AUTHOR ARCHIVES: Phil

Top Priority: Remembering Your Spouse

Posted on June 12, 2013 by Phil

“…When we were dating, it was very easy to make our relationship my number one priority, second only to God.  I would anxiously await the mail every Tuesday because I would get letters or cards letting me know that I was being thought of.  The weekends were spent hanging out with my now-husband and his best friend.  We would rollerblade, go to the park, and spend time at the beach…building memories to last a lifetime. …

Then we got married…first one, then two, and then three kids came.  Work got busier, schedules filled up, and then we added the kids’ activities too…well, I don’t need to remind anyone about how crazy life can get.  And, even though my husband is still the most important person to me besides God, I don’t always do such a great job showing him that.  By the time the kids’ problems are resolved, laundry and other chores are completed, dinner cleaned up – where is there any time to make the one I love feel special? ”

Read more…. at Crosswalk.com


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Baby Sitters and Body Guards

Posted on May 8, 2013 by Phil

What do the following positions have in common?

Babysitter.

Body Guard.

Manager.

Safety Net.

Advisor.

If you’re a parent, you’ve held them all or you will by the time your children dive from the nest. One day they will pay for their own phone lines and car insurance, schedule their own dentist appointments, drive through and pay for their own take-out, and do laundry in their own dorm rooms or apartments.

Read more …. from crosswalk.com


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Should I Be Sending My Children to Camp

Posted on May 1, 2013 by Phil

An interesting article from Michael Thompson Ph.D

Some six million children in the United States are preparing psychologically to go away to sleepaway camp. Whether these departing children are camp veterans or nervous rookies, they are mentally rehearsing being away from mom and dad, their comfortable beds, their pets, favorite meals and, of course, their beloved iPhones, Facebook and video games.

During the winter their parents made the decision — and found the money — to make it possible for their kids to leave their families and their comfortable homes so that they could spend a week or two or four in a rustic, more-or-less uncomfortable cabin getting bitten by mosquitoes. They will live with a bunch of other kids, some of whom are fantastic, others quite annoying. They will eat a balanced diet of grilled cheese sandwiches and Fudgesicles with the occasional corn dog for good measure. They will play fun but aimless games like “Capture the Flag” and sit around campfires watching hilarious, dumb skits that almost no one remembers two days later (except the authors, of course). They will master skills such as archery and kayaking, horseback riding and waterskiing, none of which will impress their varsity coach or their AP Bio teacher when they return to school.

While the campers are messing about in the woods, many of their peers will be attending summer school or specialized skills programs. Their responsible, if sometimes Tiger-ish, moms and dads will be investing their money in their children’s future differently, sending them to one-week soccer and lacrosse programs, SAT prep courses and unpaid internships designed to polish skills, boost scores and impress college admissions officers. Instead of spending three weeks at an all-around camp, these children will be focused on skill-building, sometimes in three different specialized programs to which their parents drive them every day (allowing time for that all-important debrief in the car going home).

Which set of parents has it right? Or more to the point: Does an overnight camp experience still make sense in this competitive, resume-building world? From this psychologist’s point of view, the answer is a resounding YES. I believe that children develop in profound ways when they leave their parents’ house and join a camp community.

Learning to sleep away from home is, of course, a critical step on the way to independence. Part of the challenge is beating homesickness, which may be hard for some children, and which, by definition, your parents cannot help you do. Kids know they have to do this sooner or later. As my son once remarked with horror, “If you can’t learn to sleep away from home, you have to live with your parents for the rest of your life.” But beyond that, there are things that, as a parent, you cannot do for your children, as much as you might wish to. You cannot make them happy (if you try too hard they become whiners); you cannot give them self-esteem and confidence (those come from their own accomplishments); you cannot pick friends for them and micro-manage their social lives, and finally you cannot give them independence. The only way children can grow into independence is to have their parents open the door and let them walk out. That’s what makes camp such a life-changing experience for children.

Finish the Article by clicking here…

by Michael Thompson Ph.D
Author “Homesick and Happy”


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Conversation Starter: Let Your Heart Be Broken

Posted on April 24, 2013 by Phil

Jeremiah 8:4-13,18–9:1
join God in His concern for the moral/spiritual condition of others

Conversation Starters

How can you keep this conversation going at home? Try bouncing some of these questions around at the dinner table, as you’re driving your kids to school or an activity, or even while you’re shopping together:

For Preschoolers
What makes you sad?

What does it feel like to be sad?

How can you be nice to people who are sad (and broken hearted)?

For School-Age
Ask you children what makes them sad and how it feels to be sad?

