‘Adult’ is Not a Verb: Helping Young People Spread Their Wings

‘Adult’ is Not a Verb: Helping Young People Spread Their Wings

‘Adult’ is Not a Verb: Helping Young People Spread Their Wings

My parents and grandparents were involved in politics and community service, so my brother and I were raised to care about and contribute to both. Because of that, and my grandfather’s job at our local newspaper before he became the mayor, I used to read the newspaper and watch the news on TV regularly. Now it’s not easy to watch the news. I don’t trust much of it. I know what I’m being told is biased and incomplete. I skim-read my local paper.

I’m not going to bury my head in the sand, though, and pretend things aren’t going on that concern me. I care deeply about God’s reputation, families, parents, teens, and children. Therefore, I am choosing to spend more of my intellectual energy and time studying culture and worldview issues from trusted online and print sources. That’s why reading John Stonestreet and Brett Kunkle‘s book, A Practical Guide to Culture: Helping the Next Generation Navigate Today’s World was a no-brainer for me.  I didn’t just read it, though. I devoured it. I encourage you to, too. (Disclaimer: John is a friend who wrote the forward to Eight Great Smarts. I’d read anything he writes.)

As you’ll see from this blog John originally wrote for Breakpoint.org, posted on May 16th, he and Brett write about issues that concern you and me. Their interpretations, insights, and practical ideas and challenges will inform and encourage you. You may be motivated to action. At the very least, I picture many of you, my readers, using John’s post as a discussion starter with teens and young adults. Enjoy this and then I encourage you to share it. Let’s work together to inspire many people.

 

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Guest post by John Stonestreet, President of the Colson Center for Christian Worldview

 

There’s a new word touted by Webster that exposes a crisis in our culture of generational proportions.

It’s been called a lot of things: “Peter Pan Syndrome” or my favorite, “failure to launch,” but whatever the term, the phenomenon is undeniable. A record number of young people today are getting stuck in the transition between childhood and adulthood.

Despite attending college in record numbers, millennials seem to struggle to move on to the next phase of life. Just a decade ago, a healthy majority of young adults were able to successfully fledge. Now, those who’ve managed to leave the nest are a minority.

Of course, the recession and a sluggish job market are factors. Millennials do have tougher career prospects than their parents did. But the economy isn’t the only explanation, and the language young people use to talk about adulthood makes that obvious.

Writing in The Wall Street Journal, Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse announced that Twitter had turned the noun “adult” into a verb. “#Adulting” is what kids post on social media to congratulate themselves for the rather ordinary feats of paying the bills, finishing the laundry, or just getting to work on time.

“I adulted!” goes the saying, as if fulfilling daily responsibilities is somehow above and beyond the call of duty. “Adulting” has become so universally recognized that the American Dialect Society nominated it for the most creative word of 2015.

“To a growing number of Americans,” writes Sasse, “acting like a grown-up seems like a kind of role-playing, a mode of behavior requiring humorous detachment.”

This isn’t just the complaint of a crotchety old man about young whipper-snappers. What we’re witnessing today, insists the senator, is a trend toward “perpetual adolescence,”—a “coming-of-age crisis,” that shows up as a real and measurable reduction in the difference between 10-year-olds and 30-year-olds.

But if our kids don’t know what it means to be adults, parents, we should be asking ourselves, are we teaching them? Isolation in peer groups of the same age, widespread complacency toward history and ethics, unbridled consumerism, and even those infamous participation trophies have all contributed to this crisis.

We’d do well to remember what C. S. Lewis wrote in “The Abolition of Man” of those who “remove the organ and demand the function,” who “make men without chests and expect of them virtue and enterprise,” who “castrate and bid the geldings be fruitful.”

Senator Sasse offers steps to reverse the trend of perpetual adolescence and to help kids from an early age understand the meaning of adulthood. Teach them the difference, he says, between a “need” and a “want,” embrace hard work together, travel meaningfully, and read widely. These are all important steps to forming mature citizens.

And in our new book “A Practical Guide to Culture,” my co-author Brett Kunkle and I have a chapter entitled “Perpetual Adolescence and Castrated Geldings.” In it, we offer even more suggestions for helping teens grow up. Come to BreakPoint.org to find out how to get your copy.

