Resources for Parent: Helping Our Children Grow in Sexual Integrity

To continue this discussion from the previous post, Take a Stand Against Porn, I have compiled a list of resources that have proven to be effective in helping parents address the issue of sexual morality with their children.   I would love to hear of others resources so please send any additions that you highly recommend via the comment function. It’s time parents take a stand against porn which silently erodes what we value and desire most for our children.  Recommended Resources:  Good Pictures Bad Pictures: Porn-Proofing Today’s Young Kids, by Kristen A. Jenson MA and Gail Poyner, PhD I recommend this for all parents of young kids. This book is a GREAT tool for helping children develop their own internal filters. It features five-simple steps that empower your child with the cognitive skills needed to control their thoughts and impulsivity. fightthenewdrug.org This is an excellent website that provides a 2016 reference guide, video clips, and lots of current information about the negative affects of porn, especially it’s impact on the brain.  The “Get the Facts” link is very powerful. Preparing Your Son for Every Man’s Battle: Honest Conversations About Sexual Integrity, by Stephen Arterburn and Fred Stoeker The authors behind the best-selling Every Man series have put together resources and guidance a father needs to experience frank, thorough, and natural conversations with their son about sexual integrity. It’s Great to Be a Girl!: A Guide to Your Changing Body (Secret Keeper Girl Series) by Dannah Gresh Girls age 8 to 12 will find answers to questions about their changing body in this fun and down-to-earth handbook which introduces...

Mini Blog #8: Helping Kids Find Their Identity in Christ

Resource: Free to Parent Chapter One and Free to Parent Workbook Chapter One   Some of my grandchildren love to imagine they are superheroes. It’s entertaining to watch them “fly” around in their superman clothing, using their “super powers” to defend and (yes) even attack each other. To fantasize being super human is such fun play for them. It’s certainly entertaining to watch children play imaginary games, which are actually beneficial to their development. It’s quite another thing, however, to be deceived into thinking we can make ourselves into supermoms and superdads raising future supermen and superwomen.The truth is, apart from Christ we will never feel complete or wholly sufficient. The truth is, apart from Christ we will never feel complete or wholly sufficient. In fact, the way to wholeness is found in realizing our very brokenness. It’s when we admit our shortcomings, embrace God’s grace, and allow His power to be made perfect in our weakness (2 Corinthians 12: 8),  that we will actually find our strength. Christ frees me and completes me when I let go of ME and choose HIM instead. It’s the same with our kids. Be watchful for false deceptions – ones that tell them they can be anything, do anything, and have anything they want simply by trying hard enough on their own. These deceptions make it very difficult for kids to admit their mistakes or face their failures, or recognize their deep need for grace. Doing so is admitting they fall short, that they are not enough on their own. In our parenting, we must always gently and wisely be leading our children to...

One Girl’s Testimony: “What’s Stealing Your Heart?”

What a blessing to see a student “get to the other side” of their adolescent struggles.   Today’s guest author is Tori Hagen, one such young woman who share’s her story of transformation.  Tori candidly describes her painful struggles with perfectionism and depression but also how she has found lasting hope and victory in Jesus. I remember Tori’s struggles, as well as her fears and doubts.  I remember how very frightening this season of depression was not only for her but also for her parents. With permission from both Tori and her mom, I wish to share her journey with you today because it is an inspirational story of hope, one that I pray will serve to turn others, who may also be struggling, to the One who desires to transform our lives from ashes to beauty. Isaiah 61:3 ……to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair…..  What’s Stealing Your Heart? By Tori Hagen  This is my transformation story.  Sophomore year I fell into a deep depression. It all started with my perfectionism. For the first few months of school, I managed to keep it all together. I followed my precise schedules, did my hair every day, worked hard at dance, and went to church. With school becoming harder, my brother leaving for college, and my hair being more stubborn, I was finding it very difficult to keep up this “perfect life”. I started to become complacent and unwilling to do anything at all.  If I couldn’t do it exactly right, why bother...