Invite your children to discuss what it means to have compassion and a heart that is broken for the needs of other people.

How can we as a family reach out and care for and serve the broken hearted?

For Students
Who are the people you know who have experienced heartache and a broken heart?

How do you care for someone and serve someone who has experienced great pain and loss?

What are the things that break your heart and cause you to feel great compassion? How do you think God feels about those things?


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When Kids Lie

Posted on April 17, 2013 by Phil

Just yesterday morning, it was a Monday, we were making sure lunches were packed and teeth were brushed before Piper and I rushed out the door to take her to school. I was quickly walking into the kitchen when I stopped at the door and my eyes locked with the eyes of my youngest daughter, Lily. She was caught “red handed” pouring her breakfast into the trash can. While I fought back the smile, I just stood and stared at her. She knew right away that she was busted. Her plan wasn’t hard to figure out… quickly pour out my cereal, leave the empty bowl on the table, tell Mom and Dad that I had eaten it all. Peace of cake.

I am aware, by the way, that this is a “little lie” and not a big deal. But somehow it was significant. This was one of the first times Lily had bold-faced-lied to me, or had at least planned to lie to me on purpose. And I couldn’t be happier how it played out. Catching your kids in a lie is precious, especially if we can catch them before they get too old, and it becomes one of their habits.

Plus, let’s be honest, kids beginning to lie to us isn’t all bad. They are starting to think for themselves…to make their own decisions… and to realize that Mommy and Daddy don’t know everything and don’t see everything. This is a good step to growing up!

So what do you do? How do you react to some of their first lies? Its a challenging question with lots of right answers, so here is what I did. I made a bid deal out of the lie. Who cares about the cereal, but the lie is the thing to focus on. There were 3 things I stressed when I sat on the floor to talk with Lily, wiping the tears from her cheeks.

1. In a very calm and loving tone I wanted Lily to know how sad it made me that she would lie to me. Oh, how it hurt my feelings that she wanted to tell me something that wasn’t true. I probably tried to say this same thing in 3 or 4 different ways to make sure she understood that we did not want her to lie…ever.

2. The second thing I wanted Lily to know was that she could always tell me anything. I would always listen and help her. She doesn’t need to be afraid to tell Mom or Dad the scary or hard things. We won’t turn our backs on her. We love her.

3. The last thing I wanted Lily to know was that not only do we love her, but Jesus loves her too, even more than we do! And Jesus can forgive her just like Mom and Dad.

Simple I know. Nothing ground breaking. But if we aren’t intentional, we end up telling our kids all kinds of stuff, especially in moments of frustration.

Do you have any comments or words of wisdom about when your kids lied to you? Any great stories? What about when kids get older? Comment below…

Phil Berry
Ridgecrest Summer Camps

 


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How Your Teen is Wired

Posted on April 10, 2013 by Phil

Parents,
Here are some tangible ideas to help you connect with your teen… Don’t try to make the conversation too serious. Enjoy this article from Focus on the Family by Joe White, Larry Weeden

Is your teen on the track to a meaningful future? Are you finding out what a joy it can be to help make the most of how God has wired him or her?

Many of us want to help our teens dream big, fulfilling, God-honoring dreams. But how do we do that?

The first step is to understand the great experiment known as your teen. In all of human history, there’s never been another person with your teen’s exact mix of God-given personality, talents, interests and spiritual gifts. As the two of you get to know that unique wiring through self-tests like the ones in the book Wired by God, you’ll start to see which kinds of dreams might make a good fit.

Your Teen’s Basic Bent

Here are some questions you can use anytime to find out how God has wired your young person:

  • “What really drives you?”
  • “What’s the most fun you’ve ever had helping someone else?”
  • “What dreams do you think God has given you?”
  • “What can you do that most people can’t?”
  • “What ability would you most like to develop? Why?”
  • “If God hired you for a summer job, what would you hope it would be? Why?”

And this one from Doug Fields, a youth pastor: “If you could design a specific way to serve God and knew you wouldn’t fail, what would you do?”

Remember that your purpose is to listen and learn, to better understand and appreciate your teen’s uniqueness. This is not the time for lectures and advice. Figuratively speaking, you need to have big ears and a small mouth, tough skin and a tender heart.

Another way to learn by questioning is to talk with others in your teen’s life: teachers, youth group leaders, coaches, school counselors, Scout leaders, Sunday school teachers, parents of close friends. Ask what they’ve observed about your child’s likes and dislikes, interests and passions, abilities and aptitudes.

Often these people will confirm your own observations. Sometimes, though, they’ll describe a side of your teen that you hadn’t noticed — or offer an insight you’d overlooked.

