Politics, Religion, and Half Time

Ain´t nothin´ that divides friends and family like politics, religion, and a Super Bowl half time show…I won’t lie.  I scrolled through social media reading people’s responses.  Some people were mortified they didn’t turn it off.  Some patted themselves on the back for turning it off.  Some liked the show…others dramatically berated it , but a slew of people were happy to give their opinions.  I hosted a party and I didn’t  turn it off.  Right or wrong, my 12 year old saw part of it before he decided to head outside.  I am not particularly proud that he watched a portion of it, however, it did lead to several fantastic conversations about a whole lot of topics in the weeks that  followed.  And those conversations were good!  A few years ago we took our kids to Disneyland and stayed a night in Las Vegas.  While walking to the NewYork, NewYork to ride the roller coaster, a woman approached us wearing nothing but a thong and stickers on her nipples.  I was mortified. My son was 8….he was mortified.   I felt like a terrible parent.   Luckily we were able to duck inside and talk it out.  And while the situation was FAR from my most proud parenting moment, it led to great discussion in the weeks that followed for both of my kids.  The point is that we are all going to make parenting moves that we are not particularly proud of.  My kids are going to make decisions that I won´t be proud of either. I’m gonna blow it.  They are going to blow it.  How I handle it is key.  Am I going to freak out and ban TV,  and all social media forever (although that might be a good thing), and never ever ever go back to Las Vegas , or will I take opportunities to teach my kids about the world and the culture  they will be forced to live in some day.  A quote from my pastor Jason King  (Faith.church) has encouraged me in my parenting journey and with permission, I share, “God was the perfect parent and yet his kids still blew it.”   Isn’t that fantastic news?!!  Adam and Eve disobeyed, and blamed everyone but themselves despite having the most perfect parent, God.   We don´t have to be perfect parents, just equipped parents and even if we make a mistake, it’s not the end of the world.  God´s grace is bigger.  Fortunately, there are lots of creative ways to become an equipped parent. First,  understand this truth:  You are naturally equipped to raise the kids that God placed in your care. Then consider the following ideas…pick up a parenting book and read the whole thing.  Have coffee with a mom who is farther along in her parenting journey and pick her brain.  Surround yourself with people who are on the same page with you in terms of your belief and moral values.  Listen to a  godly podcast about parenting.  Find a friend who is a grandparent and ask what they would do differently with their kids.  DON’T do this parent gig alone.  NO one is an expert parent but there are many wise parents who have have great knowledge, experience, and understanding.  Seek them out.  They are  valuable resources. Before I gave my daughter a phone, I interviewed at least a dozen moms and asked loads of questions about rules, what they would do differently, anything I could think of concerning phones, social media, screen time.  Another parent encouraged us to have our daughter purchase her  own Iphone with her own money, which ended up being excellent advice.  We pay for the service which means we can remove it anytime.  We had expectations set in place before we allowed the phone….and most of the ideas came from parents who were ahead of us in the “phone journey.”    We humans are not perfect parents and our spawn ain’t gonna be perfect either.  But we can have a growth mind set and aim for excellence and along the way dole out a whole lot of forgiveness and grace.

Posted by AMY in Uncategorized

Consider these books:

Strong Mothers, Strong Sons (Lessons Mothers Need to Raise Extraordinary Men) by Meg Meeker, M.D.

Home Invasion by Rebecca Hagelin

Check out this YouTube video about Instagram: Social Media Dangers Exposed by Mom Posing as 11-Year-Old.  And then educate your kids especially your daughter about cyber predation.

 

Lavish Love

I don’t do New Year’s resolutions.  I don’t do New Years goals.  I don’t have a bucket list.  Sheesh, I barely have a grocery list.  I keep trying the grocery app on my phone, but here is the problem: I think of an item. Then I have to go find my phone.  However, between my phone and I are countless  distractions including the homeschooling child and the teenage girl,  so by the time I actually retrieve my phone, I have forgotten whatever the item was that I was going to put on the grocery app.

I have a refrigerator in my kitchen, and I have one  in my basement.  Sometimes I walk down the stairs; open the door of the  basement refrigerator and I forget what I was looking for. So I have to go back up the stairs, open the kitchen refrigerator….stare inside and hope that it jogs my memory of why I went to the other refrigerator!

