Monday, December 13, 2010

Parent Education - December 2010

This month's video is about evaluating the plans you have when working with your kids. Enjoy!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Parent Education - November - Peer Pressure

The following is an entry from Tony Dungy's "All Pro Dad." It is definitely a worthwhile read with useful tips. Enjoy!

10 Ways to Help Your Kids Stand Up to Peer Pressure
“If Johnny jumped off a bridge, would you do that also?” Peer pressure. We all experience it as children and as adults. The company we keep has a great say in the type of people we are. Thus, it’s highly important we surround ourselves with friends who bring us up. Who enlighten. Challenge us to be better. Not the kind that drag us down. The kind that lower our standards and take us places we should not venture. Your child faces tremendous peer pressure on a daily basis. To smoke, drink, do drugs, cheat on school work, have sex and a myriad of other issues. Acknowledge the battle they are in and take steps to help give them the armor they require to win the war. Here are just a few tips to get you started:

1. Eyes Like A Hawk
Constantly observe the habits and behavior of your child. Know him better than he knows himself. Abrupt changes in dress or attitude could signal trouble. Maybe your straight-laced son will begin dressing head to toe in all black. Possibly he will start using curse words in your presence. It could be more subtle differences. Newly-formed friendships are almost surely at the root of the change. Children, of course, go through phases. No need to overreact at every turn. However, always have hawk-like eyes and be on top of trouble the minute it shows up.

2. Meet The Crew
Your daughter’s friends are very important to her. So they should be very important to you as well. That means taking a vested interest. Make her friends feel welcome in your home. Talk to them when possible. Feeding them is a very good way to make that happen. Everybody talks when breaking bread. Offer to drive them where they want to go. The car is another good place to start conversations. The more they talk, the more you learn.

3. Meet The Parents
Going upon the same theory, make an effort to know the parents of your child’s friends as well. Throw a backyard party. Invite all the children and parents as well. Do they share your same values, beliefs and convictions? Establish an open communication. If problems arise, you will then feel more comfortable bringing it up.

4. To Sleepover Or Not To Sleepover
All kids enjoy sleepovers. They make forts. Stay up later than they normally do. Generally have a whole lot of fun. Awesome. What else is going on? If your daughter is sleeping over at her bff’s house, how do you really know? Are they watching movies you would not approve of? Talking about things that are new and beyond her young ears? Before allowing a sleepover, make sure you know the child and her parents. Peer pressure thrives in this unlikely environment.

5. Maintain Proper Influence
You are not his friend. You are his parent. There is a major difference. So many parents fall into the trap of wanting so much to be liked by their children. They give up influence in the process. Of course, you want a fun and loving relationship. As long as it does not impede on your ability to have the final say. Many a great parent has heard the words “I hate you” as the child storms up the staircase. It’s hurtful and hard to take. However the reply is always, “You will thank me later.”

6. Family Virtues
“If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.” Great country song. Your family should have a set of standards that all are expected to live up to. Choose 5-10 virtues that you consider vital. Instruct your children in them and be sure to lead by example. Make it a matter of family pride. “It doesn’t matter how the family down the street does it, this is how we do it.”

7. Opportunities To Teach
Our world today provides more than enough chances to point out good and bad behavior. We have televisions. High speed Internet. Our mobile phones are now mini-computers. We are never without instant access to any type of news, sports or entertainment. That is a whole lot of influence on everyone in the family. If you are watching a show with your son that portrays a desirable quality, point it out. If you are listening to a song with your daughter that has lyrics glorifying loose behavior, point it out. Counteract the bad influence with discussion and other options.

8. The Big Picture
People have a tendency to believe their own behavior does not affect others. We feel small in a giant world. Completely untrue. Try teaching your children to see the bigger picture. Pose questions to them such as, “What if everyone shoplifted like your classmate Richard?” “What if everybody cheated on their tests?” “How would these things affect society?” Give your kids the ability to understand how they affect the world and not just themselves. It builds wisdom and strong character.

9. Concern For Others
Children certainly can be and will be cruel. Vicious at times. Teach empathy to your child. A concern for the feelings and well-being of others. A child that has these qualities is much less likely to follow the pack at any cost. They will understand the damage being done and stand against it. Society needs leaders who bring out the good. People who stand for justice. This starts by teaching empathy.

