Inside a Public School Dance

Posted on: 10/9/10 4:53 PM | by Jonathan McKee

This weekend brings an interesting opportunity for me, the opportunity to chaperone a public high school homecoming dance at my two oldest kids’ school. I love opportunities like this when research transcends beyond the desk out to the front lines. It’s one thing to read the studies about what kids are listening to… it’s another thing to see it first hand. I try to constantly subject myself to both.

I wanted to share some of these early thoughts with you. I will write you a full report in this week’s Youth Culture Window article (now you can CLICK HERE FOR THAT ARTICLE). (NOTE: This blog also shares more thoughts below from when I got back from the dance- scroll down to see those.)

Many of you already heard me chime in a little bit on this subject last weekend when I revealed to you the written warnings on the front of the “ticket” for the dance my 15-year-old daughter went to— last weekend she went to the homecoming dance at another school with some friends from church. Interesting experience! I was talking to her and one of her friends afterwards about what they experienced; both of them were surprised how many kids were “getting low” and “grinding” (it’s funny… I’m trying to choose my terms wisely. How exactly do you say, “Sex with your clothes on?”). I asked them each exactly what percentage of teenagers they saw dancing like that. Seperately they each responded, “Over 50%.” My daughter’s friend said that one of her classmates even came up behind her and started “grinding” her from the backside. She turned around and backed away, not sure what protocol was for rejecting someone trying to hump you.

It’s an interesting world we live in. I can’t really blame many of these young men. No, I’m not trying to defend them in any way. But our society has taught them that this is okay. It’s the norm in every music video. A few months ago I was watching the Regis and Kelly show, when Kelly threw up her arms and began dancing like that with rapper Ludachris.

Dare I quote Billy Ray Cyrus? “It’s what today’s young people do.”

Full report coming. Some of these thoughts will be in there. I just wanted to share them with you first.

We just got home from the dance. My wife just said, “I’ve never seen so many trampy girls in all my life!”  LOL

She’s really not exaggerating. The most surprising elements were the short dresses across the board, and how much “front to back” dancing there was. Kids barely face each other anymore, girls just rub their butts into the guys crotches all night. Teachers didn’t even bother stopping it because they’d have to send everyone home.

I “tweeted” throughout the entire dance- crazy stuff. I wish I had a video camera, it was literally amazing. I would love to see all the mom and dad’s reactions to what they’d see. I’m SOOOOooooooo glad my kids weren’t there.

Here’s some of my tweets during the dance.

At the dance- the female teacher i was just talking with has already had to tell 2 girls to pull their dress down to cover their underwear.
At the dance- this is amusing. The teachers are tring to stop the kids from getting low and backing up, but thats what the lyrics are saying
At the dance- it’s bad that i can see a girl’s underwear right now, right? Her dress is so short it keeps hiking up. Sigh.
At the dance- the senior that just won homecoming king just fell off the stage, toasted. One of his buddies already sent home for drinking.

CLICK HERE to read all my tweets that night.

And HERE for the article.

Helping Parents Protect Their Kids Online

Posted on: 10/7/10 5:00 PM | by Jonathan McKee

Okay, I just had a fascinating lunch with an ex-FBI agent (friend of a friend) who developed some software that helps parents monitor their kids’ browsing habits online. He was picking my brain about many of the dangers teenagers are flirting with today, and what I teach at my parenting seminars equipping parents to teach good discernment. Fun conversation. This guy had some amazing stories of child predators he had caught.

Let me just say that this software he’s working on has my attention! (And they’ve got a free version that they’re allowing me to share with you for beta-testing. More on that in a minute.)

As you might imagine, parents are always emailing me asking me, “Do you know of any software that will protect my kid online?” “How do I know what my kids are saying on Facebook?” Or sometimes parents ask me, “Do you have anything that will keep my teenager from browsing porn!”

These kinds of software packages are interesting. I’ve seen a lot of them. I gotta admit: I really like the ones that provoke conversations between parents and their kids.

The company that this guys started is called They are sincere and passionate about empowering parents with the necessary tools to help their kids learn how to use the internet and social networking  wisely. The cool thing is, as I mentioned, this team of retired FBI agents and parents have designed a software package that is now open for free beta testing.

I appreciate that their software is intended to promote conversations between parents and kids about their activities on the computer; they emphasize that it  is not spyware. Their goal is that by installing the software, clients would receive the direct benefits of their experience and knowledge of the many hidden dangers of the Internet.  Another bonus is that you can log in to your child’s account from any location.

Go ahead and take a peek at their free Beta test where you can try it out for free for a while:

Next week I’m going to chime in a little more about this. I have a friend that tried the beta-version with her daughter and she had some fascinating experiences with it (and her kid is really a great kid too). More on that next week.

Which Cover Do You Like?