But the Senator’s most important suggestion? Older generations must start investing in the lives of young adults. Summarizing relevant research in 2013, The Boston Globe reported a staggering statistic: Only a quarter of Americans 60 and older had discussed anything important with anyone under 36 in the previous six months! Exclude relatives and that figure dropped to a mortifying 6 percent. How alien this would have sounded to the Apostle Paul, who in Titus 2 urges older men and older women to teach the younger.

Only by connecting and investing in their lives can we reasonably expect our kids, our grandkids, and their peers to understand that “adult” is not something you do. It’s someone you are.

 

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What Do You Think? What Will You Do?

Are you going to talk with teens and young adults about this? Or, how did you react to this sentence? But if our kids don’t know what it means to be adults, parents, we should be asking ourselves, are we teaching them? Maybe we should talk about this with other parents we care about.

I recommend you purchase A Practical Guide to Culture: Helping the Next Generation Navigate Today’s World for any adults who care about and work with young adults and teens. Also, if you know young adults frustrated by their own generation and concerned, buy this book for them. I’m buying copies for Christmas gifts for my niece who teaches and coaches in a Christian school and my nephew and his wife who work with teens in their church. Who do you know who needs this book?

If you don’t already follow John’s work at BreakPoint, the nationally syndicated commentary on the culture founded by the late Chuck Colson, www.breakpoint.org and the Colson Center for Christian Worldview, www.colsoncenter.org I encourage you to. I depend on both to keep me informed with truth. And, check out Brett‘s ministry at www.maventruth.com. Read the “about” page and you’ll see how much he and I have in common. I’m eager to see how God is going to continue to use him now that he’s launched his own ministry. It’s right to care and to stay informed. More than ever before, we need to discern who to listen to and who to follow. These men are all about Jesus and truth. (By the way, if you’ll be coming to any of the Great Homeschool Conventions in 2018, both John and Brett will be speaking at all five.)

 

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John is the President of the Colson Center for Christian Worldview, a sought-after speaker on issues of worldview and culture, and co-host of the nationally distributed daily commentary BreakPoint. His books include A Practical Guide to Culture (2017), Restoring All Things (2014), Same-Sex Marriage (2013), and Making Sense of Your World (2007). Follow John on Twitter (@jbstonestreet).

Listen With Great Compassion

Listen With Great Compassion

 

Listen With Great Compassion

 

On Monday, I encouraged my readers to be in the moment with people who are in pain and people who are joyful. It’s not helpful or loving to try to push people through and beyond their feelings. If you read that post, have you noticed more people’s feelings in the last two days? How have you responded?

As I wrote on Monday, these two verses can instruct and motivate us:

“Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.”

Romans 12:15

“He who withholds kindness from a friend

forsakes the fear of the Almighty.”

~Job 6;14

As my pastor continued his teaching from the book of Job, he shared this insight that’s clear from reading the debate between Job and his three “friends” found in chapters 7-37:

Resist answering the unanswerable.

Maybe one of the wisest things we can do is listen with great compassion and respond with, “I’m so sorry I don’t have answers.” If people don’t seem to be asking questions, we can simply verbalize, “I’m so sorry.” I’ve sometimes sat with people and said it several times.

Not having answers is hard for me. I’m logic smart and word smart so I think with words and questions. I’m solution-focused. On top of that, I have the spiritual gift of exhortation. I’m naturally driven “to urge, advise, or caution earnestly; admonish urgently.”

But, I know answers and solutions are often not what people want. They want me. They want to be heard. To be seen in their moment.

Silence. It’s not easy. But, it’s so often what’s best.

What Can We Do?

Knowing what some “experts” think wasn’t enough for me. I asked about this on Facebook to see if someone’s presence satisfied people. It’s fun to do research there. Yes, it’s research. There was a lot of agreement among those who answered this question. These comments reflect those of many:

  • I want them to be engaged in a way that creates connectedness. You can evaluate engagement by a lot of non-verbal communication (are they facing you, looking at you, leaning in towards you, making eye contact, etc.) but there are other ways too. Are they relaxed, comfortable? Being kind and considerate? Sometimes just being means not being elsewhere, whether physically or emotionally. [Read that last sentence again. It’s good!]
  • Mouth closed. Arms, ears, and eyes open.
  • I don’t want to hear what I “should or shouldn’t” be thinking/feeling/doing, I just want companionship, understanding, and hopefully encouragement and camaraderie.
  • Acknowledge the feelings you’re hearing … “I’m sure that’s exciting” or “That sounds really hurtful.”
  • Physical touch – hold my hand, touch my shoulder, hug me, sit close. Don’t tell me your experience and how it turned out (either good or bad). But do empathize and show you understand what I’m feeling. Don’t discount my feelings, let me move through whatever process I need to go through. Do assure me of God’s faithfulness and love.
  • Peaceful companionship. [I love this phrase!]