These are ridiculous first world problems, but can you relate?  I wish I could blame it on my mommy brain, but I only have two kids and they are older.  I think my mom brain is full.  So full that I can’t remember what to write on my grocery list or why I went to my basement refrigerator.   Maybe I just need to SLOW down this year.  Start my day by talking to God and reading the Word.   Maybe the first words out of my mouth to my kids each day ought to be words of admiration, delight, abundant love.  Perhaps I need to offer tender affirmation and just be more mentally present.   “See what great love the Father has LAVISHED on us that we should be called the sons of God.” (I John 3:7)  Everyone seems to be posting their word for 2020.  Maybe I will pick one too …LAVISH.. abundance…to pour down profusely.  What if I lavished love on the people I come in contact with…my husband, my kids,  their friends, my friends.  I don’t need to get God’s attention by doing good things….He already NOTICES and LAVISHES love on me.  Who am I taking the time to notice?   I think I want my kids to feel that way…they don’t need to do good things for me to notice them.  I notice them because they are mine.  My mailman is John.  Last year I took the time to notice John.  I even ran into him at Wendy’s and we talked.  I asked him if anyone knew his name.  He said very few people have stopped to ask him his name.   Isn’t that sad?  Maybe we  start noticing people and lavishing them with friendly words and simple kindness.

LAVISH.  The Father has LAVISHED his love on me just because.  “He rejoices over me with singing.” (Zeph 3:17)  The same is for you and for your kiddos.  God LAVISHES his love on you and your kids….for no reason other than He just loves you. (After all the Bible says that GOD IS LOVE) I educate my kids, but in the end, if they don’t feel my love or have love for others, I kinda wasted my time.  They could know their math facts, whip out five paragraph essays, draw the world from memory, pass calculus, chemistry, and biology with flying colors, but if they “have not love” then what’s the point? So I ought to SLOW DOWN, notice them,  speak life… and model kindness… and lavish love on them….. just like it has been lavished on me.

Teenagers VS Toddlers

Recently my neighbors and I were discussing which is harder to raise…toddlers or teenagers.  This summer I had the privilege of hanging out with some extraordinary teenagers. We climbed some mountains, camped, did some freezing cold tubing, and spend a lot of time playing games and arguing over which Marvel movies are the best.  The human brain doesn’t fully develop until people are in their 20’s especially the pre- frontal cortex which means that there are a lot of times that  the brains of teens are completely full of mush!!  Because of this mush, teens need some grown up tour guides helping them navigate the teenage years.   These tour guides can be parents, youth leaders, teachers, or just some crazy neighbors who happen to love teenagers.  I prefer teenagers over toddlers mostly because teenagers can go to the bathroom by themselves, put their dishes in the dishwasher, wash their own hands, and some have been known to do their own laundry and even cook!!  Even though their brains are full of mush (at times), teenagers have many moments of  complete brilliance and share many similarities with their adult counterparts. I feel the need to share or remind us all of  a few of them….

#1 All teenagers ( and most adults I know, me included) are INSECURE about SOMETHING.  Teens are still trying to figure out life, who they are, what they like, who they like, all while hormones rage constantly in their bodies.  They are  juggling growing physically (which can literally be painful), the stress of school, sports and activities, parents’ expectations, and trying to make use of their time for homework, work, and socialization.  And they have a culture which is constantly changing in morality and virtue saturating them with sexuality, narcissism, and perfection….all  largely behind a screen that they look at alone and for hours a day. They ask themselves and others…”Am I smart enough?’  “Am I pretty enough?” “Am I good enough?” “Do people like me?”  They face rejection, teasing, isolation, unworthiness, and fear… sometimes on a daily basis.  I learned  they need, nearly crave, constant affirmation that they are enough just the way they are!  They need to understand that they are not loved or accepted based on their performance….they are just loved and accepted. Period.  Their grown up tour guides need to  offer words of affirmation…..lots of them.  Saturate them with timely words of encouragement, empathy, not flattery but true compliments that will help them feel more secure about who they are becoming.  So the next time you see a teen, hug them and tell them that they are super cool and that you just love having them around.

