cease to lead wisely. Leaders who learn ask the right questions, get the most accurate answers, and are able to make the wisest decisions. “How can I get out of the way as the leader, and support the team to be successful?” “How can our organization go from good to great by integrating and sustaining best practices?” The Lord can’t wait to pour out wisdom on earnest and humble hearts seeking to gain what only He gives.
James, the brother—who experienced first hand Jesus’ wise words and actions— defined wisdom in this way: “But the wisdom from above is first pure [morally and spiritually undefiled], then peace-loving [courteous, considerate], gentle, reasonable [and willing to listen], full of compassion and good fruits. It is unwavering, without [self-righteous] hypocrisy [and self-serving guile” (James 3:17, Amplified Bible).
Before Steve Jobs died, wouldn’t it have been wonderfully insightful and inspiring to ask him about the pinnacle of his creation: the Apple iPhone? Seriously, if we wanted understanding into the motivation for and the purpose of his world-changing invention, Steve would be the logical starting point. What was he thinking? What motivated his perfectionism? What was his vision?
In the same way, why not first seek wisdom from the Lord of creation whose majestic exclamation point was humanity—you and me? Doesn’t it make sense to learn how to think from the Divine who molded our mind? Understand how to care for our bodies from the One who perfectly meshed billions of unique cells into a living being? Or engage the heart of God to feel and express the emotions He embedded into our heart, soul and spirit? Wisdom from our Maker makes us more like Him and less like foolish inferior idols. We learn to lead like Jesus by looking to Jesus!
“Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:2).
Prayer: Heavenly Father, give me wisdom to learn to lead like Your son, in Jesus’ name I pray, amen.
Application: What specific area of my leadership needs to grow more into the likeness of Jesus?
Blessings, Kendall

10.16.17

The Scary Truth About What is Hurting Our Children by Becky Mansfield
yourmodernfamily.com

In the past week, I’ve read several studies that are scary to me… it’s the scary truth about what’s hurting our kids.   We all know that what our kids hear becomes their inner voice, but it’s hard to control what they hear from others, isn’t it?

CNN recently interviewed Dr. Jean Twenge, author of iGen and her interview really worried me – because I saw the truth that I would be facing in just a few short years.   Dr. Twenge started doing research 25 years ago on generational differences, but when 2011 -2012 hit, she saw something that would scare her to the core.   This is the year when those having iPhones went over the 50% mark.

The results of that should scare all of us.

  • This was the year that more kids started to say that they felt “sad, hopeless, useless… that they couldn’t do anything right (depression).”
  •  They felt left-out and lonely.
  •  There is a 50% increase in clinical level depression between 2011-2015.
  • Suicide rate goes up.
  • Substantial increase in suicide rate.
    Before I give you any more, I want you to look at these graphs and look at how they correlate to the iPhones being released.They aren’t hanging out with friends nearly as much.

She goes on to say that we are in the worst mental health crisis in decades.  You can get her book, iGen, with my Amazon affiliate link here, to read the rest of her findings.

Why is this happening?  Why are kids more depressed because of electronics?
Think about when we were in school – we didn’t know every time that there was a get-together that we weren’t invited to and we didn’t see pictures of each outing, game, or party.

We didn’t care what we looked like when we were hanging out with friends, because we were  the only ones that were there- I can remember sitting around with my best friends in our sweatpants, just laughing – I didn’t wear makeup or care if I had my hair fixed just right, because the worry of a phone or camera wasn’t there.

Think about bullies.  When we left the school, we left them.   If teasing happened, it didn’t happen at home.  It didn’t happen so publicly.   Everyone couldn’t see it or know what they were teasing other kids about.  Now, it’s all public knowledge and anyone can join in or watch.   It’s horrifying.

I can’t imagine being a tween or teenager now.   Although- as the parents of children, we have to imagine it, because we have to help our children navigate it.

According to Victoria Prooday of YouRot.com, “There is a silent tragedy developing right now, in our homes, and it concerns our most precious jewels – our children... Researchers have been releasing alarming statistics on a sharp and steady increase in kids’ mental illness, which is now reaching epidemic proportions:

She goes on to say that “Today’s children are being deprived of the fundamentals of a healthy childhood:

  • Emotionally available parents
  • Clearly defined limits and guidance
  • Responsibilities
  • Balanced nutrition and adequate sleep
  • Movement and outdoors
  • Creative play, social interaction, opportunities for unstructured times and boredom

Instead, children are being served with:

  • Digitally distracted parents
  • Indulgent parents who let kids “Rule the world”
  • Sense of entitlement rather than responsibility
  • Inadequate sleep and unbalanced nutrition
  • Sedentary indoor lifestyle
  • Endless stimulation, technological babysitters, instant gratification, and absence of dull moments”
    How true… and how sad.

