Are You Stuck In A Bunker?

Having lunch not too long ago with a dear friend we exchanged the latest and greatest happenings with each other.  She began to share how she was not so happy at her new job.  In fact another mutual friend who was also hired on at the same location had already made the decision to quit.  She felt completely out of place, but beyond feeling like a misfit, she struggled with the environment itself.  You see she found herself leaving the quiet of the small country town, where the talk of the week is the bake sale for the kindergarten class or the chili cook off, a place where ol’ time hymns are still sung with spirit on Sunday.  However on Monday she would find herself walking in to an office where she is the oldest one there….a place were tattoos and piercings are the norm and the language is acceptably colorful. nose peircing I understood her awkwardness and identified with it.  However 20 years ago it was I that was reprimanded for coming to the office with a new nose piercing by a manger that could easily pass for my father.   It was I that had to listen to the oldies and cringe as I worked….or better yet get a giggle at the double take I would get each time I added a new streak of color to my hair.  Now I know my attitude was not the best.  I made a point of ruffling feathers of those I had no idea how to identify with.  This lead me to ask myself could we be doing the very same thing to our teen and young adults?  Do we purposely turn down their music?  Are we unnecessarily shooting dirty looks for every four letter word that comes out of their mouth, despite the fact they are not even speaking to us at the time?  Are we unnecessarily trying to “rub” them away because that way we do not have to change?the young

Now I am in no way stating that we should condone bad or mean behavior.  That is not my point.  My point is what are we doing to bring the Lord to the as they are?  In order to do that we must meet them where they are!  You can not drag them out of their world and expect them to be happy in your own little bunker where it is safe.  They will not come.  They will run.  I would run!  So you may not like their language.  That is your problem, not theirs.  They will change their language only when it becomes their own problem.  The only way that will happen is thru the growth of their relationship with Christ.  Christ will work within them…they will need time to grow.   Do not stifle the Holy Spirit.

When you head out to work, to school; do you try to take your bunker with you?  I have seen it!  Of course I am not talking about some kind of huge box on wheels…but I might as well be.  This is an invisible bunker.  The bunker is a place of uniformity and safety.  It is comfortable; it feels like home.  In this bunker, we can be ourselves, accepted for who we are, because we are a lot like everyone around us.  Do you refuse to go where you can not take your bunker?

…One who isolates himself pursues selfish desires; he rebels against all sound judgement.  Proverbs 18:1

If you choose the way of the bunker you are feeding a very selfish motive, because it’s easy and comfortable.  You will not be put out.  You will not have to “put up” with any annoyances like loud music.  The sound judgement you are ignoring is the Holy Spirit asking you to move…to speak….and most of all to love…Love the unloved….to love the love-less…

One who loves to offend loves strife; one who builds a high threshold invites injury.  Proverbs 17:19

It’s not the young that is causing strife, it’s the ridged held up in their bunkers.  They grumble….”Did you see that kid, they cleaned out the candy bowl”….”we can’t play THAT song (even once a month) it gives us a headache”….”They need to sit still”…..”They are smoking in the parking lot!”  The static can get so loud the message gets lost.  We are the offensive with our conditions and rigidity.  The ridged create a threshold that this generation can not meet.  It’s no longer about meeting Christ, it’s about being “acceptable” to the elite core of the congregation.  The injury could have an impact of eternal consequences.

The bunkers need to be dismantled, the thresholds torn down.  We need to get out in order to get them in.  lost-children1


Short video of interest:

My Boys and Allowances

I have never paid an allowance.  I have never agreed with paying children to do their part in a household.  Parents unselfishly drive, grocery shop, wash, ect. Once a child is on their own no one is going to pay them to do what is right.  No one is going to pay them to clean up after puzzle

It’s my personal belief that paying an allowance teaches an attitude of self entitlement.  Not paying for some of the extras help the kid figure out what he/she is going to do about it.  Want that bike….go mow lawns….need more air-soft pellets, go stack wood for the neighbor.

I found this article that also explains it perfectly:

Most commonly, a family is an interdependent group of people living together in a love relationship.  Members of the family depend on each other and work together for the benefit of the unit as a whole.  They share most everything and do not benefit by keeping separate accounts of “yours and mine.”  Just as parents make dinner, wash dishes, clean the home, and offer transportation without expectation of allowance… children should be trained to contribute in much the same way.

By paying children for daily chores we are actually robbing them of their opportunity to contribute based on love, and instead teaching them that they should be paid for their contribution to the family.

