Karen Whiting Posts

3 Ways to Remind Your Teens to Use Kind Words by Jesse Doogan

Tyndale Kids

girls-laughing-with-phones

I don’t remember exactly what the argument was about, but I do remember that I alienated a good portion of my lunch table. I think we had gotten into a discussion about religion, and in my young-teen-self’s usual overzealous way, I had gone a little too far as I had explained the realities of heaven and hell to my non-Christian friends.

When I got home, I told my mom about the conversation and wasn’t quite sure where I had gone wrong. She told me that while it was good that I was “prepared to give an answer,” part of 1 Peter 3:15, I had forgotten the “with gentleness and respect” part. We talked about the importance of salt in cooking and how bland a meal is without seasoning. Then we talked about my very favorite seasoning, the garlic salt we got from the fancy spice store in the city. She read me Colossians 4:6, and we discussed what it means to have speech filled with grace.

salt-and-pepper

The next day, I opened my lunch and found a tiny baggy filled with garlic salt and a note that read:

“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with [GARLIC!] salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” (Colossians 4:6, NIV)

I kept my little baggy of garlic salt and my mom’s note in my locker for years, and it was a helpful reminder to watch my words.

Another great reminder is this pneumonic from Girl Talk Guy Talk by Jesse Florea and Karen Whiting. They write, “There’s never too much kindness in the world, so choose to have a wise mouth” [emphasis added].

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Make an effort to control your emotions, so you can control your tongue.

Open your mouth only after thinking.

Use words to make a positive difference.

Touch someone with encouraging words.

Heal hurt feelings by asking for and giving forgiveness.

ios-stickers-example-on-phone

I have one last way to remind your kids to use kind words. IOS stickers for their iPhones or iPods! I was a teen long before texting and social media were so prominent, but I’m sure if they had been around, I could have used some digital reminders to control my tongue. Download these free stickers for your kids to use in their texting conversations as reminders to stay positive and kind. There are fun stickers, such as paper airplanes and French fries, and serious stickers, such as Bibles and crosses. Sprinkle them into your texts like salt.


Jesse Doogan is an acquisitions editor for children and youth at Tyndale House Publishers. She graduated with a degree in Communications from Moody Bible Institute in 2009 and started at Tyndale in 2010. Jesse worked in e-book distribution and marketing for six years, where she kept a close eye on publishing trends. Jesse brings her experience managing details and relationships to the Kids Team, where she keeps track of books as they go through the publishing process and reviews new manuscripts. Jesse believes that the books you read as a child are the books that shape you for the rest of your life, and she is passionate about using literature to reach kids for Christ.


For more books for kids and teens, head to tyndale.com/kids.

Tyndale Kids New Release Giveaway!

Tyndale Kids

tyndale-kids-new-release-giveaway

 

Enter below for your chance to win 5 great books on…

 

Sharing the Gospel with young children:

Wow! The Good News in Four Words by Dandi Daley Mackall

 

Learning great communication skills: 

Girl Talk Guy Talk by Jesse Florea & Karen Whiting

Just Sayin’ by Dandi Daley Mackall

girl-talk-guy-talk-just-sayin'

 

Answering kids’ questions about God and how the world works:  

Does God Take Naps? by Crystal Bowman & Teri McKinley

Do Baby Bears Have Mommies? by Crystal Bowman & Teri McKinley

i've-got-questions-books

 


These recent releases & more products from Tyndale Kids are available in bookstores and online! Head to tyndale.com/youth to learn more.


Tyndale Kids New Release Giveaway

Girl Talk, Guy Talk: Communication Tips for Teens

Tyndale KidsDo you remember what it was like to walk up to a person you liked during high school? You wanted to say the right thing, smile the right smile, and make a good impression.

That sounds easy enough; but it wasn’t. Whether it was getting tongue-tied, being self-conscious about our braces, or sweating uncontrollably, communicating with the opposite sex didn’t come naturally for many of us. And relationships haven’t gotten any easier.

Sure, communication is done more with a thumb than with the tongue these days. But the teens in your life still need help building their confidence in communicating.

