Hopetown Highlights: 9th and 10th Grade - Being Un-Dragoned

We started out our 9th-10th grade camp with a boy named Eustace.  Eustace wasn’t actually at camp with us…except that he was. Eustace was a character in the movie, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, that we watched the first night of camp.  And Eustace, basically, is every one of us.

Eustace started out as quite a grumpy young fellow.  Nothing quite suited him…no situation, no environment, and certainly, no one.  He grumbled his way, much like a little monster, through the beginning of the movie until a certain scene when Eustace was transformed… 

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Hopetown Highlights: Boys' Camp

In Steven Spielberg’s beloved 1989 adventure classic Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade a character asks the hero, “Why do you seek the cup of Christ? Is it for his glory or for yours?” For the few days that encompassed all-boys camp a daring group of middle school boys sought to answer this question for themselves.

Treasure hunting became the theme of this all-boys camp, drawing initially from the boys viewing of Indiana Jones, Melissa introduced the concept not of tangible earthly wealth but of the treasures of heaven and the wealth that is placed by God within us… 

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Are My Kids On Track: Boys & Awareness

All throughout Wild Things: The Art of Nurturing Boys, I (David) discuss the boy brain.  When I teach on boy development, I start the conversation highlighting three strikes a boy has against him, in helping parents and educators understand why he is so physical, under-focused, and always moving.   I discuss how he’s hard-wired for acting before thinking, and the different ways this can complicate his academic and relational journey.

If a boy is hard-wired for activity and movement, of course he isn’t naturally slowing down, reflecting, focusing, observing and operating from a place of awareness…

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Are My Kids on Track: Boys and Boundaries

I (David) worked with a fifteen year old boy who was an Olympic Gold Medalist in Manipulation.  He had a 4.3 GPA, was a gifted golfer, and played guitar on the side.   School wasn’t the only place this talented, bright young man would flex his well-developed cognitive muscle; he accessed his expansive vocabulary by throwing verbal daggers at family members when he didn’t get his way.  As is often the case with teenagers, mothers can become the target of choice.   

I coached his mom on the art of disengagement.  We discussed how staying in the argument would never yield a desirable outcome…

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Are My Kids on Track: Boys & Ownership

In parenting classes, we discuss that in the face of failure or disappointment, girls tend to blame themselves and boys tend to blame other people. I remain fascinated by how instinctive this process is for boys. I laugh to myself when my sons approach my wife with the question, “What did you do with my soccer cleats?”

Do you hear the blame within that question? It never occurred to them to say, “I have no idea where I left my cleats. Have you seen them?” It’s a knee-jerk reaction to assume it was someone else’s fault... 

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Technology Tuesday: Fortnite: Your Son’s Latest Obsession

A day doesn’t go by where I don’t hear something about Fortnite.  It’s the game the majority of boys (of all ages) seem to be talking about these days.  It was something completely different a year ago, and chances are good it will be something completely different a year from now.  But for today, it’s Fortnite.  Though it’s rated “T” for Teen, many parents of younger boys are allowing boys to explore it.  

Many parents have compromised because of it’s cartoonish nature, or the lack of profanity or blood.   There are sites and commentaries arguing the advantages of strategic thinking, teamwork and creativity.  Equally so, there are sites and commentaries arguing...

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Are My Kids on Track: Boys and Perspective Part Two

It’s vital for boys to understand males often experience emotions with physicality attached to them.   It’s why boys are prone to screaming, hitting, punching, balling up their fists or gritting their teeth.  I’ve worked with boys who even growl like an animal when the emotion erupts inside of them.   When a boy can channel the physicality of the emotion into something useful, he can offset the possibility of hurting others (or himself).   We will explore more of this in chapter four with the milestone of Resourcefulness.

In a non-problematic time, I have boys make a list of five things they could do outside and inside involving movement of some kind.  It’s not that listening to music, reading or playing on the iPad isn’t useful...

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Are My Kids on Track: Boys and Perspective Part One

Boys are primarily visual, spatial and experiential learners.   Did you notice auditory is nowhere in that list? Despite knowing this, we fall into the trap of talking at and talking to boys way too much, forgetting they learn best by going through the motions.  Think about the Compassion story I shared.  You’d be correct in assuming though I’d spent a lifetime understanding the concepts of poverty and hunger in third world countries, it didn’t become real to me until I traveled to South America, visited those sites, interacted with children and families, and heard their stories.   The experience expanded and deepened my perspective.   

I challenge parents to avoid lecturing about hungry children across the world, when their own kids don’t clean their plates and waste food.  Rather than lecturing, take them to a local Soup Kitchen and serve as a family.   They will develop perspective differently...

