Tears to Joy

Tears to Joy: May 2013

Monday, May 27, 2013

Old Enough for a Cell Phone?

 This morning, Jeff and I sat down to a "slide" presentation of why our eleven/almost twelve year old needs a phone. She shared with us a plethora of information (she did her research) about why it is time for her to have a phone. Most of her friends have a cell phone, and she uses the classic argument, "But my friends all have one," to which I tend to reply, "But I'm not their mom."
So, once again I am at a crossroads. While there are many good reasons for getting her a phone, I have some hesitations. Most of the research suggests that most parents think kids should have a phone between the ages of 10 and 12. I'm curious. At what age do you think it is appropriate for a child to have a phone and what led you to that decision? What safeguards do you recommend to help a tween practice cell phone safety?

I must say, Jorjanne's morning presentation was pretty convincing...we've got some serious thinking to do!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Facebook in Real Life

A group of students were hanging out in my office laughing and talking in my office one morning – a pretty normal occurrence. As one of the students walked out, he said, “Man, this is like facebook in real life!”

This generation is so wired, so connected technologically that many are lacking in social skills. When I was in school, if the teacher finished early, we were quick to chat with our friends. This generation’s default seems to be to grab their phones or ipods.

As a mom, I want to help my daughter to find balance when it comes to technology, but this is easier said than done. I’d love to hear from some of you about what you are doing to help your children balance social media with “real life.”

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Sunday, May 12, 2013

Manic May

(Picture from nami.org)
May is National Mental Illness month, and I've been receiving lots of emails about the importance of raising awareness this month. I recently watched Silver Lining Playbook (lots of language and crude scenes, I'm not endorsing the movie), and was impressed by the way that they demonstrated someone with bipolar mania. When someone with bipolar disorder is manic, they have excessive energy and often experience very little sleep. In the movie, the man stays up all night and finds nothing wrong with waking up his parents at 3:00 AM to tell them about a book he read. Sound crazy? It's actually pretty normal behavior for someone who is manic.

I can remember Michael waking me up around 3:00 AM to tell me that the day was passing me by, and that I was lazy and needed to get up. He'd crank up the music and turn on all the lights, making it virtually impossible to get sleep. Combine one manic man with a sleep deprived wife and it's not a pretty picture.

Another symptom of mania is grandiose thinking. Michael was convinced that God had told him that we were to buy a million dollar home (despite the fact we were living on a missionary's budget). He insisted that I just didn't have enough faith, but that God would provide the money so that he could buy this house. He even visited its owners and convinced them that he was working on getting the money.

Hyperactivity, irritability, spending sprees, and sometimes psychosis can all accompany bipolar mania. To the outside world, someone who is manic may appear to be the life of the party -- full of energy and creativity. To the people closest to them, the mania breeds chaos and destroys relationships.

The good news is that bipolar disorder can be treated. Many people fail to see a psychiatrist due to fear or stigma, but with the proper balance of medications and counseling, many people who suffer from bipolar disorder go on to live normal, healthy lives. If you or someone you love struggles with this, please, please seek help. The following website is a great resource on bipolar disorder:  http://www.dbsalliance.org

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Thursday, May 2, 2013

I'm not much, but I'm all I think about...

There are days when I feel like our culture is dripping with arrogance. I hear students talk about how dumb their parents are as they puff themselves up. Many feel as if they know everything and adults are clueless (I’m sure I felt that way as a teenager, too). Even the television programs today depict adults as ignorant, and put children up on an all-knowing pedestal. One guy boasted about his intellect telling me how great he is for a full ten minutes.

James tells us that boasting is evil (4:16). I don’t know about you, but I have much more respect and admiration for those who let others “toot their horn” versus those who “toot their own.”

We all fall into this trap at times. The truth is we are consumed with ourselves. The quote, “I’m not much, but I’m all I think about” is so true. The danger is that we often see ourselves in a distorted mirror.

Many times our boasting says more about who we really are than about how “great” we are. It shouts out INSECURITY! Instead of trying to build our self-esteem by bragging about ourselves, we need to find our identity in Christ. We are loved with an extravagant love, not because of what we’ve done, but because of Who He is.

May we all guard against the sin of pride and boastfulness. Anything good in us is a gift from the Lord. If we must boast, let us boast in the Lord!