  • Listening. Not one-upping your situation. Sympathizing or enjoying the moment with you.
  • I want undivided attention. I don’t mind if they share experiences that are similar or that yielded the same emotion I’m working through at that time for I believe that it makes for a very close connection. And I don’t want to be judged or criticized. I want to feel as if I’m being heard and understood and that they are there for me trying to help share the experience. I also don’t want them to fix the problem if there is one unless I ask them how they would do it.
  • Contentment, satisfaction with that moment … not wishing for more or something different.
  • I want true listening and not just hearing me….big difference!
  • A car ride. Best conversations in my life seem to happen in the car.
  • Eye contact and the feeling that they are truly there, truly listening, not wishing the moment would pass so they can hop along to the next distraction

And, communicated by many: No phone in front of their face!!!! [I think she meant it.] And, there’s this one: I want to be important enough that a cell phone or other device do not need to be present.

Is it Different for Teens?

I hope the above list is helpful and motivational. It was for me. What about teens. Some may say some of the same things adults shared. But, …

Many teens (and children) prefer to talk about emotional and difficult things when they’re busy. They’re not as comfortable with silence as adults are. From one Facebook post:

My 14 year old daughter’s first answer was play video games with me. So I said no video games, what else to be in the moment together. She answered watch a movie together. I asked her why not just sit together or chat together but she said to sit in silence is awkward and to just talk is uncomfortable. I guess she feels more comfortable talking while engaged in another activity.

Yes. Based on my experiences and conversations with teens, I believe many or most or all would agree with this teen. I love that the mom thought to ask her and that her daughter was able to be honest.

As I’ve written about before, many teens also prefer talking while we’re driving because our eyes can’t meet. They often tell me they don’t want to remember the look on our faces when they say something that’s disappointing or alarming. This is also why some like the dark at bedtime. I totally get this. Do you?

Why not do what the mom from Facebook did and ask your children and teens if they have preferences. If you have preferences, let them know yours. Sharing during emotional times is important. Let’s learn to do it well.

As always, thanks for reading. Let me know if this was beneficial. And, if you have ideas about other things you’d like me to blog about, I’d love your ideas.

Be Authentically Present

Be Authentically Present

Be Authentically Present

 

When people hurt, do you notice? I want to get better at being aware and fully present. I don’t want to turn away or walk away. And, I want people’s pain to affect me. What about you? Are you good at this? Are you able to feel people’s pain? Willing to feel it? Prepared to feel it?

There’s so much pain. It feels like it’s everywhere sometimes. Much of the time. I ache, and sometimes I don’t want to. It’s hard because I wish I could just fix things. Fix people.

What can we do? What should we do?

The Book of Job is Helpful

My pastor is teaching from Job during his Wednesday Bible study. He chose the book for us to study because of a corresponding sermon series about pain and suffering.

This. This is truth he shared while talking about a section of chapter 2. I want to remember this. I want to do this. Be this.

 

“Meet people at their emotion

before trying to move them through the emotion.”

 

So I need just to wait. Feel. Be present. Because it’s not about me being uncomfortable. It’s about people getting comfortable. And in their own time.

In the context of my pastor’s teaching, this applies to people’s pain. Hurt. Heartache. Brokenness. Does this concept work when people are experiencing joy? It’s the same truth. Absolutely!

If I’m not others-centered and fully present to joyful people around me, I can be guilty of wanting them to push through their joy. Get to the other side, people! Enough of this happiness!

It’s true. I’m a thinker before I’m a feeler so sometimes lots of laughter and joy makes me uncomfortable. I don’t know what to do. If I’m not careful, I’ll say something or ask something because I want people to move from their emotions to their thoughts.

But, it’s not about me being comfortable. It’s about others not being uncomfortable. It’s about people being. Just being.

Romans 12:15 is relevant. I’m grateful the Holy Spirit brings it to my mind often.

 

“Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.”

 

So look at this next verse. Wow! Job shares it after his “friends” start the long debate with him about why he is suffering.

