Making Biblical Family Life Practical
Summary: You’ve made the commitment. You’ve caught the vision. You want to serve God in every aspect of your family life— but sometimes it’s hard to put feet on that vision! How do you get from principle to practice? What does it look like when you get there? How do you apply Scriptural truth in a 21st century family? This is “Making Biblical Family Life Practical,” with Hal and Melanie Young. With humorous banter, laser beam insight, and lots of practical advice, Hal and Melanie address real world issues, current events, marriage, parenting, raising sons, and family life. They’ll encourage and inspire you to walk out the Word of God in your family — and work toward reforming our culture, too. Monday nights at 9 Eastern. Don’t miss it!
This week we're talking about gift giving - it's Biblical, you know! But how do you manage it without being immersed in the commercialism of a secular holiday, while glorifying God and having fun together? We've found that being more intentional and deliberate in choosing gifts and even in how we open them together, and encouraging our children to think of people rather than stuff at Christmas, has great benefits! Biblical Passages We Mentioned The wise men who brought gifts to Jesus - Matthew 2:1-11 The people feasted and shared with each other over joy in God's word - Nehemiah 8:9-10 - And Nehemiah, who was the governor, Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who taught the people said to all the people, “This day is holy to the LORD your God ... Go your way, eat the fat, drink the sweet, and send portions to those for whom nothing is prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord. Do not sorrow, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.” How Our Family Christmas List is Structured We described how our family keeps up with everyone's "wish list" - not just at Christmas, but all year long! Here's the basic framework - each person's section of the family list is divided into price brackets, and it's the responsibility of each person to keep their list up to date. And when the shopping happens, gift-givers quietly delete items so others don't duplicate their gift! NAME Updated: (be sure to make a note here when you make changes to your list!) * $1-$5 Gifts: Your categories may differ, depending on the ages in your family and your personal budgets. We have to consider young children, teenagers, college students, and adults of all sorts. * $5-$15 Gifts: If you have specific items in mind, you might include links to places these might be found. Many in our families are avid readers, so we often have lists of books here - and links to Amazon.com or Thriftbooks.com to make it easy * $15-$30 Gifts: Grown-up level * Big Gifts: Because you never know when someone might find a great deal, or several people collaborate * Crafts, Work, and Services: Busy people may appreciate help with a particular hard-to-schedule need. One of Hal's hopes last year was for help replacing our garage door - and two of our adult sons came over and made a weekend project of it!
A member of our Facebook community asked, "What about boys crying?" There have been people who said it's unmanly to cry, and discouraged or even disciplined their sons for crying - ever. On the other hand, some say it's less than human to hold back the tears - so we should allow or encourage our sons to freely express everything. But what's the Biblical balance here? Does the Scripture have anything to say about men who cry? And how should that inform our parenting toward our sons? Scriptures We Referenced Isaiah 8:20 - To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because there is no light in them. Examples of Strong Godly Men Who Cried John 11:35 - Jesus wept. Matthew 26:74-75 - Then [Peter] began to curse and swear, saying, “I do not know the Man!” Immediately a rooster crowed. And Peter remembered the word of Jesus who had said to him, “Before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.” So he went out and wept bitterly. Philippians 3:17-19 - Brethren, join in following my example, and note those who so walk, as you have us for a pattern. For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame—who set their mind on earthly things. (The apostle Paul) Reminders There are Times for Both Weeping and Restraint Ecclesiastes 3:1, 4 - To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven. ... A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance ... Nehemiah 8:9-10 - And Nehemiah, who was the governor, Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who taught the people said to all the people, “This day is holy to the LORD your God; do not mourn nor weep.” For all the people wept, when they heard the words of the Law. Then he said to them, “Go your way, eat the fat, drink the sweet, and send portions to those for whom nothing is prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord. Do not sorrow, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.” Romans 12:15 - Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. Proverbs 25:28 - Whoever has no rule over his own spirit is like a city broken down, without walls.
