Adoption Fundraising Continues & We Are So Grateful

Gotcha DayA couple of weeks ago I posted about our Adopt Together fundraising page. We also had a friend send out some letters on our behalf to help with our efforts. We also have a former student of mine who is doing a Thirty-One party for us. Through it all Cheryl and I have been humbled by those who have joined us in this next stage of our lives. We have received gifts from family, friends, a few “back in the day” friends and even some people who have joined us anonymously. Currently we are nearly 50% of the way toward our goal. Again, we are so grateful for those who have decided to partner with us.

Currently, we have received enough to pay for the renewal of our home study, to send the necessary fees to our attorney in Ohio and our attorney in Maryland. We had no idea what the response would be and we are blown away.

We are using the website Adopt Together and are so appreciative of that form of communication and safe place for people to give. This video gives a little bit of the back story of Adopt Together.

AdoptTogether “Meet The Family” from AdoptTogether on Vimeo.

For those who want to be a part of this, there are two ways you can be involved.

1.) Our Adopt Together Page. Again, Adopt Together is a non-profit group and they provide grants to families who want to adopt. The gifts that are given are tax-deductible. You can click on the image below to go to our page.
Adopt Together screen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2). Our Thirty-One Event. If you like Thirty-One products or want to buy something as a gift, check out the party This one closes on April 20 so it is concluding in just a few days. Click the image to go there.
Thirty-One page

 

 

 

 

 

We are again so thankful for those who are a part of this adoption journey.

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SOLID ROCK 2015

solid rock 15Each summer Cincinnati Christian University invites high school students to participate in a two-week event called SOLID ROCK. Students meet on the campus of CCU for a week of rehearsal to create and learn a program of ministry through music and the arts. During the second week, the group travels by charter bus to present their program at a different church every night.

My son and a few former students from WCC have participated in SOLID ROCK in the past and had a great experience. We have one student this year who is preparing to send her application in to be a part of this summer’s program.

If you are a high school student (or know a high school student) who enjoys the arts (singing, playing a musical instrument or the technical side of things), check out SOLID ROCK. It’s a great experience and also creates relationships that last beyond the two weeks together.

Information on the program and how to apply are on the Cincinnati Christian University website. Dates for 2015 are July 5-10 (on campus) and July 11-17 (on tour). The application packet is due March 16th. Go check it out.

Middle School Football Amazing Play

This past weekend our junior high students attended the Christ In Youth BELIEVE Convention at Northern Kentucky University.  We joined with about 6,000 other junior high students and adults to sing, laugh, listen, learn and grow.  (We might have eaten some pizza, too!)

In the final session, the speaker was encouraging us to use the gifts and abilities and influence God has given us for others.  He said that means having an influence on whomever God may put in our path.

He shared a few examples of students he knew that invested their time and energy to impact others.  He then showed a video clip about a middle school football team who went out of their way to make a difference in the life of one of their teammates. It’s not only a good story, but a great example for all of us.

“affluenza”

affluenzaI’ve posted in the past about information shared through Tim Elmore’s Growing Leaders blog. Today, I learned a new word – affluenza.

I guess it has been around for a while (since the 1990’s) and refers to a condition in which children — generally from rich families — have a sense of entitlement, are irresponsible, make excuses for poor behavior, and sometimes dabble in drugs and alcohol. Elmore references a court case where affluenza was used as a defense by a man who hit and killed four people with his truck.

I have copied Elmore’s blog below regarding this “condition.” As I read his thoughts, it kind of hit me from two sides. First, as a parent, am I or have I been guilty of contributing to this “condition” in my own kids? Also, as one who works with students on a regular basis, where do I see this showing up? Interesting to think through.

You can read Elmore’s thought on his Growing Leaders blog and offer your comments as well.

