The Roots of Your Child’s Tech Problems

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Some of the most asked questions our Generations of Virtue team receives during Q&A after a parenting session are “How do I stop my son from playing video games so much?”, “How do I get my daughter off her smartphone?” or “I found my teen looking at pornography, how can I stop this?”.  Quite often parents are looking for a quick fix for the challenge they are facing with their teen.  After years of talking to parents about technology and their kids, I would say that the answer lies much deeper than the latest computer software, monitoring app or tricks to control their behavior. Technology is here to stay in our lives.  Unfortunately for parents, their kids are probably going to be much keener than they are to figure out how to work devices and get around any unwanted barriers.  This is a natural by-product of them never having known the world to exist without rapidly advancing technology.  So what is the answer to healthy technology use and keeping your kids safe online?

Relationship and communication.

Yes, the core of most misuse of technology by teens can be traced back to emotional needs, lack of communication and the absence of real relationships.

Why would a girl always be on her smart phone?  What kind of approval is she receiving from the online world that she doesn’t feel she is getting in real life? Is she constantly on social media because it makes her feel beautiful when she posts a selfie and gets 100 likes?

Parents can counter this with healthy positive affirmation and finding ways to build her self confidence in everyday life. A simple “You are beautiful” spoken by mom or dad can open the door to change. When these words are spoken in earnest and backed by other things like spending time with her, standing up for her when someone puts her down, helping her with her academics or sports, and encouraging her to pursue God’s calling on her life, some major change can happen.

Why does your son play video games for hours on end?  Does he feel accomplished and like a hero within his game in a way he doesn’t feel in real life?  Does he feel he is able to conquer worlds and receive accolades for his actions? Is this where he hangs out with his friends and has deep relationships centered around a common goal?

Counter this with giving your son opportunities to succeed in areas he is interested in real life, not just virtual.  Get involved with his games, ask him to show you the most enjoyable part for him. Show interest in what interests him. This will give you a clue as to what is being satisfied within gaming, which you can then use to find similar real-life activities that will give him the same feeling of satisfaction. Chances are that if your son is 15 and loves games, it will always be something he loves.  You will need to help him include other avenues of interest outside of gaming to be a well-rounded individual as he matures.

What leads to teens looking at pornography?  Quite often curiosity or stumbling upon it accidentally.  They heard something they didn’t understand so they Googled it, a page popped up during research of something else – the initial stages can be quite innocent in nature. However, what the enemy can keep hidden in darkness can become a stronghold that is difficult for your teen to get out of.  How can you help your teen in this area? Communicate, talk about it, tell them the dangers, tell them what to watch out for, have conversations on a consistent basis and start young. Yes, for young children filtering software is a good idea and monitoring for older, but you MUST have these conversations because your child WILL accidentally see pornography at some point, and at that moment it will be your conversations that help them decide what to do with it.

Don’t use rules and regulations as medication to treat a symptom of unhealthy technology use. Instead, find the source of the pain and work toward healing of a whole person.

– Sara Raley

Author: Sara Raley

As the COO and one of the founding team members of Generations of Virtue, Sara oversees all of the tasks and details for the team. When Sara is not adding meetings to the calendar, sending emails, or finding new apps to make her life easier, she enjoys honing her race-car like driving skills and speaking to youth about following God on a grand adventure.

The Girl with Short Hair

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We had just finished a session at a local Christian “college” in Melbourne Australia. (The colleges there are the equivalent of the high schools in the States.) At this event we also had students all the way down to grade 5. Our session was all about lies in culture and how they can be combatted with the truth of God’s word.

Sometimes after we speak we have the privilege of interacting with the kids and hearing their stories (and taking selfies, of course). I was approached after this session by a young girl (probably 12 years old) with short hair. She mentioned that she really liked my hair (also short). I replied that hers was very cute. She explained that sometimes people thought she looked like a boy. My heart broke for this precious sister. In that moment I replied “You don’t look like a boy. You are BEAUTIFUL and feminine!” She got tears in her eyes and then hugged me before running off.

