My Teenage Zombie – a review

I have a confession as I begin this post: I’m not really into the zombie thing.  I have not watched a single minute of The Walking Dead.  I don’t watch zombie movies like World War Z, Shaun of the Dead or even Night of the Living Dead.

Probably the closest thing I’ve seen in the zombie genre is a particular episode of Phineas and Ferb that my son likes to watch and, of course, Michael Jackson’s classic music video, Thriller.

So, when I first saw this title, My Teenage Zombie, it didn’t really strike a chord with me.  However, as I read it, I found it to be a great description that Dr. Henderson carries throughout the book and is an image I as a parent could relate to as he spoke about the adolescent years.

This book is not bashing the adolescent years or railing against today’s teenagers.  It is rather a solid resource for parents who either have a teenager living under their roof or, better yet, have children that will be entering adolescence in the future.

In My Teenage Zombie Dr. Henderson addresses all the changes that teens are going through as well as the unique pressures students in our current culture are enduring.  He also offers some great insight to parents from his education and experience about how to understand and then engage with “teen zombies.”

He gives an apt description of what he considers a teen zombie:  “Undead adolescents are directionless, and this lack of direction leads them to focus all their attention on one thing:  themselves.”  As some students go through adolescence they sometimes fit this description and parents are left with the task of addressing their son or daughter in this zombie like state.

In offering some insights to parents, Dr. Henderson talks about these areas to address to resurrect an undead adolescent.  He writes that a teenage zombie lacks these three elements that are necessary to sustain life:

Pulse = direction
Spark = motivation
Fiber = determination

In the book he elaborates on each one both from the perspective of the teen and what he/she is going through, but also from the perspective of parents who could be feeling frustrated, confused and ready to give up.

Dr. Henderson had some good advice to parents and I thought this was especially poignant:  Parents are the stable framework that help a teen grow into a strong & mature adult. Be that stable & predictable framework for your kids.  What a good reminder that our teens need parents who will offer stability, predictability and consistency as they navigate the adolescent years.

The author offers a balance of medical information (I found the chapter that talked about the adolescent brain to be very interesting), real-life examples from his own experience as a psychiatrist, reflections from his own journey through adolescence and Biblical principles that speak to both parents and teens.

My Teenage Zombie is a good resource for parents who want to understand how to address the undead adolescent who might be living in their home and a great tool for families who look forward to navigating the ups and downs of the teen years.

To read more info on the book or to order a copy, click on the image at the top of the post to be directed to the publisher’s website.

Syd’s Blogging, too – The Perfect Fit

I’ve shared that my wife is now a contributor to the Dayton Moms Blog. Her recent post, Her Name is Kate, has taken off and has been shared a number of times. Over the weekend my wife found out it had over 23,000 views! Pretty exciting. 

My daughter is now blogging. She had a WordPress blog, but it was hacked and had to be deleted. She is now blogging at divinesixght.wordpress.com

Her most recent post deals with how God is able to help us as we seek to build our lives. Here’s a snippet:


“Good architecture should make you feel as if you are in a cave with a view of the horizon.” -Jonathan Safran Foer

Architecture is defined as both the process and the product of planning, designing, and constructing structures. We try and shape our lives like a good piece of architecture. We try to plan, design, or construct what we believe is artwork. This involves the two perspectives, in the cave and then the open view. Inside of the cave we entertain the present and we meet needs. We meet our own needs, we meet others needs, and we attempt to balance what we want to do and what we ought to do. But if it’s good architecture, if it’s a solid life, then it should feel open with a view of the future looking out to the horizon…

Read the rest in her blog

Smartphones, Kids & Parents

I saw a link on Twitter today to a study done by Nielsen looking at kids and smartphones. The study looked at the average age at which kids first received a smart phone, why parents purchase a smart phone for their child and the concerns parents have.  It’s pretty interesting to see the responses and then, as parents and those who work with students, think through how that impacts the students with which we work.

Here a few highlights from study:

  • The most predominant age when kids got a service plan was age 10 (22%)
  • 45% of mobile kids got a service plan at 10-12 years old
  • Among parents likely to get their kids wireless service before they turn 13, being able to get hold of their child easily and that their child can reach out to them easily were top reasons (90%)
  • 72% of parents were concerned that smartphones pose too much distraction

It’s an interesting article for parents whose children have a smart phone and for parents who have the issue coming in the future.  The article shares other stats and infographics as well.

You can read the entire article on the Nielsen website.

So…how old were your kids when they got their first smart phone?

How old do you think a child should be to manage a smart phone?

Syd One of Three Greyhounds Named All-GLVC

wbb_all_conferenceThe Great Lakes Valley Conference announced their post-season honors revealing Player of the Year, Coach of the Year along with First Team, Second Team and Third Team All-GLVC. Martha Burse was named to the First Team and Sydney and Nicole Anderson were named to the Second Team.

While this was Syd’s first full year of actually playing college ball, she still missed games due to nagging knee difficulties.

Sydney was also named the team’s recipient of the James R. Spalding Sportsmanship Award. Proud of her not just as a player, but also who she conducts herself on and off the court.

The UIndy Athletics website posted an article about the three players and their post-season awards.

