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    The Next Generation Blog

    ThuThursdayJulJuly5th2012 Living a Life of Repentance
    byVance Frusher Tagged No tags 0 comments Add comment
    Dear Parents,

    Many times I hear parents taking on guilt with some thinking like this…

    “If I had just done a better job, Johnny would not have made that mistake.” 

    Thinking behind this is that perfect parenting produces prefect kids.  This is just not true.  In the following post from Jacob Riggs, we see that Biblically we cannot be perfect parents and that our kids cannot be prefect kids.  I like where Jacob sends us, to repentance.  We can model the Gospel for our children by living a life of repentance, not perfection to show them Jesus.

    Check out this great article from D6Family, I highly recommend it! 
    MonMondayJunJune11th2012 GEMS
    byCalla Parker Tagged No tags 0 comments Add comment
    My husband and I don’t have cable—that’s right—we use the good 'ol fashioned bunny ears.

    It works for us—most of the time—if it’s not rainy, windy or too cold. It might be the fact that we only get 4 channels, so we are watching the same commercials over and over again, or perhaps it was the shock I remember feeling upon first encounter. Either way, there is one commercial that I just can’t get past. It goes something like this…

    The odds of a child becoming a quarterback in the NFL:
    1 in 100,000.

     The odds of a child being diagnosed with autism:
    1 in 150.

    1 in 150. That’s a lot more common than probably most of us realize. Many of us also probably don’t realize how many special needs children attend Wheaton Bible—that in fact WBC has a whole ministry devoted to developing and caring for special needs children and their families! It’s called GEMS—God’s Extraordinary Miracles.

    Heidi Seabloom, the GEMS Ministry Assistant, shared with me that “since the life of a family touched by special needs is so uniquely stressful, we offer respite times of prayer and share/fellowship so they have a chance to connect and encourage one another.” She went on to say that “many of these parents would never get to church together, if at all, if care was not provided for their child.”

    The reason that these parents are able to worship on a Sunday morning with their spouse is because of men, women and students who have stepped up to be “buddies” in the GEM’s classroom.

    Beth Gottlieb and her "buddy" during a GEMS Ministry Event

    Leah Simon, a junior at Wheaton North, told me how fun it is to “help [her buddy] through the lesson and our songs. The enthusiasm he shows is so genuine and cool to see!”

    Just like Leah, it is important for us to see the “ability” in our GEMs- not just their “disability”. 
    SatSaturdayJunJune9th2012 Practical Advice for Dealing with Bullies
    byGrant Stenzel, MS LCPC Tagged No tags 2 comments Add comment

    This is part 2 of a 2-part article series on Bullying. Read Part 1 here.

    Encourage your child not to react, or try and rationalize with a bully.  “Do not answer a fool according to his folly, or you will be like him yourself.” (Proverbs 26:4) The goal is to walk away, or to ignore the bully. The bully is looking for a reaction; if he or she gets it that will positively reinforce his or her behavior like giving a treat to a dog. Do not give the bully the reward he or she is looking for and the behavior should extinguish itself in time. Therefore, the bully will look for his or her reward somewhere else. I understand this concept well. I have to confess that in grade school I loved getting reactions (I still kind of do). I would go around and pull different girls’ hair on the playground. Can you guess which one I would go back to the next day? Yep, the one that reacted the most and ran after me; she was the one I would continue to gain my reward of attention.

    Children can help prevent bullying by staying in a group. Bullies are similar to lions hunting prey; they are looking for the isolated antelope away from the herd. Remember bullies are actually scared themselves. So, often they will go after the easiest looking prey. Children can also benefit from confident body language. Standing tall and not slouching shows confidence. Bullies often will not go after self-assured people.

    Remind your child to report bullying. Teachers and principals cannot help if they are uninformed.  Encourage your children to tell you when they are getting bullied. Continue to remind them that it is not their fault. Although there are some great teachers and administrators out there, sometimes we run into school staff who seem to ignore student and even parent pleas for help. Keep calling. Keep being persistent with such staff. The squeaky wheel gets the grease. If a teacher doesn’t help, go to the principal. If the principal does not help, contact a higher authority such as the district superintendent.

