Covenant Eyes: There When You’re Not

by Hal and Melanie Young | 8/1/2014 | 0 comments

“I don’t know what to do, we hadn’t even talked to him about sexuality yet, he’s so young. I just found out he’s been watching pornography, though. What do I do?” We’ve heard this from several moms – just this week! And the ages would break your heart. Seven, eight, and nine year olds being…
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July 31st, 2014

For Our Future Daughters in Law

by Hal and Melanie Young | 1 comment

I was floating in the lake in my “mama suit” with my hair going every which way when one of my sons looked over at me and said, “Mom, you’re beautiful!” A few months ago, I might have answered, “Oh, please! I look awful!” but I’ve learned better since then.

A few months ago I read a blog post that I found very convicting. A mom wrote of her realization that the things she said about her body impacted her daughter’s view of beauty and acceptance of her own body. Ouch. I have two daughters now and I want them to feel lovely and confident. I started thinking about what I said about myself and the message my self-criticism gave my girls. Now I’m thinking of the message those things give my boys, too. What I say about my body affects how my boys view women. (<–Tweet this)

RRM My Body Image and My Boys

This afternoon, I decided to join the children in the Lake. When I came out on the deck, they shouted, “There’s Mama – and she’s wearing her swimsuit! Hooray! Hooray! She’s coming in!” They didn’t see what I saw, a middle aged overweight woman in the kind of suit she said she’d never wear. They saw someone they enjoyed; someone they wanted to be with. They saw me through the eyes of love.

That’s the way I want my boys to see their wives one day. They’ll be marrying real women, not the photo-manipulated, made up, plastic surgery-modified women they see in advertisements and media. I want them to love that real woman and find her desirable and make her feel appreciated. I want them to be madly in love like Hal and I are.

When they say, “I love it when you wear that dress! You look great!” and I say, “But, I’m fat as a tick! I’ve never weighed so much. Ugh!” I’m telling them that you’re only beautiful when you’re thin. I don’t want to do that to their wives.

When I look in the mirror and say, “I look awful. I feel like an old woman today,” they’re hearing, “You can’t be beautiful when you’re old. Age is bad.” Yet, I want them to find someone they can grow old with. Someone to share all their years in happiness and romance.

When I greet every compliment with an awkward disparaging remark, they learn not to bother and I cost their wives a precious thing.

I first began to feel self-conscious about my body in the first grade when another girl started making fun of me. It was silly, really. I finally began to see loveliness in me when I married Hal. He’s spared no effort to tell me I’m beautiful all the time – when I look great, when I’m thin, but also when I’m pregnant or fat or sick. Hal has blessed me so much by appreciating me – and I want our boys to do the same for their wives.

So, no more complaining. Now, I’ll just say, “Thank you!” 

By the way, if you’re disappointed I used a same ol’ picture of me for the graphic instead of something new – so am I! We just had a hard drive failure in the one with ALL of our pictures from the past several years (I know, I know. We were changing systems and this was temporary.) I’d be grateful if you’d pray we could recover all those and all the very important business and personal data on that drive.

Related Resource: For more on being the mother (or father) of sons, get our book, Raising Real Men. It’s the book we couldn’t find in raising our six sons – and it was Christian Small Publishers Book of the Year! Click here to find out more.

Yours in the battle,Melanie Winter Full


Oh, I forgot! Be sure to sign up for our newsletter so you’ll hear about the huge celebration we’re having in a just a few days. You won’t want to miss it! (And we’ll send you a download of one of our most popular workshops free when you sign up!)

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July 29th, 2014

It Seems I’m Always Yelling

by Hal and Melanie Young | 2 comments

A reader with four boys 8 and under called for help:

I feel like when I talk, no one hears me. So then I yell. My friends call me “The Drill Sergeant Mom“. I am so frustrated.

Wow, do we ever sympathize!

RRM Why Am I Always Yelling

One time, we had a friend — a mother of several girls — tell us we shouldn’t have to raise our voices, ever. “Whisper!” she said. Our boys should learn to listen for the sound of their mother’s voice, and respond right away, she told us.


Never mind that our two-story house is full of upholstered furniture, carpets, and bookcases which absorb half of the sound of any voice from another room. (Melanie once put a police whistle in the master bath, so if she had an emergency she could call for help and actually be heard.) We found that boys create so much noise around themselves (even inside their heads) that speaking softly was simply inaudible to them — they honestly need a louder voice to break through the bubble!

Don’t give a group call – single out an individual. Don’t announce, “I need someone to bring me my car keys.” That almost guarantees that nobody will respond. Instead, pick someone. Say, “Eric!” and get his attention. When he makes eye contact, then give the instruction: “Please bring me my car keys.” That does two things – it makes one person responsible for the task you just assigned, and it makes it easy to remember who you gave the job to. (Too often, I realize something I asked didn’t get done, but I don’t remember who I assigned it to. Maybe it helps to be a little more deliberate.)

