Vol. 3 Issue 47 | November 24, 2017

Vol. 3 Issue 47 | November 24, 2017

Three Things This Week

1. PK80

What it is: College basketball hits primetime this week with several early season tournaments showcasing the nation’s best teams at exotic locations from Maui to the Bahamas.

Why it's gotta be the shoes: The PK80 is this year’s newest and most compelling holiday tournament, celebrating the legacy of Nike’s founder Phil Knight. The tournament features 16 elite teams (like Duke, Michigan State, UNC, Gonzaga), oddly enough all of whom wear Nike. “The lucrative link between shoe and apparel companies and universities is a matter of public knowledge.” Made even more public by the ongoing FBI probe exposing the influence and power shoe companies have over players and schools. Maybe Mars Blackmon was right after all.

2. The Last Jedi

What it is: Expected to gross over $200 million opening weekend, the latest installment in the Star Wars universe has Rey joining an aging Luke Skywalker to become a Jedi.

Why it's kinda realistic: The early trailers provide a hint to where this storyline is going. Rey’s training with Luke awakens her to the power of the Force, and she sees “light, darkness...and something else.” Use her struggle to start a conversation with your teen about the tension between our sin natures and our redeemed selves, remembering the line between good and evil “runs through every human heart,” even a Jedi’s.

3. Iceland Cures Teen Substance Abuse?

What it is: A holistic cultural movement including families, government, and schools in Iceland has produced Europe’s “cleanest-living teens” as only 5% of Icelandic students abuse alcohol while only 3% smoke cigarettes.

Why it’s ground-breaking: Students dabble in drugs for many reasons including stress, depression, and the rush that comes from risky behavior. Along with educational initiatives, curfews, and community involvement, the program provides teens with alternative experiences, creating a “social movement around natural highs” like sports, dance, hip-hop, and martial arts. “We learned through the studies that we need to create circumstances in which kids can lead healthy lives, and they do not need to use substances, because life is fun...and they are supported by parents who will spend time with them.” Which begs the question: What’s your plan? What environment and experiences are you providing at home and school to eliminate drugs as a viable option for students seeking thrills, fun, and stress relief?


The Books That Changed Our Lives

God spoke, and the universe came into being. With three gentle words, “Let there be,” He created planets, people, plants, and animals. It must be true then that “words create worlds.” If so, what kind of world are we creating with our 140-character, texting culture where words come to us processed like cheese, polluted and depleted into slogans and soundbites designed not so much to tell the truth as to manipulate? Apparently a dull one. Educators call it “twaddle.” Regardless the name, diluted language not only devalues us as human beings, but debases society.

That’s why we’re thankful for living words and good literature that possess the power to bring beauty, truth, and goodness into the world. A good book will change your life. Reading classic literature increases intelligence, widens vocabulary, builds self-esteem, and introduces us to worlds outside our own. “Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers.” Here’s our list of the top 10 books we read as teens that changed the way we see the world.

  1. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  2. Far From the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy
  3. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
  4. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
  5. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
  6. Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
  7. Middlemarch by George Elliott
  8. Walden by Henry David Thoreau
  9. All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque
  10. Native Son by Richard Wright

We often shy away from works like these because the language is challenging, but reading a classic is like meeting a new friend from a different culture—it takes time and energy to understand them, but in the end we’re richer for the relationship. “Loving language means cherishing it for its beauty, precision, power to enhance, and power to heal.” So during this long weekend in the U.S. as we remember all we are thankful for, binge on a book, not Netflix! Unlike watching television, which tends to turn the brain off, reading strengthens neural pathways. Curl up with your son or daughter and start one of these books together. Linger over the language, marvel at the power of the words to move and shape you. And remember: to read well is to live well.


Are your teens watching Stranger Things this weekend? If so, check out our Parent’s Guide to Stranger Things and find out why this 1980’s style show is so loved by your kids.

Previous topics: Search our archives here

Editor’s Note: Axis links to many different sources within this e-newsletter; a link does not equal an endorsement. We cannot guarantee the content of each site (especially its ads). Please be forewarned. Also, we highly recommend something like AdBlock.