I need this instruction. The world needs this instruction. I pray it may bless you today. Let’s act on it.

 

“He who withholds kindness from a friend

forsakes the fear of the Almighty.”

~Job 6;14

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Please make sure to come back for Wednesday’s blog. I’ll expand on the idea of being in the moment, and we’ll compare what this might look like for adults and children.

Are Your Children Confident In Who They Are?

Are Your Children Confident In Who They Are?

Are Your Children Confident In Who They Are?

 

Do you want to know how you can figure out if your children are secure? Here’s one way. Would they answer this question as my friend’s 16-year-old daughter did?

If you could be any person living now or in the past, who would you be?

There’s more than one “good” answer, of course. Think about it. How would you love your children to answer this?

My friend’s granddaughter had an immediate response when her mom asked her the question. She enthusiastically responded, I would be ME, of course. God created me, and I am special to Him, so why would I want to be anyone else?

How do you respond to that? I had these immediate responses to her response.

Joy for her because she has such confidence in who she is.

Not only that but tears of gratitude for her parents and others who have raised her to be so secure.

Of course gratitude to God for equipping her parents and for speaking truth to the girl.

Hope that she represents many young people who are learning to be satisfied and even joyful about who they are.

At the same time, sadness for all the youth who aren’t satisfied, but are running from who God created them to be.

Let me ask you again: How would you love your children to answer the question, “If you could be any person living now or in the past, who would you be?”

Now, spend some time thinking about and praying about what it will take for that answer you desire to be an immediate response. Then be proactive. I pray for your success! And, if you’re willing to share, I’d love to know positive answers you’ve thought of. Thanks.

Developing Real Relationships

Developing Real Relationships

 

Developing Real Relationships

 

I want to create a relationship with you.

This is how some emails I receive begin. Because they’re from spammers who think this opening line will motivate me to contact them for some business opportunities.

Therefore, I want to scream at my laptop, “Well you don’t get everything you want!” Then, in my mind, I question their use of the word “create.” It’s just wrong. Then I hit “delete.”

We do want relationships. So do our teens and children.

Relationships, which can mature to friendships, start with noticing the people around us and engaging them in conversations. But, that’s a dying art because of texting, social media, and self-centeredness.

So how do we engage people and get to know them? We can ask better questions. We can be fully present to listen to people’s answers and ask follow-up questions that honor them. We’d all be better off if we took the time to get to know people. Right? Let me write that again: We’d all be better off if we took the time to get to know people.

Ask These Questions

Here are my favorite questions to ask when wanting to get to know someone better. Some of them I ask during my first encounter. And others I ask after we have gotten to know each other a bit.

  • What would you like me to know about you? (This is my all-time favorite because it honors them. They can decide whether to share about family, career, their past, their passion, or something else. As a result, I often learn about their priorities by what they choose to talk about.)
  • What are you passionate about? Why?
  • What fascinates you? Why?
  • What concerns you? Why?
  • What’s important to you?
  • What you are most grateful for?
  • What breaks your heart? Why?
  • What brings you great joy?
  • What has been one of your greatest victories?
  • If you could give advice to people, what would you share?
  • Who are some of your favorite people? Why?

More Questions That Will Help You Get to Know Others

I love my Facebook communities so I asked them, “What’s a unique question we could ask someone we wanted to get to know better?” There are some great questions here. I’ve printed this out so I remember these. I want to honor people and get to know them better.

  • What makes you have joy in the midst of a crisis? I am just curious because I see how well you manage your family and your life.
  • What is the most difficult thing you’ve ever faced and walked through?
  • When do you see yourself as the best version of you? (Ex: in a deadline crunch I am my best driven self.)
  • What inspires you? And why?
  • I am intrigued by you. I would love to hear your story.
  • What is one occasion when it was undeniable that Jesus was present and at work in a situation?
  • What is your biggest dream? Why? Are you taking steps to accomplish that dream?
  • What’s the hardest part of your job (or if there’s no ‘job’ insert the words “typical day.”) Or what part do you like doing the least? You could ask the opposite too. What’s your favorite part of your job.
  • What is your passion? What motivates and moves you?
  • Whom do you most admire and why? What character qualities do you most admire in your spouse /or best friend /or child?
  • What is your life motto or favorite Bible verse?
  • If I wanted to get to know you better what kinds of questions would I ask you?

