Hopetown Highlights - Session 5 - 2nd-4th Grade Camp - Pieces of Our Hearts

Remember the Technology Tuesday last week on The Secret Life of Pets? We mentioned a guy, you may remember from the Old Testament, by the name of Joseph.  He’s the one with the brothers.  And the coat.  Actually, the jealous brothers.  He’s the one Max and Duke, from the movie could relate to.  And he’s the one our 2nd-4th grade camp teaching was based around.

Genesis 29 tells the story of Joseph.  We used the version from the Jesus Storybook Bible that ends with...

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TECHNOLOGY TUESDAY: I canNOT get my child to get out of bed!

This is one of the top complaints we hear about parents…doesn’t matter the age or gender of the child.  It does, however, matter the time.  School and church days seem to be the worst.  Christmas morning…not so much of a problem...

Over the years, I’ve recommended a variety of techniques.  I don’t believe parents of teenagers should be waking their children any longer, ESPECIALLY parents of high schoolers.  These kids need to be learning the value of time—theirs and yours.  They need to be taking responsibility.  And, as counselors, we’re continually more and more concerned...

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A Great (and Protective) Resource for Parents of Young Children: God Made All of Me

In our book, Modern Parents, Vintage Values, we talk about the issue of “stranger danger.”  It comes up regularly during the Q&A portion of parenting seminars.  Suffice it to say stranger danger doesn’t help.  What does help is empowering kids.  It helps to, with great warmth and strength, help them know what to do when they’re afraid or uncomfortable…and exactly how to do it.

God Made All of Me does a beautiful job empowering kids to do just that.  It, in a very approachable and age-appropriate way explains sexual abuse to kids.  It gives them words and actions to use any time they’re confronted with something or someone that makes them feel uncomfortable...  

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Part 2 of Friendships 101

I believe that you, as a parent, can employ some principles that can provide a ballast for your child—and yourself to navigate these turbulent waters of friendships.

  • Remember that you’ve already made it through your school-age years.  When your child is in pain, it will often trigger the very same pain you experienced when you were the same age.  Being left out or rejected can take us back so quickly that it can be hard to know if the pain we feel is really about our children—or about us.  Be aware of what’s stirring inside you, as Melissa Trevathan talks about so beautifully in our DVD Curriculum, Raising Boys and Girls.   You can be empathetic and compassion to their feelings, but remember they are most importantly that—their feelings.
  • Remember that children are learning what being a friend means.  They won’t immediately know what a kind response looks like, how to be inclusive, or what it means to forgive...
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Technology Tuesday: True or False (Technology Quiz)

Most American children spend more time consuming electronic media than they do in school.

"According to Common Sense Media, tweens log 4 1/2 hours of screen time a day, seven days a week, 52 weeks a year. For teens, it's even higher: nearly seven hours a day. And that doesn't include time spent using devices for school or in school..."

From babies with iPads to Chromebooks in classrooms, digital devices seem more ubiquitous every year. And one of the hottest issues today in both parenting and education circles is the proper role of electronic media in children's lives..."

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Fatherhood Changes a Man . . . Literally!

Men undergo hormonal changes as they prepare for fatherhood. Four to six weeks following the news of becoming a father, levels of the stress hormone, Cortisol, tend to spike and subside as the pregnancy continues.  Cortisol ignites a range of biological effects in response to stress to provide a state of balanced stability for our bodies and minds, needed for optimal functioning.  

Male hormones begin a seesaw effect as due date nears.  Roughly three weeks before the baby arrives, levels of testosterone in men, known as the “male hormone,” fall by roughly a third...

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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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Technology Tuesday: Books and Movies 2016

We often challenge parents to have kids read a book before they take them to a movie based on the book.  Obviously it encourages reading.  Similarly, books often include so much more than will fit in two hours of screen time.  

Furthermore, kids may feel less overwhelmed while watching a suspenseful scene play out on a movie screen when they know what’s coming next.   For these reasons...

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A Cure for Entitlement

"Don’t pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults—unless, of course, you want the same treatment. Don’t condemn those who are down; that hardness can boomerang. Be easy on people; you’ll find life a lot easier. Give away your life; you’ll find life given back, but not merely given back—given back with bonus and blessing. Giving, not getting, is the way. Generosity begets generosity."                Luke 6: 37-38,  The Message

When my daughter turned thirteen, she began to reveal greater and greater evidence that she was in the throws of adolescence.  Some mornings we’d wake to find the little girl we’d known since birth - kind, compassionate, responsive and delightful.  Other days, we’d wake to someone else.  This other person looked like my daughter, but..

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Years ago I sat in an auditorium full of parents, grandparents, and elementary aged-children, cameras firing, videos recording, and little hands waving at family members in the audience.  It was Grandparent’s Day at my kids’ school – a day when grandparents walk in and out of classrooms admiring artwork, science projects, salt maps, and essays.  Each classroom displayed the work of diligent students, admired by doting parents and grandparents.  We then walked from their classrooms to an auditorium where our kids sang songs and shared stories. It’s a rare time where multiple generations are gathered in one space.  That year’s theme was Heirlooms.  Each child was invited to wear at least one heirloom during the program, something passed down from one generation to the next.  I surveyed these elementary students...

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A Non-Anxious Stocking Stuffer

“I hide my stress ball in my coat for school and squeeze it whenever I get nervous.  It really does help.”  

A freshman in high school showed me the ball she had, literally up her sleeve, last week in counseling.  I told her she was brilliant.  As you may know, anxiety is a childhood epidemic in America today and we are seeing evidence of this daily in the families walking through our doors.  Anxiety is at an all time high and coping skills are at an all time low.  Kids just don’t have them.  And so we celebrate any opportunity to help kids find their way to things that can help alleviate their stress.  Stress balls is one…

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Technology Tuesday: App Alert - Tumblr

Tumblr.  It’s pronounced tumbler…and it’s a website/now app that I hear of weekly in my office.  Tumblr is an online blogging platform, and it’s one that many girls (and boys) use regularly.  They post photos.  They share about their lives, feelings, experiences.  Sadly, they even share about their desire or experience with self-harm.  Just a month ago, we received a call from a teenager telling us that she had read on another teenager’s Tumblr that he was having suicidal thoughts.  

For many kids, Tumblr gives them a much-needed creative outlet.  I counsel one high school girl who is writing her own devotionals and inspirational stories on her Tumblr, for her followers to read.  I went on her site to check it out and was inspired myself.  But, I am more often hearing stories like the call we received about the suicidal boy...

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You're In New York! A word for college goers...

We’re excited for you to meet Mallory Horncastle:  fantastic Daystar Summer Intern at Hopetown, dear friend, budding musician, and writer extraordinaire.  We read her blog on life at college—and wanted you to read it and share it with the college and college-bound students you know.  It’s a great reminder for all of us of what it looks like to live pressure-free and grace-filled.  Thanks for the wisdom, Mallory.  We’d like to do NYC your way!

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Research supports the benefits of gratitude.  We know it affects our happiness and our health.   Studies continue to link gratitude with life satisfaction.  How can we move our kids away from entitlement and more toward gratitude.  Here are three reminders to keep you moving in that direction.

1.     Model and Teach Gratitude.  Have a set aside time (dinner or bed-time) where family members share something from the day that they are grateful took place or are thankful to have.

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