Hopetown Highlight #5: 2nd-4th Grade

“But ask the animals what they think—let them teach you; let the birds tell you what’s going on. Put your ear to the earth—learn the basics. Listen—the fish in the ocean will tell you their stories. Isn’t it clear that they all know and agree that God is sovereign, that he holds all things in his hand…” Job 12:7-10

We listened to and talked about the animals a lot this week, which happened to be our 2nd-4th grade retreat at Hopetown. In fact, the animals reminded us not only of truth, but of who we are and…

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Hopetown Highlight #4: 9th and 10th Grade Camp

The heart is considered the seat of personality. It’s what makes us unique and impacts what we think, feel, and do. And it’s what we spent our 9th-10th Grade Retreat talking a lot about.

Yes, we skied and tubed and swam. We biked 14 miles through farmland to a yummy restaurant for lunch. We cooked Thanksgiving dinner together and exchanged $3 Christmas gifts bought from an antique store to represent someone else. We did all the fun things that usually happen at Hopetown…

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Hopetown Highlight #3: All Boys' Retreat

"You are a treasure."

This is a statement that boys and men of all ages often struggle to believe. It’s also the statement that set the stage for our All Boys Retreat this year. We started the week by watching "National Treasure", a movie about an American historian racing to find a treasure hidden by the founding fathers before a rival with less honorable motives finds it.  At first glance, the film was simply a fun…

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Hopetown Highlight #2: All Girls' Retreat

“Play with Joy…”

Our All Girls’ Retreat started, as do so many of our retreats, with a movie on the back of the barn. This week, we watched The Miracle Season, the true story about Caroline Found, who inspired her high school to win the state volleyball tournament after a tragic moped accident took her life her senior year. The story chronicles the grief and the courage her teammates find as they work through the loss of their captain and friend. It is a story of hope and strength on the part of these high school girls…and exactly what we thought our high school girls needed to begin the journey of our week together.

The movie talked a lot about playing with joy. Playing with joy, however, sounded like the opposite of what Caroline’s teammates wanted after her death. Instead, they wanted to…

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Hopetown Highlight #1: 11th & 12th Grade

“It’s not who we are, but can be a fruit of what we do.”

This week at camp was our 11th-12th grade camp. We talked about Mr. Rogers, Romans 12, and apples. We also played on the lake, rode 14 miles on bikes, had Thanksgiving and Christmas, played ultimate frisbee, bowled, and talked about what to expect in college. But it all came back to what it looks like to…

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Cultivating versus Protecting the Friendships of Girls:   How Can I Keep My Daughter Away from the Mean Girls?

We were recently at a conference where one mom, from the audience, asked about her daughter and sleepovers.  Because of a situation with another child, they didn’t allow their kids to have playdates with more than one child at once.  It had nothing to do with her daughter, but she was under the same rule because she lived under the same roof.  I was immediately saddened for this little girl.  

Relationships are foundational for girls.  They define themselves by this backdrop of relationship.  It begins with you, as their parents, and shifts, at some point along their school journey, to the world of peers… 

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Technology Tuesday - Talking with Teenagers: Phones

I’ve recently heard about two different advances in the world of technology…particularly the world of teaching kids responsible technology use, which is maybe the one I’m most interested in.

The first is a movement called #waituntil8th.  It was started in Austin, TX, by a mom who wanted to help kids wait until the age of 14 to get a smartphone.  There’s been a lot of research as to the negative effects of screen time usage on the developing brains of kids…

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Talking with Teenagers: Sports

I recently saw a movie called “The Miracle Season.”  If you haven’t seen it yet, I’d highly recommend watching it with the teenagers in your life. It can create some great conversation around not only the plot, but many of the conversations and lines contained therein.  In fact, many sports movies can.  They tug at our heart strings from an underdog kind of place, but also from a place of remembering the messages we heard…

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Technology Tuesday: Raising Boys and Girls Podcast

ANNOUNCING SEASON 2 OF OUR PODCAST ON MONDAY, APRIL 22ND! Check back on our site or wherever you download podcasts to get our latest season of what used to be called Are My Kids on Track but is now Raising Boys and Girls. You can also head over to our website for downloadable discussion questions and a discussion guide.

