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Focus on the Family Magazine - August/September 2022

It can be a struggle to raise a family while balancing your work life, social life and relationships. Focus on the Family magazine is here to help! Each complimentary issue delivers fresh, practical Biblical guidance on family and life topics. Every issue comes packed with relevant advice to build up your kids, strengthen your marriage, navigate entertainment and culture, and handle common challenges you may face in your marriage and parenting journeys. Plus you'll find seasonal advice ranging from back-to-school activities to date night tips for you and your spouse.

It can be a struggle to raise a family while balancing your work life, social life and relationships. Focus on the Family magazine is here to help! Each complimentary issue delivers fresh, practical Biblical guidance on family and life topics.

Every issue comes packed with relevant advice to build up your kids, strengthen your marriage, navigate entertainment and culture, and handle common challenges you may face in your marriage and parenting journeys. Plus you'll find seasonal advice ranging from back-to-school activities to date night tips for you and your spouse.

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Helping Families Thrive in Christ

AUGUST / SEPTEMBER 2022

YOUR

BACK-TO-

SCHOOL

CHECKLIST

PAGE 34

Simple

Tools for

Improving

Your Child’s

Study Skills

Remodeling

the Heart of

Your Home

4 renovation

principles to keep

your marriage strong


GIVE YOUR KIDS SOUND

REASONS TO BELIEVE!

In today’s world, our kids will face all kinds of challenges to their faith.

At every turn, they’ll hear claims like Science has disproved God,

Christianity is just a myth, or The Bible is filled with errors.

Join us for two FREE video series with apologetics author

Natasha Crain that will help you counter the claims of skeptics and

guide your kids toward a resilient, securely grounded faith.

Raising Your Kids to Defend Their Faith is a

four-part video series that will help you teach

your kids some fundamental arguments for

Christianity, so they can feel confident in their

faith and in defending it to others.

sign up today

ong>Focusong>OnTheFamily.ca/DefendTheirFaith

How to Respond When Your Kids Ask

Tough Questions About God is a six-part

video series that will help you draw out your

kids’ doubts and questions and provide them

with satisfying, biblical answers.

sign up today

ong>Focusong>OnTheFamily.ca/ToughQuestions


AUGUST / SEPTEMBER

Contents

©SANTI NUÑEZ / STOCKSY UNITED

Couples

13 A MARRIAGE MELODY

A marriage insight from Jordan Wood

14 REMODELING THE

HEART OF YOUR HOME

4 renovation principles to keep

your marriage strong

by Ruth McKeaney

19 FINDING FINANCIAL UNITY

Protect your marriage by avoiding

this trio of money stressors

by Jeanette Gardner Littleton

21 YOUR IMPERFECT

MARRIAGE CAN HELP OTHERS

Don’t let these three mentoring

myths stop you from encouraging

another couple

by Julie Holmquist

In Every

Issue

4 LETTER FROM THE PRESIDENT

5 HACKS & FACTS

44 MEDIA

45 PRODUCT RESOURCES

46 MY THRIVING FAMILY

Faith & Inspiration

25 A PEOPLE-FIRST APPROACH

A faith insight from Dave Alpern

with David Thomas

26 HOW EDUCATION CAN POINT US

TO THE GLORY OF GOD

The joy of learning about God’s

universe and our place in it is not

limited to our formal years of

schooling

by Subby Szterszky

29 THE WORDS HE LONGED TO HEAR

Rashad Jennings’ pursuit of his

father’s approval fueled his desire to

become an NFL running back

by Benjamin Hawkins

Kids & Teens

33 STORYTELLING APRON

A parenting insight from Allie Slocum

34 YOUR BACK-TO-SCHOOL

CHECKLIST

The busy parents guide for helping

children prepare for a successful

school year

by Andrea Gutierrez

36 SIMPLE TOOLS FOR IMPROVING

YOUR CHILD’S STUDY SKILLS

Help them develop learning

strategies that will last a lifetime

by Dr. Todd Cartmell

38 FROM MELTDOWNS TO MANNERS

Equip your children with these

essential back-to-school social skills

by Ashleigh Slater

42 TRAIN YOUR KIDS TO

MANAGE TECHNOLOGY WISELY

How to help them use electronic

devices in healthy ways

by Arlene Pellicane

AUGUST / SEPTEMBER 2022 FOCUS ON THE FAMILY 3


LETTER FROM THE PRESIDENT

Jean-Paul Beran is

president of ong>Focusong> on

the Family Canada.

WITH SO MANY CHECKLISTS

to go through, supplies to buy and schedules

to coordinate, back-to-school season can

quickly become more stressful than exciting—for

both children and parents. This is

something my wife, Susan, and I can very

much relate to as we have experienced many

back-to-school seasons.

But it doesn’t have to be that way!

We want to encourage you to make the

most of this new school season by not only

helping you practically, but also inspiring you to take a cue from

your children and get excited about learning yourself.

In this issue of the magazine, we have lots of hacks and

facts for going back to school, home schooling and navigating

homework (page 5). We also have a back-to-school checklist

for parents (page 34) and an article by Dr. Todd Cartmell for

improving your child’s study skills (page 36). On page 26, we

also have an article explaining how education can point us to

the glory of God.

For couples, we also want to encourage you to continue

learning how you can strengthen your relationship with your

spouse. Find out how you can apply renovation principles to

your marriage (page 14), find financial unity as a couple (page

19) or discover how your imperfect marriage can actually help

others (page 21).

Whether your children are going to school for the first time or

they’ve been graduated for years, all of us can get excited about

the thrill of learning.

Blessings,

Jean-Paul Beran

learning with

our children

CLINT BARGEN PHOTOGRAPHY

president Jim Daly

chief operating officer Ken Windebank

chief marketing and

content offi cer Tim Sawer

focus canada president Jean-Paul Beran

editorial director Sheila Seifert

managing editor Andrea Gutierrez

copy chief Scott DeNicola

contributing editors Karen Scalf

Bouchard, Sarah Brickens, Vance Fry,

Marianne Hering, Thomas Jeffries,

Jennifer Lonas, Jeff Masching and

Faith Wismer

art director Brian Mellema

designer Anneka Jack

cover Erin Drago

media publishing director Kevin Shirin

editorial assistant Kat Bittner

print production Gail Wise

circulation Erika Lynch

Thank you!

ong>Focusong> on the Family provides this magazine and

other resources through the generosity of friends

like you. ong>Focusong>OnTheFamily.ca/Donate

For a subscription, go to ong>Focusong>OnTheFamily.ca/

Magazine.

ong>Focusong> on the Family magazine August/September 2022,

Vol. 7, No. 4 ISSN 2471-5921, © 2022 ong>Focusong> on the Family.

All rights reserved. Published by ong>Focusong> on the Family,

a nonprofit organization recognized for tax-deductible

giving by the federal government. ong>Focusong> on the Family is

a federally registered trademark of ong>Focusong> on the Family.

To notify us of an address change or to contact ong>Focusong>

on the Family Canada: 1-800-661-9800; 19946 80A

Ave, Langley, BC, V2Y 0J8; info@fotf.ca

Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are

from the Holy Bible, English Standard Version ® (ESV ® ).

Copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry

of Good News Publishers. All rights reserved. ESV Text

Edition: 2016.

IMPORTANT NOTICE! By submitting letters and other

materials, you agree 1) they become the property of

ong>Focusong> on the Family and will not be returned; 2) ong>Focusong>

on the Family, its assigns and licensees, have been

granted the nonexclusive right to use and/or

reproduce the materials in any manner for any

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controlled by Colorado law.

Send author submissions to

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Website references do not constitute blanket

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Return undeliverable Canadian addresses to:

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19946 80A Avenue, Langley, BC

V2Y 0J8; 800-661-9800; info@fotf.ca;

GST# 10684 5969 RT0001

Printed in the U.S.A. Paper manufactured by a mill that

practices sustainable forestry.

4

FOCUS ON THE FAMILY

AUGUST / SEPTEMBER 2022


Hacks & Facts

CLEVER IDEAS FOR SMARTER PARENTING

your

PARENTING HACK

Do you have a back-to-school parenting tip? If so, it

could be published in ong>Focusong> on the Family magazine.

• Keep it under 150 words.

• Make it hands-on and practical.

• Check to make sure it’s not unique to you, meaning

other parents could also do what you did.

• Write it from your own perspective, describing what

you did and how it helped your kids transition back

to public, private or home school.

Though not all submissions are published, all are read

and considered. Learn more at ong>Focusong>OnTheFamily.

com/Magazine/Call-for-Submissions. Send your idea

to Hacks&Facts@fotf.org.

© STUDIO FIRMA / STOCKSY UNITED

AUGUST / SEPTEMBER 2022 FOCUS ON THE FAMILY 5


HACKS & FACTS / BACK TO SCHOOL

HIDDEN

SCRIPTURES

BY KIM VAN DUNK

I hid handwritten Bible verses in my children’s

school supplies, backpacks or pockets

for them to find during their first few days

of school. I placed a sticky note on random

pages in their notebooks and used a thin-line

permanent marker to write encouraging

words on their pencils.

My favorite verse to encourage them is

Isaiah 41:10: “Fear not, for I am with you;

be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will

strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold

you with my righteous right hand.”

Here are two other verses I’ve used:

new school scenarios

Starting at a new school made my daughter a little nervous. To

help her prepare, we discussed different situations she might

encounter. I made a list of scenarios, such as needing to use the

restroom or not having a friend to play with at recess. We roleplayed

each situation and brainstormed a solution. For example,

if she got lost in the hallway, we talked about how she could ask

an adult for help. Doing this helped her feel more prepared and

less nervous about going back to school in a new building.

—Autumn Shaffer

her way to start the day

To keep things feeling “normal,” my husband and I let our daughter choose to do

something on school mornings that we already did consistently as a family. Some

options were starting the day with an energetic dance, reading a chapter of a favorite

book or going for a short walk. But since our daughter loves conversation and a plate

of cheesy scrambled eggs to start her day, that’s what she chose. We now wake up

early enough to chat and enjoy breakfast together before school starts.