#2  All teenagers (and adults) are BRILLIANT at something.   When I was a teacher, I loved seeing my students shine in whatever they were gifted at.  I went to plays, choir concerts, sporting events, and even a horse show just to see my students do what they did best.  I still do that with my daughter’s friends.  Not only has it been great bonding to attend the other kids’ events with my girl, but it’s so fun to watch her friends at their best.  Plus when they come over, it gives us something to talk about.  I don’t know a human being who doesn’t like to talk about whatever it is they are passionate about.  When you attend their events, it sends a message that you genuinely care about what they care about.  “Kids don’t care about how much you know until they know how much you care.”  And a word to the wise….only be encouraging at events you attend.  Do NOT criticize officials, refs, players or coaches.  Keep your mouth shut if you can’t say anything nice.  At those events, criticism, especially of the kid that you are watching, NEVER helps.  Just cuz you feel something, doesn’t mean you need to say it.  Enough said.

#3  All people in the universe but especially teenagers have an inherit need to feel VALUED.  Everyone feels valued differently.  Some people need a word of affirmation.  Some need you to spend quality time with them.  Some need a thoughtful card or gift.  Some need a meal or an act of service. Some just need a hug.  People have written dozens of books on the love languages, and the bottom line  is that everyone needs love spoken in their love language and teens probably need it the most.  The tricky part is that your love language may not be the same as the teen you are investing in.  You may be terrible at offering words of affirmation but that might be what that teen needs.  You may not have time to go for a hike or a walk but that might be what speaks life into the teen, so you make time.  Investing in people isn’t easy, fun, or rewarding at times.  It’s expensive, inconvenient, and time consuming.  But it certainly fulfills the most important two commandments:  “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind….AND love your neighbor as yourself.  Those teens are pretty cool neighbors and they need some lovn’ from the tour guides in their lives.

#4  Every teen needs to be HEARD. Teens are smart, perceptive, and they have a lot to say.  Even the introverts come alive in the right environment.  Now in a group setting, they talk all over each other and they need some social cues in order to have a good conversation.  You have to teach them when to talk, how to listen to each other, and not to interrupt.  So as the grownup, you have to work on those things yourself.  Try not to interrupt your own teen or their friends.  Listen, really Listen.  Don’t offer correction all the time or even advice.  Just listen and the best secret….ASK QUESTIONS.  And when they say something completely shocking, try not to over react.  I have learned lots about the kids who come over.  I even have some “tea” on all of them, but they need to know that there are grown ups who will talk about the hard stuff judgement free.  Teens need trusted adults who aren’t afraid to ask them questions, gently call them out, and offer a listening ear.  Most adults need a trusted confidant too…..I know my mentors have impacted my life greatly.  I want my kids to have trusted tour guides they can rely on.

#5  Ultimately parents are the Moral Compass for their kids.  Teachers don’t have time to teach kids morality and all the virtues in the classroom.  Coaches especially volunteers shouldn’t be responsible for that either.  If you want your kids to have a good moral compass as adults, you need to be the the moral compass for your kids.  Monkey see, Monkey do.  You thought your toddlers were watching and mimicking you….your teen is scrutinizing you even more closely.  You will learn that lesson as a parent really fast as soon as you have a teen driver who will call you out on every driving infraction you commit.  You model everything to your teen….modesty, behavior, words, habits–bad and good.  Teens are sharp and they pick up on everything, and I guarantee they know more about the world than you think they know.  So model humility and self control to those boys and discretion and confidence (with humility) to those girls.

As far as Teens VS Toddlers….they are pretty much the same.  They are just kids (not adults) who need a good nights sleep, a good meal and a treat for dessert, and even the occasional band aid.  Do we hold them to standards…sure…kids need boundaries…teens and toddlers alike.  The teens that come over do dishes, and clean up after themselves but that’s not why i like them.  I don’t like them because they meet my expectations or standards…I just like them.  I believe I am called to “Love God and Love Others.”  They are my Others.  I love them.

The Reset Button

My daughter is nearly 15 years old.  Just finished classes for driver’s ed, took classes at the local community college that counted for high school and college credit, enjoys all her freedoms on social media, has  great groups of friends….typical teenager which means we don’t exactly see eye to eye some days.   My husband and I have conversations with her and she often says, “You just don’t understand what it’s like to be a teenager these days!”  As if we never were teenagers….ever.

