FamilyLife Today® Podcast

High School: A Time to Prepare

with Alex Chediak | August 1, 2011
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Have you prepared your teen for college? Alex Chediak, an associate professor at California Baptist University, points out that it's a son's or daughter's solid character and biblical worldview that will ultimately help them enjoy a successful college experience. Alex reminds incoming students to remember that they are there to learn and that they need to have a game plan in order to excel.

  • Show Notes

  • About the Host

  • About the Guest

  • Have you prepared your teen for college? Alex Chediak, an associate professor at California Baptist University, points out that it's a son's or daughter's solid character and biblical worldview that will ultimately help them enjoy a successful college experience. Alex reminds incoming students to remember that they are there to learn and that they need to have a game plan in order to excel.

  • Dave and Ann Wilson

    Dave and Ann Wilson are hosts of FamilyLife Today®, FamilyLife’s nationally-syndicated radio program. Dave and Ann have been married for more than 38 years and have spent the last 33 teaching and mentoring couples and parents across the country. They have been featured speakers at FamilyLife’s Weekend to Remember® marriage getaway since 1993 and have also hosted their own marriage conferences across the country. Cofounders of Kensington Church—a national, multicampus church that hosts more than 14,000 visitors every weekend—the Wilsons are the creative force behind DVD teaching series Rock Your Marriage and The Survival Guide To Parenting, as well as authors of the recently released book Vertical Marriage (Zondervan, 2019). Dave is a graduate of the International School of Theology, where he received a Master of Divinity degree. A Ball State University Hall of Fame quarterback, Dave served the Detroit Lions as chaplain for 33 years. Ann attended the University of Kentucky. She has been active alongside Dave in ministry as a speaker, writer, small-group leader, and mentor to countless wives of professional athletes. The Wilsons live in the Detroit area. They have three grown sons, CJ, Austin, and Cody, three daughters-in-law, and a growing number of grandchildren.

Have you prepared your teen for college?

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High School: A Time to Prepare

With Alex Chediak
August 01, 2011
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Bob:  —I can go to the movies on a Tuesday night!

Dennis:  At midnight.

Alex:  Yes.  Oh, yes.

Bob:  I remember going out and going, “It’s a Tuesday.  I’m at the movies.  This is great!” 

Alex:  Right.  Right.  (laughter)

Bob:  There’s some discipline that—I’m trying to think as a parent, “How do we help our kids cultivate these kinds of disciplines so that when they are on their own, some of that may kick back in?”

Alex:  Yes.  I think in high school a part of it is helping them to own their decisions.  Saying, “Hey look.  You have a schedule.  You have 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  How are you going to balance your work load, your job, your sports?”  Helping them with some of the skills that I talk about in Chapter Two there of making a schedule. 

The schedule is not just, “This is when I’m in class.”  It is, “This is when I’m having dinner with my friends,” which is an important thing to do.  “This is when I’m sleeping.  I’m going to make sure that I get seven to eight hours of sleep at night.”  You’d be surprised how many students burn out for lack of sleep.  “This is when I’m going to be in the library.  This is when I’m going to be studying for my classes.” 

Carving all that out and then, saying, “This is my time that I have for recreation and for fun.  This is the time I have for work.  This is time I have for sleep, taking care of my body.  This is the time I have for reading my Bible, taking care of my soul, going to church.  These are my priorities.”  In other words, schedule your priorities; otherwise, the urgent will tyrannize you.

Dennis:  What you are saying is to all incoming college freshmen: 

(audio clip from the Wizard of Oz begins playing)

Dorothy:  Toto, I have the feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore. 

Alex:  You’re not in Kansas anymore.  Amen to that.

Dennis:  This is not high school anymore.

Alex:  Right. 

Dennis:  You’ve got to have a different game plan as you go to college because if you don’t, there are enough distractions and enough people who do have a plan for your life—

Alex:  Right.  That’s right.

Dennis:  —who’ll pull and tug you in all different kinds of directions.

Alex:  Absolutely right.  Absolutely right.

Dennis:  I’m convinced a part of my success in college was tied to one very fundamental principle.  Go sit on the front row—

Alex:  Oh, yes.

Dennis:  —of the class.  Find a way to be there, be near the professor.  It’s eye-to-eye contact.  It helps someone who can get distracted by something else.

