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Showing posts from 2012

You Need to See Les Miserables

I can honestly say Les Miserables is the best musical I’ve ever seen. And second only to The Passion of Christ for having the best and clearest presentation of God’s grace and forgiveness demonstrated in a motion picture. Les Miz touched my soul and kept me on the edge of my seat with tears of joy running down my cheeks through the majority of the film. At first, I didn’t want to sit through another musical whose whole story was told through a bunch of songs.  Who wants to sit through an opera you can’t understand? Not me.  I was afraid it would be the same disappointment I felt after watching Phantom of the Opera – all singing and a storyline that was impossible to follow.  I was wrong.  Les Miz is easy to follow if you know a few key points.  If you are not familiar with the story, allow me to give you the briefest of brief “Cliff’s notes.”  Just after the French revolution, a thief, Jean Valjean, is paroled after spending nineteen years in prison for steali
Parents Guide to Kids and Cell Phones Everything You Need to Know Before You Buy Your Kid a Cell Phone. by  Caroline Knorr  |  Jun. 11, 2012  |  Mobile and communicating ,  Family media management These tips can help you: Decide whether your kid is ready for a cell phone Teach basic cell-phone safety Explain responsible cell phone rules Set limits At some point, most of us decide that our kids are ready for a phone -- so they can call when they get off the bus, need a ride, or just check in. That's when you discover that it's nearly impossible to find a phone with only the features you need -- namely, the ability to receive and make phone calls. Most phones -- even basic models -- are tiny handheld computers, with features that put a lot of power in little hands. Kids can take photos, text, access the Internet, watch YouTube, play games, download music ... and even make calls. Cell phones give kids access to the world in ways that you can

Parents of Teenagers Say They Worry That Online Activities Might Hurt Children in Future

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Parents of Teenagers Say They Worry That Online Activities Might Hurt Children in the Future By SOMINI SENGUPTA nytimes.com November 20,2012 Librado Romero/The New York Times The Pew Internet Center recently asked that especially anxious cohort of Americans — parents of teenagers who use the Internet — if they were concerned that their child’s online activities “might affect their future academic or employment opportunities.” Most parents said they were concerned, and that worry was most heightened among the middle class. Those who had annual incomes from $30,000 to $75,000 were most likely to worry about the implications for their children’s future. The research into parents’ concerns comes as legislators in Europe consider a policy called “the right to be forgotten,” meaning that Web users should be entitled to delete their digital past records. Web companies vehemently oppose such a provision, and nothing like it has been proposed in the United States.

Celebrate Christmas on the West Coast with Michael W. Smith

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Celebrate Christmas on the West Coast with Michael W. Smith! This Sunday November 25th, Monday November, 26th, and Tuesday, November 27th. Click on the link for ticket prices and locations: http://celebrationconcerts.com/

God Answered Our Prayers On Election Night!

Our prayers were answered with the election November 6, 2012.  Let me explain where I’m coming from.  No, the election didn’t turn out the way I had hoped.  In fact, as I prayed before the election it was difficult for me to say, “May Your Will be done.”  And when I did say it, I followed it with, “but please let it be Romney.”  But it wasn’t to be.  Personally, with this election, I believe America just committed suicide as a country.  The greatest and freest country the world has ever known, has willingly and with forethought, given away too much of its freedom to the government and to rest of the world.  I don’t want to go into detail why I believe this, because it will distract from the lesson God taught me through this election.   But I believe our days as a free nation are numbered.  I was feeling sorry for myself (and my country) just after the election while feeding my dog. Trooper is a cute little black pug who really gets excited when I feed him.  So as

Stuff You Need to Know About Teens and Social Networking!

Stuff You Need to Know About Teens  and Social Networking! By Sarah B. Weir, Yahoo! blogger | Parenting  – Tue, Aug 16, 2011 9:31 PM EDT 
 It’s 10 pm, do you know where your children are? Whether at home or out, odds are they are online and social networking. Even if parents do see what their kids post, they might not understand how living life online actually feels. Facebook Me , an original play written and performed by teens at the upcoming New York International Fringe Festival is a revealing exploration of what's going on behind millions of young people's computer screens. I recently sat down with the cast (whose names have been changed below) and asked them to share about their experiences with social networking. I also spoke with a professor specializing in the psychology of technology, who offers some timely advice for parents. What the kids had to say: "There's more 'life' happening online than offline. If you are not online, you

