Weekly Leader — June 24, 2015

Out_Of_Box2
If this is your first time seeing the Weekly Leader, scroll down and read all about it below the line. Then pop back up to the top for next week’s suggestions.

Weekly Leader for the second week in June.

Mastermind Monday

Hand written notes (especially thank you notes) are powerful communication tools. Talk about how it feels to get a personalized letter in the mail. As a family, brainstorm all different kinds of notes you could send to people in your lives, while you each create a handmade note card. Consider looking on Pinterest for ideas.

TED Talk Tuesday

What adults can learn from kids

*Note — You may not always agree with the perspective of a TED Talk, but rather than shy away from it, use it as an opportunity to explain why you don’t agree.

What’s Up Wednesday

Some influential business people, including Jeff Bezos, Paul Allen and Richard Branson, are entering the private sector space race.

Think Tank Thursday

Have each family member talk about which emotion they have difficulty managing.

Famous Friday

Joseph Friedman

Jenni and Jody

Jenni and Jody are Christian, homeschooling moms with nine kids between them (ages 3 to 27). Together they host a weekly parenting radio show, write a syndicated weekly column, freelance for a variety of publications, teach parenting and homeschooling workshops and seminars, speak at conventions and conferences and coach individual families. They are passionate about encouraging and equipping families to live on purpose with excellence, and to raise kids with the end result in mind.

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You Can Do It — Baby Wearing

Baby Wearing

When my older kids were babies, I often used a Baby Bjorn carrier to hold them while I was doing housework or taking a walk, but it didn’t work well for newborns, and it put a lot of strain on my back. When they were older, I used a metal-frame hiking backpack, but you can imagine how comfy that was, and being so big and cumbersome, it was hardly like throwing a cloth sling in the diaper bag to use on the go.

After the birth of my fourth child in 2004, a friend sent me a Moby Wrap. She promised I was going to love it, but trying to put it on felt like advanced calculus to me. It seemed more complicated than I was willing to grasp.

Secretly, I felt like a bit of a failure. I admit that I didn’t try very hard, but my unwillingness to learn made feel inferior to all the awesome moms I saw toting around their little ones, snuggled against them in beautiful cloth wraps or ring slings.

It turns out all I needed was a good teacher. Thanks to my buddy Tanya Taylor, I was a baby wearing ninja with our sixth child! Tanya makes her own wraps under the brand Baby the Baby, and she walked me through it, step-by-step using a Smart Water bottle as the baby.

Contact your local midwives and ask if they know of any baby wearing groups in your area. We have quite a few here in the Gulfcoast Florida region. These groups can you practice with different types of wraps and offer all sorts of helpful tips, including how to breastfeed in a wrap.

In case you’re interested, here is an article by Dr. Sears on the benefits of baby wearing.

Jenni Stahlmann

Jenni Stahlmann is the mom of six kids (ages 3 to 17), including one on the autism spectrum. She and her husband Matthew homeschool the whole brood. Jenni has been a journalist for more than 20 years, having covered government, business and family issues for a wide range of magazines and newspapers. Currently, she and Jody co-host a weekly radio show, write a syndicated weekly column and freelance articles and speak at churches, political groups and homeschool conventions about living on purpose with excellence and raising kids with the end result in mind.

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Are You Wasting Your Time With Sports And Music?

Children_playing_soccer

Learning to play an instrument can do great things for brain development, and playing a sport can improve physical fitness, help kids learn discipline, sportsmanship and team work. But none of it does much good if kids are not actively engaged and willing to practice or train.

Legendary football coach Vince Lombardi once said, “Practice does not make perfect. Only perfect practice makes perfect.” There is something to be said for the quality of practice, but this presents an added challenge to parents. Not only do we have to motivate our kids to spend part of their day rehearsing music or training for a sport, but we have to make sure they are doing it well enough to grow.

A few years ago, a controversial book hit the New York Times Best Sellers List. It was called Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, and in it, author Amy Chua recounted stories about locking her daughter out in the cold and threatening to burn her child’s stuffed animals if she didn’t spend hours practicing piano. Is it any wonder that by the end of the book, the daughter hated her mom?

It was clear that Chua wanted what she thought was the best for her children, and she believed that her methods were a necessary means to an end, but she missed the most important part of motivation — desire. Her kids did not want to be musical prodigies — she wanted that for them.

