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The Netflix Effect

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It’s movie night at our house. The pepperoni pizza has arrived. The orange comforter is on the floor. Netflix is ready to stream. What to watch? My 5-year-old daughter has me peruse the plethora of curated kids’ movies, sparking no interest. I get through the entire first carousel of content with no luck. Then the second, and the third. She still hasn’t chosen. I suggest eight different movies, but a fear of missing out on a better option fills my daughter with anxiety.

The pizza is getting cold as my nerves begin to wilt. Why does Netflix have so many choices for children? After 30 minutes, we finally settle on a movie—Frozen, which she has already seen a hundred times. Every parent has experienced this: the Netflix Effect, the barraging black hole of choices that never seems to satisfy. Experts call this “choice paralysis” and it is damaging our children’s ability to make decisions. Can we change that? Yes. Here’s how.

1. Curate the curation.

Requiring your kids to commit to their decisions helps build the skills to make good choices.

Pick two films your child can choose from on movie night. Don’t even allow them to see the Netflix carousel. This limits their choices. Explain both of the movies and maybe show them the trailers. When they’ve chosen, watch the film from beginning to end, whether it is high quality or poor quality, and discuss it afterward. Requiring your kids to commit to their decisions helps build the skills to make good choices.

2. Play strategy games.

I bought my daughter a hand-carved chess set right after my wife and I discovered we were pregnant with her. Chess is an excellent game to teach your child the consequences of choices and our influence on future outcomes. Strategy games help children think about how a small decision now will have a substantial impact later. If they are too young for chess, try Battleship. It visually shows how smart decisions can lead you to victory.

3. Talk it out.

As a parent, think through your decisions out loud so your child is privy to your thought process. If you are trying to decide whether to go to the mall first to run an errand or to visit grandma first, say it all aloud. Talk the options out with your spouse so your child can see how decisions are made and why it’s essential to think through them.

Sound off: What decisions do your children have a hard time making?

The post The Netflix Effect appeared first on All Pro Dad.

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12 days ago
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Culture’s Worst Lies About Falling In Love

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As a teenager, I read my fair share of Christian romance novels. They were full of dramatic plot lines, sexual tension, one-room school houses and Canadian Mounties.

The leading men were imperfect but in a tousled and endearing sort of way. They always knew what to say. All the female characters were beautiful, but distressed, to ensure the reader plenty of drama. Each story ended with a sigh.

Today, women can indulge their romantic side by using Pinterest. They can build relationship shrines out of images of engagement rings and couple shots and create virtual collages of attractive men, romantic dates, perfect playlists and unique wedding favors. They are collecting comparisons.

This magazine says that the right guy will know what his girlfriend wants for Christmas.

This pastor says that saving sex until marriage ensures a satisfying and uncomplicated sex-life.

This film is my favorite because he sweeps her off her feet by showing up at the prom to slow dance with her to her favorite song!

Don’t let yourself off the hook. Replace Christian romance novels and Pinterest with anything else that may have you building up unrealistic expectations. Regardless of their source, the following relationship lies pose a threat to true contentment:

Lie #1: You Will Be Happy Once You are Married.

In other words, tough luck, singles. You’re missing out. Only married people know what true happiness is.

But waiting for happiness, whether you are single waiting for marriage, married waiting for children, or married waiting for your spouse to change, is idolatrous territory. When we hold our joy captive until we get what we want, a vicious cycle of discontentment begins. God calls us to be content right now:

Hebrews 13:5: Be content with what you have, for He has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.

Lie #2: Love Fixes Everything.

In films, love is the answer. Characters’ lives could be falling apart, their planet on the verge of collapse, until they meet “the one.” Suddenly problems vanish. Love is all you need, right?

Real life is different. Love as he might, a husband cannot always comfort his wife out of post-partum depression. A wife cannot simply hand her husband confidence after he loses his job. When we expect our spouse’s love to solve all of our problems, we are setting ourselves up for disappointment. Though it sure makes them easier to endure, love can’t make trials disappear. Love is powerful, not omnipotent.

Accepting this leaves less room for disappointment and more room for grace.

Because, you see, love does fix everything—Christ’s love. It fixes our ultimate problem of sin and separation from God. Expecting your spouse to be your Savior ensures discontent. Looking to Christ ensures salvation. He alone can remove our burdens and take our blame; and not just temporarily, but forever.

Lie #3: You Will Always “Get” Each Other.

Men seem to be particularly bad at mind-reading. My husband is thrilled when he can predict my answer to a question. He is thrilled because it is rare. When I try to read his thoughts, I usually get it wrong as well. I read something negative into a sigh or something specific into a general comment. Neither of us are any good at telepathy.

