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Exhaust and perfume…


While we were raising our teenage son, one wise parent, who had been through it, told me that once boys get a whiff of exhaust and perfume… things are never the same. Even though it kind of fit, I knew that there was more to it than that even though I can remember experiencing the same thing as a teenager. Both were very distracting at that age! But there’s more to the story so… back to the topic at hand…

I couldn’t quite figure out what was going on. There were times when my son would be the kid I had always known and then the next it was like a totally different person occupied his body. Good natured, caring, intelligent and then surly, angry, sullen, rebellious… within a 24 hour period! What in the world? The challenge was how to react, how to communicate and how to cope. Getting angry didn’t work. Being more strict didn’t help. Doing nothing seemed to make it worse at times! So… more research…

What I found was that the hormone levels in a teenager can sometimes swing 300% or more in a very short time frame and that can be a huge factor in mood swings and behavior. So the question then became… knowing that this was somewhat a physical issue… what do you do as a parent? You don’t want to let the behavior just go but you also know that there is somewhat of an uncontrollable in the midst of it. So I pulled out the parenting manual that came with my son and checked out the appropriate section… you didn’t get one of those? Sorry to say… I didn’t either!

So, what I realized… what I would encourage you to do… is to pray, practice grace and mercy, forgive yourself when you don’t get it, don’t take it personally, and make sure you have some sort of support! And… in the midst of all of that, balancing the control and authority needed during the teenage years. It’s not easy… but don’t lose heart… keep the long term picture fully in front of you! The parenting job is not to be friends, make your teens happy or to make sure nothing ever is difficult. Parenting is all about giving children and your young adult teens skills that will help them be productive, contented, spiritually mature adults who can deal with all that life throws at them… and it can throw a whole lot!

What can you do to help your children for the long run?


March 2016 Whetstone Newsletter

God loves us as we are, not as we should be. Brennan Manning


Welcome to the March 2016 edition of the Whetstone Newsletter!  If you haven’t heard, the Whetstone is honored to have three new monthly writers. Find out more about them here. This month we have 5 great articles on topics like beer and Jesus, 7 Habits of a Family that Wins, and youth sports.

On to the newsletter!


I Love Beer More Than Jesus – Morgan Snyder

“And yet, right here Jesus loves us. Right here in our propensity to attach our desires to so many things other than relationship with Him, He loves us.”

I can really identify with Morgan because I like (ok, love) beer. The flavors, the colors, the aroma.  As Homer Simpsons says, “Mmmmmm, beeeeer.” But, have I given beer a place that should only be occupied by Jesus? At times, Yes! How about you? “What do you love more than Jesus?”

“Our addictions can be conduits of profound grace, for in facing them, we come face to face with our Jesus and the depth of His love for us.”


7 Habits of a Family That Wins Mark Timm

“I know I want a family that is strong, that can handle whatever adversity comes its way, and that is positioned to leave a legacy that matters for generations to come.”

I am really digging this series by Mark Timm. It’s a unique way of looking at family through the lens of of Steven Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Mark’s 7 habits for families are:

Care, Commitment, Character, Communication, Collaboration, Change, and Celebration. Over the next few weeks he’s going in depth on each one. I’ve linked to the ones that he’s published so far.


Social Media and Secret Live of American Teenage Girls Nancy Jo Sales

“Kids today are often accused of being narcissistic, but they may be learning their exhibitionist ways from their parents. Accompanying the boom in selfie culture is a rise in competitive spirit, as well as a disturbing trend of sexualization. Likes, hearts, swipes—­validation is only a tap away.”

Dads, listen up! We are called to protect our children, from others and from themselves. Nowadays predators don’t have to drive around in creepy vans to entice our children. They can find your kids’ social media profiles and “connect” with them there. Be involved, be proactive, be loving. You may tick them off, but at the very least you may keep them from seeking validation in the wrong ways and for the wrong reasons.


Boys Need Their Moms Tim Challies

“Boys need their moms—I am convinced of it. Even teenaged boys, boys who are nearly men.”

Ok, one for the ladies this month. Boys seem to be tough for moms to figure out. They do stuff that even they can’t explain. But, they need you. They need you to help prepare them for his future relationship with their wives. You have a great deal of influence on the man he will become.


Do Christian Parents Flirt with the Idol of Sports? – Todd Hill

“There’s an idolatry problem in our community related to youth sports. I see this problem every weekend as families gather at the field rather than their church. It’s a problem in my heart, too. “

We all have our idols, some are just more acceptable than others. Youth sports is one of those “accepted” idols. And it’s not just youth sports, I would add youth activities in general. And even more alarmingly, we as parents can make our children in to our idols. When we put our children’s happiness and comfort before everything else including our spouses and relationship with God we have given them a position they can’t and shouldn’t be in.



Why You Need a Life Plan Now – Michael Hyatt

“Far too many people drift through life, dissatisfied and nagged by regrets. But there’s one tool that can help you fight the drift and pursue the life you want. “

I really enjoy Michael’s podcasts and books. He just released a new book called, Living Forward: A Proven Plan to Stop Drifting and Get the Life You Want. Order now and get some bonuses like a detailed action plan guide and audio training.


The Value of Aggression – Ode to Dan Gable – Tim Ferriss

“As an athlete, he had a 182-1 prep and college record. His single loss, in his final NCAA match, infuriated him. To make up for it, he out-trained the world and won the gold medal at the 1972 Munich Olympics…without surrendering a single point. This is like winning Wimbledon on serves alone.”

As a former wrestler I was very familiar with the work ethic and mythic like legend of Dan Gable.  He was just amazing as an athlete and coach.


Did you miss the Whetstone’s exciting announcement? The Whetstone now has 3 monthly contributors!  Check them out here.


Stay Sharp!




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