iGen – Understanding the New Generation – MBFLP 211

iGen - understanding the new generation

Move over, Millennials – the new generation has arrived! Researcher Jean Twenge calls them iGen – the first generation that’s grown up with smart phone in hand. How has that shaped their thinking? What does that mean for the rest of us? How should we teach and prepare our children to interact with their generational peers? Are there things to watch out for – and opportunities to grasp? Join us for a discussion of Twenge’s book iGen and how this new culture impacts our family life, ministry, and society at large.


Discussion of Jean Twenge’s book iGen: Why Today’s Super-Connected Kids Are Growing Up Less Rebellious, More Tolerant, Less Happy–and Completely Unprepared for Adulthood–and What That Means for the Rest of Us

Researcher Jean Twenge noticed that numerous cultural trend lines took a sharp turn about 2012 – the year after the majority of Americans were carrying smart phones. She marks this as the sign of a new generational group some have called Generation Z (following the Millennial “Generation Y”). She’s called them iGen – the generation shaped by the iPhone – and she makes a powerful case that the handheld devices might be the largest influencer in their thinking, philosophy, and personality.

What’s distinctive about this generation?

They are growing up online. The average high school senior now spends six hours a day on new media, including two hours of Internet and two and a quarter of text messaging – every day. Time previous generations spent on homework, extracurricular activities, after-school jobs, and hanging out with friends, has been replaced by hanging out online. They are insecure and unhappy from their constant diet of social media, and 34% have been cyberbullied. Because they know how people manage and manipulate their image, they are cynical about what they see even while it impacts them emotionally.

They value individualism. Like Millennials, they seek authenticity. As a rule, they will not tolerate criticism of anybody, especially themselves (though they are prone to self-criticism). They have largely embraced the sexual revolution (widespread pornography, abortion on demand, same sex marriage, normalization of transgenderism) as nobody’s business “as long as nobody is hurt.”

They are maturing more slowly. Their parents have been protective and the children have embraced child status well into their twenties. The typical high school senior today is less likely to have earned a driver’s license, had an after-school or summer job, gone out on a date, or even spent much time outside parents’ direct supervision.

They value safety. iGen’ers are less likely to engage in risky behaviors like reckless driving, drug and alcohol experimentation, or sex as teenagers – not because these activities are immoral (iGen appears to continue the Millennial rejection of religion), but because they aren’t safe.

Their social lives and identity are text-based online, so words are weaponized. This is why campus culture is becoming hysterical over controversial speakers or even contrary opinions. iGen students demand protection from challenging viewpoints and consider offensive words as literal, physical assault. They are less likely to have had scuffles on the playground as children; instead, they’ve grown up savaging one another by text message.

iGen - what we need to know about the new generation

Why should we care, and what should we do about it?

Although we may be raising our own family by older standards, this is the generation of our children and the culture they will need to navigate as adults. How can we prepare them to succeed?

Move slowly on cell phone and social media. Social media is linked to depression, especially in younger students. Although older teens need to understand these tools, Twenge suggests younger teens shouldn’t get cell phones any sooner than necessary, and then start with “dumb” flip phones rather than Internet capable. Even then, monitor usage closely.

Push them forward to independence. Get their driver’s license early. Encourage them to get jobs and learn to manage their own money. Teach them how the world works, how to evaluate choices and make decisions.

Encourage real-life friendships. Don’t over-regulate time with friends and activities, especially as they reach older teen years. Get them off their phones and out of the house more.

Train your Christian children to stand on the Scripture without applause. This generation is growing more hostile toward Christianity, and its hysterical reaction to opposition will make it resistant to the Spirit’s conviction. We can’t be surprised when they react, but neither can we simply refuse to speak up; We need to be “wise as serpents and harmless as doves,” and choose our words and opportunities with care.

 


Special Thanks to Our Network Sponsor -Time 4 Learning

Time4Learning provides the tools and resources students need to build skills and confidence in the core subjects like math, language arts, science, and social studies. No matter how long you’ve been homeschooling or whatever your current situation, Time4Learning is a flexible, online curriculum that can be tailored to your child’s individual needs.

