Categories
parenting

Raising a Whole Kid

I had this thought yesterday and I think it’s important for educators, youth workers, and others working with teenagers to consider.

Categories
social media

Parents, Look Out for Curious Cat

Here we go again. Another app lying to users. 

There is yet another anonymous question asking/confession social media app floating around the internet claiming they’ve solved the bullying (and suicides) that plague older confessional apps like Ask.fm, this one borrows it’s name from the ever-popular cat movement online: Curious Cat.

Categories
The Youth Cartel

Running an Online Store: A Family Business

The Fiscal Cliff Sale

We’ve got a little sale going at The Youth Cartel store, having fun with this fiscal cliff silliness in the news. If you’ve seen stuff that we’re doing and wanted to check it out, this is a great time to do that while saving a little money. Discounts start when you buy $20 in stuff. And the discounts get better with the more you spend. Pretty simple and fun. 

Running an Online Store

I started the Cartel store a little over a year ago and it’s steadily grown. At first we had spurts of orders, like when a new product released or something like that. We’d have 20 in one day and then none for several days. Now we get 5-15 orders per day during the week and 1-2 on weekends. It’s not a lot but it is a part of every day. With our publishing line growing in 2013 I expect we’ll see that double again.

Literally, when you place an order, the McLane family takes it from there. (It doesn’t go to some third-party company to get packed up by people in a warehouse. We’re a family business.)

I print the order, one of the kids goes to the hallway closet, finds the books, and packs the order. They bring it back, I weigh it, and print out the postage label. Each day I either schedule a USPS pick-up or I drive the days orders over to the post office. Sometimes I make a morning and afternoon run to the post office.

On top of that, we keep the books on the store, manage the inventory, purchase shipping supplies, and we’ve develop relationships with our various suppliers.

The Kids are Learning

My goal is always that the kids will eventually fully run the store. It’s well within their capabilities to pack and ship orders. (And at $.50 per box it’s a nice steady stream of income.)

This week, I added to Megan’s duties as she’s now in charge of keeping inventory, updating a Google Docs spreadsheet, and alerting me of things which are low so I can re-order them. She gets it. Supply & demand. She pointed out that we need this sale to work well because we have too much of some books.

Next, they will learn how to weigh packages and print shipping labels. And after that I will teach them how to re-order shipping stuff themselves.

Here’s the thing: They do a great job. I consistently get good feedback on our orders. And people love getting the little toys/treats Megan and Paul stuff in the boxes. And they really like contributing to the family business. It’s fun for them.

It cracks me up a little when people quip about child labor laws and all that stuff. (We’re totally legal, by the way.) To me? It’s the other kids that are missing out. We’re having a blast with it and I love seeing the business grow with their capabilities. Heck, I’m looking forward to one of them coming up with our next great idea!

Categories
parenting

Parenting with a goal in mind

Here are some words Kristen and I use to describe our long-term hopes for our kids. 

  1. Independent-minded.
  2. Dependent on a loving God.
  3. Recklessly, hope-filled dream chasers.
  4. Happy and simple adult relationships.

We jokingly sum up our goal of parenting like this, “We don’t ever want to see our kids on Springer.

That’s not the most articulate thing in the world, it doesn’t lay everything out, but it does keep the end-goal in mind.

Categories
Books parenting social media The Youth Cartel

A secret deal on my book

My new book, co-authored with Marko, comes out next week.

I’m very excited about it for two specific reasons.

  1. Parents of teenagers really need this book. The days of fighting or banning or trying to wall off kids from social media is over. Parents need to know how to help their child live a life that will increasingly be lived online. This book does that really well. It’s short, easy to understand, and very practical.
  2. I’m proud of how this turned out. Marko and I worked really hard on making a book that’ll last a few years. We focused on helping parents understand social media while avoiding all of the pitfalls of your typical Christian book about media– there’s nothing here that is alarmist. We aren’t trying to scare parents, we are providing tested principles that have worked for years, work today, and will work for years to come. Trust me, that wasn’t easy.

Here’s the Official Description

With each passing day, teenagers’ lives become increasingly intertwined with social media. How can you as a parent stay informed and involved in healthy ways? How can you help your son or daughter make wise decisions and remain safe online?

A Parent’s Guide to Understanding Social Media will equip you to have meaningful conversations with your teenager about the best, wisest ways to get connected while staying safe.

Your guides for this journey are Mark Oestreicher and Adam McLane, who draw from their own wells of experience as parents and youth workers. They’ll help you chart a course toward discovering and practicing wise family online activity.

My Secret Deal

I would love for you to get this book in the hands of all the parents in your ministry. Like the other books in this series, this would be great to use as the content of a parent meeting. In fact, the book is based on a short seminar I’ve done for parents of teenagers in a bunch of churches.