Every generation has its “thing”.  Cell phones and social media are the “thing” of this current generation.  My generation grew up with Walkmans. Remember those? It was the first time kids could go mobile with music, a cassette tape and headphones outside.  No more radio or boom box on your shoulders to listen to music.  You could listen to whatever you wanted without mom and dad knowing what you were listening to.  Back in 1985, it was some serious freedom!  I would sit outside (cuz my mom constantly kicked us outside to play) with my headphones on completely oblivious to her and the rest of the world.  Not much has changed.  Teenagers are still oblivious…..same problem…different device.  Lately social media has become a source of contention perhaps even a wedge for me and my girl  and has led to restricted time.  In fact, social media has gotten under my skin so much that I quit blogging because blogging relates to social media in my mind….and it has such a sour taste. (Plus I need about two hours of uninterrupted time when I am not tired (which never happens) to create a post). Although our conversations  about social media (especially SnapChat) are difficult right now….they are good.  Sometimes they sound like Thor and Odin ( from the first THOR).  Last night we watched THOR.  There was a fight between Odin and Thor…

Odin says to Thor, “You are a vain, greedy, cruel boy!”  And Thor retorts, “And you are an old man and a fool!”     I leaned over to Lauren and said,” I think SnapChat is vain, greedy, and cruel and and a complete waste of time. In fact, I think SnapChat has made you vain!”

Needless to say, our bedtime conversation didn’t go well and there was some apologizing this morning.

But what I am most grateful for is the chance to RESET!  Our biggest reset button are the words, “I am sorry.” ” I am sorry for getting angry and not listening to you.”  I am sorry for interrupting your story.”  “I am sorry for being defiant.”  Imagine if every kid went into marriage with the ability and humility to say “I am sorry for ____________.”  “Will you forgive me?”  Those words…”Will you forgive me?”….reset a relationship.  Walls fall down.  Restoration has a chance to begin.  Forgiveness take root.  Teach your kids to say those words…”I am sorry, will you forgive me?”  Model them to your children.  Learn to apologize to your husband in front of your kids.  Apologize to your friends in front of your kids. I think our pride keeps us from apologizing.  We see an apology as a weakness either on our side or theirs.  But it isn’t a weakness.  It is a powerful tool…it is the reset button of relationships.  Master the sincere apology.

Perhaps there are other ‘reset buttons”.  Taking a break from social media, spending time as a family, taking a day off of work to just have fun. Enjoying life.  Sometimes just a day of fun can reset your family or even yourself.  Where do you need to reset?  Do you need to apologize for an errant word?  Start fresh. Reset.

By Amy in Uncategorized

PS.  I had the joy and privilege of speaking to various MOPS groups around the city this year. Speaking is my forte but I will make a conscious “reset” and try to blog a bit more this summer!

 

60 Seconds of Fun….

On November 18th, I rode the Manta roller coaster at Sea World, Orlando.  After a thrilling ride of hanging up side down, we pulled into the station..drool dripping down my chin…I looked over at my husband and gasped, “My back doesn’t feel right.”  My kids talked me into riding the coaster.  I had successfully rode two other coasters and was motion sickness free so I didn’t want to press my luck any further.  But they talked me into it.  It WAS a thrilling ride!  Your feet dangle off  the bottom of your seat and just before they launch you out into the atmosphere,  your coaster car is tilted so you are completely face down.  I have never been on a coaster like it and won’t ever try it again!  Twelve chiropractic appointments later,  X-ray,  a back brace, two physical therapy appointments with dry needling, many massages from my family, heating and icing therapy, exercises at home, and now a gym membership so I can get my core and back strong again….I am much better. I am so thankful to be able to  finally ski now, but I do have to forfeit playing volleyball for a bit. In fact, if I miss a day at the gym, the pain in my back reminds me that I must exercise in order to be pain-free.  I have a constant reminder of my costly coaster ride.  So my 60 seconds of fun ended in misery, loss of activity, loss of time, expensive Dr. visits, and no desire to ride a roller coaster ever again.  It was definitely not worth it!

However, I having been using this accident to teach my kids life lessons…..one nasty errant word  can have lasting effects. One 60 second angry fight can destroy a relationship.  Viewing pornography just a couple of times can lead to addiction, guilt, shame.  A short sexual relationship can have life-long consequences especially if you contract an STD.  One drive behind the wheel intoxicated can lead to irreversible trauma. A quick nude photo  texted to some one is guaranteed to wind up on a porn site ( I learned that from a friend who works for an organization that finds on-line perpetrators…how scary is that!)  And now recently, a three minute bullet tirade that left 17 innocent teens dead and at least 14 wounded.  Trauma can be created in seconds….and ignite a lifetime of wounds, scars, and pain.  Start talking to your kids about the choices they are making.  Remind them that in just 60 seconds…a life can drastically change. My daughter will enter high school soon.  We have been chatting about vaping, sex, pornography, drinking, smoking, drugs.  All of it.  Next time you are in the car, ask your kids what they know about vaping.  I like to ask my kids what their friends are doing. Who is dating who…its easier for kids to talk about their friends.  Then you can lead the conversation to talking about themselves.    Don’t wait for the school system or youth group leader  to teach your kids about vaping, drugs, and sex.  I have had several speaking engagements recently both to adults and students…kids are listening..they want information..Talk to them.  Help them prevent a 60 second activity that could lead to a lifetime of heartache.

