About Hank Osborne

I encourage dads to rise above mediocrity in marriage and parenting. I write and speak on technology, biblical parenting principles, education, and parenting medically special needs kids. My wife Sherry and I co-host the Home School Support Network.

The Root is at Home

Mom instructing her childrenI am convinced that the root solution to many of the problems we face in our nation, in our communities, and in our churches is found at home. God has put on my heart a renewed passion for encouraging families and particularly dads. I have taken a break from this site, the podcast, and other places where I blog for several months. I have had time to reflect and seek God’s guidance regarding my efforts online and offline. I am certain that I need to get back to this site and the podcast to continue to encourage, equip, and challenge dads to rise above mediocrity in marriage and parenting. It is critically important that men understand their God-given responsibility as parents to stand up and take care of their families in a way that glorifies God.

Our country continues to suffer from the lack of engagement of fathers in the lives of their children. This will only become more prominent as we Christians gain ground on the abortion front. As clinics close and more women embrace choices to raise the children that they have conceived, we have a higher possibility for more single parent homes and fatherless children.  I want to help answer the need to encourage and equip men to face their responsibilities and be there for the mothers of their children as well as the children themselves.

Another area where dads can step up is to position their family to be a single income family so that moms can stay home with the children. God has not called parents to subcontractor the training of their children. God desires for parents to instruct their own children. He specifically instructs parents to train their children in both the Old and New Testaments of the Bible. If it is the Lord’s will that our children be trained by us as the parents, and it is His will as clearly described in the Bible, then He will provide a way. That does not mean we sit back and wait on an audible message or letter to come from God before we begin preparing ourselves for this counter-cultural way of raising the children that we have been blessed with. This site in partnership with the Home School Support Network will provide opportunities for families to better navigate the challenges we face in raising our kids to know, love, and trust the Lord.

GFI National Family Conference 2013

GFI National Parenting Conference with Gary and Anne Marie Ezzo.

The 2013 Growing Families International (GFI) Conference in is full swing. The conference is bigger and better than ever with approximately 600 in attendance. Folks have traveled from as far as Australia, Germany, Brazil, and Singapore. Gary and Anne Marie Ezzo have brought together families from around the world to create what one speaker has described as a big family reunion. We have worshiped, learned, dined, and played together. Tonight we will gather in the USS Yorktown for a catered dinner and a private tour time aboard one of Charleston’s most famous historical landmarks.

 

Patriots Point, USS Yorktown, 4th of July

Copyright: http://www.patriotspoint.org

Baby Ozz v0.5G

Pink BootiesDo you know what the “G” stands for in the title? Maybe the pink booties will give a clue. YES!!! Osborne Baby #5 is a GIRL!!!

I am not sure what came over us last week, but we decided to open the mystery envelope. It had been exactly one week since Sherry’s ultrasound. All the kids were in bed except for Riley. We got to talking about whether we would like to know if our new little one was a girl or a boy. While I was wavering on the side of waiting to be surprised at birth, I was not hard to be convinced to open the envelope. Sherry and Riley both wanted to know. We simply did not have good self control and I tore open the envelope. We were genuinely surprised, and as you can see from the picture, Sherry is really enjoying shopping for pink at the Summerville Flowertown Festival. Sherry went out to the festival on Saturday and was able to share the news with her best friend Adrienne while sitting under the tree planted in honor of Sherry’s mom Darla Pack in Azalea Park in Summerville. The thoughts of this little girl missing the opportunity to get spoiled by grandma was an emotional time for Sherry in particular.

The reason we were so surprised was that Sherry and I had grilled the ultrasound tech about whether she was certain about the gender of our baby during the ultrasound. If you have been through the 20 week ultrasound then you know they can usually let you know with a high degree of certainty the gender of your child. In this case the ultrasound tech said she was 100% sure. However, she had only a few minutes earlier told us a story about being wrong by telling a couple they were having a girl and then realizing in a later ultrasound that she had, uhm, missed something in the earlier ultrasound. That said, we thought that by saying she was 100% sure meant that we were having a fifth boy. So the surprise in the envelope caught us by surprise.

We are super excited. Now I just have to figure out a new budget line item for girl clothes.

101 Minutes – FreeTime

Daddy Life Podcast Episode 34Kindle FreeTime is FREE!

Let me just say right up front that this is a correction/clarification from my detailed review of the Kindle Fire (and FreeTime) parental controls in Episode 32. This correction should come as a pleasant surprise to you Amazon Kindle Fire owners.