And A Few Fun Questions

  • Do you prefer Star Wars or Star Trek?
  • What makes you smile?
  • What book has influenced you the most and why?
  • Do you have any pets? Why did you choose them?
  • What has your favorite vacation been?
  • Can you picture an elephant in your mind? Describe your elephant to me.
    (This helps to learn how the person thinks/processes/learns.)
  • What is your least favorite food?
  • If you have a few hours of down time to do whatever you want to do to recharge, what would you do?
  • What is the wildest adventure you’ve ever had?
  • Tell me four things about yourself, with a catch. One of them has to be a lie. I will then guess which is the false answer.
  • When I hear someone has gone on a trip I like to ask, “What was your favorite thing?” I prefer that over, “Did you have a good time?” I get more than just a casual ‘yes’ answer.
  • If you could only have one, would you choose salsa or guacamole, and why?
  • When was the last time you cried and why?
  • What’s the neatest thing you ever made?
  • Tell me your story.
  • If you could buy a ticket to anywhere, where would you go?
  • What is your favorite place in the whole world?
  • So far, what month has been your favorite this year? Then, what happened?
  • Say you’re arrested. Who’s the first person you’d call to bail you out?
  • What is your favorite food and how do you fix it?

A Little More Personal

  • You have died and come to heaven. In heaven there is all understanding and completion, but before you step through those gates to become whole, you have an opportunity. A question. Just one question. Anything your heart has most desired to know. What do you ask?
  • How can I pray for you?
  • Who took a chance on you and offered you an opportunity to do something meaningful — even if you, or they, didn’t feel you were totally ready for it yet — and what happened?
  • Hi, you look like a very interesting person. I’d love to hear your story.
  • If you could spend a few hours with anyone who has ever lived in history, who would that be? Why?
  • What are you excited about?
  • What are you hoping for today?
  • If you save one photo from your life what would it be of?
  • What fact most surprised you when you learned it?
  • If you weren’t here, what would you normally be doing this time of day, this day of the week?
  • What circumstance in your life has caused you to grow the most?
  • Who was the person that changed your life and how did they do that?
  • If you could know anything about anything, what would you want to know?
  • How would you like to change the world?
  • What’s on the top of your bucket list?
  • What is your biggest fear? And what do you love most?
  • Can you talk freely about your past? What are your aspirations for the future?
  • What is the one thing you are most passionate about and why.
  • If money wasn’t a problem what would you like to do and why?

Or These Personal Questions

  • What are passionate about? What sets you ablaze? A certain kind of movie, a certain kind of food, a certain kind outdoor activity… like surfing or jet skiing?
  • If you could trade places with another person, who would it be and why?
  • In what ways are you smart?
  • What’s the hardest situation you feel like God bailed you out of in a really cool way?
  • What keeps you busy during the week?
  • What’s your greatest fear?
  • If you could have dinner with one person, living or dead, who would it be and why?

Getting To Know Their Background A Little More

  • Tell me a story of your name and how you got it.
  • What is your favorite childhood memory?
  • As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
  • What did you like about the place where you grew up? What things did your parents do when you were young that you really appreciate now?
  • Where did you grow up?
  • What truth has most impacted the way you live? How?
  • What’s the most heroic thing someone did for you and who did it?
  • How did you come to know Christ?
  • What are the top 3 most significant events in your life that changed you as a person?
  • If you could live in a different city, where would that be and why?
  • What’s on your bucket list?
  • What made you giggle as a child?
  • What book are you reading or what kind of music do you listen to?
  • How do you like to spend your time?
  • What do you love most about your life?
  • When do you feel the most alive?
  • What is a personal goal you have set or achieved?
  • What are you good at?
  • If you could do one thing and be guaranteed not to fail, what would you do?

Will You Use These Questions?

So, what do you think? Will you use some of these? Will you share some with your teens so they can get to know peers in unique ways?  Maybe some would be fun to ask our teens. Let me know how the questions work. I’d love to know!

Give The Gift of a Car

Give The Gift of a Car

 Give The Gift of a Car

 

What do I want you to remember after reading this blog?

 

  • The church is most beautiful when it’s being the church.
  • When like-minded people come together, they can accomplish much.
  • People should do what they can do and not think so much about what they can’t do.
  • Accepting help is humbling, refreshing, and right.
  • Not being able to find adequate words to say “thanks” with is frustrating.
  • Paying it forward can be more emotional than receiving a gift.
  • Sometimes telling others about a need is hard. Do it anyway.
  • Be open to the Holy Spirit telling you that someone needs your help. Then follow through.