Being intentional with the time keeps us from becoming victims to the morning

rush. Our daughter feels ready to tackle the day, and this time together is something

she can count on amid all the changes that come with a new school year.

—Shirley Maldonado

(BACKGROUND) FOTF / ANNEKA JACK; (PORTRAITS) ERIN DRAGO

6

FOCUS ON THE FAMILY

AUGUST / SEPTEMBER 2022


PEER PRESSURE / HACKS & FACTS

OVER TWO-THIRDS

of friends are either lost or

gained during the first year

of middle school.

Source: Journal of School Psychology, 2018

ILLUSTRATION BY VICKY SCOTT

WISE CHOICE

CHECK-IN

My daughter came home from school

one day and told me that she and a

few other girls excluded another child

by running away from her. I listened

to my daughter’s story in silent horror.

We talked about why she chose to run

away from that child, and her response

was, “All my friends were doing it.” She

admitted knowing it was wrong but, in

that moment, she didn’t know what

else to do.

After that interaction, we started

doing regular check-ins. I taught her to

always ask, “Is it safe?” and “Is it kind?”

before making decisions. Now when

she comes home and tells me about

offering to play with the new girl in class

or making a safe choice when others

didn’t, it gives me hope that our checkins

are developing her moral compass.

—Autumn Shaffer

a verse

remembered

I was recently teaching

Exodus 23:2 to my 4-yearold

son: “Do not follow the

crowd in doing wrong” (NIV).

Later that week at his swimming

lesson, several of the

other boys his age got into

trouble for breaking windows

in a playhouse and throwing

sand into the pool. Later that

evening, I commended him

for not taking part.

“Well, Mom,” he stated,

“I didn’t think it was a good

idea. Don’t you remember

our verse? ‘Do not follow the

crowd in doing wrong.’”

Yes, I remembered, but

I had underestimated the

power of God’s Word in a

little heart.

—Anne Riess

our family

motto

When my children began to feel

pressured by their peers to use

bad language or engage in unwise

behavior, I started using these

words: “In our family, we . . .”

This phrase helped my children

know that they belong to a group

that loves them and has our own

way of doing things. This also gives

me a way to positively state my

expectations rather than scolding.

One day I overheard my son

responding to his teammates, who

were laughing at him for thanking

the team manager when she offered

him a cup of water. He shrugged

and said, “That’s what we do in my

family.” I was proud that he had

learned not only the lesson of kindness,

but also how to confidently

dare to be different.

—Teresa Auten

AUGUST / SEPTEMBER 2022 FOCUS ON THE FAMILY 7


HACKS & FACTS / HOME SCHOOL

SUMMER

MEMORIES

AND A

SCHOOL-

YEAR VISION

Before we begin a season of

home schooling, we count our

summer blessings. We start by

reading Psalm 103:2: “Bless the

LORD, O my soul, and forget

not all his benefits.” Then, we

recount God’s blessings from

the summer. The kids roast

marshmallows and recall

memories together, or they make

a Summer Fun photo book. We

also send notes to thank people

who influenced our summer

in a positive way. Gratitude

reminds us that God was faithful

during the summer, and He will

continue His goodness during

the school year.

We also study Psalm 90:12

(NASB), “So teach us to number

our days, that we may present to

You a heart of wisdom.” To teach

our children to prayerfully invest

their time, we write family goals

and choose a virtue or motto for

the school year, such as “courageous

kindness,” “learning is

adventure” or “stretching minds,

growing souls.”

—Rachel S. Pratt

an invitation

to learn

My kids love to get involved in

the decision-making process

for school activities. I’ll tell the

kids what we’ll be learning,

and they give some input on

which materials to purchase.

I let them suggest review

games we can create or

experiments we can perform,

and they can also choose how

to consume information.

I get them as involved as I

can while still ensuring a great

year of learning. This way they

know what to expect and

are even excited to try out all

those things they helped put

together.

t h e i rfi r st

assignment

—Katelyn Washington

Every year on the first day of home school,

the first assignment I give each of our kids

is to write down his or her goals for the

upcoming year. I encourage each child to

choose an academic, spiritual and physical

goal. Maybe the kids want to master a

cartwheel, memorize the multiplication

table or read the Bible all the way through.

It’s fun to look back at their goals on the

last day of school to see how many they

accomplished.

—Danielle Farnham

FOTF / ANNEKA JACK

8

FOCUS ON THE FAMILY

AUGUST / SEPTEMBER 2022


HOME SCHOOL / HACKS & FACTS

brain breaks

soft start

Sometime during our 11 years of

home schooling, I discovered what

I call the “soft start.” We choose

a couple of subjects to begin the

school year, such as math and

handwriting. After doing a week or

two of just those subjects, we add

in another subject or two. In this

way, we can slowly transition out

of summer and into our fall routine

with more peace and smiles.

—Amanda Geidl

My son loves “brain breaks” and

works hard to earn them. Before

the school year begins, we work

together on a list of brain breaks

to use throughout the school year.

We’ve concluded that a good brain

break should get my son’s body

moving.

We hop online and find short

videos of exercises, stretches and

dance routines. In the past, we’ve

even created a brain-break spinner

with a variety of exercises that my

son can spin to determine which

activity he gets to do. Planning

these ideas together before the

academic year helps get him

excited about starting school.

—Tania Alward

a first-day

celebration

Before the first day of school, each

of our children selects a favorite

outfit. After we’re all dressed the

next morning, each child creates

his or her own sign to mark their

grade. We then take photos. Each

child individually, then with siblings,

with Daddy before he leaves for

work and finally, with their “Teacher”

(aka Mama). At the end of the day,

we celebrate by showing Daddy

everything we did during the day.

At the end of the first week, we visit a

fun outdoor location as a special treat.

—Jenny Nanninga

AUGUST / SEPTEMBER 2022 FOCUS ON THE FAMILY 9


HACKS & FACTS / HOMEWORK

FINDING WAYS

TO FINISH

My kids need to have assignments

broken down into blocks of time—

taking frequent breaks. Offering

a positive reward after a chunk of

study time creates motivation. For

example, recently my son had a

lot of supplemental work in addition

to his regular schoolwork.

After he completed each subject,

we allowed him to watch a 12- to

15-minute YouTube video, which

kept him motivated while working.

Our only requirement was that the

video be educational.

If my husband or I start to lose

patience when helping with homework,

we tag team the supervision

or seek help from one of our other

children. Recently, my son had an

assignment that neither my husband

nor I was familiar with. We

recruited and rewarded his older

sister, who spent time helping. As

a result, there was less drama than

there would’ve been if I had struggled

to figure it out.

—Michelle Nietert

tick-tock help

Several of my children struggled

with paying attention. By using a

kitchen timer placed near their

workspace, they had a visual cue

that time was ticking away. We

set the timer for small, reasonable

blocks of time, and the kids tackled

their assignments without feeling

overwhelmed by the total work

expected. They were able to

achieve the end goal, one small

step at a time. Later, we could

increase the timer length. That in

itself was another benefit as they

progressed in their ability to focus

and felt confident in their work.

—Stephanie Rodda

60 minutes of

schoolwork

I’ve scheduled a homework hour

into our daily routine. My kids know

that there is no way around that

hour. If they finish before the hour

is up, they read. This homework

hour eliminates the arguing about

when and where to do homework.

It eliminates the “I already finished

it” excuse—as well as rushing

through an assignment—because

they know they will need to finish

their homework hour regardless

of how quickly they complete the

assignment.

—Tania Alward

(MOTHER AND DAUGHTER) LUMOS SP; (CLOCK) DIMEDROL68;

(KITCHEN TIMER) DEZIGN56 / STOCK.ADOBE.COM

10

FOCUS ON THE FAMILY

AUGUST / SEPTEMBER 2022


HOMEWORK / HACKS & FACTS

tackling

homework

anxiety

The anxiety over homework can

be worse than the work itself. For

my kids, I’ve found that we can

ease their worry by having them

tackle the hardest or most timeconsuming

part of their homework

before anything else.

I encourage them to create

rewards for themselves for completing

the hardest part. It could

be a snack or a quick bike ride, just

something for them to feel good

about completing that first difficult

assignment. By breaking up the

work into smaller, bite-sized pieces,

the anxiety faded. There was less

complaining and more focus.

—Kelly Bakshi

(BOY) BRIAN JACKSON; (BOOKS) VIPMAN4 / STOCK.ADOBE.COM

homework hut

My wife and I allow our kids to create what we

call a “homework hut.” It’s usually something as

simple as stringing up a blanket and arranging

pillows, but we’ve found that giving our kids a fun

area adds a little excitement to homework. The

seclusion helps our kids relax and focus.

If one of the kids needs additional one-onone

assistance, my wife and I have tapped

grandparents for homework help. We’ve found

grandparents love Facetiming the grandkids, and

they are much more patient than we are. The kids

are also more receptive to their help and ideas

when it comes to homework.

—Jared Hottenstein

RHYTHM AND

RECALL

My youngest was not what you might call a

traditional learner. His occupational therapist

taught us that incorporating rhythm and

activity into his studies would improve his

recall. So, for spelling practice, he’d bounce

on a mini-trampoline and say a letter with

each bounce. To practice recalling facts and

dates, he’d perch on his knees on a large

exercise ball. I’d ask him questions, and if

he answered incorrectly, I would toss socks

at him to see if I could make him lose his

balance. In this way, he engaged his core

muscles and his brain. It helped him focus,

and it was also fun for us.

