February 17th, 2015
When we were teenagers, we couldn’t wait to get our driver’s license. It was a step toward adulthood, and we were eager to have the independence that driving represented. All our friends felt the same way, and our parents encouraged it.
Recently, though, we’ve been hearing something which frankly surprised us.
We were listening to a discussion of homeschool graduates in their twenties, and one mentioned matter-of-factly that when he founded his own business in a city 800 miles from home, his father had to give him a ride to his new apartment because he didn’t have a driver’s license. And we’ve heard parents saying they really didn’t think their kids needed to drive “before they’re 18 or 20,” and some who hesitate to teach their daughters to drive at all.
We don’t think this is the norm in the homeschooling community. Most of the people we’ve talked with about it have followed the traditional course – their 15- and 16-year-olds took Driver’s Ed, got their learner’s permit, and their license followed. But this course of actively discouraging young drivers is new to us. Continue reading »
February 16th, 2015
Here’s a neat resource you can download for free and share with your sons in honor of Presidents Day — examples from the lives of great men who have led our country!
Several years before he became our 26th president, Theodore Roosevelt and his friend Henry Cabot Lodge wrote a collection of stories to teach character and patriotism to children. Their book Hero Tales From American History was meant
“to tell in simple fashion the story of some Americans who knew how to live and how to die; who proved their truth by their endeavor; and who joined to the stern and manly qualities … the virtues of gentleness, of patriotism, and of lofty adherence to an ideal.”
For Presidents Day, why not take a new look at the lives of our presidents? Continue reading »
February 13th, 2015
This morning a friend asked, “Do you think I should watch Fifty Shades of Grey with my teen and talk about it?”
We’re not as strict on media as some are. We think there’s some value in watching things you don’t agree with and analyzing and discussing them with your teens. Sometimes, though, there’s more harm than good in a media choice.
We speak about purity and internet porn and we just finished the manuscript for a book for single guys about these things. In our research, we found some pretty concerning things.
There’s a disturbing change going on in our culture. Internet porn has become a huge influencer of young men. Most (really almost all) boys are exposed to porn before they’re 18. That’s bad enough. Internet porn, though, provokes a dopamine cycle (affiliate) that tempts users to seek out more and worse things in order to get the same thrill. Because of that (and the sinfulness of man, of course), perversion is everywhere out there. 88% of porn contains physical aggression. It’s even reaching young people – 23% of girls and 39% of boys have viewed sexual bondage. (Covenant Eyes Porn Stats, affiliate link)
One sad effect of all this is that there is a big disconnect between what young men of marriageable age think is a normal sexual relationship and what young women of that age do. The aggression, humiliation, and perversion of porn is affecting the expectations couples bring to marriage.
Now, we’re being invited to watch a movie that glorifies aggression, bondage, humiliation, and pain in sexuality. Is that something a Christian should do? Continue reading »
February 10th, 2015
The changeover to Obamacare was a tough one for us. Insurance through our small business became impossibly expensive – three times the cost of our mortgage! We checked into alternatives at the Marketplace, but we fell in the gap and healthcare there was impossibly expensive, too.
With trepidation, we decided to try one of the Christian healthcare sharing ministries. We had friends who loved them, but we had pre-existing conditions and were worried about going with something that didn’t cover those. Seeing no alternative, though, we joined Samaritan Ministries a year ago. At least we wouldn’t have to pay a fine for not having insurance. Samaritan members are exempt.
We were surprised by how satisfying it was to send our monthly share to another Christian family in need directly. Knowing where it was going and being able to send them encouragement and pray for them made it turned an obligation into a pleasure. It was great knowing that our money wasn’t paying for things we didn’t want to support, too. Unbelievably, two different months when claims were lower than usual, they reduced our share! Continue reading »
January 29th, 2015
It came up on Facebook again today. What do you do when you find your child has been sexting? It’s nauseating to even think about it, isn’t it? Awhile back, I was shocked when one of my friends told me she’d found a series of explicit texts on her son’s phone, but now we’re hearing about it all the time.
It’s way easier to head this stuff off beforehand than it is to pick up the pieces afterward, so let’s talk about how to address this with our kids.
When do you need to talk about it?
Continue reading »
January 13th, 2015
This year’s flu season is a doozy! Most of the families we know have had it and the rest are scared to death they are going to get it.
We’ve found that times of sickness can bring out the worst in everyone — OR they can be workshops of grace! How can you make it that way? How can you make memories and build unity instead of ending up all over everyone’s nerves? This week’s podcast is about just that. Listen here.
Hal & Melanie
January 5th, 2015
Are you homeschooling? If so, you’ve discovered that things are seldom as easy as you supposed. All of us at one time or another have looked at the yellow buses going by and thought, “Well, there’s always that …” But here are some things which help us keep on course when the headwinds pick up and doubts sometimes arise: Continue reading »
December 29th, 2014
“I don’t know who else to talk to. My little boy has been watching horrible stuff. I don’t know what to do.”
There are five things we wish all parents knew about internet porn. If they did, there would probably be a lot fewer of these heartbreaking messages for us to answer!
(Note, this post contains affiliate links which support our ministry, but we only link to things we wholeheartedly recommend!)
Continue reading »
December 18th, 2014
Christmas is a big deal at our house. We grew up in Christian homes, where Christmas was celebrated in a family-oriented, Christ-honoring way. We love the holidays.
I try to shop all year, watching out for deals on the things I knew our children would love. Even the times I was on pregnancy bedrest, I had a stash of gifts under the bed. This year was different, though. Our little newborn Katie had been born with a life-threatening heart condition and had spent weeks in and out of ICU.
Once Katie was stabilized, we were hip deep in writing Raising Real Men, then in getting it out to reviewers, and getting the word out so people could preorder it. Then, the week the preorders had to ship, we ALL got the flu. I remember that week in sort of an orange haze of signing books and stacked mail bins.
About the time we all got well, this whole trial started. Three children had surgery. And Hal had cancer. I didn’t have a single present under my bed.
I woke up the Thursday before Christmas thinking about it. Okay, the children are feeling better. The appointments are all done until Hal’s surgery next week. Got a lot to do today, but tonight I’ll go out and at least buy something for each of the children!
Didn’t happen. Continue reading »