10. Unique Purpose
Most children that fall victim to destructive peer pressure have lower self-esteem. It’s normal to feel lost as a teenager. A group that shows acceptance and understanding is very attractive. Criminal gangs all over the globe recruit young souls based solely on this knowledge. Do not let this be your child. We are all created with a unique purpose. Every single person has much to offer this world. Help your child discover his or her path. Discover talents that bring out who they truly are. A child with self-confidence and moral strength is nearly impossible to corrupt when guided with love and care.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Washington D.C. Class Trip

Late last night, the eighth graders returned to ECS from their class trip to D.C. We were there for four days, where we went, nonstop, from pre-sunrise to post-sundown everyday. We were blessed to have our same tour guide again, Miss Carol. She has so much knowledge, is good with the kids and has a way of bringing history to life. As a group, we always knew where we were going as we followed Miss Carol holding up her red umbrella with a yellow path sewn around the top of it. She told the kids to "follow the yellow brick road." The students really enjoyed her. We were also blessed to get Kenny, our coach driver who is also a licensed tour guide. He related so well with the kids. I know the kids will miss them both.

Our students were so excited for this trip as they soaked up the information presented to them everywhere they went. Some of the highlights of our travels were Arlington National Cemetery where our students laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, Gettysburg, the Holocaust Museum and the Veteran's Memorial. I was so moved to see the reverence of our kids at the memorials but especially the Holocause Museum. They really took their time to diligently read about this horrific event and the philosophy behind it. Tears in their eyes and down their cheeks were not uncommon. There was an appropriate mix of anger and empathy, resulting in a solemn demeanor from the group for a while after the visit to the museum. This visit made the holocaust a tangible event that the kids could understand.

The days were long and the information plentiful. The students and chaperones did a great job of pressing forward. After arriving in Louisville, after a two hour delay I might add, a gentleman from our flight sought me out at the baggage claim. He walked up to me and stuck out his hand and said, "I wanted to say that this is one of the best mannered groups of kids I have ever seen. I just wanted to tell you that." I thanked him for the kind words and he walked away. This man's comment was true of the entire trip. This group, including chaperones, were wonderful to work with. Information was learned, friendships were strengthened and memories were made that we will always remember.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Parent Education - October

Developing a Discipline Plan

As kids enter adolescence, they will begin to push boundaries. Parents, who once felt like they had everything under control, are now becoming frustrated because of new behaviors from their pre-teen/teen. Many parents have come to me for advice because, in the moments of frustration, they react or respond in ways that are not Christ-like and they are not proud of. These parents were looking for counsel on ways to deal with the disrespect that seems to be creeping in their child's life. The honest truth is that for every one of these conversations I have had with a parent, there are probably ten others out there that simply haven't asked but are having the same issues. I want to address how to prepare for this in this month's parent education.

You need to realize that frustration comes from not having a plan. The inappropriate responses from you, the parent, usually stem from anger/frustration (emotions) brought on by the child's misbehavior. It is important to note that emotions escalate the situations. Taking emotions out of any situation will result in control. For these situations to improve, you will need to address both developing a plan and taking the emotion out of your discipline with your kids (taking back the control). That is what I will try to help you do in this entry.

To develop a plan, you and your spouse need to sit down together and create responses to the infractions you are encountering from your children. A few offenses could include lying, disrespect, cheating, irresponsibility, etc. In your responses, imagine your child just, for example, responded back to you with a disrespectful remark. Taking emotion out, what would you say to them and what would the consequences be? Some parents I have talked with have used going to bed fifteen minutes early for each disrespectful comment as a consequence. Your response might be, "We have discussed this. That is fifteen minutes. Do you want to rethink that response and try again?" If they continue with the disrespect, you simply add another fifteen minutes and restate what they should do. It may take this child a few nights of going to bed at 6pm, but they will get the message. Most kids will hear that response from you, be reminded of a better choice, take their fifteen minute consequence and learn from their mistake. It is important to realize that both parents need to implement the same responses and consequences consistently. Children need structure, routine and clear expectations to be able operate well. Without clear expectations, kids cannot strive for something. Without consistency, kids will have difficulty understanding any absolutes. Your discipline and the tone of delivery should be something they can count on.

There may be times when you encounter a situation you weren't necessarily prepared for. It is okay for you to table a discussion or consequences to gather your thoughts. Use this tactic to, again, remove yourself from the situation to remove the emotion of the moment (both you and your child) and gain wisdom from your spouse. When you come back together, there will be level heads to discuss the learnings and in the administration of the consequences.