So what about reward for excellent behavior?  Rewards should be given for going above and beyond the normal call of duty – thus earning a bonus – but not for performing everyday tasks.

You get paid for a job, and your home comes with responsibilities that you do not get paid for, yet there is a satisfaction for being responsible.  Lets teach that lesson, not a lesson of self entitlement.

BUT if you are going to pay allowances here is a great suggestion:

A Proper Distribution

Since allowance is a tool used to train the child on the matter of proper money management… what about taxes?  I believe children should have taxes taken out of their allowance in order to paint them a more accurate portrait of how money is handled in “the real world.” Some may find this legalistic, but I’d rather they be as prepared for reality as possible.

Here is a solid outline for proper distribution of their allowance.  Take this and make it your own based on your situation.

  • 15% giving – Based on gross amount… taken before taxes or anything else.
  • 10% to taxes – Just as we have to pay taxes as an adult, we should give the child a similar opportunity… after all the idea is to train them.  Put this amount back into their college savings fund or some other savings account to be used for their future.  It may not seem like a lot, but remember… every penny counts!
  • 25% to savings – What to save for?  This is a very personal matter to be determined by the parents.  If nothing else, simply save it to save it.
  • 25% to bills – This is a very powerful concept, so keep an open mind here!  This money should go back to the parents and gives the children the unique opportunity to contribute to the household bills.  This builds confidence, self-worth, and an unmatchable feeling of usefulness.  This philosophy can also be used to teach them to conserve spending on household utilities, groceries, etc.  As much as possible, try to involve them in the bill paying/grocery shopping process… doing so will give them a “vested interest” in cutting costs.
  • 25% to spending – This can be used as the child desires, but be careful here – proper use of this portion is critical in shaping their future spending habits.  If they want to spend it, they can spend it.  If they want to roll it into their savings, they can do that as well.  If they want to help out with bills, that too should be welcomed!  I think  you will be surprised by how much of it they simply want to give back to you in an effort to further “help out” with the costs of running the home!  Always make yourself available to help them make these decisions.

Give the children all their money up front, so they can see it and physically handle it.  Then help them divvy it up according to the distribution system you set up.  Also, include a statement of distribution so the child can see where all their money goes; just as your employer does with your paycheck.  Do not simply withhold a certain amount, because you want them to be as involved as possible.


( I apologize for the lack of reference to the above mentioned article.  I do not have the record as this is from an old post.)

Teachable moments

Almost daily we encounter small moments where we can teach our beloveds just a bit of truth.  Sometimes we don’t even realize it has happened.  The other week one of our kiddos fell victim to what we thought were one of my many parental controls.   Now before you go thinking I run a monastery at home its quite the contrary.  It’s not about control, it’s about me being alert to what they are watching, reading, and playing.  I feel it is my God given responsibility to be “all up in their business”.  It’s up to them as to how painful it will be 🙂  There is always freedom of choice in my household.  Which also means the freedom to screw up.  But we use these mishaps as teachable moments.

Back to the recent encounter with my controls.  One of the boys had gotten a new PS3 game for his birthday, Call of Duty Black Ops II.  This is a rated M game that is condoned in our house.   For those that may not be familiar this game includes the ability to play online with other gamers both locally and gaminginternationally.  Online play is different then just playing on the system.  You can control the settings on a system, you can not control another person (behavior or language).  Online play has been a touchy subject, and recently I lifted the block as they are getting older and have shown good judgement.  They were first taught how to use the system, which included how to block other users.

Well, one of the boys tried to play online and he was blocked.  He was sure Mom messed up on the control settings.  I assured him that I had it set up correctly.  I did some checking and this is what I found on the PSN board regarding this issue.  No matter your parental control settings or content settings, if your teen is under a certain age (COD Black Ops II is 15+, or Rainbow Six Vegas 16+) the server for the game host (not PSN) will block them. You will not be able to change this setting. They have done this to prevent legal suits. The ONLY way around this is to create another profile with a new email and to LIE about your age.

Really!  The recommendation is to LIE to get around this control.  May I encourage you as parents DO NOT ALLOW THIS, even if you have allowed your teen (of which we have) to do play some of these games! It encourages lying and justification to circumvent rules that are set. It’s not a big deal to wait or play as a guest on an older sibs profile.

Which is more important?  Integrity or to play online?  What happens when this scenario comes up at school or work?  Teach them now and they will at least have the tools to make wise decisions in future situations.

  Whoever walks in integrity walks securely, but he who makes his ways crooked will be found out

Proverbs 10:9

One Sock Days….