"It's the most wonderful time of the year," the song says ... and one of the busiest and most stressful, too! What can we do to maintain the spirit of celebration while the season's demands pile on top of our already-full lives? What practical steps can we take to lighten the load and get the really important things done? As the homeschooling parents of eight kids, starting and running a business from home at the same time, trust us - we've been there. Join us in this special edition where we talk about the realities of homeschooling, home business, and the holidays! Holidays are Opportunities The Bible has some holidays which were commandments, at least to the Israelites. God gave the ceremonies of Passover and told the people that when they came to the promised land, "you shall observe this thing as an ordinance for you and your sons forever." (Exodus 12:24) Why was that? "It shall be as a sign to you ... and as a memorial ..." (Exodus 13:9). There are questions and answers expected so the elders pass on their faith to the younger generations - "Remember the days of old, consider the years of many generations. Ask your father, and he will show you; your elders, and they will tell you ..." (Deuteronomy 32:7) Even though we don't have a Biblical commandment to celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas, they are opportunities to connect our families -- and ourselves -- with the goodness of God in His provision for life now and life hereafter! [For good measure, consider when the exiles returned to rebuild Jerusalem and celebrated the recovery of the Law. After a marathon reading of the Word of God, the governor Nehemiah told the people, "Go your way, eat the fat, drink the sweet, and send portions to those for whom nothing is prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord. Do not sorrow, for the joy of the Lord is your strength." (Nehemiah 8:10)] The challenge to us is to be sure to focus on the message, and not be overwhelmed by the daily responsibilities and the seasonal additions! (continued ...) Think About Priorities Have you seen the illustration of loading rocks and gravel into a big container? The only way to maximize what fits is to load the biggest things first, then smaller ones to fill in the gaps. Your daily (weekly, monthly) plan is the same way - you need to consider the most important, top-priority matters first, and fit them into your schedule before the secondary things. And in a season when you need to be sure your children and your family hear the good news of the Messiah's birth and really think about God's mercies and provision over the past year ... maybe it's not as critical to do every single worksheet in the curriculum every day. Sometimes you can bring holiday-related subjects into the schoolwork (baking and cooking is a great way to work on weights and measures and fractions; Charles Dickens and George MacDonald can provide reading materials; personalized greeting cards are good handwriting practice!) Listen in for more thoughts and ideas that can make your holiday season less anxious and more joyful this year!
We adults may feel like we're under stress all the time, but we can't overlook the fact that our kids are suffering, too! Last episode we talked about how we respond when we're confronted with uncertainty and unpleasant news. How can we help our kids deal with the disruptions of life on their level? Lest We Forget Parents have had to make a lot of adjustments the past two years. Our kids are dealing with some of the same issues, from their own perspective. That may be school closures or other changes in their educational routines. It may be uncertainty over adult issues, like lost of employment, quarantines, or restrictions on travel or social gatherings. Even if everything comes from the same root cause, like the pandemic, its impact will be felt differently from one family to the next -- and from one family member to the next. Over the years, we've had a share of uncertainty and unhappy events -- medical emergencies, job changes, relocations, disrupted plans. With a large family, and one that travels with us most of the time, we had to realize that we couldn't hide much from the kids. It seemed better to us to share our concerns, in child-sized portions, so they could understand why things were "wrong" right then. Our kids are not clones We need to remember that our kids are individuals - maybe with a lot of commonalities, but still with their own approach to the world around them. A quiet child may be full of turmoil inside, while the noisy one may actually be calmer after venting all his drama. Consider that, as you answer and counsel the outspoken child, other siblings may be listening and learning without asking. Just don't overlook the ones who aren't "in your face"! Younger kids need reassurance. Are Mom and Dad going to be here for me? Do they have a plan to deal with things? Are they safely in charge still? Teenagers can often step into some adult roles. We found that in moments of crisis, our teens were able to pick up some of their parents' concerns -- running errands, doing more household tasks, taking more responsibility for themselves and their younger brothers and sisters. Watch out for the middle kids, though. Often they are old enough to understand some of the needs, but too young to do much to help. It can be very frustrating for them! Look for tasks they can do, even if they're not major burdens to the adults. Your middle school kids are likely to be much more capable than you think (check out our book No Longer Little for more ideas and encouragement!). (continued) But what about the conclusion? What happens when the pressure's relieved? Count on it - family members which have "held it together" for the team while the crisis is underway, will often come unglued when the emergency is over. It's best to plan on some time to re-adjust to "normal" when you've been through a time of stress. Give yourself and everyone around you an extra measure of grace - a heaping serving of it, in fact. If you expect there to be a time of transition, you can move into it with some care - rather than experiencing "explosive decompression" that causes problems for everyone! Passages We Referenced Romans 8:28 - And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. Matthew 10:29-31 (Jesus) - "Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will.