I couldn’t agree more.  According to TIME.com, “Despite the rise in teen depression, the study, which analyzed data from the National Surveys on Drug Use and Health, reported that there wasn’t a corresponding increase in mental health treatment for adolescents and young adults. Researchers said this is an indication that there is a growing number of young people who are under-treated or not treated at all for their symptoms. ”

The article goes on to say that it’s not just teenagers, it’s young kids- in elementary school.  “Counselors like Ellen Chance in Palm Beach say they see evidence that technology and online bullying are affecting kids’ mental health as young as fifth grade, particularly girls.

“I couldn’t tell you how many students are being malicious to each other over Instagram. “I’ve had cases where girls don’t to come to school and they are cutting themselves and becoming severely depressed because they feel outcasted and targeted.” She says she now sees cutting incidents pretty much weekly at her elementary school, and while they vary in severity, it’s a signal that not all is right.”

So… what can we do about it?

– The AAP now suggest screening all children for depression starting at age 11.

– Get back to what we did before phones (back to what our parents did when we were young)… spend time playing games with our kids.

-Spend dinnertime talking.

–Drop everything that you are doing when your kids get home from school to TALK to them.

–Make dinner without having the TV on, the phone close by, or the tablet tuned into something.

–Use any ‘car time’ to talk to our kids (maybe even by not allowing electronics in the car)

-Have your kids do chores: Responsibilities increase their self-worth.   Example: if you don’t set the table, we can’t eat.  If you don’t wash your clothes, you will have nothing to wear tomorrow:
“To develop a high self-esteem a person needs purpose. A key component to high self-esteem is built on how you view yourself in terms of contribution. In other words, in the child development process, chores are a big role in a kid’s self-esteem.” ~impactparenting.com

-Be sure that your child is getting enough sleep.   This is a huge contributing factor.

-Don’t keep a lot of junk food in the house.  Limit junk food & replace it with fruits & vegetables.  If your child is picky, they can certainly find a fruit or vegetable that they like.  (I’ve taught our kids to make smoothies, too, but they have to clean up after themselves or they lose the privilege of making them… they LOVE to make them).

-Take away electronics and tell your kids to “go play!”   Don’t feel the need to always play with them.  My job, as a play therapist, is to teach parents how to play with their kids to help them, so while I always think that playing with your kids is a good idea, but I also want them to play alone.  I want them to learn how to keep themselves entertained.

From the time that our kids were very little, I gave them time to entertain themselves and now they are are all good about finding ways to keep themselves busy (drawing, playing, building, etc..)

– Don’t rescue your kids.   Here’s a recent example that happened in our house:
I’ve started having our kids pack their own lunches (with my supervision), but yesterday one of our sons decided to wait.. .and wait… and wait.  When it was down to 10 minutes before leaving, he asked me to pack it.  I said no and he then asked for lunch money.  I said, “I think it’s upstairs in your piggy bank if you have some in there.” His face said it all.   I wasn’t going to buy him out of this.  It was his responsibility.

IT is NEVER easy to teach our kids these lessons, but they serve our kids well.   He quickly made himself lunch and was on his way.   He learned an important life lesson about preparing himself for the day.

–Talk to your kids about why they need to come to you if something is wrong.  I talk to our kids about all of this and they know that I would do anything to help them.   I say it daily… “If you are ever feeling sad or left out about something and it becomes too big for you to handle easily, come to me.   I want you to know that if you ever hurt yourself, you would be hurting your whole family.   My happiness would go away with yours.”

Yes, it’s a lot to tell them, but it is the truth.  I need them to know it.  It’s not a joking matter and it’s not one to take lightly. Talk to your kids TODAY.

Make a rule with yourself that you will limit YOUR online distractions when your kids are home. Make 3:30-9:00 a no-tech time for you, the parent.   (or whatever hours your kids are home). It will not only benefit your kids, but it will help you, too.

10.09.17

Hi! I am praying for you right now! 
 
