What Are You Reading Right Now? – MBFLP 245

These are challenging times, and whether you need entertainment to pass the idle hours, or something diverting at the end of a stressful day, a good book is great to find. We’re book people, for sure, and we know the value of trusted authors and especially, those who have lots of titles to discover! So this episode, we’re talking about our favorite books and authors – some we share, and some we don’t!

We discovered we both enjoy mysteries 

As a genre, good detective stories offer a vision of right and wrong, and the possibility that truth can be found and justice prevail. We really like istories with likeable, well-developed characters, intriguing plots, and particularly, heroes who are fundamentally decent people. Stories with ambiguous or situational morals, protagonists we wouldn’t introduce to our family, or anything supernatural or occult, we don’t enjoy at all – those, we avoid.

Some of the classics we enjoy are the books by Dorothy L. Sayers and Ngaio Marsh, two authors of the “Golden Age” of British detective stories. From the same era, on our side of the Atlantic, are Erle Stanley Gardner (the creator of Perry Mason) and Rex Stout (whose eccentric genius Nero Wolfe was only a lightweight version of the somewhat eccentric author) – both of them, quite prolific!  (more below …) 

 

 

More modern authors, and featuring female protagonists, are Dorothy Gilman (whose Mrs. Emily Pollifax is more of a spy than a traditional detective) and Alexander McCall Smith, a Scottish mediccal professor who remembers his childhood in Botswana with a series about a woman who opens the first “Ladies’ Detective Agency” in her country.

Deserving special mention are the father and daughter duo, Tony and Anne Hillerman. Tony’s novels about the Navajo Tribal Police are packaged as supernatural thrillers, when they’re actually police procedurals placed in the complex culture of “the Rez” – the spooky covers simply recall elements of the traditional religion of “the Dine’ as the Navajo call themselves. His daughter Anne picked up Tony’s characters after his death, and she’s carried on the stories with the same skill her father displayed. We’ve thoroughly enjoyed the Hillermans’ books, and their description of the culture and landscape were confirmed by our travels in Arizona and New Mexico – doubling our enjoyment!

We have other books which Hal prefers more than Melanie, and some the other way around – to find out more about our favorites, check the longer article on our own blog here!

When They’re Being Bullied – MBFLP 244

Studies and surveys tell us up to 49% of school kids (grades 4-12) have been bulled in the past month – but homeschoolers aren’t immune to threats and intimidation. This episode, we talk with Candice Dugger of BulliedBrokenRedeemed, about what to look for if your child’s being bullied,what you can do to help the situation, and more importantly, how to help your child heal.

Visit their website, BulliedBrokenRedeemed.com

We deal with this issue in our book Raising Real Men too – you can get your copy at (where else?) RaisingRealMen.com

 

Living through Lockdown – Work and School at Home – MBFLP 243

Welcome to life during a lockdown! Suddenly a lot of families are unexpected homeschoolers – and a lot of wage earners have “come home” to work near their families. It’s a huge transition, even if you planned it months ahead of time. How can you recognize and start to adjust to the very different reality of working and studying alongside one another? Hal and Melanie have been doing this for over 15 years, and we still have things to sort out and discover. This episode we’re talking about some of that experience!

The first part of this episode, we talk about the transition to teaching at home. There are a lot of resources on this network and the archives of this very program! But the second part, we look at the world of working from home when you’ve been used to an office or cubicle, some privacy and peace, and only adult conversation to distract you.

A Passage We Referenced;

It is vain for you to rise up early,
To retire late,
To eat the bread of painful labors;
For He gives to His beloved even in his sleep. (Psalm 127:2 NASB)

Some Other Resources We Mentioned: 

To learn more about Laura Ingalls’ first teaching assignment, check out the book These Happy Golden Years from the “Little House on the Prairie” series.

Want more encouragement about homeschooling in hard times? Check out our workshop on the topic!

Craftsman Crate is our subscription box that gives you real tools, real skills, and an introduction to arts and crafts that can become a lifelong hobby or a home business. Find out more here.