—Julia Bate

AUGUST / SEPTEMBER 2022 FOCUS ON THE FAMILY 11


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Couples

Jordan and Bethany Wood

a marriage melody

A marriage insight from Jordan Wood

KAREN WITTER

MY WIFE, BETHANY, AND I met while playing music together in

a symphony orchestra. It connected us then, and we still connect through

our love of music today. Recognizing that our musical talent is God-given,

we count it a blessing to have found many avenues to use our gifts. In all of

our years performing for audiences and delighting in the joy we’ve brought

to others, we’ve found that the humble act of worship is one of our personal

favorites. Worshiping as a couple allows us to stand together before God

with our talents and bond spiritually. In this connection to the Lord and to

each other, our goal is never to bring glory to ourselves, but to our Savior. •

Jordan Wood is a husband, father, freelance writer, medical office manager and principal

percussionist for the Pensacola Symphony Orchestra and the Northwest Florida

Symphony Orchestra.

AUGUST / SEPTEMBER 2022 FOCUS ON THE FAMILY 13


COUPLES / BUILDING TOGETHER

REMODELING

THE HEART OF

YOUR HOME

4 renovation principles to

keep your marriage strong

BY RUTH MCKEANEY

PHOTOS BY MEGAN TIDMORE

14

FOCUS ON THE FAMILY

AUGUST / SEPTEMBER 2022


Ruth and Bob McKeaney

PHOTOS COURTESY OF RUTH MCKEANEY

OVER THE YEARS, my husband, Bob, and I

have restored many historic homes, moving every

18 to 24 months with five kids in tow. The first was a

small servants’ cottage on the enormous estate featured

in the 1940 film The Philadelphia Story starring

Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant.

The stairs were so narrow we had to cut our bed’s

box spring in half to get it into the second story bedroom.

That was our first adventure in the world of

innovation and creativity when faced with a renovation

roadblock. Needless to say, we had to think

outside the box.

Every time a new project rolls around, Bob and I

learn something new about each other. To stay close

amid challenging renovations, especially when we

don’t exactly see eye to eye, we’ve had to work on

building a healthy relationship. To do this, we

• start with a strong foundation built on kindness.

• are willing to compromise and lay aside our

preferences if something else is important to

each other.

• cultivate trust by listening to and respecting each

other’s ideas and perspectives.

• prioritize relationship, because people are always

more important than projects—always.

Anyone who has attempted a remodel with their

spouse understands that this type of work is stressful

and can strain a relationship. Consider using these

four principles to keep your marriage strong during

your next project. >>>

AUGUST / SEPTEMBER 2022 FOCUS ON THE FAMILY 15


PERFORM

QUALITY

REPAIRS AND

ENSURE YOUR

FOUNDATION IS

SOLID

Ruth and Bob McKeaney

Check your foundation

In any renovation project, you must

look beneath the surface of a house

before you add a second story. That

means inspecting the foundation and

substructure, as well as what’s behind

the walls, floors and ceilings. You must

deal with mold, rot and cracks before

you add the wallpaper, paint and marble

countertops.

Just like the homebuilder in Matthew

7:26-27, if you don’t make sure your

house (or your marriage) has a strong

foundation, it won’t stand up against

the storms that will inevitably come

your way. But if you take the time to

look beneath the surface, perform

quality repairs and ensure your foundation

is solid, your house will withstand

even the fiercest wind and rain.

Practice the art

of compromise

Bob and I used to love poring over

architectural and decorating magazines

before starting a new project.

We’d talk about our personal preferences,

must-haves and nonnegotiables.

Understanding what was most important

to each of us helped us reach a

compromise and come up with a game

plan together.

We’ve found that compromises and

decisions should be made well before

a project begins. This eliminates many

needless arguments in the heat of the

moment because we already have a

plan both of us agreed on. (Take it from

me; we’ve learned this lesson the hard

way.)

It’s also helpful to determine in

CREDIT TK

16

FOCUS ON THE FAMILY

AUGUST / SEPTEMBER 2022


BUILDING TOGETHER / COUPLES

advance what our specific roles will

be and who will make certain decisions

during a project. I tend to make

the design selections, and Bob decides

on the structural features. When we

stay in our designated lanes, we complement

each other instead of sowing

seeds of division, irritation and control.

Working out these details makes it easier

to stick to our plan and adjust when

necessary.

Practicing the art of compromise in

your marriage, defining your specific

roles and talking through decisions in

advance will help you work together as

a team and avoid the pitfalls of stressful

life events, such as challenging

home renovation projects.

Trust each other

Our most recent restoration project

was a 300-year-old property in

Pennsylvania that has become our current

home, Hillside Farm. (The original

deed to the property was signed over

by William Penn!) When we started the

project, the chandelier in the foyer still

had wax candles in it, and trees were

growing inside the house on the third

story. Amid these challenges, we had a

lot of opportunities to cultivate trust in

our relationship during this particular

project. Sometimes we did well—and

sometimes we didn’t.

While Bob and I were reworking

the kitchen, I decided to design the

center island myself and have Amish

woodworkers build it. I didn’t consult

Bob, partly because I wanted to surprise

him, but also because I thought

I knew best. I didn’t give him the opportunity

to trust my vision for the room.

When the woodworkers brought the

island to the house, they pulled me

outside and said, “Ma’am, the island is

too big to fit through the door.”

Bob, whose rule of thumb is

“Measure twice, cut once,” would

have measured the doors, because

he remembers those kinds of details.

Thankfully, when he came home,

instead of saying, “Why didn’t you talk

with me first?” he very sweetly said,

“Once we figure out how to get this thing

into the house, it’s never leaving.” >>>

CREDIT TK

Ruth and her husband,

Bob, are raising their five

children on their restored

historic farm in Berwyn,

Pennsylvania.


COUPLES / BUILDING TOGETHER

After Bob took out the giant kitchen

windows and corresponding trim, the

island fit through the opening—but just

barely. The island saga is now a running

joke in the family and taught me to trust

my spouse with my ideas, even when

a project takes longer to complete or I

want things done a different way.

Cultivating trust is essential for intimacy

in marriage. It may take some

work, but the rewards are priceless.

Prioritize your relationship

As our eldest two children went off to

college, our house grew quieter. It was

in this season that I wrote my first book.

Once it was released, I was thrust into

the world of Zoom interviews and podcasts.

My little desk in the corner of the

kitchen didn’t cut it anymore. Once

again, it was time for Bob and me to roll

up our sleeves and pull out the toolbox.

Our focus was an unused playroom

on the second floor that was too

small to be a bedroom and had been

collecting junk for years. I made an

uncharacteristically daring decision

and chose to paint the walls, trim and

furniture the same color with a highgloss

paint. Bob thought I was crazy,

but he chose to support me anyway.

He trusted my creative process over

his own, and that made me feel truly

heard, valued and loved. It was an act

of kindness and service. When the

remodel was complete, Bob absolutely

loved the office and now jokingly tells

people that it was his idea.

Valuing relationship over your own

preferences and opinions is another

important way to build closeness in

your marriage.

Building a

stronger marriage

With over 20 years of marriage and a

long list of home restoration projects

under our tool belts, Bob and I try to

keep those four principles at the forefront

of our marriage and any project

we tackle. Though projects have been

difficult at times, causing stresses and

strains in our marriage, we’re determined

to choose each other over our

projects because we’re building

something far more important

with every renovation we undertake.

We’re forging a marriage built

on the solid foundation of Christ,

with 1 Corinthians 3:10-15 as our

blueprint. •

Ruth McKeaney, author of Hungry for Home,

is a former assistant attorney general and

assistant attorney for the state of Virginia.

18

FOCUS ON THE FAMILY

AUGUST / SEPTEMBER 2022


MONEY PROBLEMS / COUPLES

finding financial unity

Protect your marriage by avoiding

this trio of money stressors

BY JEANETTE GARDNER LITTLETON

ILLUSTRATIONS BY DOROTHY LEUNG

ASK MARRIED COUPLES

what they argue about most often, and

you’ll likely hear the same answer

over and over: money. A 2017 study by

Ramsey Solutions found that money

is, indeed, the top issue that causes

conflict. But what specifically brings

frustration and stress? Chuck Bentley,

CEO of Crown Financial Ministries, has

identified financial stressors that can

lead to arguments.

The good news, according to

Chuck, is that by recognizing what

these stressors are and facing them in

healthy ways, couples can bring peace

and unity back to their relationships.

He knows this not just because he’s a

financial expert but because he and

his wife, Ann, experienced these three

stressors in their own marriage.

Living above your means

When Chuck and Ann first married,

they struggled with their spending

habits. While Ann knew how to stretch

a dollar, Chuck liked to spend money

as soon as he earned it. This caused

them to live above their means.

Arguments arose as they dealt

with the stress of trying to figure out

how they’d pay their bills. When they

couldn’t cover basic living expenses

and even had their utilities cut off,

Chuck knew it was time to make serious

changes.

He’d always fought against keeping a

budget, believing it was too restrictive.

But, he admits, “I had to realize that

Ann was gifted at balancing a budget

and turn that [task] over to her.”

As Chuck and Ann struggled to pay

bills, they didn’t agree about tithing,

either. Ann wanted to give 10%, and

Chuck felt they couldn’t give more

than 2.6%. Chuck says he had to learn

to give first, save second and then

spend.

Living without

financial margin

Chuck and Ann knew they needed to

slowly build financial margin into their

budget. Savings would give them the

opportunity to help people in need

and enjoy rewards, such as taking holiday

trips with their family.

Their initial goal was to slowly put

away $1,000 in emergency savings.

After meeting this goal, they worked on

saving enough to cover one month of

living expenses. >>>

AUGUST / SEPTEMBER 2022 FOCUS ON THE FAMILY 19


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Their final goal was to save enough

to cover 15 months of living expenses.

With that amount, Chuck said they

had enough to endure life’s storms

and economic challenges.

Living with the

wrong attitude

Sometimes new couples fight about

finances because their goals or values

are different. Chuck was raised knowing

Christians shouldn’t love money,

but he still acquired wealth with gusto.

To him, wealth spelled success. Ann,

on the other hand, valued spending

time with family, enjoying simple

pleasures and cherishing her husband.

“Often money becomes an identity,”

Chuck says. “We write our autobiography

by our spending choices, and we

want people to know something about

us by what we do with our money.”