Alex:  Yes.

Dennis:  My concentration would go up.  It made the difference between, in many cases, a B or a C, and even times, I lucked out, an A.  (laughter)

Alex:  You’d be surprised.  Yes.  The front row is usually the stronger students who want to learn and are there to be motivated.  There is a correlation to where you sit in the classroom and how much you get out of the class.

Bob:  It is a little easier to focus and to concentrate.  It’s a good discipline to head up to the front row just because it is harder to tune out when you’re right there in front. 

Alex:  Absolutely.  You know the professor is watching you more closely and is able to call on you at any moment. 

Bob:  You’re right.

Alex:  One thing that I tell my students is that “Hey, I’m going to call on you at any moment in time.”  I don’t just say, “Raise your hand.”  I say, “I’m going to call on you at any point in time and ask you to answer something.  So, don’t be surprised if I do that.  I’m going to do it to everybody.”  That way, they kind of—things I do as a faculty to try to keep them alert and keep their focus because you can’t really learn in three-minute sound bites.  You have to learn through concentrating over a significant period of time. 

Dennis:  How often do students do students go to sleep in your class?  Now, be honest. 

Alex:  It does not happen, honestly, because I have learned—

Dennis:  You are that compelling about physics?!

Alex:  I try to be.  Yes.  I have had students occasionally drift off, but usually I will call upon them at that moment.  (laughter)  The fear factor—I’ve had students turn bright red.  I will call on—I remember a guy named—I’ll call him Steve.  Let’s call him Steve in case he listens to this broadcast.  I called on Steve.  He was doing one of these—his head was bobbing, he was starting to fall over.  I said, “Steve, how do you answer this question?”  He looked at me.  I looked at him and smiled as if he—he knew that I knew that he was falling asleep. 

Bob:  He was busted.  He’d been caught.

Alex:  He turned bright red, and it never happened again.  (laughter)  I only have about 35 people in a room at one time.  I can do that.  If there were 300, I couldn’t do that.

Dennis:  Yes.  This is one of the principles you write about, again, in your book is, “Train your sons and daughters to get enough sleep when they go to college,” because they are going to find plenty of opportunities to be up—

Alex:  Yes.

Dennis:  —with Bob going to the movies at midnight.

Alex:  That’s right.  That’s right—just a consistency of sleep, a consistent pattern.  I had a friend—let’s call him Bob—in college.  He would sleep four hours a night.  He’d stay up playing games, doing homework, or talking to friends.  He would go to sleep at 1:00 in the morning; wake up at 5:00 and catch up on all his homework that he was behind on.  Do that on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday.  Then, come the weekend, he’d sleep literally 12, 13 hours a night.  Absolutely crash out. 

You’d think Monday morning he’s ready to go, full of energy, right?  No.  His body has been trained to wake up at 1:00 in the afternoon.  So now, Monday morning, he wakes up.  He goes to class.  He’s totally irritable and exhausted.  His body never got to learn a consistency. 

So, one of the things I encourage them is to pick a bed time, a reasonable bed time, a time that allows you some time to enjoy your roommates and your dorm mates, have some enjoyment, but also get your homework done.  Pick it and keep it.  Wake up at a certain time.  Train your body:  “This is work time; this is fun time.”

 Dennis:  Alex, one other thing that you mention; and that is, “Turn your computer off one to two hours before you do go to bed.” 

Alex:  I’ve found that useful for myself.

Dennis:  Me, too. 

Alex:  Yes.

Dennis:  I’m not in college, but I’ve found if I stay in front of a computer screen—

Alex:  Yes.

Dennis:  —even for that matter, in front of the TV—

Alex:  Yes.  Exactly.

Dennis:  —right up until the time I go to bed, it takes my brain—

Alex:  Oh, yes.

Dennis:  —a little bit of time to unplug from all the stimulation.

Alex:  Right.

Dennis:  If I’ve really been working on things at work late at night—

Alex:  Yes.

Dennis:  —9:30, 10:00, 10:30, I’m toast for an hour, maybe an hour and a half.

Alex:  Yes.

Dennis:  I’ve got to pull out a book and read—something that helps me settle down and, ultimately, just go to sleep.

Alex:  Right.  Right.

Dennis:  That’s great advice for young people.

