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Getting Kids to Talk part II

Creative Spark! Let  younger or creative kids communicate by drawing an aspect of their day. Crafting something with play-doh, or by some other creative outlet, as you have time. Use just a few random conversation starter cards that you and your kids picked out ahead of time. You can find these online for free and for sale, or just write your own.

Bite your Tongue! Again, I have learned the hard way, as failure is a good teacher. There have been times when I have immediately regretted the words that have come out of my mouth. If like many children, yours says negative things about himself, it does not help to be negative about the comments or other things said under their breath. It is too easy to want to jump to conclusions dawning our judgmental parental mantle to right a wrong. Bite your tongue. Your son or daughter is speaking out of hurt and pain, it’s time for reconciliation not retaliation. Whether they are saying they are “stupid” a “retard” or speaking rudely to a spouse, they likely don’t really mean it,… give them space and come back and calmly discuss why they hurt.

Fact Finding. Many times we don’t have all the answers. But we think we do., ask questions and gather all the facts you can before you  jump to conclusions. Blaming first and asking questions later is a poor way to handle things and destroy the trust your child has in your and the trust you believe you have in them.

Mountains or Molehills. We do need to demonstrate clear boundaries of right and wrong. The concept of “What’s true of you may not be what’s right for you.” and “Don’t judge” is utter nonsense. There is a standard of right and wrong, but let’s not make mountains out of molehills, work to judge rightly, with an honesty that demonstrates that you are not the picture of perfection either! If your kids feel like they will not be judged, in a negative sense, then they will feel free to talk to you about the tough stuff, especially when they get older.

Time and Place for Discipline. I am not a yeller and I am not one to “spank” my kid,… I would prefer to talk things out. Help my kid reconstruct events, how they went awry, and learn from them. Someday however, I am wondering how well this works. That being said. There is a time and place for discipline. I am not angry by nature, but I have still found myself wishing I had given us both a cool down period before going in “Guns Blazing” to right the wrongs my kid has committed. Take a breath, pray for guidance, think about all the reason your love your kid, pray for him or her, then go in and love your kid through the problem.

An Open or Close Case. What kind of questions are you using? Questions that start with “why” may sound offensive and tend to put kids (especially teens) on the defensive. Stay from “Closed” questions, these are questions that can be answered with a simple one word answer, such as “yes”, or “no”. “Open” questions encourage conversation. Also, don’t use the typical predictable questions such as “How was school today?” Get out of the box! Ask who did you sit by at lunch today (And why)? What did most like about going to P.E. today? What was something funny that happened at school today?

Learn to  say Sorry. Learn to admit you blew it by saying sorry when you make a mistake, yell, say the wrong thing, lose your temper, are hypocritical or just plain handle things poorly. Let your kids know you are sorry and are working to be a better parent. Remember they are not perfect and neither are you, so be a parent of grace!


After you have spent some time talking with your kid(s), look back and reflect on what went well  and what went poorly. It is important for you and critical for your relationship with your kids that you pinpoint your failings (yes you have some) and mistakes as a parent in this regard.


Leno, The President and Missing the Point

Indiana Republican Senate candidate Richard Mourdock’s comments that pregnancies caused by rape are “something God intended to happen” echoed across the U.S. media and sent ripples through political circles ahead of the November 6 election.

I didn’t see it but recently the President was on Jay Leno and the conversation got around to a comment by Senator Richard Murdock concerning rape. Now I have to say I understand his sentiment, but would change at least one word. I would change “INTENDED” to “ALLOWED“.

Intended indicates that God wanted to bring about life in this manner. I do not believe that this is the case and it is not consistent with the nature of God as he has revealed himself.

Allowed indicates that although, it is not what God intended, due to the sinful and fallen world we live in, rape is a way children are brought into our world and God does indeed for know each child who is born REGARDLESS of HOW they are conceived.

Let’s see the Senators comment in context:

“Richard Murdock said: “I struggled with it myself for a long time, but I came to realize that life is that gift from God, and I think even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something God intended to happen.”

