Diana Waring Interviews “Nature Smart”

Interests and abilities. They’re both valid when thinking about multiple intelligences. The ways we and our children are smart show up first as interests. Then, when these interests are responded to, abilities may follow. They may not. Or low ability may follow, but not high. It depends on God’s choice when creating us. right?

I have relatively high interest in some elements of nature, but not all. And, my abilities across the board aren’t strong. This is one of my less developed intelligences. What about you?

I’ve been on safari in Africa and here in the States, including at the fabulous Fossil Rim Wildlife Center near where I live. I go to our fabulous Fort Worth zoo often. I enjoy observing the animals. I don’t need to understand why they do what they do. I don’t need to remember which deer is which.

I appreciate brightly colored flowers and especially in beautiful arrangements. This is because my parents gardened well and my mom had a real talent for arranging flowers in vases. There’s an emotional interest here, but no personal ability.

When my brother and I were young, we caught a garden snake and built a cage to keep it for a while. I paid attention to it, but looking back it was more my logic smart that engaged me than being nature smart. I wanted to know how it lived in the burlap covering of our garden’s rose bush. How long had it been there? How did it survive in the winter? What did it eat? Were there other snakes under other burlap coverings that we didn’t notice when it warmed up and our dad took the burlap off? As I often write – smarts never work alone. They always partner for effectiveness.

You’ll enjoy this week’s video about being nature smart by my friend, Diana Waring. Listen to how she describes the strengths a nature-smart person has. What careers might interest them? Listen to what she believes makes someone great and not just good. I agree with her. Watch this with your kids, too, because it will give you much to talk about.

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Have you missed the smarts we’ve already covered? You can watch Diana’s videos here. And, you can read more about Diana and her curricula using the smarts at www.dianawaring.com.

Diana’s Biographical Sketch

Diana Waring is one of the pioneers of homeschooling. For nearly three decades she has been an author and speaker to the international homeschool movement. Diana is the author and publisher of the History Revealed curriculum, the Experience History Through Music series (William T. Anderson authored one of the titles in this series), Beyond Survival, Reaping the Harvest, and numerous world history and homeschool encouragement audio CDs. She is a video blogger, blogger, columnist for The Homeschool Minute, guest writer at The Old Schoolhouse magazine, curriculum writer, singer/composer, actress/playwright, wife, and homeschool mom. To learn more, please visit www.DianaWaring.com

In this Valentine’s Day video, Dr. Kathy shares a special tradition she has with her two nieces and her nephew. Maybe this is your year to start a new tradition – they make holidays richer. She then wisely cautions us on our use of social media surrounding our gifts and how we’re celebrated. And for anyone for whom the day is hard, her last bit of advice is especially for you.

Content, Grateful, Loved, And Single

When I was a young adult, my brother and his wife called me into their bedroom during a family gathering. They had never done this before, so I knew something was up.

Both Dave and Debbie spoke, but my brother took the lead. They just wanted me to know that if I remained single, they would always be my family. They’d remember my birthday and invite me for all holidays. If I needed something, they’d do everything possible to help.

Until they loved me with these statements, I didn’t know how badly I needed to hear them.

Our parents were still alive and in good health. I still had my old bedroom to stay in when visiting for holidays. But, Dave and Deb were correct – there would be a time when our parents wouldn’t be alive.

Debbie and Dave opened their home to several single women who needed a place to stay for various reasons. Getting to know them and their concerns prompted their declaration to me. They came to appreciate the very real issue for many singles – where will I go when my parents die and will anyone remember me on my birthday?

I’m grateful to God for how comfortable I am being single. I don’t take it lightly. I know many single adults who would prefer to be married and some who are angry at God that they aren’t. I’ve met parents whose greatest concern seems to be whether their children will get married. In those cases, I’m happy to model contentment and fulfillment as a single.

In addition to Dave and Deb’s welcoming statement, what has contributed to my contentment?

