Posts Tagged ‘parenting’

failing-grade-mNot many of us particularly want to fail at anything in life…and for me that goes for anything from my marriage, family, career…and all the way to checkers and video games.  Bottom line…I like to win!  And if we’re being truthful, well…don’t we all?  We live in a society where we reward people for just about anything, and in fact, in our attempt at fairness and equality, we’ll give out medals and ribbons just for showing up!

Now for the record, I do think there’s some benefit to downplaying the ‘win-at-all-costs’ attitude, especially for those parents that try to live vicariously through their children.  But I also think our society has gone a little overboard with the paranoia that not rewarding a 17th place finish may just hurt little Timmy’s feelings and crush him for life!  It’s a delicate balance for sure as a parent to reward and strive for the right things, yet to also acknowledge the realities that not everyone wins at everything in life.  We’re dealing with that in the lives of our children right now.  Yesterday we were at a family bbq and games night at our church, and there was a game where you could win a glass jar with a goldfish.  One of our kids won…the other came up short.  You would have thought it was the end of the world to not take home a $.50 goldfish!  But to offset the remorse of the kids who didn’t get a goldfish, they did end up walking out with a ‘consolation’ prize for…yep…just stepping in line and trying.

Again, I think it’s good to offer rewards, but when our kids are raised in an environment that can’t tolerate any mention or notion of failure, it really causes me to ask; “what kind of kids are we raising, and will they be able to handle the inevitable rejection and failure that awaits us at some level in life (school tests, job interviews, rejection letters from post-secondary schools, dating relationships, sports…)?”  I mean, even the bible makes it pretty clear that it’s not the goal of a devoted Christ-follower to just be in the race, but to strive and press on towards the prize (Heaven, a life in pursuit of Christ…hearing God say “well done good and faithful one…nice work!).  At some point you have to make a decision as to whether or not you’re gonna actually get in the game and do something…there’s not much fanfare mentioned in scripture for those who simply ‘participate.’  But that’s a discussion for another post!!

So I found it refreshing today when I found this article from Rhett Smith waiting for me in my inbox.  Rhett is a professional counselor and author, and contributes to numerous article on family and parenting with the Fuller Youth Institute.  His article adeptly addresses the same question I asked above, and elaborates on the theology and fear of failure, as well as what parents can do to actually embrace failure as sacred and fertile ground for growth in our lives, and our kids.  You’ll also find some helpful action steps to take as a family so you can start the process of assessing failure as a tool to move ahead, not behind!

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FRANCIA RAISA, DAREN KAGASOFF, SHAILENE WOODLEY, KENNY BAUMANN, MEGAN PARK, GREG FINLEYThe title is almost an oxymoron!  Although the average teen likely has a few things going on in their lives that they work hard at keeping well-hidden, they also seem to work equally hard at wearing their life on their sleeves.  The emotional ups-and-downs of a teen are like watching a Leafs game…so much promise, so much expectation, so much frustration, so much overachieving, so much underachieving…arriving late, leaving early, frenetic pace, lethargic tempo, controlled system, out-of-control-in-your-face…you get the picture!

As you can see, it’s no secret that most teens have a lot going on in their lives to process…and that’s just the emotional aspects to sort through, let alone the relational, physical and spiritual elements.  I’m not going to try to tackle all the above elements of the teen life, but I am focusing in on one huge element…their online and social media lives!

Just where exactly is the “average” teen spending their time online?  This infograph from the crew @ zone alarm certainly isn’t an exhaustive list, but does shed some helpful perspective, in my opinion.  Thanks also to Kolby Milton @ Youth Ministry Media for the original source outlet.

A Couple of Nuggets to Chew On…

Trust vs. Awareness: a whopping 91% of teens said their parents trust them online vs. 56% of teens indicating their parents don’t know what they do online.

Teens Aren’t Shy: 32% of girls said they chatted with total strangers online, while 24% of guys did the same.

Too Revealing: 69% of teens indicate their online location…while some locations may be bogus, many teens I know do reveal their legit location.