Also, remember there’s a difference between “raising your voice” and “yelling.” I think raising the volume of your voice is normal and not usually something to worry much over. Four young boys make a crowd! But “yelling” may be on the edge of losing your temper … never a good thing for a parent. Remember this verse, “…the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God.” If you find yourself loud, ask yourself which one you’re doing at the moment.

Don’t be put off by comments from parents in different circumstances. A wise man once wrote, “Once I had no children but six theories about raising them. I now have six children and no theories.” (<- Tweet this) We had a friend with several daughters who was blessed with a boy at the end; after a couple of years, she went to all her friends with sons and apologized. “I thought you must be poor parents, with all that noise and energy and dirt going on,” she said. “Now I know.”  Often times we really don’t know the challenges our friends are facing, and we should give them the same grace we want for ourselves. Smile, thank them for their concern, and follow what the Scripture and experience tell you!

Related Resource: Many parents struggle with getting through to their boys – and dealing with anger on both sides in that hard to parent nine to twelve or thirteen age. Come join us for Boot Camp 9-12: Getting Geared Up for the Teen Years, a LIVE webinar series that HUNDREDS of parents have found to help them! Click to find out more.
Hal and Melanie SugarLoaf Web (c)2009Yours in the battle,
Hal & Melanie

July 16th, 2014

“I Can’t Find It, Mom.”

by Hal | 0 comments

We were setting up for a book fair last weekend and needed the lid to a plastic bin which is part of our display set up. I sent one of the boys to fetch it from the trailer. “It’s on the top shelf,” I said.

Understand: Our trailer only has three shelves, there was only one other thing on the shelf with this lid, and the object we needed was about three feet long and eighteen inches wide. It wasn’t small or hard to find.

Except when our son came back a few minutes later and reported, “I couldn’t find it, Dad.”

Sure enough, when I went out to the trailer myself, there it was – exactly as I’d described it.

Kids Can't Find Things

Melanie has a theory of this: When she sends someone on a finding errand, if that person doesn’t really believe the object is there, it’s likely they won’t find it. On the other hand, if they approach the search with the expectation that they’ll find it, they’re much more likely to be successful. Skepticism seems to blind them.

Boys all seem to go through this phase (it looks like our girls are heading there now). What can we do to help them overcome it? Continue reading »

July 10th, 2014

Raising Kids Who’ll Eat Anything

by Hal and Melanie Young | 4 comments

One of our goals in raising our children was to help them learn not to be picky eaters. We’d both seen the extra work, turmoil, and frustration in a family when one of the children was picky, only to see those same children grow up to eat things they’d rejected at home. Hearing tales from missionary friends about the real offense being picky can cause when you’re trying to reach another culture sealed it for us.

That’s been a good thing. We’ve travel all over the place and are often guests at meals. We’d be in trouble if the children didn’t eat pretty much whatever they’re fed, sometimes there’s nothing else available!  How do we manage it? Here are some things you can try:

Raising Kids Wholl Eat Anything


Keep your own mouth shut. Hal’s a pretty picky eater. He raises an eyebrow at most raw fruits and veggies and even some cooked ones, too. Melanie has a few things she doesn’t like much, either. We decided early just not to talk about it. Whether we like it or not, we serve a small portion on our plates and push it around a bit if we can’t eat it. And we never complain about those foods. Sure, the children figure it out after awhile, but usually by that time, they love to eat it! Continue reading »

July 4th, 2014

Crank Down the Anger

by Hal and Melanie Young | 6 comments

We finally noticed a pattern. When one of our children got somewhere between nine and fourteen, they’d climb on an emotional rollercoaster and invite us all to join them. Wow, what a tough age to parent!

The first time we went through it, we questioned everything, “Is it us? Have we failed in parenting? Is it him? Is he rejecting everything we’ve taught him?” It was so hard. He seemed to blow up for no reason at all.

“I… Can’t… Stand… the Anger in Here!” one of our sons shouted in a family meeting.

We all looked around, completely bumfuzzled. “Son, there’s no one in here angry but you.”



After going through this seven times with our children and hearing how tons of other families dealt with it in our Boot Camp 9-12 webinars, we’ve realized that this is really a dangerous time in the parent-child relationship. It’s a time that a lot of those relationships are broken, making the next stage a huge challenge. On the other hand, it’s a time that if it’s handled well can lay the foundation for making the teen years great! Here’s what we’ve learned: Continue reading »

June 20th, 2014

Ten Ways to Get Boys to Do Chores

by Hal and Melanie Young | 2 comments

Folks, let me tell you this: It is a lot better to have pink underwear than no clean underwear at all. Get your guys doing chores! Here are some things that have helped us (and no, we don’t do this perfectly – not remotely so!)

Getting Boys to do Chores

Use manly marketing. If you say, “Sweetheart, could you make the kitchen all pretty for Mommy?” expect his eyes to roll (at least on the inside), but if instead you urge, “Son, the kitchen is driving me crazy. I can hardly stand to be in there it’s so icky. I would be so grateful if you’d rescue me from it and get it under control,” he’s on it!