Chuck began to analyze his faulty

attitude toward money and study

Scripture on the topic. He started to

see biblical principles on finances

as “the way God would advise us if we

went to Him for financial advice.”

Chuck had been looking at wealth

from a temporal viewpoint—thinking

and planning for a comfortable life

and eventual retirement. He needed to

look at it from an eternal perspective,

evaluating whether he was faithful

with God’s resources.

In his new role as a steward of his

money, he realized that “God was

the owner, and it’s not ‘How much of

my money should I give to God?’ but

‘How much of God’s money should

I spend on myself?’ ” Thinking like

this changed everything for him and

brought financial unity between

Chuck and Ann. •

Jeanette Gardner Littleton is a writer, speaker

and editor.


MENTORING / COUPLES

©ROB AND JULIA CAMPBELL / STOCKSY UNITED

YOUR

IMPERFECT

MARRIAGE

CAN HELP

OTHERS

Don’t let these three

mentoring myths stop

you from encouraging

another couple

BY JULIE HOLMQUIST

WHEN RG AND KAREN YALLALY of

Branson, Missouri, first started mentoring other married

couples more than 25 years ago, they were a little

worried.

“We were thinking, We want to help them, but how?”

Karen explains.

They had narrowly escaped a divorce themselves,

a crisis precipitated by a lack of communication and

neglect of their marriage. But after going through

counseling, the Yallalys learned how to prioritize their

relationship and love each other again. Because of

their experience, they were passionate to help struggling

couples. Even so, they felt a bit unsure going

into their first mentoring experience.

If you’re thinking about mentoring, you may wonder

what it really takes to follow this calling. The

Yallalys and other longtime marriage mentors clear

up a few myths about the requirements for mentoring

another married couple. >>>

AUGUST / SEPTEMBER 2022 FOCUS ON THE FAMILY 21


COUPLES / MENTORING

Myth 1:

You must be

an expert

RG AND KAREN learned that

mentors don’t have to be experts.

“Wherever God takes you, He’ll equip

you,” says RG, who’s now been married

to Karen for more than 50 years.

Karen agrees, recalling a time when

she was mentoring a woman and

offered advice that even she hadn’t considered

before. She sensed God’s leading

and thought, Wow, that was really good,

God! I need to write that down! “God

is just really good about leading us in

talking with our couples,” Karen says.

Roger and Diane Ingolia agree that

mentors don’t need to have special

expertise beyond knowing biblical

principles and leaning on God for wisdom.

They, too, were nervous when

they first started mentoring 35 years

ago. “We were thinking, What do we

have to offer to anybody?” Diane recalls.

But she sensed God’s reassurance and

felt that He was telling them to give

from what they had.

Diane says that if you feel called by

God to be an encouragement to others,

take the first step and see where God

leads. “Don’t be fearful, because if it’s

from the Lord, He will bless you and

give you the wisdom you need.”

Roger adds that we’re “just the vessel”

God uses to help others.

© LEAH FLORES / STOCKSY UNITED

22

FOCUS ON THE FAMILY

AUGUST / SEPTEMBER 2022


MENTORING / COUPLES

Myth 2:

You must have a

perfect marriage

“MENTORING CAN BE A SCARY

THING because people believe that a

mentor has to have a perfect marriage,”

says Dr. Greg Smalley, vice president

of Marriage and Family Formation at

ong>Focusong> on the Family. “Mentoring is not

to be done by someone in a perfect

marriage, because a perfect marriage

doesn’t exist. It has to be done by two

people who are committed to growing

in their relationship.”

Instead of trying to share a vision

of a perfect marriage, mentors often

share some of their past struggles

and how God helped them through

difficulties. This way, mentors can provide

a sense of hope for a husband

and wife who can’t see their way forward.

Providing this sense of hope is

vital, say RG and Karen. “Always speak

hope and love into [the mentees’] lives,

because there is always hope in God,”

Karen says. “We don’t just want to

show love and compassion; we want to

give them hope.”

Greg says mentors must be willing to

be transparent. “Talk about your high

points—how God has blessed you—

and your dark seasons. They will learn

so much from your marriage story,

and all you need is a willingness to be

authentic.” Mentors can share what

God has done to help them in their

relationship and tell the other couple

that God can do the same for them.

Greg encourages mentors to share

their marriage story so they can say,

“The God who fought for our marriage

is fighting for your marriage, too.”

Modeling a healthy relationship is

important, Greg says, but a healthy

marriage is not a perfect one. >>>

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conflict and commitment—in order to help you and your spouse invest in the

growth of your relationship.

Every marriage has areas that are working well and areas that could use

improvement. If you want to identify your strengths and find tools to help

you grow, this free online assessment is for you!

Take the free assessment at ong>Focusong>OnTheFamily.ca/MarriageAssessment

AUGUST / SEPTEMBER 2022 FOCUS ON THE FAMILY 23


COUPLES / MENTORING

Myth 3:

You’re responsible

for their marriage

GREG STRESSES that mentors are not responsible for

a husband and wife’s well-being and the state of their

relationship. He says a mentor’s greatest gift is not to

“fix” whatever’s going on in a marriage; it’s to be present

and walk alongside another couple.

The Yallalys and Ingolias agree, saying that mentors

can offer wisdom and discernment that God gives, but

the husband and wife are responsible for applying what

they’ve learned.

“Our job is to teach and train. God’s job is the outcome,”

Diane says. “You lay the bread out, but they

have to pick it up and eat it.”

Most people want help. However, if one or both don’t

accept the suggested advice, don’t count it a failure.

Karen recalls a wife who kept showing up 45 minutes

late for their appointments and wasn’t making any

effort toward restoration. Knowing that a person must

want the help, Karen had to tell the woman that she

could not continue meeting with her.

The Yallalys also know that hearts can change. They

once met with a couple after the husband had left his

wife and was initially resistant to mentoring. The husband

finally agreed to a meeting, but later told RG that

he’d only planned to stay for five minutes.

So what happened? The husband told RG: “I saw how

much you cared. So I stayed.” Six weeks after the husband

moved out, his life was back on course, and the

man returned home to his wife. His decision to stay

in the mentoring meeting was the first step toward

restoration.

Mentors shouldn’t take on the burden of responsibility

for another couple’s marriage, just as they

shouldn’t accept the glory for “saving” a relationship.

Diane says, “We want the couple to succeed and not

look at us and say, ‘You guys are amazing,’ but to say,

‘God is amazing.’ ” •

Julie Holmquist is a content producer for the Marriage and

Family Formation department at ong>Focusong> on the Family.

© LEAH FLORES / STOCKSY UNITED

24

FOCUS ON THE FAMILY

AUGUST / SEPTEMBER 2022


Faith & Inspiration

Joe Gibbs and Dave Alpern

a people-first approach

A faith insight from Dave Alpern with David Thomas

PHOTO COURTESY OF DAVE ALPERN

IN 1992, JOE GIBBS—one of

the greatest coaches in NFL history—

started a NASCAR racing team. When

Coach Gibbs’ son and my best friend,

J.D. Gibbs, offered me an unpaid internship

with the newly formed Joe Gibbs

Racing team (JGR), I couldn’t say yes

fast enough. I was 22 at the time.

Actually, even if they had been selling

coat hangers, I would still have said yes.

I recognized even then that working

with J.D.—and for Coach Gibbs—would

make me a better person.

The fact that we were racing cars was

a bonus.

People first

J.D. and I met in middle school, and for

more than a decade, I observed how

the Gibbs family invested in people

around them. I gave my life to Jesus at

the Young Life Bible study that Coach

and Patricia Gibbs hosted in their home.

And when J.D. and I were in college, he

reached out to anyone who needed a

boost, often inviting people from outside

our friend group to participate in

our activities.

Sure enough, the same people-first

mindset permeated the culture at

JGR. That meant convening a group

of executives every week to pray for

every employee by name, hiring a

company chaplain and putting people

over profits.

Souls, not cogs

Over time I earned promotions at JGR,

and J.D. succeeded his dad as president.

But the company mission—making

things run faster—never wavered, and

neither did J.D.’s commitment to seeing

each member of the company as a soul

and not a cog in the wheel.

J.D. often talked to me about the

value he placed on JGR employees and

their families. When I replaced J.D. as

president in 2016, I gained a whole new

respect for how he prioritized people.

When you see people as souls, you

want to know them as people. You care

about their hearts. You want to know

how they’re doing. When you see people

as cogs in a wheel, you’re more

concerned with their performance than

their personhood.

Making people a priority made me a

better man. •

Adapted from Taking the Lead: Winning

business principles that fuel Joe Gibbs

Racing by Dave Alpern with David Thomas.

© 2021 David B. Alpern. Used by permission

of Tyndale House Publishers, a Division of

Tyndale House Ministries. All rights reserved.

AUGUST / SEPTEMBER 2022 FOCUS ON THE FAMILY 25


FAITH & INSPIRATION / EDUCATION

how education can point

us to the glory of God

BY SUBBY SZTERSZKY

THE END OF SUMMER is a time of

transitions, not least for students heading back

to school or off to university. It may bring feelings

of anticipation as well as trepidation, most

likely a mix of both. Another year of sitting in

classrooms, poring over books, connecting with

friends old and new, taking the next few steps

toward independent adulthood.

For most students, as well as for their parents,

the overarching goal of education is to secure a

rewarding and successful career in the field of

their choice.

However, for students of any age who are also

followers of Jesus, their education is a gate way

to far more than that. The subjects they study,

the critical skills they hone, the relationships

they build, the social conscience they refine, all

of it points to the wisdom of their Creator and

the goodness of His creation. It prepares them

to better reflect the image of God to the world in

which they live.

In short, their education is a means for glorifying

God that will reverberate into their adult

years and throughout the rest of their lives.