The comprehensive, award-winning curriculum allow students to study confidently and excel at their own pace, making it ideal for all kinds of learners, whether they are mainstream, gifted or special needs.

Click Here to Visit Time 4 Learning!


When Our Precocious Homeschooler Suddenly Went Flat

When Our Precocious Homeschooler Went Flat with Hal and Melanie Young from Making Biblical Family Life PracticalOur first son was a precocious learner—he was reading at four years old, and before long he was two years ahead of his age group in math. We just congratulated ourselves that our child was brilliant, homeschooling was awesome, and we were fantastic parents.

And then he hit the wall. At the age of ten, math was taking three hours to finish—and sometimes that was all he got done in a day. He lost his focus, he struggled in things that had been easy, and he convinced himself he was no good in school.

What happened? Simple – he was on the way to adolescence.

What we didn’t realize until later was that it is perfectly normal for kids to hit an academic slump when they start their pre-teen transition. In fact, it’s so common, school systems intentionally plan for fourth grade to be a catch-up year. It’s a developmental stage that they all go through.

The reason they struggle is two-fold. On the one hand, their brains are beginning a transition from childhood to an adult configuration. The part which handles executive functions—concentration, focus, judgement, priority-setting—literally unravels. It will come back together with some new functionality, like abstract reasoning and the ability to connect ideas across subject lines, but for several months, they truly lose some ability in school.

What’s more, the hormonal surge that starts the familiar changes of adolescence creates an emotional whirlwind. They become uncertain and overreact to difficulties, and when school becomes harder, they can lose confidence in themselves—even give up trying.

What can we do to help our kids through this challenge?

We find the most important things are to protect their love of learning and bolster their academic confidence. Set those as your two primary goals for these transitional months and you’ll lay a foundation for success in high school!

  • Recognize this for what it is—a time of transition. Don’t assume their sudden struggles are laziness or rebellion. When you see unexpected emotions, doubts, and academic floundering together, it’s time to adapt—not discipline. They all go through this.
  • Explain and encourage them through this time. Tell them why they are having trouble keeping their temper or remembering their vocabulary words—and explain that this is a temporary problem! It’s especially important with boys; their intellectual growth spurt happens in high school, and if they were already struggling before this time, they may give up before they ever hit their stride.
  • Don’t push them beyond their development. You wouldn’t expect your five-year-old to slam-dunk a regulation basketball goal, right?—you let him finish growing up. The same thing happens in academics. Even an early learner has to wait for some things to catch up. Abstract reasoning, for example, doesn’t appear until the end of this transition; you won’t be able to teach your 8-year-old to do algebra, no matter how smart she is. Give it time.
  • Go broad and deep, not further. If your child seems to hit a wall in a subject—math in particular—don’t keep pushing. Instead, explore other subjects on the same level. Dig deeper into things they are succeeding in, and let their brains mature a bit more before you take the next step up.
  • Embrace their interests. Kids this age typically have an obsessive interest in something. It may be dinosaurs, horses, warships, the Middle Ages, baseball—fill in the blank with your own child! They will naturally study the things which captured their imagination. If you need him to write a paragraph or do a research project, adapt the curriculum to leverage those interests. Instead of a lame prompt like “What I did last summer,” assign him, “What is the value of space exploration?” or “Explain the process for training falcons.”

We’ll say it again—this is commonplace and temporary, so when you see the signs, change your focus to protecting their love of learning and bolstering their academic confidence. It’s one of the important ways your relationship will change as your son or daughter becomes a young man or woman!

Want to know more about how to make the teen years great? Check out our new book, No Longer Little: Parenting Tweens with Grace and Hope. You’ll find out more about dealing with middle schoolers and pre-teens on everything from schoolwork to family relationships to media use and spirituality. It’s available from http://www.nolongerlittle.com/ or Amazon.com.