Kindle FreeTime Unlimited is not free…and it comes at a price in more ways than one for Christian families.

Why not buy Kindle FreeTime Unlimited:

- Amazon makes content decisions for your child, not you.

  • SpongeBob SquarePants (Numerous)

  • Scooby-Doo (Numerous)

  • In Search of the Fog Zombie

  • The Avatar’s Return (The Last Airbender Movie)

  • Where does Love come from?
    Book description from Amazon, “Where does love come from? Does it grow on a tree? Or swim in the sea? This collection of silly questions explains a complicated emotion in a fun, entertaining way that children can easily understand. Where Does Love Come From? concludes with a declaration that readers likely already know . . . that “love comes from your heart.”

Privacy

Another example of how technology is breaking down your expectation of privacy.

StormFly Nowcomputing.com

The creators of  StormFly have cleverly packaged the same basic technology that many kids use to get around filters installed on home computers. The product was successfully funded through Kickstarter. The intent is to allow kids to take their computer wherever they go…on their wrists. Proceed with caution.

101 Minute Challenge

Use GOOGLE or Bing to search for “minutes in a week” and the answer you get is 10,080. Divide that by 100 and you get 100.8. So 101 minutes (100.8 rounded up) equals 1% of your week.

We revisit the Fathers Mandate part 1 of 8 which was highlighted in Daddy Life Episode #12. I challenge you to dedicate 101 minutes of your week to one of the following:

  1. Your family together for 101 minutes outside of normal meal times (Good)
  2. A total of 101 minute with each child throughout the week (Better)
  3. 101 minutes dedicated, uninterrupted, with each child doing what the child wants to do (Best)

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Bed Wetting Sheet Trick

Bed Wetting Sheet TrickBedwetting is a fairly common issue that many parents deal with at some point. Medical experts give assurances that this is nothing to be alarmed over. However, there are some logistics to deal with as a parent. You may have your child potty trained during the day, but they are not quite there at night and that can create messes. You have a few choices in terms of using night-time pull-ups or some kind of underwear cover. Many of these things are not 100% solutions. They may leak or you may simply choose to bite the bullet and move straight to cloth underwear at night without plastic pants. When/if you find yourself facing reoccurring bed wetting mess, the following will help you manage the clean-up process.

The picture above shows a bed made with an allergen cover on the mattress  four fitted sheets, and some protective pads between each fitted sheet.  The process is very simple. We learn this trick from many hospital stays with our son Caden. He is now eight years old and still has accidents. He has some pretty severe medical special needs that causes him to mess up sheets regularly. Even still, this trick is a perfect solution for average kids who simple have bed wetting accidents. Since we have made the bed with multiple layers we only need to strip off one sheet and the bed pads between the top sheet and the next layer. The pads that are still clean can be recycled for when you make the bed the next time. The soiled pads are simply tossed in the trash.

Short sheeting a bed the long way

I call this short-sheeting a bed the long way. The hospitals actually use a short (partial) sheet under the child’s torso with a bed pad under the short sheet. The short sheet can also be used in a hospital setting to help turn/roll a patient with little assistance.

How to short sheet a bed the long wayYou will notice that we cover the entire bed. This is because our son gets up and often spreads the mess to the end of the bed as he is getting up to come tell us he has had an accident. The two pads near the end are not soiled as often, be they do protect the other layers of sheets, the allergen cover, and the mattress from accidents. Click for a closer look.  It is much easier in the middle of the night to simply strip off a layer and not have to worry about making a bed at 3:30 AM and then again at 5:45 AM. There have been nights that we have gone through three layers. And there are many nights when no layers are peeled off.

This last picture shows how many layers there on this bed. You do have to stock up on some extra sheets and some bed pads, but that is a small price to pay in my opinion. You will notice that we use a solid color sheet on the bottom. That is our signal that we are on our last sheet and that there is nothing below it except for bed pads and an allergen cover. That means it is time to do laundry and remake the bed. The process of making the bed only takes a few minutes per layer.

Teens and Internet Safety

Jaquelline Fuller from Google shares tips on parenting teens in a technology age.

  • Mom and Dad have social network passwords
  • Have regular conversations (Relationships, Relationships, Relationships)
  • Don’t be afraid to be the parent

 

I Love You, but…

One of the tenants in the Babywise series is using a parent-directed approach to child rearing and prioritizing your marriage. This has probably been one of the most important concepts that I support and appreciate. When I feel validated by my husband and feel like we’re on the same page, I feel on top of the world…whether my kids played through nap or whether we had the most unstructured day. Sleep training and structure are also extremely important, but focusing on my marriage and parenting with my husband has been one of the biggest blessings to me as well as an example to our children.