You can pre-order it on our site right now for $6.99.

If you buy 10 or more copies, you’ll automatically get free shipping on your entire order. (media mail, US addresses only) Check this out. Add whatever else you want to that same order, as long as you order 10 or more copies of the book, you’re getting free shipping.

If you buy 20 or more copies, I’ll still pick up the tab for shipping on your order, and I’ll start tossing goodies in the box.

This secret deal expires on December 15th.

p.s. If you don’t automatically get free shipping, apply coupon code SECRET62

Categories
parenting

The Upside of Boredom


“I’m bored.” 

Paul, age 8, says this roughly every 30 seconds. It’s not that he’s spoiled or overly entertained or more addicted to the internet than his parents. It’s that he’s 8 and 8 year olds bug their parents by saying they are bored even when they aren’t. (Paul said he was bored during the previews for The Avengers. I thought about the $40 I just spent to take him and rolled my eyes.)

I’ve turned the I’m bored syndrome into a bit of a game between us. When Paul says, “I’m bored” I look at him and say “Good. And do you know why it’s good?

Here’s what I’m teaching Paul. It’s the upside of boredom. 

Boredom leads you to creativity. And creativity leads to figuring out things that no one else can figure out. And when you figure out stuff that no one else can figure out that will lead you to world domination. Therefore your boredom will lead you to the world domination you desire. Therefore boredom is a very good thing, right?

It’s a not-so-subtle thing I’m trying to plant in my son’s head. I’m combatting my nature to roll my eyes or scold him by teaching values:

  • Creativity happens when we create space for it.
  • There’s a difference between staying occupied and doing something amazing.
  • I actually think he can create something which might dominate the world.

What are other upsides to boredom?

Photo credit: I Can Has Cheezeburger.com
Categories
The Youth Cartel

A Parent’s Guide to Social Media

Last week, I put together a sweet little seminar for parent’s called, A Parent’s Guide to Social Media.

It’s an hour-long training session aimed at removing the fear about what their teenagers might be doing online and back-filling it with the latest research, then helps to build a theological framework for raising kids in a digital world.

Part of the challenge of putting together something like this is that the data behind it will change all the time. (New research comes out from the big players quarterly while lots of additional one-off research is published all the time by universities and the marketing world.)

That’s why teaching parents principles is more important than merely looking at trends. They need to know what to do today. But they also need to know what’s going to work with the next thing that comes out.

Long story short, I’ve now down this seminar with two groups of parents and it’s gone pretty well. If you’re interested in having me come to your church or event to present this stuff, just let me know.

Categories
parenting

Let them roar(ish)

We need to allow our kids to learn to roar.

At eight and ten years old our oldest are flourishing in the elementary years. Half of their existence is in the pretend world of video games, fantasy books, and made-up games in the backyard. The other half is the real world where they help with the baby, dominate academically at school, and run the shipping department for The Youth Cartel store.

The hard thing for Kristen and I is that they are growing up a little bit faster than we feel prepared to adapt our parenting. A year ago we woke up to the reality that we’d never left them home alone for even 5 minutes… or allowed them out of our sight on their own. So we started taking short trips to the grocery store without them or allowing them to go on walks in our neighborhood alone.

“It happens so fast.” People have told us this since the moment we found out we were pregnant with Megan. We’ve taken lots of pictures, we’ve enjoyed every step and stage. And yet it feels like it is still going so fast that we just want to hold on to each stage!

At the same time, it’s that little tendency… the desire to hold on… that we know is the difference between our kids roaring and our kids delaying maturation.

O! That we would be parents who don’t take video while our kids learn to roar, but stand behind them and encourage: Louder, you can do it!

Categories
Notre Dame parenting San Diego Living San Diego State Sports

Passing on a love of sports

My dad took me to lots of games at Notre Dame. Later in middle and high school it became more about football than the other sports. But I have lots of fond memories of spending time with my dad at Notre Dame basketball, hockey, and football games. I even remember a couple baseball and soccer games along the way.

Even though no one in my family went to Notre Dame, we lived so close and experienced so much there, that I have a pretty strong connection to the campus. My friends and I rode bikes all over campus. (Don’t tell my mom!) We played hide-n-seek near the Grotto and skateboarded the trail around St. Joeseph’s Lake. We yelled and made echoes between the giant buildings and dared one another to go into the administration building. (aka Golden Dome) I spent hundreds of hours in the library (aka Touchdown Jesus) during my senior year of high school and still have 10-15 unpaid parking tickets for parking in the basketball coaches spot when he wasn’t there.