DRAFTER123 / ISTOCKPHOTO

26

FOCUS ON THE FAMILY

AUGUST / SEPTEMBER 2022


EDUCATION / FAITH & INSPIRATION

The queen of all subjects

Christians invented the university

during the medieval era as a place

to create and share knowledge. They

did this because they believed that

since God was rational and free, His

created order could and should be

studied. Their guiding principle was

expressed in the phrase, “Theology is

the queen of the sciences.” By sciences,

they meant every subject and field of

knowledge, each of which could be

best understood only in light of God’s

revelation.

Such a concept may seem bizarre to

modern minds. In fact, the underlying

assumption of secularism is that religious

faith is a product of ignorance

and superstition, and only education

can break those bonds and free people

to be rational thinkers. The more we

understand, they claim, the less reason

we have to believe in God.

That assumption, however, flies in

the face of logic and experience. A

long list of great minds in history pursued

their area of study because of

their belief in God, not in spite of it. At

present, there are world-class scholars

at major universities who are also

women and men of faith. Many of

them are leaders in their field doing

cutting-edge research to the glory of

God. Contrary to popular opinion, the

more these scholars discover, the more

they see the wisdom and beauty of

God through His creation.

Every student has their favorite and

least favorite subjects, their particular

areas of talent and interest. Not everyone

is called to pursue a formal study

of theology. But for students of faith,

every area of learning can and should

be viewed through the lens of biblical

truth.

The STEM subjects (science, technology,

engineering, mathematics)

offer a portal to the wonders of the

universe, the power and patterns that

underlie it and the keys to harnessing

its resources for the benefit of all. The

social sciences reveal the sovereign

workings of God through human history

and the diversity of cultures and

individuals made in God’s image. The

creative arts provide an outlet for making

and enjoying aesthetic beauty that

reflects the creativity of our Maker.

Medicine and athletics draw attention

to the fact that our bodies are fearfully

and wonderfully made.

Viewed in this way, every field of

study points to God, the source of all

knowledge. Whatever our skills and

interests, every subject has the potential

to create a wider appreciation

of God’s glory, and in turn, a deeper

enjoyment of what we’re studying.

Learning for the good of

the city

In today’s technical, highly specialized

job market, it’s understandable for

students to pursue education chiefly as

a means to a stable professional future

for themselves and their potential families.

But historically that has never

been the only—or even at times the

primary—reason for an education.

As with the creation of the university,

Christians were at the forefront of

public education, initially to foster literacy

so that people could read and

understand the Scriptures in their own

language. The following centuries saw

the development of a liberal arts education,

through which young people

might gain a rounded understanding

of the world in which they lived.

This was seen as both a social and a

personal responsibility to be better

informed, to develop one’s mind and

to be of greater use to society.

Then as now, these educational

goals are even more concrete for students

who follow Jesus. God calls His

followers to seek the welfare of their

city—their community, their world—

and to pray for it (Jeremiah 29:7). This

entails knowing and caring about that

city, that community and that world. It

requires engaging the ideas of the culture

and the people who hold them

with intelligence and respect.

The Lord also calls His people

to do justice, love kindness

and walk humbly with their God

(Micah 6:8). This is not just a

matter of book learning but of

social engagement, and it’s not

restricted to Bible studies and

Sunday school. Education offers an

avenue for socialization, for learning

to interact with new people and different

ideas, for honing social skills, social

awareness and social conscience. It

helps prepare students of faith to

see the image of God in their fellow

humans and to treat them accordingly.

Loving God with all four

faculties

It has become customary to reduce

education to a process of acquiring

knowledge, especially in today’s climate

of specialization. Learn a body

of facts and skills, and you’ll come

out the other end as an employable

person in an attractive and lucrative

profession.

That’s an oversimplification, to be

sure, while at the same time not being

without merit. But it’s also the essence

of a dream entertained by many students

as well as their parents. Even so,

it betrays a one-dimensional view of

education and of human potential.

According to Jesus, the greatest commandment

is to love the Lord our God

with all of our heart, soul, strength

and mind (Matthew 22:37; Mark 12:30;

Luke 10:27). In other words, all of our

faculties are to be engaging in a holistic

love of the Lord.

Loving God with all of our mind,

however, involves far more than just

learning a few facts about Him, or memorizing

a few verses to lay on people

who disagree with us. And the same

principle holds true of education. >>>

AUGUST / SEPTEMBER 2022 FOCUS ON THE FAMILY 27


FAITH & INSPIRATION / EDUCATION

Men and women of faith are to be lifelong

students of God and His creation.

We are designed to discover His truth

in every area of knowledge, to savor it,

make connections within it and delight

in it. We’re meant to think critically, to

distinguish truth from error, whether

theological, scientific, historical or

philosophical. Education at its best

gives us the tools to do that.

But education is not just about

developing the mind. Loving God with

all of our being means to love Him with

our emotions, our bodies, our imagination.

Art, music, literature and athletics

aren’t just optional add-ons to a modern

education. They’re integral to who

we are as God’s image bearers—heart,

soul, strength and mind.

Excellence, wonder and

worship

God loves unity expressed through

diversity. He’s woven it into His entire

cosmos, and most especially into His

human creation, women and men of

every tribe, talent and culture, each

one made in His image.

God also loves excellence. He

declared His whole creation to be

very good, and every diverse part of it

declares His glory in its own way. Once

again, this is especially true of humans.

With our different backgrounds, personalities,

skills and interests, each of

us is designed to reflect God’s glory.

For students who know the Lord,

whatever their age, education is a gateway

for developing every facet of their

diverse, image-bearing selves to its full

potential. Each one has different talents

and interests, and resonates with

different facets of God’s created order.

They may find beauty and inspiration

in words, images, sounds, formulas,

numbers or physical activity. But in

each case, they have a calling to pursue

excellence in their chosen path, to

reflect the excellence of their Maker

and to feel His pleasure in doing so.

Beyond all of that, for followers of

Jesus, their education is a portal for

seeing God behind His handiwork. The

more they study their chosen area of

God’s creation and thrill to its discoveries,

the more they think and dream

and resonate with it, the more they’ll

appreciate God’s wisdom, beauty and

majesty.

Contrary to secular belief, education

doesn’t drive people away from God.

Only indoctrination from a secular perspective

can do that. Rather, the more

we learn about the universe and about

our place in it, the more we’re driven

to wonder and to worship the God who

is the source of all things.

This growing sense of wonder and

worship in the face of God’s creation

is one of the great privileges and joys

of life. It should by no means be limited

to our formal years of schooling.

As the Christians who established the

first universities understood, education

is a lifelong journey of discovery,

of delighting in God’s works and in His

glory until we see Him face-to-face and

enjoy Him forever. •

Subby Szterszky is the managing editor of

ong>Focusong> on Faith and Culture, an e-newsletter

produced by ong>Focusong> on the Family Canada.

© 2021 ong>Focusong> on the Family (Canada)

Association. All rights reserved.

DRAFTER123 / ISTOCKPHOTO

28

FOCUS ON THE FAMILY

AUGUST / SEPTEMBER 2022


PERSEVERANCE / FAITH & INSPIRATION

the words he longed to hear

Rashad Jennings’ pursuit of his father’s approval

fueled his desire to become an NFL running back

BY BENJAMIN HAWKINS

BENJAMIN LOWY / GETTY IMAGES

AUGUST / SEPTEMBER 2022 FOCUS ON THE FAMILY 29


FAITH & INSPIRATION / PERSEVERANCE

Rashad

Rashad with his parents, Deborah and

Albert, on the field at MetLife Stadium

COVERING HIS NOSE

WITH HIS SHIRT, 13-year-old

Rashad Jennings opened his dad’s bedroom

door. His father, Albert, sat with

a cigarette in one hand and a bottle of

alcohol in the other.

“Can you stop drinking and smoking?”

he asked his dad. “If not for

yourself, then for me?”

A few months earlier, Rashad’s

mother, Deborah, had rushed Rashad

to the hospital. He had suffered an

asthma attack. Afterward, the doctor

warned him to avoid anything that

could trigger his asthma—including cigarette

smoke. For a short time, Rashad’s

father smoked outside, but he soon

reverted to smoking in his bedroom,

and the fumes permeated the house.

As Rashad waited for a reply, his

father took a drink. “Rashad,” he said,

“what do you want to be when you get

older?”

That was an easy question. Rashad

lowered his shirt and smiled.

“I want to play running back in the

NFL,” he said, eager to share his dream.

His father responded with a puff

of smoke and another swig from his

bottle. He snapped at his son: “Do

you think you’d be able to make it to

the NFL without drinking and smoking

yourself?”

Rashad, with tears in his eyes, stared

at his father and made a vow never

to smoke or drink. “Just to prove you

wrong, I am never going to do it.”

Rashad kept his vow.

“As a 13-year-old, I was dealing with

poor physical health, my father’s emotional

absence and learning challenges,”

he writes in his book, The IF in Life.

“But in the midst of those obstacles, I

knew that the One who did love me

unconditionally was walking through

the storms with me.”

Remaining true to his vow, Rashad

pursued a healthier lifestyle, was able to

manage his asthma and made good on

his dreams of playing running back in

the NFL. Along the way, he eventually

restored his relationship with his father.

“All things are

possible for one

who believes”

“My father taught me everything I didn’t

want to be,” Rashad recalls. Rejecting

his father’s negative example, Rashad

says he never experimented with drugs

either and refused to let peer pressure

distract him from achieving his goals.

Fortunately, his mother has always

shown him love and comfort. His older

brothers, Bryan and Butch, stood in

as father figures in their own father’s

absence. They encouraged him to pursue

his dream. They even helped pay

for his education at a private high

school, Liberty Christian Academy in

Lynchburg, Virginia, where he could

improve his grades.

More than that, they displayed God’s

love and encouraged Rashad’s faith.

His brother Butch shared with him the

story from Mark 9:17-24 about a father

who begged Jesus to heal his son, a boy

plagued with evil spirits. Jesus told the

father, “All things are possible for one

PHOTOS COURTESY OF RASHAD JENNINGS

30

FOCUS ON THE FAMILY

AUGUST / SEPTEMBER 2022


PERSEVERANCE / FAITH & INSPIRATION

who believes”—a declaration that continues

to guide Rashad’s decisions.

