2006 at 4:42 pm | by Nicole Whitacre
Biblical Womanhood Spiritual Growth Motherhood Teenagers
We’ve already spoken about Chad’s birthday several times this week. Before we leave this event to the family history books, we want to share one of Chad’s letters with you. As Mom explained on Monday, she and Dad wanted Chad to hear the “voices” of godly men he respects on this special occasion. To read Chad’s book of letters is to realize what a precious gift he has received in the lives and the words of these men.
One of the men who kindly wrote Chad a letter was Dad’s friend, David Powlison. While each letter was uniquely moving, Dr. Powlison’s words were not only applicable to a thirteen year old boy progressing toward manhood, but have been an encouragement to us all. So much so, that Dad even used this letter in a recent counseling situation, and we couldn’t refrain from asking permission to share it with all of you.
Please don’t skim this letter or read it too quickly. It is priceless biblical guidance from a wise man for all of us—young and old. I’m willing to bet you won’t get through it without being moved to tears as you contemplate the mercy of God in your life. So, please read it as if it was written to you. Then share it with a friend.
2006 at 7:55 pm | by Carolyn Mahaney
Biblical Womanhood Relationships Motherhood Teenagers
Nicole has an article on Crosswalk.com’s family channel on the subject of mother-daughter conflict. However, mothers and daughters aren’t the only ones who may experience strife in their relationship. We are sinful people living and working and doing church with other sinful people. The reality of conflict is something we are all too familiar with.
Sadly, we are far less familiar with the grace God gives to those who respond to conflict with humility. In his message “Cravings and Conflicts” on which Nicole’s article is based, my husband examines James 4 and God’s truth that transforms our conflicts. The bad news is that conflict is much worse than we think. But the great news is that it is also simpler and easier to resolve conflict than we think, because of Jesus Christ.
So if you are presently experiencing relational discord of any kind, read this article, listen to this message, and find God’s solution to conflict.
2006 at 10:21 pm | by Nicole Whitacre
Hey Everyone, Nicole here. I know, I know, some of you moms are anxiously waiting for my mom to post kid’s quiet time picks. Don’t worry, we’ll still bring you that info. But I’m posting today in order to give Mom a chance to catch up on stuff.
She and Dad spent the weekend with 2500 enthusiastic college students at Grace Community Church’s annual Resolved Conference. Hosted by the very enthusiastic single’s pastor (and Dad’s good friend), Rick Holland, the conference also featured the Senior Pastor of Grace Community Church, John MacArthur, Steve Lawson, and Dad and Mom. (Here’s a lovely picture of Mom speaking to the ladies on “True Beauty.”) I’d encourage all singles to check out the Resolved website and sign up to receive the mp3’s when they become available.
But as I was saying, Dad and Mom didn’t arrive home until late Monday night (early Tuesday morning, really), and so Mom still needs another day to re-group after their wonderfully memorable weekend!
In order to allow Mom to sleep in this morning (don’t lose heart all you 5:00 clubbers—she’ll be up at 4:30 tomorrow!), I interviewed Dad for today’s Q&A. He is the one who oversees Chad’s devotions.
At twelve years old, Chad has a quiet time for thirty minutes every morning as part of his daily schedule. Dad does devotions together with him twice a week, and the other days Chad reads his Bible on his own (he’s currently in Proverbs) and works through various materials Dad has assigned him.
As Dad puts it, his primary goal with Chad—apart from helping him develop a disciplined habit of meeting with God—is to provide him with cross-centered content that equips him to discern and weaken sin, grow in godliness, and apply truth to his life.
Dad opens their times in prayer, and they conclude by taking turns praying: for God’s help to apply the material and specific requests to God on each other’s behalf. “I think it’s important for Chad to hear me pray and benefit from my prayers,” Dad says. “Spurgeon was deeply affected by hearing his mother pray and I want to be an example for my son.” Dad also likes to hear Chad pray as it gives him an opportunity to evaluate his heart. In addition to prayer, Dad leads Chad in a discussion, but their times don’t merely include instruction. Dad also seeks to model humility by informing Chad of his own sin, and how he is seeking to attack it, and grow in godliness.
