Making Biblical Family Life Practical

Helping Kids Deal with Stress – MBFLP 270

We adults may feel like we’re under stress all the time, but we can’t overlook the fact that our kids are suffering, too! Last episode we talked about how we respond when we’re confronted with uncertainty and unpleasant news. How can we help our kids deal with the disruptions of life on their level?

Lest We Forget

Parents have had to make a lot of adjustments the past two years. Our kids are dealing with some of the same issues, from their own perspective. That may be school closures or other changes in their educational routines. It may be uncertainty over adult issues, like lost of employment, quarantines, or restrictions on travel or social gatherings. Even if everything comes from the same root cause, like the pandemic, its impact will be felt differently from one family to the next — and from one family member to the next.

Over the years, we’ve had a share of uncertainty and unhappy events — medical emergencies, job changes, relocations, disrupted plans. With a large family, and one that travels with us most of the time, we had to realize that we couldn’t hide much from the kids. It seemed better to us to share our concerns, in child-sized portions, so they could understand why things were “wrong” right then.

Our kids are not clones

We need to remember that our kids are individuals – maybe with a lot of commonalities, but still with their own approach to the world around them. A quiet child may be full of turmoil inside, while the noisy one may actually be calmer after venting all his drama. Consider that, as you answer and counsel the outspoken child, other siblings may be listening and learning without asking. Just don’t overlook the ones who aren’t “in your face”!

Younger kids need reassurance. Are Mom and Dad going to be here for me? Do they have a plan to deal with things? Are they safely in charge still?

Teenagers can often step into some adult roles. We found that in moments of crisis, our teens were able to pick up some of their parents’ concerns — running errands, doing more household tasks, taking more responsibility for themselves and their younger brothers and sisters.

Watch out for the middle kids, though. Often they are old enough to understand some of the needs, but too young to do much to help. It can be very frustrating for them! Look for tasks they can do, even if they’re not major burdens to the adults. Your middle school kids are likely to be much more capable than you think (check out our book No Longer Little for more ideas and encouragement!).

(continued)

But what about the conclusion?

What happens when the pressure’s relieved? Count on it – family members which have “held it together” for the team while the crisis is underway, will often come unglued when the emergency is over. It’s best to plan on some time to re-adjust to “normal” when you’ve been through a time of stress. Give yourself and everyone around you an extra measure of grace – a heaping serving of it, in fact. If you expect there to be a time of transition, you can move into it with some care – rather than experiencing “explosive decompression” that causes problems for everyone!

Passages We Referenced

Romans 8:28And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.

Matthew 10:29-31 (Jesus)“Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.”

Galatians 6:2Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.

James 1:2-4My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.

Resources You Might Appreciate

No Longer Little: Parenting Tweens with Grace and Hope by Hal and Melanie Young

Eleanor Porter’s Pollyanna and Pollyanna Grows Up – audiobooks narrated by Melanie Young

 

 


 

A Special Thank You to Our Network Sponsor:  Courageous Movie

 

From the Kendrick Brothers, creators of the No. 1 box-office movie WAR ROOM and OVERCOMER, comes the remastered re-release of COURAGEOUS Legacy, in theaters September 24. Celebrating 10 years of impact on families and fathers, this updated version of the film includes new scenes and an enhanced look and sound.

Filled with action-packed drama, COURAGEOUS Legacy will once again have viewers laughing, crying, and cheering as they are challenged and inspired by everyday heroes who long to be the kinds of dads that make a lifelong impact on their children. Protecting the streets is second nature to these men. Raising their children in a God-honoring way? That’s courageous.

Check out the trailer here!


Dealing with Stressful News – MBFLP 269

Some things are unquestionable, life-changing moments – an unexpected death in the family, a natural disaster, a major accident. But what about things which just show up and disrupt everything? The smaller emergencies which aren’t big enough to awaken heroism, but are big enough to bring out all our doubts, fears, frustrations, and temper? The “breaking news” which could be really unpleasant, but you can’t be sure?

We’ve dealt with this – frequently, and even recently! So this episode, we’re talking about some practical ways to meet stressful news with calmness and faith … even if it takes a few minutes to make the adjustment!

Passages We Referenced

Matthew 10:29-31 (Jesus): “Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.”

Philippians 4:6Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God

Romans 8:28And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. 

