July Difference Maker: Boys & Girls Clubs of NW Indiana

Each day, Boys & Girls Clubs of Northwest Indiana provides young people – especially those who need them most – with the support and affirmation to help them reach their full potential as productive, caring, responsible citizens.

Every child deserves the opportunity to be successful. Currently operating six Clubs in Lake County, Boys & Girls Clubs of Northwest Indiana (BGCNWI) has been offering hope and opportunity to local youth since 1954 by providing a safe place for kids to learn and grow through life-enhancing after-school and summer programming.

Through an innovative, outcomes-based model, and with the support of highly trained professional staff and adult mentors, BGCNWI offers fun and engaging programs to nearly 10,000 youth ages 6 to 18 that impact both academic and social success. When schools are out, Clubs are in!

BGCNWI recently announced a new initiative called the High 5 Challenge to raise money and awareness in support of their efforts to create possibilities, and GREAT Futures! Join the movement and take the High 5 Challenge today!

Visit or text High5 to 71777.

Listen to Shine.FM this month to find out more about Boys & Girls Clubs of Northwest Indiana at You can also find them on Facebook or follow them on Twitter @BGCNWI.

The Poop on Potty Training

Dear Dr. Bill,


I need some information on how to get our son potty-trained.  We’ve been trying since he turned two-years-old.  He seems afraid of sitting the regular toilet even though we try using a training seat for him.  He is just a bit over 2|1/2.  What should we do?




Dear George,


Potty training is a messy subject, but it’s something a lot of parents get stressed out about.  One of reasons for the stress is pressure from family and friends.


You should know that the AVERAGE age for mastering toilet training is three.  That’s just an average, which means a lot of kids are trained closer to two, while others don’t reach this milestone until age four.


The toddler who succeeds in potty training is the one who WANTS to be trained.  Kids forced into potty training before they’re ready may develop a negative attitude that will only delay success.  Here are a few signs that can help you figure out if your son is ready:


Does he know when he is about to go?  This awareness will help him get started.


Are his bowel movements predictable?  Don’t laugh…regularity can help you figure out the times of day when potty training attempts are most likely to succeed.


Does he want to wear “big boy” underwear?  This is a sign of wanting to be independent.  Underwear can also serve as a reward for your son’s interest in toilet training.


Can he pull his pants down and pull them back up by himself?  This is important skill…it allows for easy access when he feels the urge to go.


You can find more potty training advice at


Thanks for writing, George.

I’m Bill Maier for Shine.FM.

Listen to today’s audio here.

Can Your Child’s Drawings Predict Their IQ Later in Life?

Can your child’s drawings predict his intelligence level later in life?  Researchers in England say “possibly.”


United Press International reports on a new study done at King’s College in London.  Researchers there followed 8,000 pairs of identical and non-identical twins over a period of 10 years.


When the kids in the study were 4-years-old, they were asked to draw a picture of a child.  Those same kids were given an IQ test 10 years later.


The study found that kids who drew more accurate and detailed pictures at 4 had higher scores on the IQ test at 14.


The quality of the 4-year-olds’ drawings was based on details, not how artistic they were.  The researchers looked to see if the kids had included features like a head, eyes, nose, mouth, ears, hair, body, arms and so on.

Dr. Rosalind Arden, the lead author of the study says: “The correlation is moderate, so our findings are interesting, but it does not mean that parents should worry if their child draws badly.”

Dr. Arden points out that drawing ability does not determine intelligence, and that there are numerous other factors, both genetic and environmental, which affect intelligence later in life.

By the way, the researchers also found the quality of drawings and intelligence were more closely linked in the identical twins than the fraternal twins, which seems to suggest a genetic component.

I have to admit, I was VERY relieved to hear that the quality of your drawing doesn’t indicate your level of intelligence.  Because when I draw pictures for my kids, they just look at me and say “what is that, Dad?”


I’m Bill Maier for Shine.FM.

Listen to today’s audio here.

Back to School Anxiety

Are your kids looking forward to the first day of school, or could they be feeling a bit anxious?

Along with going to bed earlier and doing homework, some children stress about a new school year because it means adjusting to change. Some kids love change, but for others it can create fear and worry.