In addition to daily Scripture reading, Dad and Chad have covered a variety of topics over the past six months, using sound theological materials, and beginning with portions from Knowing God by J.I. Packer and The Holiness of God by R.C. Sproul.
(Pause. I know some of you may be a tad confused: you thought this was a post about quiet times for middle school children, not adults! It’s true, most of the material Dad is taking Chad through is adult-level reading. However, as Dad says, his goal isn’t exhaustive comprehension of all the material, but sufficient introduction and specific application.)
After time spent in these two classics, Dad had Chad read and then discussed an article entitled “The Cross and Criticism” by Alfred Poirier.
More recently, they’ve spent time studying the conscience. From this study, Dad highly recommends John Macarthur’s message on the conscience from last year’s Resolved conference.
This study was followed by a closer look at the the fifth commandment for children to honor their father and mother. Here they utilized two chapters from two different books: chapter eight on “Respect Authority” in Philip Ryken’s Written in Stone:The Ten Commandments and Today’s Moral Crisis and chapter five entitled “Parents and Loving Others” from Kent Hughes’s Disciplines of Grace.
On the topic of biblical masculinity, Dad and Chad are about to begin an excellent article from the most recent issue of the Southern Seminary Magazine, “Show Yourself a Man,” by the Executive Director of CBMW, Randy Stinson. (As an aside, Dad would also recommend an article for parents by Al Mohler. It’s called “When Does a Boy Become a Man?,”and it’s also featured in the Winter 2005 issue of Southern Seminary Magazine.)
Finally, Chad recently requested to go through Dad’s book, Humility: True Greatness.
No emails please, asking what to do with girls! All the same stuff applies (except the articles on masculinity of course!). Young women need to study sound doctrine just as much as the boys. Growing up, Mom was the one discipling us in biblical womanhood, but Dad taught his daughters to love theology as much as their mother does!
2005 at 7:30 pm | by Janelle Bradshaw
Hey all. Nicole would never tell you this so I’m taking care of it myself. Crosswalk is featuring an article taken from chapter three in Girl Talk by Nicole. I thought that you might enjoy checking it out. Just click here
2005 at 12:22 pm | by Carolyn Mahaney
Motherhood Teenagers Young Children
Yesterday we heard from pastor’s wife and mom Valori Maresco about the matter of video games in their home. Today, we listen in as another mom and pastor’s wife, Janis Shank, shares how she and her husband, Steve, parent their son through this issue.
We have had to face the issue of media games with our 15 year old son (technology had not sufficiently progressed for this to be a big issue with our two older sons or daughter). Here are some principles we have put in place to guide us in the use of Play Station 2 and on-line computer games (with people we know) in our home.
1. Priorities over privileges. The priorities we have stressed have been:
- spiritual growth
- study of God’s word and related books/topics
- participation in our local church
- joyful participation with family activities
- education (including music and sports)
- age appropriate work/chores/responsibilities
Only after these things are prioritized and practiced do we allow the “privilege” of video/computer games, for a limited amount of time, no more than 45 minutes on a given day (with a little more time allowed in the summer months or with a friend on a weekend). On many days there is simply not time remaining for him to play. The kitchen timer is set as a form of accountability.
2. Parental review. Dad has looked at the games, and critiqued them in areas of modesty, graphic depiction of violence, etc. Some games put a premium not only on violence, but graphic displays of it, emphasizing blood, gore, etc. We have chosen not to allow those games. However, some games, though they include shooting, do not seem to emphasize/dramatize the violence that other games do, and we have allowed them.
3. Moderation. Whether it is video games, sports, hobbies, time with friends, etc. we have attempted to use Scripture and the principle of “moderation in all things” as a guide, not allowing the popular trends of what culture accepts to dictate our decisions. Rather, we have asked the following questions of our son to help him look at heart issues:
- How important is participation in these games is to you?
- Do you prioritize them above essential things?
- Do they distract you, preoccupying your thoughts throughout the day?
If video games seem to dominate and animate his thoughts, even though he isn’t actually playing, we discuss idolatry and cravings in his heart and we attempt to help him see these things from the perspective of honoring God with his life, so he can learn to discern how his heart operates. And if needed, curtail the privilege.