Books We Mentioned

Judith Viorst, The Tenth Good Thing About Barney. This is a great children’s book about remembering the good things in the middle of sad times. It’s easy to get overwhelmed in the stress of the moment, and forget that happiness is real just like sorrow – and life will have some of both.

Eleanor H. Porter, Pollyanna – check out the audiobook version narrated by Melanie! The book is much better than the Disney version (more clearly Biblical, for one thing), and funny as well as thought-provoking. Even our teenaged sons enjoyed it, though the main character is a young girl at the time. Important lessons about always finding a reason to rejoice, even in difficulty.

NEXT TIME

Helping your kids through stressful times …

UPDATE –

We mentioned that our van broke down on a speaking trip in July, and at the time of recording, had been in the shop for several weeks waiting on an engine replacement. We’re glad to say that the van is now repaired and back home – thank you for your prayers and support!

 

 


 

A Special Thank You to Our Network Sponsor:  Courageous Movie

 

From the Kendrick Brothers, creators of the No. 1 box-office movie WAR ROOM and OVERCOMER, comes the remastered re-release of COURAGEOUS Legacy, in theaters September 24. Celebrating 10 years of impact on families and fathers, this updated version of the film includes new scenes and an enhanced look and sound.

Filled with action-packed drama, COURAGEOUS Legacy will once again have viewers laughing, crying, and cheering as they are challenged and inspired by everyday heroes who long to be the kinds of dads that make a lifelong impact on their children. Protecting the streets is second nature to these men. Raising their children in a God-honoring way? That’s courageous.

Check out the trailer here!


Encouraging More Edifying Speech – MBFLP 268

The Bible says a lot about the power of the tongue – the question for us is, how do we train and encourage our families to speak in a more gracious and edifying way, when the culture around us grows more unkind and profane every day?

First step – “Lord, is it me?”

Never underestimate the power of our example – whether intended or not! Our children learn from the pattern they observe. If we want our kids to speak with kindness, compassion, and love, we need to model that behavior in our own speech!
Remember the Biblical example is the best example. Give our children a Scriptural understanding of loving and gracious speech. If you have to correct some bad language, then call it by Biblical terms. If it’s unkind, unloving, or mocking, call it what it is.
Explain the cultural part – why speech might be inappropriate in some places but allowed in others. Sometimes the same statement would be acceptable in certain circumstances but totally wrong in another. Part of kindness and courtesy is understanding the sensitivities of other people and adjusting our behavior to show them respect.

How to hold them accountable

Coaching is an important tool. Children aren’t naturally aware of other people’s perceptions, and often they’re not self-aware of their expressions, body language, or tone. When we feel like reacting to their words, it’s good to take a breath and address the words calmly. In many cases, they don’t intend the message we receive. Help them understand why, for example, the tone of voice or the attitude that’s allowable between playmates or siblings would be … unhelpful … with parents or other adults.
Then if correction or discipline is needed, take care of it. Just be sure that you understand what they intended to communicate … and be sure they understand why their communication was unacceptable. (And make sure the situation is calmed down enough that they’re teachable – remember that “discipline” comes from the same root word as “disciple,” and the goal should be instruction, not just punishment!)

Scripture We Referenced

James 3:3-6, 8-10 –  Indeed  we put bits in horses’ mouths that they may obey us, and we turn their whole body. Look also at ships: although they are so large and are driven by fierce winds, they are turned by a very small rudder wherever the pilot desires. Even so the tongue is a little member and boasts great things. See how great a forest a little fire kindles! And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. … But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so. 
Ephesians 4:32And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.
Matthew 12:34-37 (Jesus:) “For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things. But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”

Is There a Topic You’d Like Us to Discuss?

 


A Special Thank You to Our Network Sponsor:  Show Me The Father Movie

The Kendrick Brothers, creators of WAR ROOM and FIREPROOF, have some exciting news to share: they have TWO films coming to theaters this fall—SHOW ME THE FATHER on September 10 and COURAGEOUS Legacy on September 24.

Featuring a variety of amazing, true stories, the Kendrick Brothers’ new feature film SHOW ME THE FATHER takes audiences on an inspiring and emotional cinematic journey. Their first documentary film has something for everyone and invites you to think differently about how you view your earthly father story and also how you personally relate to God.

Check out the trailer here!


 

“Potty Mouth” – Big Deal or Not? – MBFLP 267

“What should I do about my kids’ ‘potty mouth’?” asked a young father in our church. Learning appropriate behavior and speech patterns is part of socialization, but is there a bigger issue than being “socially acceptable”?

