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    Instilling Patriotism in your Teens

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    On Manners and Civility: LESSON THREE: BASIC PATRIOTISM

    By Sarah Philpott

    Manners: a characteristic or customary mode of acting

    Civility: polite, reasonable, and respectful behavior

    From the Merriam-Webster Dictionary

    I was at my niece’s high school graduation and was excited to see a new generation ready to greet the world. The brightly-smiling students had entered the gymnasium clothed in their black-robed gowns.  Cameras covered the faces of parents as they tried to get the most perfect shots. It was a glorious occasion. Soon into the ceremony the talented choir began singing the United State’s national anthem: The Star-Spangled Banner.

    I proudly stood on those bleachers and started belting the lyrics. But when I cast my eyes around that high-school I realized patriotism had not been taught to many in attendance. And from the looks of things, might not have been taught for several generations.

    People seemed confused as to whether they should stand or remain seated. … continue reading

    Where's the Panic Button?

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    By Ann-Margret Hovsepian, Creative Connections column

    Don’t you wish you had a big red button you could punch whenever life got crazy and suddenly everything would be okay? Your boss wants you to work overtime but your daughter has a music lesson; your father is sick and needs help, but you have a family vacation scheduled; you have a dozen people coming over this weekend and you still haven’t cleaned the house or bought the groceries and you keep forgetting to pay your credit card bill and the rent!

    We’ve all been there, haven’t we? Some of us may find ourselves under that kind of pressure on a regular basis and run ourselves so ragged that we don’t even realize the toll it’s taking on us—physically, emotionally, mentally, relationally and spiritually. We know we have to do something about it but, well, we’re just too busy right now.

    As smaller, younger human beings, your teens no doubt face stressful and panic-inducing situations on a regular basis.… continue reading

    An Open Letter to Parents of Middle Schoolers

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    By: Brenda YoderOn Middle School Column

    Dear Mom and Dad of Middle Schoolers,

    This week, I’m passing the torch to you. My youngest of four is graduating from middle school. A big ceremony at school, kids dressed in their first formal wear, with mom and dad cheering in the background.

    “We made it!”

    The transition from childhood to adolescence is a celebration for parents as much as it is for kids. Some of us cheer because our child made it through junior high, somewhat unscathed. Some of us sigh, wearily, because we feel like we’ve been through World War 3. We hope high school can’t be any worse.

    Some of us celebrate because we’ve seen our awkward little ones grow into young men and women, who physically morphed before our eyes. Some of us cry, like me, because it’s your last child to leave this momentous phase of life.… continue reading

    Helping Your Daughter Deal With Mean Girls

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    By Jennifer Watson

    My daughter climbed into my car sobbing, again, over something mean a girl said to her. I can’t tell you how many times I hear this girl’s name. Bottom line, this girl just gets to her. Her words wound and seem to echo in my daughter’s ears.

    What I faced in Junior High and High School is nothing compared to what teenagers are facing today. I have to remember that growing up is hard and the fact is hurting, insecure girls are sometimes the meanest. Things got real with the instant access to social media and the goal of gaining followers and as many “likes” as they can get.

    Teenagers are putting themselves out there hoping that acceptance will be what they find, and somewhere today young people are crying in their bedrooms because they’ve invited the mean girls/boys into their homes by the hateful comments someone has posted about them, or to them, on social media.… continue reading

    Prom and Purity

    choose now june frompshBy Sherri Wilson Johnson, On Inspiring Purity column

    Over the last month, schools across America have been celebrating prom night. When I was in high school in the 80s, I remember there being teens who were allowed to stay out all night. They were allowed to eat breakfast together and then the guy would bring his date home afterward.

    That was not the case in my home. My daddy was a Southern Baptist preacher. I had a curfew of 11:00 p.m. and I think he might have let me stay out until midnight on prom night. Might have. Can’t remember that far back. I do remember the fact that many kids booked hotel rooms and parents didn’t seem to mind it. If their kids were going to have sex, they wanted them to have it in a hotel room instead of the back seat of a car.

    WHAT?

    Today’s teens rent big fancy limousines or party buses and for many of them, their parents have no clue what they are doing until they arrive home at the designated time (if there even is a curfew).… continue reading

    Parenting Teens in a Blended Christian Family, Part 2: Communication

    parenting teens communication blended christian family divorce step parent stepparenting step dad custody

    By Nicole O’Dell

    Welcome back. We’ve been chatting about the joys and struggles of parenting teens in a blended family situation. If you missed the first post, check out The Big Picture of Blended Families.

    Communication in a Blended Christian Family

    His. Mine. Ours. Theirs.

    He said. She said. They said.

    Communication in families is difficult enough without the added stress of divorce and co-parenting and all the iterations of those family situations. Not only is it necessary to communicate with the people in your home, but there’s often another parent out there who has input into decisions you make with and for your kids. And in a stepparent situation, that creates a culture of confusion and often leads to arguments, defensiveness, and withdrawal. In the end, the ones who bear the brunt of the strain are the kids–who see and hear it all, or at least sense it. When they feel pulled and confused, that’s often when they shut down or act out.… continue reading

    Turning Point: 7 YA Novels for .99

    Turning Point, TWP, ya lit christian fiction young adult box set fantasy spec fic jill williamson nicole o'dell staci stallings kathrese mckee laura kurk laura L. Smith john otteHi readers! Some friends and I have put together an amazing deal to get plenty of summer reading in your hands for next to nothing. Seven of your favorite authors have releases an ebook anthology of seven full-length novels for only .99. Yes, all seven full-length, inspirational, young-adult novels come in a single e-book download for only .99! The genres range from contemporary to fantasy with both male and female protagonists. The one element all the stories have in common is that they focus on a turning point in the main characters’ lives.

    This set will only be available for a limited time. Includes By Darkness Hid and books by Jill WIlliamson (a Christy-Award winning book!) Staci Stallings, Laura L. Smith, John W. Otte, Kathrese McKee, and Laura Anderson Kurk. Here are the covers of the books included.

    My contribution to this set is The Wishing Pearl.

    Sixteen-year-old Olivia Mansfield can’t wait to escape the confines of her home, which promises nothing but perpetual torment and abuse from her stepfather.… continue reading

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