Some journalists are using a term when speaking about parents and the problems they have raising their kids today. It’s called “affluenza.” At the court hearing for a tragic auto accident in Texas, where teenager Eric Couch hit and killed four people with his truck, the defense attorneys cited “affluenza” (when one is raised with wealth and never given limits) as the cause for his crime. He’s been sentenced to ten years of probation. The term “affluenza” was popularized in the late 1990s by Jessie O’Neill, in her book “The Golden Ghetto: The Psychology of Affluence.” It has since been used to describe a condition in which children—generally from rich families— have a sense of entitlement, are irresponsible, make excuses for poor behavior, and sometimes dabble in drugs and alcohol.

Like a disease, affluence, or living as if you have it, can harm a child as they’re growing up. Today, moms are sending birthday invitations out, with a gift registry inside the card, letting guests know where and what gifts to buy their child. Many parents assume they are “poor parents” if they don’t provide their children everything they want.

Obviously, when the bar is set this high, a child’s sense of entitlement increases. They start believing they deserve all the latest gadgets, tablets, smart phones, name brand clothes, expensive tutors and coaches, and costly vacations that are always better than last year’s.

What we’re finding is—this “afflluenza” begins translating into the notion that students deserve good grades just because they showed up, especially if mom and dad paid for this expensive school. Some college students have even sued their alma mater for not guaranteeing a job when they graduated.

I do not claim to be a parenting expert. I develop students and student leaders. But allow me to comment and offer some common sense.

We live in a day of “encore problems.” We expose our kids to so much so early in their life that it becomes difficult to engage them as they move into adolescence. They have been on trips and vacations; they’ve attended amazing ballgames, and they own incredible technology by middle school. What more is there to experience when they grow up? The problem is, the “more” they want is probably unhealthy.

Parents and teachers must navigate this “affluenza.” We must figure out how to pace our students, exposing them to measured amounts of possessions, and appropriate experiences as they mature. Often, they get exposed to things today before they’re emotionally ready for them. Most elementary kids have watched a sex scene on TV, on a computer, or at the movies. Most have watched violent acts and murders, and seen people do illegal drugs. It’s tantalizing.

What To Do

In his latest book, David and Goliath, Malcolm Gladwell discusses how difficult it is to lead kids today, when there is too little or too much money. Obviously, a family living below the poverty line finds it difficult to raise kids well, because their focus is mere survival. They are living paycheck to paycheck. On the other hand, upper middle class and wealthy families find parenting hard because they cannot honestly say to their children who beg them for a new iPhone: “We can’t afford that.” That moment requires an emotional conversation, where the parent explains to the child why it’s helpful to learn to delay gratification.

Yeah. Good luck with that conversation.

The research tells us that an income of about $70,000 is the median income, to make parenting neither too hard because of poverty or too hard due to wealth. Outside of those lines, we will have to learn to pace our kids. This means our job may change:

Pace the sequence of possessions and experiences, allowing for a bigger and better one, as they mature. For instance, you might plan a trip across the state for them in elementary school, a trip across the U.S. when they’re in middle school, and a trip overseas when they’re in high school.

Don’t fall into the trap of comparisons. Other parents may win brownie points with their kids because they give them too much, too soon. Those kids are “wowed” in the moment, but are over-exposed and may have difficulty managing expectations as young adults. Do what’s right, not what’s popular.

Always have a reason for every “gift” (possession, experience, trip, etc.) that you give your child. Have a plan, to progress into bigger and better “gifts” in the future. I even explained my plan to my kids by the time they reached fifth grade. They realized there was a method to my madness and they “got it.”
Prepare to have meaningful conversations with your young people. Get ready for emotional exchanges as they learn to wait, to listen, to handle envy of their friends, and to save up their own money, perhaps, before getting what they want. This is what maturity is all about.

Just remember, leading students is a marathon not a sprint. In fact, it’s a pace, not a race. Pace yourself. Pace your kids.

I (we) Gave A Shoe Box (38 actually)

Our Small Groups were encouraged to fill shoe boxes to be a part of Operation Christmas Child. Samaritan’s Purse has been running this ministry for a number of years and have delivered literally millions of shoe boxes.

This year our small groups contributed 38 boxes to the effort.  Our students seemed to enjoy gathering items and packing their boxes.  This year we will be able to track our boxes and see where they are delivered.

Great job to all our small groups!