Society has become more tolerant of bad language

Society itself isn’t a reliable guide. In the 1970s the comedian George Carlin had a risque nightclub routine, “The Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television,” which indulged in “transgressive” self-expression.

In 2017, psychologist Jean Twenge and colleagues did a study of books published in the U.S. between 1950 and 2008, using George Carlin’s list of socially unacceptable words – and they found that “Readers of books in the late 2000s were 28 times more likely than those in the early 1950s to come across one of the ‘seven words …’” (link below)

And that is just in a limited channel of the print medium. Carlin’s routine wouldn’t mean as much today, as cable television and pay-per-view has normalized much of what would have been blocked from the broadcast media back then.

What does the Scripture say? 

Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.

– Ephesians 4:29 – “corrupt” in the Greek means rotten, putrid, bad, unfit for use

But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints; neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks.

Ephesians 5:3-4

Do not be deceived; “Evil company corrupts good habits.

– 1 Corinthians 15:33

But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth … 

Colossians 3:8

The question of “bad words” isn’t about a checklist but about an attitude

For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.  A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things. But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.

Jesus, in Matthew 12:34-37

Article We Referenced:

J. M. Twenge, Hannah Van Landingham, and W. Keith Campbell. “The Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television: Increases in the Use of Swear Words in American Books, 1950-2008.” SAGE Open, July-September 2017, pp. 1-8

 

Qualified to Homeschool – MBFLP 266

“What makes you think you’re qualified to homeschool?”

That’s one of the frequently asked questions, isn’t it? And if nobody in your family, church, or neighborhood asks — you’ll probably ask yourself. Don’t you have to have a teacher’s certificate to really be a teacher? Shouldn’t you go to college and get an education degree first? Or is the credential less important for a homeschool than a classroom?

This episode, we’re taking a listener’s question and talking about homeschooling with confidence – without specialized training or professional certification. We did it, and you can too!

 

Do you have a question or a suggestion to share?

We’d love to hear from you! Call our Listener Response Line and leave a message, and maybe we can answer your questions in a future episode!


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Homeschooling or School-at-Home – Day to Day – MBFLP 265-2

Continuing our comparison of true homeschooling with the school-at-home model!  Let’s talk about how independent home education looks different day-to-day, and why duplicating the schoolroom experience at home is more stressful, less efficient, and a lot less fun than charting a new, freer pathway to learning and exploring together.

A Fundamental Distinction

A lot of what happens in the classroom is due to the dynamics of that situation. The teacher has to consider twenty or twenty-five students, of all different gifts or needs, coming from a range of family and educational backgrounds, but all funneled into the same classroom, same book, same tests. The whole process of extra worksheets, frequent testing, homework, and report cards happens because that single teacher can’t focus as much attention on each child as she might — and the parents don’t know what happens in the schoolroom unless she communicates it home in some way.

How much of that applies to a homeschool, where the teacher has known the students from birth, and the parents are well aware of how their students are doing because there’s a parent-teacher conference at every meal?

But there’s a lot more to be said … so listen in! 

Homeschooling, or School-at-Home? – MBFLP 265-1

Is this “homeschooling” or is it “school-at-home”? Is there a difference? 

Many families have experienced public school from a remote location this year — and some districts are calling it “homeschooling.” But most homeschooling veterans will tell you there is a world of difference between independent, parent-led education, and taking public school classes with public school curriculum, online. Hint: The location – obviously enough – is not the distinction!

In two episodes, Hal and Melanie talk about the substantial differences between the two concepts, how they operate differently on a day-to-day basis, and why that’s crucially important for your family. 

NEWS OF INTEREST

“New state figures released Thursday show North Carolina’s estimated home-school population grew by more than 30,000 children during the 2020-21 school year — a 20.6% increase from the prior year. … ”

T. Keung Hui, “Enrollment soars in NC homeschools, private schools, and charter schools amid pandemic”
Raleigh, N.C. News & Observer – 3 Jul 2021

Thinking About Homeschooling – Things to Consider – MBFLP 264-2

Are you one of the thousands of families just beginning homeschooling – or thinking seriously about it this year? Surveys say that over one and a quarter million students aren’t returning to public schools, and the number of homeschooling families doubled between April and October last year. This episode, we continue our conversation about our own decision to homeschool – this time, thinking about unexpected lessons we learned along the way, and things you may want to consider making your own decision!

