Friday, June 10, 2016

Going Beyond "Consent": Teaching Our Boys to Be Godly Men



I saw the "Consent: It's as Simple as Tea" video  about a year ago, and at the time, I thought it was clever and informative.  This video has resurfaced and has shown itself plentiful on my Facebook feed for several days after the verdict and sentencing in the Stanford rape case.

I re-watched this video twice, and I admit that something was really, really bothering me.  Usually, the video was posted with an encouragement to “show your teenage boy” or “this is good for teaching our sons about consent.” 

Then it dawned on me.  It’s not the video so much as the admonition that we need to use this video to teach our sons about consent.  As the mother of two teenaged boys, I find this to be misguided.  Frankly, if your teen needs to be shown this video in order to know what “consent” is, then you, as a parent, have a LOT of work to do.  Seriously.  Knowing the definition of consent is not the issue.  There are many, many thoughts and decisions and attitudes that contribute to a young man who does not know (or care about) what “consent” means. 

Many sincerely believe this video to be very helpful for young people who find themselves in sexual situations and are unsure about what to do.  If it works and prevents rape, I am thankful for this video.  However, if you are a Christian parent, like me, I think this video is woefully lacking in what we need to be teaching our sons.

Here are some of what I believe to be more important teaching points for our teenaged sons. 

1.  Teach Them How to Have Personal Relationship with Jesus Christ
First and foremost, our teens – both boys and girls – need to have a personal, real relationship with Jesus Christ.  Pray for our children, teach them God’s word, show them the Way.  Then, the Holy Spirit will be counselor and guide for our children. 

* “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”   2 Corinthians 5:17 (ESV)

* “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”  Romans 12:2 (ESV)

* “Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me.” Psalm 51:10 (ESV)


2.  Teach Your Teens about Sex
Talk to your children about sex BEFORE they become teenagers.  In today’s culture, you cannot be lax in this.  Talk to your children about how we were created to be sexual beings but that God has a plan for sex – a good plan.  Acknowledge sexual feelings.  Don’t shame your boys.  Sex was created by God. It is not a bad thing, but sex should happen within the confines of marriage. 

Patiently teach them what is appropriate behavior towards girls.  Help them think through their thoughts.  Guide and teach and train and discipline when needed. 

3.  Teach Your Boys How to Treat Women, Their Wives, and Everyone Else
Philippians 2:3-10 (ESV) states “ Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”

Ephesians 5:25-29 (ESV) says, “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church.”

If a young man seeks, through the power of the Holy Spirit, to live out these two passages of Scripture, he will not need to watch videos about tea to help him understand “consent.” 

4.  Teach Them to Use Their Strength for Good
When our boys are little, we say it 100 times a week – “No hitting.”  However, God made our boys physical.  Boys need to know that if they see someone hurting a girl, it is 100% ok to hit or tackle or kick.  There is a time and a place for physical violence, and no one is mad that two Swedes on bikes chased and tackled the man who was assaulting a young unconscious woman.  

On the other hand, a young man should never use his strength to hurt, scare, bully, or intimidate a girl simply because he can.   

5.  Teach Your Boys to Keep Their Hearts Pure
We cannot ignore pornography and the effects it has had and will have on the hearts and minds of our young boys as they mature into young men.   Women are degraded, and rape is glorified.  Certain music genres glorify violence against women.  Movies make violence against women seem normal and even “romantic.”  Again, keep the lines of communication open.  Talk to your boys.  Put safeguards in place – no phones in the bedroom after 10:00, for example.  Say “no” to certain movies, books, television shows, video games, and music choices. 


In my opinion, a young man who has to wonder about consent is not living a Christ-centered life – he’s living a selfish, self-centered, uncaring, entitled life.  He’s somewhere he shouldn’t be, doing something he should not be doing.  Does this happen?  Yes.  However, as a believer, we should be raising our children to be radically different from those in the world who are not sure what “consent” means.  With God’s help, we need to strive to raise children who look to the interest of others, who empty themselves, who humbly serve others instead of taking from them.  A man who is truly seeking to become more Christ-like will not see an unconscious or sleeping woman and decide to take advantage of her simply to satisfy a physical urge, and he will not force a woman to do something when she changes her mind.  A true Christ-follower does not need to watch videos about tea because, to him, women are his sisters, created by God, and are to be treasured, protected, and esteemed.