Maintaining Relational Presence in a Technological World

Maintaining  Relational  Presence in a Technological World by Rhett Smith with Fuller Youth Institute February 28, 2011 Becoming Aware A shovel, a mirror, and a tray. Recently I stood before a classroom of parents with these rudimentary objects.  The shovel, mirror, and tray presented stark contrasts to the technological tools I was trying to help parents view as influences that are shaping their kids’ lives. The journey that brought me to this place of teaching parents about their teenager’s use of technology and how it shapes them may be similar to yours. Like many people who work with youth, as a college pastor I found myself quickly intrigued by all the new electronic media students were utilizing. Thanks to my college students I started a blog in ’04, followed by Facebook in ’05 and Twitter in ’07.  And you never saw me without my trusted Blackberry or iPhone. But it was not until this last year that I started to become wary of the changes that I was

Common Scams Aimed at Your Kids

Janet Fowler, provided by Investopedia October 11, 2012 The inexperienced and trusting nature of young people is often what causes them to fall victim to scam artists. Some scam artists know how to identify and take advantage of teens and their need to fit in. Also, because teens are often so involved in new technology and web-based interactions, it's no surprise that many scammers have found the Internet to be the optimal environment for preying on teens. Inexpensive Luxury Goods Have you ever seen ads online for cheap iPhones, electronic gadgets, designer clothes, handbags and other luxury goods being sold at just a fraction of the retail price? Many of these advertisements are simply scams aimed at unsuspecting individuals who are looking for a good deal. However, these scams don't only exist online. Teens can be approached with too-good-to-be-true offers just about anywhere. Sadly, in many cases, these cheap goods don't even exist. After these teens hand over thei
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How to Set Screen Rules That Stick Easy tips for limiting kids’ computer, TV, game, and movie time. by Caroline Knorr | Sep. 17, 2012 | CommonsenseMedia.org In many homes, getting kids to turn off their cell phones, shut down the video games, or log off of Facebook can incite a revolt. And if your kids say they need to be online for schoolwork, you may not know when the research stops and idle activity begins. It may seem counterintuitive, but getting involved with your kids' media is the first step to cutting the cord. Showing an interest, knowing what they're doing -- even playing along with them -- makes it easier to know how much is too much. Every family will have different amounts of time that they think is "enough." What's important is giving it some thought, creating age-appropriate limits (with built-in flexibility for special circumstances), making media choices you're comfortable with, and modeling responsible screen limits fo

CMD™ Changed Our Family

Good morning, Al! I have been intending to send you this message for some time, but just never got around to it. A little background: our daughter (and only child), Anna, is 27. She is married and lives in Austin, Texas. Back when she was in late elementary school I heard you (probably at ACSI) challenge parents to spend money on Christian music for their kids. I accepted the challenge. We already frequently listened to Christian radio in the car, and I played Maranatha Praise at home, but Anna didn't identify that as her music. I told Anna we would buy her all the Christian music she wanted, but that she would have to buy her own secular music. We put no limits on the type of Christian music she could listen to. Thanks to a Christian record club at the time, we avoided going broke buying Christian music for her during those years. Like mother, like daughter--she mostly listens to Christian music today (with a little of the pop music from her teen years and some of he

Background Television At Home May Be Harming US Kids Development

Background Television At Home May Be Harming US Kids Development By  RYAN JASLOW  /  CBS NEWS /   October 1, 2012, 10:59 AM Leaving the television on for background noise may be harming the development of many American children, new research suggests. Previous studies suggest television exposure has been linked to children being less likely to pay attention during playtime, reduced cognitive abilities, and lower-quality interactions between parents and their children. Despite these negative effects, researchers have been unsure of how big of a problem background television watching is among families. The new study found it's a prevalent problem in American homes. "Our results indicate that children are exposed to a tremendous amount of background TV," wrote the researchers, led by Matthew Lapierre, a communications researcher at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. For the study, published in the Oct. 1 issue of Pediatrics , researcher

Parenting Teenagers: Translating Teen Speak

The Blog by Michelle Lamar, Huffington Post /August 10, 2012 If you are a parent with teenagers, one of the first things you need is a translator. Parenting teenagers requires you to read between the lines of what your kids tell you to find out what is really going on. By definition, a parent is embarrassing to a teenager and most teens like their privacy. This is a given, but it is also because parental supervision tends to get in the way of fun. So parents are provided with the least amount of information possible. Translating teen speak can be challenging, but think of it as an adventure! Like an anthropologist studying a different culture, you can understand the complicated language of teens if you keep two rules in mind: Rule 1 : All teenagers lie to their parents. Some teens are masters of deception while others fib a little. But all teenagers embellish the truth. Rule 2: If you don't believe rule #1, you are in denial. Here are some examples of Teen Speak a