It’s important to confront this lie because believing it discourages real communication. When a woman gives her husband the silent treatment to communicate frustration, she is promoting confusion, not understanding. When a man makes a passive-aggressive comment about his wife leaving her clothes on the floor, he is not giving her a chance to change. He is just venting his anger.

I believe it takes more love to listen well and clearly articulate your thoughts than it does to buy into the myth that true love “always knows.” True love works hard to know.

Talking is the new guessing. Try it.

Lie #4: Love is Always Romantic and Unexpected.

Too many stories end right after the proposal or wedding ceremony. We don’t get to watch the couple go through life together. We don’t get to see their first fight, the way they handle money problems, discipline their kids, or how they deal with illness. As a result, many expect marriage to be just like dating.

Correcting this lie requires not just a shift in expectations, but perspective. Our culture’s definition of “romance” is too narrow. Though marriage does not contain the fluttery nerves, new cologne, and best manners of a first date, there is a great deal of romance in the regular. My 90-year-old grandpa regularly sets his alarm clock for 12 a.m. so that he can wake up my diabetic grandmother for her midnight snack. As a stoic WWII vet and survivor of the Great Depression, he has never been verbally affectionate. But when I watch him faithfully take care of his wife in this way, it is more romantic to me than any movie or book.

If everyday events like sickness and car troubles seem like romance-killers to you, then they will be. But if you expect real-life situations to enter and impact your marriage and view them as opportunities to demonstrate Christ-like love, you have a lot to look forward to.

Lie #5: Love Means Never Having to Change.

The main problem with this lie is that it is self-focused instead of Christ-focused.

Self-love says: I deserve what I want and don’t have to change for anyone.

Christ-like love says: I deserve eternal punishment but have been given eternal grace. I will continue to seek new ways to be more like Christ.

Sinners should enter marriage ready to change. You asked God to mold and refine you before you were married. Don’t stop just because you have a ring on your finger.

Our motivation for changing should always be God’s glory and Christ-likeness. Christ was a servant. He laid down His life for His sheep (John 10:11). He gave of himself when He was exhausted. He cared about people when they were sick, unlovely and unpopular. And He did all of these things for His Father’s glory. Ask God to chip away at your sinfulness and your spouse to forgive you when you sin against them.

But don’t enter marriage with the expectation that you will change your spouse. Though Christ-like love certainly has the power to change people, your job is to love your spouse. Think they need to change? God is one who has the power to change people, so prayer should be our first response.

There will be times when we need to boldly speak the truth in love to our spouse (Ephesians 4:12), especially if they are in sin. But there will be many more times when we are called to show them love when they haven’t changed. We need to remember that marriage, though a powerful symbol of Christ’s love for the Church, is imperfect; a shadow of things to come (Colossians 2:17).

This article was originally posted at thebibleisrelevant.blogspot.com.

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52 days ago
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Are You a Worrier or Warrior?

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What keeps you up at night? What problems consume your thoughts, causing you to assume something bad is going to happen? Would you rather be a worrier or would you rather be a warrior when it comes to the troubles in your life? Worrying is a common struggle for all of us. There’s always something to worry about: kids, jobs, health, money, etc.

Parents worry if their kids will be okay at a friend’s house, at a park down the street, at a party, or out with friends. They worry about their kids making wise decisions when they’re with their friends. Husbands and wives worry about their spouse’s safety, their health, their job, and their faithfulness. But worry doesn’t have to consume you.  You can choose to fight back. Instead of being a worrier you can be a warrior. Here’s how:

A Worrier is passive, a Warrior is proactive.

For example, a worrier who is concerned about their child’s friends will fret, maybe complain, but just hope nothing bad happens. But a warrior gets to know their kids’ friends and their families, teaching their kids how to handle difficult or dangerous situations that might happen. The warrior also shows his kids how to stand strong for what is good and right.

A Worrier is paralyzed by fear. A Warrior admits fear but does what’s needed anyway.

For example, when a bully strikes family or friends, the worrier will avoid the bully in silence. But a warrior will overcome fear and do what’s needed: stand up to, speak out against, and report the bully.

A Worrier only finds peace when things go their way. A Warrior finds peace regardless.

When everything is going well on the job, at home, and in life, the worrier is at peace. But when the slightest thing goes wrong, the worrier is in complete turmoil. But a warrior finds comfort and peace even when major storms in life hit home because he knows God is in control of all things.

A Worrier becomes isolated and lonely. A Warrior seeks wise counsel and advice.

For example, a worrier consumed with financial concerns is likely to keep the problems quiet, assuming they should figure it out. But a proactive warrior confides in others they trust to get helpful advice and objective perspectives on how to handle their financial stress.

A Worrier obsesses with problems. A Warrior searches for solutions.