If you have a child struggling with porn…try “Forcefield Online”.  It gives a daily report of where they have been on Safari, how long they were there, ect.  Shows every picture they take, receive, any apps they add or delete etc.  You can also control how long a child is on any app and you can remove apps. http://forcefield.me

 

By Amy

Posted in Abstinence, Sex Education

 

Conviction

A friend called me out today. She said, “Why aren’t you writing any more on your blog?  People need to hear what you have to say.  I need to hear what you have to say.  Start blogging again. It’s time.”  That is a true friend.  One who calls you out when you need it.   A straight shooter.  I don’t really have an excuse except that I get intimidated by the big guns who post/blog about pornography and abstinence..big guns like Covenant Eyes, or Educate Empower Kids, people who have lots of letters after their name…BUT then I remembered.  God uses ALL of us to further his kingdom.  I felt conviction, so I repented about my lazy blogging and am moving forward.  You grow where you are planted and so it’s time to grow again.

Conviction can sound like a bad thing.  But it’s not..it is more of a challenge to change.  Conviction is not shame or guilt.  It’s a strong encouragement to move in a different direction.  Conviction often moves us toward repentance which is always a good thing.   Our kids need their parents to be straight shooters…call them out.  Your teenager with a phone needs you to call him out on what he is looking at on his phone.  Remind him that the phone was given to him on loan and you can check it out whenever you feel led.  Check out his apps, his texts… “Oh but I don’t want to invade his privacy”….your child is your CHILD.  Teenagers are still children with an underdeveloped pre-frontal cortex which means they can and will make stupid decisions.  So you need to parent them and hold them responsible for what they are looking at.  Conviction sounds a lot like accountability….Every teenager needs it.

Your littles need a dose of accountability too.  Monitor them during playtime so that it’s not a “free for all”.  They need to learn self-control.  It’s not okay to write in books, rip out pages, dump all their toys.  You are building a foundation for self control, discipline, and fair play.  Character is developed at home, not at school. Hold your little people and big people accountable for dinner time manners, making their beds, putting dishes in the sink or dishwasher.  All of these little things translate to self-control and discipline later.  Stop them when they pick their nose and especially when boys adjust themselves or even fondle themselves…It leads to habits that are hard to break later once hormones kick in because their brains become conditioned to their hand gratification at a young age.  If they keep it up, self gratification can become a habit especially when they get exposed to pornography. Mix that in with a sexual culture, hormones, and an Iphone where porn is easy to access, and you have a perfect storm that could have  been prevented by just teaching a little bit of self control when they were young.

TALK to your kids about everything….especially sex.  When your 4 year old asks, “What is sex?”  Don’t freak out.  Just say that it is a special relationship that God designed for married people.  You don’t have be graphic until you get a graphic question.  You can tell a 6 year old who asks more detail.  “God gave men a special seed and He gave women a special seed.  When the time is right, God allows the seeds to come together and make a baby.”  These are all questions that I fielded this week with young moms and it reminded me it was time to blog again. (Thank you LB for encouraging me.)

I have been speaking to MOPS groups and teens  so I haven’t been a total hermit but I needed the reminder to get my booty in gear again.  And so do you….what do you need to call your kids out on?  Books they are reading..movies…media time…relationships…language..maybe they are just plain lazy.  What do you need to tighten up with your little ones?  Take a break from media and read to your kids.  Talk to them in the car instead of watching a video.  We just finished a media fast for a week and just taking media away erased some issues I was having.  Try it.  I know it’s hard; especially if media is the only way you get a break, but let me just challenge you to teach your kids to play alone.  Our culture is one of indulgence especially in media.  Learn to function without it now and then.

Conviction leads us to repentance…which  leads us to growth.  I want to grow as a parent and I want my kids to grow into mature, self-controlled adults who Love God and Love others.