Daily Prayer Email: Please send ALL prayer requests for your class to studentcbsprayer@gmail.com
 
Quotes:
We can only hope for what we desire. #cslewis
 
Your view about how the world will end affects how you live today. #furtick
 
The secret is Christ in me, not me in a different set of circumstances. #Elliot
 
If you are not entertaining God’s truth, you will be entertaining Satan’s lies. You do not have the option of a neutral mind. #Willard
 
 
FYI:
1. Videos that are free to download… https://thebibleproject.com (Thank you, Annie!)
 
 
Here is what I just posted on the blogwww.studentcbsblog.org 
 
What Do You Do When Your Self-Worth is Challenged? by Alex McElroy (Interesting thoughts on helping students with self esteem.)
Greater Leadership in Children’s Ministry by Dale Hudson
Biggest Changes Generation Z Brings to the Adult World by Tim Elmore
Every Kid is One Caring Adult Away From Being a Success Story by Josh Shipp
 

Here are 2 video links I think you might like to see:

A new youtube site with some great videos… https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCmO1sDtd5024JJ7rBY7nWMg
Check out two of them…
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vBJFiMPTzM4
 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EtoevOdB7m0
 
 
Here are 2 just for you:
 
Growing a Greater Faith 

For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” When Jesus heard this, he was amazed at him, and turning to the crowd following him, he said, “I tell you, I have not found such great faith even in Israel.” Luke 7:8-9

To the degree, I submit to authority is the extent to which my faith grows. For example, I may not agree with or even like the decision-making process at work, but I can still trust those who have authority over me. Trust is the highest form of relational health, with it I am able to gladly follow my superior’s lead, without it I struggle to stay loyal. Most of all, I can trust the Lord’s authority and by grace remain submitted to Him and His will with a spirit of humble, grateful faith. Pride bows up against being told what to do, but humility willingly submits, trusts and obeys. 

Remarkably, a Roman soldier who commanded 100 men found great favor in the eyes of the Lord. A non-Jewish protector of the people, with the full support of the Jewish elders– in the past this military leader leveraged his influence, resources, and man-power to construct the local synagogue. In today’s terms, the centurion helped build the local church, though he did not attend church. This man’s goodwill was not forgotten when his most valuable servant fell deathly ill. Motivated by gratitude, the religious leaders and friends asked Jesus to heal him. 

Jesus did. Why? Because of the great faith of the humble leader, “Say the word,” knowing a word from Christ can heal. This military man was familiar with giving commands and being under command. Since the centurion trusted and followed the authorities over him, so his subordinates had faith in his leadership. Jesus compliments the Roman leader’s faith and character as a model of what being under God’s sovereign power looks like. Great faith is the result of humble submission to authority with the fruit of obedience, gratitude, and generosity.

“Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human authority” (1 Peter 2:13).

Have you totally surrendered your life to the authority of Almighty God? The truth of His Word trumps other contemporary opinions. One indicator of submission to the Lord is submission to the authorities He has over your life: government, church, a work supervisor or your spouse. Even when you experience an unfair authority, you are called to carry yourself with the spirit of Christ. Your faith grows to the degree you trust that the Holy Spirit is at work–knowing your part is to remain faithful, especially in the small things. Humble submission grows great faith.

“Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much” (Luke 16:10).

Prayer: Heavenly Father, grow my faith to trust Your authority and the authorities You have placed over my life, in Jesus’ name, Amen.

Application: To what authority do I need to totally surrender, trusting the Holy Spirit is at work?

 
Attitude Adjustment

For seven days they celebrated with joy the Feast of Unleavened Bread, because the Lord had filled them with joy by changing the attitude of the king of Assyria, so that he assisted them in the work on the house of God, the God of Israel.   Ezra 6:22

 

Attitude is everything; it can lift you up or bring you down. It is a barometer of your heart. If your heart is not right, your attitude will suffer. Attitude is critical because it influences your course of action. If your attitude is negative, your words and behavior will be too. There is a difference in being a realist about negative circumstances, and living with a chronic bad attitude. Naïve are those who ignore warning signs of trouble, and carry on oblivious to the storm clouds of sin.