Healthy relationships start with communication. Encourage teens to go beyond text messages with real conversations. Reinforce the skills they have and help them grow as communicators through practical skill development:

  • Converse with them authentically.
  • Model great communication skills when they are in your presence.
  • Ask them to share their dreams.
  • Let them know you’re happy to be a sounding board for their problems.
  • Encourage them with words of acceptance, affirmation, and approval when they demonstrate positive attributes and actions.
  • Ask them to tell the best, the funniest, and the worst things that happened during the past week.

The teens you know want to connect. They may have lots of “friends” on social media, but studies show most teens feel disconnected. No amount of electronic communication can replace face-to-face conversation. Give the teens you know a gift by encouraging deeper relationships through authentic communication.

We’ve included some conversation starters you can share with teens you know and love. See if they think these ideas would help them get to know a guy or girl they like.



For Guys:

Little Things Matter

Baseball sluggers grab highlights on SportsCenter with 400-foot bombs that fly over the fence. But the World Series is not usually won by a team of power hitters.

It’s the little things that matter in baseball. Laying down a bunt to advance a runner into scoring position and playing a step closer to third base to cut off an extra-base hit can lead to victory. And just like the little things matter in baseball, those things also matter to girls. Hitting a home run with an awesome “promposal” can be a nice highlight. But girls prefer guys with a good batting average, so try to hit a lot of singles and doubles with these ideas:

  • Compliment a girl when she changes her hairstyle = A single
  • Walk to the door instead of texting that you’re at her house = Another single
  • Deliver a favorite candy bar to celebrate that she made the musical = A double
  • Write a note to tell her that you respect her and the way she loves God = Another double!

If you constantly swing for the fences, you’ll strike out a lot. Going for base hits makes you somebody a girl can count on. So be consistent in showing kindness. When you do the little things, you’ll set yourself up for big-time success.


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For Girls:

Food Thoughts

Great generals from history have said that an army marches on its stomach. Teen guys definitely do. Guys walk in the door after school, sniff the air, and then shout, “Mom, what’s for dinner?”

When it comes to meeting and getting to know a guy, it’s good to mix food with fun. Try these ideas:

  • Make some cookies or brownies, bring them to school, and whisper, “Anyone hungry?” Instantly, a pack of guys may surround you.
  • Make plans with a few girls to cook a meal at your house and invite some guys to be the tasters. If you cook it, they will come.
  • Plan a youth group activity with food and watch the guys line up . . . and say thanks.
  • Ask a guy to name a few favorite foods, and watch his expression as he describes a special meal or treat. Just thinking about food gets a guy going.
  • Snap a photo of what you’re cooking, post it on Instagram, and ask who wants a sample.

Food is also important in the Bible. You’ll find that food, celebrations, and miracles often went together. Food breaks down barriers and makes things fun.

By enjoying some food together, you can relax more and simply talk. Just be sure you don’t eat and talk at the same time!


Related scripture

Giving a gift can open doors; it gives access to important people! (Proverbs 18:16)


girl-talk-guy-talk-jesse-florea-karen-whitingCheck out Girl Talk Guy Talk: Devotions for Teens, the latest book from Jesse Florea and Karen Whiting. These fast-paced devotions will give the teens you know biblically based insights to help both guys and girls better understand and communicate with each other. Various styles of devotions, including stories, checklists, quizzes, fact-based news, text messages, and skill-building tips will encourage and equip young girls and guys to understand how the opposite sex is wired and how to best relate with them.

 

 


Karen Whiting is an author and speaker with thirteen published books, and hundreds of articles and short pieces for over four dozen publishers including Focus on the Family Magazine and Christian Parenting Today. She was a contributing writer for Focus on Your Child 2008-2009, writes a quarterly article for Enrichment Journal for pastors and leaders of the Assemblies of God, a quarterly column for Discipleship Ideas magazine, and writes a family page for a monthly denominational newspaper. Whiting has also been the community producer and host of the television series, Puppets On Parade, for Miami educational TV. Whiting has a heart for families and encourages families to connect and live more fully for God. She is a mother of five, and a grandmother.

