Can I Smash My Daughter’s Cell Phone- PART II

Posted on: 10/31/12 3:01 AM | by Jonathan McKee

We’ve set guardrails, including some really well thought out cell phone boundaries that should be no problem for our kids to follow. But for some reason they keep pushing the limits.

That’s what ‘Dave’ explained to me, asking me for advice about what to do with his daughter. (See yesterday’s post, PART I)

Dave’s not alone. Young people today love their cell phones; but as handy as these digital Swiss-army-knives are… they can also be vehicles of distraction in our kids’ lives.

So how should we respond when our kids break our rules and veer from the guardrails we’ve set?

Dave’s daughter seems to be Continue reading “Can I Smash My Daughter’s Cell Phone- PART II”

Can I Smash My Daughter’s Cell Phone? PART I

Posted on: 10/29/12 4:22 PM | by Jonathan McKee

Teenage cell phone use… er… misuse is the hot subject on parents’ minds. Teenagers are pushing the limits, and parents are questioning how to respond. My parent workshop last night was no exception.

After teaching my workshops, I always enjoy the chance to mingle with parents and listen to their struggles. Last night parent after parent approached me sharing a common plight:

“I’m having fits with my teenager and his/her cell phone!”

I assured each one of them Continue reading “Can I Smash My Daughter’s Cell Phone? PART I”

Actually Setting Guardrails

Posted on: 10/25/12 3:01 AM | by Jonathan McKee

“Do you allow your teenagers to download anything they want? Do you check their text messages? Do they have a bedtime?”

This week I’ve been writing about the process of setting guardrails, and today is the day I post some of the guardrails I use in my home. If you’ve been reading this series of posts, you know this process doesn’t start with arbitrarily implementing rules that seem to make sense at the time. Guardrails are only as good as the road.

The process for setting guardrails looks like this:

  1. Embark on the road of Biblical truth (I talked about this in my first post in the series).
  2. Plot your trip, knowing where you’ll be, by when (yesterday’s post).
  3. And finally… set guardrails that keep you from veering off course (we’ll talk about that in today’s post).

Now that we’ve embarked on the road of Biblical truth, and made a plan for our journey, which in my house, is a plan that includes no rules by age 17½ … now it’s time to set some healthy guardrails.

Here’s some thoughts to consider when setting guardrails Continue reading “Actually Setting Guardrails”

No Rules by Age 17½

Posted on: 10/24/12 3:01 AM | by Jonathan McKee

“My kids need guidelines! What rules should I impose?”

Not so fast. What good are guardrails if we don’t even know where the road is going?

Yesterday I proposed that guardrails are only part of any road taken, and the biggest question to consider is… where is this road going? Once parents provide a Biblical foundation for their values, then the guardrails can flow from this truth.

So I guess the process looks like this:

  1. Embark on the road of Biblical truth (I talked about this in yesterday’s post).
  2. Plot your trip, knowing where you’ll be, by when (we’ll talk about that in today’s post).
  3. And finally… set guardrails that keep you from veering off course (my next post, now posted).

So let’s talk about “plotting our trip,” to continue using the road analogy. In other words, where do we want our kids to be, and by when?

No rules by 17½
My goal is that my daughters won’t have any rules by age 17½.

Some parents think I’m nuts. But consider my reasoning Continue reading “No Rules by Age 17½”

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Guardrails Are Only as Good as The Road

Posted on: 10/22/12 4:28 PM | by Jonathan McKee

This week I’m posting a series in this blog about the guardrails parents need to set along the road of life. After all, I’m asked the same question at every parenting workshop I teach. It usually sounds something like this: “In a culture that provides so many profane distractions that are impossible to dodge, what guardrails should I set to protect our kids?”

Nothing like being under the gun—when I’m asked that question during a ‘question & answer’ time where the format provides only one to two minutes for answers. I’m always thinking, I teach a two hour workshop on this very subject… how am I gonna answer this in two minutes!

I guess the short answer is this:

Guardrails are only part of any road taken. The biggest question to consider is… where is this road going?

This brings up the foundational issue of Continue reading “Guardrails Are Only as Good as The Road”

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Will Young People Actually Vote?

Posted on: 10/22/12 3:01 AM | by Jonathan McKee

In 2008, the answer was a definite “yes.”

In 2012… yawnnot so much.

