Archive for 'Parents'
Posted on 29. May, 2014 by Kenny.Yes, that blog title was a bit extreme I will admit. Maybe it was too much, but it points to a real issue that is causing bigger problems than we're actually acknowledging. Marriages and families are having less than ideal experiences and one cause of many are the little screens we cary with us everywhere. Twenty years ago, it was the TV. I remember seeing pro-family campaigns that talked about how TV is destroying the American family and I'm sure this sentiment hasn't changed, but if they only knew how little of an impact TV has on society compared to the effect mobile technology is having on society. It's time for families to have real conversations about how always on connectivity and media is impacting the home. I'll confess, I struggle with mobile and technological addictive behaviors. My default mode is to look at a screen as opposed to just sit and think, rest and enjoy a moment. I'm far more productive with technology than I ever was without it, but I realize that this does come with a cost. I'm not really calling for throwing the baby out with the bathwater, but I do feel that conversations need to be had. This past March, I got a little dose of reality.
Posted on 08. Mar, 2014 by Kenny.Here's a totally random but potentially useful idea to use in your kidmin. A little over a week ago, I took my family on a really cool adventure. I'd come across a website that shows you when and where to look to spot the International Space Station. No, really. You tell the website where you are and it tells you when you'll be able to see it. It will tell you where in the sky it will enter your view and where in the sky it will leave. It will also tell you how long you'll be able to see it. To really make this an adventure, we drove almost three hours away to Enchanted Rock... a famous outcropping of granite in the Texas Hill Country that would give us a completely unobstructed view of the night sky. We got to the top of the rock about 15 minutes before the scheduled sighting. When the time came, we were not disappointed. It was the brightest light in the night sky and for the next four minutes, we watched it zoom across the night sky. We then hiked down the small mountain in the darkness which only added to the adventure. So, what does that have to do with kidmin?
Posted on 03. Mar, 2014 by Kenny.A few months ago I read an article in Wired magazine that was quite shocking. The article is based on a book, "It's complicated, the social lives of networked teens" by Danah Boyd. We all know that teenagers are overly connected to their electronic devices. Between twitter, instagram, snapchat and texting, they seem to always be glued to their devices. We'd even go so far to say that they're addicted to their devices. However, that's not the view of this book/article. They suggest that teens/tweens aren't addicted to their social devices, they're addicted to each other. They spend so much time on social media because they usually don't have any other way to connect. The suggestion is that if parents gave their kids more freedom, kids would be less connected to their social devices. It's an interesting idea and worth exploring. More than ever, we're more protective of our kids and we have them busier that any generation before. What if our kids had more time and more freedom to be together? Check out the full article here.
Posted on 26. Feb, 2014 by Kenny.I've been talking about the two most significant questions asked in the hallways of our children's ministry environments. Did you have fun? What did you learn? If your'e just joining this conversation, you might think, "What's so significant about these two questions?" Nothing really, at least from our perspective. They're really not significant at all. When you get to the bottom of it, they're absolutely not the questions we wish were asked in our environments. They're shallow and automatic... meaningless even. But, they're significant because they represent an opportunity.
Posted on 27. Nov, 2013 by Kenny.That title might have been offensive to some... terribly sorry. Oh well, it's true though, isn't it? Advent has totally become the "think" in our Kidmin communities in recent years, right? It's not like advent is new or anything. I remember the creative calendar boxes from when I was a kid, but now it seems to be everywhere, and that's a great thing. (Confession: I've never actually done advent, in a serious and disciplined way - meaning to do it every day for 25 days. Don't judge, I think we're going to give it a shot this year.) So, I thought I'd share some of the advent ideas out there as there seems to be quite a few. Maybe you're looking for some inspiration to create your own for families in your church or you simply want to point families to an advent resource they can do on their own. Well, here are some of the ideas I know about.
Posted on 03. Oct, 2013 by Kenny.I feel the dilemma that you feel. Children's Ministry is what you do, but in recent years your heart has been pricked for family ministry. You want to offer more for your parents. You've been sold on the idea that if we do more for parents, we leverage their influence on kids (which is far greater than ours) and we all win. There's only one problem. You're a children's pastor and Sunday comes each and every weekend. There's more work to be done than hours in the week to do it. What you do on Sunday is so important, but it just crowds out the time you want to devote to parents. Yeah, you're not alone. Here's an idea though. You don't have to reinvent the wheel. The class you want to offer parents doesn't have to be written from scratch by you. The weekly email you want to send doesn't have to be penned completely by you. Even the topics you'd like to cover doesn't have to be dreamed up by you. I honestly believe that we're doing ministry in one of the greatest times because there are so many content providers emerging every day to help us do what we do better... including family ministry.