  • Jesus was single. If there was anything wrong with this choice, God’s only Son would have been married. Jesus understands my temptations, fears, anxieties, confusion, lack of support, etc. If the single life was good enough for God’s only child, it must be good enough for me!
  • Marriage is not a cure for loneliness or any other thing. Jesus completes us (Colossians 2:10) and people complement us. Expecting one person on earth to do what Jesus came to do is dangerous and will lead to deep disappointments. Marriage is hard work and I know it doesn’t come with guarantees.
  • I’ve cultivated a dynamic relationship with God and expect Him to meet my needs.
  • I’ve become comfortable with who I am so I can be content alone. I accept what aren’t my favorite qualities that can’t be changed and I work on the others. I humbly celebrate successes.
  • I know the difference between being alone and being lonely and use the words carefully and accurately.
  • I don’t allow myself to isolate, but spend time with friends. I have several activities I enjoy and things I do to relax.
  • I’ve learned to ask for help because there are many things I can’t do by myself and other things I don’t know how to do. Asking doesn’t make me weak.
  • I enjoy the freedom I have to spend my money the way I want, eat what I want and where, decorate the way I want, make decisions in the way I think is best, …
  • I pamper myself. I cook good food and sometimes buy myself flowers. I own beautiful china and many other nice things. (I tell young people not to get married for the party and the gifts! Buy what you want.)

Does anything in my list help you think through your situation and contentment? Do you know singles you could share it with? Youth not dating who think they must?

There’s one more thing that’s significant to anyone’s contentment and life satisfaction. Obedience.

Whether single or married, the bottom line is obedience. Singles may not be single forever, but the key is contentment and acceptance for what the Lord has for each of us at any given time in our lives. We must make the most of every opportunity. (Ephesians 5:15‑17)

If I don’t believe my current situation is God’s best for me, what makes me think I’ll trust Him in my next phase? Living with a “grass is greener on the other side of the fence” thinking pattern dishonors God and isn’t appealing to me at all. Is it to you?

In this video, Dr. Kathy recommends some places that can be tech-free so conversations occur and relationships are strengthened. She also addresses a decision many parents make to only use technologyMonday-Friday for educational gain. Limits are wise. Watch this with your teens and talk about it. What can you do because people matter more than devices?

To learn more about Dr. Kathy’s book “Screens and Teens: Connecting with our kids in a wireless world” and the wide selection of resources provided by Celebrate Kids, please visit shop.celebratekids.com

“Come to Momma!”

Upon entering the room, you’re surprised your child is standing. You realize a big milestone is about to occur. You don’t shout, “Sit down. You might hurt yourself!” Instead, you have someone run to get the video camera while you get in position.

You expect progress, and you show that to your child through your behavior and language. Positioning yourself four feet away with your arms outstretched, you smile broadly and use only an encouraging tone of voice. Focused on the goal, you communicate, “Come to Momma!”

One step. Then another. A fall. A second try will appear as a false start. Over the next few days there are missteps. Attempts. Half-steps. Fall downs.

These aren’t “mistakes” though. We would never tell people our child made a mistake trying to walk, even if he fell down on his tenth attempt. Rather, it is more likely we would announce his every attempt. We call our parents, siblings, and friends and perhaps even post it on Facebook: “Jared tried to walk today!” This is our attitude because we’re looking for progress, not perfection—for growth, not completion.

We know error-free walking is the goal. It’s possible, but only if it’s the destination. Perfection can’t be the journey. The journey must be built on faith in the possibilities and an expectation for good, better, and then best.

As you’ve noticed, children don’t crawl for long. They pull themselves up, walk around things, walk alone, skip, gallop, and eventually run. When they fall down doing any of those things, they almost always pick themselves up and keep going unless we react as if they should be upset. Gasping, looking at them with alarm, running toward them, and asking if they’re okay will likely cause the tears to flow even if they are not hurt by the stumble. Our reactions are often mirrored by our children’s.

Their goal to walk is accomplished and celebrated. At a young age, they long for progress.

What if, throughout their growing up years, we had a “Come to Momma!” perspective? What difference would it make if we could see progress even in the smallest of ways from our preschooler, gradeschooler, teenager, young adult? What if we expected them to stumble along the way and we didn’t consider that stumble a mistake? What if we stayed at four feet away, not eight? What if our arms are reached toward our children, not folded in front of us? What if we smiled instead of frowned? What if we had an encouraging, optimistic tone in our voices, issuing a request our children want to fulfill, not demands they can’t live up to?

What if our children had a “Come to Momma!” belief system? I can accomplish what my parents are asking me to do. Attempts aren’t failure; they are part of life. I can pick myself up to try again. Perfection may never be reached or even necessary because I know my parents will celebrate my progress.

This “Come to Momma” mindset is incredibly important to remember in growing our children’s confidence and managing and motivating positive change. When things can get tense because of everything that’s going on and children wish they could be perfect, let’s remember this. (I write more about this belief system in the book Jill Savage and I wrote for you, No More Perfect Kids: Love Your Kids for Who They Are. There’s tons in it to encourage you.)

Welcome Focus On The Family Radio Listeners!

Welcome! If you’re here for the first time because you listened to No More Perfect Kids on Focus on the Family Radio, we’re glad you’re here!

