group magazine: March-April, 1991
From: March/April 1991 Jr. High Ministry Magazine
Keywords: Chores Praise Bible Anger Madonna Family Support
Chores With a Purpose
If today's junior highers had written the dictionary, the entry for "chores" may have read: "Boring stuff we have to do to help our parents."
Kids may think chores are boring. But parents know there's more to chores than busy work. Chores teach responsibility, consistency and determination, and build self-esteem. Chores are good on-the-job training for future part-time workers. And kids' chores allow parents more free time.
So how can parents communicate these concepts and avert the resentment junior highers sometimes have about chores?
Start with these tips:
*Make a trade-off. Say: "Thanks for mowing the lawn. Since I don't have to do that myself, I now have some free time. Want to play a game of Frisbee?" This tells kids how much you appreciate their help.
*Let kids choose chores. To avoid boredom, let your junior higher choose jobs. Use your creativity and sense of humor to make the assignments sound interesting. For example:
Help Wanted This Week
Disaster cleanup needed. One able-bodied person to remove all trash from premises. Time: 15 minutes once a day, seven days. Fringe benefits: May discover discarded treasures. Enlist now!
When the chores are done, ask your junior higher to make his or her own list-of family activities to do after everyone's work is done.
Praising Jr. Highers
We, as parents, believe that all honest praise builds confidence, increases security, stimulates initiative and improves human relations- especially for junior highers whose self-esteem is as fragile as egg shells.
But the wrong kind of praise can really backfire. So follow these simple rules for balanced praise:
*Describe, don't evaluate. Give a realistic picture of the achievement; don't glorify the person.
Instead of telling your daughter, "You're the brightest student in your school," focus on the accomplishment. For example, say "You really put a lot of effort in that science project and the results reflect it."
*Don't go to extremes. "I really enjoyed your piano recital. Your playing was so vigorous and full of life," is a sincere compliment. But grandiose praise such as "You are a fabulous pianist; I expect great things of you" is destructive. This kind of praise not only puts pressure on junior highers to perform, it may give them a distorted self-image that sets them up for failure.
*Use supportive words. Build confidence by encouraging junior highers to "own" their accomplishments. Rather than gushing "I'm so proud of you" after your son's athletic performance, give control back to him and let him do his own evaluation. Try saying, "You must be proud of the way you swam the race today."
A Changing Look at the Bible
Check all true statements.
____The Bible has good stories for little children, but not for junior highers.
____My junior higher thinks the Bible is a Charlton Heston movie.
____When I say something about a Bible story, my junior higher rolls his or her eyes and looks embarrassed.
____My junior higher thinks Bible stories are outdated.
If you checked any of these statements, read on. The Bible can take on new meaning as kids move through different stages of growth. For example, let's look at the story of Jonah:
*Preschoolers and children hear the story of Jonah as an exciting adventure story. God miraculously protected Jonah and delivered him from the storm by bringing a large fish along at just the right time. Preschoolers may hear this story and take it at face value. Older children can relate to God's care for individuals and how he's interested in each of us.
*Young junior highers gain the ability to grasp abstract thoughts and ideas. The story of Jonah reveals a message they didn't grasp in childhood. Jonah's disobedience brought consequences that affected other people. God was persistent and protected Jonah. God cares even for those who try to flee from him.
*Older junior highers begin to struggle with scientific knowledge and the miracles of the Bible. They may dwell on the scientific problems of how Jonah could survive in a belly of the fish.
Encourage junior highers to think on a deeper level than they did as children. When they seem bored with hearing the "same old Bible story" again, give them insight into deeper meanings and applications from God's Word.
Instead of explaining how Jonah survived in the belly of a fish, look for why the story is there. What meaning does God want us to gain from the story?
-Wes and Sandi Black
Dealing With Anger
Anger is probably the most difficult emotion to handle. You'd be surprised at how much anger you sometimes carry inside of you. Often that anger surfaces with your junior higher.
What makes you angry with your junior higher? Check out the following statements:
*Your daughter squabbles and bickers with her friend.
*Your son decides to play football in the living room.
*Your junior higher cranks up the stereo full blast.
*Your daughter takes delight in tormenting the family dog.
*Your son comes home with lousy grades and shrugs his shoulders.
If any of these situations set you off, consider yourself normal. Don't feel guilty for feeling angry. But be determined to act responsibly with your anger. Try these anger-dampeners:
*Admit you're angry, disappointed or hurt. Say it as a matter of fact, not as a judgment. For example, say "I'm upset because you came home late," instead of: "You're always late! When will you ever come home on time?"
*Let your junior highers live with the consequences of their behavior. If they break something, they pay for it. If they offend someone, they apologize.
*If you lose your cool and say things you later regret, apologize. Remind your junior higher of how much you love him or her.
*If you can't get over your anger, take a break. Go for a walk or go to your room. It's okay to brood, but don't use your anger as a weapon.
*If you're in a bad mood and don't have patience for junior highers' shenanigans, admit it. Tell your kids to consider your feelings. Later, when you feel better, do something with your kids.
*Tell God you're angry. Pray for help to "get rid of...anger" (Ephesians 4:31).
The Madonna Madness
Ask junior highers who their favorite female rock star is and most will point to Madonna-the controversial "Material Girl" who wears clothing most parents find obscene.
While Madonna raises parents' eyebrows, her popularity is also on the rise. Her music-video Justify My Love, which MTV banned, is a hot commodity in video stores. When Nightline aired the uncensored video in December, the show had more people watching it than any other Nightline show during 1990, reported the Nielsen Ratings.
So why do junior highers admire this woman? Why do kids from a private Catholic school in Elyria, Ohio, rate Madonna as the woman they admire most (more than Mother Teresa, Barbara Bush and Winnie Mandela)?
It's because Madonna epitomizes what parents hate most: She's rebellious. Independent. A rule-breaker.
When Madonna released her Like a Prayer video, a Catholic organization said it was blasphemous because it showed a scantily dressed Madonna kissing a saintly statue that turned into a man. Other Christians were also offended when the video showed Madonna getting wounds on her hands like Christ's.
The controversies Madonna stirs up are numerous, and that's what attracts junior highers. They like listening to music that's been banned. They like doing things Mom and Dad don't want them to do. In short, Madonna appeals to junior highers' rebellious nature.
So what's a parent to do? First, understand the Madonna appeal. Then discuss with your junior higher why he or she likes Madonna. Together, watch videos by female Christian artists, such as Kim Boyce (Myrrh) or Renee Garcia (Two X 4, Reunion Records). Contrast the Christian artist's appearance and message with Madonna's message and appearance. Ask your son or daughter to discern if the lyrics in Madonna's songs have Christian content.
Be interested in your junior higher's music, even if you think the music is a lot of "noise." Because when you're interested, kids will pay more attention to what they're listening to.
-Jolene L. Roehlkepartain
According to a recent Search Institute survey, 73 percent of sixth-graders feel they have family support-high levels of love and support from parents and siblings. But only 44 percent feel they can have frequent, in-depth conversations with their parents.
6 7 8 9
Feel they have family support 73% 67% 61% 54%
Feel they can talk to parents 44% 44% 44% 47%
Copyrightę 1991 Group Publishing, Inc./JR. High Ministry Magazine