Posted on 18. Sep, 2013 by Kenny.18 months ago I returned from the Orange Conference with on single book that has impacted my ministry more than any other resource I have come across in years. There have been incredible resources that have impacted the way I lead, communicate and create, but this resource was something that impacted me and was something I could physically give my small group leaders. I've personally seen leaders change because of this book. I've seen kids impacted powerfully because of this book. What book is this? LeadSmall. It's a job description for any small group leader, preschool through high school. It's inspiring. It's practical. I've given away dozens and dozens of these books and this year we're rolling out systematic training and resourcing around the idea of LeasSmall. Oh, and it only gets better. I left the Orange Conference this last spring with a new book. Playing for Keeps. I knew a good bit about the book as it was being written. I knew it had a fable piece to it to help connect the teaching points. I knew it was also written in the style of LeadSmall. It also tied into this marbles theme. However, I wasn't completely sure what it was all about.
Posted on 14. Jul, 2013 by Kenny.I'm sure every generation of parenting had it's extreme challenges. With the hyper connectedness of media and social networks of today's times, it seems like parent have got to be one their A-game like never before. The issue I'd like to bring up is subject of teen idols. Most kids have them, from TV actors, sports prodigies and most well known... the teen rockstar! This kind of teen role model isn't really a bad thing, everyone needs someone to look up to. However, as parents, we need to prepare our kids for the likely event of when a teen idol crashes and burns. Case in point... Miley Cyrus. The lovable star of Hannah Montana of just a few years ago, who had the hearts of millions of pre-teen girls is no longer the teen idol you want influencing your pre-teen girls. This isn't just a problem for teenage fans who fell in love with Miley years ago, but new fans are made everyday with old DVD's and video on demand services. The pro-Christian message and strong morals Miley professed a few years ago has been replaced with strong messages of sex promiscuity and drug use. Check out the reaction of these teenagers who watched her new music video "We Can't Stop." WARNING, this video is not safe for children! My favorite quote, "It made no sense, like, nothing made sense,” one teen said “[Miley] just wanted to take every cool and edgy and explicit and naughty thing she could come up with and throw it all together in one big vomit of mess.” Some of the teens recognized the disaster, but others saw it as Miley making a name for herself and they were in full support. This flip-flop happened so fast, many parents still think as Miley Cyrus/Hannah Montana as a great role model for their kids. So what happens when your child's harmless teen idol goes off the deep end?
Posted on 02. May, 2013 by Kenny.Several years ago, I read a pretty amazing book by Patrick Lencioni, Three Big Questions for the Frantic Family. Lencioni writes amazing books for business leaders about overcoming dysfunction within teams, having better meetings, clarifying core values and other important business objectives. However, he dipped into sacred family territory with Three Big Questions and I must admit, it made quite the splash in my family. Within a couple of weeks, we had a chalk board in our kitchen and several of our friends moved chalk and dry erase boards into their kitchens. Was the book helpful? Yes! Are we good at applying the principles. Not always. Maybe we just need a coach to help us move along at times. A new book just came out that approaches the same topic. Bruce Feiler wrote the book, The Secret of Happy Families. Bruce was inspired by Agile software programing, a system to keep teams on track with software development and saw connections to daily family life. The system encourages practices which encourage flexibility, bottom-up idea flow, constant feedback and accountability. Why not apply this to the family. He did and the result was a best-selling book and a TED talk. What do you think? Have these business/family crossovers been helpful? Inspiring? Lacking? Anyway, below is the TED talk by Bruce Feiler:
Posted on 25. Apr, 2013 by Kenny.Orange released a new app yesterday. It's both frightening, amazing and depressing all at the same time. Whatever emotion you feel, it's a truth that no parent should ignore. We have limited time. Below I have put in both of my kids. Wow! Time is ticking away! This app allows you to put in a child's birthdate and it estimates the time left until their graduation. It is a visual representation of the time we have left to influence a child before they leave home. You can also add in specific events and see the countdown until that day. When you see the time you have left, you get serious about the time you have now. Download the app right here.