You are your children’s first and most important teacher. The ways you love them, mentor them, and teach them matter! Celebrate Kids is here to offer you ideas, practical skills, new ways to see your children as well as encouragement for the tough times.

Teachers face many challenges in their work. When they attend one of our workshops, they gain different concepts to add to their understanding of their students and can plan innovative and effective ways to meet the needs of all their students. Educators are heroes in our eyes!

Church-based teachers, leaders, and volunteers are equipped to love, lead, and teach well during these days when culture is teaching our children and us if we’re not careful, that Truth is what ‘I’ want it to be, and you can have your own Truth. Teaching God’s Truth is just as important as it’s always been.

Our seminars, whether in a church, school, camp or another setting, promote these truths, so children and adults become convinced they apply to themselves:

  • I can be smart with my smarts.
  • I am created on purpose with purpose.
  • I am who I am supposed to be.
  • I am a human being, not a human doing.
  • I am a unique, one-of-a-kind, created-in-the-image-of-God miracle.
  • I will control my technology. It will not control me.

Radio is an efficient way to influence people, and we’re grateful to Focus on the Family for the opportunity to be a guest on their show. Speaking at events sponsored by Christian schools, public schools, homeschool groups, churches, camps, corporations, and conventions are the most common way we meet people’s needs. Providing hope and direction is a privilege! You can learn more here.

We also support you in these ways:

  • This blog. Check out a list of recent and popular posts in the right sidebar. Clicking on “multiple intelligences” at the top will direct you to the posts about our smarts. You can subscribe near the bottom of the sidebar, so you don’t miss any posts.
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  • Kathyism videos are posted to our Facebook page and on Vimeo.com. Two-five minutes in length, they’re produced for you to watch alone or with your kids. Fun and influential!
  • You can also connect with us on other social media sites for an open exchange of experiences and ideas.  Find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.
  • Our website includes information on my main topics. For instance, you can read about multiple intelligences here. My speaking schedule is posted there, and you can get to our shopping cart to see what books, CDs, DVDs, and other materials may meet your needs.

Thanks for stopping by. I hope that you’ll continue to follow us and take advantage of all our resources so you’ll find solutions for today and hope for tomorrow. It’s why we do what we do!

During the scheduled airdates, the streaming audio of this broadcast will appear on the Focus On The Family Radio broadcast page along with a brief description. Click here to find a station in your area. After the airdate, the program will be posted here for 31 days.

In addition, a downloadable podcast will be available on iTunes (just search for Focus on the Family Daily Broadcast). Thank you for listening!

Watch this video to understand a significant difference between younger and older generations. What Dr. Kathy talks about regarding relationships and beliefs has fascinated many people in her audiences. Check it out. And, like with many of these videos, ask your teens to watch with you so you can talk about it.

Diana Waring Interviews “Word Smart”

Did you watch Diana Waring’s video about being body smart that I hosted on my blog last Wednesday? It was so important because far too many people believe children with this intelligence are not smart.

Today’s video (below) is about word smart – the one most people naturally think of when talking about intelligence. Children strong in this smart usually enjoy learning. School is a safe place for them.

I love how Diana reminds all of us that word smart shows up differently. That’s why I want you to watch the video with your children. They may be more word smart than they think they are.

There are my professional comedian friends, Christine and Sally. They can turn a phrase, dramatically pronounce or emphasize a word, and listen to what I think is a normal conversation and hear something humorous.

There’s my friend, Brad, who writes original birthday raps for his friends. He puts words together in the most unusual ways.

Ezra, my niece Katie’s husband, just designed my nephew’s wedding invitation. He’s word smart!

Diane reminded me of my grandfather and the speeches he gave. Both my brother and I take after him.

If you’re already familiar with the 8 great smarts, you might realize that in each of  my examples, at least one other intelligence is involved. The same is true with Diane’s examples. Intelligences rarely, if ever, work alone. When you listen to her examples, see if you can identify other relevant smarts. And, talk with your kids about who her examples remind them of. One more suggestion – listen for her comments about practice and how to do it well. I wholeheartedly agree!

{Note: if you can’t see the other smarts in our examples, don’t worry. I predict that you’ll be able to find them after watching all of Diana’s videos.}

Diana’s Biographical Sketch

Diana Waring is one of the pioneers of homeschooling. For nearly three decades she has been an author and speaker to the international homeschool movement. Diana is the author and publisher of the History Revealed curriculum, the Experience History Through Music series (William T. Anderson authored one of the titles in this series), Beyond Survival, Reaping the Harvest, and numerous world history and homeschool encouragement audio CDs. She is a video blogger, blogger, columnist for The Homeschool Minute, guest writer at The Old Schoolhouse magazine, curriculum writer, singer/composer, actress/playwright, wife, and homeschool mom.