Some things are unquestionable, life-changing moments - an unexpected death in the family, a natural disaster, a major accident. But what about things which just show up and disrupt everything? The smaller emergencies which aren't big enough to awaken heroism, but are big enough to bring out all our doubts, fears, frustrations, and temper? The "breaking news" which could be really unpleasant, but you can't be sure? We've dealt with this - frequently, and even recently! So this episode, we're talking about some practical ways to meet stressful news with calmness and faith ... even if it takes a few minutes to make the adjustment! Passages We Referenced Matthew 10:29-31 (Jesus): “Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows." Philippians 4:6 - Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God Romans 8:28 - And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. Books We Mentioned Judith Viorst, The Tenth Good Thing About Barney. This is a great children's book about remembering the good things in the middle of sad times. It's easy to get overwhelmed in the stress of the moment, and forget that happiness is real just like sorrow - and life will have some of both. Eleanor H. Porter, Pollyanna - check out the audiobook version narrated by Melanie! The book is much better than the Disney version (more clearly Biblical, for one thing), and funny as well as thought-provoking. Even our teenaged sons enjoyed it, though the main character is a young girl at the time. Important lessons about always finding a reason to rejoice, even in difficulty. NEXT TIME Helping your kids through stressful times ... UPDATE - We mentioned that our van broke down on a speaking trip in July, and at the time of recording, had been in the shop for several weeks waiting on an engine replacement. We're glad to say that the van is now repaired and back home - thank you for your prayers and support! A Special Thank You to Our Network Sponsor: Courageous Movie From the Kendrick Brothers, creators of the No. 1 box-office movie WAR ROOM and OVERCOMER, comes the remastered re-release of COURAGEOUS Legacy, in theaters September 24. Celebrating 10 years of impact on families and fathers, this updated version of the film includes new scenes and an enhanced look and sound. Filled with action-packed drama, COURAGEOUS Legacy will once again have viewers laughing, crying, and cheering as they are challenged and inspired by everyday heroes who long to be the kinds of dads that make a lifelong impact on their children. Protecting the streets is second nature to these men. Raising their children in a God-honoring way? That's courageous. Check out the trailer here!
The Bible says a lot about the power of the tongue - the question for us is, how do we train and encourage our families to speak in a more gracious and edifying way, when the culture around us grows more unkind and profane every day? First step - "Lord, is it me?" Never underestimate the power of our example - whether intended or not! Our children learn from the pattern they observe. If we want our kids to speak with kindness, compassion, and love, we need to model that behavior in our own speech! Remember the Biblical example is the best example. Give our children a Scriptural understanding of loving and gracious speech. If you have to correct some bad language, then call it by Biblical terms. If it's unkind, unloving, or mocking, call it what it is. Explain the cultural part - why speech might be inappropriate in some places but allowed in others. Sometimes the same statement would be acceptable in certain circumstances but totally wrong in another. Part of kindness and courtesy is understanding the sensitivities of other people and adjusting our behavior to show them respect. How to hold them accountable Coaching is an important tool. Children aren't naturally aware of other people's perceptions, and often they're not self-aware of their expressions, body language, or tone. When we feel like reacting to their words, it's good to take a breath and address the words calmly. In many cases, they don't intend the message we receive. Help them understand why, for example, the tone of voice or the attitude that's allowable between playmates or siblings would be ... unhelpful ... with parents or other adults. Then if correction or discipline is needed, take care of it. Just be sure that you understand what they intended to communicate ... and be sure they understand why their communication was unacceptable. (And make sure the situation is calmed down enough that they're teachable - remember that "discipline" comes from the same root word as "disciple," and the goal should be instruction, not just punishment!) Scripture We Referenced James 3:3-6, 8-10 - Indeed we put bits in horses’ mouths that they may obey us, and we turn their whole body. Look also at ships: although they are so large and are driven by fierce winds, they are turned by a very small rudder wherever the pilot desires. Even so the tongue is a little member and boasts great things. See how great a forest a little fire kindles! And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. ... But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so. Ephesians 4:32 - And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you. Matthew 12:34-37 (Jesus:) "For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things. But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” Is There a Topic You'd Like Us to Discuss?