Alex:  Well, thank you.  Thank you—

Bob:  This kind of practical counsel that we’re talking about here as you are preparing to release a son or daughter to a college campus—afterwards, you think, “I should have told them this or I should have told them that or—”

Alex:  Yes.

Bob:  —“I didn’t even think about that area.”  One of the great benefits that you’ve given us, Alex, as parents is you put this information in a book that students can read.  Written to students, for students—

Alex:  Right.

Bob:  —to get them ready, thinking about the issues that they’re going to face as college students.  Of course, we’ve got your book, Thriving at College, in our FamilyLife Today Resource Center.  If our listeners are interested in getting a copy, go online at for more information.  Again, it’s  You’ll find information about Alex’s book, Thriving at College

Then, we mentioned the College Ready video series that has been put together by FamilyLife.  This is designed for a group of students to go through with their parents.  You can do it with a handful of students.  You can do it with a youth group.  You can do it just as parent and child.  The video series has a great workbook that comes with it that helps a student create a map for what they want their college experience to look like.  It helps them think in advance about how to maximize their time on the campus. 

Again, there is more information about the College Ready video series online at, as well.  So, go to for more information about Alex Chediak’s book, Thriving at College or the video series College Ready.  Again, the website is 

You can call for more information as well:  1-800-FL-TODAY is the number.  1-800-“F” as in Family, “L” as in Life, and then the word TODAY.  We can let you know about the resources we have available here and how we can arrange to send them to you. 

Now, during the month of August, we’ve got something special happening here at FamilyLife.  We know that we have many folks who listen to FamilyLife Today regularly.   You know us, but we don’t know you.  You’ve never gotten in touch with us.  You’ve never made a donation to help support FamilyLife Today, ordered a resource, or been to an event.  So, we’re hoping to meet a few of you this month. 

In fact, we’re hoping to meet about 2,000 of you between now and the end of the month.  We’d love to hear from 2,000 new listeners.  Maybe you’re a listener who’s listened for a long time; but you just never said, “Hi,” gotten in touch with us.  We want to ask you, if you are one of those folks, would you consider making a first-time donation to help support the ministry of FamilyLife Today here in the month of August? 

If you’ll do that, we would like to say, “Thank you for stepping forward,” by sending you a CD series that’s got six messages in it taken from a Weekend to Remember® marriage getaway.  These are messages that Dennis and I presented at a getaway not long ago.  We’ve got the CD’s available.  We just thought this is a great way to let you know more about what FamilyLife is all about if you’re new to the ministry. 

We’ll send you the CD series with messages about intimacy in marriage, how to deal with conflict, communication, threats to oneness in marriage, what is God’s plan for marriage.  We’ll send the CD series to anybody who makes a first-time donation to FamilyLife Today during the month of August. 

If you’re a first-time donor to FamilyLife and your donation is $100 or more, we’ll send you a certificate so that you and your spouse can attend an upcoming FamilyLife Weekend to Remember marriage getaway.  It’ll cover the registration cost for you and your spouse; or if you want to pass it along to your son and daughter-in-law or another couple you know, you can do that as well. 

So, go online at  When you make your donation, if you’d like to receive the CDs from the Weekend to Remember marriage getaway, just type the word “SAMPLER” into the key code box on the online donation form.  If your donation is more than $100 and you are a first-time donor, type the word “HUNDRED” into the key code box; and we’ll know to send you a certificate for a Weekend to Remember marriage getaway. 

Of course, you’ll be helping us toward that goal of 2,000 new, first-time supporters of FamilyLife Today.  We appreciate your financial support.  We’re listener-supported, and those donations are what make this radio program possible. 

So, we hope to hear from a whole bunch of new friends of FamilyLife as you get in touch with us this month.  We want to say, “Thanks,” to those of you who have faithfully supported this ministry through the years.  We appreciate your ongoing support of FamilyLife Today.

We want to encourage you to be back with us again tomorrow when we’re going to continue talking with Professor Alex Chediak about how students can thrive on the college campus.  That comes up tomorrow.  Hope to see you then.

I want to thank our engineer today, Keith Lynch, and our entire broadcast production team.  On behalf of our host, Dennis Rainey, I'm Bob Lepine.  We will see you back next time for another edition of FamilyLife Today

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