Let’s go beyond teaching our boys about "consent."  

Let's teach our boys to be Godly men.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Attention Moms and Dads! Your Teens Need You!




This morning, as I was folding laundry, I sat pondering what someone asked me last night.

“So, is your son as quiet at home as he is here?”

My youngest is playing a small role in a play in our community, and he’s been labelled as quiet.  Wait, what?  Quiet?

That boy hasn’t been quiet a day in his life.  He’s funny, hyper, crazy, loud, and talkative.

At play practice, others see him as quiet.  Quiet.

Time turned back, and I thought about my oldest.  At about the same age, he told me once, with real fear in his words, that he had stage-fright.  I remember thinking, “WHAT!?  You’ve never ever one time been afraid in front of a group of people.”  But for a time, he was, but he’s not anymore.  Now he’s a tour guide at a local cave, and he speaks in front of strangers all day, several times a day.  He’s a born leader.  When he was 5 years old, he could have the entire playground filled with children previously unknown to him playing some game he’d made up.  “Do you want to play with us?” he’d ask perfect strangers.  Yet, for a time, he had stage fright.  It came out of nowhere, and one day it slipped away quietly, and I realized it was gone.

Thinking about my oldest, that’s when it hit me.  These are the days in a young person’s life when he suddenly realizes that others see him.  That what he does is right there in front of the world for everyone to see and judge.  Boys and girls alike suddenly become visible, vulnerable, self-conscious, exposed, scared, worried.

What is it about puberty and hormones that does this?

I have no idea, but what I do know is that these are the days when teenagers becoming young men and women push so hard against their parents, but they need us so very much.  They need us to say, “YES!  You ARE who you once were.  You are funny and bright and capable.”  They want to know that they are loved and cherished even when they push.  They crave acceptance and hugs and encouragement.  Not fake praise, but genuine words of affirmation. 

You CAN do it. 

I believe in you. 

I am on your side.

Tell them what they are good at.  Tell them you love them.  Tell them you are proud when they show compassion, kindness, generosity, and self-control.  Set boundaries.  Push gently.  Encourage.  Exhort.  Praise.  Lift them up.

Then, in time,  prayerfully and with God’s grace, your son or daughter will step confidently out into the world and embrace the gifts that God has blessed him or her with and just be… amazing.


They need you mom and dad.  Your teens need you.

Friday, March 25, 2016

How to Help Your Kids Love the Church


A friend of mine shared a disheartening story with me – a young boy walked into his small group and asked, “What are we going to do today?”  When his leader told him, he replied, “That’s boring,” and proceeded to pout and look … well, bored, during the entire lesson and activity.   Not long ago, a mother told me that her teen child no longer wanted to come to church because it was not interesting, and he didn’t like it. 

Most of us have heard alarming statistics about how our young people are leaving the church and about how our children feel entitled.  So how do we, as parents, help our children learn to love the church?

Why are we here?

First of all, we need to decide why WE are going to church.  Do we go to church out of duty?  Do we go to church to keep our kids out of trouble – to give them something to do – an outlet?  Do we hope that good behavior will rub off on our kids if we go to church?  Do we go to start our week off on a positive note?  Do we go to church to see our friends – or to get adult time away from the kids?  Do we go to church because that’s just the right thing to do? 

Why do we go to church?  I believe we should go to church for two reasons. 

1.  We go to church to worship. 

What is worship?  In the book, Parenting in the Pew, Robbie Castleman says, 

     “Worship is the exercise of our souls in blessing God.  In the Psalms we read or sing, ‘Bless the Lord, O my soul!’  However, our chief concern is usually ‘Bless my soul, O Lord!’
     Encountering the Lord.  Meeting Jesus.  Hearing his voice.  Knowing God.  These expectations of worship are met in hearts that are intent on his blessing.”

Simply put, we don’t go to church service for us.  It’s not about me.  It’s not about you.  It’s about God.   

However, there’s more to Church than Sunday morning worship service.

2.  We go to church to participate in the life of THE church.

What is THE church?