Give clear assignments. We rotate daily so that no job becomes overwhelming or gets too far behind. Do what works for you, but post a chart so everyone knows what to do.

Inspect, don’t expect. There’s just no substitute for checking up on them.

Try chore times. I struggled with keeping up with who was working and who wasn’t. Let’s face it – we have a big family! To make it easier, we instituted chore times: times during the day that everyone was supposed to be working. That makes it drastically easier to seek who’s goofing off! Ours are before breakfast, before and after lunch, and before and after dinner.

Work alongside them. Sometimes a job just seems too big. I’ve felt that way a lot, myself. Jump in and work alongside them. The camaraderie and example will get ‘em working.

Divide up a task. When the job is overwhelming, simplify it. Instead of “Clean this room,” try “Pick up and put away ten books.” Then nine, then eight, and before long they’ll have picked up fifty-five books! Then start on toys…

Praise meaningfully. “You showed great initiative when you got up early and did your chore this morning. That’s great!” means a lot more than just “You’re great!” Name a virtue and give an example to motivate them to pursue those great character qualities.

Give them perspective. Boys hate doing things “for no reason.” Explain how they’re helping the family when they do chores, “Thanks for cleaning up for lunch while I talked on the phone with that new mom. You were a part of my ministry to her today because you freed me up to do it.”

Occasionally, but not always, make it fun. Race to see who can finish their part first. Play crazy music while you work. Give everyone ranks and promote or demote them as they work. Pretend you are an army trying to conquer and take prisoner the book, toy, and trash divisions of the enemy army. Our bookshelves have sometimes been prisoner of war camps. :-)

Get them doing chores early. If you wait until they are big enough to do it well, they won’t want to. Take advantage of that desire to do real things and be big!

Don’t worry, though, that maybe your boys shouldn’t be doing household chores. Sure they should! There are examples in Scripture of men doing all kinds of things like this. Go for it!

Hal and Melanie SugarLoaf Web (c)2009Yours in the battle,

Hal & Melanie

For more on getting guys to do chores, read the chapter “K.P. Isn’t Women’s Work” in our book, Raising Real Men. Find out more here.



June 10th, 2014

Q: What Do We Do when We Can’t Get Away for Our Anniversary – Not Even for Dinner Out?

by Hal | 0 comments

I need help and ideas for our wedding anniversary at home tomorrow…here’s the kickers: we are currently staying at an RV park in our camper trailer. We have three daughters and three sons. My husband will be at work tomorrow and I will have the car, but money is limited….ideas for what we can do to show my husband/man of this family how much we like and appreciate him and how thankful I am thy he chose me as his wife?!?!???? Please HELP!

We love romantic anniversary celebrations, but sometimes it’s just not possible, is it? We’ve had a few of those ourselves and actually they turned out just wonderfully! Here are some of the things we’ve done or thought about doing that might make your day special even without the couple’s getaway:

Celebrating Your Anniversary When Couple Time

Continue reading »

June 4th, 2014

Ten Ways to Keep Your Family From Being Devastated by Porn and Predators

by Hal and Melanie Young | 31 comments

We got another one last night. My heart sank as the sweet mama sobbed out her story. Please, Lord, not another one. Please no.

It was, though. Another family crashing into the morass of sexual sin, completely unexpectedly.

It’s happening all the time these days. Moms and Dads telling us through tears about their son’s addiction to pornography for years “and we didn’t know he had Internet access!” Their child’s molestation at the hands of someone they trusted, sometimes even by a sibling. Teens sexting when their parents didn’t think they even knew about sex. Marriages on the rocks due to porn or adultery.

THESE AREN’T FAMILIES FROM SKID ROW. THEY AREN’T EVEN WORLDLY FAMILIES. They’re families just like the rest of us – Christian, conservative, close families, even homeschoolers. Some of them are families that have followed our ministry for years and have heard warnings, but didn’t think it could happen in their home. Believe me, it can.

Sadly, we personally know of more than one boy raised in a conservative Christian homeschool family that is now a registered sex offender. Yep, just like you hear about in big cities and institutional schools. They got caught in a web of temptation which led to awful sin and lifelong consequences for them, their families, and their victims. Please take it seriously.

Ten Ways to Protect

Here are ten ways you can fight for your children:

Continue reading »

May 29th, 2014

Cheap Family Travel – Food

by Hal | 0 comments

MBFLP - Cheap Family Travel Part 2 Food on the Road


The never-failing question “What’s for supper?” doesn’t go away when you’re on the road. The problem is that even eating from the dollar menu, a fast food stop could be $20 to $30–for lunch! We’ve taken our family of ten from coast to coast, and we’ve learned how to keep the crew fed and happy on much less. Don’t let the cost of Happy Meals keep you from taking your whole family along! Click here to listen to a 30-minute program as we tell the Ultimate Homeschool Radio Network how we eat cheap while we’re on the road. You’ll be glad you did!


Join us every Monday at 9 p.m. Eastern, or listen on iTunes or download, on the Ultimate Homeschool Radio Network.

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