With humorous banter, laser beam insight, and lots of practical advice, Hal and Melanie Young address real world issues, current events, marriage, parenting, raising sons, and family life on Making Biblical Family Life Practical. They’ll encourage and inspire you to walk out the Word of God in your family — and work toward reforming our culture, too. Click here to check out their podcast!

Entrepreneurship and College – MBFLP 210

College can be useful for entrepreneurs too

Is your son or daughter an entrepreneur at heart? Are you or they, either one, debating whether college is even worthwhile for a young person aiming at their own business?  This episode, we talk with our son Samuel Adams Young, who’s enrolled in an innovative business program at his college – one that teaches the hands-on skills needed to succeed as an entrepreneur!


College can be useful to entrepreneurs too

Tech Giants Not Withstanding …

We have friends who are skeptical about the need for college experience to succeed in life. After all, they say, neither Bill Gates (founder of Microsoft), Steve Jobs (visionary CEO of Apple), Mark Zuckerberg (creator of Facebook), nor Ted Turner (founder of CNN and other networks) finished college.

Fair enough. At the same time, the exceptions don’t prove a rule – and you can’t deny that billionaires in Silicon Valley or cable TV are not your average neighborhood business owner.

It’s also true that some career fields (particularly in technology) are changing so rapidly that a hands-on apprenticeship is nearly as useful as a four-year degree for starting a life-long career. (Listen to our interview with Ken Auer of Role Model Software, a prime example!)

Yet with all the exceptions and hedges and provisions in place, there are still good reasons a budding entrepreneur might consider going to a four-year degree program.  This episode, we’re talking with our son Samuel, who is a rising star in an innovative program to equip young business people with tools they can use to kick start their own companies.

This program was funded by the late Ralph Ketner, co-founder of one of the fastest-growing grocery chains in America, Food Lion. In establishing the Center for Entrepreneurship and Experiential Development, Ketner told the college that true entrepreneurship is hands-on, not just theoretical classroom work, and so the goal of the college is to help students actually create viable, money-making businesses from their ideas. Until his death in 2016 at the age of 95, Ketner maintained an office at the college and frequently counseled students from his long career of growing business from the ground up.

Resources We Mentioned

Center for Entrepreneurship and Experiential Development – Catawba College, Salisbury, N.C.

Donald Miller, Building a StoryBrand: Clarify Your Message So Customers Will Listen

Samuel’s business startup – DashFireMan

Some We Forgot to Mention

We have a whole section of resources about entrepreneurship on our website – CLICK HERE to find out more!

 

Middle Schoolers Online – MBFLP 209

Should your middle schooler be online?
When’s the right time to get your middle schoolers online? Researcher Jean Twenge (iGen) says that people born since 1995–that’s the class just starting to graduate from college, and their younger siblings–have basically grown up with round-the-clock Internet access. It’s not healthy, and it’s causing some specific, traceable problems … and yet, the world our kids are graduating into demands computer literacy … and expects to find a current social media footprint. How can we both protect our younger kids and prepare them for the real world just a few years ahead? This episode, we’ll start the conversation on middle schoolers and the online world …

 

Should your middle schooler be online?

Some Announcements … We are still celebrating the release of our new book, No Longer Little: Parenting Tweens with Grace and Hope … and we are getting some fantastic first-reader reviews! CLICK HERE to see a sample … or to order your own copy.  Background information: This week’s episode is in response to several of those reviews!

We’re scheduling upcoming events … We’ve recently finished agreements for events in North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and Florida … and we have plans to be in Maryland for a private event, soon, too. CLICK HERE to see our newest plans … and if you’d like to have us speak at your church, retreat, conference, or other event, VISIT OUR SPEAKING EVENT WEBSITE HERE.

Big HELLO to our new listeners on iHeartRadio! Be sure to come here to check out the show notes and links we mention on the air …


So what about middle schoolers and time online?