That’s a lot to remember. Do you agree it might be worth it?

What’s my story?

In August, 2016, two friends helped me with my products. As they transferred boxes from one car to the other I commented about how easy it was. I remember them looking at me with a confused look on their faces.

I explained that I have an older car with a very deep trunk. One friend immediately commented that I need a new car – something like theirs with a hatchback that allows for easy loading and unloading of heavy suitcases and boxes. I rather quickly dismissed the comment and explained that my car worked fine and I wasn’t in a financial situation where a car payment would be a good thing to add.

Fast forward to last May when my chiropractor and I decided that his medical team would inject stem cells into my back in hopes of healing what was long-standing and increasingly challenging pain.

Dr. Gideon saw my car. He told me he hesitated to keep treating me if I continued to drive that car. He was concerned about the loading and unloading of my product in and out of the deep trunk. But it was also the fact that I had to fall into a deep seat and then really make an effort to step out of my car which was low to the ground. Also the seats weren’t fitted so my back had absolutely no support. Again, in that instant, I dismissed his comment as important but irrelevant because I didn’t think I could do anything about it.

Trust God

Before the end of that day I believe it was the Holy Spirit who reminded me of my friend’s comment from the previous August. After praying and searching my heart to make sure my motivation was appropriate, I called her. I briefly explained that she might have actually had a Holy Spirit divine inspiration many months prior based on what was now going on with my back.

Humbling

I asked her if she was serious in her offer to help get me a car. I had no idea what she had in mind but I decided that if I teach and believe that our relationships are intentional and God introduces us to the people He wants us to know, then acting upon her verbalized interest and concern was appropriate. She listened and very quickly exclaimed, “I’m on it. Glad to help. No problem. You’ll hear from me soon.”

Humbling. That’s what it was as I recognized that this friend and the other friend who was a part of the original conversation were going to encourage people from their church to help me in my time of need. As I understand it, emails were sent to people who have gotten to know me and the reason for my need was explained.

Notes and checks arrived in my mailbox. Before I knew it, people from one church decided to be the church. They blessed me with not just a car, but an ideal car for my situation. One gift would not have bought me a car, but working together, small gifts and large gifts made the difference. I was reminded that we can all do something.

My friends worked with Steve Beck, my fabulous salesman from AutoNation Ford South in Fort Worth, and he found the car they wanted to buy for me. I was overwhelmed when a friend dropped me off at the dealership so that I could see my new car for the first time and drive it home. It’s still hard to put into words an adequate expression of my gratitude to the people who stepped up and did something precious.

Thankful

Thank-you notes have been sent. Many prayers of gratitude have been spoken to God, the One who gives the greatest gifts of all. I’ve asked Him to bless my friends in beautiful ways.

I paid it forward by giving away my car to someone who I knew needed it. That was such a fabulous feeling and continues to be a reason I’m grateful for my friends’ generosity. Yes, my fitted and heated seats are helping my back tremendously. Having a hatchback for loading and unloading boxes and heavy suitcases for airport trips is fabulous. Knowing that my friend has reliable transportation gives me great joy. Great joy!

What are you going to do today or this week? Will you be on the lookout for someone who needs help and will you respond? Do you have a need and have you been afraid to tell someone? Maybe today is your day. Could you pass a blessing forward and be doubly blessed? Do you need to thank someone for something? Accept help? With others from your church, how can you be the church?

 

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If you’re in need of a car, Steve Beck of AutoNation Ford will be great to work with. He’s been a missionary and pastor who is now known as the pastor of the dealership. He knows cars and will get to know you so he can find you exactly what you need. Give him a call at 817-564-3979.

Hug More

Hug More

 

Hug More

 

“We need 4 hugs a day for survival. We need 8 hugs a day for maintenance. We need 12 hugs a day for growth.”  ~Virginia Satir

Have you read about all the things hugs can do for us? They help the immune system, decrease depression, reduce stress, and induce sleep. As Josh Richardson wrote in a post on dailyhealthpost.com, “[Hugging is] invigorating, rejuvenating and has no unpleasant side effects. It is all natural, organic, naturally sweet, no pesticides, no preservatives, no artificial ingredients and 100 percent wholesome. There are no batteries to wear out, no periodic check-ups, low energy consumption, high energy yield, inflation proof, nonfattening, no monthly payments, theft-proof, nontaxable, nonpolluting and, of course, fully returnable.”