Your Teen’s Interests and Passions

Here’s a way to help your teen pinpoint his or her interests and natural abilities. It’s based on “The Vision Quest,” a tool developed by Tim Sanford, a counselor at Focus on the Family who works with a lot of young people.

Give your teen these instructions:

On a piece of paper, list the things you’ve done since the fourth grade. We’re talking about academics, sports, social events, the arts, student government, hobbies, interaction with family and friends, personal adventures, youth activities, socials, special events, camps, worship, leadership, volunteer work, mission trips, “helping out,” clubs, service projects, job duties, volunteer or assigned tasks, and chores.

You don’t have to compile your whole list at once. Allow two or three weeks, adding to it as new memories come to mind. If you don’t know whether to include something in the list, go ahead and put it down anyway.

Now give each activity a “positive” or a “negative” rating. How did it turn out? How did it affect you?

After several days, pull your worksheet out and think again about the events to which you gave a negative value. Look for patterns. For example, if events connected with mechanical things (fixing the car, building something, helping with props at the school play) consistently ended in disaster, you’re probably not the mechanical type.

Now move to the positive side of the worksheet. Ask yourself the questions below as you look over those events.

  • “Is there a pattern or anything these events have in common?”
  • “Are some of the activities things I’d like to pursue more?”
  • “How can I begin doing more of these kinds of activities?”
  • “What kinds of qualities, talents, character traits and skills do these activities require?”
  • “Do I have some of those qualities and traits?”
  • “Are any circumstances or events missing from my worksheet? If so, what are they, and why might they be missing?”
  • “Are there any activities I’ve never done before, but I’d like to try?”
Adapted from Wired by God: Empowering Your Teen for a Life of Passion and Purpose by Joe White with Larry Weeden, Copyright © 2004, Tyndale House Publishers. Used by permission.


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Conversation Starters: Make No Excuses

Posted on April 3, 2013 by Phil

Jeremiah 1:4-14,17-19
no excuses for when God calls

Conversation Starters

How can you keep this conversation going at home? Try bouncing some of these questions around at the dinner table, as you’re driving your kids to school or an activity, or even while you’re shopping together:

For Preschoolers
God made you. What are some of the good things about you?

What are some of the things you see and hear that God made?

How can God use you to help someone else

For School-Age
What are some of your strengths, the things you do well?

How might God use those strengths?

What do you do when you don’t feel like you can do something well?

What are ways you see God use people’s weaknesses?

For Students
What does it mean to be called by God?

What are some ways God uses believers to serve Him and others even with their weaknesses?

Have you ever sensed God calling you to do something or to serve in some way? How did you respond?

What do you think is the biggest excuse people give for not following God’s call?


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Conversation Starters: Confident

Posted on March 27, 2013 by Phil

Romans 8:14-17; 2 Corinthians 5:1-5; Ephesians 1:13-14
Holy Spirit gives us confidence we are right with God

Conversation Starters

Parents, how can you keep this conversation going at home? Try bouncing some of these questions around at the dinner table, as you’re driving your kids to school or an activity, or even while you’re shopping together:

For Preschoolers
Ask: What makes you feel safe? Discuss the idea of safety and security. Remind your preschooler that God loves them and has promised to keep them safe. Spend a few minutes praying and thanking God for the safety we know we have in Him.

For Children
Ask: Who are some people you trust? What makes those people trustworthy? Discuss the characteristics your child included in his or her list. Discuss how many of those characteristics he or she believes God demonstrates. Highlight the fact that we can trust God and have confidence in the promises He makes.

For Students
Ask: What are some things you believe will happen in your future? (Examples: graduate high school, go to college, get married, have children, find a good job, and so forth) Why are you confident that those things will be a part of your future? Discuss responses. Using today’s focal passages, challenge students to determine why we can be confident of God’s work in our lives and His promises for our future.

 


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Building Self-Esteem in Your Kids

Posted on March 13, 2013 by Phil

Camp Parents,
As you continue to figure to how to parent your kids, we hope that these words of wisdom from Focus on the Family can help…

This clever discipline method is less exhausting and more successful than ranting, raving, blaming, pleading, begging or threatening.

by Shana Schutte

When kids are small, they learn the ABCs. They’re happy to sing them in the bathtub, in the car and while they’re eating their Cheerios. But according to Dr. Leman, the ABCs are for parents, too — ABCs that build a healthy self-esteem in your child.

According to Leman, author of Have a New Kid by Friday, a healthy self-esteem is cultivated in children through Acceptance, Belonging and Competence.