No one would deny the impact that young voters had on the 2008 election. Fast Company, in their April 2009 issue, named Facebook’s co-founder Chris Hughes, “The Kid Who Made Obama President.” Chris used Facebook to help get young people excited about Obama.

In November 2008, young people rushed to the voting booths, and two thirds of millennial voters (18-30) voted for Obama.

You might remember the history of that past election. Technology was a big part in wooing young voters. In February 2007 Obama officially declared his candidacy, launching, a social networking site with about 2 million profiles and 35,000 volunteer groups that planned 200,000 offline events.

In May 2007 the campaign took over a grassroots Obama fan page on MySpace with 100,000 followers. It grew to 3.2 million supporters Continue reading “Will Young People Actually Vote?”

That Was PG-13?

Posted on: 10/18/12 3:01 AM | by Jonathan McKee

Rock of Ages is yet one more example of why parents shouldn’t offer a blanket “yes” to PG-13 movies.

“But mom… the movie doesn’t have any nudity!”

Neither does the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit edition… would you buy it for your teenager?

Parents might wanna to rethink this one.

Maybe it’s just because I graduated from high school in 1988, or maybe it’s because I actually have groups like Foreigner, Journey and REO Speedwagon on my iPod… whatever the reason, when I first saw the preview for Rock of Ages, starring Alec Baldwin, Tom Cruise and Catherine Zeta-Jones… I thought it looked really good.

My wife Lori and I went to see it, and we were immediately captivated by the music. The movie was funny, creative… and WOW… was it uncomfortably sensual Continue reading “That Was PG-13?”

Highs and Lows

Posted on: 10/16/12 3:01 AM | by Jonathan McKee

This past weekend Lori and I packed up my girls (Alec had to work) and took them with us to the National Youth Workers Convention (NYWC) down in San Diego, about an 8-hour drive south of us.

As always, the weekend was rewarding on so many levels… here’s just some random highlights for me personally… and a lowpoint.


Lunch with Greg Stier: Our first day there, the four of us connected with my good friend Greg Stier for lunch. You have to know Greg or have heard him speak to understand what a blessing he is. Greg ministered to the four of us more than he will ever know in that hour lunchtime.

Worship on Sunday morning: On Sunday morning, NYWC provided a 1 hour worship service featuring the band Brilliance, with David Gungor, who apparently is Michael Gungor’s Continue reading “Highs and Lows”

This Weekend at NYWC

Posted on: 10/11/12 3:01 AM | by Jonathan McKee

Someone recently asked me how long I’ve been teaching workshops at the Youth Specialties National Youth Workers Convention (NYWC)… and I couldn’t even remember. It was back when NYWC was pretty much the only convention!

I mean, I’m no Jim Burns… Jim had Noah in his junior high group… but I started teaching workshops at NYWC back when I was working full time with Youth for Christ, and that’s over 11 years ago. I’m guessing that this is probably my 13th year??? And I’ll be teaching two workshops this year in both San Diego and Dallas.

It’s fun digging out some of my old training PowerPoints (I keep all of that stuff). One of the first workshops I taught at NYWC was Continue reading “This Weekend at NYWC”

Dissecting R-rated Movies Like Looper

Posted on: 10/10/12 3:01 AM | by Jonathan McKee

“Looper was awesome!”

“It’s rated R for sex and violence. I don’t want to watch that trash!”

These comments were from two different friends of mine, both dedicated believers. So, who’s right? Or more specifically, is “art” even appropriate when it includes “inappropriate” material?

It’s definitely a risky endeavor providing reviews for films like we do on our Movie Reviews & Quick Q’s page on both our parents website and youth ministry website, because no matter which way we side, we draw criticism. Everyone’s scale is different. If I call Pulp Fiction a good movie, some will wholeheartedly agree… and some will write me off as a liberal who’s gone to the dark side.

Being real, I think Pulp Fiction is an amazing movie… while dangerously irresponsible. Bad guys are the heroes, drug use is glorified, and killing is just no big deal. So do I call it “Theatre Worthy” on our movie scoring scale, or do I say “Skip it,” because of moral objections?

In this post I’ll give you a glimpse into the method behind my madness, letting you know why I’d give Looper a “Theatre Worthy,” but films like Sin City a “Skip It” (when both films were extremely well done). Continue reading “Dissecting R-rated Movies Like Looper”