4. Dad is responsible. Mom just doesn’t quite understand the thrill of video games that depict hunting down an “enemy” and killing them! Dad seems to be more objective and tolerant of the interest these games create in a young son. What is in place, however, is my opportunity as the mom to communicate with dad my concerns, when I have them, about these games, priorities, potential for distraction for our son, content, and so on. Because I have full confidence that my husband is doing his best to evaluate these “games” objectively, keeping the biblical priority areas as true priorities in our son’s life first and foremost, I can leave these areas in his hands, though he has welcomed and asked for my perspective at any time along the way.
This is how we have chosen to handle media games. Our son is still in need of parental help and oversight and we have, on occasion, removed the privilege for any number of reasons stated above. Privileges removed can only be re-won by a pattern of growth displayed in our son’s life, for the pleasure and glory of God, and not simply to get the privilege of playing the game back
We watch this area of “interest” closely in our son’s life and he knows that these games are not areas he will be allowed to venture into unaccompanied by his parents.
Thank you Janis and Valori (and your husbands!) for your wisdom and example. May their thoughts provoke all of us to consider our own guidelines for our children’s “gaming” habits from a biblical perspective.
2005 at 3:25 pm | by Carolyn Mahaney
Motherhood Teenagers Young Children
This week’s question is regarding an all-too-common issue confronted by parents today: video games...
Q. My boys love playing video games on their dad’s x-box—the sports games in particular. I prefer they play with toys that will develop their brains and imagination, so I limit the gaming as much as possible. Am I just being a mom who doesn’t get the whole male pre-occupation with video games, or is it not good for them?
A. To answer this question, we’ve called in some help!
First of all, we want to recommend a recent article by Dr. Al Mohler entitled “Video Games—The New ‘Playgrounds of the Self?’”, which offers both educational and challenging insight into the world of “gaming.” As parents it is vital that we be informed on issues related to our children’s physical and spiritual well-being so we can make wise decisions on their behalf. Hopefully, reading this article will help you do that.
But secondly, we have asked two moms and pastors wives—who between them have no fewer than eight boys—how they, following their husband’s leadership, have handled the issue of video games in their homes. Both of these families have been long-time friends of ours, and we have observed up-close for many years the godly fruit of their parenting in the lives of their children.
Today we’ll hear from Valori Maresco, mother of five boys ranging in age from one to sixteen. Here is what Valori says about their approach to video games in the home:
My husband Kenneth and I have always been on the same page regarding video games, so it hasn’t been something we’ve wrestled with as a couple, although we have had several talks with the boys! Up until last year, with boys aged 16, 15, 13, 6, and 1, we did not own any kind of video games that you hooked up to the television set (X-box, Play Station, or Game Cube). We did, however, have computer games and had to set guidelines for these. We preferred the computer games because there were more educational-type games available, although we did own some sports games and other fun games as well.
Our general practice with computer games was 1 - 2 hours on weekends only; no computer games during the school day. One of the reasons we limited play to weekends was because we found that one of our sons was having a hard time doing his school work whole-heartedly since he was distracted by his desire to play video games so badly when he was finished. It was apparent that his heart was too drawn to this form of entertainment! And we wanted him to cultivate more of a love for reading than video games.
For the last 2 or 3 years, all of our boys would put X-box on their Christmas list, but we always told them that we had decided that we weren’t going to buy them one, even though we did allow them to play a limited amount of video games with friends. It wasn’t that we were totally opposed to the games themselves as much as we were not wanting the constant lure and draw of these games in our home.
This past year, after my husband sought counsel from several respected friends, we bought the boys a Game Cube for Christmas. We felt the boys were in a place where they were able to follow our guidelines, without temptation, and all of them had become good and consistent readers.
We chose Game Cube over X-Box because it offers more child-friendly games (for our younger sons) as well as sports games. The X-box culture seemed more to focus more in the Mature games category. As we reviewed the games available on the different platforms, we did not want our boys going through the X-box section, and set clear guidelines for going into video game stores.
We still have the basic guidelines that we used with the computer games: no video games on school days for the older boys, and only 1 hour per day for each of them when they are allowed to play. Our younger son is sometimes allowed to play on a school day, but we try not to make that a daily practice so that it is not taking the place of what we feel are more fruitful activities, such as outdoor play, reading, spending time with the family, etc.
