Monthly Archives: December 2017

When our kids become replicas of us

Have you ever heard the saying ‘what walks in the father runs in the son’? Of course it is just as applicable for moms and daughters.

It was one of my dad’s favorite sayings and my wife uses it when she tells people about how she believes that our youngest son’s incredulous energy matches mine. She might be right…

Recently I went into my son’s room as I was walking past it one afternoon just to check what he was doing. To my absolute surprise he had puffed up his duvet and was using it as a wave for his Lego men to surf. My amazement at watching this was because this is exactly what I used to do as a young boy after I was tired from a day of surfing.

My mom lived one block from the ocean, while my dad lived a kilometer down the road literally on the beach. His backyard backed right on to the sand. So you can imagine being in the ocean from pre-school age means surfing has played a big part in my life. Now it seems to be for my sons, too.

I’d go into my mom’s room after a day of surfing, as she had a king-sized bed, and I would do exactly the same: fluff up the bed covers and then shape them into a big wave for my Lego man to practice all his manouvers. He had obviously never seen me do this, so had no lead to follow. For a good couple of hours I could use the Lego man to practice all the tricks that I’d like to be able to perform on a wave, while at the same time recovering from hours in the water. So naturally I was astonished when I saw him doing the same thing decades later.

However it got me thinking how our children really are replicas of ourselves. They are watching our every move, good and bad. They are modeling off our behaviors, our talk, and so while we might think we can get around the house acting as we please, the reality is we cannot.

These little minds are sucking in everything. They are ‘mini-me’s’ of their parents. It really is true that what walks in the parent runs in the children. This could be good, or it could be bad. The choice as their minders, is yours.

“Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6)

 

Matt Danswan is the CEO of Initiate Media, publishers of My Christian Daily. He Also blogs at www.mattdanswan.com. His new book, Not Business As Usual, is due for release in March 2018.

Cultivating character or controlling chaos?

In a chaotic and confusing world, let’s get grounded by looking to Scripture. Raising responsible kids is no microwave magic; it takes consistent time and energy. The results are often not instantaneous – diligence and perseverance will be your greatest assets, but the rewards far outweigh the challenges.

*All Scriptures are ESV unless otherwise noted.

1. Psalms 127:3, “Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, The fruit of the womb a reward.” Children are a  gift from the Lord in a society that often places a low value on them, to the point of aborting the inconvenience. The key is to focus on the blessings, not the difficulties; on the rewards and joys not the disappointments and sorrows.

2. 2 Tim. 3:15, “And how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.” A major responsibility of parents is to make children familiar with the Scriptures and how to apply them to their daily lives. Church should be supplemental in regard to educating our children about God. The best place is the home.

Pick one topic for the week such as God’s sovereignty or His love and teach on it in deed and action. When financial difficulties come, let your children see you praying and seeking God rather than yelling at everyone. Remember, character is taught and caught. Don’t throw Scriptures at them – the approach that uses the Bible like a machine gun will not work, but a broken and contrite heart that uses Scripture when the Holy Spirit prompts, will work – let them see the Scriptures in you.

3. Matthew 6:34(NASB), “So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” When we allow our minds to dwell on difficulty and trouble, it will affect our children at a very deep level. Prov. 12:25reminds us that, “Anxiety in the heart of man causes depression, But a good word makes it glad.” Do your words and actions build your children, or harm them…do you encourage or discourage?

I came across an article, Simplifying Childhood May Protect Against Mental Health Issues, from the website Raised Good – Parenting by Nature. The article describes what I’ve been sensing for years. The article is at the link below: http://raisedgood.com/extraordinary-things-happen-when-we-simplify-childhood/

Here are a few key points that stood out: “Early in his career, Kim Payne volunteered in refugee camps where children were dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder. He describes them as, ‘jumpy, nervous, and hyper-vigilant, wary of anything novel or new.’ Years later Payne ran a private practice in England, where he recognized many affluent English children were displaying the same behavioural tendencies as the children living in war zones half a world away. Why would these children living perfectly safe lives show similar symptoms?”

Payne explains that although they were physically safe, mentally they were also living in a war zone of sorts, “Privy to their parents’ fears, drives, ambitions, and the very fast pace of their lives, the children were busy trying to construct their own boundaries…”.

