Creating the future

Modern culture encourages consumption.  We consume all the time.  We consume food, we consume drinks. We consume all sorts of entertainment.   The problem is that consumption often means over-consumption.

People who consume too much food become overweight. People who watch (consume) television for hours every day become lethargic.  People who play video games for too long become addicted and have a need for the constant buzz provided by those games, or they’re “bored”.

Over-consumption encourages us to sit passively by and let the world feed our bodies and our brains. Many times, the more we consume the more we want to consume.

Over-consumption doesn’t just plague adults; it is a problem for children as well.  A child that gets used to over-consuming early in life is being set up for a life of problems.

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parent child talking

Regular communication between parents and children is important and becomes increasingly more so as children enter the teen years.

Something that has helped my own family is participating in scheduled one-on-one meetings with my kids.

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Peer pressure

Peer pressure is a big challenge for all kids at one point or another.  Can you as a parent help? The short answer is yes, but it requires patience, effort, and understanding.

To help a child with peer pressure, one must first understand the contributing factors that can make peer pressure a problem.  What follows are what some of those problems could be and how you as a parent can help.  Read more

How to Help Kids Get Motivated About Homework 1

There are several reasons why kids are unmotivated when it comes to homework.  Once these reasons are understood they can be addressed, and once these reasons are addressed, children can be much more motivated to start and complete homework.

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Good Friends vs. Bad Friends 2

This is a letter I’ve written to my sons about the importance of good friends. I hope you’ll find some of these ideas helpful when talking with your own children.


Dear Sons,

Today I wanted to discuss friends.

Friends are important.

Good friends are critical.

You may think you know how to pick good friends, and to some degree you’re right – you know which kids are interesting, seem friendly, or are nice to you.

You know which kids like doing the same things as you and which ones don’t.

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Effective Discipline Starts with Disciplined Parents 3

Despite all the ideas I have about parenting, my weak point is effective discipline.

Up until recently, we had frequent problems with our boys’ behavior – specifically keeping contained and respectful to their parents and other people.

They’re not unkind or outright rude, but rather they just get so caught up in their own world of silliness that they can end up causing a lot of disruption. They’re super-friendly, and super-positive (certainly more than I ever was) but along with this has come a pretty nasty habit of not listening to what my wife and I want them to do or not do.

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Helping Kids Understand the Danger of Mobile Device Overuse 4

This is a letter I’ve written to my sons. It’s part of a series which covers a wide variety of topics in which I attempt to give my boys life guidance. I hope you’ll find some of these ideas helpful when talking with your own children.


Dear Sons,

As you know, I’m concerned about you spending too much time watching videos, playing games or even messaging people on your phone.

We limit the amount of time you can do those things, but I want to explain why.

I’m not just setting limits to be mean and stricter than your friends’ parents, but I have real reasons that I feel are important.

Knowing these reasons may help you understand a bit more.

Your Life

Your life will be very different from mine, your grandparents’ or anyone else who’s lived before.

You will have many opportunities. More opportunities than others before you could have imagined.

But you will also encounter very big challenges.

Challenges no humans have ever had to contend with.

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Helping Kids Deal with Change 5

I wrote this article for my own children and figure others may find it helpful.


Dear Son,

Your life is like an adventure, and you’re the lead character.

Think about a lot of the stories you know, where the characters go on adventures.

Sometimes they’re happy, sometimes they’re sad. Sometimes they’re safe and sound at home, other times they are doing new things, or are even in a scary place.

Other times, they find new places to explore and awesome treasures.

Your life is a lot like that even though right now it may not seem like it because you are still very young.

Most times your life feels safe and stable.

However, every once in a while something in your life will change.

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Awaken a Child's Mind by Asking, Not Telling. 6

I came across an interesting article on Lifehacker which asks parents to shift how they talk to their kids – the author suggests we should minimize telling kids what to do and instead ask them how something can be done.

When I first read the article, it struck me that the author’s idea seemed similar to what I’ve been doing with my boys regarding cleaning their room, which I wrote about earlier.

However, the Lifehacker article applies the technique to many more things in a child’s life, and it made me realize I was thinking too narrowly.

What’s the Idea?

To quickly summarize – the basic idea is that it’s much better to ask our children questions about how or what they would do rather than tell them what to do.

Why is this important?

Because when you ask a child a question, it requires them to formulate their own answer, to think things through, and then to own the solution.

On the other hand, telling a child what to do puts them in a subservient role. It discourages ownership of the solution, and in the extreme, may even cause them to rebel. Read more

Kids Become What They Do 7

If you’ve heard the term “brain plasticity” before, it’s most likely been in the context of what occurs after an injury or loss of ability, such as when a person becomes blind. In such cases, the brain can actually rewire itself to partially compensate for the loss.

In the case of blindness, the portion of the brain that’s normally associated with sight if often repurposed to enhance other senses such as touch and hearing.

However, the brain doesn’t get rewired only during extreme events – it changes all the time in reaction to the activities the brain’s owner.

For the purposes of this article, I’ll keep to a simple definition of “brain plasticity” – in which I mean the ability/tendency for the brain to change over time in reaction to the environment and activities that a person participates in.

Brain plasticity causes the things we do more often to become easier and more natural and the things we do less often to become harder.

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