Posted on: 10/6/10 8:41 AM | by Jonathan McKee

I mentioned in an earlier blog that October was a month where we were going to give away some serious prizes. Here’s a chance for you to qualify. We want your two cents on my new book cover.

It’s simple. I’m going to show you four covers below, and I’d like you to comment and tell me your first and second pick. If you comment, you jump in the running for our contest this month where we are giving away a pair of Oakley’s, a bunch of my six youth ministry books and more (more details on that to come… just trust me… give us your comments).

Here’s the four cover “comps” that Standard Publishing is considering for my new parenting book, Candid Confessions of an Imperfect Parent. Tell us your favorite first and second pick by using this blog’s comment feature and answering these 3 quick questions:

Tell us who you are: are you a parent, youth worker, both?

1. Which cover captures your attention and makes you want to buy the book?

2. Is there another cover that grabs you as well?

3. What, if anything, would you change about either of those covers?

Here they are. Tell us your thoughts! And remember- we want your thoughts… so decide your favorites before you look at any other comments- we want your “unbiased” opinion!

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The U.S. Ignorant about Religion

Posted on: 10/5/10 2:23 PM | by Jonathan McKee

Did you know that public school teachers are allowed to teach Bible as literature? (only 23% of Americans know that)

Did you know that public schools are allowed to teach comparative religion courses? (only 36% knew that)

Don’t worry. Only 47% of Americans knew that the Dalai Lama is Buddhist, and 54% the Quran as a Islamic holy book.

I’m citing research from last week’s study by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, a survey that revealed atheists to be the most knowledgeable group about religious knowledge (with Jews and Mormons coming in for a close second and third). Whodathunkit?

Out of 32 religious knowledge questions, atheists and agnostics average 20.9 correct answers, Jews 20.5, and Mormons 20.3. Embarrassing for Protestants and Catholics who only averaged 16 and 14.7 correct answers.

David chimed in on this a little bit in this week’s Youth Culture Window article, Faith of Our Fathers… a fascinating article about the amount of Christian teenagers walking away from their faith all together. I read the article last Saturday from teh road when we first put it up on the site and immediately tweeted about it. Good stuff. Be sure to check that out.

Then Monday, USA Today featured a big article about the study, a piece where author Stephen Prothero actually recommended that school start teaching more about religion:

The Supreme Court has ruled repeatedly that it is unconstitutional to preach religion in the public schools. Teachers cannot lead prayers, or read from the Bible in a devotional manner. But the nation’s highest court has also repeatedly given its constitutional seal of approval to teaching about religion. In fact, it has described religious studies as a civic necessity.

Fascinating stuff.

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Alyssa’s Dance Ticket

Posted on: 10/2/10 4:33 PM | by Jonathan McKee

Okay… It’s time to chime in about this dance my daughter is going to tonight and what’s written on her ticket.

Alyssa, my 15-year-old, who is GORGEOUS, is going to Homecoming tonight with a nice young man from church. I’m not worried, but I probably should be, because when I was 15, some people probably thought I was “a nice young man from church.” And I wasn’t! (Well, I was kind, and courteous. But, looking back, I was not respectful to the girls I dated at all!)

So I have to share with you the warnings that this “ticket” has written on it from the school. Hilarious… yet revealing about today’s culture. (I’m laughing because I’m going to be chaperoning my son’s school dance next weekend, and I know I’ll be seeing some of this.)

Here’s a glimpse of what’s written on the ticket:

·        Are expected to face their partner at all times (no back to front motion)
·        Must maintain a 4 – 6 inch space from their partner
·        May not engage in ‘leg wrapping’
·        With the exception of feet, may not place body parts on floor
·        May not engage in grinding, moshing, or body surfing
·        May slow dance as long as it does not extend beyond hugging
·        May break dance as long as there is adequate space and prior approval has been obtained.
Students who fail to adhere to the dance policy will be given their one and only warning (wristband or I.D. Card). Any additional violations will result in the student being removed from the dance.

How would you have liked to be on the committee that had to come up with these guidelines? lol … I love their wording. I can imagine the meeting. “So how do we get them to stop humping each other on the dance floor? Can we say ‘no humping’ on the ticket?” “I know, let’s just call it, ‘no back to front motion.'”

Oh man!

Alyssa and I talked about it. The guy she’s going with is a friend, not a boyfriend. He’s a great guy and I think he’ll be really respectful. They’re going as a group, six kids from church, none of them are actually “boyfriend and girlfriend” … all just buddies. They should have a blast.

I’m sooooooo bummed that I’m missing it. I’ll be in San Diego teaching at the YS Convention. Sniff! Sniff!

Alyssa said she might text me and keep me posted. I’ll probably tweet a little about it if I hear from her.

(Please text me Alyssa!)  🙂


Lyssy texted me and told me she’s having a good time.

Also… her date’s li’l sis texted me a pic she took of the two of them. Awe… don’t they look sweet! (Sniff… my little girl is growing up!)