However, your attitude is rooted in who you are in Christ, so there is no need to be fearful, guilty, or insecure. The attitude that Jesus exhibited was one of humility and servant leadership. His attitude reflected submission to His heavenly Father, which resulted in service, generosity, and love for people. Jesus was joyful and hopeful, because He rested in the will of God. Do not allow another’s bad attitude to influence yours. Be the attitude influencer instead. Greet a frown with a smile, crush criticism with affirmation, and listen patiently until fury loses its steam. A positive attitude will eventually outlast and overpower a negative one. Most of all, pray for those who thrive on negativity. Pray for them to be set free from their hurt, anger, guilt, and insecurity. God has you in their lives to reflect the Almighty and to encourage an attitude adjustment through Him.

God is the genesis of a right attitude, and He is the right attitude sustainer. He wants His attitude to be our attitude. This is why you need a daily attitude alignment from your heavenly Father. Each day, your attitude gets knocked around and abused by life. If left unattended, your attitude will drift into wrong thinking, harsh words, and bad behavior. Self-pity and anger can begin to replace selflessness and forgiveness. With just a little bit of daily tweaking, your attitude stays in line with His. It is subtle, but sometimes attitudes need to be adjusted moment by moment.

Lastly, slow down and pray when you feel your attitude eroding. When you’re in the midst of a bad attitude, don’t make important decisions; the time isn’t right for that. You will regret every decision you make during a time of emotional upheaval. Be patient, and wait until your anger has subsided, your heart is cleansed, and your attitude is objective. Almighty God is into attitudes that trust Him and reach out to others with compassion and understanding. Open-minded and reasonable attitudes lead to rich and robust relationships. Anyone can be negative; so don’t be anyone, be different. Allow God to shape your attitude on the anvil of His heart.

An attitude molded by God is infectious and transforming. Allow Him to change yours, and then trust Him to change another’s. The Bible says, “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus…” (Philippians 2:5).

Post/Tweet today: Attitude is everything; it can lift us up or bring us down. It is a barometer of our heart. #wisdomhunters

Blessings, Kendall

10.09.17

Greater Leadership in Children’s Ministry by Dale Hudson

relevantchildrensministry.com

We live in a challenging day, don’t we?  We’ve been called to reach Generation Z.  They are the largest generation on the planet.  74 million in the U.S.  2 billion in the world.  9,000 babies are born and join Generation Z each day.

They have an attention span of 8 seconds.  They are digital natives and interact with up to 5 screens a  day.  The average age they are exposed to pornography online is 11-years-old.  Terrorism is a way of life, they are growing up walking through metal detectors at their schools, large event venues, airports and more.

Gen Z’s parents are struggling as well.  Over 2 million of Millennial parents are addicted to drugs (either prescription or illegal).  Much of this is driven by an opioid epidemic.  Babies born to a parent taking opioids has increased by 300% in the last 10 years.

If we are going to reach today’s kids and families, then it can’t be business as usual!  It will take greater impact and influence.  How can we have greater influence?  How can we make a greater difference in people’s lives?  It will take greater leadership.  The saying is true, isn’t’ it – everything rises and falls on leadership.

Greater impact is made possible by greater leadership.

This is certainly not the first time a group of disciples like us have been called upon to have greater leadership.  Think back with me to the early disciples.  They had the challenge of taking the Gospel to the world.  And it was a world that was hostile and totally unfamiliar with the Gospel since it would just be unfolding.

Jesus knew it would take greater leadership for the disciples to effectively impact the world with the Gospel and so He began preparing them.  You see many incidents in Scripture where He taught them what greater leadership looked like.

One of those times is found in John 15.  Throughout this chapter, He explains greater leadership to the disciples.  And the entire chapter can be encapsulated in verse 13.  Here’s what it says.

There is no GREATER love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.

In this verse, we see the 4 elements of greater leadership.  Ultimate leadership.  The best kind of leadership.  Leadership that is a game changer.  Let’s examine it.

1. Greater leadership loves people.  

Notice again what He says. 

There is no greater LOVE than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.

The foundation for greater leadership is love.  It reflects the heart of God for people.  If you want to have greatest leadership, then…

Ask God to renew your love for the kids and families in your community.

Ask God to give you a fresh love for the volunteers and people you serve with.

Ask God to fill your heart with love for those who are far from God in your neighborhood.

Ask God to break your heart for the broken families in your city.

Ask God to give you unconditional love for the child who seems unlovable, uncontrollable and uncooperative.

When people know you truly love them, it opens their heart to your leadership and influence in their life.

2. Greater leadership serves others. 

Look at the verse again.

There is no greater love than to LAY DOWNone’s life for one’s friends.

We have been told that leadership is about taking charge…climbing the ladder…having power…exercising authority…advancing no matter who you have to go over to get there…getting the office with a window view…being known as powerful…taking….getting.