Our kids were not born to fulfill our own dreams; they were not put on this earth to make us look good, and their destiny is not to fulfill our hopes for them. They each have their own purpose, and when it comes to sports and music, we are only wasting our time (and theirs) if we strong arm them into doing what we want, as opposed to what they want.

What Is The Goal?

On the flip side, sometimes we have to coach our kids to have a bigger picture mindset when it comes to extra curricular activities. I know many kids who based their entire childhood and adolescence on a sport or music with no actual plans for what comes next.

Let’s take a boy for example who loved swimming. He joined the swim team and went to practice five days a week. He swam all through middle and high school, and even got a scholarship to swim in college.

He randomly picked a business major in college, and although he got decent grades, he wasn’t really there for academics. He was there to swim. But then one day, he graduated. Swimming was over. Life had to start. But he had not planned for that, so he moved back home and began looking for a job. He had no idea what he really wanted to do with his life because up until that point, his whole world had been about swimming. He accepted a job at a bank to make money, but he didn’t necessarily like it — he tolerated it. At 25, he felt lost. He got up and went to work everyday, but inside, he felt unfulfilled.

He had a girlfriend and figured they would eventually get married. He would buy a house and raise a family, and he would be relatively happy, in spite of a quiet restlessness in his spirit. Somewhere in the back of his mind, he knew he wanted to more. He wanted to do something meaningful. He wanted to make a difference, but he had no idea how. And once there was a mortgage to pay and a family to support, he realized he would have to put those thoughts aside. Maybe one day he would go back to school, he told himself.

He is not much different than the girl who spent her childhood and adolescence playing the flute. She practiced everyday. She played in the school orchestra and the community youth orchestra. She won all sorts of awards for her music. She enjoyed it, but she didn’t give much thought to what she will do after school because her focus was always on the next concert or the next competition.

When it was time to think about college, she knew that her music resume will help her get scholarships, but wasn’t sure that she necessarily wanted to major in music, and she didn’t think she wanted to attend a music conservatory. She got accepted to a good liberal arts school, and of course, she joined their orchestra. She started out as a music major, but deep down, she was growing tired of just playing the flute. It was something that she was always good at, and she like it well enough growing up, but she didn’t want her whole life to be about the flute.

The problem was that she didn’t know what she did want. She thought maybe she would try psychology, so she took a bunch of psych classes, but it didn’t seem like a good fit. She spent a semester taking classes to fulfill her general education requirements, while she tried to figure it all out. The next semester she thought maybe she would want to go to law school, so she enrolled in political science classes. But soon she realized that this isn’t what it either.

By the end of her junior year, she had yet to declare a major, and she realized that would  have to stay for at least another year to graduate. Her scholarship money wouldn’t stretch another year, so she would have to take out more student loans, but she still had no clue what she wanted to do.

This is both an expensive and a time consuming way to find yourself! But it’s a pretty common scenario.

Sports and music are enormously valuable, and for some kids, they can be a great avenue to college scholarships. Some kids will even want to pursue a career in a sports or music related field. I have a 15-year-old nephew who is a great athlete. His parents have been helping him groom for the pro sports world his entire life. Not because it’s what they wanted — because it’s what he wanted. Even as a little boy, Steven was fascinated with sports. He memorized all sorts of players and their stats. I have no doubt that Steven will go into a sports-related career.

My own daughter is a musician. She is passionate about music. She’s been an opera singer for six years and has appeared in ten operas (three youth operas and seven professional operas). She plays four instruments, loves musical theatre, studies theory in her free time, and writes her own music. She and her friend just finished recording their first professional single. She fully intends to go to music school after high school, and she is totally committed to devoting her life to music.

Not every kid who plays sports or music has to be willing to devote their life to it, but before we let our kids throw their entire childhood into a sport or an instrument, we have to make sure they have a bigger plan for their life. The plan can include sports and music, but only as part of the bigger picture. We do our kids no justice when we allow them to hyper focus on an extra curricular activity without helping them find a sense of purpose.

Jenni Stahlmann

Jenni Stahlmann is the mom of six kids (ages 3 to 17), including one on the autism spectrum. She and her husband Matthew homeschool the whole brood. Jenni has been a journalist for more than 20 years, having covered government, business and family issues for a wide range of magazines and newspapers. Currently, she and Jody co-host a weekly radio show, write a syndicated weekly column and freelance articles and speak at churches, political groups and homeschool conventions about living on purpose with excellence and raising kids with the end result in mind.