Jesse Florea has worked at Focus on the Family for nearly twenty years. For more than fifteen, he’s been the editor of Focus on the Family Clubhouse (for boys and girls ages eight to twelve). He’s also worked as the associate editor of Breakaway magazine (teen boys) and developed and edited the Growing Years Edition of Focus on the Family magazine and the Focus on Your Child’s Tween Ages newsletter. He earned bachelor and master’s degrees in communications from Wheaton College, Ill. Additionally, Jesse has written or co-written seven books (including The One Year Sports Devotions for KidsAdventures of Average Boy: Growing Up Super Average, The One-Year Devos for Sports Fans and The One-Year Everyday Devotionswith Tyndale House Publishers). He lives with his wife, Stephanie, and two teenagers, Nate and Amber, in Colorado Springs.

Friendships and Water Go Together by Karen Whiting

Tyndale Kids

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Splish! Splash! Children gravitate to water fun; and giggles increase with a friend to splash along. Let your child invite one or more friends to come and play outside with water. Keep towels on hand for children who want to dry their eyes, and be sure to encourage young ones in taking turns and sharing. Snap some photos so your child can talk about the time after their friend leaves then e-mail the pictures to the friend. The photos will help them remember the fun they shared and will help build bonds between them.

 

Fun and Safety

A pool is fun and helps with gross motor skills, but even basins of water or sprinklers can be a hit. Discuss water safety before letting children take a plunge. Children can drown in just an inch of water. Teach your child to relax around water but not to go in without an adult, even if they know how to swim. It’s a good habit to make a simple adult-supervisor necklace. Use a small plastic lid and write “Adult” on it with a permanent marker. Punch a hole and string the lid on a cord. Have an adult wear it to make sure there is someone designated to watch the children.

 

Water! Water Everywhere!

Simple water fun can be done anywhere outside. Paintbrushes and buckets of water make it fun to paint disappearing art on almost any surface outdoors. It’s also a great way to get children to help clean outdoor areas!

Freeze some colored water before friends arrive to add to the cool excitement.

 

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Do a sponge toss.

Count how many children will be participating in the activity, noting the ages of each child. Cut a sponge apart for every child, creating enough pieces to match how many years old each child is. (For example, a three-year-old’s sponge would be cut into three pieces.) Number each sponge’s pieces starting with the number one, and toss the labeled sponge pieces into the water. Starting with number one, the children should grab each piece of their sponge. While the older children may be faster, the younger ones will have fewer to collect. Then use the wet sponges for a water-sponge toss. (Optional: Use different colored sponges for each child.)

 

Water and Faith

Set up a station with dolls for girls to bathe their babies. Boys can set up a wash station for their riding toys or action figures. Talk about baptism and Jesus while they clean their dolls or other toys. Let them try some feats with action figures and dolls such as walking on the water. Talk about Jesus and water (he boated, walked on water, and even calmed a storm).

 

Differences in Ability

You’ll probably notice a big difference in swimming ability among children. Since my late husband served in the Coast Guard, we taught our babies to swim starting at two weeks old. Other children might not start lessons until they are school age. Don’t start a swim competition unless children have equal swimming ability.

 

 

Water and Math

All of them can enjoy splashing and playing in water. Put out empty cups and containers for children to fill and to pour back and forth in containers. Use some measuring cups to give them simple math lessons as they play. They can even try to fill cups under a sprinkler and see how much longer that takes than scooping water from a bucket or the pool.

 

Ice Cubes

Take those frozen, colored cubes you made and add them to the body of water. Children may squeal as they touch the icy cubes. They will enjoy swirling them and watching them melt in the cold water. Discuss how water changes from liquid to solid when put in the freezer and how it turns back to liquid as it warms up. Use some of the ice cubes for cube races to see how fast they slide down an incline. Have an ice cube toss.

 

Hydration

Since children are in the heat as they play, make sure they drink plenty of water. Set up a station where they can add in berries, lemon and orange wedges, or sprigs of mint to flavor the water. Talk about dehydration and signs of it (chapped lips, feeling hot, flushed, thirsty) and add a salty snack to help them retain fluids.