Posted by Amy in Abstinence, Pornography, Sex Education

Time is Never Wasted on Your Kids..

Today I heard a very sobering comment from a 4 year old in a class I was helping in at church.  We were reading a Fall story about a squirrel that was gathering nuts, berries, and other foods for the winter months.  The other animals of the forest wanted Squirrel to play but he said, “I am just too busy.”  The  4 year old raised his hand and said, “That’s what my daddy says to me every time I ask him to play with me..he says ‘I am too busy’.”  Sadly, we parents say that phrase way too often to our kids and we miss out on opportune times to have conversations with our kids.  We took our kids camping for a long weekend.  Even though we spent hours with them, they still wanted our attention the very next day.  You can’t “bank time” with your kids.  They need us every day whether we are “too busy” or not.  When my kids were toddlers, my pediatrician  told me to make sure that I was spending 20 minutes on the floor with my kids every day. I said to him, “Really, you have to tell people that?”  Yes. Yes he does… because the average parent spends only 10 minutes a day talking with their kids.  At least that is what he told me.  How sad.  At the end of the day, relationships matter.  The most important relationships are the ones with the people in your own home.  And I assure you, if you aren’t making time deposits into your kids, you won’t be able to withdraw much when it comes time to have some hard or uncomfortable conversations.  Talk candidly with your kids about lots of subjects.  Turn off the movie in the car ride and start singing and talking.  Put down your “to do” list and play with your kids.  Make an effort.  I didn’t blog for a month.  I didn’t make time to blog…..it wasn’t that I could’t…I just didn’t.  Don’t make that mistake with your kiddos.  Good parenting requires sacrifice on the parts of the parents…sacrificing your agenda…a dream job….possessions…a social life…but those are worth it when you raise kids who know how to love God and love others.  So slow down and spend some time with your kids every day.  Make sure they know they are a priority.  And if you are brave, ask them if they think you are too busy to play. Because spending time with your kids is never wasted time. It’s just time well spent.

Holes and Compassion

I had several  speaking engagements in June and I think I might have learned more than my audiences.  My biggest take-away was that most people in this world have holes and lots of them.  Some holes are huge and are a result of trauma. Major trauma like sexual abuse, divorce, death of a parent as a child, physical and verbal abuse, addiction to pornography, drugs, alcohol, eating disorders, accidents that result in serious physical damage, absent parents, and other dramatic trauma.  But trauma doesn’t always have to be so dramatic either.  Holes can come from major disappointment and loss.  Getting cut from a sports team or not making a drama production can cause a hole. Loss of friendship from a move across the country or a friendship ending due to bitterness and jealously can cause a hole.  Hurtful words from a parent to a child can cause a hole.  A child not meeting his parent’s expectations can cause a hole in both parents and children. The bottom line is that we are all broken people.  I don’t care how confident people appear on the outside, on the inside, they have holes.  The difference is what you FILL the hole with.  Now I am Bible-thumping and I really hope that I live my faith out-loud.  I have chosen to fill my holes with TRUTH from the Bible.  I know that I am fearfully and wonderfully made.  I know that I am God’s masterpiece created to do good things.  I know that there is no condemnation in Christ.  I know that God forgives those who ask and makes us new creations.  BUT, lots of people don’t know these truths or they have forgotten them and they fill their holes with garbage….pride, pity, financial success, impure images, impure relationships, bitterness, anger, selfishness, rage, isolation.  They settle for a substitute for love and relationships instead of God’s plan for love and relationships. Our culture offers lots of dangerous options for filling our holes.  Most of them are cheap replacements for GOD’s TRUTH.  For example, an insecure girl buys into the lie that she ought to dress provocative, act sexy and aggressive  in order to snag a boy…evening sending him nude photos on SnapChat (that was the story I heard over and over in June from lots of moms), but this was never God’s design.  So as moms, what do we do???  Teach your kids about God’s truth.  Encourage inner beauty with your daughter and character development.  Integrity starts with developing character traits such as perseverance, discretion, confidence, sincerity, modesty-both of dress and heart, poise.  Spend lots of time with your kids.  Did you know that kids who have dinner less often with their parents are more likely to be involved in many risky behaviors. (1) So this summer, make dinner a priority!

