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from the West Wing

Well, we are a little more than half way through the third quarter of this school year. This morning I sent out progress reports for the third through eighth grade students. Progress reports are a reminder of how the student is doing so far in the current quarter, gives a heads up if there are any problems and hopefully give some time before final grades come out to correct any issues. As I prepared to send the reports out this morning, I got to thinking about how nice it might be if we periodically got a progress report. Don’t we all periodically vow to “turn over a new leaf”, “be a better person”, or “never to THAT again?” And wouldn’t it be nice if after several weeks we got a progress report telling us how we are doing? But, alas, there is no such thing as a progress report for life – or is there? I think perhaps there is, but we just have to be in tune. Of course, some of them are easy. We decide to lose weight and after two or three weeks we get back on the scale and the report is right before our eyes. Others, however, are not so concrete. We decide to be kinder or more loving. After a couple of weeks, we don’t get a report in our email stating “Good job! You are making wonderful progress on your decision to be kinder.” Instead, if we are really serious about being kinder, we must do some self evaluation. We must continually ask ourselves, whether or not we responded to a particular...

from the West Wing

I hope that you have enjoyed the blog posting over the last month as I shared with you some of the wisdom I have gleaned from Jim and Charles Fey from Love and Logic, particularly their views on technology and kids. I would even urge you to reread the articles all in one sitting. Today, however, I will return to writing my own material. This is the time of year that I do formal observations in the classroom. For the past week I have spent some time in the classrooms observing each of our teachers as they presented a lesson to the class. While the teachers are somewhat stressed by this, I must say, this is one of my favorite times of the year. The reason I like it so much is not because I want to stress my teachers. Rather, it is because I thoroughly enjoy seeing our terrific staff doing what they do so well. I must tell you that we are extremely blessed as a school. We have some of the best teachers anywhere to be found. What truly amazes me is the fact that each of our teachers is here at great personal sacrifice. Each of them could go most anywhere else and make more money. Instead, they have chosen to be here, working with, praying for, and giving themselves to you and your children. I could not be more proud to be part of this incredible team. As always, I consider it a great privilege to serve the Kingdom in this place. Thank you for allowing each of us to be part of your...

from the West Wing

One last installment on technology and kids. This one is written by Jim Fay. I was raised in an era when kids knew that it was their responsibility to entertain themselves. When we got bored we asked, “What can we do?” If your kids ask this question, you are doing a good job of parenting. Many kids today ask, “I’m bored. What can I watch?” This is difficult to combat in an era where television, internet and video games can keep kids in an almost constant state of stimulation. Research on the brain tells us that this constant excitement can wire a kid’s brain to prefer activities that offer immediate stimulation and entertainment. As a result we see many children who cannot handle the slower speed of a normal classroom. These kids see school as boring and often stimulate themselves by acting out. Our media-driven culture of constant stimulation through television, internet and video games contributes to the number of kids who need and demand instant gratification. Dr. Ed Hallowell describes these kids as attention-disordered. Do your kids a favor and limit the amount of time their brains are connected to electronic entertainment. More than one-half hour per day is hurtful to your child’s brain. Read our book, Meeting the Challenge and learn how to help children develop better attention and behavior skills.” I hope these articles have given you some things to think about. As I have read them each week, I’ve been impressed with how the idea of postive relationships with kids is woven into everything being said. I believe that truly the best thing we can...

from the West Wing

Here’s the latest installment from Dr. Charles Fay of the Love and Logic Institute on technology and kids. Enjoy. The Root Causes of Technology Addiction At Love and Logic, our focus has always been to provide simple, down-to-earth strategies for raising happy and well-behaved kids. As such, we don’t typically spend much time describing the scientific research behind these strategies. I’d like to make an exception this week. I’d like to summarize a body of research that gets directly to the heart of why some kids (and adults) become so addicted to technology that their lives begin to fall apart. The problem…and the solution…have relatively nothing to do with technology…and everything to do with relationships. The bottom line: People at risk for developing these problems feel so badly about themselves, and their lives, that they will do anything to escape into a world where they feel competent, powerful and liked. For example, researchers Kwon, Chung and Lee found that those at highest risk score high on the following variables: Escape from Self The child believes that they don’t measure up. Compared to the perceived standards of their parents, peers, school, self, or world, they feel inadequate, unattractive, or responsible for everything that goes wrong. Negative Mood Severe anxiety and depression are the logical result of a child believing that they’re worthless. Perceived Parent Hostility/Lack of Affection Loving relationships matter! Kids at risk for escape from self and depression believe that they can’t do anything to please their parents: “Nothing I do is good enough.” Low Parental Supervision Lack of supervision communicates lack of valuing: “My parents don’t even care...

from the West Wing

Here’s the next installment from Love and Logic about kids and technology. Hope you are enjoying what Dr. Charles Fay has to say. Mistakes Made On-Line: Affordable or Not? “Hope and pray every day that your kids make plenty of mistakes when they are young…when the “price tags” are affordable.” Since the 1970’s, we’ve repeated this statement thousands of times. Why? Simply because children allowed to learn by making affordable mistakes are less likely to make life and death ones later on. We learn most of the important lessons in life, not by being lectured, but by experiencing the consequences of our decisions. So…should we be hoping and praying that our kids chat with predators on-line, stumble upon pornography, become so addicted to video games that they miss out on life, text while driving, etc.? Absolutely not! Wise parents yank their children back onto the sidewalk when they begin to dart into traffic. Likewise, they do whatever they can to prevent their kids from making unaffordable mistakes with technology. One of the most challenging aspects of parenting is striking a balance between over-protection and allowing children to make healthy mistakes. Further complicating matters is the fact that we can’t completely ensure that our kids won’t get sneaky and make unaffordable ones. We can up the odds of success by doing the following: • Humbly admit to our kids that we can’t always watch them and keep them from messing up THEIR OWN lives. This allows them to understand that rebelling hurts THEM…not us. • By consistently using sincere empathy, show them that they can talk to us about their...

from the West Wing

Allow me to share the second installment from Love and Logic on technology and kids by Dr. Charles Fay. Ready for Cell Phones, Social Media, etc.: At What Age? At what age should our kids be allowed to have their own cell phones? When is it appropriate for them to begin using social media? The overly simplistic answer: Not before their early to middle teenage years. Few kids have the maturity to handle the pressures of these privileges prior to adolescence. In fact, many adults lack the maturity! “Maturity” is the key word. Since the stakes are so high, I encourage parents to take the following survey to see whether their kids might be ready. Rate your answers from 1 to 5 for all the statements below. Total your score at the end. 1—————2—————3—————4—————5   Not at all                                                      Absolutely My child is respectful and fun to be around most of the time. My child typically makes good decisions when he or she isn’t being watched. My child takes responsibility for his or her poor decisions without blaming others. My child believes that using technology is a privilege…not an entitlement or “right.” My child understands that not everybody online is their “friend.” My child completes chores and other responsibilities without needing to be nagged. My child isn’t hooked on drama or gossip. When I ask my child to turn off the TV, video game, etc. they do so without arguing. My child handles conflict, teasing and other social trials without...