Hopetown Highlights #6: Being a “Greater” 7th-8th Grader Part One

On the first night of 7-8 grade camp, we watched the movie, Greater, on the back of a barn.  It’s one we’d highly recommend watching with your 7-8 graders, or high school kids.  We wouldn’t just recommend it because it’s a movie based on a really amazing guy who happened to be a Razorback (cough, cough, Sissy’s favorite team).  We’d really recommend it because there’s so much to talk about…and so much to glean from this extraordinary man, Brandon Burlsworth, and the way he lived his life.

Brandon was a walk-on for the Razorbacks in the late 90’s.  He worked so hard to not just play, but to persevere, that he was drafted by the Indianapolis Colts.  Tragically, he lost his life...

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Technology Tuesday: The Companion App

An App for College Kids…or anyone who might need someone to walk them home...

Over the past month, I’ve seen countless photos on social media of friends dropping their college freshmen off—in cities faraway surrounded by people they hardly know.  I am sure every parent drives off those campuses filled to the brim with lots of hope, and more than a little fear...

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Hopetown Highlights #5: 5th-6th Graders - Superheroes, Super-Conquerors, and Armor-Bearers

What helps you believe you’re incredible?

“Someone listening to me.”

“Someone letting me know how I’m different and special.”

“That God made us just how he wants us.”

“Getting a hug.”

“Praying.”

“Someone smiling at me.”

“Forgiveness.”

“Being thankful.”

“When someone says, ‘I love what you’ve done so far.’”

“When someone knows I’m trying as hard as I can.”

These are the answers the 5-6 graders gave to this question last week at camp.  And, let us say at the outset…these were some pretty incredible kids...

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Technology Tuesday: Yellow

Technology Tuesday’s are our commitment to let you know the latest trends affecting the kids we love as soon as we hear—particularly, those apps we believe you should be concerned about.  The latest of those is “Yellow.”  It’s referred to as “Tinder for teenagers,” which is currently one of the most popular dating apps, designed for adults (but, of course, now being used by teenagers, too).  

On the App Store, Yellow boasts “more than 7 million users are making new friends everyday on Yellow!  Join the community right now.  Yellow is an easy and free way to make new friends and chat with them.”  Yellow offers the ability...

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All Girls’ Camp:  NASA, Buckets, and New Mercies

Our all girls’ high school camp of the summer started with the movie Hidden Figures on the back of a barn.  If you haven’t seen it, we’d highly recommend it.  It’s a true story about the African American women who, against a great deal of opposition, changed the NASA program forever.  One specific statement, from the movie, set our week in motion:

“Karl Zielinski: Mary, a person with an engineer's mind should be an engineer. You can't be a computer the rest of your life...

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Technology Tuesday: JellyTelly

It seems like weekly I talk to parents of young children who are worried about the attitude they’re seeing in their kids…and it often seems correlated to the amount of time they spend in front of certain TV shows.  If you’re in their boat, we’ve just discovered something for you!  A friend of ours recently introduced us to JellyTelly, which was originally created by Phil Vischer, who you may know as the creator of Veggie Tales (and also the infamous voice of Bob the Tomato.)

JellyTelly is a streaming video app offering movies, videos and devotionals that are not only attitude-free, but character-building for kids.  Their blog provides...

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What do King David, the Preds, Giants, and the Enneagram have in common?

And how can you use it to share truth and inspire more resilience in your kids?  Read here to find out…

This week marks our first week of camp at Hopetown.  We’ve had high school kids at camp this week.  And our hope is that what we’ve been learning might be something you could share with the teenagers you love.  Read it together.  Talk about it.  Ask questions.  And even throw stones…we’re getting ahead of ourselves...

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Technology Tuesday: 5 iPad Apps for Social & Emotional Learning

We are always looking for creative ways to support kids developing emotionally and socially.  That’s the heart of our new book, Are My Kids on Track?.  Anytime we can use technology to our advantage, it’s a win win.  Check out these five iPad Apps designed for supporting social and emotional learning in children.

 

 

Are My Kids on Track: Kids and Resourcefulness

Over fifty years ago, a developmental psychologist, by the name of Michael Lewis, researched gender differences using one-year olds.  Lewis and his colleagues set up a barrier between a child and mother.   The barrier created physical separation, but the child was able to see the mother.   They then cued the mother to begin showing evidence of distress - crying, sighing, etc.  