"What should I do about my kids' 'potty mouth'?" asked a young father in our church. Learning appropriate behavior and speech patterns is part of socialization, but is there a bigger issue than being "socially acceptable"? Society has become more tolerant of bad language Society itself isn't a reliable guide. In the 1970s the comedian George Carlin had a risque nightclub routine, "The Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television," which indulged in "transgressive" self-expression. In 2017, psychologist Jean Twenge and colleagues did a study of books published in the U.S. between 1950 and 2008, using George Carlin’s list of socially unacceptable words – and they found that “Readers of books in the late 2000s were 28 times more likely than those in the early 1950s to come across one of the ‘seven words …’” (link below) And that is just in a limited channel of the print medium. Carlin's routine wouldn't mean as much today, as cable television and pay-per-view has normalized much of what would have been blocked from the broadcast media back then. What does the Scripture say? Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. – Ephesians 4:29 – “corrupt” in the Greek means rotten, putrid, bad, unfit for use But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints; neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. – Ephesians 5:3-4 Do not be deceived; "Evil company corrupts good habits." – 1 Corinthians 15:33 But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth ... – Colossians 3:8 The question of “bad words” isn’t about a checklist but about an attitude “For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things. But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” – Jesus, in Matthew 12:34-37 Article We Referenced: J. M. Twenge, Hannah Van Landingham, and W. Keith Campbell. “The Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television: Increases in the Use of Swear Words in American Books, 1950-2008.” SAGE Open, July-September 2017, pp. 1-8
"What makes you think you're qualified to homeschool?" That's one of the frequently asked questions, isn't it? And if nobody in your family, church, or neighborhood asks -- you'll probably ask yourself. Don't you have to have a teacher's certificate to really be a teacher? Shouldn't you go to college and get an education degree first? Or is the credential less important for a homeschool than a classroom? This episode, we're taking a listener's question and talking about homeschooling with confidence - without specialized training or professional certification. We did it, and you can too! Do you have a question or a suggestion to share? We'd love to hear from you! Call our Listener Response Line and leave a message, and maybe we can answer your questions in a future episode! Visit our sponsor: Are you looking for a new Math Curriculum? CTCMath specializes in providing online video tutorials that take a multi-sensory approach to learning. Favorably reviewed in Cathy Duffy’s 102 Top Picks and The Old Schoolhouse Crew Review, the lessons are short and concise to help your children break down concepts and appreciate math in a whole new way! The lessons are taught the traditional way, not to a “test”. Each one of the video tutorials is taught by an internationally acclaimed teacher, Pat Murray, who is renowned for teaching math concepts in a ...
Continuing our comparison of true homeschooling with the school-at-home model! Let's talk about how independent home education looks different day-to-day, and why duplicating the schoolroom experience at home is more stressful, less efficient, and a lot less fun than charting a new, freer pathway to learning and exploring together. A Fundamental Distinction A lot of what happens in the classroom is due to the dynamics of that situation. The teacher has to consider twenty or twenty-five students, of all different gifts or needs, coming from a range of family and educational backgrounds, but all funneled into the same classroom, same book, same tests. The whole process of extra worksheets, frequent testing, homework, and report cards happens because that single teacher can't focus as much attention on each child as she might -- and the parents don't know what happens in the schoolroom unless she communicates it home in some way. How much of that applies to a homeschool, where the teacher has known the students from birth, and the parents are well aware of how their students are doing because there's a parent-teacher conference at every meal? But there's a lot more to be said ... so listen in!