— Mourdock’s position and struggle is basic, how could a good God allow this horrible situation of rape to happen? Can a gift and triumph come from trauma? He seems to have struggled and decided that it indeed can happen, although he may not understand how or why it happens this way, only that it did. Did God ORIGINALLY intend for violent rape to be the method for our children to come into the world? Of course not, he is not saying that. The President and others are simply looking for a platform to gain a standing during the final moments of an election.

Here is what the President stated:

“I don’t know how these guys come up with these ideas. Let me make a very simple proposition: rape is rape. It is a crime,” Obama said on NBC’s “The Tonight Show.”

— Thank you for pointing out the obvious. Yes it is a Crime. So why are we Punishing the Child?

— Abortion is Abortion. It is murder and SHOULD BE A CRIME! It ends and Life and creates at the LEAST two victims!

He goes on to state that:

“This is exactly why you don’t want a bunch of politicians, mostly male, making decisions about women’s healthcare.”

— Last I checked, it takes two to create a child, how is it only a woman has a right to decide the fate of THEIR child in matters regarding the life of the child?

Sadly, Obama shows he has NO concept of God, Theology or Doctrine, I don’t like the wording “something God intended to happen” as if God is an accessory to the crime, however, this child was going to be a product of these to people. Was this God’s intended method, I don’t think so, but this child WAS meant to be.

— Then for him to even talk about Planned Parenthood as if it is an organization that HELPS women. Really? It is the biggest provider of legally sanctioned execution of women! Really sad!

Senator Richard Mourdock

Just Saw This!!!

Last night on the Jay Leno show, Obama claimed AGAIN that PP provides mammograms (this is the third time he’s lied about this).  Perhaps between the debate last week and now, they started providing them?  Let’s call and find out! TOMORROW, we will once again call Planned Parenthood and ask about their mammogram services.  We had over 2,000 people make calls last time.  Let’s get more this time!  Here is the link to our event:


Getting Kids to Talk

Don’t in the Battle and Lose the War! I have learned the hard way, it gains you little if you force the conversation well before your kid is ready. This doesn’t mean the get to avoid the conversation all together, especially if it is an issue of discipline, but give them more than two seconds to think about an answer before you demand they answer. When you relax, they will relax and conversation will come.

Be Advantageous! Car rides are a great place for conversations, they can’t walk out of the room or avoid your presence. Don’t allow video games or other toys to interfere with your opportunity to talk with them.

Are you Approachable! Are you open and inviting? Do you even listen? You kid could tell me if I asked! Want to improve? Use a common technique in counseling, simply reflect back, or in your own words, repeat back what you hear your kid sharing with you. This helps your son or daughter to know “Hey,.. I am being heard!” and sometimes that is all the motivation they need to keep going.

Can I get that Validated please? You daughter comes home and is angry because her best friend is going to ditch her birthday party to go out to the movies with a guy she likes and she is very angry. Before you tell her how to or how not to feel,… validate how she Does feel! Let her know it is reasonable for her to be angry, hurt and frustrated. Listen to her pain and validate her feelings. This will go a long way in the future, when you want to talk or when she does!

Quantity of Quality? “I don’t have a lot of time with my Kids, but when I do give them that 10 minutes a day, I am all there!” Is that you? Kids need quality and quantity time today. If you are not there to talk to,… they will find someone else,… I wonder who it might be? You can NOT substitute one for the other, provide both. Slow down and be available. Kids know if you are too busy for them, and it is impacting on their self worth. If you’re creating enough down time for you to get together with your kids on the little things, they’ll be more open to confide in you in the future about the big things.

Forward Momentum. Talk to them while being active. Talk and walk, let them, shoot hoops, toss the ball, play catch, color, or draw a picture. Using these activities to allow your kids to express themselves can have them expressing themselves to you as well. And joining in on the fun yourself can yield an even greater sense of connection and sharing between you and your kids.

Where Does Life Begin?

It has been approximately one month since I completed further education with quite a diverse group. Within the field of Social Work comes extreme diversity and an expectation of tolerance and acceptance. With some peers, it is not just an acknowledgement for their views, but the demand for one to embrace and advocate for their beliefs at the cost of your own.