Because we all have holes, we all need compassion.  Many people haven’t filled their holes with God’s Truth and they have traded Biblical Truth for a cultural norm…in relationships…in media…in addictive behavior….in sexual promiscuity…just to name a few.  People need compassion and acceptance…that doesn’t mean that we approve of all behavior however.  You can LOVE without APPROVAL.…any parent knows that.  I love my children even though I do not approve of their behavior or choices.  As humans we tend not to like people who don’t agree with us or approve of our choices.  And that’s where LOVE breaks through….Love says, “Think twice about that decision.”  Love challenges and says, “Are you feeling pitiful or prideful in this situation?”  Love sharpens, chastises, corrects, challenges; love doesn’t always agree but it is patient, kind, it is not boastful, it is not proud, it does not self-seek.  It is not easily angered nor does it keep record of wrong.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It protects, trusts, hopes, perseveres. (2) Love sees the holes in others and responds with compassion rather than judgement.  Loving is way harder than liking.  Love, not agreement, keeps families together, communities together.  I live in a wonderful community and I definitely don’t see eye to eye with all the members of my community…but I would help any of them in time of need because I choose love.  Teach your kids this concept:  Loving without agreement.  If your family identity is based on Scripture, then you will have to love people without agreeing with them because your convictions will be different.  But isn’t that what Jesus did?  He loved people, not their choices.  We can do the same.

TIP:  This summer, eat as many dinners together as a family as you can.  Moms, read the book Girls Uncovered by McIlhaney, Bush.  Teach your kids how to love people, not agree with them. And get off SnapChat.

(1):F.I Luntz, What Americans Really Want…Really: The Truth About Our Hopes, Dreams, and Fears (New York: Hyperion, 2009),257.

(2) I Corinthians 13: 4-7, NIV study Bible.

Transition Stinks!

The month of MAY..every parent’s nightmare as the last days of school wrap up.  I think it’s the most stressful time of the year…tests, concerts, sporting events, projects, last minute assignments..all of it is a recipe for mom retirement….and a migraine!  That TRANSITION from school to summer can be a whirlwind for certain.  But transition can be a good too.  It’s a time to re-think some of the conversations you may need to cover with your kids this summer.  Plus, summer activities can be a natural segue’ for conversation. Here are some ideas…

Ages 3-6: If you are still using words like tinkle ,wee wee, and all manners of crazy genital slang with your preschoolers, it’s time you taught them proper terminology.  Next time you put your toddler in a swim suit, tell them the proper names of their organs.  I heard a mom tell her son to put his wee wee in the potty and tinkle.  We want innocent children, not ignorant.  Teach them properly.  Swimsuit season is also a good time to remind them that no one touches their private parts.  Anything covered up by a swim suit is off limits. If you are still showering with your kids, that needs to stop.  You don’t want your children to be imprinting on your naked body.  It often leads to kids obsessing about nakedness and their own bodies.

Ages 6-9: Start talking modesty with your daughter.  If she wants a bikini, find out why.  Modesty of the heart starts young and modesty starts in the heart, before the body. I am not against bikinis but we want our daughters to be attractive, not attracting so start fostering classiness.  Does your 7 year old really need to be in a bikini?  Think that through.   Private parts are not very private if they are not covered up. With your sons, foster self control, especially with the whole “adjusting” thing.  He doesn’t need to adjust his gonads nine times a day.  Start requiring some self-control because when the good feelings come from touching, self-gratifying may follow; so when you see it this summer, say something to your son.  But also, explain why..” It’s time to learn some self-control.  You don’t need to touch your private parts, because you don’t want it to become a habit.  It can be a difficult habit to break.”

Ages 10-13:  This is the time when many parents start thinking about cell-phones for their kids. Give them some stipulations when you give them a cell phone.  Phones open the door to a whole lot of freedom that most kids can’t handle and don’t even know what to do with.  The conversations I have with moms about what their kids are dealing with is astounding…. A boy sent a girl a picture of his gonads on snapchat…..cuz that’s classy!  That’s just one example of the many that I heard this week!  I read an article recently about all the teenage suicide that has come out of social media.  Think about a filter so your kids aren’t exposed to pornography.  Have a conversation about pornography and the dangers of addiction and the exploitation of women and children in the porn industry.  (Only 13% of women are there by choice.)  Take time this summer and have some of these conversations.  If you have a daughter, talk about her changing body because it starts at 10 or 11 with breast buds, body odor, and then “hair down there.”  Periods are about a year and half after breast bud development.  Once she starts a period, then you need to have a  conversation about sex.  The summer between 7th and 8th grade is a good time to finish up your “sex talks” with your girls.  I recommend the book 30 Days of Sex Talks.  It is for ages 12+.  There is a direct link on my resource page.  Another great curriculum is the Passport to Purity series.  That can be over kids heads if you start too young.  Middle school, around 7th grade is a good time for that series.