Is this "homeschooling" or is it "school-at-home"? Is there a difference? Many families have experienced public school from a remote location this year -- and some districts are calling it "homeschooling." But most homeschooling veterans will tell you there is a world of difference between independent, parent-led education, and taking public school classes with public school curriculum, online. Hint: The location - obviously enough - is not the distinction! In two episodes, Hal and Melanie talk about the substantial differences between the two concepts, how they operate differently on a day-to-day basis, and why that's crucially important for your family. NEWS OF INTEREST "New state figures released Thursday show North Carolina’s estimated home-school population grew by more than 30,000 children during the 2020-21 school year — a 20.6% increase from the prior year. ... " T. Keung Hui, "Enrollment soars in NC homeschools, private schools, and charter schools amid pandemic" Raleigh, N.C. News & Observer - 3 Jul 2021
Are you one of the thousands of families just beginning homeschooling - or thinking seriously about it this year? Surveys say that over one and a quarter million students aren't returning to public schools, and the number of homeschooling families doubled between April and October last year. This episode, we continue our conversation about our own decision to homeschool - this time, thinking about unexpected lessons we learned along the way, and things you may want to consider making your own decision! 1:25 - "Homeschooling is bigger in the inside" 2:15 - A different model than the modern classroom 3:50 - The efficiency of homeschooling - even with several grade levels 5:38 - Why "difficult" and "unpleasant" isn't "better" 7:50 - What about finding the perfect curriculum 9:43 - Why "the way it's done" in classrooms isn't helpful for homeschooling 10:55 - But can homeschooled kids make it to college? 13:20 - Watching friends who homeschooled and others in public school 14:35 - How long should you expect each day? 15:56 - The reason you begin homeschooling may not be the reason you continue homeschooling 16:30 - Homeschooling and family relationships 18:00 - Some free resources SCRIPTURE “And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up." - Deuteronomy 6:6-7 (NKJV) ARTICLES Homeschooling on the Rise During COVID-19 Pandemic Census Bureau’s Household Pulse Survey Shows Significant Increase in Homeschooling Rates in Fall 2020 By Casey Eggleston and Jason Fields - U.S. Census Bureau - 22 March 2021 * More Than 1 Million Students Didn't Enroll During Pandemic Will They Come Back? By Eesha Pendharkar - Education Week — 17 June 2021 UPCOMING EVENTS We'll be speaking and exhibiting at the Chattanooga Home School Expo at Camp Jordan, East Ridge, Tennessee - July 16-17, 2021 - sponsored by the Chattanooga Southeast Tennessee Home Educators Association. This is a live event but registration is online - CLICK HERE for more information! We hope to see you there! RELATED EPISODES Getting Kids On Board with Your New Homeschool Things We're Glad We Did Homeschooling Boy-Friendly Homeschooling Emergency Homeschooling
One of the unexpected results of the COVID-19 pandemic is an explosion of interest in homeschooling. Researchers say the number of homeschooling families doubled between April and October of 2020, and at least 1.3 million students didn't return to the public school system in the fall. Are you a new homeschooler? Or are you thinking about trying it for the first time this year? This episode, Hal and Melanie are talking about how they made that decision - maybe for the same reasons you are! REFERENCES Homeschooling on the Rise During COVID-19 Pandemic Census Bureau’s Household Pulse Survey Shows Significant Increase in Homeschooling Rates in Fall 2020 By Casey Eggleston and Jason Fields - U.S. Census Bureau - 22 March 2021 "In the first week (April 23-May 5, 2020) of Phase 1 of the Household Pulse Survey, about 5.4% of U.S. households with school-aged children reported homeschooling . By fall, 11.1% of households with school-age children reported homeschooling (Sept. 30-Oct. 12, 2020). A clarification was added to the school enrollment question to make sure households were reporting true homeschooling rather than virtual learning through a public or private school. That change represents an increase of 5.6 percentage points and a doubling of U.S. households that were homeschooling at the start of the 2020-2021 school year compared to the prior year." * More Than 1 Million Students Didn't Enroll During Pandemic Will They Come Back? By Eesha Pendharkar - Education Week — 17 June 2021 "America’s public school system lost almost 1.3 million students this year, according to an Education Week analysis of state data. The loss was spread out across the nation, touching almost every demographic group and concentrated in lower grades. It will likely have academic, financial and staffing repercussions for years to come." Are you in eastern Tennessee or northern Georgia? We'll be speaking and exhibiting at the Chattanooga Home School Expo at Camp Jordan, East Ridge, Tennessee - July 16-17, 2021 - sponsored by the Chattanooga Southeast Tennessee Home Educators Association. This is a live event but registration is online - CLICK HERE for more information! We hope to see you there!