    Lastly, when your child comes to you about a bully, do not make it about you. Often time well intended parents hear about a bully, get angry and start declaring what they are going to do to fix the problem. First, listen your child. Ask questions. See how they feel about the whole ordeal. Offer them comforting and validating language. It is normal if you are upset when someone is bullying your child, but you need to put your child’s feelings in front of yours. If you are angry, vent later to a friend or your spouse. When parents over-react children feel abandoned. The issue is no longer about them, it is about the parents. It is not a good thing when children feel they have to comfort their parents as opposed to the parents comforting the children.

    Perhaps you can share a story with your child of a time you had be bullied.  Explain to them that Jesus understands what it is like to be bullied; they can come to Him in prayer to receive peace and comfort. If your child is having a difficult time dealing with bullies, then perhaps it is time to see a good Christian counselor for assistance.
    Grant Stenzel is a MS Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor with Stenzel Clinical Services, LTD in Wheaton, Illinois. 
    FriFridayJunJune8th2012 How to Help Your Kids Deal With Bullies
    byGrant Stenzel, MS LCPC Tagged No tags 0 comments Add comment
    First of all, bullies are not new. We have had bullies since the beginning of time. One of my favorite bullying stories is from II Kings 2:23-24.        
    23 From there Elisha went up to Bethel. As he was walking along the road, some boys came out of the town and jeered at him. “Get out of here, baldy!” they said. “Get out of here, baldy!” 24 He turned around, looked at them and called down a curse on them in the name of the Lord. Then two bears came out of the woods and mauled forty-two of the boys.

    Now, we can’t call down curses to have bears deal our bullies, but I believe the Bible gives us other more practical solutions.

    Who is a bully?

    A bully is someone who is insecure, jealous, or scared. Bullies often hurt other people so that no one will mess with them. They are over-compensating for their fears. There is a phrase we often use in counseling “hurt people, hurt people.” Bullies have been hurt by others, so they are now acting out their struggles at school or within the neighborhood. I understand that it is hard to have compassion on someone who may be hurting your child, but remember someone hurt that bully first.

    Actually, we shouldn’t be surprised when bullying occurs.  “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” (Matthew 5:11-12)

    People tried to bully Jesus throughout His entire ministry. Furthermore, He allowed himself to be bullied for our glorious redemption. So if your son or daughter is bullied that does not mean there is something wrong with your child; it means there is something wrong with our world. Reassure your child that their Savior was bullied and He understands what they are going through. 

    Come back tomorrow for Part 2 of Grant's Article, Practical Advice for Dealing with Bullies

    Grant Stenzel is a MS Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor with Stenzel Clinical Services, Ltd. in Wheaton, Illinois. 

    ThuThursdayMayMay24th2012 The Teenage Brain: Part 2
    byScott Murray Tagged No tags 0 comments Add comment

    Read The Teenage Brain: Part 1

    There is a huge difference between a junior high student and a high school student. 

    Junior high students love to spend any kind of time with a youth leader.  They will bend over backwards to go shopping with you or help you clean your car.  In many ways they are like puppies that love everything you do! 

    High school students may allow you to spend time with them, but you have to earn their trust.  In a lot of ways they are like cats.  This is a result of them making decisions on their own.  They are beginning to do things because they will be affected by their choices rather than being told what their choices should be. 

    Our job as parents and youth leaders is to guide them in ways that will allow them to make wise, godly, smart decisions.  This does not mean that our teenagers are doomed for making poor decisions.  The earlier we help them understand what God wants from and for them, the more they will grow to be like Jesus. 

    Romans 12:2 says, “Do not conform to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, and by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”  We must make a daily effort to become more like Jesus.  

    We can help our teens know what the will of God is for their lives, but we must be patient if they don’t seem to “get it” the way we do.  This the time when they are becoming who they will be for the rest of their lives.   The teen years may be the time when potential poets start scribbling furiously in notebooks and future basketball stars start really making their shots. Before the brain is fully molded is a great time to take up an instrument or learn a second language.

    Try to not get frustrated if they don’t take your advice on this.  Remember their brains are trying to make these decisions on their own.   But just knowing that the teenage brain needs more time and experience to develop may help both parent and child survive adolescence. 

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