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Weekly Leader — June 19, 2015

Out_Of_Box2
If this is your first time seeing the Weekly Leader, scroll down and read all about it below the line. Then pop back up to the top for next week’s suggestions.

Weekly Leader for the second week in June.

Mastermind Monday

As a family, think of 25 different ways to raise money.

TED Talk Tuesday

A performance of “Mathemagic”

*Note — You may not always agree with the perspective of a TED Talk, but rather than shy away from it, use it as an opportunity to explain why you don’t agree.

What’s Up Wednesday

The four lunar eclipses of 2014/2015

Think Tank Thursday

Have everyone in the family tell a story from their own childhood (even kids can tell stories from when they were younger).

Famous Friday

Charlie Brannock

Jenni and Jody

Jenni and Jody are Christian, homeschooling moms with nine kids between them (ages 3 to 27). Together they host a weekly parenting radio show, write a syndicated weekly column, freelance for a variety of publications, teach parenting and homeschooling workshops and seminars, speak at conventions and conferences and coach individual families. They are passionate about encouraging and equipping families to live on purpose with excellence, and to raise kids with the end result in mind.

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The Most Brilliant Pixar Movie Yet

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Inside Out

Starring: Amy Poehler, Bill Hader, Mindy Kaling, Phyllis Smith, Lewis Black; Director: Pete Docter; Runtime (in minutes): 93; MPAA Rating: PG

Last night Jody and I got to see the newest flick from the Disney•Pixar power team, Inside Out, and it was (in our opinion) the most brilliant Pixar movie yet!

Can I just confess that I am a sucker for a Pixar movie? I even loved the Pixar documentary. I love their short films; I love their characters and the plot lines they create. I secretly want to live at Pixar studios.

Whenever I teach basic plot structure, I always use Finding Nemo as the example. My first question is, “Whose story is it? Who is the main character?” to which most kids blurt out “Nemo!” But then I ask, “Who is finding Nemo?” A whisper of aha! sounds ripple through the group. “Marlin! It’s his story!” someone says out loud.

“Yes,” I say, “and what is Marlin’s goal?”

“To FIND Nemo!”

And from there we talk about inciting incidents and questions raised, obstacles, turning points, the climax and the resolution. Finding Nemo just makes it all so easy see and understand.

From Cars to Toy Story to Monsters and The Incredibles — even the much criticized Brave — there is not a single Pixar movie that I don’t like — no, love. So when I say that their newest film is the most brilliant one yet, I don’t make that statement lightly.

Disney•Pixar’s new movie, Inside Out, which opens in theaters tomorrow, takes us to the most extraordinary location of all—inside the mind.

Growing up can be a bumpy road, and it’s no exception for our main character Riley, who is uprooted from her Midwest life when her father starts a new job in San Francisco. Like all of us, Riley is guided by her emotions – Joy (Amy Poehler), Fear (Bill Hader), Anger (Lewis Black), Disgust (Mindy Kaling) and Sadness (Phyllis Smith). The emotions live in Headquarters, the control center inside Riley’s mind, where they help advise her through everyday life. As Riley and her emotions struggle to adjust to a new life in San Francisco, turmoil ensues in Headquarters. Although Joy, Riley’s main and most important emotion, tries to keep things positive, the emotions conflict on how best to navigate a new city, house and school.

Disney•Pixar’s take on the human mind makes for a movie that’s as entertaining for adults as it is for kids, but for different reasons. There were a few points in the movie where Jody and I literally Laughed Out Loud — I’m talking a real belly laugh that makes your face red and your eyes water a little. Speaking of watering eyes, bring tissues to this one because even the most stoic movie goers are likely to wipe a tear or two. I, on the other hand (not at all stoic), was a blubbery mess.

Pack up the whole family (toss in a few friends), and head out to the theater this weekend. You don’t want to wait one more minute to to see this one!