According to my resident PhD, Dr. Mullin (a.k.a. my husband, Miles), “The church has two meanings in the Scripture.  The first meaning references a gathered group of baptized believers covenanted together in order to worship the Lord, administer the ordinances, disciple its members, and bear testimony to Christ.  This is the predominant meaning found in the New Testament.  The second meaning refers to the universal Church which is made up of all believers throughout all ages and all times.  The New Testament depicts membership in the universal church as secured by faith in Jesus Christ and membership in a local church as normal for all believers”

Part of going to church is BEING THE church – a gathered group of believers who come together for encouragement, discipleship, and service.  Given that we go to church to worship and to participate in being the body of believers called the church, what are some ways to teach our children to love the church?

1.  Know why you are there.
Are you coming for the kids programs, the awesome music, or the entertaining pastor, or are you coming to worship the Lord?  Are you there because you want to make business connections or so you can grow in your relationship with the God of the universe?  As the parent, you need to check your own heart and make sure you are in church for the right reasons.

2.  Ask the right questions
A few years ago, I realized that I was asking my kids a toxic question.   When I picked them up from a church activity, I would ask, “Did you have fun?”  THIS is NOT why we go to church. (See above).  Asking such a dumb question was just reinforcing exactly what I didn’t want them to believe – that church is about having fun.  I realized I needed to ask the right questions.  Here are just some of the questions that I try to ask now.

What was your Bible study about tonight?
Did you learn anything new this morning?
Were there any visitors in your class?
Did you meet anyone new?
What was your favorite part of worship today?
What was your favorite song?
Did anything about the sermon stand out to you?
Are there any prayer requests we should pray about as a family?

3.  Watch your words
Think about how you talk about your church to others.  If you describe your church as being a great place because they’re so many fun things to do, children will get a wrong idea about church and its function.  If you get in the car and complain about the pastor going too long or the music being sort of “blah today” in front of your kids, you will send them a very clear message.  Be careful about how you talk about your church to your family and to your friends. 

4.  Serve
First of all, set an example by serving and then encourage your children to serve.  All children can serve in some way.  Be on the lookout for ways your child can serve. 

My youngest told me once that he didn’t particularly like a certain ministry we were doing.  So I said, “Oh dear.  I hate for you to not to LIKE something.  Let’s just quit.”  “OK, pray and ask God what other ministry you should be involved in then.” 

The Bible says that all believers in a body have a role to play.  I personally believe this also applies to children who have accepted Jesus as their Savior and Lord.   Romans 12:4-6 says “For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.  Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith.”

Young children can make shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child, visit shut-ins, or choose items for a food pantry.  Older children can help set up tables and chairs, clean pews, and participate in outreach ministries.  Teenagers can do practically anything an adult can do – mission trips, music ministry, nursery work, etc. 

When my oldest was four years old, we “adopted” a shut-in named Miss Ruby.  Miss Ruby had never married and was 93 years old.  She loved it when we would visit, and his cute little boy face brightened her day.  That is serving.

5.  Pray
Pray for your church, your pastor, your outreaches, your missionaries, and your church family members.  Pray with your children about your church often so they learn by example that the church is dear to us and should be lifted up to our Father.



There is no guarantee that your children will grow up and “stay in church,” but we as parents can help our children have a proper view of church and its function by first understanding it ourselves and then by asking the right questions, watching what we say about the church, serving in our church, and praying for our church.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Dear Mom, Hang On


Dear Mom of a child struggling with ADHD, inattentive ADD, dyslexia, Asperger’s, autism, sensory integration disorder, OCD, etc.,

When your daughter runs back to the bathroom to wash her hands one more time and her hands are raw and bleeding and cracked from over-washing, and you cannot reason with her and you cannot get her to stop, Mom, hang on.

When he can’t understand the passage he’s reading and he’s so stressed and he’s crying and you’re crying and you want to fix it but you can’t, Mom, hang on.

When they call you to the school and you find out that your son lost his temper … again… and knocked over desks and threw books, and you’re embarrassed and at a loss and you just don’t know how to help him, Mom, hang on.