I don’t even remember where I read it but years ago I came across a bit of marriage advice that has stuck with me and truly changed me. The author warned against ever saying, “I Love You, but…” with an added stipulation.

I love you, but I need you to take out the garbage right now.

I love you, but I feel criticized.

I love you, but I really don’t want your mom to come to town this weekend.

{or even to your children} I love you, but I am really frustrated with your actions

It is perfectly fine to ask for help around the house. It is necessary to tactfully let your spouse know when you are feeling criticized and when you need space from family or friends. Most of us do not even realize when we say it. We want our spouse to feel loved even when we are asking for help or when we making our feelings known. However, it should never be tied to your unconditional love for your spouse.

Loving our spouse does not always feel unconditional, certainly not as easy as even loving our children unconditionally at times. When we add on to that sentence it really does lessen the impact. We are not truly trying to communicate love. We tie our love to a deed or a thought. We make it conditional, even though that is almost never the intent. Saying “I love you” should be one of the most special, thoughtful, well-intentioned, positive phrases that ever comes out of our mouth.

So since today happens to be Valentines Day, my challenge to you is to think carefully the next time you get ready to say “I Love You.” Make sure you leave it at that. Make sure your kids hear you tell your spouse that often but purposefully. Make sure that your spouse knows that you are expressing love and only love in that moment. Teach your children the power of that phrase and the importance of never tying it an action or adding on a stipulation. Look for ways to show unconditional love!

Bethany blogs at The Graceful Mom as well as works outside of the home. She is a wife, a mother, and also passionate about inspiring and encouraging other working mothers.

Character Training with a TV Remote

Daddy Life Podcast Episode 33 - Training Character with TV RemoteAnne Marie Ezzo shared a blog post on her Facebook page recently that was authored by Mark Gregston.

The Honest Truth about Dishonesty by Mark Gregston

”A recent Report Card on the Ethics of American Youth, by the Josephson Institute of Ethics, shows that 61% of teens admit to lying to a teacher about something important, and a whopping 76% admitted to lying to their parents last year.  Another study, this one conducted in Britain, indicates that an overwhelming 84% of teens said they’ve regularly copied information from the Internet and pasted it right into their homework.

But it wasn’t necessarily those numbers that shocked me.  What really rocked me back on my heels was that this recent study of American teenagers reported that while over 50% of teenagers admitted lying, cheating, or stealing within that last year, 93% of those same kids said they are “satisfied with their personal ethics and character.” In addition, 81% of those teenagers said that “when it comes to doing what’s right, they are better than most people they know.”

The point Mrs. Ezzo made was that (I quote),  “While this blog post is addressed to parents of teens, parents with younger children would be wise to heed the thoughts expressed and thereby wisely help to prevent this issues from developing in your own home. Remember “begin as you mean to go” if you desire to have an honest child, then even those ‘creative stories’ need to have boundaries, we want to set our younger children [let alone teens] for success and direct help keep them on the right path.”

Mark went on to offer advice to parents on how to shift the trends so that teens embrace the virtue of truth over the norm of lying. Mark’s very first recommendation to “Monitor Media” steps into my area of expertise so I want to expand on his advice.

We all know that we can’t monitor every single thing that our kids do. Even if we try we have to be realistic and admit that if we are faced with a kid that is already characterized by dishonesty, deception, and lying then they probably will take steps to avoid our efforts to monitor. How many of us can actually keep up with our kids in terms of technology anyway?

I have shared this example before, but I believe it is worth repeating again and again.  Technology security is more about behavior than the technology!

You can try to monitor and control your kid’s Internet or TV access, but you are only treating the symptom. You must get to the heart if the issue and then end result will be that your child will self regulate their Internet, TV, movie, and gaming activity. They are going to get there soon enough so you might as well teach them early.

Teach Your Kids to Use the TV Remote

Sounds crazy doesn’t it? One of the things we joke about as parents is how much more kids understand about the DVD/DVR and how to operate it. But do they really understand the most important features? As a parent, the two most important buttons on a remote are the “Last Channel” button (sometimes called a Recall or last) and the “MUTE” button. That’s right.