For example, a worrier concerned that their spouse may be dealing with an addiction might obsess on what the spouse is doing and be anxious about the spouse’s weaknesses and faults. A warrior looks for answers by getting help to address the problem.

A Worrier lacks trust. A Warrior trusts God in all things.

This is a tough one because we all worry sometimes. But worry is really not trusting in the all-powerful, all-knowing, and all-present God. A warrior trusts God—trusts that He is always with us, that He is always good, that He always loves us, and, that “in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28)

No one ever worried themselves out of worrying. No one ever worried themselves out of worrying. Eventually, a worrier who is weary of the worry needs hope and help. So go to God, trusting Him for answers and peace. Be proactive in prayer. Ask God to help you to release your worries. Don’t just say you’ll pray about your worries…get on your knees somewhere and actually pray.

Sound off: What is the most challenging thing about being a warrior rather than a worrier? 

The post Are You a Worrier or Warrior? appeared first on All Pro Dad.

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162 days ago
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A Simple Yet Amazing Way to Improve Your Marriage

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On our weekly date night as a couple, my wife and I often ask and answer these few important questions: “What am I doing right?… What do I need to do more of or improve in?… What is one way that I can serve you this week?” Surprisingly, our answers are almost always about things at opposite ends of the marriage spectrum. And honestly, after nearly 19 years of marriage, we shouldn’t be too surprised by it but have actually come to expect it.

My wife and I are so different in many ways, and as a result of that, like most couples, we see things from different perspectives. Some things that are important to me are not nearly as important to her and vice versa. Do you find this to be true in your marriage relationship as well? Does it ever cause tension between the two of you? Here’s a simple exercise to help you improve your marriage and learn how to love your spouse a little bit better.

Try it, I dare you. It’s as simple and finding out the answer to this question: What are the top 3 areas of importance in your relationship with your spouse? Do you know what they are?

Here’s an easy as 1-2-3 way to find out.

  • Make a list of 10-12 areas of importance in your lives together (a clean house, unity in parenting, financial stability, a great sex life, good communication, peace with the in-laws, etc.).
  • Ask your wife to select the top three that are most important to her. Even allow her to add areas you may have missed if needed.
  • Once you’ve identified your spouse’s “Top 3,” honestly evaluate yourself (or better yet let your spouse evaluate you) by answering this question: “How am I doing at prioritizing these specific areas and what could I do differently or better in these areas?”

Allow your spouse to give you feedback. Because while all of the areas are important to get right, some are more important to your spouse than others, and you need to know which ones in order to be successful.

My wife and I have found that some of our most productive conversations come when we are willing to honestly and transparently answer each other’s questions and get specific about what matters most to us. Sometimes this happens at scheduled times like date nights, and other times this happens spontaneously and at unexpected moments like right before we’re about to fall asleep. We’ve learned to embrace them both.

We’ve also found that one of the fastest ways to get nowhere in your marriage is simply to assume your spouse knows what you’re thinking and thinks the same way you do. This breeds frustration and resentment over time. But by intentionally seeking to know and pursue each other’s personal needs and desires above our own, we have found one of the greatest keys to happiness in our marriage. Because…

The better you know your spouse, the better you can love your spouse.

The better you know your spouse, the better you can love your spouse.Someone once wisely gave me this advice about my wife. “To be successful, you need to know what makes her tick, and you also need to know what ticks her off.” That is some simple but good advice and this exercise is an easy way to help you to follow it. (If you haven’t already, another great way to help narrow down what your wife prioritizes in your relationship is to identify her love language at 5lovelanguages.com)

Once you know how to live successfully with your spouse by better understanding her and you’re willing to make some changes, you can often make all the difference between a good marriage and a great one.

Sound off: What changes are you going to make to improve your marriage?

The post A Simple Yet Amazing Way to Improve Your Marriage appeared first on All Pro Dad.

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164 days ago
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Spanish Soccer League App Spies on Fans

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The Spanish Soccer League's smartphone app spies on fans in order to find bars that are illegally streaming its games. The app listens with the microphone for the broadcasts, and then uses geolocation to figure out where the phone is.

The Spanish data protection agency has ordered the league to stop doing this. Not because it's creepy spying, but because the terms of service -- which no one reads anyway -- weren't clear.

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203 days ago
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3 Comments and 13 Shares
Gotta feel kind of bad for nation-state hackers who spend years implanting and cultivating some hardware exploit, only to discover the entire target database is already exposed to anyone with a web browser.
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211 days ago
Gotta feel kind of bad for nation-state hackers who spend years implanting and cultivating some hardware exploit, only to discover the entire target database is already exposed to anyone with a web browser.
211 days ago
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2 public comments
211 days ago
The modern tech stack
211 days ago
Earth, Sol system, Western spiral arm
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