When your son is crying in bed, regretting, wondering why God made him that way and your heart breaks right in two because he says, “I wish I was never born.  I want to die,” Mom, hang on.

When the noise is so loud somewhere and everyone else is having so much fun and your daughter suddenly melts down crying and screaming because it is just. too. much, Mom, hang on.

When another parent suggests that if you were a better disciplinarian, your child would do better, and you know what they’re thinking, and you know how HARD you’ve tried, Mom, hang on.

When you’ve tried essential oils, parenting techniques, diet changes, therapies out the wazoo, chiropractic care, classes, counseling, even medication, and things are just not getting better, Mom, hang on.

When people stare at you in public because your daughter is melting down ... again, and you’re sick of going out in public, and you’re tired and embarrassed and weary, Mom, hang on.

When you are so sick and tired of being late because your son’s socks “Don’t feel right” and the shoelaces are too tight and then not tight enough and you’ve tied those stupid shoes 5 times, Mom, hang on.

When your daughter’s grades are so bad because she is busy daydreaming about who-knows-what while the teacher is talking and you know how smart she is and you think you’ll scream if you hear a teacher say one more time that she’s not applying herself, Mom, hang on.

When your son has no friends because he has no concept of personal space and talks constantly and does not get social cues, Mom, hang on.

When you have lost your temper ….again… when you promised yourself you wouldn’t and you begged God to help you stay calm, Mom, hang on.

When your parents make comments and you’re smiling on the outside but dying on the inside, Mom, hang on.

When people say that ADHD doesn’t exist and you used to think the same thing but now you know better but you wished to God you didn’t, Mom, hang on.

When you have no one to talk to because no one truly understands because your kid looks normal on the outside, Mom, please hang on.

God can give you rest.
Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.     Matthew 11:28 (ESV)

God cares.
Casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.      1 Peter 5:7 (NKJV)

Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you…      Psalm 55:22  (NIV)


The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. Psalm 34:18 (NIV)

God will never leave you or your child. 
I will never leave you nor forsake you.  Hebrews 13:5 (NKJV).

 So do not fear, for I am with you;
    do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
    I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Isaiah 41:10 (NIV)

God hears you.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.     Philippians 4:6 (NIV)

God has a plan.
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.  Romans 8:28 (NIV)

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.  2 Corinthians 1:3-4 (NIV)

God gives you hope and peace.
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.     Romans 15:13 (NIV)

God strengthens you.
I can do all this through him who gives me strength.     Philippians 4:13  (NIV)

You are important.  You are needed.  You are loved.  You matter.  
Her children rise up and call her blessed.     Proverbs 31:28-30 (ESV)

Dear Mom, Hang on.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Demonstrating God's Love: 1 Corinthians 13 -- A Family Activity

We put the verses on the fridge.
     We did something wonderful last week.  We worked hard at catching each other in the act!

     Allow me to explain.  Kyle, our youth pastor, challenged some families with youth to try out the book  Ideas for Parents by Mark Matlock and Christopher Lyon.  After skimming the book, my husband, Miles, chose the activity "Fill the Love Jar."  After reading 1 Corinthians 13:4-8, Miles explained that for the next week, we would be watching each other and looking for examples of others in our family demonstrating the principles in these verses.  So, for example, if you see someone being patient, you should take a minute to write it down and put it in the container.  After one week, we would read them all.  

     Miles put The Mullins Demonstrating God's Love (1 Corinthians 13) Jar on the kitchen table along with some index cards and a pen.  He printed the verses out for each of us and put a copy on the fridge.  Then the fun began. 
     
     During the week, each of use wrote down when we saw 1 Corinthians 13 being lived out in someone else. We all did our best to put in at least one card every day. At the end of the week, our container held 39 cards.  After lunch on Sunday, Miles opened the jar and read them all.  