But most of my memories of Notre Dame are from Saturday’s in the Fall. My dad had a group of friends who put on epic tailgate parties. 75-100 people would hang out and party between 3 motor homes starting before dawn and going until dark. When I was really young we went to almost every game because you could always find a ticket for free or almost free. That changed in the late 1980s and early 1990s when Lou Holtz had them in National Championship form year after year. But I managed to find a way in to a lot of games in those days. My stepdad had a brother who was an usher who could sneak me in. I’d get to the stadium several hours before the kickoff and sit in his usher seat during the game. When it was too cold or I’d get bored I’d climb into the scoreboard and watch the game from that little window, listening to the TV cameramen shuffle their feet above my head as they operated the endzone camera. For a couple of years my stepmom was an MBA student and we had tickets at the front of the student section. During those years I got to go to the games it was too cold for my dad and stepmom to enjoy. Cemented in my memory for a lifetime is freezing my butt off and hunting for hot chocolate during the 1992 snow bowl.

San Diego State

There’s no comparing Notre Dame to San Diego State. Pretty much everything that could be different about the two schools is different. But what isn’t different is the proximity of where we live. I grew up about a mile from Notre Dame’s campus and my kids are growing up about a mile from San Diego State’s campus. So I want my kids to experience the campus. (Um, the positive sides of campus activities!) That’s why I’m commited to taking them to football and basketball games and other fun/educational things offered on campus for kids.

I’d love for my kids to build happy memories about a place with their dad. Just like my growing up around Notre Dame… every moment isn’t memorable and not everything is going to make a lasting impression.

What are you doing to build memories with your kids? What kinds of things did you do with your parents which built lasting memories? 

Categories
Books

Sticky Faith Book Club, Chapter 2

This is part 2 in an 8 part series on Sticky FaithJoin our book club by signing up here. (part 1)

The Heart of the Matter

I read chapter 2 with a heavy heart. As a lifelong youth worker I had a hard time fully concentrating on what the words had to do with my family. Instead, my imagination ran wild with examples of students, core students, who walked away from their faith. Great students from great families whose seemingly solid faith evaporated in college.

Like you, I know families who have zero of their children walking with Jesus. (Or one out of four; two out of five, etc.) I’ve drank that bitter coffee with those tearful parents. I’ve heard their lamentations. I’ve even seen some of them start to doubt Jesus because “he wasn’t there for their kids.” Those are tough meetings and we’ve all had them. We wish we had answers but all we can offer is compassion and shared frustration.

If you are like me those meetings end and you get in your car and cry. Sure, those are tears for those students. But they are also tears of resolve. “Not my kids. What do I have to do? How can I do things differently? I can’t afford to go 0-3 in my own home.

That’s the heart of the matter. Am I wiling to change the trajectory of my parenting for the sake of their faith? Am I willing to forego my “non-negotiables” for the sake of my children wrestling with their faith in my home? (As opposed to pushing that until college.)

Inarticulate, sin managing, parent pleasers

Kara and Chap were too nice to put it this way but that’s essentially what their research reveals. Their research showed that Christian students can’t articulate in their own words or testify from their own lives what walking with Jesus means. And since we’ve elevated the role of rules to a place higher than faith, our children know how to act like a Christian without knowing what it means to truly have faith in Christ.

We assume that if our child walks like a duck, sounds like a duck, and acts like a duck they must be a duck. Unfortunately, that’s not how it works with trusting Christ.

Kristen’s thoughts

Trusting God is a discipline necessary for sticky faith development. Reading this chapter has helped me realize that I need to be a stronger communicator. In not wanting to over-share certain decisions or events in our lives, I’ve missed opportunities to articulate how decisions are made based on my trust in Christ. As our children grow older, I see the value of creating discussions and activities to help develop their framework of trust.

I specifically recall a conversation last year when I asked Paul if he had ever made a decision to trust Christ. His response – “every week!” Digging deeper, what he meant was that every week in Sunday school his teacher made the class pray with along with her to “accept Jesus”. Defining what it means to trust Christ is a challenge after sorting through all the do’s and don’ts thrown their way, even (and perhaps especially) at church.

Discussion Questions

  1. Sometimes it helps to start with a goal and work backwards. Have you ever stated goals for your children’s faith development? What is the goal of toddler faith? Of elementary-aged faith? Of middle school faith? Of high school faith? Or college faith?
  2. As ministers our kids feel extra pressure to perform as “professional Christian kids.” What are ways you’ve seen your children practice “sin management?”
  3. The book stated that “obedience is a response to trust.” Why is it better to begin with trust and then respond through obedience? Is it ever good to go the other direction: obey first and hope that trust follows? Have you ever experienced either of these in your faith journey? If so, what was it like, and what happened?
  4. How do you see your child’s faith in light of this chapter? Where do you see them growing in what it means to trust Christ, and where do you see them living out the do’s and don’ts of Christianity?