Doing Life Together

Doing Life Together

What To Do With Halloween

posted by Linda Mintle

HalloweenAs Christians, we have to decide what to do with Halloween. Do we ignore it, participate with our neighbors, do our own thing, go to a church harvest party, or what? Is it better to engage the culture, have a voice in the festivities or retreat?

To decide, research the roots of Halloween in order to understand what the holiday is about- this is how you inform yourself with facts. I was surprised to learn that Halloween had Celtic origins related to sacrifices made to summer gods in Druidic tradition.


Then, pay attention to what you believe the Lord is telling you to do, and talk as a family. Pray for wisdom and follow the leading of the Holy Spirit, not other people. When you decide what to do,  help your children understand the position you take and why.

Other people should respect your decision, especially if you have had any personal encounters with the dark side of the spirit world in your family or through the generations. And if your decision is simply based on the idea that you don’t like what Halloween stands for and do not want to participate, you don’t need the approval of others.

My caution is not to judge others. Many use this holiday to engage their neighbors and have conversations about spiritual things. Others feel, they can dress up and had out candy because as Christians, there is nothing to fear. Still others see this as an opportunity to talk about the spiritual world, a chance for cultural engagement.


One of the best things that comes out of deciding what to do with Halloween is that it awakens us to the reality that evil exists and isn’t some Hollywood fantasy.

So no matter what you decide, know this. Jesus overcame all evil so we don’t have to fear. He overcame the darkness (1 John 4:4) and triumphed over death and evil. And every day His overcoming power works in us when we are one of His.

Assure  your children that no matter what they encounter, they are covered by the precious blood of Christ (not scary, but comforting) and greater is He that is in us, then he that is in the world.


Are Contact Sports Really All That Bad?

posted by Linda Mintle

footballBad news for the NFL. In September, a study was released that looked at the brains of deceased NFL players who had donated their brain to science due to suspicion of CTE (Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy). Of the 91 players tested, 87 had signs of CTE. That is 96%.

A larger and more diverse sample of American football players (high school, college, semiprofessional or professional) were also studied. Researchers their also found evidence of CTE in their brain tissue. 131 out 165 players had CTE in their brain tissue. And just last spring, the NFL paid approximately 5000 former players 765 million dollars to settle a lawsuit over health claims.


The brain takes a beating when a person is hit over and over. In football, especially if you are a lineman, you are repeatedly hit. According to new research, this repeated hitting may cause more of a problem than even concussions.

Genetics and past injuries, along with repeated blows to the head, appear to play a role in who will develop CTE. And we also know there is a connection between brain trauma and depression. 

Now I realize this is a skewed sample since the donated brains of players were the ones suspected of having brain trauma. The study doesn’t mean 96% of players will develop CTE, but the high number is alarming. In order to really know how at risk football players are for CTE, we would have to study the brains of all players or a representative sample. And the problem is that you can only diagnose CTE after someone dies.


Even thought the NFL is doing what it can to reduce injury and concussions, you can’t stop the hits from coming because contact sports are just that-contact. In fact, the University of Pittsburg neurological surgery department estimates that an athlete in a contact sport has as high as a 19% chance per season of experiencing a concussion.

So am I being an anxious mom by questioning if my kids should play sports that allow them to be hit in the head a number of times? The younger the athlete, the more vulnerable the brain is to injury, leading to cognitive problems.

When should a child quit or should he or she even play contact sports at all? This is a personal decision for every family, but at least we can make it being informed.

For me, basketball is looking good!


Schedule Time at the Friendship Spa

posted by Linda Mintle

Pr_25_-_TRS_-_23_04_10_0828Friendships! Do we nurture, appreciate and take care of them?

Having a friend you can count on is priceless, so perhaps we should pay attention to those important relationships that bring so much to our lives.

The other day I had to record spots for radio that we call the Mintle Health Minute. My producer, Pam Miller, had written copy for that spot. It was so good, I wanted to share it. Thanks Pam!

Ever heard the expression, “to have a friend, be a friend?” Most of us have. If you really want to be a treasured friend, why not visit the friendship spa?


Before you think this sounds crazy and expensive, I’m not talking about a real spa here. I am suggesting that just like a real spa though, you enlist some soothing treatments for your friendships.

Try this one: Why not soak your friend in prayer? Praying for someone builds compassion; it helps us see them as God does. How about this? Apply a liberal amount of encouragement. Just like aroma therapy, encouraging your friend’s abilities and strengths releases the sweet scent of trust and understanding.

Sometimes a friendship might need a deep tissue massage to get at the root of disagreement. But if you’ve been visiting the friendship spa, then the truth of Proverbs 27:6, where it tells that the loving reproof of a friend will only make us and our friendship stronger, will take effect.

So how about it, why not give the friendship spa a try!


Do Texting Families Communicate Better?

posted by Linda Mintle

textingMost of us realize that a good way to get a response from a child, teen or young adult is to text them. This is how they like to communicate.

There are benefits to texting communication: 1) Quick response 2) More convenient communication 3) Children feel more self-control when texting and thinking through what they want to say- they can rewrite their thoughts  4) People may have boldness to say things that might be difficult face-to-face.

But should we place convenience and preference over learning face-to-face skills? 


Texting is easier than facing a person. One of the complaints I hear from teens is that they can gather their thoughts, feel less tense and bring up issues by texting. But let’s pick this apart.

1) When you are in life situations, you can’t text your boss, your neighbor, your church member, etc. You have to learn how to speak on the spot. If you don’t practice this skill, how will you learn it?

2) What is wrong with feeling tension? We should feel tense when there is a problem, confrontation, bad decision or tough topic. The goal is to learn how to manage that tense feeling and work through it, not avoid it. This is why I believe we are seeing more anxious teens–they don’t practice sitting with anxiety, being offended, tolerating differences, etc. Instead, they want to avoid or make the problem go away. People need to learn to tolerate distress.


3) There is an art to bringing up issues or problems. Just ask any marital therapist. The way you approach a person–tone, soft start up, focusing on the issue vs the person, etc. is key to good conflict resolution. Texting doesn’t provide that practice.

4) People need to practice reading the nonverbal cues and tones of interactions and relationships. Otherwise, we create emotionally unintelligent people.

So in my mind, convenience and preference don’t trump learning emotional intelligence and practicing needed social skills.  Parents, be more intentional with helping kids put down the devices and look you in the eye to have face-to-face communication. It’s a life skill they need to learn.


Dr Linda Mintle is the author of We Need To Talk, a guide to helping people navigate conflict.

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