Is That Normal? Podcast Episode 97 – 3 Big Questions That Change Every Teenager REVIEW

We all have questions. Teenagers have LOTS of questions. As parents, one of our biggest challenges is how to answer and direct those questions. Kara Powell and Brad Griffin’s book 3 Big Questions That Change Every Teenager is here to help!

In this episode we review this book, which is a continuation of previous research work done by Fuller Youth Institute, and discuss how it can help us point our children to the better answers Jesus gives.

In my two decades as a youth pastor, I was asked a lot of questions by teenagers.  The three most common were as follows:

  • “How far is too far to go with my boyfriend/girlfriend?”
  • “Can I have a soda out of the church fridge?”
  • “What is God’s will for my life?”

While I was always glad to address these and the dozens of other questions, what I really wanted to do was help them realize the real questions behind their questions.  Powell and Griffin point out that all of humanity (which includes teenagers) have three basic questions: 

  1. Who Am I? (The Question of Identity)
  2. Where Do I Fit? (The Question of Belonging)
  3. What Difference Can I Make? (The Question of Purpose)

This research driven book is a must-have resource for youth workers, parents, and concerned adults.  In it they help us realize the flaws in how we tend to answer those questions and push us to discover the better answers that Jesus gives.  They also include very practical tools to help you ask the young people in your life good questions.  It helped remind me all people (young and old) are looking for ways to find identity, belonging and purpose.  May we take the time to listen to the questions people are asking and help direct them to the answers Jesus gives! Be Abnormal.

Is That Normal? Podcast Episode 96 – Live from CIY!

In this “live on location” episode, Mark and Randell interview some youth leaders about their CIY MOVE Conference experience and give some thoughts on how parents can engage their students who attended.

Check out CIY.COM to learn more. Here are some of the take-home highlights to discuss with your child if they attended CIY MOVE:

  • How were you challenged by the theme of forgiveness?
  • Did you open a Kingdom Worker card? If so, how can I help you engage with your challenge?
  • What are some of the spiritual habits or routines you liked at CIY MOVE? How are you planning to continue those now that you are home?

Until next time, Be Abnormal!

Is That Normal? Podcast Episode 95 – Ice Cream, Abortion, and Other Polarizing Things

While we all might like different flavors of ice cream, it’s not hard to find common ground. So many of the other issues facing us today aren’t as easy, and we might find ourselves on opposite sides with our own family. In this episode we explore why and how to engage in discussion over these divisive topics.

Our kids are going to form opinions – oftentimes strong opinions – on the current cultural hot buttons. Issues like LGBTQ+ rights, gender identity, racial reconciliation, abortion, and a myriad of tough political issues permeate the social conscience and social media.

Here’s a few thoughts on how to engage discussion with our family:

  • Ask good questions that lead to understanding the other sides position.
  • Be a good listener.
  • Stick to the facts. Do your homework.
  • Point to the truth, and remember that truth is a person – Jesus!
  • Have the hardest conversations along with food. Food makes everything better!
  • Pray for solutions. Take a look at Psalm 103:6 together.

Remember this is a process. Invite your children to go on the journey of finding the truth of these issues together. Until next time…Be Abnormal!

Is That Normal? Podcast Episode 94 – Winning the Battle; Not the Argument

It’s normal for us to have conflict if we live with other humans. What shouldn’t be normal is having habits of unhealthy responses. In this episode, we discuss some of the reasons for conflict and some steps to resolving those conflicts.

Here’s an overview of the steps we discuss:

  1. Identify the Source. Some common culprits are false concepts, bitterness, high expectation of others, low expectation of self, and outside distractions.
  2. Own your part. Use “I” rather than “You” language. Don’t allow a blame culture.
  3. Set healthy, relational, and realistic goals
  4. Set up a meeting to address the problems
  5. Encourage forgiveness
  6. Identify what we can agree on and best next steps.

Realize this is a process and a cycle. Get comfortable resolving conflict. One resource we talk about in this episode is Making Brothers and Sisters Best Friends by Sarah, Stephen, and Grace Mally. Check out their book or Is That Normal? Episode 72 where we review their book. Be Abnormal!

Summer Memories

The last few weeks have been full ones for our families. Summer is in full swing and that means unusual schedules, exciting adventures, and memorable moments. Because of that, we won’t be having a new podcast episode this week (just couldn’t seem to fit that in with everything else going on). We’ll be back on schedule in two weeks with a brand new episode about conflict resolution!