Dr. Twenge says that studies indicate the average high school senior now spends six hours per day online – including two and a quarter hours in text messaging, alone. Where is this time coming from? She shows that it comes from less time in homework, less time in extracurricular activities, less time working after-school jobs, and much less time just hanging out with friends “in real life.” This is undermining their social and emotional developments in many ways that explain the alarm and hysteria coming from college campuses these days!

There is also some correlation with the rise in teenage mental illness, including self-harming behaviors, and obsessive use of social media.

So it should be obvious that we don’t want to drop our pre-teens into that mix when they are in their most uprooted, emotional, hormonal, and generally unstable time of life. It wouldn’t be wise, it wouldn’t be prudent, and it simply wouldn’t be kind.

Instead, let’s hold off on social media for young people until they’re back on an even emotional keel – maybe 15 or 16. At that point, we recommend starting them off with lots of supervision and advice. Why? Because like it or not, social media has replaced the front porch and casual relationships in church, neighborhood, and community for establishing a basic public reputation. It’s expected. That means we need to coach our young people in appropriate online behavior, just like our parents or grandparents coached us–what’s appropriate and how we should act where the neighbors can hear or the community can see.

What about other uses of the net?

We need to recognize that the old “electronic babysitter,” the television of our youth, has been supplemented or replaced by Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, and the rest. Screen time is still screen time, with all its differences and similarities. Is there a place for simple entertainment use? Yes, and sometimes you need that “babysitter” – to calm an anxious child quiet in the doctor’s waiting room, or maybe to keep fidgety kids in their seats on long car trips. But let’s be honest about it and recognize it for what it is–don’t just drift into habits we’ll regret.

Meanwhile, think about boundaries and limitations you need to establish, and put them in place early. You’ll get a lot less pushback and complaining if your pre-teens have grown up knowing these boundaries, like accountability software, supervision, and time limits. They’re good guardrails to have, no matter what age you start–just realize it’s easier the earlier you get them in place.

Want to know more about middle schoolers and wisdom in technology use? Check out chapter 7, “Media, Gaming, and Discernment,” in our new book, No Longer Little: Parenting Tweens with Grace and Hope.

Middle School Q & A – MBFLP 208

Real life Q and A from parents like you with middle schoolers

Nobody told us what to expect … babies and toddlers we read about, and people warned us in hushed tones about the dreadful teen years, but nobody told us, “Just wait till they’re in middle school!” This week on Facebook Live we took questions from parents of pre-teens, asking them “What are you having struggles with?” That’s the meat of this week’s podcast – real live Q&A about dealing with the challenges of tweens!

Real life Q and A from parents like you with middle schoolers

Whether you call them pre-teens, tweens, middle-schoolers, or something else, your child will go through a transitional period between “clearly a little kid” to “definitely a teenager.” That catches most of us by surprise. Why is that? Probably because we’re anticipating the physical changes – his voice cracks, she starts her cycle, he’s got a proud new whisker, she is starting to get a figure. Before those outward changes appear, there’s a tidal wave of hormones that start the body’s transformation, and those hormones cause all sorts of effects in their thinking, their emotions, and even their spiritual lives.

What’s more important, our families stumble into a relationship minefield at this point. If we don’t recognize what’s happening and handle it right, we can end up with strained, bent, or broken relationships with our pre-teens.

But it’s also an opportunity. If we can come alongside our sons and daughters during this time and give them understanding, guidance, and encouragement – as well as discipleship and discipline when needed – we can lay foundations for a great relationship during the exciting years ahead!

Questions we addressed … 

7:21 – They’re so addleheaded in school
11:21 – Highly emotional but lacking in perspective
13:03 – They make wild assertions with no basis in reality
14:16 – The personal challenge of discipleship
14:56 – How to manage a changing school situation
17:37 – What about transitioning to adulthood – even with special needs
20:32 – Suddenly, there’s social anxiety
23:36 – He’s struggling in school and hates it
26:35 – A normally friendly boy growing quiet and withdrawn
28:01 – Tips for overcoming shyness