The Mullins Demonstrating God's Love Jar

     It was incredibly affirming.  Here are a few:

*Darius very patiently tried to help Titus pick out clothes today. -- Mommy
*Darius lowered the basketball hoop for Titus even though he preferred to do something else ("does not insist on its own way") -- Daddy
*Titus came out and did basketball with me (even before Daddy went out). -- Darius
*Darius played with me even though he didn't want to. -- Titus
*Miles makes the coffee almost every morning.  How kind!  -- Jenny
*On Monday, Jenny (Mommy) hoped for a good day of school, even though it was Monday.  -- Miles
*Daddy took me for a walk. -- Titus
*Mommy made dinner for us almost every day. -- Darius
*When Titus was doing his math and geography, Darius was very patient about waiting to practice piano. -- Mommy
*Daddy saved a peice of garlick brad for Mommy. -- Titus
*Titus had a great school day today.  He was not rude or irritable!  Yay Titus! -- Mommy
*Darius didn't brag, even though he did a great job on his Spanish Quiz. -- Daddy

     How awesome is that!  We had 39 examples of our family living out 1 Corinthians 13.  We decided we need to do this again -- maybe several times a year!

     With Valentine's Day right around the corner, perhaps you and your family should try it, too!




Monday, January 21, 2013

Lunchtime Conversations: MLK, Jesus, Race, and Jokes


     Today, at lunch, my husband asked our boys if they knew what day it was.  My youngest ran to the calendar and said, “Martin Luther King Day.”  My husband asked him if he knew who Martin Luther King, Jr. was.  He replied, “A president?  Jesus?” 
     “Jesus?!  Why in the world would you think he was Jesus?”
     “I don’t know.”  (Personally, I think he was giving the Sunday School answer – when in doubt, say “Jesus.”)
     The conversation continued with a short history of the Civil War, segregation, and Martin Luther King, Jr.  My husband ended by saying something about not looking at someone’s outside or their race.
     “What is ‘race’”? my youngest asked sincerely.
     We looked at each other, wondering, “Is that a good thing or a bad thing that he doesn’t know what ‘race’ is?”
     After an explanation of “race,” my husband said, “That’s why we should never tell jokes about someone’s race.  It’s not funny or kind.  Have either of you ever heard someone make jokes about someone’s race?”
     My youngest piped up.  “Oh dear.  I’ve heard one.  If you’re an American in the living room, what are you in the bathroom?”  Pause.
     “European.”
     I exploded in laughter, and well, that was the end of our history lesson!

     Ahhhh, life with boys.

     On a more serious note, here is a link to Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech.  He was an incredible speaker!


Tuesday, January 8, 2013

I Was Sad -- A BAD Paragraph: A Writing Lesson

     I am up to my neck in writing.  My head is swirling with thoughts about writing.  My brain is exploding with writing thoughts.  I have little scraps of paper everywhere.  They say things like, "Exposition -- what we do most" and "must PLAN" and "same persuasive letter -- 2 audiences" and "the best way to get better is to DO ie. piano, math, instrument, writing."  

     You see, this Friday, I begin teaching two writing classes to intermediate students at our homeschool co-op.

     Today, I typed up our first activity.  Sometimes the best way to teach a subject is to show the students what NOT to do.  I had so much fun with it that I had to share it with you!  Feel free to use it with your own students.

     Have the student read the paragraph out loud, and then do the activity at the bottom.



I Was Sad
By Mrs. Mullin
     I am supposed to write about a time I was sad recently.  Here goes,  Today, I took down my Christmas tree.  that made me sad.  I took off all the ownamants.  There weas a lot of them.  It was empty.  I looked at the tree.  It made me sad.  It was bare.  And plain.  Just green with lights.  Other people were watching football.  It reminded me that i have to wait a long time until christmas comes back.  Isn’t that sad?  No more family time.  My in-laws came for the holidays. No more free time.  School is starting back, too.  Oh, and the presents.  I have to wait to get more presents.  I can’t wait until my birthday in February.  So, that’s why I was sad recently.
January 7, 2013 
The End



This is a BAD paragraph.

*How many “sentences” are in this paragraph?  _______
*Circle any mistakes that you see.  (Grammar, usage, mechanics)
*Which sentences are completely random?  Write “random” boldly above them.
*Underline the fragments?  A fragment is not a complete sentence. 
*Create a better title.
*Rewrite the pitiful topic sentence: 


*In your group, rewrite this paragraph.  Combine sentences.  Eliminate random thoughts.  Expand sentences.  Add some interesting details.  Oh please – fix this paragraph!