A Heart Connection With Our Kids

I am back home after spending 16 grueling days moving my mom, who has Alzheimer’s, to a senior living facility. (See last week’s post)  I return with a deeper longing to connect with those I love, both at home and at school.  God is using the experiences with my mom in the past two weeks to remove fog from the eyes of my heart.  The importance of nurturing loving connections with others first and foremost has become one of my heart’s longings. Back at school on Wednesday, I longed to just spend time with others.  My heart was full of gratitude for the loving community I am privileged to be a part of. At the close of the day, I watched my grandson Joey as he walked toward the pickup line. I waited for him to give me his usual warm greeting but instead I saw a downcast, forlorn face. Clearly he was struggling. “What’s wrong, Joey?” I asked him. “Nothing,” he said giving me no eye contact and crossing his arm tightly over his chest. He was obviously upset and I was not invited into his pain.  Nor had his wonderful and caring teacher been allowed in, although she had clearly tried to break through to him. All day. I know Joey pretty well.  When upset or sad, he tends to act up outwardly. As an 8-year-old boy, he struggles to understand his negative emotions, other than they make him feel bad.  That can quickly turn to mad. Even bad. Behaving poorly, his inner turmoil only intensifies and so the cycle goes. I wondered what he had done...

Pretentious Praise Encourages Pretense

A man who flatters his neighbor spreads a net for his feet. Proverbs 29:5 According to US News and World Report,  80% of high achieving high school students admit to cheating because they consider it necessary to get ahead. These students cheat because they are more concerned about looking smart than actually gaining the skills to become smart. (Most say that this cheating goes undetected!) They obsess over looking great but fail to actually seek greatness itself. Therefore, they miss out on the joy of true engagement and growth.  They work hard to disguise shortcomings by lying, cheating and taking short cuts.  They work to look and feel great:  social media images and perceptions, internet relationships, accomplishments in video games.  In recent posts, I addressed current philosophies that may be discourage kids from actually engaging wholeheartedly: How risking too little stands in the way of wholehearted engagement in life. How over protection weakens our kid’s resolve to grow and learn. Today I want to address one final aspect: How pretentious praise encourages pretense and discourages authentic engagement.  Kids who are raised on a diet of excessive praise or flattery may likely grow up longing excessively for the affirmations of others.  Inside they know they are not as great as they were told; that they really can’t be anything they want to be.  (Not every singer is destined to be the next American Idol!)  This fear of falling short of expectations becomes so strong that they quit risking and pick the safer path of pretending instead. We all wish to be affirmed but when the desire to be praised becomes...

Not My Will but Yours

Jesus took a human body to save our bodies. And he took a human mind to save our minds. Without becoming man in his emotions, he could not have saved our emotions. And without taking a human will, he could not save our will. In the words of Gregory of Nazianzus, “That which he has not assumed he has not healed.” He became man in full so that he might save us in full. Hallelujah! What a marvelous Savior! John Piper Throughout the Gospels, Jesus demonstrates human emotions, but nowhere are His emotions so deeply passionate as in the garden of Gethsemane.  Luke recorded in 22:44 that in anguish Jesus prayed more earnestly and His sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.   It’s impossible to imagine the torment He must have felt in the garden! Jesus discloses what it means to be fully human and made in the image of God.  John Calvin stated that “Christ has put on our feelings along with our flesh.”  As  we seek to be like Him , we tend to look past His emotions however, which without distortion reflect the image of God.  If we compare our own emotional lives to His, we clearly recognize our own need of a transformation. What if Jesus had responded merely to His emotions  in the garden of Gethsemane?  He certainly felt alone – and betrayed.  He faced not only a torturous physical death but also spiritual separation from His Father.  He wanted the cup removed and prayed to that end.  But deeper still, His heart burned for us with compassion. Regardless of  the...