1:25 – “Homeschooling is bigger in the inside”
2:15 – A different model than the modern classroom
3:50 – The efficiency of homeschooling – even with several grade levels
5:38 – Why “difficult” and “unpleasant” isn’t “better”
7:50 – What about finding the perfect curriculum
9:43 – Why “the way it’s done” in classrooms isn’t helpful for homeschooling
10:55 – But can homeschooled kids make it to college?
13:20 – Watching friends who homeschooled and others in public school
14:35 – How long should you expect each day?
15:56 – The reason you begin homeschooling may not be the reason you continue homeschooling
16:30 – Homeschooling and family relationships
18:00 – Some free resources

 

SCRIPTURE

“And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. 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.” – Deuteronomy 6:6-7 (NKJV)

ARTICLES

 

UPCOMING EVENTS

We’ll be speaking and exhibiting at the Chattanooga Home School Expo at Camp Jordan, East Ridge, Tennessee – July 16-17, 2021 – sponsored by the Chattanooga Southeast Tennessee Home Educators Association.

This is a live event but registration is online – CLICK HERE for more information! We hope to see you there!

RELATED EPISODES

Getting Kids On Board with Your New Homeschool 

Things We’re Glad We Did Homeschooling

Boy-Friendly Homeschooling

Emergency Homeschooling

 

Thinking About Homeschooling – How We Decided – MBFLP 264-1

One of the unexpected results of the COVID-19 pandemic is an explosion of interest in homeschooling.  Researchers say the number of homeschooling families doubled between April and October of 2020, and at least 1.3 million students didn’t return to the public school system in the fall. Are you a new homeschooler? Or are you thinking about trying it for the first time this year? This episode, Hal and Melanie are talking about how they made that decision – maybe for the same reasons you are!

REFERENCES

“In the first week (April 23-May 5, 2020) of Phase 1 of the Household Pulse Survey, about 5.4% of U.S. households with school-aged children reported homeschooling .

By fall, 11.1% of households with school-age children reported homeschooling (Sept. 30-Oct. 12, 2020).  A clarification was added to the school enrollment question to make sure households were reporting true homeschooling rather than virtual learning through a public or private school.

That change represents an increase of 5.6 percentage points and a doubling of U.S. households that were homeschooling at the start of the 2020-2021 school year compared to the prior year.”

America’s public school system lost almost 1.3 million students this year, according to an Education Week analysis of state data. The loss was spread out across the nation, touching almost every demographic group and concentrated in lower grades. It will likely have academic, financial and staffing repercussions for years to come.”

Are you in eastern Tennessee or northern Georgia?

We’ll be speaking and exhibiting at the Chattanooga Home School Expo at Camp Jordan, East Ridge, Tennessee – July 16-17, 2021 – sponsored by the Chattanooga Southeast Tennessee Home Educators Association.

This is a live event but registration is online – CLICK HERE for more information! We hope to see you there!

Teens, Preteens, and Social Anxiety – MBFLP 263


One of the hallmarks of adolescent behavior is social awkwardness, often to the point of anxiety. That’s true in the best of times! Yet here we are after a year of pandemic alarms, mandates, and “abundance of caution,” and you may be finding your young people are not eager to begin seeing people outside the family again. What can we do to help our teens and preteens resume normal, healthy interactions?

Resources We Reference

Our episode reviewing Dr. Jean Twenge’s book iGen about characteristics of our children’s generation

“How the Pandemic has Impacted Teen Mental Health,” Mott Poll Report, 3/15/21

Craftsman Crate by subscription, individual boxes, or party packs



Upcoming Events (May-June 2021)

We’ll be speaking at the Thrive! Conference (North Carolinians for Home Education) in Winston-Salem, N.C., on May 27-29, 2021. We’re speaking four times on Thursday and Friday, on parenting pre-teens, helping your struggling learners in high school and college, the challenges of boys and media, and what you can achieve academically with a more relaxed homeschooling approach. And our booth is in the usual spot on the upper level of the book fair!

We’ll also be part of the Homeschooling With Confidence: Unstoppable online event hosted by Home Educators Association of Virginia (HEAV.org). This is going to be a different sort of online event with more interaction with the speakers and with other attendees – we’re looking forward something special with this one!