Ages 14+:  Hard conversations happen at these ages.  If you haven’t put the work in the younger years, these conversations can be downright terrifying….like getting nude photos from a guy or finding out your daughter sent a topless picture of herself to someone.  People think that snapchat is safe since the picture deletes after 5 seconds, but don’t be so sure.  TALK to your kids this summer about everything. …dating, marriage, sex.  Their friends’ brains are full of mush so they need to hear the truth from you!  Spend as much time together as a family doing fun things outside…generate a good family identity.  Make a fun list and work on it as a family.  The tighter knit your family is…the more confident your kids will be and the more likely they will have the guts to make the right choices.  Transition can stink, but it’s also a great time to make changes in your life-style, and in your training of your kids.  Summer is a great time to make a few changes if need be.  Make the most out of this summer’s transition time!

TIP: Capitalize on teachable moments: pregnant moms, bathtub erections with your toddler sons, boys adjusting in public (it just looks gross). Modesty at the mall, pool, playground, sports venues. Talk about your period when you are on it. When the dog finds a tampon, use it as a time to teach. Weave sexuality in as you would table manners, tithe, social manners, dating.

“Over Confidence is the Most Dangerous Form of Carelessness.”

I graduated from high school in 1989 without a cell phone.  In fact, CD’s had only been around a about 7 years.   During my collegiate years, the answering machine evolved as well as the Internet or World Wide Web.  Most of my professors were against using the Internet as a source for any research papers.  I started teaching in 1994-1995, which apparently was a banner year for technology because the  cell phone became popular, email, Yahoo ,PlayStation and DVD’s all had a market….and hand sanitizer  became popular too! Google and computer animation developed in 1998 and introduced us to Toy Story, Bug’s Life, Shrek, Monsters Inc, Shrek, and finally Frozen.  Since my children have been born in 2004, 2007, I Phones, Wii, and Xbox have evolved.  We live in a fast-paced every changing world!

It took 55 years for the telephone to have 50 million users.  It took the Internet 4 years to have 50 million users.  In 35 days, Angry Birds had 50 million users.  (techworm.net) One pornography site transfers 4,000 pages a second!  (Barna) The average American kid will view 14,000 sexual references each year….only a 165 will deal with abstinence, self-control, STD’s, pregnancy (American Academy of Pediatrics). The world is NOT the same place that your were raised in. So as the media world spins out of control around you, what conversations have you had with your kids about abstinence, self-control, STD’s, pregnancy?  If they are little, use every opportunity to teach self control, especially with boys.  I had a conversation with a mom recently and she told me that her 8 year old son likes to play with his “goodies”.  She told him it was fine as long as he did it in his room and not in public.  I think she missed the boat.  What a great opportunity to have a conversation about self control and why we don’t play with our own genitals in public or private.  Once the dopamine rush hits from the genital stimulation, we can condition our genitals to only respond to our hands. This is Not God’s design for our bodies.  We need to exercise self control with our bodies.  We exercise self control with candy, soda, junk food, and hopefully media use, just like we exercise self control with our bodies. Combine self-gratification and pornography and you have the perfect storm for addiction, erectile dysfunction, and sexual dysfunction.  Don’t be over-confident in your parenting…don’t assume that your kids are doing what they should be in the privacy of their rooms.  Keep an open door policy when they have a device in their rooms.  Then visit the room often to hold them accountable.  Most of us who are parenting today didn’t have access to the media that our kids have today.  Therefore, we better be talking to them about  what they are being exposed to, especially in the arena of sexuality.  In addition, TV’s in kids’ rooms can cause sleep issues, freedom issues, and exposure to content that their brains just are not ready to process or handle.   Wise old YODA from Star Wars says, “Over confidence is the most dangerous form of carelessness.”

TIP:  Keep your kids bedroom doors open more than closed.  Be a careful, watchful parent.  Have a conversation with your son about his goodies and not touching or playing with them and WHY.

Posted by AMY in Sex Education and Abstinence