You need to be aware that your kids will learn behaviors by watching you, the parents. How you handle conflict will most likely be how they handle conflict. Your tone in speaking to your spouse is likely how they will speak to their spouse. My question for you is, " What are you teaching your kids by your actions?"

Action Steps:
1. Develop a plan - Responses
2. Both parents implement - Unite
3. Be consistent - Absolutes

If you do these things consistently, I am confident you will begin to see improvements.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Fathers that lead

I am sure most of you have heard the song Lead Me by Sanctus Real. I heard it for the first time at Crossroads around Father's Day. Since that time, the song has blessed me so many times and helps me to keep a Heavenly focus on how I lead, how I prioritize my time and how I relate with my family. We, as fathers, have such a wonderful opportunity to lead our families, not only by our words, but especially by our actions. The only way we can truly lead is if we are following God's direction. Below is a link to the song on YouTube. I hope this song blesses you as much as it has me.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

September - ECS IMMS Parent Education Video

Below is the link to this month's parent education video regarding setting up a structure for homework. I hope this is helpful.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Congratulations to last year's 8th grade algebra 1 students

This past spring, last year's eighth graders took their end of course assessment (ECA), or graduation requirement test, for Algebra 1 after completing the course. Twenty-nine of the forty-three eighth graders (67.4%) were enrolled in Algebra 1. We are very excited to announce that 100% of our students passed the test with twenty-two earning a score in the pass+ range. These results are possible because of the amazing math teachers at ECS along with the support from the parents. The partnership between the parents and the school is such an intricate part in the educational readiness of the students. Congratulations to those students! We are proud of you!

Friday, August 13, 2010

The importance of intentionality

Reb Bradley wrote, "....surrounding our kids with Christian influences is certainly good (Christian music, Sunday school, youth groups, etc.) but it is no substitute for "training." Training is a conscious, active effort of instruction, discipline and modeling, and not a bi-product of a good environment or a loving home. Consider that no wild horse was ever broken or trained by being grouped together with trained horses."

This quote is a great example of why we as parents and teachers need to be intentional in training our kids. Notice that Reb Bradley was specific to point out training and not teaching. Teaching can be passive, one dimentional and, sometimes, it can focus more on the information being given instead of the focus being on the person.

Training, however, is active. It requires the child to not just know what to do, but to put into practice what they know. The best way to learn something is to do it. For example, if you want your child to be reverent, the way you train them is by giving them opportunities to be reverent. Training also allows for dialogue. The child needs to have the opportunity to ask questions and have them answered. Training also focuses on the understanding of the information rather than the content alone. Training allows kids to face real life situations and conflict. When faced with it, parents should use this time to teach their kids to think critically and problem solve. This allows them to experience a potentially tough situation in a safe environment before encountering it later in life without your guidance. Lastly, training has a long-term perspective with clear goals. When training our kids, we need to be sure the decisions we are making regarding our kids is in line with the goals we are striving for. If your decisions are not conducive with the overall goals, I would challenge you to rethink that particular decision.

I encourage you all, to sit down with your spouse (or alone if you are single), and develop a plan with a long term perspective. This is a great way for you to be intentional and accountable for training your kids in all areas of their life. This is important, whether your child is in kindergarten or eighth grade. Realize, it is never too late to start!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Parents Night Out - August 23, 6-7:30pm

Below is a link to a video from Brad Christmas and Jessica Hill, our IMMS Health and PE teachers, regarding our new abstinence education curriculum. Click below to view it.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

End of the year

It is amazing to think the year is over. Click on the link to hear an end of the year address.

Good News Report!

Hey guys! Last week our 7th graders went on a trip to St. Louis. Click the link below to hear about the trip and some highlights!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Chapel today

A few weeks back, the student leadership team took a trip to Boonville Middle School and worked with students in the moderate and severe/profound disabilities classrooms. They played games with them, talked with them and watched them learn and practice the art of screen printing t-shirts. This experience made an impression on all of the team members. At a debriefing session, they discussed how they could bring back what they learned at BMS to the students at ECS. Today, the six members of the team spoke during chapel on the fruit of the spirit and how they saw the students of Boonville Middle School exemplify those qualities. They each chose the fruit they wanted to talk about, how it related to the students at BMS, and researched other scripture that tied into their topic. They all did an amazing job! Keep up the good work Carli K., Alex L., Evan B., Claire E., McKenzi G., and Caroline C! I also want to thank the praise team for using their gifts to lead the worship time. What a blessing to see these young people using their strengths to glorify our risen Lord!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Parent Education - April 2010

Below is a link to the parent education video this month on successful parenting. Happy viewing!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Parent Education - March 10

Quite often, I have parents ask me for ideas on how to appropriately discipline their children. In Tedd Tripp's book Shepherding a Child's Heart, he talks about the fact that we need to not focus so much on the behavior, but the heart. With disciplinarian as one of my roles, this book has grabbed my attention and I am sure it will yours as well. Here is an excerpt from the book.

