Jesus Music Box: Fun for the Whole Family

I’ve been a fan of Yancy‘s for quite awhile. She’s a good friend of my (blogging-to-real-life) friend OhAmanda. Her kids’ music is totally fun and tolerable for adults while teaching kids scriptural truth. My personal favorite is Little Praise Party: Happy Day Everyday, which is especially for preschoolers and toddlers.

Released in March, Yancy’s new album Jesus Music Box caters to an older, preteen crowd. The songs are about sharing Jesus’ love with others freely – as is expressed in rocking track “Not Ashamed.”

 

“These songs are really all about making Jesus loud in our life,” says Yancy. “One of my biggest passions, through the songs that I sing and through my life, is making sure it shows that Jesus is in my heart and that I love him. There are several songs on this album that are all about that- it’s about turning up the volume and letting Jesus shine!”

Your little ones will love to sing along and your preteens will think you rock for letting them listen to something with a beat. The lyrics on each track are worth listening to again and again, in the car and around the house.

You can find Jesus Music Box on iTunes, Amazon, and on Yancy’s website.

KISS (Keep It Seriously Simple) by Lou Ann Davison

IMG_2862.JPG
source: ademrudin

Do you ever feel like your life is more complicated than you wish it were? Are you used to having way too much “stuff”? Your children may feel the same way. They are often the targets of marketing campaigns that are aimed at convincing them that happiness comes by buying whatever product they’re pushing. Today’s kids need to learn to tell the difference between needs and wants. They need to be taught how to appreciate and express thankfulness for what they have, rather than always longing for what they don’t have.

As parents and teachers of preteens, you need to look for every opportunity to drive home the facts about the issues described. Sit down with your preteen sometime and leaf through a catalog from a store. Have him point out things he thinks he would like to own. Then talk about whether or not that item is a need or a want. Explain the difference simply by pointing out that needs are the essential things in life, while wants are not that important.

If your preteen insists that an item is “essential” to him, perhaps instead of agreeing to buy it for him, challenge him to save his money to buy it himself. If it takes him a long time to earn the money, chances are he will change his mind about the item being so important to him and decide against buying it.

Another activity is to look for opportunities for your preteen to be involved in a mission project. Perhaps your church offers ways to help people in your community who are less fortunate.

A group of fifth graders developed a new appreciation for the food their parents provide for them by helping out in a food pantry. They never really thought about that there were many people in their community who could barely scrape by and feed their families. Children’s hospitals, children’s homes, and other facilities that take care of children often have “wish lists” available for the asking. Your preteen would enjoy filling some of those needs. Allow him to actually purchase the items, box them up, and mail them himself. Point out to him that he can be assured that his generosity will bring a smile to some child who may not have a lot to smile about.

Helping your child see the world in this way opens up a whole new thought process for him. He will hopefully become less demanding of “stuff” for himself and realize that true happiness comes by giving of himself to others.

The Bible has a lot to say about living in this way. A few scriptures to share with your preteen are: Matthew 10:8; Matthew 19:21; Mark 10:21; Acts 20:35.

Perhaps as you focus on teaching this all-important lesson about “simple living,” you will realize you need to make some changes in your way of life, too. What better way to drive home this lesson than to model it for your preteen!

Lou Ann Davison is a retired elementary teacher who enjoys substitute teaching, tutoring, and spending time with her five grandchildren. She is a member of the First Baptist Church in Marvell, AR.

Tangled Web: Internet Caution for Parents

Eee PC
source: Pete Prodoehl

Oh, what a tangled web was penned long before the Internet existed, but it’s an apt description for the lures and pitfalls that can trap preteens posting on social networks. We interviewed Detective Rich Wistocki, a veteran police investigator and parent educator, about online safety concerns.

PL: What should parents know about allowing preteens to use accounts on social networks?

Wistocki: Adults and children should not be connected to other online. You should be connected to your own children, but not others’. There is too much content on adult pages that should not be shared with kids.

PL: Why are kids under 13 restricted from social networks such as Facebook?

Wistocki: Many things can happen online that kids under 13 do not know how to handle. They typically include cyber bullying, predators, and exposure to adult content.

Predators have many tricks for connecting with kids online. Unsuspecting children want more friends, and they are more likely to accept anyone into their network.

PL: Preteens often post their school and activity schedules with captions like, “Check against your schedule and comment.” Dangerous?

