Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

Mom Gives Her 13-Year-Old Son An iPhone For Christmas — Plus An 18-point Contract To Go With It   Leave a comment

From and

In this day and age, it’s more and more common to see a teenager with a smartphone. Prices on devices have dropped in recent years, and the monthly service reasonably affordable, too.

electronics_teen-on-cellphone_146801320-thumb-240xauto-4970One mom, Jannel Burley Hofmann, bought her 13-year old son Gregory an iPhone for Christmas, and wrote the following letter / contract to accompany his gift. So check out her letter to him and let us know what you think: is she being perfectly fair and reasonable? Too controlling and restrictive?


Dear Gregory

Merry Christmas!  You are now the proud owner of an iPhone.  You are a good & responsible 13 year old boy and you deserve this gift.  But with the acceptance of this present comes rules and regulations.  Please read through the following contract.  I hope that you understand it is my job to raise you into a well rounded, healthy young man that can function in the world and coexist with technology, not be ruled by it.  Failure to comply with the following list will result in termination of your iPhone ownership.

I love you madly & look forward to sharing several million text messages with you in the days to come.

1. It is my phone.  I bought it.  I pay for it.  I am loaning it to you.  Aren’t I the greatest?

2.  I will always know the password.

3.   If it rings, answer it.  It is a phone.  Say hello, use your manners.  Do not ever ignore a phone call if the screen reads “Mom” or “Dad”.  Not ever.

4.  Hand the phone to one of your parents promptly at 7:30pm every school night & every weekend night at 9:00pm.  It will be shut off for the night and turned on again at 7:30am.  If you would not make a call to someone’s land line, wherein their parents may answer first, then do not call or text.  Listen to those instincts and respect other families like we would like to be respected.

5.  It does not go to school with you.  Have a conversation with the people you text in person.  It’s a life skill.  *Half days, field trips and after school activities will require special consideration.

6.  If it falls into the toilet, smashes on the ground, or vanishes into thin air, you are responsible for the replacement costs or repairs.  Mow a lawn, babysit, stash some birthday money.  It will happen, you should be prepared.

7.  Do not use this technology to lie, fool, or deceive another human being.  Do not involve yourself in conversations that are hurtful to others.  Be a good friend first or stay the hell out of the crossfire.

8.  Do not text, email, or say anything through this device you would not say in person.

9.  Do not text, email, or say anything to someone that you would not say out loud with their parents in the room.  Censor yourself.

10.  No porn.  Search the web for information you would openly share with me.  If you have a question about anything, ask a person – preferably me or your father.

11.  Turn it off, silence it, put it away in public.  Especially in a restaurant, at the movies, or while speaking with another human being.  You are not a rude person; do not allow the iPhone to change that.

12.  Do not send or receive pictures of your private parts or anyone else’s private parts.  Don’t laugh.  Someday you will be tempted to do this despite your high intelligence.  It is risky and could ruin your teenage/college/adult life.  It is always a bad idea.  Cyberspace is vast and more powerful than you.  And it is hard to make anything of this magnitude disappear – including a bad reputation.

13.  Don’t take a zillion pictures and videos.  There is no need to document everything.  Live your experiences.  They will be stored in your memory for eternity.

14.  Leave your phone home sometimes and feel safe and secure in that decision.  It is not alive or an extension of you.  Learn to live without it.  Be bigger and more powerful than FOMO – fear of missing out.

15.  Download music that is new or classic or different than the millions of your peers that listen to the same exact stuff.  Your generation has access to music like never before in history.  Take advantage of that gift.  Expand your horizons.

16.  Play a game with words or puzzles or brain teasers every now and then.

17.  Keep your eyes up.  See the world happening around you.  Stare out a window.  Listen to the birds.  Take a walk.  Talk to a stranger.  Wonder without googling.

18.  You will mess up.  I will take away your phone.  We will sit down and talk about it.  We will start over again.  You & I, we are always learning.  I am on your team.  We are in this together.

It is my hope that you can agree to these terms.  Most of the lessons listed here do not just apply to the iPhone, but to life.  You are growing up in a fast and ever changing world.  It is exciting and enticing. Keep it simple every chance you get.  Trust your powerful mind and giant heart above any machine.  I love you.  I hope you enjoy your awesome new iPhone.  Merry Christmas!



Posted January 20, 2013 by greggornation in Family, Media, Music, School, Technology

Sharing the good news of Christmas at the mall   2 comments

I found this video on Facebook. It is so moving to me for some reason.



I’m pretty sure these people were intentional with the contrasting message of the consumerist aspect of being at the mall (focusing on spending money to purchase gifts that will eventually find their way to being stored in the basement, going out of style, or being replaced by the new upgraded version, etc.) to proclaiming the birth of the newborn King, our Savior, Jesus Christ (focusing on the One who was born in a lowly, crude stable. The One who will never be put into storage in my basement, and hopefully, not yours either. The One who will never go out of style. The One who doesn’t need an upgrade; He was already upgraded once on the cross for our eternal salvation, and doesn’t need any more upgrades).

