Bullied Into Buying: Grownup Peer Pressure

by Hal | 3/31/2016 | 2 comments

Homeschooling allowed us to raise kids that were not peer-dominated, not bullied, not searching for affirmation and validation from every direction. Hooray! The problem is, we parents were not raised that way, and guess what? Often we’re the ones with peer group problems.   How Does This Happen? One of the great doctrines of the New Testament is the…
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March 24th, 2016

Motivating Your Kids

by Hal | 0 comments

One of the frequent questions we get asked is how to get kids motivated. How do you get them out of bed, off the couch, and taking care of their responsibilities?

The negative answer is obvious, and most of us have probably said something like this, one time or another:

“You can’t get on the computer until you finish your math.”

“No, you’re not going to the movie with your friends – not until you’ve done your chores!”

“I’m fixing ham and eggs for breakfast, but if you don’t get out of bed and downstairs right now, it’s toast for you!”

How to Motivate Kids to Work - a podcast by Hal & Melanie Young

That’s the hard reality of life – when you have a responsibility or assignment, your duty needs to come before your pleasure or your comfort. And we all have a tendency to shirk when we can; consider that part of the judgment for Adam’s sin was increasing the difficulty, discomfort, and general drudgery of our daily work (Genesis 3:17-19). Our children need to learn to embrace their work even when they don’t feel like it – just like we should!

But “motivation” isn’t just about warnings and punishment. There are some other things which you might consider, to make a more positive approach to encouraging your kids’ work habits.

Are they disorganized? Face it, when you tell your 8-year-old “Go clean your room,” often it’s a daunting task. When your stuff looks like a tornado hit a thrift store, where do you even start? Suggest a way to make the task simpler. “Why don’t you get all the books up on the shelves first, then get the dirty clothes in the hamper? That will go quickly, and after that, you can sort the toys back into their sets and boxes.”

Even better, pitch in and work alongside them, at least to get them started. It’s a great time to talk, too.

Are they disheartened? Sometimes you have a task that seems so awkward and unpleasant, you procrastinate. After a couple of delays, it becomes a big, ugly monster – and even harder to get started.

RRM Motivating Kids to Work H

We read a motto somewhere that said, “Eat a live frog first thing in the morning, and the rest of the day will be an improvement.” Is there something on your list that you really, really wish would go away? Then consider doing that thing first, absolutely first – and then it will be done and things really will seem brighter.

Are they distracted? Productivity expert David Allen recommends that whenever you look at your to-do list, ask yourself, “Can I finish this item in two minutes?” If so, then go ahead! And if not, don’t just put it back on the list – decide when to do it, and put it on your schedule. In fact, sometimes our desire to dodge the job takes longer than just doing it. “Son, you just spent longer arguing with me than it would take to actually carry out the trash like I asked. That’s not efficient, you know!”

There are lots of reasons your son or daughter may seem unmotivated. Sometimes, if it’s truly disobedience or defiance, you may need to give some negative consequences. But there are a lot of reasons your child may have trouble getting started, and honestly, some of them are the same reasons we struggle with! We talk about these things and how you can press through them to help your guy “get off your seat and on your feet!” on this week’s podcast. Listen here.

Your friends,Hal and Melanie Twinkle at Church Large

Hal & Melanie

For more on getting your guys to be diligent, read our award-winning book, Raising Real Men!

March 17th, 2016

St. Patrick’s Day Celebration Guide

by Hal and Melanie Young | 1 comment

Why celebrate?

We’re not Catholic or Irish, but we love to have fun and we find that celebrating holidays with a little fun is a great way to drive home character lessons to our children and to teach them history, too. If you want to have some fun today learning about St. Patrick and the Irish, here’s a little help…

Who was St. Patrick anyway?

Patrick was a Britain-born teen when he was captured and enslaved by Irish traders. Made to work long hours out in the fields by himself, he turned to the Lord for comfort and became a Christian. He had learned the gospel as a young man raised in the faith. After six years in captivity, he managed to escape and return to Britain. About a year later, he had a dream that he was being called back to Ireland – this time as a missionary. He set out to study to become a priest and eventually made it back to Ireland. He was not the first to bring Christianity to Ireland, though there is no doubt the Lord used him to convert thousands of Irish from pagan druidism to Christianity.

What else can we learn?

Continue reading »

March 11th, 2016

Young Messiah: Not for His Young Followers!

by Hal and Melanie Young | 7 comments

A movie based on the life of Jesus as a child? Sounds like a fun, sweet family outing for the Easter season, especially since reviews say the movie represents Jesus as the virgin-born Son of God. Our friends, Steve and Jane Lambert of Five in a Row, though, saw it last night and came away very concerned that it was inappropriate for young children. We asked them to share with you:

Young Messiah’s theme centers around the struggles of Mary and Joseph in knowing how to explain to Jesus that he was God. That’s the story in a nutshell and it DOES present some interesting opportunities for imaginative supposition: Sort of mental chewing gum. The acting, costumes and cinematography are in a vastly different class from most contemporary “Christian movies” if I may use that term. But the wild conjectures about Jesus raising the dead and performing many other miracles as a child along with the graphic attempts to show the violence of Roman occupation via dozens of crucifixions begins to wear thin rather quickly.