 

 

Jenni and Jody

Jenni and Jody are Christian, homeschooling moms with nine kids between them (ages 3 to 27). Together they host a weekly parenting radio show, write a syndicated weekly column, freelance for a variety of publications, teach parenting and homeschooling workshops and seminars, speak at conventions and conferences and coach individual families. They are passionate about encouraging and equipping families to live on purpose with excellence, and to raise kids with the end result in mind.

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You Can Do It — Find A Pre-College Program

pre-college-student

This summer, my daughter (a rising high school junior) will be attending a summer music intensive pre-college program at a prominent school of the arts. It’s a three-week residential program, where she will get a taste of college life, and have the opportunity to take classes and private lessons with other rising juniors and seniors.

At the end of the three weeks, she will have earned three college credits, had a chance to collaborate with other kids who are passionate about music and experienced a small taste of life in music college. Plus, it’s a great addition to her high school resume because it shows passion, commitment and accomplishment (as with any college program, kids typically have to be accepted into these too).

To find the right programs for your kids, start by looking at your student’s top choices for college. If they have pre-college opportunities, it could be a chance for your student to network with school faculty and get a feel for what the school is really like. You can also Google “pre-college programs for [your child’s interest] .”

Consider also looking into programs that will strengthen a particular skill set your teen might need for her intended major. For example, if your daughter wants to be an interior designer, she will need a strong art portfolio. Consider finding a good summer pre-college art program. If you have a child who wants to be computer programmer, strong math skills might be important. Look for a summer math intensive at one of her top choice universities.

Counting the Cost

These programs can be pricey, but don’t let that discourage you. Many offer scholarships, and if you start planning early enough, kids can raise their own money. Crowd funding sites like Go Fund Me can help them raise money. They could also sell old clothes and other household items online or use income from a small business.

One way that my daughter raised money for her summer program was by doing henna tattoos. She also used crowd funding and received a partial scholarship.

Planning ahead can make every opportunity available to every kid who knows what they want!

Jenni Stahlmann

Jenni Stahlmann is the mom of six kids (ages 3 to 17), including one on the autism spectrum. She and her husband Matthew homeschool the whole brood. Jenni has been a journalist for more than 20 years, having covered government, business and family issues for a wide range of magazines and newspapers. Currently, she and Jody co-host a weekly radio show, write a syndicated weekly column and freelance articles and speak at churches, political groups and homeschool conventions about living on purpose with excellence and raising kids with the end result in mind.

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Mini Experts Are Motivated To Learn

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photos-sailor-kid-looking-binoculars-against-blue-sky-background-image53320573

Every parent wants their kid to be motivated to learn, but we all know that school is not always so motivating. As an adult, I figured out that I love history, but there was something about the rote memorization of facts and dates and those dry text book chapters that made history one of my least favorite subjects in school.

School (the standard American way) can suck the motivation to learn out of most kids at one point or another. But when a person is really interested in something, even a dry textbook can become interesting.

One way to motivate our kids to learn is to be on the lookout for things that genuinely pique their interest. When we find something, we can help them dive in as deeply into as they want to go.

  • Make a trip to the library and let them pick books on the topic
  • Set up field trips to explore something in a hands-on way
  • Introduce them to experts on the topic
  • Watch documentaries about it together
  • Help them build collections that relate to their interest
  • Help them memorize a boat load of interesting facts about their topic

Jenni Stahlmann

Jenni Stahlmann is the mom of six kids (ages 3 to 17), including one on the autism spectrum. She and her husband Matthew homeschool the whole brood. Jenni has been a journalist for more than 20 years, having covered government, business and family issues for a wide range of magazines and newspapers. Currently, she and Jody co-host a weekly radio show, write a syndicated weekly column and freelance articles and speak at churches, political groups and homeschool conventions about living on purpose with excellence and raising kids with the end result in mind.

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Weekly Leader — June 12, 2015

Out_Of_Box2
If this is your first time seeing the Weekly Leader, scroll down and read all about it below the line. Then pop back up to the top for next week’s suggestions.

Weekly Leader for the second week in June.

Mastermind Monday

Think about a few ethical dilemmas, such as “How would you handle it if a group of friends were making racist jokes?” or “What would you do if you found a wallet with cash in it?” Write them on strips of paper and pass them around at the dinner table. Have each person read their dilemma and talk about it.

TED Talk Tuesday

Science is for everyone, kids included

*Note — You may not always agree with the perspective of a TED Talk, but rather than shy away from it, use it as an opportunity to explain why you don’t agree.