So where does this leave us with dealing with those who are in need of help or counseling? While I certainly believe that it is crucial to create a therapeutic alliance (team approach) and meet people where they are, it does not mean I check my values at the door. I must simply be honest about who I realistically can and cannot help. It will be a difficult task; I must admit to work with people who require validation for something that I personally believe is wrong. However my task will be to help them work through the choices, decisions and consequences that life brings them.

One such value that some of my peers would have me check at the door surround a subject that I see as very clear but has become mired in political and emotional debate. It is the subject of Abortion. As I post on this I would love to hear any rational viewpoints, comments and insights. So I ask, where does life begin? This is the lynchpin question that sets apart choice from life.

For you created my inmost being;

you knit me together in my mother’s womb.

14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;

your works are wonderful,

I know that full well.

15 My frame was not hidden from you

when I was made in the secret place,

when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.

16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;

all the days ordained for me were written in your book

before one of them came to be.



Valentines Day

I think that this has always been about the sappiest holiday for me. Don’t get me sweet, but this is a holiday that makes you feel like you just can’t win. To be honest, it feels so,.. well forced. You are obligated by the powers of “commercialism” to go out and buy stuff to demonstrate your love for your wife, and if you forget a card or worse yet pull together something at the last-minute, that is your try to pull off as legit and she knows you forgot,.. well lets just not go there.

I mean come on, overpriced cards, chocolate, teddy bears and the pressure to buy buy buy, so unoriginal. However I do think that there are some redeeming qualities in regards to this Valentines Day. Maybe,.. it’s what we make it?

Valentines Day provides us guys a chance to tell our wives whats truly important.  It is easy to take her for granted, to forget the little things and lose touch with what brought us together in the first place.

An array of Valentine's Day-connotated candy d...
Image via Wikipedia

No matter how long we have been married, we can always work on our marriage. Use Valentines Day as a jumpstart to I pray that each of us recalls what drew us to each other.


  • Remember to say I love you Everyday
  • Never go to bed Angry
  • Find ways to show your appreciation
  • Guys,.. don’t try to solve problems,.. listen first,… be there
  • Remember you are in it together
  • Look for ways to make her smile and feel needed
  • Tell her why you love her
  • If you have kids,.. they are watching….
  • Take over responsibilities she doesn’t like from time to time
  • Leave notes to your wife hidden around the house in places she will find
  • Don’t do things like these only once a year,…

In Ephesians, Paul tells husbands to love their wives. He gives Christ’s relationship to his church as an example. He says that husbands should strive towards emulating the perfect love that Christ exhibited to us.

“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.” Eph 5:25

How did he do it,.. well ultimately,.. he died for her!

“We love because he {God} first loved us.” 1 John 4:19

Two Weeks In the Bible on Social Justice

Children sleeping in Mulberry Street (1890) Art.

Image via Wikipedia

Social Justice.

An integral part of the Gospel is loving your neighbor. Although as believers we are to be set apart from the world, Jesus never called us to withdraw from the world! In fact he sent us boldly into the world to be his hands and feet. It is to this cause that we have the next two weeks of scripture readings about Social Justice and our call to follow the example we see in God’s word!


Day 1, Exodus 3: God hears the cries of the slaves

Day 2, Leviticus 25: The year of jubilee, a time of economic revolution

Day 3, Ruth 2: A poor woman finds help

Day 4, 1 Kings 21: Elijah speaks to a land-grabbing, murderous king

Day 5, Nehemiah 5: Nehemiah demands justice for the poor

 Day 6, Isaiah 5: Warning to fun-loving materialists

Day 7, Isaiah 58: Worship that God appreciates


Day 8, Jeremiah 34: Freedom for slaves

Day 9, Amos 2: Sins against God by his own people

Day 10, Amos 6: Warning to the complacent

Day 11, Micah 6: What the Lord requires

Day 12, Luke 3: John the Baptist tells how to prepare for Jesus

Day 13, Matthew 6: Jesus speaks on material things.