So What?
Parents and youth leaders need to engage teens in conversation about their online habits.  If no one is going to ask them what they’re looking at/doing, generally they ain’t gonna share it voluntarily!  Just like adults need accountability, the same holds true for youth and teens…even more so.

One way we can help teens with setting online boundaries is to talk with them about who they ‘friend’ online.  Most see it as some kind of popularity contest and status level, but the vast majority of online ‘friends’ tend to be nothing more than mere acquaintances with no real investment in our personal lives.  Parents shouldn’t feel bad about inquiring about these areas with their teens, and teens shouldn’t feel threatened or that their privacy is being violated.  Open-ended and honest communication is the key…on both ends, but ultimately teens need to respect the authority and care their parents have with them.

Social Media Guidelines for Students and Job Seekers

We all have assets, things of value we can use for individual and mutual benefit.  The question is…how are we using those assets we’ve been given?  A huge reason this blog exists is due to my devotion to equipping, resourcing and encouraging families.  Families are a God-ordained part of humanity, and when functioning in health, are the most unique and dynamic force on the planet (outside of God’s people as His church!).  And within every family unit, there are assets that each family has that contribute to different areas of the family dynamic, as well as within the community at-large.

So what is a family asset? Simply defined, it’s a trait, a concrete component a family might posses. The more assets a family has, the more likely its members are to display healthier behaviors. The presence of more assets is also linked to higher satisfaction among family members.” –Meredith Miller

Not every asset is as easily measurable or tangible as an object/item or financial resource.  But how each family goes about investing and using these assets not only goes a long way in establishing how that particular family functions, but also how their assets contribute to the overall health and wellness of society.  It’s really a fascinating concept, and I wish i was the one who came up with this revelation, but alas the honesty guy within me cannot take the credit…plus it’s too easy to spot a plagiarizer in the internet world anyways!  No, this information came my way via an article I read by Meredith Miller from the Fuller Youth Institute.

Her article, Strengthening Families: How Family Assets Support Us All, is based on research conducted by The Search Institute’s American Family Assets Study.  The premise of the study is that most every parent seeks to obtain wisdom and insight on how to be a ‘good’ and effective parent.  They glean wisdom and information from different sources (books, seminars, friends, family), but that the approach of one particular family doesn’t  necessarily match the approach of another’s, despite both having the same common goal.

The Search Institute identified 21 unique assets in their study, which they then divided into 5 categories;

  1. nurturing relationships
  2. establishing routines
  3. maintaining expectations
  4. adapting to challenges
  5. connecting to community

What Difference Does All This Make?
According to the Search Institute, “These assets are associated with positive outcomes for young teens and their parenting adults, explaining more of the differences in outcomes than many demographics and other individual and family characteristics explain.”

Families with more assets tend to sleep more, exercise more frequently, eat healthier than those with fewer assets…children in these families tend to make better grades and be more involved in their schooling. Both parents and children of high-asset families are more socially responsible and civically engaged than members of low-asset families.” –Miller (source article)

The entire article, in case you missed the link above, can be read here
You can See how each asset is defined here
There’s a full discussion guide available here
Further ideas on building Family Assets at home can be found here

Hey there friends and followers of Here & There…just letting you know that there’s been some updates this week;

Family Corner– added a couple of new ‘nuggets’, including how parents monitor their children’s social media, and an in-depth look at the world of teen texting and the troubles associated with Gen-Text.

Just 4 Fun– check out the new video from our friends @ Don’t Be That Guy

The Book Shelf– new recommended reading from author Steve Zollos called The Talk…it’s about dads having that all-important conversation with their sons about sexuality, integrity, character and purity

Youth & Culture– some new News You Can Use (a dangerous and not-so-new game teens are playing, the disconnected teen) as well as updated the What’s Trending? section…plus a new Hot Button question.

Have a great weekend, and a special welcome and thank you to our new friends/followers from Brazil, Ireland, Estonia, and Sri Lanka…thanks for taking the time to hang with us!

All 4 His Call;

Shawn (passengershawn!)