One of our very favorite things in the past year is being out on the road at your churches and schools and hearing that you’ve downloaded the Are My Kids on Track podcast…

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Talking with Teenagers: Substance Abuse

Just heard for the I’m not sure how many’th time in my 25 years counseling kids, “I don’t know why my parents got mad at me.  It wasn’t my weed.”  You can substitute alcohol, or Juuls, or any other substance that’s trending these days.  And, honestly, in all of those years, that statement has almost never been true.  If you find a substance in your child’s room, or in their car, chances are it really is theirs.  Or, at least 99% of the time it belongs to your child, not the friend they’re trying to “keep out of trouble.”  They are not keeping it for someone else and wouldn’t risk,,,

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Technology Tuesday: Attractiveness Apps

“It’s this app that basically tells you how pretty you are.” Ugh. Here we go again. The Technology Monster is rearing its ugly, critical head. Several of the high school girls in my group recently started talking about an app that rates their attractiveness. They’re honestly all over app stores. They’re called everything from Beauty Score to Ugly Meter, and, of course, they’ve caught on with adolescent girls. They basically use an algorithm that bases on attractiveness on a mathematical equation called the “golden ratio” that defines perfect proportions. It scans a user’s face or photo, and then rates that person based on the proportion and placement of…

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Technology Tuesday: Headspace

A big part of the work we do at Daystar is coaching kids on how to calm their brains and bodies.  If a child is struggling with anxiety or anger, ADHD or depression, social struggles or strong emotions, learning to regulate is a foundational skill. We teach kids how to get from their “Dinosaur Brain” back to their thinking brain - the part of the brain that allows us all to manage emotions and think rationally.

Learning this allows kids to navigate test anxiety, homework hurdles, sibling rivalry, friendship struggles, game day jitters…

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Talking with Teenagers: Big Decisions & Big Questions

As I’m writing this, I’ve talked to multiple kids in the last few weeks who have had to make one of the biggest decisions of their lives:  where they’ll go to college.  But, ultimately, there are big decisions for the adolescents we love to make often.  Will she take AP or regular classes?  Will he apply for Governor’s School?  What clubs will she join?  Which friends will he choose?  And then, of course, there are the big decisions we hope that will involve a lot of “No’s” to the culture around them, and a lot of “Yes’s” to God.

How can we help?  The first thing, maybe the most important thing to remember…

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How do I Help My Daughter/Son Develop Healthy Friendships?

Just like girls develop physically and mentally, they also develop socially. (Boys do, too…although their social development looks a little different than girls. We’ll let David tackle that one!)

As they develop, I believe there are a few important truths to instill in them across the ages. But, keep in mind, it is normal for their focus to shift from you…to having a best friend…

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Talking with Teenagers about Relationships

Relationships are foundational for teenagers.  They can bring your adolescent son or daughter more happiness—and more sorrow—than almost anything in their lives in these years.  They have profound power.  We want the teenagers we love to have friends who encourage them, speak truth into their lives, and help them be the best versions of themselves.  If they date at some point while they still live under our roofs, we want those relationships to bring the same…

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Technology Tuesday: Bendy and the Ink Machine

The primary reason we have Technology Tuesday’s is to keep you educated. The kids keep us educated, when it comes to technology. We’re often behind the 8 ball…much to our dismay, and sadly, at times, to the detriment of the kids we love. Just this week, we received an email from a dear friend who is a counselor at a school, to tell us of the latest game she’s been hearing kids talk about at her school.

The name of the game is Bendy and the Ink Machine. It looks harmless enough…as so many of them do. It’s available as a game for almost every platform out there—from iOS to Android to Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch and, basically, wherever your child…

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Kids & Consequences

Nothing seems to work as far as consequences for my kids.  Help!

Consequences with girls are tricky.  First of all, girls are manipulative.  Second, they’re smart.  And third, they’re manipulative.  They’ll find any way to beat the system, if they can…especially girls that are later in the birth order.  When it comes to consequences, I believe the three most important ideas are...

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