2 Nights Only in Theaters: CONNECT. You Could WIN $50!

Written by Jonathan on . Posted in Blog, Tech Stuff

In a social media-centered world, the smart phone has become a cultural rite of passage for kids.  How can this generation of parents blaze a new trail to equip their kids to thrive in an ever-changing digital environment while steering clear of the dangers that lurk nearby? CLICK HERE FOR TRAILER

You’ve heard a lot about our most popular workshop: Parenting Techies and now you can get inspired and encouraged to protect your kids on their screen by seeing this on the big screen in this new documentary by Kirk Cameron.  With six teens, Kirk Cameron fully understands this dilemma. So he went to the experts and what he learned will enlighten, challenge, and encourage parents. And best of all: it can help strengthen your family! Join Kirk on this important journey of discovery in his brand-new documentary, CONNECT—only in cinemas for two nights: Tuesday, February 27 and Thursday, March 1.  You can purchase tickets HERE.
After watching, get some parents together to host our Parenting Techies workshop and we will walk you through many ways to protect your family with device settings, software, apps, etc.  See here for more info and reviews on our PT workshop!!!  Forward to your church or school and give parents the confidence they need after the movie.Win $50!  Take a picture with your crew at the movie and post it on Homes Devoted’s Facebook page and/or Instagram (jctherev_homesdevoted) and tell us one thing you learned that every parent should know!  We will do a drawing on March 2nd for a $50 gift card to a Darden’s Restaurant (Olive Garden, Longhorns, Cheddar’s)!  Share a photo and encourage other parents at the same time!

Helping you have Homes devoted!

#1 Reason NOT to “GIVE” Your Child/Teen A Smartphone For Christmas

Written by Jonathan on . Posted in Blog, Tech Stuff, Teen Girls, Teen Guys, Texting

​I know how much joy you would get from giving your teen the latest and greatest smartphone.  Or even one that’s not the newest model, but one that you can at least read the screen. (I didn’t know cell phone glass could crack into so many pieces!  My daughter’s screen is barely readable!)

The joy on their faces would be so satisfying if you were to hand them that new device.  They would adore you forever.   Well…at least until the next time you told them to clean their room.

Here is why we don’t GIVE them a phone.  We buy the phone and let them use it.  We make it clear it is OUR phone.  Yes, there is a difference.

It may feel like it’s theirs, but make it known from the beginning that it is yours and therefore it can be taken away at any time for any reason.  You can ask to see it.  You can go through it.   When they spend too much time on it or you sense there are issues, you have the right to take it away for a while.  (Um…Aren’t you paying for the service, anyways?)

Since it is your phone and they are borrowing it and because it is a privilege (It’s not an American right), you can use it as leverage.    “Not doing well in school?”  No more cell phone.  “Disrespectful?”  Gone.   “Didn’t do your chores?”  Say good-bye.

There are dangers that come with these devices which means there is added responsibility.  Please check out this post about protecting your loved ones: TWO SETTINGS TO KEEP THE DARK SIDE OUT.

For those of you who are new to having a child with a cell phone (or tablet), you may want to look at this agreement (edit it as you see fit).  This is the best way to start giving them this new responsibility.    Click here for more info on hosting our Parenting Techies Workshop.

For those of you who have already made that purchase and planned to put it under the tree, wait until all the gifts are unwrapped and explain to them that they have a “loaner” phone.  Trust me, they will be just as excited.

Have a wonderful Christmas!

Helping You Have Homes Devoted!
Jonathan & Carrie

Keep the Family Focused During Advent

Written by Jonathan on . Posted in Blog, Christmas, Ideas

Advent is that time of year when we focus on the birth of Christ and what it means that our Savior has come into the world! What good news!

As we enter the time of Advent, it’s a wonderful time to bring the family together, kids, teens and all for times of focusing on the coming of our Savior.

We are blessed with the ability to make a few clicks and order a ready made resource. The hardest part will be carving out the time, but how precious the time will be and the memories you will make as you lead your family to grow in the love and meaning of Christmas.

One idea is to turn off all the lights and use candles like they did for hundreds of years. Set the scene for them and make it a little different. This will create special and memorable moments.

Here are just a couple of links for resources. Don’t forget to check with your church​ as they may offer​ some, too.

  • Here is a post with descriptions of 10 resources.
  • We read this one last year: Jotham’s Journey and we all really enjoyed it.  This year, we are going to read Bartholomew’s Passage.  These are part of a series by Arnold Ytreeide.  There is also another Tabitha’s Travels: A Family Story for Advent
  • Here is a search on Amazon with lots of resources, many of which are included in the post above. (Another way to support HD is signing up with Amazon.)