Select episodes of our podcast are also available on YouTube. For a video version, check out our channel here!

When It’s Time They Were Moving Out – MBFLP 242

“What ever happened to growing up and moving out?” someone asked. The fact is, a growing number of young adults are living at home with their parents. Is this a problem? Well, sometimes yes, but sometimes not at all. This episode, we’re talking about how to work through the young adults leaving Mom and Dad’s home for a place of their own.

Back Home Again

The U.S. Census Bureau reports that in 1969, less than 10% of young men (ages 25-34) lived at home with their parents – and more than 80% were married and living with their wife. In 2019, though, nearly 20% are back home (or still at home) with Mom and Dad, and only 36% are married.1

There are many reasons that may be so, but popular wisdom aside, it’s not necessarily a sign of failure or character weakness when a young adult is living in “the natal household,” as one researcher puts it.

3:15 – Census figures on young adults and their living arrangements

5:45 – Reasons good kids may still be living at home

7:30 – How can we prepare our kids to be independent adults

15:25 – A word from our sponsor

16:25 – The importance of the parent-child relationship during this transition

18:11 – How to handle a young adult who puts the family at risk

22:00 – When your adult child wants to move out and you the parent are holding him or her back

25:55 – How to help a young adult who’s “stuck”
You might be interested …

Escaping the Endless Adolescence: How We Can Help Our Teenagers Grow Up Before They Grow Old
Joseph Allen and Claudia Worrell Allen

Engaging Today’s Prodigal
Carol Barnier

References

  1. Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Current Population Survey, Annual Social and Economic Supplement, 1967 to present; table AD3, “Living Arrangements of Adults 25 to 34 Years Old, 1967 to Present”

This episode brought to you in part by

Real tools. Real skills.

Fighting Cabin Fever – MBFLP 241

Cabin fever - how long can this go on?


“February is the cruelest month” is how T.S. Eliot began The Waste Land – until Ezra Pound suggested he change it to “April” for poetic reasons. Be that as it may, February is a time of dullness for many of us. It may affect us ourselves, it may affect our children. So what can we do about mid-winter cabin fever?

Admit it – the seasons do have an impact. You might have Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) – here’s an article from the Mayo Clinic website.  You may not have a condition that needs medical attention, but the fact that some people do have a problem with change in seasons should tell you it’s not just your imagination.

It’s not a sign of weakness or a character flaw to realize some things can make a difference. We have family from Scandinavia who tell us people there (where the winter days are really short) take active, preemptive steps to increase their cheerfulness – more light, more houseplants, and so on.

Listen in for more practical ideas to cheer up your dark days of February!

 


The unutterable boredom of cabin fever


PASSAGES OF INTEREST

Seasons are a fact – and a blessing of God

While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, winter and summer, and day and night shall not cease.” (God, in Genesis 8:22)

You [God] have made summer and winter. (Psalm 74:17)

God thunders marvelously with His voice;
He does great things which we cannot comprehend.
For He says to the snow, ‘Fall on the earth’;
Likewise to the gentle rain and the heavy rain of His strength. (Job 37:5-6)

He gives snow like wool;
He scatters the frost like ashes;
He casts out His hail like morsels;
Who can stand before His cold?
He sends out His word and melts them;
He causes His wind to blow, and the waters flow. (Psalm 147:16-18)

STORIES YOU MIGHT APPRECIATE

Don’t Laugh – here’s how to understand Southerners and snow

Chocolate snow cream recipe

UPCOMING EVENTS

Would you like to have Hal and Melanie speak at your church, group meeting, or some other gathering? We travel a great deal and it may be easier than you think! We’re going to be in the states in yellow in 2020, so CLICK HERE to start the conversation!