Resources we recommended …

Our new book, No Longer Little: Parenting Tweens with Grace and Hope

Read reviews here

Dianne Craft’s Brain Integration Therapy Manual

Our growing selection of classic, character-building audiobooks

Teaching Kids Self-Control – MBFLP 207

This episode we deal with a perennial problem in parenting – how in the world do we teach our kids self-control? The entertainment and collegiate culture may celebrate raw emotion and thoughtless self-expression – if it’s “authentic” it’s immune from criticism – but the Bible says differently. What’s more, every parent knows that what you might laugh about when they’re two, can wreck their lives when they’re twenty … and make your home intolerable when they’re sixteen. So what can we do to start – and continue – teaching the critical habit of self-control?


 

New
by
Hal and Melanie Young
CLICK HERE to find out more! 

 


What Does the Bible Tell Us?

The Scriptures warn against being led by our impulses and appetites. The Proverbs are full of warnings about the outcome of anger, drunkenness, laziness, gluttony, lust … TLDR, it doesn’t end well for the person “whose god is their belly, who set their minds on earthly things.” (Philippians 3:19)

Self-control is a fruit of the Spirit. Galatians 5:21-22 list “self-control” alongside love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and gentleness, as a sign of the Holy Spirit’s work in someone. That says it’s important, and it also should encourage us to pray for it – for our children and ourselves!

Our children are our disciples and they learn from our example … whether good or bad, and as Jesus said, “everyone when he is fully trained will be like his teacher.” (Luke 6:40 ESV).  That should encourage us to try to be the kind of persons we want our kids to become.

Some Practical Ideas

Feelings are real but they may not be accurate. The Lord tells us, “The heart is deceitful above all things …” (Jeremiah 17:9) so we can’t trust every feeling that comes up.  Talk with your kids about what they’re feeling and why they think that is. Help them discover whether there’s really a reason to feel so angry or weepy or fearful.

Realize there are times when they really can’t control their emotions.  The pre-teen years are so filled with hormones, it is nearly impossible for the young adolescent to handle them. When they’re in an emotional storm, you may need to comfort and calm them before you can have a rational conversation again. This will pass; when they settle down, it’s good to have that discussion with them.

Help them see that self-control (and self-discipline) offers many rewards. A child who can keep his temper or his tears in check is not as likely to be bullied. If they learn to rein in emotional outbursts and blurted observations, they can save themselves a lot of embarrassment and apologies. And learning to defer their immediate desires in order to finish a task or reach toward a goal will be great preparation for a useful adulthood.

Encourage them to reach up to adult roles early. When ours are 12- or 13 years old, we make a formal transition – they’re no longer “little kids” but now “young adults, in training.” We encourage them to take more responsibility for themselves and contribute more to the work around the house – with more freedom and privilege granted as they take on more responsibility. And our parenting has to transition from “direction” to “advice” as they mature – we want to them to be ready to step into full, independent adulthood sooner rather than later, and that means a lot of coaching and advice to get them prepared.

Teaching Self-Control is a Long Process

It starts as soon as you teach them to dress themselves, go to the potty, and come when you call. It won’t end until they’re fully capable and on their own! But as they grow up, keep the goal in mind – a fully matured, self-disciplined, responsible man or woman after all those years of discipleship. With that goal ahead, you’ll be ready to capitalize on every opportunity to encourage and guide them.

 

Doubling Down on Seventeen – MBFLP 206

We hear from a lot of parents who are struggling with their eleven-year-olds – the preteen uproar is real! But a close second is parents who are wrestling with an older teen – typically a seventeen-year-old. They don’t feel the respect or obedience, they are experiencing pushback and defiance, and they wonder how to make this kid toe the line again. This episode, we look at that question and how we’d answer it – first hint, there’s an underlying problem that you can do something about, without having to change your child or get their buy-in! (keep reading)


What’s the problem?

Society has moved the goalposts. In 1920, it was expected that a 15- or 16-year-old was grown-up enough to find a job or start a family. Now, according to Georgetown University, 65% of jobs in available in the year 2020 will require at least some college education to qualify – that’s two-thirds of all jobs, just two years from now.