The disciples had seen the same thing modeled.  The Roman government ruled by fear, power, punishment, strength of the army and force.  The religious leaders of the day lived in a class above the ordinary person and lead by rules, regulations, pomp and circumstance.

But then Jesus came and taught them about a greater kind of leadership.  Look what He says in the verse above.  He tells them greater leadership is not about getting, but about giving.  It’s not about taking, it’s about laying down.

He not only taught this greater kind of leadership, He modeled it.  In Matthew 20, the disciples were arguing about who would have the greatest authority…the greatest title in the kingdom that Jesus would establish.  Again, they were reflecting the leadership they had grown up with.  Leadership that is established by power and force and position.

Jesus tells them this.

You know how the rulers in this world lord it over their people, and officials flaunt their authority over those under them.  But among you it will be different.

Here it is. He’s about to tell them about a different kind of leadership.  A greater leadership.

But among you it will be different.  Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must be your slave.

Whereas the world says leadership is about how many people serve you, Jesus says greater leadership is flipped.  Greater leadership is about how many people you serve.

He then models this by washing the disciples feet.  While they were busy arguing about who would have the best title, Jesus took a towel and water, got down and washed their feet.  In that culture, only the lowest servants washed people’s feet.  It was the lowest job, the lowest position in the kingdom.  When there were no servants present to do this “demeaning” task, the disciples weren’t about to wash anyone’s feet.  So Jesus used the opportunity to show them what great leadership looks like as He washed their feet.

Greater leadership is servant leadership.  It’s an oxymoron, isn’t it?  Servant and leadership.  But that’s the beauty of greater leadership.  Before you can become a great leader, you must first become a great servant.

Greater leadership is about replacing your “ego” with “we go” as you invest in others.  It’s not about being powerful, it’s about empowering others.

Good leaders are starts.  Great leaders create stars.

Average leadership ponders its rights.  Greater leadership ponders its responsibilities.

3. Greater leadership depends on God. 

The third component of greater leadership is found in the next part of the verse.  Look what it says.

There is no greater love than to lay down ONE’S LIFE for one’s friends.

In this chapter, Jesus shows them that the life is found in the vine.  As life flows from the vine into the branches, fruit comes forth.  He reminds them that without the vine, the branches can do nothing.  Nada.  Zilch.  Nothing is going to happen without the vine.

Greater leadership acknowledges that without God nothing of eternal value will happen.

That’s good news for leaders.  You see, greater leadership is not based on how talented you are, how charismatic you are, how big your budget is or how nice your facilities are.  It’s about the power of God working through you.

Paul put it this way in 1 Corinthians 2:

When I first came to you, dear brothers and sisters, I didn’t use lofty words and impressive wisdom to tell you God’s secret plan. For I decided that while I was with you I would forget everything except Jesus Christ, the one who was crucified. I came to you in weakness—timid and trembling. And my message and my preaching were very plain. Rather than using clever and persuasive speeches, I relied only on the power of the Holy Spirit. I did this so you would trust not in human wisdom but in the power of God.

Greater leadership is not about walking in your own confidence.  It’s about walking in Godfidence.

4. Greater leadership builds friendships.

Notice what Jesus calls the disciples in the last part of the verse.

 There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s FRIENDS. 

Jesus shared with them that greater leadership leads through relationship.  The word He used for this is “friends.”  The word “friends” carried a special connotation.  It was a reference to kings who would have a group of special friends that he brought close to him.  This group of friends would be the king’s trusted inner circle.  He would ask their advice before anyone asking anyone else.  They had access to the king 24/7.

You’ve heard the statement “People don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care.”  That’s what greater leadership is all about.  It’s earning people’s trust and respect over time through relationship.

Jesus also tells them that He is not going to call them “servants.”  Rather they will be His friends.  When someone leads servants, the people serve because they have to.  They don’t have a choice.  They are made to serve.

But greater leadership leads through friendship.  When you lead through friendship, people follow you because they want to.  You lead through motivation instead of mandating.

Greater leadership invests in people.  Greater leadership is there for people in their time of need.  Greater leadership goes on a journey with people.  Greater leadership is not about what you want from people, it’s about what you want for people.

If you want to see people serve with you for the long haul, then focus on relationship.  The amount of time people spend serving with you will be in direct correlation to the depth of the relationships you build with them.