Therefore, I’ve rediscovered the beauty of hugging. Not side-hugs. Real full-on embraces.

This past week, I’ve been with Nancy and her family in Lynden, WA. Nancy is our Project Manager. We’ve been working on various tasks and also enjoying ourselves. As a result, it’s been a good rest for me.

Nancy’s family hugs. All the time. It’s beautiful.

They hug when they say “good morning.” They hug when they say “good night.” They often kiss each other on the cheeks, too.

And you know what? They hug goodbye at the end of an evening of fellowship even when they have a plan to see each other the next day.

When I visit, I get all the hugs, too. Of course, I hug back. It’s easy. They’re warm, genuine, and easy-to-get-to-know and easy-to–be-with people.

Hugging is good self-care. Hugging is good group-care.

How emotionally healthy are you and your family? Being hugged reminds us we’re not alone. Hugging when love is barely felt can cause it to grow. Expressing love when it’s strong, like in Nancy’s family, keeps relationships healthy and deepens them.

Let’s hug more!

God Intervenes – True Hope For Texas

God Intervenes - True Hope For Texas

God Intervenes

True Hope For Texas

It’s hard to watch TV coverage of the devastating hurricane and rain damage in the Houston, TX, area. It’s hard not to watch. But, it’s hard to watch. Hard not to watch. Hard to watch. …

Interspersed with that coverage, there’s news about this and that. And “this” and “that” aren’t good.

Tragedy here. More tragedy there. Tragedy everywhere. This is how it seems sometimes.

While, in the old days, you could decide not to turn on the television and you could probably avoid the news. That’s not the case anymore. There are headlines here, there, and everywhere. There are TVs everywhere. Email blasts. Text alerts. Facebook posts. Tweets.

Discouragement can set in. Children who are also aware can be scared.

As a believer in the God of the Bible and His Son, Jesus Christ, I don’t want to be discouraged. I don’t want you to be either.

I believe what God’s Holy Word declares about Him. He is on the throne. He is omnipotent – He has unlimited authority and power. Nothing surprises Him. He intervenes when He wants to. While I admit I can get concerned and I wonder why God allows some things to occur. I also remember God is God. He gets to decide. God is interested in the big picture I can’t see.

Scripture encourages me. Because Scripture reminds me that God intervenes. I need to remember this today, and tomorrow and the day after that. He is active and aware and not wringing His hands worried about what His people are or aren’t doing.

The book of Esther has some of my favorite truths about God intervening.

In Esther 2:1-9 we learn that Esther was “lovely in form and features.” God intervened because only beautiful women could be in the harem from which the new queen would be chosen. God also intervened because Esther won Hegai’s favor. He was the king’s eunuch in charge of the women.

In 2:17 we learn Esther was chosen to be the queen. And this changed everything. Any number of women could have been chosen. God intervened.

Another evidence of God intervening is found in chapter 2:21-23. Esther’s cousin, Mordecai, who raised her when she was orphaned, “just happened” to be in the right place at the right time to learn that some men were plotting to kill the king. As a result, he was able to save the king’s life. This, too, changed everything.

If you’re not familiar with the fascinating story of Esther and Mordecai, I encourage you to read the short Old Testament book of Esther. You’ll find other evidence that God intervenes.

So allow God’s Word to encourage you. Know that God is active and involved. Talk with your children about this so their faith in God is strengthened during challenging times.

Also, allow your past to encourage you. Remember times when God showed up and made a positive difference. When did He last intervene for you?

God intervenes. Pray expectantly! Watch optimistically! Finally, let’s not be discouraged.

Kathyism #205 – Remember To Be A Good Steward Of Your Time

Continuing a fun video series on things in Dr. Kathy’s office, today she introduces you to two related items. If you agree with her that sometimes a visual reminder is valuable, you might want to buy something similar to place on a shelf. Watch to see what they are.
#Kathyism #celebratekids #DrKathyKoch #stewardship #time

Last week’s video was very serious so Dr. Kathy thought she’d do something more light-hearted. In this first video in a series about things in her office, she introduces you to a stuffed animal. Yes, you read that right and it’s in her office.