So, while we are not all out opposed to using certain video games as a low-priority form of entertainment, we do seek to limit their use in our home in order to keep them in their proper place. We have found that in doing this, they really have not become a big distraction to our boys.
Kenneth and Valori’s wise parenting has obviously served their children and promoted godliness in the home. Tomorrow we will be allowed to observe what “gaming” looks like in the home of Steve and Janis Shank. Stay tuned…
2005 at 5:31 pm | by Nicole Whitacre
Motherhood Teenagers Series Resource Recommendations
We are going to take a different approach to Q & A today. We have received a number of questions about raising teenagers…not only from the blog, but personally as well. And while we will continue to attempt to answer these questions, we want to strongly encourage you to take advantange of some helpful resources. These books, articles, and cd’s—if studied and applied—will ultimately be more helpful than any advice we can offer on any one question.
In particular, there is a brand new resource we want to highlight, and that is the latest issue of that most outstanding publication, The Journal of Biblical Counseling. Devoted entirely to topics related to parenting teens, this issue (Vol. 23, No. 3, Summer 2005) includes articles such as:
“Only A Teenager” by David Powlison
“Dazzle your Teen” by Tedd Tripp
“What is ‘Success’ in Parenting Teens?” by Paul Tripp
“Why Do Kids Turn Out the Way They Do?” by Jim Newheiser
“Communicate with Teens” by Tedd Tripp
“Addressing the Problems of Rebellious Children” by Mary Somerville
“Counseling Angry, Unmotivated, Self-Centered, Spiritually-indifferent Teens” by Rick Horne
“Yelling at My Kids” by Nina Campagna
Here are some choice excerpts from just one of the articles (“What is ‘Success’ in Parenting Teens?”). But it’s hard not to quote the whole thing!
“Many parents have a simple goal for getting through their child’s teenage years: survival. But this goal focuses simply on getting yourself through a difficult time. In order to get through these years, parents tend to settle for external, behaviorist goals. We try to deal with our kids according to the Nike way, ‘Just do it!’ But parents who just want to regulate and control behavior don’t give teens much to take with them when they leave home….The final years of a child’s life at home are a time of unprecedented opportunity. As a child’s world unfolds before him and he experiences greater freedom, his heart is revealed. This means parents have to take every opportunity to be part of the final stage of preparation. Being involved with our teenagers at a deep level is a critical goal for these years.”
“The most helpful thing to remember is that your teenager is more like you than unlike you….There are very few struggles in the life of my teenager that I don’t recognize in my own life as well. For instance, imagine my child has gotten into trouble because he’s procrastinated on a school assignment, and now he can’t possibly get it done on time. Haven’t I done the same thing? Of course, I have. And if I realize that, I can’t come to him and say, ‘How dare you! How could you? In my day I would have never thought of doing this!’ Instead, I come as a fellow sinner. It’s because of this that my dealings with him become based on the gospel rather than the law. Here’s my opportunity to point him to Christ. So I say: ‘Son, there’s a rescue provided for us in the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ. There’s hope for both of us. I need it every bit as much as you do. And I stand with you. However, don’t expect me to write a note to the teacher to get you out of the assignment.”
My husband, Steve, who is the pastor of the parent-teen ministry at our church, recently gave this journal to all the parents. And as my dad says, “This issue of the journal deserves broad distribution.” The cost is only $8 and we hope that every parent of a teenager (or soon-to-be teenager) purchases a copy. You can order it by clicking here or contacting the Christian Counseling and Education Foundation at 800-318-2186.
Also, most of you are probably aware of these resources, but if you haven’t read or listened to the following, we believe they will serve you as well…
Age of Opportunity by Paul Tripp
“Parents, Teens, and Reasonable Expectations” by Grant Layman
Girl Talk: Mother-Daughter Conversations on Biblical Womanhood
2005 at 9:20 am | by Kristin Chesemore
Mom and Nicole have been contributing a series of articles to Crosswalk.com from their book, also entitled Girl Talk. I thought you might want to read this month’s installment for mothers and teenage daughters (and all women) called “The Language of Biblical Womanhood.” Check it out by clicking here.