Greater leadership loves people – ask God to renew your love for people.

Greater leadership serves others – ask God to give you the heart and attitude of a servant. 

Greater leadership depends on God – before you serve, fall on your face before God and ask Him to fill you with His power and anointing.  Acknowledge that without Him you can do nothing. 

Greater leadership builds friendships – invest deeply in the people God has called you to serve with. 

Do these things and you’ll make a greater impact.  You’ll provide greater leadership for the kids and families God has called you to serve.  

Do these things and God can use your leadership to turn the world upside down. 

10.02.17

Hi! Happy October!! OCTOBER????? Haha! I am praying for you right now! 
 
Daily Prayer Email: Please send ALL prayer requests for your class to: studentcbsprayer@gmail.com
 
Quotes:
Our job is to prepare the child for the path, not the path for the child. #elmore
When you feel stretched, it’s a setup for God’s strength. #furtick
Don’t worry about finding your purpose. If you are seeking after God, your purpose will find you. #evans
Being odd for the sake of Jesus is the highest of callings. It’s living an odd life marked by love, forgiveness, compassion, kindness, humility and self-sacrifice. #fields
 
 
FYI:
1. 10 Things to Say When Your Child Says They Don’t Believe in God Anymore…
http://christianmomthoughts.com/10-things-to-say-when-your-child-says-they-dont-believe-in-god-anymore/#more-8114
 
2. Teen Trouble… https://www.heartlightministries.org/2017/09/teen-trouble-take-quiz/?utm_source=CC+Master+List&utm_campaign=70d98c1e72-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2017_07_05&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_5926458580-70d98c1e72-126726953
3. 12 Prayers for when you are anxious by Max Lucado
 
 
Here is what I just posted on the blogwww.studentcbsblog.org 
 
4 Passionate Desires of a Good Leader’s Heart by Brandon Cox
Today’s Kids Are Not Yesterday’s Kids by Dale Hudson (Find your age group!! Memory lane!)
Seven Terms That Summarize Generation Z’s Mindset by Tim Elmore
Apps Stirring Up Trouble in Schools by Caroline Knorr (Yikes!)
 

Here are 2 video links I think you might like to see:

http://www.worshiphousemedia.com/mini-movies/26201/when-storms-come?utm_source=WorshipHouse%20Media%20–%20Around%20the%20House%20(CD%20Update)&utm_medium=email&utm_content=when_storms_come-2214110&utm_campaign=fp-08/31/2017-2214110
http://www.worshiphousemedia.com/mini-movies/69368/today-we-celebrate?utm_source=Christian%20Song%20Tracks%20(Final)&utm_medium=email&utm_content=today_celebrate-2215209&utm_campaign=fp-09/02/2017-2215209
 
 
Here are 2 just for you:

Great Leaders Live By Strong Convictions by Rick Warren

The real foundation of great leadership is character, not charisma. And one aspect of a leader’s character is the convictions to which he is deeply committed. Great leaders have strongly held beliefs. An opinion is something you’d argue about; a conviction is something you’d die for. Pastors, especially, must define the convictions for which they will endure every kind of hardship, and the only way to stand for those kinds of convictions is to live from a deep sense of God’s calling.

If God has called you to the task of leadership, nothing can stop you. Your identity rests in your relationship with him, not the approval of the people you are leading or the watching world around you. Instead of living in the comparison trap or the fear of what people will think, you must develop your convictions – theological, ethical, and practical – and stand by them.

Believe in advance that your convictions will be tested from at least eight angles:

1. Derision. When you’re in leadership, one of the first ways people will try to get you to deny your conviction is to make fun of you. Your convictions may very well be a punchline at times.

2. Discouragement. One of the enemy’s most powerful weapons is discouragement. Why? Because convictions, by their very nature, require courage to uphold. Discouragement usually comes at the halfway point when you’re halfway done with the project or halfway up the mountain.

3. Dread. Fear is one of the greatest threats to a leader’s convictions. I’ve often said, even when put on the spot by secular media personalities that I must fear God more than other people. It is to him alone that I will answer someday for how I stood by the deeply held beliefs he called me to possess.

4. Discord. Few things will stunt the growth of a movement or a church faster than gossip. One rumor or false accusation has the potential to destroy the reputation of a leader.

5. Division. It’s a big challenge for a leader to keep people together in a movement, but it’s essential. And since leadership is all about getting human beings to work together toward a common goal, this challenge is especially difficult for a leader to face.