Wistocki: Very dangerous! [Those posts] are alerting their entire network to where they are and when. Kids on average can have hundreds of connections and not all of them are trustworthy. Who knows who they are sharing that information with?

Parents should also note that if security settings aren’t set to “private,” kids are sharing that schedule with the World Wide Web.

PL: If parents suspect their preteens have created Facebook accounts without permission, how should they intervene?

Wistocki: I always recommend that parents [approach the subject] in a positive way prior to accusing them. You could say, “I opened a Facebook account. I don’t know anything about it. Can you show me?” Then, observe [kids’] behavior. Do they know all about it? Ask them how. Remember, you know your child best, so go with your gut. If [he] is too young, remind [him] of the rules and deactivate the account. If kids are old enough and you approve, discuss your rules and expectations for using social media.

A great family contract for social media is here:

http://www.truecare.com/sites/default/files/FamilySocialMediaAgreement.pdf

ggmathisG.G. Mathis is a mom, and preteen Bible study teacher. On days the Internet service is working, she writes and posts from Duenweg, Missouri—population 1,051.

Dumb Things Kids Do with Smart Phones by G.G. Mathis

The term smart phone refers to the gadget—not necessarily the user! We interviewed Detective Rich Wistocki, a veteran police investigator and parent educator, about problematic preteen phone habits.

Alachia Does Droid 2
source: alachia

PL: What should parents do before they give their preteens a smart phone?

Wistocki: Understand one thing: Apple handheld devices cannot be monitored. Only Android phones can be monitored. I would start off by not getting my [child] an iPhone, first and foremost.

Parents must speak often and honestly to their children about the usage expectations. Don’t forget, you are the parent! You own this phone. You have the right to monitor activity on it [and] ensure everyone is behaving as agreed to.

PL: What are some dumb mistakes make using their smart phones?

Wistocki: Sending photos and uploading them to Facebook and other sites. Cameras are so easy to use … there is no time to double-think the decision [to post]. Geotagging—a picture can contain an exact location, so when it is sent or posted online, kids are (sometimes unknowingly) posting exactly where they are through the geotags. [Parents should] turn geotags off in the phone’s settings.

PL: Free phone apps are tempting to download. Which ones are unwise for preteens to use?

Wistocki: Apps where kids connect freely with strangers are the most dangerous—apps like Taproom and Words With Friends. These are fantastic vehicles for predators to find, groom, and then prey upon unsuspecting victims. Kids know all about “not friending people you don’t know online,” but I am not sure this mindset has expanded to apps.

PL: How can parents monitor phone use?

Wistocki: Talk about it with the cell phone providers when [the phones are purchased] . They can illustrate safe settings and options. Check out outside monitoring companies like TrueCare. Kids are more tech savvy than their parents around all these new technologies. Parents need to rely on monitoring services, software, and controls to ensure everything is okay online.

 

ggmathis  G.G. Mathis is a mom, preteen Bible study teacher, and writer from Duenweg, Missouri. She still needs help setting the ringtone on her phone.

 

Prescription for Preteen Worship by G.G. Mathis

Greenstone Church
source: reallyboring

It is possible, when a church has multiple hours of Sunday morning children’s programming, for a preteen to reach the end of sixth grade without attending a single corporate worship service. The result is a group of kids who, due to inexperience, approach church worship reluctantly instead of expectantly.

You can help preteens learn how to connect enthusiastically with God in your church’s worship service:

Encourage participation

  • If your church has a contemporary worship service, note the songs you sing most often. (Your worship leader can help compile a preteen-friendly playlist of tunes preteens may hear on contemporary Christian radio.) Play the songs before, during, or after class.
  • Make a date once a month for your preteens to sit and worship together.
  • As teaching opportunities arise, help preteens recognize and practice giving as an act of worship.
  • Acknowledge that God wires everyone to connect with Him in different ways. Encourage preteens to discover the worship styles and actions that best help them enjoy God’s presence.

Discourage distraction

  • Take a lighthearted approach to the subject of worship etiquette. Lead preteens to create a list of “worst worship behaviors” or take silly posed pictures of worship do’s and don’ts for sharing and posting.
  • Discuss appropriate/inappropriate worship behavior from a “you don’t want to miss a single minute of worship!” standpoint.