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Bigger is Better

4 Boys Plus OneThe Osborne family is growing. We expect the newest of the @OzzKids to join the fun in late July of 2013. The picture on the right was taken on Christmas Eve right after we announced to our family that we were expecting #5. We wrapped a small box with the onesie inside and then wrapped that box inside another and so on until we had it six or seven boxes deep. We passed the box in a circle while playing Jingle Bells (Levi’s fav) and the person holding the box when the music stopped had to open a layer. The news seemed most surprising for Caden and Josiah. You can see in the picture that Josiah was still in shock a few minutes later when we staged this picture. Caden is shown below with his initial reaction.

I think our extended family has finally come to a point where they are no longer surprised. Most thought we were crazy for having another child after Caden given the medical challenges we still battle with him. Caden was born with a deletion of his 22nd chromosome called 22q11.2 (DiGeorge Syndrome or VCFS). This has come with a host of open heart surgeries, back surgeries, exclusive tube feeding, and much, much more. While Sherry certainly does carry a heavier load with cooking, cleaning, laundry, and home schooling, the logistics of dealing with Caden’s frequent hospitalizations has really not changes much with the addition of Josiah and Levi. From the time Caden was born we had one child in the ICU and one at home that required our love and attention. Most Caden Reacts to hearing he will be a big brother againrecently we have just had multiple children at home when Caden has been hospitalized. I don’t expect the future to be much different with the new addition to our family when Caden has surgeries because we will still have children in two different places that need their parents. That has become a normal for our family that we have learned to live with and deal with fairly well.

So the long and the short is that we are very excited to be growing our family. We think that Bigger is Better and thank the Lord for blessing us with another child. We love all of the children God has blessed us with and can’t wait to meet the newest addition to the Osborne gang. As I said earlier, the emotions have been mixed within the family. As shown here, Caden was a little surprised, but pleasantly surprised. I have decided to start telling people that we are trying for 14 kids and that is what the number on my hat represents. It is actually the number of my favorite NASCAR driver Tony Stewart, but I thought that referring to the number as the target for number of children was a great way to stifle the comments about our big family. The idea was not my own, my neighbor came up with the idea during a New Year’s Eve Bingo party that Riley and I attended.

We hope you had a Merry Christmas and a trust that your New Year has begun with great joy and thanksgiving.

 

 

Kindle Fire FreeTime Parental Controls Review

Daddy Life Podcast Episode 32Kindle Fire FreeTime Parental Controls

How Kindle Fire FreeTime works

FreeTime is an App that some preloaded on new Kindle Fire and Kindle Fire HD readers from Amazon.

What Kindle FreeTime does well

- Control amount of time kids spend on the three categories available (Apps, Video, Books)
- Restrict access to parent Kindle system apps, videos, Internet, Music*, Books
- Tracks book reading progress separately between parent and each of the kid profiles in Kindle FreeTime. My wife and my son are both reading The Roman, The Twelve, and The King by Jenny L. Cote. My son generally stays ahead of my wife so his place is saved in his FreeTime profile and does not affect the last read place saved by my wife in the main Kindle OS.

Kindle FreeTime failures with some workarounds

- Music is not accessible from within Kindle FreeTime with apps and services built in by default

Workaround: Install a music playing app. Then add the Music player app to your child’s Kindle FreeTime Apps. WARNING: The music app will burn up app time. There is no way to limit screen time per App so all apps count towards daily limit.

- Kindle opens into the last profile used in FreeTime or the main full featured profile if FreeTime was not active during last shutdown.

Workaround:

-  Kindle Fire has the ability to load a screen lock pin. We share this with our oldest son who is the primary user. We (my wife and I) are diligent to log into FreeTime and enter into Riley’s profile so that the Kindle will open back into his profile when the screen lock pin is entered. He gets to protect access to his apps and books from his younger brothers and we know he is only accessing his content because the Parental Controls password must be entered to get to the root OS of the Kindle Fire.

Kindle FreeTime Feature Requests Wish List

- Five minute warning before time allocation is up
- FreeTime profiles tied to screen lock PINs
- Add a music category that works like video category where parents can choose which songs kids can listen to. Then FreeTime App time is not eaten up by listening to music with 3rd party app.

PARENTING News

The Ozz family is growing.
Babywise Friendly Blog Network – Check them out

The Journey of Parenthood
Childwise Chat
Chronicles of a Babywise Mom
Daddy Life
Graceful Mom
My Baby Sleep Guide
http://www.babywisebooks.com/


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