That’s telling young people “You’re not old enough to be an adult until you’re in your mid-twenties.” No wonder psychologists Joseph and Claudia Allen say, in Escaping the Endless Adolescence, “Twenty-five is the new fifteen.”

At the same time, the onset of puberty comes four- to five years sooner than it did in 1920. Our teenagers are gaining adult bodies, adult temptations, adult desires, long before they have adult opportunities – whether or not they’re emotionally mature by that time. They are feeling like grown-ups earlier than ever before, even if they can’t live that way.

And studies tell us that frequently, the parent-child relationship is strained or broken in the preteen years – and a rocky time as teenagers often started with the tween years. By the time they’re 17 or 18, they may have long-standing habits of bad interaction – and often, we parents do, too.

So what can be done?

Recognize the transition to adulthood doesn’t happen on the eve of their 18th birthday. We need to be training our teenagers in mature thinking and behavior from their early preteen years. That means we need to …

Recognize their growing adulthood. – They are feeling more and more grown up, and in many ways, they are. We found it helpful to start thinking and speaking of them as young adults, and expecting them to act that way.

Transition parenting from “director” to “advisor.” – Your younger children need your active direction – they need you to be a benevolent dictator! But your teens and young adults need you as an advisor. They need to learn to ask their own questions and do their own research, then make decisions for themselves – not wait for orders nor wrench themselves free of your influence. You want to become a trusted counselor to them, not to order them around but to offer your wisdom and experience as guidance.

Learn to listen. – Often our kids feel like we never listen to them. We are so focused on the parent-child aspect we fail to appreciate them as people. One way to improve that is to always engage a bid for attention: Whenever they speak or whenever they want to show you something, make a point to look up and make eye contact, then engage whatever is on their mind.

Dr Jeff Myers of Summit Ministries says that we must teach truth, but it is only received in the context of a relationship – a relationship of love, trust, and respect.

Psalm 116:1-2 says,
I love the LORD, because He has heard
My voice and my supplications.
Because He has inclined His ear to me,
Therefore I will call upon Him as long as I live

We want that kind of relationship with our adult kids – we want them to love us and we want them to call us when we’re apart. And what does this passage say? “I love the LORD because He has heard and inclined His ear to me.”

If you want your kids to listen to you, then you need to listen to them.
If you want them to pay attention to you, you need to pay attention to them.
If you want them to love and respect you, then you need to love and respect them – in a way that they appreciate!

If you have a 16- or 17-year-old and you find yourself struggling, why not give this a try? Simply recalibrate your own thinking to see them as a young adult—who still needs coaching and guidance, sure! – but a young adult who is truly a complete person with his own needs and concerns and dreams and fears – not just “your kid” who needs correction.

Try reaching out to them as though they were a young adult not in your family.

Treat them with courtesy and not just command.

And see if they don’t respond!


Special Thanks to Our Network Sponsor – Well Planned Gal

Rebecca from the Well Planned Gal understands the challenges of working within a budget, managing multiple children, and trying to keep up with a variety of information. That is why she created popular planner bundles!

Combine organizational tools with year long encouragement by bundling Well Planned Day planners with the popular Family Magazine. For a limited time, Save 30% with one of her popular planner bundles. Each bundle contains 2 planner products with a one-year subscription to Family Magazine.

Click Here to Go to Well Planned Gal


Preparing Your Teens for More – MBFLP 205

“You think this is hard – just wait till they’re teenagers!” the stranger told Melanie as she pushed our four young children through the Atlanta zoo. But that’s a cultural expectation, not a foregone conclusion. Why can’t the teen years be productive years of growth, maturity, and deeper fellowship between parent and son or daughter? This episode we’re looking at positive ways to build up your teens during these critical years of transition from childhood to independence!

The Remarkable Potential of Teenagers

The oncologist looked at Hal skeptically.

“Well,” he conceded, “if you feel up to it, you can travel. And you can speak from the platform. But you can’t stand around shaking hands afterward – your immune system is going to be completely shot.”