Kids in today’s culture are bombarded by so many messages that they are “not right”. How can we expect them to take a stand on important issues like sexuality when they are already overwhelmed just trying to be themselves? Purity is a holistic topic and it is a privilege for me to be able to minister to kids in body, soul, and spirit. Sometimes they need a verse, sometimes words of affirmation, and sometimes just a hug and sprinkling of truth into their world.

– Courtney Alberson

Author: Courtney Alberson

Courtney is Generation of Virtue’s lead solutions specialist. Which is a fancy way of saying she handles the team’s many IT needs and spends a lot of time in Photoshop. When she’s not finding solutions to problems, Courtney enjoys communicating God’s truth about love and relationships to teenagers and…drinking coffee.

What Does It Take To Plan A Generations Of Virtue international Trip?

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Relationship

During our Generations of Virtue travels we have the privilege of meeting and talking to leaders, pastors, teachers, passionate parents, missionaries and just your average person who wants to see the next generation be successful in future relationships, marriage, and families. Because of the efforts of people who are passionate about seeing change in kids’ lives, new events in (sometimes) new nations come to fruition.  One of my greatest privileges is to see the behind the scenes hard work and planning that goes into each event. Watching the leaders who put so much time and effort into events for the benefit of other people gives me great joy.  Getting to know and develop relationships with these wonderful servants around the world is one of my favorite parts of our trips.

Faith

Not always does a trip have every detail planned out of where we are going to go, how we are going to get there, who is going and how we are going to pay for it.  But this is where faith comes in.  Following God and trusting Him to work out the details after you have already begun a journey is a whole new level of faith and leaves room for God to do His miracles. Time and again He has immensely built our faith on these trips.  When you don’t have every detail planned, there is room for divine appointments, spontaneous events and miraculous provision.

Hard Work

Our trips are hard work – there is no denying that.  Early flights, sleepless nights, back to back events and meetings from morning until night on some days. All this is worth it when you see the one parent who says “thank you for being here”, the one teen who says “thank you for being real”, the one child who smiles and gives you a hug just for telling them God made them for a purpose. Sometimes we only hear about the fruit later, from a leader or parent after the fact. In the end, all your hard work pays off – whether you see it in person or not.

Author: Sara Raley

As the COO and one of the founding team members of Generations of Virtue Sara oversees all of the tasks and details for the team. When Sara is not adding meetings to the calendar, sending emails, or finding new apps to make her life easier, she enjoys honing her race-car like driving skills and speaking to youth about following God on a grand adventure.

Dad – You Are Important!

fathers_involvementThe tears were very real and sincere. I had just finished speaking to 18 mothers at a private Christian school in Indonesia. Julie had asked me to share about the importance of a father’s engagement in the family. Before I could finish sharing all I had planned to share, I sensed the Lord nudging me to pray for the mothers in the room.

I prayed for their marriages, their husbands to be faithful when they travel on business trips, for the dads to love their wives and children in a deeper and real way. The tears and nods at the “Amen” were heartfelt in agreement. All over the world, as Julie and her team at Generations of Virtue minister in churches, schools and among families, Julie has me share on a dad’s involvement. The need for fathers is crying loudly out; men need to “man up” and be the father that the Lord has called us to be.

Following are some tips:

1. Be intentional about being a dad. Make time and space in your schedule to invest in your children. One-on-one, because each child is unique and their needs are different.

2. Multi-task! We do it at work and we can do it at home. I love a clean car, so I take a daughter with me to wash my car. I HAVE to have a haircut every three weeks, so this is a special time with another daughter. I go to the hardware store and buy bird food and gardening supplies, so I take another with me and we grab a hot dog out front afterward.