6. Distractions. If the enemy can’t divide the people of a movement, he’ll provide distractions. Some of the distractions that cause the most problems aren’t bad things but rather good things that aren’t the best things.

7. Defamation. Paul was hounded by the Judaizers. Nehemiah had to deal with Sanballat. Jesus was falsely accused of blasphemy. It’s the pioneers out front who are most likely to get shot in the back. It’s a side effect of an expanding influence.

8. Danger. The Bible never actually promised believers a life “safe and secure from all alarms.” On the contrary, those who lead and have a voice will also suffer persecution and encounter danger along the way.

The enemy will try to use all eight of these tactics to top you from leading. What do you do in the face of such opposition? Don’t give up! Hold onto your convictions. Be persistent. Endure. When you are committed to your convictions, nothing will cause you to quit. And a “no quit” attitude is an essential characteristic of any great leader.

Heart of a Champion (One of my favorites!)

“Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore, I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air.  No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.”                      (1 Corinthians 9:25-27) (NIV)

There is an old saying: Champions don’t become champions in the ring – they are merely recognized there. Boxing is a good analogy for leadership development because it is all about daily preparation. Even if a person has natural talent, he has to prepare and train to become successful.

One of the most famous quotes of President Theodore Roosevelt uses a boxing analogy: “It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and spends himself in a worthy cause.”

09.25.17

The Best Gift You Can Give Your Teen

axios.com

At Axis, we talk a lot about starting conversations with your teens, especially about the world in which they live. It’s one of the best ways to cultivate trust and bridge the chasm between the generations. As parents, we often know what is best for our kids, therefore the temptation is to talk at them instead of listening to them, especially when discussing volatile topics like dating, social media, or pornography. Conversations can quickly deteriorate into a competition to win, instead of a mutual dialogue. It’s difficult to truly listen when you are mentally crafting the perfect comeback. Maybe that’s why God gave us two ears and only one mouth. We are to listen twice as much as we talk.

One of the best tools for increasing the effectiveness of your conversations is active listening. Our ability to actively listen to our kids may be the biggest influence on your relationship with them. It will build trust, foster an environment of honesty, and build empathy with their situation, emotions, and feelings.

French philosopher Simone Weil once said, “Attention is the rarest and purest form of generosity.” So here are seven practical ways to be “generous” in this way with your kids:

  1. Give them your full attention: Silence your smartphone, stop looking at your computer, and try to focus on what they are saying, instead of what you want to say next.
  2. Choose your body language intentionally: 93% of communication is nonverbal. Lean forward slightly, do not cross your arms, make eye contact with them, nod, remove physical barriers between the two of you, and make facial expressions that reflect the emotions of what they are sharing.
  3. Do not immediately judge or evaluate: Lecturing will almost certainly end the conversation. Attempting to understand what they are saying is not the same as agreeing. Your willingness to suspend your judgment will allow the conversation to continue. This is especially true if your teen is opening up to you about something like cutting or an addiction to pornography. Do your best to take a deep breath and remain calm. You want your child to see you as a safe. An extreme reaction will communicate the opposite.
  4. Cultivate Awareness: It might feel like just an ordinary conversation about ballet practice or the soccer game, but if you model listening to the mundane well, your teen will be more prone to come to you about deeper topics.
  5. Paraphrase back what you heard: Choose non-judgmental language to reassure them you heard exactly what they were trying to communicate, such as, “So what I hear you saying is that you feel frustrated about our boundaries with smartphones,” as opposed to, “So what I hear you saying is that you want no accountability with your smartphone.”
  6. Ask open-ended questions: Instead of asking closed-ended questions that require a mere yes-or-no answer, ask questions that demand a meaningful answer like, “What was the best part of your day?” or “How did you feel when she said that about your hair?”
  7. Define Expectations: Try to avoid immediately reassuring, explaining, suggesting, or sharing about your own experiences. Communicate respect by asking something like, “ Would it be most helpful for me to just listen right now, or are you looking for help or advice?”

There will be times you need to set firm boundaries, provide correction, or even establish non-negotiable expectations. But as a general rule that’s not the best starting point. By practicing active listening, you will help your teen feel heard, validated, and respected, encouraging them into a deeper relationship with you.