If you have a resource you recommend, please pass it on, so we can encourage each other.  We love hearing what other parents are using.

Helping You Have Homes Devoted!
Jonathan & Carrie

What Our 5 Year Old Gains From Being In Church With Us

Written by Jonathan on . Posted in Blog, Challenging, Encouragement, Why Kids In Worship

I read this from a young woman as she reflected on her childhood:

“Our family went to church together every Sunday.  I wasn’t really sure why, but I didn’t mind.  I got to dress up in cute dresses and sit with my dad.  He was so busy during the week, and church was one time I got to hang out with him for hours.  I didn’t care if it was in a pew listening to some guy talking about God.  I just drew pictures and showed them to my dad.”

Our 5 year old, Bethany, loves sitting on my lap during church.  She sings, draws and colors.  Sometimes she is restless, but I know she is listening.  One Sunday, after getting our new senior pastor, I was talking too long during our “greet one another” time and she said, “Daddy, stop talking!  The new guy is speaking.”

So sweet.  So innocent.

I love having Bethany in there with us.  I know she is young, but she is gaining an experience every Sunday that so many children are missing.  She gets to snuggle with me and other close friends and adopted grandmas that sit with us.  She is hearing other people pray.  She is seeing her mom and dad, other kids, teenagers, adults and grandparents sing and praise God.  She is hearing the pastor’s stories and maybe even getting more of the message than we think. She sees communion, baptisms, testimonies.  Maybe one day she will help pass the offering plate, handout bulletins, sing in the band, lead a prayer.

She also experiences a community that loves Jesus, young and old!  I frankly, want her to grow up and feel out of place when she attends a church with only kids her age!  Why?  Because there is complete community when multi-generations are present.

Trust me, I know it’s not always easy having our young children in worship.  Have any of your kids smacked the bottoms of ladies as they walked down the aisle to partake in communion?  I don’t think so!   (One of our boys was the guilty perpetrator.  I wonder where he learned that from? )

What they gain from the Body of Christ worshiping together is so much more than just whether or not they get anything from the sermon.   They miss being a part of the full body.

Typically, the kind of worship experience our kids grow up with will be the kind they look for when they are older.   What kind of worship experience will your children desire to belong to as they grow into adulthood?  Most of the time, it will look a lot like it does now.   So the next question is: what are the experiencing on Sunday mornings now?

Helping you have Homes Devoted,
Jonathan

Use TEXTING to Connect With Your Teen

Written by Jonathan on . Posted in Blog, Dads, Heart Connections With Your Kids, Ideas, Tech Stuff, Texting

Technology can be a fantastic way to connect with our kids.

How many of us have shouted orders to our kids via a text?  Things like…

  • “Don’t  FORGET your homework!!!”
  • “When you get home: let out the dog, have a snack, clean your room, because I can’t see the floor! Love you.
  • “Be home by 9!”
  • “BE QUIET and go to sleep!” (Sent from your bed while they are across the house in theirs.)

Me too.  Guilty.

I have made it a priority to connect with my daughters with at least one encouraging text a day.
When your kids get a text from you, what is their first thought?  Is their first response one of excitement?

Can you imagine if every time our kids receive a text from us, their first thought was, “I wonder what encouraging thing my dad is going to say now?”  What if they looked forward to receiving our texts?
Let’s send at least one encouraging, uplifting, inspiring, funny text every day.  There just isn’t a reason not to use this tool to connect with our kids.

As a reminder, put it in your calendar to repeat every day. (Yes. I do this. Don’t tell my daughter.)

Text them stuff like:

  • “You did great at…!”
  • “Hope you do fantastic on your exam. Praying for you!”
  • “Hang in there. The day is almost over.”
  • “Is this a good weekend to wash my car?”
  •  “I thought I would encourage you with a reminder that you have the best dad in the whole world!  Love ya.”  (With crazy selfie.)
  • “Can’t wait to hear about your day. Love you.”
  • “Excited to spend time with you this weekend.”
  • An inspirational scripture verse. “Whoever spares the rod hates their children, but the one who loves their children is careful to discipline them.” Proverbs 13.24 (Just kidding.)

I ran across a picture of my daughter on my computer and I had this idea.  I brought the picture up on the screen.  Then I wrote adjectives that describe her on post-it notes and put them around the picture and texted it to her.  It only took a few minutes and it meant a lot to her.

Our kids need our affirmation.  They don’t get a lot of praise for who they are outside our home, so let’s make sure they get it from those who love them the most.

For more insights, inspiration & training on how to safe guard your kids on these electronic devices, host our Parenting Techies workshop.  See below.

Thanks for your continued support as we partner with parents to have homes devoted.

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