IS THAT NORMAL? Podcast – Episode 20 NOTES

In our first remotely recorded EPISODE, we talk about some of the questions and concerns facing us during the COVID-19 situation. We particularly address some of the unique circumstances parents of teenagers are finding themselves having to navigate.

Here’s a few of the thoughts we covered for parents to help their children process this event:

  1. Ask Questions. You need to help your children process their emotions and fears. You will most likely have to initiate and guide that discussion. Check out our Episode on Asking Good Questions.
  2. Create New Routines. Life definitely isn’t normal right now, but try to create some stability with a new normal. Last week’s Episode on Creating Rhythm and Schedule might be a helpful resource.
  3. Stay Close to the Lord. We need to make sure we are finding our strength from God and helping our families do the same.

We also discussed some great ideas to help our children with schooling and social interaction during this time. We’d love to hear some of your ideas and stories as well, so please comment or contact us. Bottom line is that we must be more intentional than ever about helping our children seek God and seek answers. It’s a great time to Be Abnormal!

IS THAT NORMAL? Podcast – Episode 19 NOTES

This EPISODE was recorded prior to some of the current world situations, but has so much to say about finding that routine in the chaos of life. In our discussion we explore the challenge of time management and talk about some resources and principles to help us create manageable schedules for our families. As many of us are having to manage new and different situations this week, we hope you find some encouragement and help.

Here’s some tools and ideas that we have found helpful:

  1. Finding something to help you manage and organize. For us, we tend to use digital resources – our phones, shared google calendars and docs, notes functions, etc. Mark’s wife likes a paper calendar and organizer. The one she currently uses is the Living Well Planner by Ruth Soukup.
  2. Creating a Posted Schedule. Mark’s family literally has an hour by hour schedule on their wall. This can be a great tool to help keep your sanity and train your children. A good resource for more info and ideas is Managers of Their Homes
  3. Creating Systems. To help your family, you must have systems in place for household tasks, communication, calendaring, school and work management, and much more. A great resource for that process is Large Family Logistics by Kim Brenneman.
  4. Fixed Schedules. We referenced some articles by Carey Nieuwhof – like this one and this one – that talk about scheduling the important tasks of life and deciding ahead of time what you will do with your time.

While we know that the specifics of these ideas will look different for each person and household, we ended with some UNIVERSAL PRINCIPLES:

  1. Work from your energy. You must schedule the time you have the most energy to do your most important work.
  2. Establish goals and work backwards. You must decide what you want your family’s life to look like first. Then plan your schedule and systems accordingly
  3. A Schedule for Man; Not Man for a Schedule. The schedule is a tool to help us do and be who we are called to be, but you have the freedom to make adjustments as unique circumstances occur.
  4. It will be hard. Whenever you create momentum, you also create resistance.

We hope that you will take some time with these resources and principles this week and make a plan for the next steps towards creating time for God, yourself and your family. We’d love to hear your comments and questions. Until next time… Be Abnormal!

IS THAT NORMAL? Podcast – Episode 18 NOTES

In this EPISODE we have special guest Ryan Akers (and a squeaky chair!) Ryan is a long-time Youth Pastor, and we got to catch up with him while we were attending the COLLIDE Youth Retreat. We had a great conversation and found that he was thinking about a lot of the same things we have been talking about on our podcast.

We challenged Ryan to predict the future and help us see some of the important trends that parents need to be aware of:

  1. Generation Z Thinking: Ryan shared some insight on generational studies and helped us see how young people today are intrinsically thinking differently. One great point was that Gen Z tend to learn through images, personal experiences, and conversations.
  2. Parenting Style Shifts: We talked about some of the differences and challenges in parenting today. One observation that really stood out is adults tend to use the term “concern” over “care” or “caution” when talking about young people. The advice there is to be careful to not move to a controlling parenting style.
  3. Rise of Technology and Shift of Human Relations: Ryan covered a lot of ideas on this topic. He cautioned about the tendency our current culture has to pull away from personal interaction. He shared some of the language he uses in his house – to reflect a good thing, a God thing, and a kind thing each day. He also challenged parents to make conversation about the Bible normal in their houses.
  4. Lastly, Ryan encouraged parents to be faithful to what God has called you to do. Then we trust Him for the outcome.

A few resources Ryan mentioned were Generation Z Unfiltered by Tim Elmore & Andrew McPeak and Jean Twenge, who wrote the book iGen: Why Today’s Super-Connected Kids Are Growing Up Less Rebellious, More Tolerant, Less Happy and Completely Unprepared for Adulthood – And What That Means for the Rest of Us. Twenge also shares a lot of great content on Twitter.

Oh, and if you want to watch that video about Star Wars looking like the future but actually being a long, long time ago, you can watch it here.

We are looking forward to next week as we talk about how to get it all done! Until then…Be Abnormal!

IS THAT NORMAL? Podcast – Episode 17 NOTES

In this EPISODE, we have the privilege to interview Dr. Ron Hunter, the CEO of Randall House and the director of D6 Conference. D6 is an event, a curriculum, and a philosophy based off of Deuteronomy 6:1-9. From this scriptural challenge to parents, Dr. Hunter has created a family discipleship filter for all of his organization’s offerings.

In this interview, he covers some great places for parents to start fostering faith in their homes. He also gives us lots of great resource ideas.

  1. This website is full of blog posts, podcasts, book links, and parent prompts.
  2. The D6 Family App – this app, available at the App Store on your phone totally for free, has a database of questions for parents and families to use in building healthy communications. It also has parent activities and other resource links.
  3. The Heart of Your Teen by Lissy Rienow is a great book for the parents of teens.
  4. Family Faith Talks is a great resource for families with smaller children at home.

In the end, Dr. Hunter strongly encourages parents to do the hard work of making connections with their child and learning to ask good questions, but he also acknowledges it isn’t easy. So…Stay the course…Ask the Questions…Embrace the Awkward…Have Fun….and when we make these things consistent in our lives, we’ll find the Abnormal becoming Normal!

IS THAT NORMAL? Podcast – Episode 16 NOTES

In this EPISODE we explore that elusive experience of helping our families love and know the Bible. We identify some of the big barriers and then move to SIX WAYS to overcome and foster that love for God’s Word.

Here are the SIX WAYS:

  1. READ THE BIBLE. We explore the need to read the Bible to our children, read the Bible ourselves, and read the Bible together with our children. Some of the resources we discussed were the Christian Standard Bible, The Jesus Storybook Bible, and YouVersion. A couple of great introductory YouVersion reading plans are Deeper into Scripture: Ephesians and Together in Scripture: The Crucified King.
  4. FIND GREAT RESOURCES TO HELP LEARN AND APPLY GOD’S WORD. We discussed parent components to standardized Sunday School curriculum, revisited YouVersion, and addressed the need for a tool to learn a systemic theology. A few ideas on that lasts part are The Westminster Shorter Catechism, Mere Christianity, and Experiencing God.
  5. SERVE TOGETHER IN JESUS NAME. We encourage you as a family to look for ways to be involved in ministry together. This acts as a way to make Scripture come to life.
  6. PRAY FOR THEM. Ultimately, we can only offer opportunities. It is the work of the Holy Spirit to convict our children’s hearts, and the personal decision of our children to accept God’s invitation.

Lastly, we remind ourselves that this is a process and a journey. There will be hard days but do not despair; the fight is worth it! So grab one or two of these ideas and put them into practice.