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from the West Wing

I receive an email each week from the Love and Logic Institute. During the month of January, Dr. Charles Fay has been writing some wonderful articles on Technology and Kids. I would like to pass them on to you. The first one follows. Technology and Kids: Real Solutions Each and every day our kids have opportunities to take cutting edge courses on the ins and outs of the latest technology. Visiting with their friends, they can learn what’s hot, what’s not, and how to work around most technological safeguards we put in place.   While they are taking these graduate-level courses, most of us are working long hours, paying bills, cooking, cleaning, fixing broken stuff and trying to squeeze a few more hours out of each day.   As a result, trying to keep ahead of our kids’ technological savvy is impossible for most of us. Watching them every second of the day is also unrealistic. While it’s tough for some of us to admit, we have very little direct control over whether they make good digital decisions…or bad.   Real solutions to technology issues have little to do with technology…and almost everything to do with relationships.   When we have little or no direct control over any issue, we must rely on helping our kids become motivated to make good decisions from the inside-out rather than the outside-in. This means helping them feel so loved that they want to make good choices. This means providing limits in ways that reduce the odds of unwinnable power-struggles. This means allowing them to experience empathy and consequences when they blow it…so that...

from the West Wing

As you know, I am a big fan of Love and Logic. I recently read an article that I thought I would share with you today. It’s entitled “Listenin Means Love.” “How do wise parents and educators respond when their kids try to argue and manipulate? The most effective repeat an empathetic one-liner, such as “I love you too much to argue” or “I know” or “What did I say?” They also resist the urge to think too deeply about what the child is saying.   Do we do this when kids are hurting? Do we employ this strategy when they’re respectfully expressing their opinions? No! We listen.   When I ask people to describe the parents and teachers they respected the most as kids, they almost always mention something like, “They were always there to listen.”                Listening means love. It means that we sincerely care about another’s opinions and emotions. Here’s the problem: Many of us have a hard time listening when someone around us is emotional or is disagreeing with us. That’s why it’s helpful to have a few little sincere statements or questions in our back pockets: Tell me more. Help me understand. What would you like to see here? How long have you felt this way? The next time one of your kids expresses their opinion…or their hurt…be sure to lend a sincere and empathetic ear, showing loving interest by using the points above. Remember: The more you listen to them, the more likely they’ll listen to you. If the tone turns disrespectful or manipulative, you can always switch gears and repeat, “I...

from the West Wing

As I sit down to write my blog article today, it is with many mixed emotions. On one hand, it is good to be back in school after the Christmas holidays and see all the kids again. Fairview is such a wonderful place to be, and it’s always good to be back into a routine. On the other hand, I received news on Monday that my college roommate’s husband had passed away. What hard news to hear and process. It reminds me of the ups and downs, ebb and flow experience that we all share called life. Please allow me to share with you part of the story of my roommate’s husband and my friend Bob. Bob was a teacher and spent most of his career teaching high school band. Bob has an incredible sense of humor and always made me laugh. As I have read posts on his Facebook page over the years, it has often been filled with comments from former students telling how much he had meant to them, how he had inspired each one, and often how he had made them laugh. It was obvious that he was well liked and the true embodiment of what it means to be a teacher. Since his passing Monday afternoon, Facebook has been filled with so many more positive comments about this wonderful man. Bob was diagnosed with cancer several years ago. He battled this terrible disease for these many years always with a positive attitude, always with humor. However, more importantly, he always shared his faith in God with those around him. He made sure, without a...

from the West Wing

Last week my thoughts were from the perspective of Joseph. You know, Mary’s betrothed; Jesus’ step father. As I have continued to think about Joseph, I continue to be in awe of what a truly amazing man he must have been. This week, however, I would like to share some of my thoughts about Mary. Although scholars disagree about Joseph’s age at the time of his marriage to Mary, the general consensus of Mary’s age at the time is between 12 and 14. While this seems quite young in our day and culture, it was the accepted age for betrothal and marriage in Bible times. The Bible tells us that Mary and Joseph were betrothed, which was more binding than what we would consider an engagement. They would have exchanged vows and promised to remain pure until the marriage was consummated between six months and a year later. This gave the groom time to prepare a house for his bride and the family they would have together. But we all know that God had chosen Mary to give birth to His son. The Bible tells us that Mary was visited by the angel Gabriel. He greeted her with these words, “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you.” The young Mary was understandable confused and troubled by these words. Gabriel continued by saying “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus.” Even though the angel had told her not to be afraid, I’m sure that...

from the West Wing

Have you ever really thought about the Christmas story? I mean, really thought about it? Sure, we all know the basics. Mary and Joseph travel to Bethlehem. Jesus is born. Angels appear to the shepherds and they go to see the baby. Wise men follow a star and present gifts to the child. There it is; the simple story. “Unto Us a Child is Born.” But I started thinking about how some of the main players might have felt during this time. What we can read in the Bible is just a few verses, actually took place over a span of many months and even years. My thoughts went to two of the main characters, Mary and Joseph and I began to wonder how all of this affected them. Today I would like to share some of my thoughts about Joseph. We know that Joseph was a carpenter by trade and that he was betrothed to Mary. The Bible does not tell us how old he was. Scholars give a range of possible ages from late teens to possibly 85 – 90 years old. Regardless of his age, the marriage was undoubtedly an arranged one and the two may not have known one another very well. So, here we have a carpenter of unknown age engaged to a young woman he may or may not have known well. At some point before they are married, Joseph finds out that Mary his betrothed, is pregnant. Again, the Bible doesn’t tell us how Joseph found out, but I would imagine that Mary probably told him. Can you even imagine that conversation?...

from the West Wing

“It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas.” So begins a popular Christmas song. One of my grandsons tweeted on Thanksgiving, “Be prepared, my friends. These are the last hours before we are bombarded by Christmas music and peppermint flavored everything.” Here at Fairview the big tree is up and decorated in the main hall; many thanks to Bill, Edwin, Lori and Sheila for making that happen. There are banners and wreaths in the gym for church services on Sundays. The Christmas programs will take place next week. The kids are excited. I think, if we’re honest, we’re all excited by this time of year. However, as I have been following the news of late, I began to wonder if it really is “beginning to look a lot like Christmas.” It seems that every day the news is filled with some type of tragedy. Lives are being shattered in so many ways. There are protests of injustices both here and around the world. Last night, as I was thinking about this conundrum, I began to realize that the fact that there is unrest all around us is actually what makes everything “begin to look like Christmas.” Oh, the unrest and tragedy around us is not what we like to focus on at Christmastime. It’s much nicer to concentrate on cookies, presents and hot chocolate sipped in front of a blazing fire. But those warm, fuzzy feelings are only what we have grown to expect around Christmastime. The truth of the matter is that Christmas is the celebration of God’s Son, Jesus, coming into this world to bring light into...