The results had come back from the biopsy – Hal had advanced lymphoma, and he was about to start chemotherapy. The good doctor from Duke had listened while we explained what we do in our ministry, and travel was a concession – no compromise on the personal contact.

We had hardly gotten this far explaining it to our family when our teenagers burst out, “Don’t worry, Dad – we’ll take care of the book fair!”

Our oldest still at home were 16, 14, and 12. We might have been a little skeptical, but at the time, we didn’t have a choice. Hal was sidelined, Melanie would be busy counseling and praying with parents, and somebody needed to handle the business part of our resource table. If teens are who we had, then teens would have to do the job.

And it has made a world of difference!

Don’t Underestimate Teenagers

So many people consider the teen years and react with alarm, “Batten down the hatches! Duck and cover!” And yet, we look back and history and wonder. Laura Ingalls Wilder was put in charge of a school before she turned 16. John Quincy Adams was 14 when he became the sole translator for America’s embassy to Catherine the Great of Russia. Paul Tripp calls it “The Age of Opportunity;” why shouldn’t we expect more from the teenage years?

What started as a necessity in our family developed into a tradition – ever since that day, our teenagers and their younger siblings have managed our booth and many aspects of our travel. They shoo us out into the aisle, telling us, “You need to be talking with the parents that need help! Let us take care of this stuff.” They load and unload, set up and manage. They deal with customers of all ages, polite or combative. And they take turns in charge of the booth and their siblings, watching the younger ones and passing on job skills to the middle group.

Sometimes they even challenge us! Our third son made it a point of honor to learn to drive our 15-passenger van and trailer in any situation – threading night-time traffic alone in downtown Phoenix, backing the trailer into a tight parking space, or turning the whole rig around on a one-lane road that suddenly became impassable. Hal had to step up and improve his own skills to keep from calling the 16-year-old to get us out of a spot!

They became so involved in the business and support of our ministry, we naturally included them in all our planning. “We need some products to keep the younger children quiet while you talk with their parents,” they told us. We challenged them to come up with ideas, and they located sources for the swords and rubber band guns we sell alongside our books on parenting and marriage.

Three of our teens took what they were learning from our own business and bought another for themselves. The one who took the greatest part at the age of 13 is majoring in entrepreneurship in college and has already attracted venture capitalists to the businesses he’s started.

One of our teens became a freelance journalist at the age of 17 and was writing investigative articles for a statewide magazine before he left for college.  Another taught himself guitar and mandolin and joined a bluegrass band at a local coffee house. His elderly bandmates used to tease him, “I’ve got blue jeans older than you, Curly,” and he’d smile and reply, “But I’ve got more hair than all of you, combined.”

What made the difference? For all our teens, they found an area where they could serve, then we encouraged them to step up. By the time they were ready for college, they’d already been participating in grownup activities for two or three years, and they were unafraid to face the new opportunities which opened up in college and their early careers.

Want to read more? CLICK HERE!


Special Thanks to Our Network Sponsor – Well Planned Gal

Rebecca from the Well Planned Gal understands the challenges of working within a budget, managing multiple children, and trying to keep up with a variety of information. That is why she created popular planner bundles!

Combine organizational tools with year long encouragement by bundling Well Planned Day planners with the popular Family Magazine. For a limited time, Save 30% with one of her popular planner bundles. Each bundle contains 2 planner products with a one-year subscription to Family Magazine.

Click Here to Go to Well Planned Gal


When DAD Is The Teacher – MBFLP 204

When Dad is the Homeschool Teacher

Surveys and studies have shown that over 90% of the time, Mom is the primary teacher in a homeschooling family. But that doesn’t account for everyone, and sometimes Dad is the teacher, not Mom. How does that change the homeschooling dynamic? What is it like being a Dad at a support group meeting full of Moms? How can the homeschooling father find the support and encouragement he needs when so much is aimed at the concerns and struggles of mothers? This episode, we look at the question of what happens when Dad is the teacher.