One of the hallmarks of adolescent behavior is social awkwardness, often to the point of anxiety. That's true in the best of times! Yet here we are after a year of pandemic alarms, mandates, and "abundance of caution," and you may be finding your young people are not eager to begin seeing people outside the family again. What can we do to help our teens and preteens resume normal, healthy interactions? Resources We Reference Our episode reviewing Dr. Jean Twenge's book iGen about characteristics of our children's generation "How the Pandemic has Impacted Teen Mental Health," Mott Poll Report, 3/15/21 Craftsman Crate by subscription, individual boxes, or party packs Upcoming Events (May-June 2021) We'll be speaking at the Thrive! Conference (North Carolinians for Home Education) in Winston-Salem, N.C., on May 27-29, 2021. We're speaking four times on Thursday and Friday, on parenting pre-teens, helping your struggling learners in high school and college, the challenges of boys and media, and what you can achieve academically with a more relaxed homeschooling approach. And our booth is in the usual spot on the upper level of the book fair! We'll also be part of the Homeschooling With Confidence: Unstoppable online event hosted by Home Educators Association of Virginia (HEAV.org). This is going to be a different sort of online event with more interaction with the speakers and with other attendees - we're looking forward something special with this one!
There are seasons to motherhood Ecclesiastes says that "For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven." (Eccl 3:1) Yet young women are being told that they can and should do all things right now. They're being urged to set their priorities by the culture's values instead of their own - unless their priority is "Me first!" In this special presentation to a mothers' group in Winnsboro, Louisiana, Melanie offers an encouraging perspective on the opportunities and special needs at different stages of our children's lives, and the critical contribution that a mother can make in each of those times. Upcoming Events We'll be speaking at two conferences this month: May 6-8, 2021 Teach Them Diligently - Mobile, AL May 27-29, 2021 Thrive! Conference (North Carolinians for Home Education) - Winston-Salem, NC If you're there, come by our booth and say hello! And if you'd like to see us at your nearby event, let them hear from you! Call our Listener Contact Line - (919) 295-0321
A reader writes, "I need suggestions how to discipline my 14-year-old son." She's finding out what we all discover - if you try to discipline your 14-year-old like he was still six, you're likely to have a fight on your hands! So what do you do with this young person who's growing so tall, but still needs a lot of guidance and discipleship? It's more than behavior management With younger kids, a great deal of our training is behavior - "Don't tease the cat," "Don't touch the stove," "Stop hitting your brother!" Tedd Tripp points out that Ephesians 6:1 is fundamental for the younger set: "Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right." And external behavior is important - that's what hurts others and damages things! But as they move into the early teen years, our children need more coaching and discipleship to reach their deepest need - the condition of their heart. They need to be confronted with Right and Wrong in a larger sense than, "Honor your father and your mother." When they realize their failing and sin, they are more likely to grasp their need for a Savior! And when we recognize that their behavior is more than "You're on my nerves!" but something rooted on their human fallenness ... maybe we can be a little more compassionate and not as quick to react. As they change, we should too A lot of parent-teen relationships are strained or broken because parents don't adapt to their young person's changes. When they reach adolescence, they're not kids any more! We need to understand they aren't the little ones we've raised so far, but young adults-in-training. We can't just continue the old discipline models and expect the same response. Appropriate correction for a four-year-old is humiliating, at best, to a 14-year-old. More and more, we need to move our discipline to adult responses. What does that look like? Well, consider what happens when we make a mistake or cause an offense as an adult. Are we sent to stand with our nose in the corner until we say we're sorry? Does our boss or pastor or neighbor give us a sharp swat on the hand? Of course not. Instead, we are likely to experience "natural consequences." Gilbert and Sullivan's comic operetta The Mikado includes the chorus, "Let the punishment fit the crime!" Humor aside, that's actually quite Biblical. Over and over again in Scripture, you see principles of repentance followed by restitution. We use this as a guide with our teens - if you break it, you fix it - whether it's a broken toy or a damaged relationship. It's a hard lesson, but we impress on them that being an adult sometimes means we accept responsibility for things that aren't strictly our fault. Maybe something happened by accident, or someone took offense by misunderstanding - we still need to step up and try to make things right. Occasionally the problem isn't actual sin but rather just high spirits or too much energy. Maybe they really are on your nerves, and that's most of the problem! How did Coach handle it? Sometimes the best correction is just to work it off. How did your high school coach handle it if you were goofing off during practice? What did your drill instructor do at boot camp if you weren't putting your back into the job? A bit of strenuous exertion can be a lifesaver here! "Drop and give me ten!" - a call for some push-ups is a good manly punishment for a minor but irritating infraction. You can have them run up and down the stairs, or laps around the back yard. Ask Dad for advice, since he's probably received similar correction in his time! It's not offensive or demeaning, but it can use up some energy and help your son focus again.