  • February 27-29, 2020 – Nashville, TN – Teach Them Diligently – Nashville
  • March 13-14 – Williamsburg, VA – HEAV LeaderLife Conference
  • March 26-28, 2020 – Rogers, AR – Teach Them Diligently – Northwest Arkansas
  • April 3-4, 2020 – Kansas City, MO – Midwest Parent Educators (MPE) Conference

Raising Kids to Love Their Siblings – MBFLP 240

Is sibling rivalry just something to expect? Is it a foregone conclusion that our kids are going to be simmering with jealousy, rivalry, and unkindness toward one another? Or is there a way to promote friendship and affection between brothers and sisters? We have eight kids, and while they’ve had their moments of conflict, we’ve been blessed to see them grow in genuine love as they’ve matured. How can we foster this sort of relationship in the home?

TRAPS TO AVOID

We know families where the sibling relationships are so broken, some aren’t talking decades after the original hurt feelings. Our college students have remarked how many of their classmates are uninterested in going home for holidays or breaks. Where does the breakdown begin? More importantly, what can we avoid or correct, to preserve and promote better relationships?

  • Bullying or provoking behavior – they’re two forms of the same problem
  • Name calling – and when nicknames are and aren’t cool
  • A culture of sarcasm and irony
  • Battle of the sexes – don’t even start
  • Favoritism – it didn’t end well for Joseph nor Isaac

POSITIVE TRAITS TO PROMOTE

On the other hand, there are many things we can do to cultivate a better sort of family culture.

  • Teach them how to be friends
  • Praise and reward good behavior
  • Make family harmony a matter of honor
  • Provide opportunities to be friends
  • Build memories together
  • Share emotions – rejoice with them that rejoice
  • Cultivate respect – starting with husband and wife of each other, then parent/child and siblings

Remember, and teach your kids, that when the Bible speaks about love, it involves knowing the other person, and choosing to behave in a considerate and kindly manner to them. It’s an active choice, not just a feeling! And that means that we can hold that as a standard of behavior … and know it’s something we can actually do. Trust that when our actions are right, the feelings tend to follow!

UPCOMING EVENTS

February 27-29 – “Teach Them Diligently” Homeschool Convention – Nashville, TN

March 13-14 – LeaderLife Conference (Home Education Association of Virginia) – Williamsburg, VA

Relationships and Holiday Stress – MBFLP 239

 

The song says, “It’s the most wonderful time of the year,” but for many families, it’s also the most stressful. How can you accomplish all you need to do during the holidays, without putting a strain on your family relationships? And how do you deal with visiting family members who may be bringing their own kind of stress into your celebration? Join us for this timely discussion heading into Thanksgiving!

Passages We Referenced

She opens her mouth with wisdom,
And on her tongue is the law of kindness(Proverbs 31:26 NKJV)

So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God. (James 1:19-20 NKJV)

 

Teaching Your Kids (and yourself) to THINK– MBFLP 238

Have you ever looked at your child and asked, “What were you thinking?” – and then realized that he wasn’t thinking at all? That’s common enough – and to be honest, sometimes it doesn’t improve in adulthood. This episode, Hal is talking about how you can help your kids become more intentional, more aware, more … thoughtful! (And maybe, improve your own thinking skills, too)

The Bible warns against spiritual blindness — we need to be careful about mental blindness in the physical world too. Jesus and the apostles quoted Isaiah and Ezekiel, who said though Israel had eyes to see and ears to hear, they were blind and deaf to spiritual truth right in front of them. (Isaiah 6, Ezekiel 12, Matthew 13, Acts 28, Romans 11) And honestly we often are nearly as clueless about the physical world, aren’t we?

We can help our kids focus a little better on common blind spots like:

  • Figuring out where to start with a big task
  • Organizing a task for fastest and quickest improvement
  • Finding something when it’s right where you said it was
  • Finding something when it’s close but not exactly where you said
  • Giving an honest try before giving up
  • Learning logical troubleshooting skills

Hal shares lessons he learned from more than twenty years in the military, manufacturing, and utilities – and lessons we try to teach our kids now!


Thank you to our Sponsor – A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood Movie!