3. Pray every day or night for your family, wife, children and their future spouses. Julie and I pray every night that they will “love, serve and obey God forever and their spouses AND their children too!” I believe that you can pray a blessing over the generations to come!

4. Speak loving and encouraging words to your children every day! Say, “I love you!” Speak words of blessing to each child! In the Bible, it says that words have the power to bless or curse. As the spiritual leaders of the home, let’s speak blessings to our wives and children. You will see a difference as you speak blessings in your family!

Men, if you blow it, don’t beat yourself up or quit! Press through! Or as my friend Bishop Larry Jackson says, “PUSH! – or Pray Until Something Happens!”

The Lord forgives you and will answer your prayers for an extra measure of grace! And your wife and children will too. That’s love.

– Kay Hiramine

Author: Kay Hiramine

Kay Hiramine is a Kingdom businessman and ordained pastor. Kay speaks with his wife, Julie, and her Generations of Virtue ministry in over 17 nations.  Kay’s company – Catalyst Global, consults businesses and ministries around the world, including Integrity Music and David C Cook. When he’s not ministering, Kay enjoys a good meal in whatever country he happens to be in.

The Day the Prayer Bus Came to Town

The Generations of Virtue team had a conversation recently with an intercessory prayer warrior back in the States. This dear lady shared her personal experience with parents reaching out tothemission_200x300 her to pray for their children. She exhorted us to keep pressing forward with ministry and also reminded our team of another time a couple years ago when we were encouraged to keep ministering and to pray.

The day the National Day of Prayer Bus came to Conesus, NY was just like any other summer day. It was hot, humid, and quiet in our neck of the woods. Located just outside of Rochester, NY, “The Mission” is a second base of operations for Generations of Virtue. This facility is a former Catholic seminary turned headquarters and base of ops for various ministries and humanitarian organizations through the years.

One day in late June 2013, our team received word that the Prayer Bus was driving through the area and would like to visit our base. We were told a group of intercessors was traveling across the country, praying for the people they met and the nation as they drove. Sounded like a good idea! As a team, we are strong believers in the power of prayer and its ability to break down the strongholds of the enemy and transform culture. We were excited to meet this team.

Led by Dion, this group had a strong passion to see the Holy Spirit move through the nation and transform it. This is right up our alley! – we thought. As our team met their team, we instantly felt we were among “kindred spirits”. We were encouraged to meet two teenagers in the group who had dedicated a couple months of their time to pray for the nation. After taking a tour of their bus and hearing about their mission, we went inside the south wing of the Mission to enjoy a meal together in “the Singapore kitchen”. (So named because a. our team loves Singapore and b. the funds to renovate the kitchen into a fully functioning space capable of serving large groups of people came mostly through supporters from Singapore.)

Coincidentally, dear friends of ours from Singapore – Ronald, June, and CY – were visiting when the prayer bus came. They were very encouraged by Dion and his team and enjoyed the time we spent in prayer in the Singapore kitchen.

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The experience left us revived in our efforts to not only minister to parents and youth, but also to pray. We were reminded of the verse “The earnest (heartfelt, continued) prayer of a righteous man makes tremendous power available [dynamic in its working].(James 5:16b AMP) Prayer is a powerful thing, especially when believers come together and ask God to move in their nation. This is exactly what the prayer bus team was doing, and we know their efforts will produce a lot of fruit.

– Megan Briggs

Author: Megan Briggs

Megan joined the Generations of Virtue team to become the Product Manager, a position which keeps her busy researching, reading resources, managing inventory and speaking to young people.

A Testimony of Hope

Image for Julies BlogIt is exciting to me how many times God uses Generations of Virtue to set people free.  We love to hear the testimonies of families where God is using our ministry!  Here is an encouraging testimony that I heard the other day in Jakarta, Indonesia.

