Dads We Need You

If you watch any television shows or movies, you already know that fathers are depicted as goofs, idiots, womanizers, drunks, or worse.  The father characters are usually weak, self-interested, and emotionally confused.  Unfortunately, this stereotype is so pervasive on the screens being watched by our sons and daughters, that this lie is slowly becoming a reality in some homes.

True fatherhood is exactly the opposite of what Hollywood producers would like you to believe.  Men, by their very nature, are called to be protectors and providers.  Men have a strength and a power that, when used for good, can help a family and the greater community thrive.

Many of us are very familiar with the tremendous role that mothers play in the lives of their children, and as mothers remain the primary care-givers to young children, that role is self-evident.  Mothers are nurturing, they provide emotional and psychological stability for their children, and they are the first and most important teachers.  Few in society would question the critical role that mothers play in the proper development of young people, and the devastating effects that result when that nurturing is not provided.

For most of human history, until very recently, the role that fathers played in the family and in society was also self-evident.  Due to the many dangers and difficulties in the world, from war to disease to starvation, the success, and in many cases the survival, of the family depended on the father.  Furthermore, as the strength and stamina required to provide food and shelter for the family was considerable, this role was primarily held by the father.  Contrary to popular culture, men did not see these important roles as opportunities to be tyrants in their homes; on the contrary, the reality of human survival created a codependence of the family to the father and of the father to the family.  Men have throughout all of history recognized their purpose in life as protecting and providing for others, and countless men willingly and courageously sacrificed their very lives in pursuit of that purpose.

Popular culture today seems to have little need for men and certainly no respect for the power and strength that men are uniquely able to provide.  This power and strength is not solely physical in nature but can include physical strength as well.  If properly modeled and focused, this power can become an unstoppable force for good.  If dismissed or rejected by society, this power will manifest itself in many negative ways, including promiscuity, addiction, sloth and, in some cases, physical violence.

Young men need be made aware of the unique role that the world desperately needs them to fill, and the world is depending on fathers to model that role.  When boys grew up on farms along side their fathers, grandfathers, uncles, and older brothers, this mentoring happened by default.  As times have changed dramatically over the past 100 years, this mentoring must be intentional.  Fathers and other male role models need to teach young men the value of hard work, perseverance, courage, respect for women, compassion for those in need, and steadfastness in the face of adversity.  When young men are able to accomplish a difficult task or successfully overcome an obstacle, fathers need to be there with a nod of the head and a slap on the back.

Young women also need strong fathers.  Fathers need to teach their daughters perseverance and grit so that when life gets tough, as it most certainly will, young women will have the skill sets needed to fight and flourish.  Moreover, if a young girl has the admiration and pride of her father, she will have no need to look to other men to fill that gap.  Young women with strong fathers will be much more likely to be confident and self-assured.

To all young fathers, older fathers, grandfathers and male role models, young people do need the guidance that only you can provide.  So, turn off the television and go change the world!

By: Beth Voet

Parenting Tips: Tools to Assist Your Struggling Student


Seeing your child struggle can be one of the most painful experiences a parent could go through.

Life Tools Tutoring has a few tips for parents and caretakers on how to help a student who may be struggling:
  • If your student is struggling in a particular subject or with school in general, they will more than likely take their frustrations out on you. Have a conversation with your student so that your student knows you are both on the same team. Together you are going to take control of (math/reading/etc.).
  • If your student struggles in math, you are not allowed to say, “I always hated math too,” or “I was never any good at math either”. Education begins at home, so your challenge is to dig in and learn what your student is learning so you can help. If that is not possible, find someone who can.
  • Success in school comes with confidence. Confidence comes with success. Work hard with your student to get the homework correct and study hard for the quizzes/tests. Good grades on the first few assignments and tests can quickly build your student’s confidence.
  • Practice, practice, practice. Don’t be afraid to require your own ‘homework’ for your student. Practicing math facts 15 minutes each night, 30 minutes of required reading, or extra worksheets from your student’s teacher will also help to build your student’s confidence.
  • Make study time a fun time to be together. If you are grumpy while you are studying with your student, or if homework time is rushed, your student will have a negative attitude toward school work.
  • Require your student to stay organized and hold them accountable. Nothing takes the wind out of a struggling student’s sails like a zero on a missing homework assignment or a test that they forgot was coming.
  • Try to be positive at all times. Even if your student is not making the progress you had hoped, keep your expectations high and speak positively about your student’s abilities and potential.


Parenting Tips: Transitioning into the new school year


The new school year is underway but it’s not too late to assess the transition and to make any needed adjustments.

Life Tools Tutoring has a few tips for parents and caretakers on how to help promote a successful school year:
  • Make sure your student is getting enough sleep. Sleep is critical for success with school work and success socially.  Elementary school students should be getting 10 – 12 hours per night, middle school students 9 – 11 and high school students 8 – 10.
  • If your school does not require that your student fill out an assignment notebook (agenda) every night, buy one for your student and require that it be filled out. Making a written list is a great way to teach your student accountability and responsibility.
  • Set aside consistent study times if possible. For example, the house is quiet and your students are studying or reading from 6:30 to 7:30 pm Monday through Thursday.
  • Get involved in your students’ studies. That does NOT mean do their homework for them, but it does mean familiarizing yourself with their coursework, teachers, and extra-curriculars.
  • Make the school week fun. A special pancake breakfast, cookies at the end of the school day, or ‘movie night’ when the homework is done are a few ideas on how to add excitement to the regular routine!


10 Ways to Reduce Single-Parent Stress

“One of every four American children today lives in a single-parent home. And though the circumstances may vary (some parents are divorced, others are widowed, and others are single parents by choice), the reality is that solo parenting is often stressful, demanding, and hectic. If you are a single mom or dad, there are 10 things you can do to help minimize the stress in your life — and bring back the joy of parenting.”

Read more here…

Strong Kids

Parenting Tricks and Tips from Life Tools Tutoring!

Today’s Tip: Strong Kids.

Life is tough. Although the specifics of the struggles vary from person to person, suffering, disappointment and loss are very much a part of the human condition. And as much as we, as parents, want to shield our children from those struggles throughout their lives, they will experience those challenges.

So, instead of investing huge amounts of time and resources in insulating our student from “real life”, our time would be better spent on forming strong students with strong characters. Here are a few suggestions that we have gathered from outstanding parents who have raised very strong children…

1. Let your student experience some of life’s disappointments. If he took third place in the tournament, celebrate with him, but don’t go buy him a trophy and pretend he won first place. Third place is great, and if he and his teammates work harder next year, they may just win first place.

2. Service. When we teach our students that the entire universe revolves around them, they come to expect everyone’s attention and constant assistance. Then, when it comes time for them to step out into the real world, life smacks them in nose. Bring them (don’t send them) on regular service opportunities where they can learn that the greatest fulfillment in life comes from giving to others.

3. Make them work. Chores around the house, a part-time job, or mowing lawn for grandma are just a few examples. Students that do not know how to work turn into adults who do not know how to work. Adults that do not know how to work will not reach their full potential and will have major regrets.

4. Discipline. If you haven’t already noticed, sometimes young people make bad choices. Use the safety of your home to give your student a small taste of how the world will punish them if they make bad choices as an adult. If they are late coming home, take away the car for a week. (If they are late to work on a regular basis, they will be fired). If they choose not to put their laundry in the basket, make them do their own laundry. (If they expect others to pick up after them, their marriage may not survive)

Strong kids will make strong adults who will move mountains. Start today!