Dr. Kathy was recently blessed and surprised by a friend’s service rooted in love. In this video, she shares the story and encourages us to raise children who understand the value of serving others, maybe especially when it’s done in secret.

The Selfishness of Digital Life ‘On Demand’

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Today, we’re posting an article I wrote for Christianity Today’s website called Her.meneutics. I’m very encouraged by how people are responding to the ideas presented in Screens and Teens. Have you invested in yourself and kids you know by reading it yet? How about starting with these ideas?

Please consider reading this with teens and young adults and letting the ideas stimulate a discussion.

The Selfishness of Digital Life ‘On Demand’
By Dr. Kathy Koch for Christianity Today – Her.meneutics
March 2015

The use of technology can cause any of us to become self-centered. It’s so focused on the consumer! If you trawl online one afternoon for a certain kind of T-shirt or new boots, advertisers for T-shirts and boots will appear on your Facebook news feed for weeks. When you buy a book on Amazon.com or borrow one via a library app, book suggestions will appear, tailored just for you based on your buying preferences and books that other people bought who also purchased the book you did. That computer seems to know you and be conforming to your particular needs! The computer reinforces the untruth: It’s all about me!

Created On Purpose For Purpose

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Short and to the point. This is on my mind.

The earlier children discover they were created on purpose for purpose, the better. Ephesians 2:10 teaches us that we were all created in advance to do good work. Isaiah 43:7 teaches that we were created for God’s glory.

  • When children discover these truths, they’re more willing to invest in themselves and others.
  • When children act upon these truths, they discover more about God.

This is a powerful combination.

Due largely to technology and how often we let children use it, it’s easy for children to become self-centered and selfish. Technology can convince them the world revolves around them and they don’t need anybody. Nothing could be further from the truth.

  • Let’s parent so children’s eyes are not on themselves
  • Let’s parent so children understand the value of living in community.

These might be among the most important things parents do.

When children volunteer with other children and with their families they can discover the world needs them. Serving helps them believe they can positively influence the world now. They will find their gifts and choose to use them. They will find true joy.

Children are never too young to serve and make a difference. After all, scholars believe Mary, the mother of our Lord and Savior, was only 13 or 14 when giving birth to Jesus. Often children are ready and willing. If we don’t take advantage of that window of curiosity and humility, it might be too late. They may begin believing there’s nothing they can do that matters. Might this be why we all know adults watching the world pass them by who are doing nothing to influence anybody? It’s sad. Let’s not let this happen to the children we know.

What can you do today? Tomorrow? What will you do?

This is our 100th video. Amazing! We’re grateful for your interest and support. Dr. Kathy honors her parents in this video because without their support from the time she was a child, Celebrate Kids, Inc., probably wouldn’t exist. How are you supporting your children today? We hope and pray Kathy’s memories inspire you.

“These Are A Few Of My Favorite Things…”

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ExhibitHallMy Favorite Things is a fun song from the movie Sound of Music (which explains the image at the top of this post.) Maybe because of all the hoopla over the 50th anniversary of the movie, the song has been on my mind lately.

Last week, I spent 2½ days at the Great Homeschool Convention in Cincinnati, Ohio. Just like the past 3 years, it was a wonderful experience. I saw many favorite things. I’m not going to try to put my things to music, but you could try.

  • Husbands and wives holding hands while walking to and from workshops and while in the exhibit hall. I loved how many truly seemed connected. Parents invested in each other and their marriage may be the most important thing their children need.
  • Obedient children who waited with parents as they shopped. There were some who clearly were bored and maybe frustrated, but they didn’t act up. I never heard a child complain and I never – in 2½ days – heard a parent correct a child. This doesn’t mean it didn’t happen outside of my space, but I was very impressed with the respect children showed their parents.
  • Caramel and chocolate covered pretzel rods and roasted nuts located in three different places, therefore allowing the scent to permeate much of the convention center.
  • Children holding hands with moms and dads. It wasn’t about controlling them or making them stay close. It was about wanting them to be close. There’s a difference and you can tell when you observe.
  • Moms and dads consulting with each other about which seminars to attend and which products to buy. They asked great questions, shared their opinions, and worked together for the good of their children.
  • Hundreds of parents in my seminars eager to learn. Hungry for truth. Wanting to be the best and do the best for their children. They were so easy to teach.
  • Joyful friends serving in our exhibit space for hours and hours, sometimes too busy to eat. Never complaining. Only smiling. Thanking me for the privilege of helping!
  • Teens in the teen track paying attention from the front of the room to the back. Teachable and grateful. Mature enough to stop by in the exhibit hall later just to say “thanks.”
  • Did I mention the roasted nuts? Yes, I think I did.
  • Siblings holding hands with each other and enjoying each other’s company. Swinging their arms back and forth as they almost danced in the space between booths was delightful and refreshing.
  • Observing Tina Hollenbeck, our staff writer, growing as a speaker and consultant in the homeschool community. Her following is huge and I’m grateful for her service. (We’ve been friends for almost many, many years. Longtime friends are among God’s greatest blessings.)
  • Joyful, pleasant, and easy-to-encourage children and teens attending my seminars with their parents. Laughing at the right times. Serious thinking at the right times. Standing in line to thank me for what I taught. Humbling.
  • Friends of mine meeting friends of mine and now they’re friends. Yes!
  • Parents holding children in their arms. Children being loved, cared for, and allowed to be children.
  • The leadership of the Great Homeschool Convention serving unselfishly for hours and hours. Consistently present to make sure things went well. Answering questions. Sharing feedback. Connecting people.
  • Exhibiting next to Hearts at Home and Jill Savage, my co-author on No More Perfect Kids, and Moody Publishers, my publisher. It was such fun to interact and network and laugh and learn together. I am so privileged!
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    l-r: Jill Savage, Dr. Kathy, Sally Baucke