“I’ve heard you get on your knees

and pray like it all depends on God,”

he says. “Then, you work as if it all

depends on you” and trust God with

the results.

With this attitude, Rashad worked

hard in school and began to see his

dreams take shape. Even though he

started high school as a fifth-string

running back (a bottom-rung position

created especially for him), he

was eventually offered a scholarship

to play football at the University of

Pittsburgh—a school where he had high

hopes of being spotted by an NFL scout.

But in 2006, only a year after he

started college, Rashad received a call

from his mom that changed his plans

and began to teach him the meaning of

unconditional love.

“I’m proud of you”

Rashad answered the phone and

immediately sensed anxiety in his

mother’s voice.

“Mom, what is it?” he asked. “Are you

OK?”

“I am, Shad, but Dad isn’t.”

Rashad’s dad had long struggled

with diabetes. As a result, doctors had

already amputated one of his toes. Now

they needed to amputate an entire leg.

Rashad told his mom he’d come home

for the surgery. But he wanted to do

more—to transfer schools so he could

be more readily available.

Later that year he transferred to

Liberty University in Lynchburg,

Virginia. Since it was a smaller school,

however, the move could have hurt

his chances of making it to the NFL—a

risk Rashad decided to take for his

dad’s sake.

Yet even at Liberty, Rashad still managed

to catch the attention of NFL

scouts. And, in 2009, he again had high

hopes of being drafted.

He also caught his father’s attention.

After he transferred to Liberty,

Rashad’s father slowly warmed to him,

showing him more appreciation than

he had in previous years. His dad recognized

the sacrifice his son had made

for him, and it softened his heart.

Then one evening, only a week

before the 2009 NFL draft, Rashad

heard the words he’d longed to hear all

his life. As they watched sitcom reruns

together, his dad looked over at him

and said, “It don’t matter if you make it

or not, I’m proud of you.”

A few days later, Rashad was drafted

by the Jacksonville Jaguars. He eventually

spent eight seasons in the NFL

before retiring in 2017. Over the course

CHRIS TROTMAN / GETTY IMAGES

Rashad (#23) with the

New York Giants in 2014

AUGUST / SEPTEMBER 2022 FOCUS ON THE FAMILY 31


FAITH & INSPIRATION / PERSEVERANCE

LISTEN NOW!

Broadcast guests Lynsi Snyder and

Sean Ellingson discuss their search

for a father’s love.

ong>Focusong>OnTheFamily.ca/Radio

Emma Slater and Rashad after winning

"Dancing With the Stars" in 2017

of his career he played for the Jaguars,

the Oakland Raiders and the New York

Giants.

“Unconditionally”

During the 2017 offseason, Rashad

competed on ABC’s “Dancing With the

Stars.” He dedicated his week four performance

to his father and invited his

family to attend.

The song he danced to that week was

called “Unconditionally,” and Rashad

says he cries when he listens to it. “The

lyrics are strong. . . . It was a tribute to

my dad because unconditional love is

something I have for him and something

I was chasing to get from him.”

The choreography—created by

Rashad’s dance partner, Emma Slater—

depicted his pursuit of his father. “And

at the end,” Rashad says, “we finally

catch each other.”

As his performance ended and the

music faded, Rashad walked over to

his father, kneeled and embraced him.

Father and son wept together as the

studio audience applauded.

Promises

Rashad’s father passed away in the

early hours of March 1, 2020. Before

his father was buried, Rashad placed a

letter inside his father’s coat pocket. In

that letter he made several promises.

With God’s help, he’ll stick by them.

“My amazing mother was your beautiful

queen before she was my mom,”

he wrote, describing the letter in a

Facebook post from June 21, 2020. “I

promised you I would cover her. The

name Jennings was carried 32 years

before me. I promised to carry it well.

From as early as I can remember, you

never made excuses, and I promised to

follow suit. You fought in the Air Force

for my freedoms. And I promised to

fully exercise them. . . .

“Every good you began I will build

on it,” he added, “and I will inspire

the next Jennings to do the same.

Legacies come from men taking care

of their homes! And I promise you that

I will do just that. I love you man! I

honor you.” •

Benjamin Hawkins is a freelance writer and

associate editor of The Pathway, the news

journal of the Missouri Baptist Convention.

ADAM ROSE / DISNEY GENERAL ENTERTAINMENT CONTENT VIA GETTY IMAGES

32

FOCUS ON THE FAMILY

AUGUST / SEPTEMBER 2022


Kids & Teens

storytelling

apron

A parenting insight

from Allie Slocum

© JENNIFER BOGLE / STOCKSY UNITED

ONE NIGHT WE DECO-

RATED AN APRON and filled

each pocket with a set of custom cards.

One pocket contained pictures of animal

“characters,” and the other pocket

had pictures of animals in action

to help the plot line along. We then

pushed two footstools together for a

makeshift stage. We took turns as the

story maker, wearing the apron and

taking the stage. We’d pull one card

from each pocket and invent a story to

go with them. We were all laughing by

the end of the evening, and even our

4-year-old showed no signs of intimidation

as she took the stage. •

Allie Slocum is an author of two children's

book series based on character qualities. She

is grateful for author Jeff Bridges, whose book

inspired the story apron.


KIDS & TEENS / GETTING READY

The busy parents guide for helping children prepare

for a successful school year

BY ANDREA GUTIERREZ

NEED TO GET A JUMP on preparing your

student for the coming school year? Here are a few

ways to make the transition back to the classroom a

little easier.

1

Get started

☐ Start practicing your weekday morning routines

before the school year starts (waking up at a certain

time, brushing hair and teeth, putting clothes away,

knowing when it’s time to leave the house, etc.).

☐ If you’re starting at a new school, enroll your

student and submit all registration paperwork.

☐ Find out when the semester starts and what time

to arrive.

☐ If laptops or tablets will be issued for homework

or remote learning days, make sure your internet

connection can handle the load.

☐ Discuss what may be required in your home to

keep your child safe and focused while using

school-provided technology.

☐ Review usage of the online tools for monitoring

your child’s progress.

☐ Sign up for alerts and inform your child that you’ll

help explain assignment expectations if the directions

are unclear.

☐ Obtain school policies regarding disciplinary action,

safety, school closures, procedures, etc., and review

them with your child before school begins.

☐ Look over the school calendar and consider a

sensible number of extracurricular activities your

family can participate in.

2

Meals & snacks

☐ Create a list of items you’ll need to purchase for

packed lunches, snacks or quick breakfast items.

☐ Make note of whether your child will be required

to bring his own healthy snack each day or if the

teacher wants students to contribute to a shared

snack cabinet.

☐ Determine if the school has a breakfast program,

if you’re interested, and find out if your family

qualifies for free lunches or reduced pricing.

☐ Find out the cost of breakfast and lunch menu

items as well as acceptable forms of payment.

Sign up for the online payment portal, if needed.

34

FOCUS ON THE FAMILY

AUGUST / SEPTEMBER 2022


GETTING READY / KIDS & TEENS

3

Clothing & appearance

☐ If your child’s school has a dress code or guidelines

for PE attire, shop for needed apparel.

☐ Involve your child in purging closets of outgrown

clothes, shoes and coats. Donate items to charity.

☐ Help organize your child’s wardrobe and

determine what items need to be purchased. Write

out a shopping list.

☐ Schedule a haircut appointment for your child.

4

Medical requirements

☐ Ask your family physician if your child is up to date

on immunizations.

☐ Inform the school of your child’s medical needs,

allergies or medications (if any) that will require

special attention.

☐ Schedule a physical exam if it’s required for PE or

extracurricular activities.

☐ Become familiar with the school’s sick policy on

when you need to keep kids home, when they’re

allowed to go back, and knowing your plan for handling

a sick child, especially if both parents work.

☐ Review whatever continuing COVID policies your

school district has for the start of the year.

5

To and from school

☐ If your child will ride the bus, become familiar with

the pick-up and drop-off times and locations.

☐ If you’ll be driving your child to school, find out

the school’s policy on pick-up and drop-off times

and locations.

☐ Check with other families if you’re interested in

arranging carpool groups.

☐ If your child will walk to and from school, determine

the safest route, and find out if there are

crossing guards or monitors at busy intersections.

Walk the route with your child. Practice crossing

the street at designated crosswalks and review

pedestrian safety.

6

School supplies

☐ Search the school’s website or call the office for a

supply list.

☐ Go through your school supplies from last year to

see what can be reused.

☐ Follow back-to-school sales to get the best price on

each item on your list.

☐ Buy extra supplies to keep at home for homework

or continuing projects. Keep them in a central

location.

☐ Label your child’s supplies, as well as his coat and

lunchbox, with his first and last name.

7

Teacher & classroom

☐ Find out who your child’s teacher is and where

the classroom is located. Visit the school to tour

common areas such as the nearest restrooms, the

library, the cafeteria and the gymnasium.

☐ Ask your child’s teacher how he or she prefers to

communicate with parents. If your child’s teacher

uses a messaging app for parent/teacher communication,

ensure you download and register for the

app as soon as possible so you receive communications

right at the start of the school year.

☐ Know where to find teachers’ and administrators’

contact information.

☐ Ask the teacher for the basics of what your child

will be learning in this grade level and how you can

help reinforce these principles at home.

☐ Update your calendar with scheduled parentteacher

conferences, fundraising events,

volunteer opportunities, etc.

Andrea Gutierrez is a wife, a back-to-school mother and the

managing editor of ong>Focusong> on the Family magazine.

AUGUST / SEPTEMBER 2022 FOCUS ON THE FAMILY 35


KIDS & TEENS / SCHOOL SUCCESS

simple tools for improving

your child’s study skills

Help them develop learning

strategies that will last a lifetime

BY DR. TODD CARTMELL

“STUDYING IS BORING.”