“Will I like my new teacher?” “What if the work is too hard for me?” “What if I don’t make any friends?” Clinical psychologist and mom Juli Slattery says questions like these can keep can keep a 6-year-old — or a 16-year-old — up at night in the weeks leading up to the start of school.

Dr. Slattery says we can help our kids with “new school year anxiety” by validating their feelings. Encourage them to express their feelings about the school year starting.

You might ask them what they’re most excited and most nervous about. Then, explain that its normal to feel jitters before school starts.

Juli says we can also help to reduce the number of “unknown” factors leading up to the school year. Find out what you can about a new teacher, a new school and what friends will be attending school with your child.

If your school offers an open house to meet teachers and organize lockers, take advantage of it. If you have children just starting junior high or high school, walk through their schedule for the day.

Finally, when school starts, provide your child with displays of your confidence and affection. You might give a kindergartner a teddy bear to carry in his backpack as a reminder that “Mom and Dad are praying for you.” For older kids, leave notes of encouragement hidden in their notebooks or lunch sacks.

You can find more back to school tips by going to and entering “back to school” in the search engine.

I’m Bill Maier for Shine.FM.

Listen to today’s’ audio.

Could Your Child Be Overweight & Not Even Know It?

Could your child be overweight—and not even know it?  According to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, most children and teens who are overweight think that they are actually the right weight.

Live Science is reporting on the study, in which researchers asked kids ages 8 to 15 whether they considered themselves to be “fat or overweight, too thin, or about the right weight.”

Overall, about 30 percent of the children had misperceptions about their weight.  Some kids who normal weight thought they were overweight or too thin.  Other kids who were overweight or obese thought they were underweight or about the right weight.

The overweight kids had the most had misperceptions about their weight.  81 percent of overweight boys and 71 percent of overweight girls thought they were about the right weight. In addition, about half of obese boys and a third of obese girls thought they were the right weight.

According to the report, more children from low-income families had misperceptions about their weight, compared with the children of high- and middle-income families.

Previous studies have shown that parents also misperceive their children’s weight. Dr. Ihuoma U. Eneli, at Nationwide Children’s Hospital says one reason for the misperception may be inadequate knowledge about what a healthy weight looks like.

Dr. Eneli points out that as the prevalence of obesity has increased over time, our perception of what is a normal weight has also changed.  She says “If people look heavier, then heavier starts looking like the norm.”

For some advice on helping your child stay healthy and fit, go to

I’m Bill Maier for Shine.FM.

Listen to today’s audio here.

Kids and Listening

Dear Dr. Bill,

My son is having trouble listening to instructions and following directions. He gets very focused on the TV, a book or videogame. It seems like I have to repeat myself over and over again. How can I teach him to listen to me?


Dear Shawna,


The best way to get your son to listen is to change the way you communicate with him.


First of all, you need to make sure you have his full attention when you’re speaking to him. Never, ever ask your child to do something or give them instructions when they are watching TV, playing a video game, or engaged in some other kind of activity. Turn off the TV, tell your child to look into your eyes, and then give them a clear, unambiguous command.


Secondly, make sure your command is backed up by a time deadline and a consequence. For example, instead of simply saying: “Johnny, I want you to turn off that TV and clean up your room,” do this:


Turn off the TV, get your son’s full attention, and then say: “Johnny, it’s 5 o’clock—I want you to put away all of your toys by 5:30. I’m going to set the kitchen timer for 30 minutes and when it rings I’ll be inspecting your work. If you do a good job, I’ll allow you to have 30 minutes of video game time after dinner tonight. If you haven’t completed your work by 5:30, you won’t be able to play video games at all this evening.”


Then make sure you follow through. If you don’t, you’ve just taught your son that you don’t mean what you say.


Dr. Russell Barkley, one of the nation’s leading experts in parent training, coined a phrase that every parent should remember: “Act, don’t yak.”


Thanks for writing, Shawna.

I’m Bill Maier for Shine.FM.

Listen to today’s audio here.

Passing Your Faith On To Your Kids: Part 3

Would you like to be more intentional about passing your faith on to your kids?  This week I’m tackling that topic at the request of several of our listeners.


So here’s a question for you—are you teaching your children to share their faith?  Do you want your kids to live boldly for Christ in world that is increasingly hostile to Christianity?