Tom Hanks portrays Mister Rogers in A BEAUTIFUL DAY IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD, a timely story of kindness triumphing over cynicism, based on the true story of a real-life friendship between Fred Rogers and journalist Tom Junod. After a jaded magazine writer (Emmy winner Matthew Rhys) is assigned a profile of Fred Rogers, he overcomes his skepticism, learning about kindness, love and forgiveness from America’s most beloved neighbor.

Chores – Why and How – MBFLP 237

Studies show that although children who have regular chores are more likely to be happy as kids and independent as adults, less than one out of three families expect their kids to help around the house. Only 28%! As a family of ten, we found that teaching our children to help out was a necessity. There are long-term benefits, too! This episode, we talk about why we need to give kids chores, and how we made it work.


Thank you to our Sponsor – A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood Movie!

Tom Hanks portrays Mister Rogers in A BEAUTIFUL DAY IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD, a timely story of kindness triumphing over cynicism, based on the true story of a real-life friendship between Fred Rogers and journalist Tom Junod. After a jaded magazine writer (Emmy winner Matthew Rhys) is assigned a profile of Fred Rogers, he overcomes his skepticism, learning about kindness, love and forgiveness from America’s most beloved neighbor.

Real Modesty (a redux episode) – MBFLP 236

Hello, Friends!

Melanie’s come down with laryngitis this week so we’d like to offer this return to a frequent issue for Christians in conservative churches – Modesty! And we think you’ll find there’s more to it, and less of what you may expect, when you look back to the whole Bible. We hope you enjoy it!

In Christ
Hal and Melanie

One of the long-running controversies in conservative churches is the question of “modesty.” What does it mean, Biblically? How should we practice it? Is it just about “necklines and hemlines” or is there something more?

Sometimes the subject has bad associations in people’s memory. Maybe they’ve encountered a legalistic application of the concept, and it left a bad taste in their mouth. And yet, we know that modesty is important for a Christian. We want the way we dress to reflect that we’re God’s people. We don’t want to tempt people to sin. But how can we consider the question without bogging down in legalistic stuff?

Of course – go back and look at the biblical standard. Let’s see what the Word actually says and not just what someone interpreted.

To The Word!

Providentially, we were looking at one of these passages in our family devotions. In 1 Timothy 2:8-9, Paul is instructing Timothy on the organization of the church he’s planting. He wrote,

“I desire therefore that men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting. In like manner also, that the women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with propriety in moderation, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly clothing, but, which is proper for women professing godliness, with good work.”

Some people interpret that to mean women should not wear nice clothes. They shouldn’t try to be attractive. They shouldn’t wear jewelry or braid their hair. And on the surface the passage sounds like that, but other passages give it more context.

For example, 1 Peter 3 is talking about relations of wives and husbands. In his word to the wives, Peter says (verse 3), “Do not let your adornment be merely outward–arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel—rather, let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God.” And in verse five, he continues, “For in this manner, in former times, the holy women who trusted in God also adorned themselves, being submissive to their own husbands, as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, whose daughters you are if you do good and are not afraid with any terror.

Here’s a significant point – Sarah was known for something. In Genesis 12, when she and Abraham were in Egypt, the Egyptians noticed Sarah. They noticed her beauty. They were staring at her. They were saying in their own language, “Wow. Check out that woman over there.” She attracted so much attention Abraham actually feared for his own life.

Guess what? Sarah was at least 65 years old at the time.

Changing Perspective

This is worth considering for a moment. Obviously Sarah was a woman who knew how to take care of herself, who knew how to dress well, who knew how to groom herself. This woman was like a supermodel, and 65 years old. And what does Peter say? Peter says, ladies be like Sarah–she was a godly woman.

We’ve had friends who seemed to believe that “Dumpiness is next to holiness.” That “dowdy” is “godly.” And yet we have the example of Sarah to balance some of our interpretation.

(There’s much more in the rest of the episode – it’s not just an issue for women!)