Here’s a portion of that article:

Although injuries limited her to just 19 games, Brackemyre has still had a major impact on the Greyhounds in her debut year. The Wilmington, Ohio-native’s 15.3 points per game and 47.7% shooting both rank second on the team.

Brackemyre put teams on notice immediately, recording back-to-back double-doubles against Findlay (20 pts, 16 reb) and Walsh (14 pts, 10 reb) on opening weekend. That was enough for the conference to make her the GLVC Player of the Week, the first time in more than two years a Greyhound picked up the conference’s weekly honor.

Additionally, Brackemyre was named the team’s recipient of the James R. Spalding Sportsmanship Award. The student-athletes chosen are individuals who have distinguished themselves through sportsmanship and ethical behavior. These individuals must also be in good academic standing and have demonstrated good citizenship outside of the sports-competition setting. The honorees are now eligible to become one of their school’s two Spalding Sportsmanship Award winners, which will be announced at the end of the academic year.

Anticipation Over Production

sat-feb-18-2017-19-48-59-gmt-0500Earlier in February we took our junior high students to the CIY BELIEVE event near Cincinnati. It is an annual trip we take because the programming is excellent, our students love it and it’s a great 30 hours to spend with our junior high students.

One of the main elements at BELIEVE is the singing. There is always a top-notch worship band that does a great job engaging the students and inviting them to sing. At one point during the weekend, nearly all the people in the arena (approx. 3,500) were lifting their hands as we sang Great Are You Lord. It was a cool moment and felt very genuine.

It turned out, without really planning it, a week later we sang the same song in our church service. I referenced our experience at BELIEVE and even showed the picture at the top of this post after we sang the exact same words, Great are You Lord.

A couple of people made a similar comment that went something like this: isn’t it hard to sing here (meaning church) after you have been there (meaning BELIEVE)?

That’s a question that usually surfaces after coming back from a great event. How do you generate that same energy and engagement back at home once you’ve experienced it a camp, conference or convention?

As I mulled that thought over in mind, two words came to mind.

The first is Production. BELIEVE is a production. I don’t mean that in a negative way at all. In fact, it is one reason we continue to attend and BELIEVE continues to grow. It is an excellent program.

But, it is a production. A team works for a number of months to put together a quality event that they duplicate in venues all over the country. They gather the best speakers, the best worship bands, great light rigs and sound systems, cool graphics and videos, along with quality entertainers (artists, comedians) that all work together to engage the hearts and minds of junior high students. While it is genuine and has the purpose of pointing teens to be followers of Jesus, it is a production. And it is done very well.

One reason I love taking students to BELIEVE is that they can do what I cannot do.

There is another word that came to mind as I considered the weekend. That word is Anticipation.

One reason I think students engage so strongly in BELIEVE is that they are excited to be there. For students who have attended in the past, they can’t wait to go back. 6th graders are excited to experience for the first time. When they become 8th graders, they are sad they cannot go to BELIEVE anymore.

There is a strong sense of Anticipation. Students want to be there. They pay to be there (well…their parents pay for them to be there). Youth leaders promote the weekend and there is a strong sense of anticipation.

So, imagine if we had that same anticipation when we arrived on a Sunday morning?

Take away the light show (we don’t have that). Remove the awesome worship band (honestly, we just aren’t as good as what we see on stage). Don’t count on the cool graphics and videos that serve as a backdrop to the sessions.

Do we still have the anticipation of raising our voices (or even our hands) to sing Great are You Lord?

Now, our worship teams are good. And they work hard to lead our church family in singing and worship each week. And we have some pretty talented people. But the more I think about it, Anticipation can be as powerful as Production.

As those who lead, we want to do the best we can to engage people to respond to God (Production).

For those who are coming each week, perhaps we should consider our level of excitement and engagement as we participate on a Sunday (Anticipation).

Anticipation over Production. Something to think about as we look to next Sunday.

When God Made You, Matthew Paul Turner @HeyMPT

when-god-made-youWhen my wife and I adopted over three years ago, one of the things I was looking forward to was reading books with our little guy. I always enjoyed the Dr. Seuss books and remember reading The Foot Book with my kids as they were growing. My favorite Seuss book is still The Sneetches.

A couple of weeks ago I had the opportunity to receive a copy of When God Made You, the new children’s book by Matthew Paul Turner. We are always looking for good, Bible-based books to share with our kids and When God Made You is a good addition to our collection.

The artwork is a great background to the rhyming style of the book. With bright colors and active scenes, there is almost a story with in a story happening.

The story emphasizes that each child is created by God with unique talents and abilities that God wants every boy and girl to use.

I was drawn to this particular phrase as I flipped through the book again:

‘Cause when God made you
and the world oohed and aahed,
in heaven they called you an image of God

What a beautiful truth to plant into the heart of a child:  you are created in the image of God!

Our little guy is three and the first reading was a little long for his attention span, but the message is worth reading again and again over time.  When God Made You provides a tool to impress upon the children in your life that they were created by a loving Heavenly Father who wants them to be loving, kind and who God created them to be.

Get a sneak peek of the book When God Made You  or click here to read more about it.

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.