Encourage spiritual formation

  • Provide preteens with inexpensive spiral notebooks or composition books for worship use. Encourage preteens to take notes instead of passing them. Suggest that for each message, preteens record the title, the key Scripture, and at least three important ideas from the pastor’s message.
  • Begin, if you haven’t, taking notes yourself during the worship service. Whenever possible, mention ideas, anecdotes, videos, or worship experiences that relate in some way to the concepts you are teaching preteens.
  • Provide copies of Bible Express and encourage preteens to develop the habit of private Bible study and prayer. When preteens connect with God alone daily, it will be more natural for them to connect with Him with others weekly during public worship.

ggmathisG.G. Mathis loves watching the preteens at Forest Park Baptist Church in Joplin, Missouri, worship with others.

Taming a Preteen Coffee Fiend by G.G. Mathis

coffee
source: hundreds

Thick, velvety chocolate mocha agitated until it’s bubbly. A blob of fluffy whipped cream the size of a cupcake. Top it off with chocolate shavings, cinnamon, or party sprinkles … what’s not to like about a frothy latte, especially if you’re a preteen aching to look and sip like a grown-up?

If you’re a health-conscious parent, what’s not to like may be the caffeine content. One Starbucks® latte, at 150 mg of caffeine, is well past the expert-recommended daily maximum of 85 mg for kids ages 10-12. (It’s not just coffee-based drinks: a 64-ounce mini-mart Mountain Dew® maxes out the meter at 293 milligrams.) Caffeine, say pediatric medical experts, can be responsible for dehydration, anxiety, tension, headaches, and stomachaches.

Many preteens are choosing to check out coffee drinks for the caffeine rush, or the perceived coolness of striding into school sipping a frothy frappe. How can you balance your preteen’s caffeinated curiosity with parental prudence? Percolate on these points:

Monitor your own caffeine intake. Yep, your example matters! Keep an eye on what you ingest. (200-300 mg per day is considered moderate adult consumption.) If you need to dial it down, start small. Switch one caffeinated drink a day for milk, water, or juice.

Try some trade-offs. When you feel the occasion calls for a treat, provide your preteen with some lower-caffeine options, such as decaffeinated soda, flavored teas (significantly lower in caffeine than coffee counterparts), or homemade milkshakes flavored with a tiny bit of coffee or caramel syrup.

Encourage kitchen creativity. For the price of three or four expensive coffees, you can buy a blender and encourage your preteen to create sweet and healthy smoothies, shakes, and other caffeine-free drink treats. (Search on “drink recipes for kids” at www.allrecipes.com for a gallon of great ideas.) The together time as you taste and create together is well worth the investment in ingredients!

G.G. Mathis admits to needing a cup of strong tea to get each morning started. She’s a mom and writer from Southwest Missouri.

Mathis also writes for FLYTE, LifeWay’s new curriculum for preteens. 

Real Men Aren’t Afraid to Carry Bibles by G.G. Mathis

This post is part of our monthly series encouraging leaders and parents of preteens. You’ll find more information and a great curriculum at the FLYTE blog

IMG_1613
source: giratikanon

Kelton’s parents gave him a Bible for his eleventh birthday, four months ago. He’s never taken it out of the box.

Jaden brings his Bible to church, slams it on the table, and sits the rest of the hour with his arms crossed.

Barrett, certain he won’t need it at home, leaves his Bible at church on Sundays.

Hang around preteen boys at church, and you’ll discover that these behaviors, though undesirable, are not uncommon.  You have a unique opportunity to help boys (and girls) recognize the value of God’s Word. Here’s how:

Use navigational aids. Remember that some of your preteens are new to church, and a thick book arranged in neither alphabetical nor numerical order is hard to navigate. Assure boys, “It’s always OK to use the table of contents!” Frequently and briefly review the significance of chapter and verse numbers.

Use Bibles every session. Technology makes it possible for teachers to flash verses on a screen, use search engines to find them, or spit out a printout of a Bible passage. Don’t forget to encourage preteens to experience the Bible the traditional way—hands-on and minds on! (You can add technological techniques as kids improve in Bible-handling expertise.)

Use affirmation. Privately recognize boys who bring their own Bibles to church. Encourage them to show you what Bible translation they are using, as well as the maps, dictionaries, or other study helps it contains. As time and conversation permit, explain which study helps are your favorites and why.

Use natural preteen curiosity. How do you get boys to use their Bibles in between Sundays? Trick them, of course! Bait boys with bits and bites of Bible stories about heroes, battles, spies, and God’s supernatural power. Tell enough of the story to pique their interest, then tell boys where they can read the rest.