    Being silly with Jill Savage and our mutual friend, comedian Sally Baucke. It is good for me to get silly with people I trust.

Being in such a positive environment was refreshing. Oh, believe me, I’m exhausted after speaking five times, selling for 2½ days, listening to many stories/questions from concerned parents, and answering as many as I could. But, it’s a very good fatigue.

In our everyday lives, we can see and hear lots of negative and stressful things if we choose to. But, there’s much that’s right in the world and seeing it, hearing it, and prioritizing it is wise.

What can you choose to see and hear today that will put a smile on your face? How can you behave so others will smile?

For our children to be motivated to succeed, especially when things are challenging, we need to be cheerleaders. Although teams need coaches (the subject of last week’s video), cheerleaders help. The key is to know which cheer to use at any given time. How can you become a better cheerleader? Would your children benefit from your constant presence on the sidelines? Dr. Kathy’s examples will inspire you.

Keep the Conversation Going – Download The Celebrate Kids App!

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Dckappoutsideo you go to the Celebrate Kids Facebook page to get the question to ask kids each weekday? Many people do, and the feedback we have gotten is phenomenal! So much so, we’ve taken the questions, added a bunch more, and put them into an app you can download to your iOS (Apple) device. The new CK Questions app is a powerful way to keep the conversation going with your kids. You can use the questions in the car, at the dinner table, or as you go for a walk after dinner. You’ll be amazed at what you learn.

It’s free to download! Check it out. After you’ve used it a bit, please post a review to the app store. We would appreciate that. Don’t forget that we’ll keep posting different questions on Facebook as well.

Are You Alive?

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Are you alive today? Of course you are, if you’re reading this. :) Are you living?

Did you celebrate LIFE at church yesterday? Let’s live grateful for it EVERY day. When we live with Christ’s sacrifice in mind, we will LIVE. Don’t waste it. Let’s LIVE!

When people spend time with you, is LIFE appealing? Is Jesus appealing? Forgiveness freeing and sin damaging? Really LIVING appealing?

I’m sad for people alive not living.

We need to recognize our need for LIFE and have faith to see Jesus as the answer. He is life and He wants us to live. Daily. Every day. To be alive. To breathe. Inhale. Exhale. Bleed. Cry. Laugh. Feel. Think. Wonder. Question. Answer. Delight. Ponder. Ache. Advance. Love. Grow. Learn. Become.

Be satisfied. Peaceful. Joyful. Joyous. Enthusiastic. Inspired. Lighthearted. Playful. Courageous. Secure. Heroic. Spirited. Enterprising. Determined. Bold. Zealous. Enthusiastic. Confident. Open. Teachable.

Don’t waste it – this thing called life.

This video is about the second role we need to fulfill in order to help children become and remain motivated for success – be a coach. Coaches break tasks down into manageable pieces or steps and coach children to become proficient at one before adding more. Do you need to be a coach more often? Dr. Kathy’s instruction and examples will help you. (Last week’s video was about being teachers, the first of three roles we need to fulfill in order to help children become and remain motivated for success. Next week we’ll cover the third role.)

Jesus Understands

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While Jesus lived here on earth, He was fully man. Like me, you probably don’t think about that as often as you do the reality that He was fully God. That’s most often appropriate.

But, wow. Keep reading….

Jill Savage, my coauthor in No More Perfect Kids, does a beautiful job in her blog today of reminding us that Christ’s humanness is a reason He understands us. Yes, He does.

Jesus understands you and me. When I think about this, it makes it easier for me to pray and really share what’s going on in my life. Because He is God, he’s not surprised. Because He is man, he can relate. Because He is God, I can trust Him to care and to intervene in ways that are best.