Check out the “Princess in Action” section of each day in The One Year My Princess Devotions for other water-fun ideas and more from Karen Whiting!


karen-whiting-author

Karen Whiting is an author and speaker with thirteen published books and hundreds of articles and short pieces for over four dozen publishers including Focus on the Family Magazine and Christian Parenting Today. She was a contributing writer for Focus on Your Child 2008-2009. She writes a quarterly article for Enrichment Journal for pastors and leaders of the Assemblies of God, a quarterly column for Discipleship Ideas magazine, and a family page for a monthly denominational newspaper. Whiting has also been the community producer and host of the television series Puppets on Parade for Miami educational TV.

Whiting has a heart for families and encourages families to connect and live more fully for God. She is a mother of five and a grandmother.

To learn more about Karen Whiting, follow her on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest.

Car Activities for Road Trips with a Spiritual Connection By Karen Whiting

SubaruChildren spend lots of time in cars between vacations and being driven to activities. Make the most of the time and let it be an opportunity to build their faith.

Devotions On the Go
Let your child read a devotion or a Bible verse. Talk about it. Turn it into a scavenger hunt by thinking of items related to the Bible passage to find while you travel.

Twisty Bible Figures and Creatures
(need chenille stems, scissors or nail clippers, and a pencil)
Pass out a package of chenille stems for children to create creatures and figures from the Bible. Make the feet or stand by folding a chenille stem in half. The remaining folded part of the stem is the basis for the body, tree trunk, etc. Twirl both ends into small circles and twist up to be standing feet. Twirl another stem or half stem around a pencil, slide off, and slide onto the body. Add other twisted stems to shape the design.

Crosses on a Trip
See how many crosses children can find on a road trip. Four-way intersections, crosses on churches, t’s on signs, etc.

Christian Symbol I Spy
Look for church steeples, God’s creation, light, and various symbols related to God and the Bible. Let each person guess the object, and then someone needs to tell a related Bible story or Scripture.

Magnetic Bible Map
Print out a map of a Bible area and glue it to an old metal cookie sheet. Make some magnetic place markers shaped like feet and let children travel around the Bible area.

Road tripMagnetic Books of the Bible
Cut small, magnetic rectangles for book spines. Write the name of one book of the Bible on each spine. Have children use a metal cookie sheet to arrange the books in order. As they grow, ask them to name a Bible story or verse from each book.

Magnetic Bible Puzzles
Buy a Bible jigsaw puzzle or cut up a Bible picture to make a puzzle. Put a piece of adhesive magnetic strip on the back of each puzzle piece. Let children put the puzzle together on a cookie sheet.

Bible Numbers
Place one or two dice in a clear container with a lid. Shake it to roll. Look at the number rolled and spy for that number as you ride. Then name some group of that number in the Bible (two of each animal in the ark, the Ten Commandments, etc.).

I Spy Story Jars
Find tiny objects that represent parts of a Bible story, like a small boat, tiny people, and animals for Noah’s ark. Put them with rice in a plastic jar and seal the lid. Have children find the hidden objects and talk about the Bible story.

Scriptures That Stick
Learn Scripture with stickers (colored circle dots) and index cards.
Write each word of a Scripture verse on a colored dot in a scrambled order. Have children put the dots onto an index card in the correct order and read it. Use different colors for different verses.

Creation Sightings
Let everyone look for signs of God’s creation. Make it tougher by focusing on one thing at a time, like water (lakes, rivers, ocean, rain, drinks) or land (mountains, valleys, grassy land, dirt).

Foil Armor
Read Ephesians 6:10-18 and let children use foil to make the armor. Make sure to include praying hands for the last verse as a reminder that even with the armor, we need to pray.

Karen WhitingKaren Whiting is an author and speaker with thirteen published books, and hundreds of articles and short pieces for over four dozen publishers including Focus on the Family Magazine and Christian Parenting Today. She was a contributing writer for Focus on Your Child 2008-2009, writes a quarterly article for Enrichment Journal for pastors and leaders of the Assemblies of God, a quarterly column for Discipleship Ideasmagazine, and writes a family page for a monthly denominational newspaper. Whiting has also been the community producer and host of the television series, Puppets On Parade, for Miami educational TV.

Whiting has a heart for families and encourages families to connect and live more fully for God. She is a mother of five, and a grandmother.