Friendship And The Adolescent Brain by Jerusha & Jeramy Clark

Today Jerusha Clark and her husband, Jeramy are guest blogging for me for a second time. I met Jerusha when we spoke together at a convention and I instantly loved her and definitely have come to respect her as I got to know her work. I wrote a bit about the adolescent brain in my book, Screens and Teens. Their book, Your Teenager is Not Crazy, is brilliant.  They clearly write about very important applications of significant brain research in ways you can understand. Today’s post is about friendship, which is always a relevant topic. Maybe it’s on your mind more, though, as Valentine’s Day will be soon upon us. Read this and then share it with your friends. You’ll want to!

Do you remember who your best friends in middle school or high school were? Of course you do! Faces either swam into your memory or your stomach tightened as you recalled being alone day after day. Adolescent friendship—or the lack of it—powerfully impacts all of us.

If you’re the parent of a tween or teen, chances are it’s impacting you all over again, this time from the other side. You’re navigating hurt feelings and adolescent drama with your child, and it’s not that much easier (it may, in fact, feel harder) than lo so many years ago when your most pressing concern was the North Star zit that exploded on your forehead right before Homecoming.

Your tween or teen is experiencing radical changes in his or her brain. Neuroscientists liken this to the brain being remodeled. Have you ever remodeled a room in your house? If you have, you know that it always takes more time, costs more money, and requires more of you than you planned to give. Raising a teen is kind of like that! Why? Because adolescent brains are being progressively renovated as a tween or teen moves away from childhood and toward young adulthood.

We described some of the general changes happening in the teen brain in this post for Dr. Kathy and the Celebrate Kids community. For today, we’re going to look at how the amazing adolescent brain deals with friendship. If you’ve wondered why it seems so hard for your teen to make or keep friends, if you’re concerned about the people your tween is hanging out with, if you’re hoping that maybe things will change this school year, we’d like to equip you with some knowledge and some hope.

Knowledge first.

As your adolescent’s brain is remodeled, the neural structures that make up what scientists refer to as “the social brain” are pruned and transformed. During this season, there is a natural and healthy push away from the home and toward peers.

It used to really hurt my feelings when my teenage daughters would ask, “Can I bring a friend?” or “Do we have to have a family night?” Now I understand there’s way more at play in their brains than I initially assumed. Whereas I once assumed these changes meant I had been weighed and found wanting by my adolescent children, I now understand that when adolescents push away from parents and toward friends, it can actually be a really good sign.

God designed for your tween or teen to move toward peers while they are still in your home so that they can learn important social skills like conversation, interdependence, and empathy. Imagine if your son or daughter only stayed in your home and never interacted with peers. That’s a frightening prospect for their adult life!

Adolescents need to practice these new skills and then come home to a safe and stable environment where their brains can “rest” from the (often dramatic) ebbs and flows of teenage friendship. And similar to flabby muscles that need to be worked out for optimum performance, your tween or teen’s social “muscles” need to exercise in the world of their peers.

In other words, don’t take this personally, parents! This is both a physical reality (the social brain is “propelling” adolescents toward one another) and a heart desire (the need for acceptance is common to us all). You can be an ally for your tween or teen by facilitating healthy friendships.

Of course, I’m not saying we should release tweens and teens to limitless peer interaction. Yikes! Scary thought.

Instead, we can remember and put into practice the following truths about friendship during the teen years:

