July 16th, 2014
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.
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
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:
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
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
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!)
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! Continue reading »
June 10th, 2014
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:
Continue reading »
June 4th, 2014
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.
Here are ten ways you can fight for your children:
Continue reading »
May 29th, 2014
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.
May 27th, 2014
The summer is nearly upon us and that means vacation time for many families. Or maybe you’re planning a “stay-cation” because the economy is soft and expenses are simply too high.
What would you do if you could save 40-to-60 percent of the cost of “conventional” travel?
Would you take the vacation you decided to put off this year? Maybe the family would join Dad on business travel? Could you plan the ultimate field trip? Or would it open the door for a mission week or a service project someplace?
Last year we took our family over the road for 30,000 miles, from the Carolinas to California, and from Saskatoon to Phoenix–on a very modest salary! We don’t have “one weird trick” to beat the travel industry, but we’ve learned a number of strategies for stretching the travel dollar to unbelievable lengths.
Check out this 32-minute program, where we tell the Ultimate Homeschool Radio Network how we save on airfare, lodging, and even a simple gas fill-up. You may be surprised at what we’ve found, and you’ll be glad you heard it!
(Thursday we’ll talk about how to save money on travel food!)
You can hear us every Monday at 9 p.m. Eastern on the Ultimate Homeschool Radio Network (live, download, or via iTunes)
May 17th, 2014
There’s just something about doing things that matter that really motivates boys. They want to contribute. They want to do real things. What do your guys do to help the family?