09.25.17

Ten Steps to Maturity for Teenage Boys by Mark Gregston

heartlightministries.org

Fifteen is the age when a boy moves into manhood while still holding on to the boyish ways of childhood. It is a time when parents need to be extra vigilant to help him make it through the transition smoothly, and therefore not get stuck at this stage for several years.

Age 15 is when your son’s thoughts and his expectations crash like ocean waves amidst a sea of change. It’s the end of one tide and the beginning of another.  At the very least, it’s an awkward season. Increased hormones, growth spurts, voice changes, muscles, and moving from concrete to abstract thinking all tend to make a young man feel a jumble of both invincibility and vulnerability.  And as a first step toward making up his own mind about life, everything you’ve taught him will be questioned.

This is a “convenient” time for a mom and dad to detach and drift alongside their teen as he is busier with extra-curricular activities at school and spends more time away from home. But this is no time for parents to back off. It is a critical and pivotal point in time where a parent can steer a son away from childish thinking and move him toward more mature thinking.

Your son needs to learn from you how to be respectful during a conflict, to be honest in the face of confusion, and to remain obedient in times of disagreement. It’s a time for some serious character-building. Sailing these waters can be a tough time for parents… but more than ever it is the right time to be available and to be firm.

So how do you go about making a smooth transition?

First, determine the “state of your child.” If things are already getting strained in your relationship, move toward them out of compassion, not frustration.  Approach the harshest situations with humility, but carry a big stick.  I don’t mean a big stick in relation to punishment, but I’m referring to your authority as a parent to set the agenda and to say “No” when you need to.

Parents today strive to be a friend of their children more than a parent. But as most soon find out at about age 15 when conflict erupts, they’ll wish that they had more of a “parent role” than a “friend role.” I’m here to tell you from years of experience that it is never too late to jump into the parental role, and trust me; there will never be a better time for boys than at age 15.

If you’re seeing behavioral problems, it is important for your son to know that you will stop at nothing to change the inappropriate direction he is headed. If you don’t know what to do, find help from others who have been there.  Or, contact our on-call coaches for more help.  Just call our Family Crisis Helpline at 866-700-3264 or visit www.heartlightministries.org/crisiscoaching for more information about that service.

A parent will do well to start with the following list to-do’s beginning on your son’s 15th birthday:

  1. Ask your son to begin making more of his own decisions. “Where should we go to eat tonight? What would be good for us to do on our vacation?  What movie should we get this Friday? What charities do you think would be good to support?”
  2. Ask for his input or point of view.  How would you respond in this situation?  How would you discipline differently?  What you do think about what’s happening at school?
  3. Give him an opportunity to respond correctly. He may not respond to your giving him more responsibility appropriately at first. So give him another opportunity to get it right. Display empathy rather than judgment. The way you go about it is sometimes more important than the message itself. Remember, a gentle answer turns away wrath. How you respond to him will determine how he will respond to you. Be slow to speak, slow to anger, and quick to listen, gentle, and humble, and give him another chance to respond correctly.
  4. Set clear boundaries. In times of trouble, don’t move away from your child, move toward him. Immaturity demands that you place boundaries around his inappropriate behavior. You may be thinking, “Well, you don’t know my kid and how he mistreats me.” I admit, I don’t. However, I do know that if you do nothing to rein in the bad behavior you see in your 15-year-old son, it’s only going to get worse, not better.
  5. Help your son learn how to say “No” by honoring it when he says “No.” This is another boundary issue. Honoring his boundaries will help him learn to honor others’ boundaries.
  6. Admit when you are wrong. Admitting when you are wrong will help your son understand that everyone makes mistakes, and models how to behave when mistakes happen.
  7. Shift control before you think he is ready for it. Yes, he will blow it, but he will also learn some valuable lessons from doing so, but only when you… (see number 8).
  8. Force him to take responsibility for his decisions. Don’t say, “I told you so,” or, “I should have made that decision instead.” Allow him to figure out what he should have done instead, and force him to own up to the consequences of his choices.
  9. Encourage him in his good decisions. Point your comments toward his successes, not his failures.
  10. When your son responds with maturity and responsibility, then move him up to the next level. Expand the limit and expectations and expect him to meet new requirements. For instance: “Honey, I think it’s great that you have a job now. If you are willing to save your money, I will match it and help you buy your first car.”

I encourage you to take advantage of this time to help your son make a strong transition to the smoother waters of responsible adulthood.  Age fifteen is a great time to sail alongside him through the rough and tumble waters of adolescence. Thankfully, he won’t be 15 forever.