Acceptance

Some parents who are turned-off by their child’s choice of music or clothes send a message to their kids that not only is their child’s behavior unacceptable, but that they are unacceptable. As a result, their child spends hours listening to their iPod, playing computer games or talking on the phone. Why? Because if a child doesn’t feel accepted by their parents, they’ll look for acceptance from their friends. However, when parents unconditionally accept their kids, they will be much less likely to seek acceptance from a peer group — and they will develop a healthier self-esteem. According to Dr. Leman, “Your unconditional acceptance of your child means everything in her development.”

If you want to send a strong message to your child that he is accepted, listen and ask questions to show you care about his interests and concerns. In short, develop a relationship with your kids. Dr. Leman says, “Without a relationship, your rules, your words and your actions mean nothing. The wedge between you and your children will drive them toward Acceptance and Belonging in a group outside your home.”

Belonging

Everyone, whether they are five or fifty, wants to belong. Many people go to great lengths to ensure that they are connected with someone who cares. How can you give your kids a sense of belonging? By creating a community within your family. To accomplish this, Dr. Leman suggests giving your children a vote in decisions, listening to what they say and supporting them in their activities.

In Have a New Kid by Friday, Dr. Leman tells a story about 15-year-old Melissa who was approached and offered a cigarette. Because she had a strong sense of belonging within her family, she didn’t need the cigarette and replied, “No thanks. We Crayburns don’t smoke.”

By creating a healthy self-esteem, a sense of belonging helps your child resist peer pressure and creates a set of expectations for your kids to attain. For Melissa, it was the expectation that her family doesn’t smoke.

Competence

The third way to build self-esteem in your kids is to give them the gift of competence. Children become competent when they experience life first hand. If you are an overprotective parent, you’ll need to fight the urge to do for your kids what they can do for themselves.

In his book, Dr. Leman writes:

“These days, parents are overly concerned with their child’s self-esteem. ‘I want Johnny to feel good about himself,’ a mother says. So what does a mother do? She goes out of her way to clear life’s roads for her child, to do things for him that he should be doing for himself.

She thinks she’s helping him with his self-esteem, but what she is she really doing? She’s sending a negative message: ‘I think you’re so stupid that you can’t do it yourself, so I’ll do it for you.'”

The way a mother eagle teaches her eaglets to fly is an excellent example of how guiding (without over-controlling) helps kids mature and develop healthy self-esteem.

When a mother eagle wants her baby to fly, she waits until her eaglet is 80% of his adult size. Then she sets him on the edge of the nest and pushes him off into the wild blue. She watches her baby bird freefall, then swoops down just in time to catch him on her wings. This exercise is repeated over and over until the baby eaglet learns to fly.

By doing this, her baby’s confidence (and self-esteem, if eagles had such a thing) grows. Imagine if she was overly protective. Her eaglet would never learn to fly; he’d never mature.

In the same way, kids mature and develop a healthy self-esteem by experiencing life first hand, even if it means that sometimes they make mistakes.

When I was 19, I decided to move to London, England for a semester. My mom must have worried about me, but she never let on. London, with 13 million people, was light years away from my small town in southern Idaho. Even though I know Mom was concerned, she was very supportive. She has said in response to that adventure (and many others that I have embarked on), “You have to raise your kids to be independent. Some people want to keep their kids under their wing. That’s not the goal; the goal is to raise responsible adults.” And responsible adults are made by giving kids the gift of competence. Dr. Leman would be proud Mom.

Of course, your little person will not be traveling independently overseas anytime soon, but as he exerts his independence, ask yourself if what you want to protect your children from is necessary. If it’s not a life or death situation (or harmful), allowing your child to make mistakes will help develop his self-esteem.

There you have it: the ABCs of building self-esteem in your kids. Granted, it may not be as easy as singing the song, but with a little practice, your kids can grow up to become confident and responsible adults.

Copyright © 2008 Shana Schutte. All rights reserved. International copyright secured.


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Conversation Starter: Wise

Posted on March 6, 2013 by Phil

1 Corinthians 2
Holy Spirit gives wisdom to understand spiritual matters

Conversation Starters
How can you keep this conversation going at home? Try bouncing some of these questions around at the dinner table, as you’re driving your kids to school or an activity, or even while you’re shopping together:

For Preschoolers
Ask: How do you know when you’ve done something good? How do you know when you’ve done something wrong? Discuss why it’s important to do what’s right.

For Children
What does “wisdom” mean to you? How do you go about making sure your choices are wise? When have you helped someone else make a wise choice?

For Students
How has it become harder to display wisdom as you’ve gotten older? In what area do you struggle most with making wise choices? How often do you think of the Holy Spirit when you’re faced with a difficult decision?


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