Use your Bible! Let boys see you carrying, reading, and respecting your Bible. Tell them about meaningful passages you read and how they helped you make it through a tough week. Keep up the habit of marking and memorizing Scriptures and sharing them with preteens when you teach.

What suggestions do you have for making preteens excited about the Bible?  

G.G. Mathis teaches preteens at Forest Park Baptist Church in Joplin, Missouri.

Hear Gear: Listen Well

005075230_2010-10_l.jpgIn the October issue of ParentLife, Tonya Grant’s article "Innocence Lost: Movies, TV, and Preteens" provides tools for navigating the tricky world of media choices. Tonya gave us a few extra questions for the blog to help you get your preteen talking about media choices and peer influence.

  • Is it possible to be liked by everyone? (Role-play some examples.)
  • How is this (activity/friend/pursuit) going to make you a stronger person? Are there any ways it could hurt you now or later?
  • Will the group still like you if you choose not to participate? If not, how will you handle that? If not, what does that say about the group?
  • When did this (person/form of media) start getting popular? Has it always been popular? Do you think it may one day not be popular anymore?
  • Tell me some reasons you like this (song, style, movie).
  • What do you know about the example this (music group, actor, person at school/church) sets? Do you aspire to act like that or have a similar reputation?
  • Do you think I would allow this star to babysit (you or younger children)? Why (not)?
  • Do you think how this person acts is okay? Why (not)? What do you think are the long-term effects of choices, behaviors, and lifestyles like this?
  • What do you think Jesus might say if He was sitting down having a conversation with this person you admire?
  • Have you read any reviews about this movie? (Direct your child to pluggedin.com; read and discuss the information presented there.)
  • How do you feel when I tell you “no” about this, but your friends are allowed to participate in it? What would make you more willing to feel that way?
  • Is this person’s main message in agreement, opposed to, or neutral about our Christian values? How can media that is strongly opposite our values affect our thinking?
  • How do you want to be remembered?

Initiating conversations like these will not only guide your teen in his decisions, it will also help your know his heart better. Be open to having your mind changed as well; but remember, you are the parent. You have the right to lay down the law in your home.

What topics have you struggled with when it comes to talk to your teens and preteens?

Related articles that might be helpful to you:

Preteens and Dating Terms
Preteens and Porn: What I Wish I Had Known
Listening to Our Kids

 

Robert Beeson, iShine, and Bible Express

If you read our July 2010 feature on single-dad Robert Beeson and your preteen is a fan of iShine, be sure not to miss the September 2010 issue of Bible Express!

BEx11840910GirlsCover.jpg

Bible Express is a devotional magazine for preteens! In the September issue, Bible Express is featuring two bands from iShine Live tour — The Rubyz and Mission Six. If your preteen is a fan of these bands, you definitely won’t want to miss it! 

BEx11840910BoysCover-1.jpg

Also coming in September … Bible Express is becoming two magazines in one. Each issue will be a flipbook design where one side is specifically for boys and the other side is specifically for girls. Cover, articles, and devotions will be gender specific and relevant for today’s preteens! It will be awesome!

Does your church recieve Bible Express? Does your preteen use it? Tell us what you love about it … and your thoughts on the new format!

 

Puberty and Your Preteen

Have you had "the talk" with your preteen? Every parent knows exactly what talk this is and more than likely dreads it! However, there is another approach to this talk – that of an ongoing conversation about boundaries, roles, anatomy, and your child as a special creation of God — that renders the talk a natural outgrowth of previous conversations. In other words, it is not the talk, but an ongoing conversation.

In the May issue of ParentLife, be sure to catch both approaches! Check out our feature on a lifetime of conversation with your child and the preteen Growth Spurt (pp. 16-17) about talking to your child about sex. In addition to this article, the author provided a few extra facts that sheds light on the changes boys and girls go through during puberty.

May_19_preteen.jpg

The Normal Life of Boys in Puberty
A boy experiences five to seven surges of testosterone each day. This will affect his body as it grows and changes. It also will affect his feelings. He will be sad, happy, embarrassed, and angry, often all at the same time. He also will think about girls and sex on a very regular basis (statistics say every 20 seconds).

The Normal Life of Girls in Puberty
A girl’s brain moves into hyper drive during puberty. The brain connections grow rapidly, affecting two things predominantly: her memory and her self-confidence. So she periodically will not remember even things that are important to her. She often will feel bad about herself for no reason at all. The changes in her hormones also will cause her moods to fluctuate often and with great intensity.

What has helped you in conversations with your preteen about these sensitive topics?