When Dad is the homeschool teacher


When Dad is the Homeschool Teacher

Some years ago a survey found that something like 96% of homeschool families report that Mom is the main teacher in the home. That number may have changed with the rise of more digital and co-op programs, but the bottom line remains – at 90% demographics, you have to expect most of the support will be directed toward mothers, not fathers.

But there are many situations where Dad might be the main instructor at home, whether by plan, by accident, or by temporary circumstance. And if Dad’s a homeschool teacher, he needs support and encouragement just like Mom would. How does that work out?

First, it’s nothing to apologize for. While the Bible talks about the instruction of both parents, whether as a couple or individually, it frequently puts the expectation on the father to make sure the children are being trained up “in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” (Ephesians 6:4). Modern work patterns make it difficult for fathers to personally carry out the 24/7 spirit of Deuteronomy 6:7 – “You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.” If a Dad does have the opportunity by working from home or whatever, that’s a blessing in itself.

No matter who’s teaching, you’ll need to communicate with your mate. Keep her in the loop. Give her a daily update. Reach out during the day with prayer requests or interesting news. Coordinate on decisions. And give yourself a mental break at the end of the day before she comes home from work, so you can ease her return to the family after the distraction and stress of the workplace.

As the dad, you may not be as tuned in to your child’s non-verbal and emotional communication. Get your wife’s input and trust her instincts. (On the plus side, you are likely to experience less stress and uncertainty over choices and directions for the homeschool. We tell moms to recruit their husbands’ decisiveness to break the impasse they experience).

Do be sensitive to your children’s childhood. We dads get really goal-oriented and sometimes we don’t allow for their normal levels of distraction, fatigue, and so forth. They’re kids!

Understand their differences

Understand the learning differences between your sons and your daughters. Boys tend to be noisy, physical, active, and just hard to teach. Moms often don’t instinctively get this, and you do. But you might need some insight into what makes your daughters special.

For example, our sons like the teaching to be emphatic, confident, engaging, challenging. They like to debate. And they like the room well lit and cold, preferably with a breeze in their faces. We understand this. Our daughters like things more warm and nurturing, affirming, peaceable, gentle rather than stirring. You need to speak both languages, if you have both sons and daughters to teach.

One thing I find I CANNOT do is divide my attention. If I’m teaching our kids or interacting with them in any way, I have to focus on them. I simply don’t have the ability to continue working on my laptop and have a conversation or lead an activity at the same time. The multitasking gift is a great boon to homeschooling moms; I do things like keep a notebook handy, and anytime I’m interrupted (a billion times per day), make a note of what I’m doing. That way I can get back on task without trying to keep half my brain on hold while I talk with my child.

We all need support

Finally, recognize that all homeschool teachers need support. Join a local group, even if you’re the only father in the mix. Yes, there will be some conversations you just can’t connect with, but there are so many other things which are important. Your kids need the peer group, there will be activities and opportunities that enrich their learning and make your teaching easier, and you’ll be less isolated yourself.

— Hal


Special Thanks to Our Network Sponsor – Well Planned Gal

Rebecca from the Well Planned Gal understands the challenges of working within a budget, managing multiple children, and trying to keep up with a variety of information. That is why she created popular planner bundles!

Combine organizational tools with year long encouragement by bundling Well Planned Day planners with the popular Family Magazine. For a limited time, Save 30% with one of her  popular planner bundles. Each bundle contains 2 planner products with a one-year subscription to Family Magazine.  

Click Here to Go to Well Planned Gal


 

Win-Win Arguments – MBFLP 203

It’s inevitable that we will have conflicts with the ones we love – the simple fact of fallen people living in a fallen world means accidents, misunderstandings, expectations – and yes, downright sin sometimes. When they happen, though, how do we turn the unavoidable conflict into something constructive? Can we argue in a way the honors God and leaves our relationship stronger? Is it all about the win, or is there a bigger goal in mind?  This week, we talk about choosing your battles carefully and aiming to fight so we both win!