If so, they will need to learn some basic principles of apologetics and an accurate Christian world view.  Here’s some good news: author and apologist Lee Strobel has written a series of books that will help you with this daunting task.


Check out these titles: The Case for Faith for Kids, The Case for a Creator for Kids, The Case for Christ for Kids and Off My Case for Kids: 12 Stories to Help You Defend Your Faith.  Read these books with your children, and you’ll find that YOU will be more confident in sharing your faith as well!


In addition to the ideas I’ve shared over the past two days, here’s a challenge for you.  Become a counter-cultural family.  What do I mean by that?


I firmly believe that the Body of Christ needs to become “counter-cultural” in the 21st century.  Our culture tells us the most important things in life are wealth, power, success, popularity and physical attractiveness.  Our kids hear this constant drumbeat from their peers, from the media–perhaps even from us without us even realizing it.


But Jesus calls us to a higher standard—one characterized by compassion, generosity, service and self-sacrifice.   Are we teaching those values to our children?


Encourage your kids to reach outside their circle of friends and “love the unlovely”—the kids at their school or in the neighborhood who may be unpopular, unattractive, lonely or disabled.  Isn’t that what Jesus would do?


I’m Bill Maier for Shine.FM.

Listen to today’s audio here.

Passing Your Faith On To Your Kids: Part 2

How can you be more intentional about passing your faith on to your kids?  Yesterday I started a three-part series on this topic, and I talked about making sure that our “walk” matches our talk.”


I also shared why it’s so important to really listen to your kids, instead of simply preaching at them.  Here are a few more ideas for Christian parents:


Teach your kids to pray.  Help them to understand that rather a formal theological exercise, prayer is simply an ongoing conversation with God.


When you pray with them, use clear, straightforward language…just as you would in a conversation with a friend.  One helpful guide to personal prayer is the ACTS model (Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, and Supplication).


Have regular family devotions—and make them relevant and FUN!  Many parents struggle to lead a family devotional time because they feel inadequate.  If that’s you, take advantage of some of the excellent, age-specific devotional resources available from Focus on the Family and other Christian ministries.


A great book on this topic is 52 Creative Family Time Experiences: Fun Ways to Bring Faith Home, by Timothy Smith.


Model an “attitude of gratitude.”  One of the best ways to teach your kids to be thankful is by having a grateful attitude yourself.  Remember to express thankfulness to God on a regular basis…even for the simple things like a roof over your head and food on the table.


Also, model gratitude in your relationships with others.  Make sure to express thankfulness to friends, relatives, and co-workers…and not only when they do something special for you.  Let them know how much you appreciate them just for who they are.


I’ll have more ideas in tomorrow’s report.

I’m Bill Maier for Shine.FM.

Listen to today’s audio here.

Passing Your Faith On To Your Kids: Part 1

Christian young people are leaving the church in record numbers. In fact, some youth ministry experts believe that as many as three out of four Christian teens who attend a secular college or university will leave the church by the time they graduate.


How can we be more intentional about passing our faith along to our children? This week I’ll be sharing a few practical ideas on this for Christian parents:


First of all, it’s important to remember that Christianity is “caught” more than taught. Although teaching spiritual truths to our kids is important, how we live out our Christian faith on a daily basis is vital. If our “walk” doesn’t match our “talk” our children will come to view our faith as hypocritical and meaningless.


So, are you modeling the Fruit of the Spirit? For those of us who are followers of Christ, here’s a hard question we should ask ourselves: Are we demonstrating Galatians 5:22-23 in our relationship with our spouse and our kids?


Are those relationships characterized by love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control? If not, perhaps it’s time to humbly come before God and ask him to change our hearts.


Here’s another question for you: are you keeping the lines of communication Open. Some parents have a tendency to preach at their kids but never really listen to them.


Our children (and especially our teenagers) need to know that they can talk to us about anything at all, even difficult issues like sex and drugs. They need to know that we’re truly interested in their lives, and that we’ll come alongside them when they are struggling or facing temptation.


I’ll share more ideas for Christian parents tomorrow.


I’m Bill Maier for Shine.FM.

Listen to today’s audio here.


Nothing Found

Sorry, no posts matched your criteria