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Are My Kids on Track: Boys & Emotions

For the next several weeks, we are excited to share some ideas from our upcoming book, Are My Kids on Track?   We'll be looking at some important emotional, social and spiritual milestones we want to help our kids progress toward.  We'll start today with a conversation about boys and emotions.   

It feels important to first dispel a myth about boys and emotions. The myth is girls have more emotions than boys. That couldn’t be farther from the truth... 

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At what age should I begin talking with my son about sex?

My answer is start now.  Whatever the age of your son, jump into that conversation.  If he’s young, begin talking more... about how God designed his body as a boy.  If he’s knocking on the door of adolescence, you’ll need to accelerate the conversation, and explore the possibility that he has been educated (or miseducated) by his peers.   

Here are three rules of engagement as you move into the conversation at any point in your son’s life...

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Can Where the Wild Things Are Teach Kids Empathy?

"Kids who spend their early years lost in the imaginary worlds of children’s fiction — Where the Wild Things Are, Corduroy, Beatrix Potter’s stories of Peter Rabbit — may be getting more out of the stories than pure entertainment. Narrative fiction seems to make young children more empathetic, according to research presented at this weekend’s American Psychological Association convention in Washington, D.C. 

Fiction, of course, lets you see the world through another set of eyes, and that isn’t lost on young children...

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Bio: Tommy Hart

As you are meeting more of the great folks we work alongside at Daystar, we would imagine you're getting a better picture of why we love what we do.  We get to be a part of this amazing place, to spend our days with kids and families, to bring our dogs to work, and to work alongside remarkable folks.  Meet Tommy Hart, a friend and trusted colleague, and one of the greatest discoveries for all 3 of us.  Tommy is going to tell you a bit about the work he does and let in on a hunger that resides in the heart of the boys we love.  Lean in to his words as Tommy reminds us of something important about the boys (young and old) in our lives...

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Hopetown: Boys Camp - Demolition Derby

The demolition derby at the Murray/Calloway County Fair is there the all boys camp started.  Evidently, the purpose of a demolition derby is for the cars to destroy each other—to hit and be hit.

In true Melissa fashion, she likened the demolition derby to life for the boys.  You can get hit hard in a variety of ways.  The boys talked about “trouble with friends” and “family stuff” as two of the biggest areas of hits/hurts in their lives. 

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Technology Tuesday: Rewiring the Boy Brain

For as long as video games have been around, I’ve been asked questions about boys and gaming.  The rise of the internet brought advanced questions about boys and pornography.   These remain two areas of concern when it comes to protecting the minds and hearts of the boys we love.  

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The Grunt and the Gurgle: with jeanniecunnion.com

Our friend and author of the book Parenting The Whole Hearted Child,  Jeannie Cunnion welcomed us onto her blog this week and we were able to share about communication with boys and girls. Read some of it here and head on over to her blog for the full article! 

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Understanding Tweens - Fast or Slow, Nobody Knows (Part 2)

Last week in Part 1, we talked about tweens and what they need from us as parents.

Here are some of the ways we talked about supporting our tweens:

  1. Study development.  We serve our kids well when we have a working understanding of what’s normal and what’s not....
  2. Tell stories.  One of my sons appears to be a late bloomer as well.  This isn’t surprising, as he carries my genetic ingredients...
  3. Create opportunity.  It’s vital that these developing young beings have a context to experience value, purpose and meaning...
  4. Keep talking.  Kids need us to begin and continue an ongoing dialogue about their growth...

Here are some resources for PARENTS to help with these suggestions: READ MORE

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Technology Tuesday: A Must See Video for Boys!

You’ve heard us say repeatedly that for all the dangers that exist for kids and technology, there are so many ways we can use it advantageously as parents.  

Today’s Technology Tuesday is a great example of that.  We can have some outstanding conversations with our kids following a short youtube video.  I talk often about how boys are visual, spatial and experiential learners.  Use this visual to jumpstart a conversation with your son.  Below are some questions to get a good conversation started with your son.  Depending on the age of your son, you may choose to eliminate, modify or adjust the questions.  The important thing is to start a conversation.  Continue Reading

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Failure to Launch/Boomerang Kids: Part 3

“Welcome Home.  When are you leaving?”

A Parent’s Guide to Boomerang Kids - Part 3

Here are some guidelines for parents who find they are moving from empty nesters to landlords.

How to Respond to a Child that Comes Home

  1. Go to the scriptures.  I recommend any parent with a child coming home reread the story of the Prodigal Son.  There is so much wisdom within the father’s response that can prepare you well for that moment.  
  2. Respond with mercy, understanding and empathy.  The father of the Prodigal Son didn’t greet his son with an “I told you so” lecture.  He greeted him with mercy.  We are told the son in that story came to his senses while dining with pigs, not when his father was lecturing him about blowing it.  Read More...
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