Thursday, March 2, 2017

A Book Review of Talk: A Practical Guide to Cyberparenting and Open Communication

Reading Mandy Majors book Talk: A Practical Guide to Cyberparenting and Open Communication is like sitting with your girlfriend who’s done a ton of research on parenting well. The book is infused with "me too" and "I get it" reassurance. Majors graciously shares her wealth of experience and knowledge about parenting tweens who have the web and all its entanglements in their pockets.

Her conversational style puts readers at ease, which is saying something since she’s tackling thorny subjects. She boldly wades into deep and dicey topics with Jesus as her compass. She does not offer canned answers, but instead thoughtful and research-based guidance which she has successfully put into action in her family. But it’s more than a trek through murky waters, the book is interspersed with humor and practical advice from a mom we can relate to.

Most of us are scared about the provocative culture in which our kids are growing up. Mandy beckons us to stay engaged in our parenting even when complacency or avoidance are tempting. She encourages us to arm ourselves and our kids with good information, rather than give in to fear.

I’ve already followed Mandy’s lead and chopped vegetables and acted normal while I uttered words like puberty and sex to my fifth grader. I didn’t make it awkward. Sure, I lost three pounds in flop sweat, but my kid doesn’t know that. I had the talk and we are both still alive—I’m calling it a win! I’m grateful for the encouragement to be the safe place for my kids to ask embarrassing or challenging questions with the assurance I won’t betray them.

While I expected the book to share examples of the best filters for technology and a list of apps to avoid, but what I found instead was a call to empower our kids to filter what comes into their view and their hearts. Majors rejects the patronizing “that’s just how they are,” reference to tweens but rather encourages an elevated standard where we can see our kids rise. It’s still a hands on approach to parenting, but it is based on mutual respect and higher purpose rather than expecting kids to be difficult and unreachable.

While Mandy shares from her own experience and faith, she's quick to affirm others with the message, "Your family, your choice," woven throughout the book. But the truth is, you'll likely want to take notes on the tried and true practices she's put into place including a cell phone contract you and your tween or teen can sign together. I'll be copying this and several other wonderful suggestions she has for keeping dialogue open for challenging conversations with our kids in everyday life.

I’ve had the great pleasure of sitting across the table from Mandy, and I can vouch for how authentically delightful she is. She’s as funny, engaging, and wise in person as she is in the pages of her tremendous book. I invite you to sit with her, learn, and laugh through Talk: A Practical Guide to Cyberparenting and Open Communication. It truly is like a perfectly chosen present from your dearest friend—the tween parenting guidebook you wanted but didn’t know how much you needed.

                                                                                  Mandy Majors

The book is currently available on this Amazon link

The Hollywood Jesus author interview is excellent and you might like to take a peek to learn a bit more about the heart behind the book. Click here to read it.

Monday, January 9, 2017

All in for 2017

Another year is on the books, and a new year is upon us. I was honored to get to share my hopes for 2017 on (in)courage. I hope you'll take a minute to peek and share the love if you're so inspired.

There's something I love about the sacred space of a fresh start. I love the way it feels to turn my face to the wind of a new year and feel the wind on my back from the one behind. Sometimes it feels like the gust is going to knock me clean off my feet and sometimes it feels like it's going to lift me higher. It always moves me forward, and yet I long to be all in for the here and now. 

In our travels after Christmas, I saw a sweet young guy, probably seventeen-years-old, in the arms of his mother. She held him tight, and he let her in a way most teenage boys do not. I could see him sink into her and soak up her embrace. It was as if he wanted it to last him a while. This was a goodbye hug.

I gathered from my superior eavesdropping skills he was enlisting in the military. He was off to a new beginning all by himself. My heart pinged for his dear mom who didn't seem to want to let him go but was courageously putting her boy on a plane that would take him far, far away from her. I was honored to watch these two brave souls completely in the moment, soaking it up its every essence.

I want to be like them. Not just in the goodbyes I know will be tough, but in the see you after school and the have a great day at work farewells and all the moments in between.

The best of times, the most precious times, are all strung together by a bunch of seemingly routine moments. Oh, but to savor them, to be there for them.

I intentionally emulated that dear boy and his mom during our travels and felt it...the feeling of full life right under my nose.

It was in the way Ainsley's eight-year-old supple hand felt in mine under the covers as we shared a hotel bed.

It was in the sound of Emerson's "You're the best" whisper in my ear.

It was in the way I heard my dad tell me how proud he was of my mothering.

It was in the way my brother texted I love you so much in all CAPS.

It was in the way Dirk looked at me after we both caught the girls in a fit of giggles.

2017! I see you. I'm in. I'm all in for all of you.