Until then, we’d love to hear from you about what kind of summer plans and memories you have going on. Here’s a a few highlights for us:

Vacation to Innsbrook, MO where we hiked, waded, and collected lots of bug bites in the woods.

Fishing and berry picking on our farm.

Trying new things at an Affogato Bar.

Taking the “whole crew” to a movie!

Please share with us your stories and memories in the comments. If you missed the last two episodes, they give great ideas on making summer vacation plans and having a spiritually successful summer. Until next time, Be Abnormal!

Is That Normal? Podcast Episode 93 – Having a Spiritually Successful Summer!

There are lots of things we love about summer: Warm weather, free schedules, days at the pool or lake, cookouts. In this episode we talk to families about using the margin in their summer to build their faith and relationship with Jesus!

Here’s some ideas on how to do that:

  • Set spiritual goals and do them as a family. Plan to read a certain portion of the Bible. Memorize some scripture. Get involved in a ministry. Take a weekly media fast.
  • Make attendance to church a priority.
  • Finance special spiritual experiences.
  • Consider starting a family worship time.
  • Pray through a sunrise or sunset.
  • Take a pilgrimage.
  • Serve together.

We pray that you will make a plan to have a spiritually successful summer! Be Abnormal!

Is That Normal? Podcast Episode 92 – Fun on a Budget!

With summer almost upon us, many families are planning their seasonal vacations. We want to encourage you to plan to make a trip – even if it’s just some day trips – with your family this summer as a way to build relationships and memories.

In this episode we talk about Carlos Whittaker and his family. They are a very interesting group of people that Randell and Mark have followed for years. (If you’ve never seen their viral video “Single Ladies Devastation” you should take a minute to do so now!). In Episode 18 of his podcast Human Hope, Carlos and his wife talk about their vacation hacks.

Their podcast struck a chord with us and so we wanted to share some of our vacation hacks as well. Here’s some highlights from our ideas:

  • Carpool to multiply the gas budget
  • Look for State Park Camping sights or reasonable Airbnbs near your planned destination to save on lodging.
  • Consider packing and cooking some of your own food. Mark’s family uses a “one-meal-out-a-day” rule on vacations.
  • Travel to places where there are lots of free things to do. St.Louis is one of the best places in America for free attractions for families.
  • Vacation out of season to beat the crowds and find deals.
  • Find rhythms and routines for your family that maximize funds and create expectations of fun!

We hope you can plan to make some memories with your family this summer. We’d also love for you to share your vacation ideas and stories with us! Be Abnormal!

Is That Normal? Podcast Episode 91 – Missional Motherhood REVIEW

Moms are so wonderful, important, valuable, and irreplaceable, and we are thankful God created them! In this episode we take a look at Gloria Furman’s book Missional Motherhood.

This book is a case for God’s biblical design for women and how that empowers them to be the best nurturers. It includes a very interesting overview of the whole Bible in reference to this design. We also take a self-indulgent moment to review the cover of this really cool book!

We recommend you check out Missional Motherhood and maybe get a copy for a mom in your life! Be Abnormal!

Is That Normal? Podcast Episode 90 – Being a Student of Spiritual Parenting

In this episode we talk about the importance of being a lifelong learner, particularly as we try to lead our families to follow Jesus.

Here are some of the resources we highlighted:

We encourage you to pick a place to start, find someone to join you for accountability and start growing in your passion and knowledge of spiritual parenting. Be Abnormal!

Is That Normal? Podcast Episode 89 – Get Engaged!

We all love a good engagement story…unless it ends with rejection! Too often parents feel that is the end of the story when they try to connect with their teen or young adult children. In this episode, we take a look at some ways to get better engaged!

First we talked about identifying barriers: expectations, distractions, influence of other relationships, and differences in personalities. Our journey starts with researching who our children are and what they like. We’ve got to do that with learning to ask good questions and being good listeners.

We shared a couple of resources to help parents with this process: Kara Powell & Brad Griffin’s 3 Big Questions That Change Every Teenager and D6’s Family App (Google Play or Apple Store). These have great tools to start conversations.

We also talked about some “games” suggested by Dr. Ron Hunter:

  • Best Thing/Worst Thing
  • What Are You Excited About
  • Who’s Got the Ball?

We hope this episode equips you and encourages you to find the creativity, courage, and commitment to engage with your children. Be Abnormal!