“I don’t need to study. My grades are fine.”

“I don’t remember anything anyway. What’s the point?”

Many kids hate studying because they equate it with wasted time and effort.

But being able to study effectively will directly benefit them. Good study habits

also can lead to additional success in school and life. Here are four tools your

kids can use to better develop their study skill.

© VALENTINA BARRETO / STOCKSY UNITED

36

FOCUS ON THE FAMILY

AUGUST / SEPTEMBER 2022


SCHOOL SUCCESS / KIDS & TEENS

Look ahead

Have your kids read chapter titles,

summaries and subheads in their textbooks

before they begin reading the

text. This will give them a bird’s-eye

view of what they’re about to read and

will aid with text comprehension.

Encourage active reading

Active reading enhances learning and

recall by engaging our brains in multiple

ways. When your kids read class

notes or handouts, teach them to underline,

circle or highlight key words and

phrases and then review those passages

after finishing the chapter. They also can

make notes in a textbook or novel if they

own it. Encourage them to pause after

each main section and ask themselves

these key comprehension questions:

• What is the main point?

• What just happened?

• What do I need to remember?

• Could any of this be on a test?

Use mnemonic devices

To help your kids memorize longer

lists, try the age-old mnemonics trick.

Arrange the items in the desired order

and then have your kids make up a

silly sentence using the first letter of

each word. For instance, “Clean cats

pick up junk and french fries” is a fun

mnemonic for remembering this list of

trees: cedar, cypress, pine, juniper, fir.

Write it down

If your kids want information to

stick, writing it down is the way to go.

Encourage them to write down main

points, key words and important ideas

on a separate sheet of paper. The more

they can phrase these definitions and

concepts in their own words, the better.

If they think something might be

important, make sure they include it.

When they finish writing, they’ll have

a ready-made review sheet they can

study or have you quiz them on.

LISTEN NOW!

Hear from Dr. Todd Cartmell about

how to raise kids of character.

ong>Focusong>OnTheFamily.ca/Radio

Your kids may never say, “Studying is

my favorite thing.” But as the little

ant in Proverbs 6 discovered when

her hard work in the summer yielded

an abundance of food at harvest time,

helping your kids strengthen their

study skills will pay off in the long run

as their grades improve and they build

self-confidence.

Kids often end up liking things they’re

good at, so don’t be surprised if one day

they stop complaining about having to

study. You can always dream! •

Dr. Todd Cartmell is a child psychologist

and the author of 8 Simple Tools for Raising

Great Kids.

FIVE WAYS

TO OPTIMIZE

HOMEWORK

TIME

In addition to learning how to study,

kids often need help figuring out the

best times, places and strategies for

optimizing their study time. Check out

these five tips.

1. Establish an

after-school routine.

When your children come home from

school, make sure they have a simple

routine to follow for the rest of the

afternoon and evening. For example,

let them take a 30-minute break for

a snack and a little free-time activity

before starting on homework.

2. Find a good

homework spot.

Hint: Lying on the bed or reclining

on the couch is not conducive to

studying. Help your child find a well-lit

spot with an ergonomic table and

chair. The area should also be free of

distractions and electronic devices (no

cellphones).

3. Review assignments

and priorities together.

Some kids need help prioritizing tasks,

at least initially. They’ll need their

school notebooks or a list of daily

assignments on their school tablets so

they can review their required work.

Help them plan out and prioritize

what they need to accomplish each

day, including completing homework,

studying for upcoming tests and

working on long-term projects.

4. Schedule breaks.

For some kids, scheduled breaks are a

lifesaver when they’re studying. Using

a timer, set a reasonable amount of

time for your children to focus on

their homework. When the timer rings,

have them take a short break, say

around five minutes. Then reset the

timer, and it’s back to work!

5. Teach your kids to start

studying for tests earlier.

As children advance to higher grades,

they need to prepare earlier for tests

rather than cramming the night

before. Help your children get used

to reviewing for a test or quiz two or

three nights ahead of time.

—TC

AUGUST / SEPTEMBER 2022 FOCUS ON THE FAMILY 37


KIDS & TEENS / SCHOOL ETIQUETTE

from meltdowns to manners

Equip your children with these essential

back-to-school social skills

BY ASHLEIGH SLATER

ILLUSTRATIONS BY HAO HAO

“SHE HAD A MELTDOWN

AGAIN TODAY,” my daughter’s

second grade teacher informed me. It

wasn’t the first time in recent days that

my girl had lost her temper while interacting

with her classmates.

After teaching her at home for

two years, my husband and I had

enrolled her in a traditional school setting.

I assumed that her experience

in Sunday school, Bible school and

art classes had equipped her with the

skills she needed to behave appropriately

in a classroom and interact well

with other students. I was wrong.

I hadn’t realized that preparing her

for school beforehand might have

eased her through the transition.

And perhaps it could have averted the

problems she had with her teacher and

fellow students.

Kids who are attending school may

need help learning proper classroom

manners. It’s been a decade since my

oldest was in second grade, but my four

daughters and I still regularly discuss

appropriate ways to treat their teachers

and classmates. I’ve also found that

summer is an excellent time for them

to brush up on school etiquette.

Practice respect

“I wish we could feed the birds!” one

of my girls exclaimed as we sat eating

french fries at a local amusement park.

Sparrows searched the ground for

crumbs, oblivious to the “Don’t feed

the birds” sign nearby.

“That would be fun!” I replied. “But

do you know why we don’t?”

We talked about how obeying this

rule, even though we didn’t like it, was

a way of showing respect for those

who managed the park. It was a helpful

conversation to revisit to help my

girls as they prepared for another year

of following classroom do’s and don’ts

at school.

Teaching our kids to adhere to school

rules, such as being quiet when the

teacher is talking or getting to class on

time, helps them learn to respect others,

including those God has put in authority

over them. As my friend Mandy, who

38

FOCUS ON THE FAMILY

AUGUST / SEPTEMBER 2022


SCHOOL ETIQUETTE / KIDS & TEENS

teaches third grade, shared with me,

this includes training them “to respect

the rule even if they don’t understand

or agree.”

Drawing attention to amusementpark

signs is one way I emphasize to

my kids the importance of respecting

rules. Returning my grocery cart to the

designated area or instructing my girls

to follow the age requirements for the

slide or splash pad at the pool are other

teachable moments I take advantage of.

Our kids notice when we ignore rules

or act as if the rules don’t apply to us. If

we want them to respect their teachers

and classmates at school, we need to

model and talk about what respecting

others looks like in everyday life.

Be confident and

believe the best

In preparation for eighth grade, one of

my daughters had a daunting summer

reading assignment to finish. She was

discouraged, convinced that everyone

else found the work easy, while she

felt stuck.

“I know it’s hard, but you can do this!”

I told her. “I’m not the only one who

thinks so. Your teacher does, too. She

wants you to do well.”

My friend Christine, who has taught

elementary school for years, told me

she’d love for kids to feel confident

knowing that their teachers want them

to succeed. “As a teacher, I want to help

my students do their best,” she shared.

“I’m not watching for them to make a

mistake or mess up.”

As we prepare for a new school year,

I encourage my daughters to see their

teachers as allies who cheer for them.

Believing the best about their teachers

and classmates takes purposeful effort.

It also means being willing to communicate.

If they’re confused about an

assignment, they need to ask questions.

And if they’re struggling, they need to

express their feelings in appropriate

ways. Misunderstanding and miscommunication

breed disappointment and

frustration and can leave kids (and

parents) unnecessarily upset with

teachers and fellow students.

I also remind my daughters that

AUGUST / SEPTEMBER 2022 FOCUS ON THE FAMILY 39


It’s all for

the kids!

Find faith-building

resources your kids will love

from our fall catalogue for

kids and youth

Shop online at

Shop.ong>Focusong>OnTheFamily.ca

believing the best about others means

extending grace. We all have grumpy

moments and bad days. Just as we

want others to be understanding

when we’re struggling, we need to do

the same for them.

Treat others with

kindness

“I noticed a new girl at dance camp,”

I mentioned to my elementary-age

daughter as we drove home. “She

seems a bit shy. Maybe you could talk

to her tomorrow.”

“Sure,” she readily agreed.

When I picked her up from camp

the next afternoon, I noticed that the

new girl was laughing with my daughter

and her friends.

Our kids often leave others out

not to be mean but because they’re

unaware of those around them.

Without guidance, they can easily

remain in their established circles and

focus only on their friends.

I want my girls to treat everyone

with kindness, so I often use summer

activities like dance camp, mornings

at the pool and afternoons at the park

to remind them. Then once they’re

back in school, they get lots of practice.

Over the years, they’ve learned to

become more aware of new students

and classmates who struggle socially.

It’s been a long time since a teacher

has called me about meltdowns. I

think it has a lot to do with the ongoing

conversations I have with my

daughters about back-to-school manners

and how to treat others well. •

Ashleigh Slater is a wife, mom, editor and

author of Team Us: The unifying power of

grace, commitment and cooperation in

marriage and Braving Sorrow Together.


SCHOOL ETIQUETTE / KIDS & TEENS

Come prepared for class.

“The soul of the diligent

is richly supplied.”

—Proverbs 13:41

2

10 RULES FOR SCHOOL

BY ASHLEIGH SLATER

Work hard and

do your best.

“Whatever your hand finds to do,

do it with your might.”

—Ecclesiastes 9:10

Be kind to your teacher

and classmates.

“Let all that you do be done in love.”

—1 Corinthians 16:14

3 4

Listen when

others are talking.

“Let the wise hear and

increase in learning.”

—Proverbs 1:5

Ask questions.

“With those who take

advice is wisdom.”

—Proverbs 13:10

Follow directions.

“Your ears shall hear a word behind

you, saying, ‘This is the way, walk

in it,’ when you turn to the right or

when you turn to the left.”

—Isaiah 30:21

5

7 6 8

Speak kind words.

“Gracious words are like

a honeycomb.”

