Coming Out of the Bronco Closet

Posted on: 11/3/11 4:17 PM | by Jonathan McKee

I have a confession to make, a truly awkward one for a California resident. I hope this doesn’t upset all my Packer friends in Green Bay and my Steeler friends in Pittsburgh (no one would hesitate to admit that those two fan-bases are a little fanatical…er… loyal to their teams), or even my many close Raiders fans (seeing that the Raiders and the 49ers are the closest teams to my home). But here goes.  Ahem…

“I am a Bronco fan.”

There. I said it.

I won’t pretend to be something I’m not. I can’t tell you many of the players names, I don’t even get to see every game… but I’ve always been a Bronco’s fan.

At 5-years-old I got my first Broncos jacket. I asked my dad to find me a pic of me in my little Broncos jacket and he sent me this:This picture reveals three things:

1. Me and Dad’s rockin’ hair-dews!
2. My love for food even as a child
3. My love for the Broncos (back when Craig Morton was #7. Yeah baby!!!)

This weekend I fly to Colorado, preach the morning services at a church in Colorado Springs, break for the Broncos game, and then do my parenting workshop that night from 6-8. We originally were going to do the workshop in the afternoon but then found out that the Broncos were playing that day. Competing with that would be like doing a workshop during the Canucks game when I’m speaking to my friends North of the border!

I love that the Broncos nabbed Tim Tebow. Regardless of your opinion of his football skills, you probably wouldn’t argue that he is a man of integrity, a true role model for young athlete’s today. Pray that he throws long and straight!

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Secure Enough to Not Be Sexy

Posted on: 11/2/11 10:33 AM | by Jonathan McKee

My girls made me proud Monday night. They were secure enough in themselves to not be sexy. That’s a pretty bold move in a world where sexy is becoming the norm.

Halloween is one of those times where the pressure is on young girls to be sexy. If you don’t believe me, just Google “teenage Halloween costumes” and click on the first thing you see. I just did. Rows upon rows of the same, like the “Supergirl” costume pictured here (I’ve ranted about this before, girls are being pressured to dress too sexy too soon).

Well, this year my girls opted out of “sexy.” (More on that in a minute.)

We’re witnessing the symptoms of a society that values “sexuality” over other characteristics. It’s what the American Psychological Association defines as “sexualization.”

It starts with the normal feelings of insecurity.

“Am I pretty enough?”

“Do I measure up?”

These are the questions young girls ask themselves when they look in the mirror, touching up make-up, running the flat iron through their hair that one last time trying to make it perfect.  Any father of teen and tween girls has witnessed this. Even the most beautiful of today’s young girls often struggle with feelings of “too fat,” “too much acne,” “boobs too small”…

Enter “sexualization” stage left.

Sexualization is the media’s solution to insecurity. It works like this: guys notice me when I’m overtly sexual (low tops, short shorts, provocative in words and action), and being noticed is what I want, right?

It’s normal for young girls to want to be noticed. It’s up to parents to teach their daughters what is truly valuable.

This past weekend Lori and I went costume shopping with our girls. Have you been costume shopping lately? Today’s teenage girls don’t want to be a pumpkin or a clown. Costume retailers know that sexy is in. Skirts need to be short and tops need to be alluring.  That’s where my kids stepped away from the norm. I became aware of that fact the moment they asked me where to shop for their costumes. “Dad, can we go to the thrift store?”

This year my girls decided to be sweet little old ladies.

It was actually pretty fun shopping for “old lady” costumes. Alyssa (on the right) found the perfect “crafty” sweater and Ashley (on the left) the perfect comfy pants that went up past her belly button. Some glasses and ultimate comfy shoes… and whalah! Sweet little old ladies.

It will be interesting to see what our future holds. Will “sexy” stay the norm? Or will young people eventually grow numb and look for something else? A lot depends on the frequency and depth of the conversations that take place between kids and their parents or caring adult role models.


Facebook… or Jersey Shore?

Posted on: 11/1/11 3:48 PM | by Jonathan McKee

How well do you know your teenagers?

For example, if you asked them, “What would you rather give up, T.V. or internet.” Which would they choose?

Is their answer… the answer? Many kids (including the majority of young people across the pond) would be quick to respond, “We’d rather lose T.V.!” Interestingly enough, their actions might not exactly be matching their words if “time spent” is any indicator.

It’s a question I continue to ask parents. I’ll ask it again in my parenting workshop this weekend in Colorado Springs and I guarantee you that over 90% of them will get the answer wrong. I’ll ask, “What do today’s teenagers spend more time doing, browsing the internet or watching TV?” The truth always shocks them.

The answer is still TV, by a long shot. It has been for a while. The newest reports from Nielson give us a peek at the hours per week/month kids are spending watching TV and browsing the internet. Here’s one of the tables from the newest Nielson Cross Platform Report: (free registration required)

Notice how low those internet numbers are for 12-17-year-olds. (So low, in fact that I contacted them and asked them why. I’m so meticulous it’s irritating at times.) Don’t get me wrong… the numbers are close, especially as you start to look at the 18-year-olds. If you really want to hash out specifics, read this article I wrote this summer where I go through some of those numbers of the last report like this in great detail.

For those who just want the broad strokes… just know this: kids are spending hours online, and even more hours on TV. And since 91% of U.S. homes now pay for television, they aren’t just watching broadcast shows, they’re watching cable in a big way. (You can jump on Nielson’s Top 10 TV ratings page on any given week and look to see what ruled the previous week. The week of October 17th, Jersey Shore was the #2 Cable show under NFL on ESPN. The week of October 24th NFL stayed on top and AMC’s Walking Dead took the #2 spot.)

Why is it important to know this?

As a parent we should know what our kids are watching and what their friends are watching. Don’t be like so many parents that just let their kids watch whatever they want.

As a youth worker we should know what mainstream kids are watching so we know what kind of teaching they’re receiving throughout the week. If they’re bathing in Jersey Shore and Two and a Half Men each week, we might want to really think about talking about sex more than once a year!

Do you know what your kids are watching?