Where the movie takes a decidedly darker, non-family-friendly turn is with the depictions of King Herod Antipas and his court, along with the creepy/disturbing interactions with Lucifer. While it’s probably impossible to overstate either of those themes (Lucifer IS creepy/disturbing and Antipas was a perverted maniac) the depictions will cause most children and many adults nightmares. The court of Herod Antipas is repeatedly and graphically portrayed as a perverted, satanic, insane asylum with grotesque creatures surrounding a sadistic, sexually-obsessed emperor. Meanwhile, Lucifer repeatedly interacts with the movie’s characters in a way that may well haunt children’s dreams for years. Reminiscent of a Stanley Kubrick film at times, the attempts to depict depravity and evil move far beyond “family fare” and border on bizarro-porn.

As adults, some might be able to watch the film and while it will be disturbing, it may provide the basis for some interesting and thoughtful discussions about what could have happened during the 30 years of Jesus’ life that is largely undocumented. But my concern is that many will assume this would make a great “family” experience during the Easter season. NOTHING could be further from the truth.

Young Messiah

Jane and I kept nudging one another throughout the movie as each disturbing scene unfolded and each grand-leap of Biblical truth was portrayed until the final credits rolled. When it was revealed that the screenplay was based on a novel by gothic/horror/erotica-porn author Anne Rice we gasped simultaneously! Suddenly it ALL made sense. What COULD HAVE BEEN a thought provoking film about Jesus’ childhood came off as a mash-up of “Jesus of Nazareth” with “Interview With a Vampire” and “Clockwork Orange”.

I was VERY excited to see it based on the previews, but came away concerned for any children that might be exposed to the movie by unsuspecting parents.

Not recommended for children and young teens.

Steve Lambert

Steve Lambert

Publisher, Five in a Row

Young Messiah photos courtesy of Focus Features.
Steve Lambert photo courtesy of Steve Lambert

March 8th, 2016

Welcome to Rough House!

by Hal | 5 comments

MBFLP 121 - Rough-housing V


Podcast Button for Blog

We have six boys (some of them grown now), and back when they were little, Melanie got a surprise. Continue reading »

March 5th, 2016

Sweet Rewards

by Hal and Melanie Young | 6 comments

The other day, a college president called our boy.

That boy. The one I wondered if I’d ever be able to teach him enough to fill out an application to work in fast food.

It all started when he was small. I was pretty confident when we started teaching him. His older brothers all learned to read early and well. I knew he was just as smart as they were. He seemed to be brilliant, even.


RRM College and Dyslexia


Somehow, though, he couldn’t seem to get it. He struggled to learn the alphabet at all. Some days he would sound a word out easily and I’d think, “Yes! We’re making progress.” The next day, looking at the same word, it was like he’d never seen the letters before. Continue reading »

March 2nd, 2016

Six Ways to Raise Kids Who Love to Read

by Hal and Melanie Young | 3 comments

We were just talking the other night about how much we love to read. Want to know what makes us feel rich? A stack of new books from a favorite author and time to dive in. Our kids love books as much as we do. It didn’t come naturally to all of them, though. Here are the ways we encouraged them to love reading just like their parents:

Read aloud. There’s just no substitute for pulling a child into your lap and reading them picture books. Those early experiences connect reading with love and attention.

RRM Six Ways to Raise a Reader

Continue reading »

March 1st, 2016

Voting When There’s Not Much Choice

by Hal | 1 comment

The presidential primary season is bursting into flame today with the “Super Tuesday” primaries in 11 states, followed by 14 more in the next two weeks. With 16 of the original 23 candidates out of the race, you might be looking at your second or third choice already! So what’s a Christian citizen to do? 

MBFLP 120 - Voting V

Continue reading »

February 26th, 2016

Five Reasons (Besides Porn) That Teens Need Accountability on Their Devices

by Hal | 1 comment

For most of us, the primary reason we install accountability and filtering software on our computer and devices is pornography – how can we protect our kids from it? What can we do to keep ourselves out of trouble? Is there someone in the family with an undetected problem?

But not every device problem deals with dirty pictures. A lot of times, our particular problem may be totally innocent under different circumstances. Yet, in the wrong time or place, we or our kids might be misusing our technology.

RRM Five Reasons Teens Need Internet Accountability

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February 24th, 2016

Simple, Practical Ways to Get Rid of Whining

by Hal | 3 comments

We all love our kids but there’s something that nearly every parent struggles with, something nearly every child does sometimes, and something which some kids do all the time.

WHINING. Oh, that awful sound.

MBFLP 119 - Whining V - pouting-boy-1434753 by Rachel Kirk on FreeImages

It’s no surprise when a baby cries, and it shouldn’t surprise us that a young child whines. A baby has to communicate its needs somehow, and if we’re paying attention—and willing to respond when the first warning signs appear—many babies can be nurtured and comforted quickly, without a stressful contest of who can cry the longest. We really don’t think a 6-month-old is being manipulative or malicious when they cry for nourishment, comfort, or even attention; they have needs and not much way to ask politely … or to exercise patience and self-denial.

Toddlers, well, that’s a different story. Little kids have very short attention spans—except for the ability to whine. That can go on forever.

Two observations that helped us

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