Friday, August 22, 2008


It is that time of year when I am pouring through books and teachers manuals trying to get a handle on educating the four older kids. Trying to understand how to use the books, the assignments, and the lesson schedules. It is a lot of work. Good, but work. In this process the Bible/Spiritual discipline that I have chosen to use this year for Emma (13) led us to look at something for Eli(11). It is called J12. Ron has been looking at it and is very excited about it. Its main mission is to expect more out of kids at a younger age. It uses the verses about Jesus who at 12 said 'I must be about my Father's business'. All this to say that through this site I read an article about the state of 'Tweens' today.


Here are some facts:
*Kids are spending more time on TV and computers, and less time in active play. (no surprise here)
*Tweens are being diagnosed with risk factors for heart disease and other adult diseases like Type 2 Diabetes.
*Tweens are the fattest and most unhealthy in history.
*Kids are now having their first concert experience at 5 or 6 when a generation ago it was at 11 or 12.
*Girls on the average are entering puberty a full two years earlier than 10 years ago.

I think all these go together to some extent.

The article I read goes on to say:

1. They are getting older younger.
Scorning any symbols of their immaturity tweens now cultivate a self image that emphasizes the time they are 12, children describe themselves as flirtatious, se*y, trendy, athletic, and cool" ( So long toys, now they want cell phones.

2. They are getting faster quicker.
Kids start playing organized sports now at 4 or 5 with parents wanting them to specialize at 7 or 8. USA Today

3. They are getting sadder sooner.
Our kids live in an uptight world. Eating disorders are being reported among the 12 and under gang with increasing frequency. Depression driven diets are producing an epidemic of tween obesity.

4. They are staying younger longer.
Although this may sound like a contradiction, although they are getting older faster, they are staying immature longer. The Duke of Windsor was asked a question about what impressed him about America. His answer "The way parents obey their children"

This is such a battle for believing parents. It makes me so sad for not only my children, but the kids I know that fall into this category. I know this does not have to be the rule, but it is a hard battle to fight. To fight against the world. The article went on to say that as Christian parents we have settled for the 'prodigal model' as the norm, instead of the 'Jesus model'. Sometimes I feel like an alien living on this planet. Oh wait, I am ;o)


Kim said...

I was having this discussion with a family member the other day (who teaches elementary school in New Orleans but does not have children yet)

The sad fact and the difficult truth is that deliberate parenting is further in the minority today than it has ever been before. Even people I know good and well would say that "yes" they are involved and concerned parents are the same ones who think nothing of driving their 12-year olds to the movies for their "first date". I could start my rant here....but I just remembered this is your blog ;)

Thank God for grace and His abundance in my life. Being able to select curriculum that focuses on God's word and deciding that His desire for holiness is the most important thing is such a blessing!

I will have to check into the J12.

Carol said...

This has been a concern of mine for a long time. I know Grace is only 3, but I have seen so many kids that I love very much grow up WAY too fast. Dating extremely young, getting physically involved with the opposite sex before they even enter high school, worrying about being considered prude or nerdy if they don’t do certain things… It is an absolute travesty and an obvious attack on young Christians.

We as parents have to be on high alert and not shut our eyes to this “trend”. When I went with our youth to youth convention one of the speakers said that statistics show that in 5 years only 1 in 4 of the kids there would still be involved in church. So sad…

Your kids are so blessed to have parents that are not blind to the situation and are proactively arming their kids for the battle ahead!

Leslie said...

Helping our children model their lives after Jesus? How counter-cultural. How brave. How necessary. Only with much help from the Lord and much LESS COMPROMISE on my part. Thanks for the good word!

Kim said...

This is such sobering words...sad, but true...and I have to agree with Kim...well meaning parents are allowing low expectations to rule in their kids lives and they do not even realize it.

It is hard, but only by God's grace can we work towards *being about our father's business* and teaching that concept to our kids. I need to be a better example in this area.

Thanks for this!

kim said...

Excellent post, Jill. It's sad and scary what has slowly happened over the years will little notice along the road until it has become an epidemic! Oh, what a wonderful reminder to stay the course, to be the different parent, to do what is not the norm. "Teach them the way they should go..."

Tricia said...

This makes me glad my kids still like to play with their toys. I will just shut up about telling them to act their age because in all actuality, they are acting there age - sorry, Lord.

Between Beth's post of a nightly routine and this, I really think I need to put time limits on tv and game cube/computer games...thanks for the food for thought.

Lori said...

Hey Jill,
This is certainly a subject close to my heart.
What a blessing to be able to confer with other like-minded parents when struggling with these very things and it feels so important to "get it right".
It is so disheartening, though, to look around and see other parents taking these matters so lightly
and making choices for their kids that are absolutely crazy to me!!!!
I'll say this; it makes for some interesting conversation at our house.
great post, thanks.