IS THAT NORMAL? Podcast – Episode 23 NOTES

In this EPISODE we unpack the phenomenon that many of our children look more to YouTube and Instagramers as celebrity heroes than they do movie actors and rock stars. This becomes a particularly challenging topic as we realize these social media channels are helping shape our children’s worldviews.

We take some recent podcasts from popular YouTubers Rhett and Link as a case study. Rhett and Link – who grew up in church, were involved in ministry leadership, and were even missionaries for a time – recently came out with stories on their podcast Ear Biscuits explaining how they have moved away from their Christian faith. If you would like to hear the podcasts, you can find Rhett’s story here and Link’s story here. However, I would caution you to use great discretion in sharing these with your child.

As we move to helping our young people process these kinds of stories and voices – those that challenge our Christian faith and worldview – here are a few ideas on approach:

  1. Acknowledge that this is real. These people are real and in many cases our young people feel very relationally connected to them.
  2. Create space for doubt and discussion. We will be doing an entire episode on this topic in a few weeks but we encourage you to delve into the deep concepts of faith development and ask some scary questions to help your kids process and own their faith.
  3. Teach them to evaluate the voices and channels in their lives. Help them to not just take every statement at face value. Advise them of some counterpoints to consider. Introduce them to some deep Christian thinkers to help them. A few we mentioned were Josh and Sean McDowell and Lee Strobel, for starts.
  4. Make it personal! As our kids wrestle and struggle through what they believe, we must guide them to truth but do it through biblical grace and with a great sense of belonging. Help them know you are in this with them. Remember this is a process; not a product.

Closing challenges were to ask your child about what YouTube or Social Media voices they are listening to and ask some questions. Also we encourage you to SUBSCRIBE so you don’t miss any of our exciting upcoming content! Until then Be Abnormal!!

IS THAT NORMAL? Podcast – Episode 22 NOTES

In this EPISODE, we talk about some of the great reasons and ways to inspire adventure for your family. If you aren’t sick of streaming Netflix, we encourage you to check out last week’s episode – What Are You Binging on Netflix? for some suggestions. We also encourage you to check out Episode 8 – Drinking Coffee and Rites of Passage for more ideas on inspiring your children to meaningful experiences.

A couple of resources for further ideas and research that we highlighted in this episode were

  1. John Sower’s The Heroic Path. This is particularly a great read for parents of boys.
  2. Bob Goff’s Everybody Always. An inspiring book with lots of adventure and stories to help us see how to become who God wants us to be.

As we talked about inspiring adventure that helps our children find purpose, ownership and confidence, here were a few suggestions:

  1. Raise a baby animal.
  2. Build a fort.
  3. Get a tent and literally camp in your own backyard.
  4. Plant something. If you are looking for seeds, Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds is a great mail order option with lots of unique choices.
  5. Have some friendly family competitions. Check out Dude Perfect if you need some inspiration.
  6. Do something new with your kids you’ve never done before. If you are really feeling adventurous, offer to make a tiktok video with them.
  7. Remodel a room. Do a significant task together, letting your child make some of the decisions and learn something new.

There are obviously lots of other ways you can inspire adventure while still staying at home. We’d love to hear some of your ideas in the comments. Until next time…Be Abnormal.

IS THAT NORMAL? Podcast – Episode 21 NOTES

In this EPISODE, we talk about the phenomenon of media streaming. Media consumption and teenagers go hand in hand. You add to it the increased fluidity of our schedules during this current time, and a parent can feel really overwhelmed. How do I monitor? What is okay to watch? How do I help my kids make healthy media choices?

We cover the importance of having a plan for screen time as well as monitoring what your children watch. In addition to discussions and checking histories, we recommend using‘s Parent Guides and Common Sense Media to check out content of Movies and TV before watching. We also mentioned Vidangel, which is a subscription based filtering service for streamed content.

We also gave some recommendations for family watching that are currently on three of the major streaming services. We would make the caveats that most of these films are not overtly Christian but lend themselves to good discussion with teenagers. Some of them might not be appropriate for younger viewers, so make sure you use one of the content monitors we mentioned previously to make your decision to watch.

  1. AMAZON PRIME: We mentioned some of the mini-series adaptations of good literature such as Little Dorrit, Dr. Thorne, and the 2018 version of Little Women. A few movies we mentioned that would be good for older teens to watch and discuss are The Passion of the Christ, Lars and the Real Girl and A Quiet Place.
  2. DISNEY+: This new service (which is offering free accounts to Verizon customers through the end of this year) has a lot of good, family entertainment. A couple of standout DISNEY+ original movies are Togo and Timmy Failure. Both are good for the whole family.
  3. NETFLIX: While we feel that this service is the least family friendly, it does have a few gems. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society is an excellent original film. There are also some old family classics on there like Groundhog Day and Yours, Mine, and Ours.

Ultimately we always come back to the encouragement to be intentional in helping your children make choices about what they are watching. And also be engaged to discuss with them what worldviews are present in current media and how that compares to our Christian worldview and values. So this week, watch something fun as a family, have good conversations about why we believe what we believe, and Be Abnormal!

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!