Here’s the great news – There’s no cost for our salvation. We don’t need to go to the mall to buy it. The price was paid when Jesus went to the cross. He gets what we deserve, and we get what He deserves. It is a gift given freely from God. There is nothing we need to do to have it. In fact, He wants to give us this gift so badly that he chases us to give it to us. We just need to let him catch us.

Please experience the joy that this video gives in heralding the birth of Christ, at the mall, to those who don’t know Him. It’s probably not unlike when the angel announced that the Savior had been born in the town of David. Then a host of heavenly beings appeared with the angels and began singing praises to God. When the singing was over, the shepherds decided to travel to Bethlehem and see the Christ-child. (Luke 2:1-20)

I don’t know for sure, but I bet there were some “shepherds” there who decided to find out some more about Jesus that day.

Feel free to experience the joy of this bringing tears to your eyes as people are moved to fall on their knees in worship. Maybe they didn’t even know why they fell to their knees. That my friends is the Holy Spirit in action.

Feel free to experience Christ.

Posted December 2, 2012 by greggornation in General, Music

Glee Goes All the Way… Again   Leave a comment

by Jonathan McKee at

This week Doug Fields posted an article of mine on his blog encouraging parents to use the “pause button,” the “fast forward button”… and even the “off button” on their TV remotes as they co-view media with kids. Which button does Fox’s Glee require?

This week Glee featured two of the show’s teenage couples each losing their virginity, a homosexual couple (Kurt and Blaine), and a heterosexual couple (Finn and Rachel).

Parents that took time to even notice the show’s content this week are debating the appropriateness. The PTC is outraged (as always), and articles are beginning to emerge asking relevant questions, like this article from Time, What Teen Sex on Glee Really Teaches Kids.

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen Glee address the subject of teenagers losing their virginity. In the 15th episode of Season One, an episode titled “The Power of Madonna,” Glee introduced the same scenario when three couples faced the decision to lose their virginity (the episode was watched by 12.98 million American viewers and was critically acclaimed). After a dream sequence performance of Madonna’s Like a Virgin, two of these teenagers took the plunge and “went all the way” (Finn and Santana), while others didn’t (Rachel, for example). Read the rest of this entry »

Posted November 10, 2011 by greggornation in Dating, Family, Main, Music, School

2011 Video Music Awards   Leave a comment

In a post from Jonathon McKee, he list four truths that came from the 2011 Video Music Awards shown on MTV. 

Parent’s, we’re not going to stop our children from listening to music that is misguiding, so we should learn about it and instead of ignoring it, embrace it and learn to talk to our children about it.

Read on…

For the most part – and we stress “for the most part” – this was one of the tamer VMAs in recent history. (We’ll elaborate on the few exceptions later.) Also setting this awards show apart from the past were the coolest live performances in recent memory. Lady Gaga opened the show with a strong performance of her hit song, You and I (No question, Gaga is a very talented performer). Taking the stage throughout the remainder of the night would be Pit Bull, Adele, Kanye West and Jay Z, Beyoncé, and Young the Giant. Chris Brown also did a cool dance medley, and Bruno Mars sang a tribute to the recently deceased Amy Winehouse. Finally, Lil Wayne performed at the show’s end. (Umm…he’s one of the exceptions we just mentioned.)

All in all, MTV seemed to place the emphasis on – wait for it – music. Yeah, we were surprised, too. As we watched this year’s music awards show that actually centered on music, we observed four inescapable realities about youth culture. Here they are: Read the rest of this entry »

Posted September 5, 2011 by greggornation in General, Media, Music

Mean (Girls)>(Part 1)   Leave a comment


You, with your words like knives and swords and weapons that you use against me
You have knocked me off my feet again got me feeling like I’m nothing
You, with your voice like nails on a chalkboard, calling me out when I’m wounded
You, pickin’ on the weaker man

Well, you can take me down with just one single blow
But you don’t know what you don’t know

For those of you with teenagers, you probably know these lyrics. If not, ask your child and I’m sure she’ll be able to explain them to you. When you get to the end of this post, you can watch the video.

Taylor Swift’s “Mean” is a story of universal tales of getting picked on with a colorful theater show starring the country singer.

Someday I’ll be living in a big old city
And all you’re ever gonna be is mean
Someday I’ll be big enough so you can’t hit me
And all you’re ever gonna be is mean

Why you gotta be so mean?