My 14 year old boy is really something else. He in his normal fashion was running late. I had caught a hold of him as was ready to dash off to school, and told him – “Nope, I don’t care how late you are, you don’t leave without brushing your teeth!” Of course I get the “Ahh, Mom”…stomp, stomp, stomp. Now, I am on to something, so as he exits the rest room, I notice that he is not wearing his hearing aides. He tells me (as if this will make it okay), “I can’t find the batteries”. To that I reply, “Well, son you know the rules. You aren’t to leave the house without your hearing aides. Go find ’em”.  Now he is furious and the other kids leave without him. “But I am going to be late!” “Then you better hurry!” Needless to say he finds them, and rushes off thru the house……Only to be stopped by my fiance’ at the front door as he came in. “Dude, aren’t you wearing socks?” “YES! See, I have one!”  At this point I could not help but to just bust up in laughter. One sock! Really? How is one sock ever okay?

Well, of course we know that it’s not. But how many times have we not followed thru all the way with something, knowing that it’s not okay, but just hoping that we won’t get caught at the door.

In reflection I could honestly say I saw that boy acting just like his mother.  Granted I don’t leave the house with one sock!  That would be ridiculous.  I know I would be caught.  Right?  But what short cut am I taking thinking that no one knows about?  Or so I think that no one knows about…..

My son came home that day with a whole new attitude.  He informed me that there will be no more “One Sock Days”.  I too shared, Yes hun, no more one sock days fore sure – for the both of us.

We owe our teens a bit of attitude….

We as parents sometimes have to find that ‘tude…you know the one, the “I am in your face because I love you”  ‘tude.

 Just a reminder that we must be open and frank with our teens.  You nor they will regret it.

Here is an excerpt from a blog written by a teen on pornography…

“Pornography whether its images or written words that stir the imagination, it’s all a distortion. That’s not what Sex is, it’s not even what love is! Anything that is sexual sin is not “true” love.  With the combination of a child’s natural curiosity and abuse as the spark that started the fire to what would have been my destruction, I began to get into pornography.” …”I didn’t even know what sex was! All I knew was it was a foreign word that I learned from 7th Heaven, and on that episode it was a big deal. And not too long after I learned that if I said “sex” the babysitters would squirm and get uncomfortable… which magically, sex became my favorite word to say!   As all of this slowly unfolded my parents did not really fill me in too much, more than anything they put boundaries on what’s appropriate and what’s not.

Though I had seen those life altering images, I didn’t really want to see them again, but I didn’t really lose the taste for suggestive, pornographic, or “just on the edge” material. From late night infomercials, to online chat rooms, my interest began to grow. Each thing was a step further for “true” satisfaction and each step further became “not as big as the last” and “still not quite enough”. From reading material that I found in my own home that was meant for married couples, to heated stories online it just kept growing.

All was a distorted view of sex as if I was looking at a mural through broken glasses; the picture can’t be seen for what it really is because though you can see the mural through the glasses you’re not really seeing how it truly looks.

Through the broken glasses all you see is shame and hurt where sex is all about you (selfish) which just leads to more brokenness and emptiness.

True satisfaction, contentment, and wholeness are found only in Christ alone.”

From Amber M “Through Broken Glasses”

As you can see it’s not just our boys, but our girls too.  It’s not just the computer or laptop at home.  With more and more teens using iPhones and tablets that have internet capabilities supervision has gotten to be a full time affair.  Even game systems like PS3 can be an open door.  Check search and browser histories on a regular basis.  Have a rule that you are the only one allowed to erase history.  After all something erased is something to be hidden.  Come up with rule and boundaries that work for your household, then stick to them. If they can not follow the rules, take the device away and have them earn it back.  If the ground rules are established at the very time the internet begins getting used it will be so much easier.  If you wait till there is a problem, well…the fight will be on!  But I can not emphasize enough that the fight and time will be worth it.  Our children deserve it!

Here are some surprising stats:

Americans aged 13 to 18 spend more than 72 hours a week using electronic media—defined as the Internet, cell phones, television, music and video games. 

87% of all teens are online.

1 in 7 youths received sexual solicitation online.

 Average age of first Internet exposure to pornography is 11 years old.

15-17 year olds having multiple hard-core exposures – 80%

8-16 year olds having viewed pornography online – 90% (most while doing homework).

7-17 year olds who would freely give out home address – 29%

 7-17 year olds who would freely give out email address – 14%

Children’s character names linked to thousands of pornography links 26 (Including Pokemon and Action Man).  Watch what your child gets when using search engines.  What could start as an innocent search could become problematic.