Day 14, James 2: How to treat the rich and the poor

34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. 36 I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for
me. I was in prison, and you visited me.’

37 “Then these righteous ones will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? 39 When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?’

40 And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters,f  you were doing it to me!’

The Involved Father

by Glenn Stanton

Fathers are just as essential to healthy child development as mothers. Psychology Today explained, “Fatherhood turns  out to be a complex and unique phenomenon with huge consequences for the emotional and intellectual growth of children.”1

Erik Erikson, a pioneer in the world of child psychology, asserts that a father’s love and a mother’s love are qualitatively different.  Fathers “love more dangerously” because their love is more “expectant, more instrumental” than a mother’s love. A father brings unique contributions to the job of parenting a child that no one else can replicate. Following are some of the most compelling ways that a father’s involvement makes a positive difference in a child’s life.

Fathers parent differently.

Fathering expert Dr. Kyle Pruett explains that fathers have a distinct style of communication and interaction with children. By eight weeks of age, infants can tell the difference between their mother’s and father’s interaction with them.

This diversity, in itself, provides children with a broader, richer experience of contrasting relational interactions. Whether  they realize it or not, children are learning, by sheer experience, that men and women are different and have different ways of dealing with life, other adults and children. This understanding is critical for their development.

Fathers play differently.

Fathers tickle more, they wrestle, and they throw their children in the air (while mother says . . . “Not so high!”).  Fathers chase their children, sometimes as playful, scary “monsters.”

Fathering expert John Snarey explains that children who roughhouse with their fathers learn that biting, kicking and other forms of physical violence are not acceptable. They learn self-control by being told when “enough is enough” and when to settle down. Girls and boys both learn a healthy balance between timidity and aggression.

Fathers build confidence.

Go to any playground and listen to the parents. Who is encouraging kids to swing or climb just a little higher, ride their bike just a little faster, throw just a little harder? Who is encouraging kids to be careful? Mothers protect and dads encourage kids to push the limits.

Either of these parenting styles by themselves can be unhealthy. One can tend toward encouraging risk without consideration of consequences. The other tends to avoid risk, which can fail to build independence and confidence. Together, they help children remain safe while expanding their experiences and increasing their confidence.

Fathers communicate differently.

A major study showed that when speaking to children, mothers and fathers are different. Mothers will simplify their words and speak on the child’s level. Men are not as inclined to modify their language for the child. The mother’s way facilitates immediate communication; the father’s way challenges the child to expand her vocabulary and linguistic skills — an important building block of academic success.

Fathers discipline differently.

Educational psychologist Carol Gilligan tells us that fathers stress justice, fairness and duty (based on rules), while mothers  stress sympathy, care and help (based on relationships). Fathers tend to observe and enforce rules systematically and sternly, teaching children the consequences of right and wrong. Mothers tend toward grace and sympathy, providing a sense of hopefulness. Again, either of these disciplinary approaches by themselves is not good, but together, they create a healthy, proper balance.

Fathers prepare children for the real world.

Involved dads help children see that attitudes and behaviors have consequences. For instance, fathers are more likely than mothers to tell their children that if they are not nice to others, kids will not want to play with them. Or, if they don’t do well in school, they will not get into a good college or secure a desirable job. Fathers help children prepare for the reality and harshness of the world.

Fathers provide a look at the world of men.

Men and women are different. They eat differently. They dress differently. They cope with life differently. Girls and boys who grow up with a father are more familiar and secure with the curious world of men. Girls with involved, married fathers are more likely to have healthier relationships with the opposite sex because they learn from  their fathers how proper men act toward women. They know which behaviors are inappropriate.

They also have a healthy familiarity with the world of men — they don’t wonder how a man’s facial stubble feels or what it’s like to be hugged by strong arms. This knowledge builds emotional security and safety from the exploitation of predatory males.