A woman came up to me with her friend and through her friend translating she shared the heartbreak of having her 6 year old son find pornography on YouTube.  He not only found just one inappropriate video, but went back to look for more. This mom was so crushed that her young son had been exposed.  She was beside herself and did not know what to do or where to turn.  Her husband did not take this situation seriously, and this mom was crying out to God to help her with her son.

That day she ended up at the Generations of Virtue Parenting Seminar.  I spent time addressing what we do if our children are exposed to pornography, and what to do if they become addicted to it. Then her prayers were answered and she came to talk to me after the seminar and explain what had happened to her 6 year old. I told her 3 ways to respond to this situation:

•  I told her to go home and pray with him.  To bring anything that the darkness and the enemy had tried to hide in her family out into the open and into the light.
• I also told her how to use YouTube through a special children’s app.  This app is supposed to have only child-friendly media (that is true as of today, but I am not sure that that can be guaranteed forever. Your bet plan is to   oversee your children when they are on YouTube).
• I encouraged her to explain the birds and the bees to her son with an age appropriate book like The Wonderful Way Babies are Made.  Oftentimes when kids find pornography, it brings up a curiosity about sex. This is where parents need to step in and be the #1 source of information, instead of abdicating that role to the internet where perversion abounds.

I ran into this mom the following week at a different parenting talk I was giving at a school.  She came to me with a smile and said, “I did what you suggested, and it really worked!  I mean it really, really worked!  And now our family is so happy again.  Thank you so much!”

Praise God that parents around the world are bringing the light of the Kingdom of God into their families even though the enemy is trying to rob, steal and destroy.  Be encouraged that even though this world is getting darker, the light of God can be bright in the midst of our families.

– Julie Hiramine

Author: Julie Hiramine

Julie is the founder and executive director of Generations of Virtue. A mother of five, author and dedicated ministry leader, Julie’s heart is to equip parents to empower their children to live pure lifestyles in today’s world.

Ministering in our Second Home: Singapore

The Generations of Virtue team is currently “on the road” in the Eastern hemisphere, basing ourselves in Singapore as we travel around the region to minister. Countries checked off our list so far are: Singapore, Indonesia and Australia. We left the States toward the end of January and plan to stay another couple months on this side of the globe.

This is the 7th time Generations of Virtue has traveled to Singapore to minister (we started coming in 2007). This trip, we will be ministering at Covenant Evangelical Free Church, St. James St. Margaret’s Church, Hope Singapore, Paya Lebar Methodist Church, and various other home groups, schools, and gatherings. On the docket for events, we’ve got parenting seminars, youth sessions, and even a sprinkling of children’s sessions lined up. We’re glad to be able to base ourselves in such a strategic and hospitable culture.

Julie Hiramine, the founder of Generations of Virtue, first came to Singapore in 1990, and after visiting several times, God gave Singapore a special place in her heart. Singapore has become like a second home to our team (much to our surprise – it’s a far cry from our slower-paced, mountain-graced Colorado home). Not only do we have our favorite local food stalls (called “hawkers”) all mapped out, can navigate the city with ease via public transport, and have consumed more bubble tea than is likely healthy, we now have many Singaporean friends who have become kindred spirits. Some of our sweetest times of fellowship have take place here. The church is vibrant and active in this small nation, and much like our group, has a heart for evangelism and missions.

Not only has our team been welcomed with open arms, we also have a group of moms in Singapore who share our vision and heart for parents and who hold events during the months we are not in-country. We call this group GOV advocates, and they are a truly wonderful group of dedicated believers. Their heart is to help the parents of Singapore by providing resources and seminars and by facilitating Raising a Pure Generation small group studies. Our team is so thankful for the gift they are to our ministry!

Author: Courtney Alberson

Courtney is Generation of Virtue’s lead solutions specialist. Which is a fancy way of saying she handles the team’s many IT needs and spends a lot of time in Photoshop. When she’s not finding solutions to problems, Courtney enjoys communicating God’s truth about love and relationships to teenagers and…drinking coffee.