  1. Teen brains learn best by example. If you want your son or daughter to develop healthy relationships, show them how to do it. Love your own friends well. Treat strangers with compassion. Listen patiently and attentively when someone wants to share a story or opinion (even if you don’t agree). You may not think your adolescent is watching, but studies show otherwise. Your tween or teen’s brain is busy—constantly busy—interpreting what’s going on in and around him or her. If you’re “too busy” to be with friends but are perennially on your phone or computer, don’t be surprised if your son or daughter enacts the same pattern. Your example certainly isn’t the whole story, but it does play a significant role. Don’t let your input be an empty set or worse, a negative one.
  1. Surround your teens and their friends with “surrogate prefrontal cortexes.” The prefrontal cortex (PFC) is sometimes called the brain’s CEO. It’s the portion of the brain that coordinates executive-level functions like forethought, judgment, planning, and impulse control. Kinda reads like a laundry list of what teens struggle with, doesn’t it? That’s because the PFC is the “final frontier” of brain remodeling. Because your adolescent’s PFC won’t fully develop until approximately twenty-five years of age and his or her friends’ brains won’t develop until the same time, they benefit from having more mature brains around them. This can’t always be you, so it’s essential to engage “surrogate prefrontal cortexes” in your tween or teen’s life. Coaches, church group leaders, mentors, and teachers are great options. Invest in knowing these people. Facilitate times for them to be with your teen(s). We recently paid for one of our teenage daughters to get coffee with a family friend who offered to talk with her about some concerns she was having. Via text, a youth group volunteer also helped one of our adolescent girls process some friendship drama. Knowing that your adolescent and his/her friends have more mature brains around can give you greater confidence and peace.
  1. Influence whenever possible. Making blanket statements about your tween or teen’s friends usually gets you nowhere and them angry. Don’t make rash judgments about your adolescent’s friends. Instead, ask questions to determine what your son or daughter likes about the people he or she is with. If you can’t get an answer, observe carefully. Yes, this takes time. Yes, it requires some work. Yes, it’s worth every bit of effort. You lose the opportunity to influence when you dismiss your tween or teen’s friends out of hand. You also miss the chance to influence when you just want teens “out of your hair.” If you see your adolescent’s friendship needs as one prolonged hassle, you’re headed in the wrong direction. You have a tremendous potential to influence your teen’s life of friendship. Don’t miss the opportunities!
  1. People first, devices second. This fantastic phrase came from my friend, Arlene. It’s a great way to remind your teen that people always come before electronics. If your son or daughter is having a friend over, consider setting limits on their tech time. It’s amazing what happens when teens don’t have the option to default to screens. They actually talk; they may even Imagine that?! This is also helpful when you’re visiting family, especially older relatives who may not be as initially “exciting” to talk to; if you already have the “people first, devices second” principle in place, you won’t be in a constant battle with your teen. He or she will know that when people are around, relationship is the #1 priority.

Finally,

  1. Don’t be afraid of getting some professional help! Today’s world can feel like a scary place to teenagers. Faced with near-constant media bombardment about issues many adolescents don’t understand (world terror, elections, economic pressures, immigration, sexual and gender tensions, just to name a few), modern teens are finding it more difficult to interact in safe ways with one another. Some adolescents would rather just stay home with their video games and phones; this feels safer. Others are battling mental health issues and isolating themselves is an outgrowth of this struggle. The habits your tween or teen learns by withdrawing from relationships can ultimately be detrimental. If you find that your teen is struggling with friendship, don’t assume “this will pass” or “it’s just a phase.” Go see your pastor and/or consider talking to a counselor to get equipped. Perhaps taking your son or daughter to a counselor is in order. All too often, parents don’t reach out for help because they just want the issues to go away. If you find yourself in this situation, we understand how hard it is! We’ve been there. When you get help, however, you help for more than just right now; you’re setting your adolescent up for relationship success long-term.

There are several chapters in our book, Your Teenager is Not Crazy, that deal with peer dynamics and influence (including peer pressure), why and how teen friendships form and last, and how you can be part of the grand adventure. We just can’t fit it all into a little blog!

For lots more on the teenage brain, how understanding it can make you a better parents, and ways faith impacts it all, check out the resources available at www.jandjclark.com.

Your Teenager is Not Crazy: Understanding Your Teen’s Brain Can Make You a Better Parent is available online and at local retailers from Baker Books.

7-20-16 JeramyClark

Dr. Jeramy Clark received his Masters of Divinity and Doctorate of Ministry from Talbot Theological Seminary.  He served as a youth pastor for 17 years before becoming the Pastor of Discipleship at Emmanuel Faith Community Church.  His role includes overseeing Men’s and Women’s Ministries, Care and Counseling, and Small Groups.  Jeramy roasts, brews, and savors coffee of all varieties, plays pickup basketball, is a drummer, and enjoys surfing.

7-20-16 JerushaClarkJerusha Clark co-authored four books with Jeramy, including three bestsellers, prior to launching her own writing and speaking ministry, focused on helping others glorify and enjoy God, one thought at a time.  On quiet days, you can find Jerusha body-boarding, reading, or singing around a bonfire at the beach, her absolute favorite place.  Jeramy and Jerusha have two amazing teenage daughters and love ministering together at churches, retreats, schools, and conferences.

Because today’s teens and young adults are multitalented and often multi-passionate, they need direction in order to discover and believe in their specific purpose. Dr. Kathy shares two questions you can use to guide them. You’ll love this practical instruction!