What’s Up Wednesday

Water shortage in California

Think Tank Thursday

Make a list of all the things that you would like to do as a family before everyone leaves the nest.

Famous Friday

Margaret Knight

Jenni and Jody

Jenni and Jody are Christian, homeschooling moms with nine kids between them (ages 3 to 27). Together they host a weekly parenting radio show, write a syndicated weekly column, freelance for a variety of publications, teach parenting and homeschooling workshops and seminars, speak at conventions and conferences and coach individual families. They are passionate about encouraging and equipping families to live on purpose with excellence, and to raise kids with the end result in mind.

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You Can Do It — Let Your Kid Plan A Date Night

Manger une glace ensemble...

This week, plan a date night. Let go of YOUR idea of what it looks like to spend an evening with your kiddo, and let him plan the entire adventure. Letting the little Mr. or Ms. plan your special time together will boost their self esteem, empower them to new heights and let them know that you value their decision making.

You can start by giving him (or her) a budget and some time frames. Let him know that he will need to make any necessary reservations and take care of any other arrangements that need to be made.

And then – HANDS OFF!

This will build fabulous skills in your little date planner, such as:

  • communication (help him write a phone script if needed and do a few mock calls for practice)
  • time management (help to map out time frames if needed)
  • budgeting (he must stick within the budget – he can call and ask for prices)
  • brainstorming (you can help with ideas – IF he asks)
  • decision making (he can ask your opinion, but the point is for him to decide)
  • mapping (help him if necessary)

During your date remember to:

  • communicate (ask open-ended questions)
  • listen (don’t do all the talking)
  • be affectionate (remember they crave your unconditional love and approval)
  • be cool (don’t embarrass the poor thing)

When you’re all done, journal your memories together and start a scrap book.

Jody Hagaman

Jody Hagaman and her husband Tony have three kids, ages 16 to 27. Jody’s story of how her son asked to be homeschooled has inspired tens of thousands of families around the nation. A true homeschooling success story, that son is now an attorney in New Hampshire and is the New England Regional Director of The Concord Coalition, a bipartisan organization dedicated to advocating responsible fiscal policy. As a community leader, Jody has served on the board of directors of many local non-profit organizations. Her work experience as a corrections officer on a crisis intervention team inspired her to make a difference in the lives of the next generation. She and Jenni co-host a weekly radio show, write a syndicated weekly column and freelance articles and speak at churches, political groups and homeschool conventions about living on purpose with excellence and raising kids with the end result in mind.

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Intimate Relationships Are Motivating

mother_daughter_moment

Intimate Relationships don’t just happen, they have to be cultivated. As parents, sometimes we forget that just because we birthed these little humans, it doesn’t mean that they automatically click with us or think we are cool enough to be in their space or heed our words of advice.

Intimacy requires work.

Here’s the good news. If you do it right, and by right we mean actually developing an intimate relationship with your kiddo, you will open the portal to having a weighty voice in your child’s life. Intimate relationships motivate your child to want to obey your voice.

How do we accomplish this intimacy thing? Glad you asked.

First on the agenda is building trust. Trust comes from being honest with yourself and your kids. They need to see you behaving the way you tell them to behave. The old, “Do as I say and not as I do” adage will destroy trust in your relationship. Moral of the story – do as you say.

Intimate relationships between parents and kids motivate kids to want to please their parents. It’s the same concept as best friends. Teens don’t want to disappoint their BFFs. If the relationship is in place between parent and child, they won’t want to disappoint you either. Respect is birthed out of intimacy.

Jody Hagaman

Jody Hagaman and her husband Tony have three kids, ages 16 to 27. Jody’s story of how her son asked to be homeschooled has inspired tens of thousands of families around the nation. A true homeschooling success story, that son is now an attorney in New Hampshire and is the New England Regional Director of The Concord Coalition, a bipartisan organization dedicated to advocating responsible fiscal policy. As a community leader, Jody has served on the board of directors of many local non-profit organizations. Her work experience as a corrections officer on a crisis intervention team inspired her to make a difference in the lives of the next generation. She and Jenni co-host a weekly radio show, write a syndicated weekly column and freelance articles and speak at churches, political groups and homeschool conventions about living on purpose with excellence and raising kids with the end result in mind.

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