You, with your switching sides and your walk-by lies and your humiliation
You, have pointed out my flaws again as if I don’t already see them
I’ll walk with my head down trying to block you out ’cause I’ll never impress you
I just wanna feel okay again

The video opens with Swift strumming a banjo in front of her backing band, who inhabit a lush stage setup resembling a farmhouse and begins playing alongside her. The jamboree offsets the painful tales of bullying: a well-dressed boy is prodded in a locker room by the football team, a female fast-food worker is victimized by a group of high schoolers, and a girl is shunned by the popular crowd and forced to eat lunch in the bathroom. All of the stories are resolved at the clip’s end, with the first two teens landing their dream jobs and the unpopular girl happily watching the star Swift has become on stage. “Someday, I’ll be big enough so you can’t hit me/And all you’re ever gonna be is mean,” Swift sings while dressed in a glamorous flapper getup.

I’ll bet you got pushed around, somebody made you cold
But the cycle ends right now ’cause you can’t lead me down that road
And you don’t know what you don’t know

Someday I’ll be living in a big old city
and all you’re ever gonna be is mean
Someday I’ll be big enough so you can’t hit me
And all you’re ever gonna be is mean

Why you gotta be so mean?

It would be nice if all stories of bullying and teen violence wrapped up nicely like a fairy tale, but they don’t. Bullying can and does scar for life. This song has turned into an anthem (read: fantasy) of the bullied: “Someday, you are going to be sorry for bullying me. I’m going to be rich/successful/famous, and you’ll still be a jerk.” My question is, what happens to those who are bullied who don’t become rich/successful/famous? Do they just grow up to be well adjusted adults? I don’t think so. They will go into adulthood with the same insecurities, fears, and hurts that they grew up with.

And I can see you years from now in a bar, talking over a football game
With that same big loud opinion but nobody’s listening
Washed up and ranting about the same old bitter things
Drunk and grumbling on about how I can’t sing

But all you are is mean

So, what can we do to make sure that our kids who are bullied and picked on grow up to be well adjusted? We need to start before the  the bullying begins. We need to make sure we start building our kids up; We need to make sure that their identity is not in what they wear, the music they listen to, or the friends they have. We need to ingrain in them that their identity is in who God made them to be. We need to be parents who honor our children by making sure that they know they can confide in us no matter what. That “I love you” comes before “what were you thinking?”. If they get into a fight at school, have a crush on a boy, got caught cheating on a test, broke up with a boyfriend, got picked on – our kids need to feel comfortable telling us these things. That begins with open conversations early on in their life, and that they understand that nothing they do will wear out our love for them.

All you are is mean and a liar and pathetic and alone in life

And mean, and mean, and mean, and mean

But someday I’ll be living in a big old city
And all you’re ever gonna be is mean, yeah
Someday, I’ll be big enough so you can’t hit me
And all you’re ever gonna be is mean

It scares me that a child can hold so much power over another child with mere words. Our natural instinct is to tell our children to “buck up”, or , “don’t worry about it, it will get better”. Remember what it was like when you were a kid. Those words are real, and they hurt. Remember sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me? Do me a favor, Google “Phoebe Prince” and tell me words don’t hurt.

Why you gotta be so mean?

Someday, I’ll be, living in a big old city
(Why you gotta be so mean?)
And all you’re ever gonna be is mean
(Why you gotta be so mean?)
Someday, I’ll be big enough so you can’t hit me
(Why you gotta be so mean?)
And all you’re ever gonna be is mean

Why you gotta be so mean?

Posted May 23, 2011 by greggornation in Family, Music, School

3 Buttons Every Parent Should Use   Leave a comment

Parenting Media-saturated Teens and Tweens

by Jonathan McKee

“Don’t give up.”

That was my cry to a group of parents last night at one of my parenting workshops. When parents get a glimpse of the daunting reality of how much time the average 8-18-year-old kid spends each day saturating in entertainment media (7 hours and 38 minutes), they are often overwhelmed with thoughts of, “How can I compete with Eminem and Lady Gaga?” and “What good can my few minutes a day with my kids do?”

You’re not alone.

Today’s parents often wonder if they’re truly making a difference in the lives of their kids, or if they should just throw in the towel. I assure you, don’t give up. Research unanimously reveals that parents who care enough to spend time with their kids and help their kids make good choices are the parents who become the number one influence in their kids’ lives. (I cite numerous examples of this research in my book, Candid Confessions of an Imperfect Parent).

Many parents might not be so quick to throw up their hands and quit if they were just given a few tools to help them navigate this intimidating arena of 21st century parenting. In a world of Facebook, iPods and MTV, how can we connect with our media-saturated teens and tweens?

I’ve found it extremely helpful to use three buttons.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted May 9, 2011 by greggornation in Family, Media, Music, Uncategorized

Facts & Dreams

"Each man should frame life so that at some future hour fact and his dreaming meet." -Victor Hugo