Boys who grow up with dads are less likely to be violent. They have their masculinity affirmed and learn from their fathers how to channel their masculinity and strength in positive ways. Fathers help sons understand proper male sexuality, hygiene and behavior in age-appropriate ways. As noted sociologist David Popenoe explains, “Fathers are far more than just ‘second adults’ in the home. Involved fathers — especially biological fathers — bring positive benefits to their children that no other person is as likely to bring.”4

Copyright © 2004 Glenn T. Stanton. All rights reserved. International copyright secured

“Foster Home” or Just “Home”

I have briefly blogged before about the fact that I am in graduate school. I have been privileged to work with kids who are in the foster care system. I don’t know what you typically think of when you think of Foster Care, but my experience as a volunteer have been refreshing! Maybe you think of Annie or even more recently the Foster home from “Despicable Me” with sweet Miss Hattie. Did I say sweet? I meant Horrible Hattie and her box of shame! When I began my first internship there I didn’t know what to expect. I had no idea what the place was going to look like. I think I was expecting something like a barracks or a sterile environment or sorts. I am glad that I was wrong.

Well the organization I run with has a Miss Hattie, but she is just the opposite.  She ensures that the home in “Foster Home”, is the key ingredient.  These kids come from a wide variety of backgrounds, emotional, physical, and sexual abuse, but when they come to the home, they are part of a family where they receive love, boundaries, attention, counseling, encouragement,… sometimes for the first time in their lives. It makes you angry when you hear the stories of what their “parents” have done to them or have allowed to happen to them.

This Group Home is colorful, inviting, filled with toys, books, games and lots of caring people.  These kids come for a few weeks or a few months, but they are all very special.  Some of these kids have never had 3 meals a day and snacks, their own toys, birthdays, been to a movie, or gone on a field trip,… it is truly a new world for them. Just as they are starting to get comfortable however, for many it is time to go. It’s hard to see them go to foster parents, it is easy to get attached and you have favorites, although you do you best to never show it, and you never say so, but its hard to see them leave, even if you know it’s too a good place.

All in all, you know that this is the best “home” some of these kids have ever been a part of and you fear for them when they leave. Kids are a product of their environment and sometimes they go back, the “family” that they came from, and you wonder if they will make it.

I think that this is the key lesson we aim to teach these children, “We are influenced by where we come from, but it never determines where we end up!”

I would have to say. at least where I am,.. you could leave the foster off the Foster Home and just say Home!

Tyler’s Surf Camp 2011

Tyler got to have a great time learning to ride the waves with his aunt at surf camp. He has never done this before and I have no skill whatsoever for surfing so I wasn’t sure how he was going to do. He said that he was a bit nervous the night before he went and when he came back he was thrilled. He had a lot of fun. Seems he got a nickname, “The Natural”. This was a four day camp to learn basic skills and the waves were great for first timers.  His aunt who took him longboards and surfs a bit so no doubt he learned a lot from her as well, plus he just loves to hang out with her. With any luck he will go sometime soon and maybe he will go to camp again in 2012? I am so proud of my son!!!!

Oh by the way, I hear that they will have a special guest next summer. He is supposed to have amazing skills. His wet suit is a bit different, but you had better not tell him you don’t like it. Check the bottom of the post for a sneak peek!



Yep Keep Going

Almost There

It should be a heroic summer!

What the Atheists Get Right!

Religion has done a lot of damage.

Many Atheists say they hate religion. And they have good  reason.

The word comes from the Latin and actually means to “bind back”.  Religion has been man’s attempt  to get to God by being bound to good deeds and earning his good favor through  religious rituals. Isaiah 53:1-3 demonstrates that no one is good. Isaiah 64:6,
God says that our attempts to be holy on our own are like “filthy rags”. We  have nothing to offer God.

God is disgusted by religion more than many atheists. Jesus  was often at odds with the Religious leaders of his day.  The religious crucified Jesus, Mk 15, saw to  the execution of Stephen Acts 8, and throughout history those with religious  powers have corrupted that power and twisted what God intended.

If you are a Christian reading this, remember that God loves the atheist.  It does us no good to simply ignore their complaints and doubts about religion.

If you are not a Christian and you are reading this, please  do me a favor and don’t confuse Jesus with religion.  Don’t fail to take a second look at  Christianity and more importantly at Christ because of religion.

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