"Luke 6:45 says, "The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks." This passage is instructive for the task of childrearing. It teachs that behavior is not the basic issue. The basic issue is always what is going on in the heart. Remember, the heart is the control center of life."

"Parents often get sidetracked with behavior. If your goal in discipline is changed behavior, it is easy to understand why this happens.The thing that alerts you to your child's need for correction is his behavior. Behavior irritates and thus calls attention to itself. Behavior becomes your focus. You think you have corrected when you have changed unacceptable behavior to behavior that you sanction and appreciate."

""What is the problem?" you ask. The problem is this: Your child's needs are far more profound than his aberrant behavior. Remember, his behavior does not just spring forth uncaused. His behavior - the things he says and does - reflects his heart. If you are to really help him, you must be concerned with the attitudes of heart that drive his behavior."

"A change in behavior that does not stem from a change in heart is not commendable; it is condemnable. Is it not the hypocrisy that Jesus condemned in the Pharisees? In Matthew 15, Jesus denounces the Pharisees who have honored him with their lips while their hearts were far from him. Jesus censures them as people who wash the outside of the cup while the inside is still unclean. Yet this is what we often do in childrearing. We demand changed behavior and never address the heart that drives the behavior."

ECS Student Leadership Team Trip

This past Friday, Mr. Wilhite and I took the student leadership team (SLT) on an overnight leadership training trip with the help of two ECS moms. We started off by going to Boonville Middle School where we worked with the students in the moderate and severe/profound special education classes. The students were able to play games with the BMS students and also observe them screen printing t-shirts. The school received a few grants that allowed them to purchase all the equipment necessary to start a screen printing shop. This allows the students to work on their life skills with an emphasis on their gross and fine motor skills. The students were able to see, first hand, the struggles that some students face and the determination and positive approach they face it with. The students didn't want to leave.

We left the school and traveled to Gray Brother's Cafe in Mooresville, Indiana for dinner and then on to the hotel. We had a great debriefing session! The SLT students talked about the fact they were nervous going into the class but were surprised how easy it was to talk with the BMS students and how willing they were to accept our kids as friends. They reflected on the fact that the BMS students were so positive and they helped each other in their weaknesses. One ECS student commented on the fact that they grew excited over what we consider a menial task. She went on to say that it showed her, "just how much we complain and also how much we take for granted." We went on to look up some scriptures together as a group. To conclude our meeting, we talked about how we could take the insights they have gained from their experience and pass them on to the students at ECS. When the meeting was over, we all spent the next hour or so in the pool and hot tub. It was a lot of fun!

The next morning, we had breakfast and started our day off with a Bible study led by Mr. Wilhite. The focus was leadership and how Christ said to be the first you must be the last. When we concluded our study, we traveled to the Children's Museum in Indianapolis for the afternoon. The students went around to the different exhibits and just enjoyed themselves for a few hours. It was a great opportunity for the students to build deeper friendships.

We got back to ECS Saturday night around 6:30pm. What stands out about the trip was the answers given to the question, "what was the best part of this trip?" Given all the fun stuff we did, all the students said their favorite part of the trip was working with the students at BMS. They all wanted to go back. It was great to see the Lord speak to them on this trip about attitude, perseverance, complaining, leadership, acceptance, etc. Please pray that the Lord will continue to use them to make a difference, not only here at ECS, but also in our community.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

February Parent Education

This months parent education topic is being proactive. Click the link below to view the blog.

ISTEP next week

This next week is the first of two testing windows of ISTEP. It is very important that your children are here every day. It is always a good practice, but even moreso this next week, they should get plenty of rest (9-10 hours) and have a good breakfast each morning. Talk to them about using their test taking skills they have learned. They have worked so hard this year, let's make sure they have the best opportunity for success.