“Too much stuff, too many choices, too much information and too much speed – Soccer. Music. Martial arts. Gymnastics. Ballet. Baseball. We schedule play dates with precision. And we fill every space in their rooms with educational books, devices and toys. The average western child has in excess of 150 toys…With so much stuff children become blinded and overwhelmed with choice.” We are seeing an epidemic of hurried child syndrome as they not only try to keep up with our schedules, but manage their own.

‘Should my child pursue a career in Hollywood?’

As the headlines continue to be filled with horror stories of sexual harassment at film studios and TV networks, I’m getting more questions from concerned parents – especially Christian parents – about their children who want to pursue a career in Hollywood. Is it safe? Particularly for a daughter? There’s no question that some of the accused were respected icons in the industry, and yet at least one had a special lock on his door he could quickly activate from his desk. The speculations range from wanting privacy while in the act, to keeping his targeted women from getting away.

I’m not an alarmist, and for those of us who have been here for a long time it could seem silly. But with the revelations people are hearing, it’s understandable that some might be concerned for their children coming right out of high school or college. But the truth is, when I first came to Hollywood in the 70’s, it was far more creepy.

Once, when I was looking for a cheap place to rent, I found what seemed to be an amazing deal in the Hollywood Hills. When I pulled up to a mansion, I thought I had hit easy street. But I soon realized that some rich guy had installed about 10 sets of bunk beds in his unfinished garage (along with a single sink and toilet for them all), and was renting them out. It was like a prison camp in the middle of Beverly Hills.

Talk about creepy.

Obviously not interested, as I backed away toward my car the guy started screaming at me that I was an idiot to pass up such a sweet deal.

But today, while the headlines attest, there are still abusers of all kinds (sexual, financial, narcissists, and more) in the industry, Hollywood is also a remarkably safe place to live and work. Where Hollywood Boulevard used to be filled with hookers, porn shops, and drug addicts, now it’s a showplace anchored with the El Capitan – a Disney owned family theater across the street from the Dolby Theater where major award shows are produced. Positive changes like that have happened in multiple spots across Los Angeles.

For Christian young people, there are numerous churches with special outreaches to members working in the industry, as well as independent ministry outreaches such as Mastermedia, The Hollywood Prayer Network, The Greenhouse, Act One, The Influence Lab, and more.

If you’re careful about your personal safety, and follow simple rules about where you go, who you’re with, and being alone, Hollywood can be as safe as your hometown. And just like your hometown, you should never take chances with your personal safety, or compromising your integrity.

And when it comes to your career, it’s good to remember that on a certain level, coming to Hollywood or New York is supposed to be a challenge. It’s a tough industry to break into, and only those with drive, passion, and purpose generally position themselves to make it.

The bottom line? Before moving East or West for a career in media or entertainment, the question isn’t “Is it safe?”

The question is, “Am I called?”

 

Phil Cooke is a producer and media consultant to churches and ministries across the country. His latest book is “Unique: Telling Your Story in the Age of Brands and Social Media.” Find out more at www.philcooke.com.

Here’s the key to raising your teen…

We have recently had our oldest child turn 13. He’s officially a teenager – and we certainly know it!

In fact this hilarious video below sums up perfectly a pre and post teenager. ‘Kevin the Teenager’ was produced by the BBC in the UK and shows Kevin as a 12 year-old, followed by the transformation once he is 13.

A dad at school put me onto it, and every time their teenage son starts losing the plot they call him ‘Kevin’. They say it immediately pulls him in to line. I have shown my son the video and he laughed. I think he sort of got it…

Now I am no expert on parenting. I may have four children, but that’s where my expertise starts and finishes. However I can probably offer a bit of practical advice.

As parents, now is not the time to back off. To be perfectly honest, this is the time when we want to back off. Our responsible, reliable, thoughtful children seemigly overnight start to drop their shoulders and become lazy. In the case of my son his favorite words from his vocabulary are ‘ozzle’ and ‘seebs’.

I’m still not too sure what they mean, but if you say something like, “Your room is a mess. Come and clean it up;” his response is generally either “ozzle” or “seebs”. So I think it means that he doesn’t really care….

I know a dad going through a similar stage of parenting some years ago who, in not understanding his teenage son, started to pull away. He stopped kissing him and hugging him, giving him the space he thought his son needed. He ended up having issues with his son taking drugs and mixing with the wrong crowd. He now realizes that pulling back was not the answer.

My firm advice to parents is to stay in your teen’s life. Don’t back away. Be involved, even though those days of our children looking up to us seem like they have gone. They need us now, more than ever, and as much as we want to just give them space and let them live their own lives, we need to stay involved.

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