—Proverbs 16:24

Practice honesty.

“Let each one of you speak the truth

with his neighbor.”

—Ephesians 4:25

9 10

Treat others with respect.

“As you wish that others would

do to you, do so to them.”

—Luke 6:31

Share and take turns.

“Do not neglect to do good and

to share what you have.”

—Hebrews 13:16

AUGUST / SEPTEMBER 2022 FOCUS ON THE FAMILY 41


KIDS & TEENS / SCREEN TIME

BY ARLENE PELLICANE

WHEN MY DAUGHTER Lucy was

only 4, she was mesmerized with my new

phone. As her chubby little fingers tapped the

screen with all the brightly colored apps,

I quickly realized I couldn’t mindlessly let her

play with my phone just because it was sometimes

convenient.

“This is a no touch when Mommy isn’t with

you,” I told her. “It is Mommy’s phone.”

Kids love to use technology. We don’t have

to bribe them to use a tablet or beg them to

play video games. We have to do the opposite

and constantly manage our kids’ runaway

screen time. But eventually, we won’t be there

to apply the brakes.

Our long-term goal as parents is to raise

children who will practice self-control and

manage technology well on their own. Here

are three ways to help your children develop

these skills.

FOTF / BRIAN MELLEMA

42

FOCUS ON THE FAMILY

AUGUST / SEPTEMBER 2022


SCREEN TIME / KIDS & TEENS

Ask, “Digital

vegetable or candy?”

Not all screen time is created equal.

Toddlers and teenagers need to learn

the difference between healthy and

unhealthy screen time. To help them,

explain that digital vegetables include

such things as attending school

online, Skyping Grandma, using a

Bible app or watching videos on how

to play an instrument.

Just like actual vegetables, digital

vegetables make us feel good. They

strengthen our minds and bodies and

aren’t addictive. I’ve never had to tell

my kids, “Stop eating so much broccoli!”

Kids who consume a portion of

digital vegetables will walk away nourished

and satisfied.

That’s not the case with digital

candy—the feel-good entertainment

choices like TikTok, Netflix and video

games. Once they get a taste of candy,

kids want more and more. It’s exciting

and amusing, designed to hook our

children’s attention and never let go. It’s

junk food for the mind and heart. A little

might be OK, but hours and hours of

digital candy will make our children sick.

Teaching kids the difference

between digital vegetables and digital

candy can help them become more

aware of what they’re “eating” online.

They can even use these categories to

describe their screen time. My 16-yearold

son, Ethan, loves to play chess

online, which might be categorized as

a vegetable rather than candy (though

it’s probably more like a sweet potato

with melted butter and sugar).

Practice the “pivot”

Many of us spend so much time looking

at our screens that we don’t look at

each other. One of the healthiest habits

we can teach our children is to pivot

away from their devices whenever

someone enters the room. This communicates,

“You are more valuable to

me than a piece of hardware.”

Performing the pivot is as easy as

1-2-3:

Step 1: Notice when someone

approaches and get ready to pivot.

Step 2: Lift your head from your

device and physically turn from the

screen toward the person.

Step 3: Smile and look the person

in the eyes for the ultimate communication

experience. Practice body

language that says, I’m listening.

Lucy, who’s now 11, says, “Pivot!

Pivot!” to remind me to turn toward

her instead of my computer. I can say

the same thing when I need to get her

attention. It works both ways.

Stop sleeping with

a digital baby

What’s the quality of your sleep when

you have a baby in the house? You walk

around like a zombie, exhausted after

sleepless nights. Today, phones are like

digital babies that cry throughout the

night with notifications, texts, tweets

and temptations.

If we allow our children to sleep with

a device in their bedrooms, they will

find it difficult to manage technology

well. Many foolish and damaging decisions

are made in the middle of the

night when self-control is at a low ebb.

Even “good” nighttime texts and

posts can interrupt sleep. Research

shows that sleep and mental health are

strongly related. Sufficient sleep helps

our children’s brains process and recall

emotions, thoughts and memories. But

a lack of sleep can lead to moodiness

and emotional reactivity, as well as suicidal

thoughts or behaviors.

Establishing a family rule that

devices aren’t allowed in bedrooms

at night will help protect your children

from harm. This is much easier

to do when kids are young. With

older kids who already sleep with

their phones, you’ll need to set a new

guideline and collect their phones

before bedtime.

Training our kids to better manage

their technology now will equip them

to handle it wisely as adults. •

Arlene Pellicane is a speaker and the co-author

of Screen Kids: Five relational skills every child

needs in a tech-driven world.

AUGUST / SEPTEMBER 2022 FOCUS ON THE FAMILY 43


KIDS & TEENS / MEDIA

SOCIAL MEDIA VS.

EMOTIONAL WELL-BEING

BY ADAM HOLZ

IN THE LAST DECADE, teens have experienced

soaring rates of mental health

problems, including depression, anxiety

and suicidal thoughts. Researchers believe

there’s a correlation between these issues

and social media. Here’s why.

FOMO: This acronym stands for fear of

missing out. Kids today feel pressure to be

constantly connected, lest they miss something

important in their peer group.

Comparison: Measuring oneself against

others is an inescapable part of growing up.

But social media distort how adolescents

view themselves, especially when they fall

short of digitized perfection.

Sleep deprivation: Teens using smartphones

at night may feel compelled to

respond to every notification, resulting in a

health-damaging lack of sleep.

Cyberbullying: Today’s bullying often

happens online via social media, exposing

victims to public shaming and humiliation

on a broader, more public scale.

Dopamine dependency: Screen interaction

releases a pleasurable neurotransmitter

called dopamine. The more we get, the

more our brains crave it. Dopamine

dependency means our brains may struggle

to function properly without constant

digital stimulation.

Relational isolation: For many kids,

especially during COVID lockdowns, faceto-face

time with friends has largely been

replaced by online connectivity, making

friendship more challenging to cultivate.

Sedentary lifestyle: Social media usage

often goes hand in hand with a less physically

active lifestyle, which can also lead to

an increased risk of depression and anxiety.

Taken together, these unintended consequences

of social media and smartphone

availability are clearly taking a toll on adolescents’

mental health. •

Adam Holz is the director of Plugged In. He and his

wife, Jennifer, have three children.

UPCOMING REVIEWS

For reviews of these and other titles, visit

PluggedIn.com, ong>Focusong> on the Family’s media

review and discernment website.

SAMARITAN

Will a retired superhero’s

introspection of his past

deeds provide a new spin

on the genre?

Scheduled release: Aug. 26

THE

WOMAN KING

How much bloodshed

can we expect in this

African saga of an allfemale

military unit?

Scheduled release:

Sept. 16

‘THE LORD OF THE

RINGS: THE RINGS

OF POWER’

Does Amazon’s big-budget

miniseries remain faithful to

J.R.R. Tolkien’s beloved novels?

Scheduled release: Sept. 2

(TOP TO BOTTOM) TRISTAR PICTURES; BALBOA PRODUCTIONS; AMAZON STUDIOS

44

FOCUS ON THE FAMILY

AUGUST / SEPTEMBER 2022


READY.

SET.

START THE

SCHOOL

YEAR!

Clothes shopping. School supplies. Schedules.

Preparing for school can be a hectic time of year. But

there’s no need to stress about all the things you need

to get done. Use “Your Back-to-School Checklist” on

pages 34 and 35. Then make your own list:

Find these books and more

back-to-school resources.

Shop.ong>Focusong>OnTheFamily.ca

CREDIT TK

Want to help your

children live out godly

character traits at home

and at school?

Kids of Integrity will help you coach your kids with confidence and a clear sense of

direction. Every lesson includes sample prayers, memory verses and Bible stories,

crafts and hands-on activities to help you teach your children traits like compassion,

forgiveness and perseverance. Suitable for ages three to 10.

Get started today at KidsOfIntegrity.com

AUGUST / SEPTEMBER 2022 FOCUS ON THE FAMILY 45


KIDS & TEENS / MY THRIVING FAMILY

BACK TO SCHOOL

Isla, 3

Our daughter is bright eyed and eager for her first

day of preschool!

—Chelsea from Oregon

Natalie, 8

Prayers went up for this school year, and no one

will steal our daughter’s joy!

—Kimberly from Colorado

Ezra, 4

A back-to-school activity has our son wishing he

could go every day!

—Tamara from Wisconsin

Lilo-Lodwa, 4½

A big smile indicates a happy girl on the first day

of school.

—Nwabisa from Alberta

Your kids could be in

ong>Focusong> on the Family magazine!

Email photos* of your child’s summer activities or a lost tooth.

(Put “Summer Celebration” or “Toothless” in the subject line.)

Send to: info@fotf.ca

* Largest photo possible. Professional photos are not accepted

46

FOCUS ON THE FAMILY

AUGUST / SEPTEMBER 2022


Inves in your child’s faith

From

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Subscribe to a fun magazine!

Ages

3-7

Ages

8-12

Teen

girls

Make learning about the

Lord the highlight of your

child’s day with ong>Focusong> on the

Family Clubhouse Jr. magazine

for young boys and girls! Share

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For school-age children,

ong>Focusong> on the Family Clubhouse

magazine brings new faithbuilding

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ong>Focusong> on the Family's Brio

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Order or renew online at Shop.ong>Focusong>OnTheFamily.ca/Magazines


Shop with confidence at

ong>Focusong> on the Family Canada

Today there are many ways to shop for

faith‐building resources for your family. And

yet, when you consider purchasing an item,

the same questions resurface:

Is the author offering a biblically based perspective?

Would a counsellor consider it sound advice?

Will the content engage your kids?

When you shop at ong>Focusong> on the Family

Canada, you can be sure about the resources

we’re offering.

We stand behind the items we sell, because

they have been approved by ong>Focusong> on the

Family staff for excellent content that's in line

with God's Word.

Shop online at Shop.ong>Focusong>OnTheFamily.ca or shop by phone at 1.800.661.9800

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