Most of the boys attempted to tear down the barrier, whereas most girls stood and wept.  Lewis remarked on how the boys wanted to get back to their mothers, even if...

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Technology Tuesday: An Open Letter (Challenge) To Teenagers with Cell Phones

I was recently meeting with a young woman in high school I respect very much.  I already did respect her when she told me the following story.  Now, I respect her even more.  She’s swimming upstream in this age of technology.  And I wanted her to write a Technology Tuesday because I believe her thoughts…her passion and her commitment can help the teenagers you love.  Actually, they might can help us all learn to be better stewards not only of technology, but relationships.

In our daily lives, we are constantly surrounded by technology. Everywhere we go phones, laptops, and other devices are always in use. Not long ago, phones were used for a means of communication, and that was it. Now phones are more commonly used for social media purposes. Weather it be snapchat, twitter, or Instagram, people close themselves off from the world and instead engage in what’s on their screens...

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What Do We Do With Summer?

What do we do with the summer?  I want my daughter to have an old-fashioned summer, where she’s spending more time outside and in real relationships than on screen and in virtual ones.

“My daughter does better with structure.”  I hear this sentence constantly in my counseling office.  But, I also hear girls who talk about feeling overwhelmed, over-stressed and over-scheduled.  So, what’s the balance?  How do you help your daughter find enough time to play and grow her imagination...

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Technology Tuesday: Snapchat Streaks

 “I only have like 10 streaks going, but a lot of my friends have 30.”

A middle school girl went on to describe a Snapchat “streak” to me in my office this week.  By her definition, a streak is when you snapchat each other every day for a given number of days.

“Some people have streaks with 100 days.  I know a girl who has a streak for 600 days with someone.  Basically, if you don’t have a streak going with someone, it means you don’t like them...”

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A Counselor's Response to 13 Reasons Why

Raising Awareness is a double-edged sword.  In other words, it cuts both ways…which feels particularly poignant in the awareness the new Netflix series, 13 Reasons Why, has raised since its release in March.  

You’ve probably heard of it recently.  Schools are sending out emails about it.  Churches are talking about it.  And teenagers are DEFINITELY talking about it.  In fact, every teenager I’ve asked about it in the last week has used the same words, “Its’ the show everyone is talking about all of the time.”  And I honestly don’t believe that’s teenage hyperbole...

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There are More Than 13 Reasons Why Your Life Matters...and What You Can Do About It

So, here’s the thing.  I know everybody is talking about 13 Reasons Why.  I get it.  It’s compelling.  It feels a lot like your life these days.  You’re glad somebody’s talking about what’s going on at school.  You want the adults in your life to understand how hard it is to be a teenager today.  I really do get it.  It’s so much harder than when we were growing up.  I sit with teenagers every day and hear what’s going on in their lives:  the real-life bullying, depression, self-harm…all of the things this show is trying to bring to light.  I’m a counselor, and have been for 24 years.

Here’s the other thing that I’ll tell you, from a counseling perspective.  It’s not just bringing things to light...

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Are My Kids on Track: Boys & Empathy

Responding with empathy is more naturally instinctive for some individuals than others.  Just as one child might be stronger in math and another in spelling, we all bend in certain directions.   Some of us are more extroverted, some of us more introverted.   Some more analytical, some more creative.   We could circle around the nature vs. nurture argument for days, months or years. Bottom line - both are contributing factors.  

Some individuals more naturally think of others, and some more naturally think of themselves.   During adolescence, we all spend more time thinking about ourselves.   Sadly, some adults never move beyond that tendency...

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Technology Tuesday: Going Live!

“I walked out of my bathroom yesterday, wrapped in a towel, only to hear my ten year-old yell, ‘I’m going live!’”.

“Going live” is now evidently the thing.  This ten year-old was “going live” on Musical.ly, only to show her latest “slime” to her five followers, including grandparents and an aunt.  “Going live” basically means live-streaming a video of you—doing whatever you want to do.  People who follow you can click to watch and comment, unless you turn off the commenting feature.  (And slime, by the way, is exactly what it sounds like).  Facebook has a live component, as well as Instagram.  In fact, TeenVogue recently did an article called “6 Tips for Instagram Live.”  The article went on to say...

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