Is That Normal? Podcast Episode 54 – Doing Hard Things

We are glad you are joining us for this episode. This is the second in a three-part series on Fostering Faith That Lasts a Lifetime. If you missed the first episode, you can check it out here.

This week we discuss the challenges of adolescence, particularly how the current culture often leaves young people frustrated and unchallenged. In our journey to instill a faith that impacts a lifetime, we must be willing to step out of our comfort zones and challenge some hard things.

Here’s a few ideas on starting places for parents:

  • Study the Gospels and Acts together. As you read the story of Jesus and the early Church, talk about what living out that faith might look like today. If you’re looking for a good reading plan, we suggest starting with Jesus & the Jesus Movement Reading Plan on the YouVersion Bible App.
  • Discuss the urgency of Salvation. Make sure you are sharing what salvation is with your children and then equip them to share it with others. Dare2Share Ministries have a lot of great resources. You can also share your story, offer to give rides to church for your children’s friends, and make your home a safe place for your children invite others to spend time.
  • Get them involved in service and ministry. Find a local Christian ministry and volunteer. Sign up for a short-term mission trip. Partner with Christian organizations that are making a difference. A few we have partnered with over the years are IJM, WorldVision, and Samaritan’s Purse.

Pick one of these action steps and get started! Be Abnormal!

Is That Normal? Podcast Episode 53 – Fostering Faith that Lasts for a Lifetime

As we start off on year two of our podcast, we want to spend the next few weeks talking about how we foster a faith that lasts a lifetime. A lot of our concepts come from Richard Ross’ book Youth Ministry that lasts a Lifetime.

If you’re just joining our podcast, we encourage you to go back and check out some of our prior episodes. Here are a few we highly recommend:

In this first part of a three part series, we talk about some of the problems with the current models of faith development for teenagers and some of the view changes parents can start making.

Two big action areas for parents are:

  • Evaluating your goals. Getting your children involved in faith and church is not so that they will be happy, secularly successful, or sin free. We have to be constantly reviewing the discipleship goals for our children to make sure we are encouraging them to love God, love others, pursue worship and faith, and know how to grow closer to God on their own, as well as lead others along with them.
  • Committing to getting involved. As we’ve said numerous times, parents are the first and best youth leaders. Start praying about how you can take an active part in your child’s spiritual development.

Join us next week for part two. Until then, Be Abnormal!

Is That Normal? Podcast Episode 52 – Happy Birthday To Us!!

We are so excited to have spent a year sharing thoughts and resources on how to navigate teens and young adults towards a life of following Christ. 

In this episode we share a lot of our heart behind this podcast as well as a bunch of fun stories about youth ministry and ourselves. You’ll have to listen to the episode to get all of that great content, but we do want to encourage you to subscribe to our email list for a chance to win some great resources. You can do so by visiting isthatnormal.org and entering your email address in the field on the right sidebar. We also want to hear from you. Leave us a review or a comment for a chance to get an Is That Normal? Podcast sticker!

Thank you for listening to our podcast and we pray that something we share can help you further lead your family and your children towards following Christ with their lives. We are looking forward to a great Year Two! Until next week – Be Abnormal!

Is That Normal? Podcast Episode 51 – Hammer Down!

If you are a parent, you probably struggle with worry. How will I provide for my family? How do I keep them safe? How do I prepare them for the uncertainty of the future? For this episode, we’ve asked Brett Harrison to come back and discuss some of his thoughts on how to be prepared and prepare our kids

We had Brett on previously for Episode 30 – What In The World Are These Kids Listening To? If you missed that one, make sure you go back and check it out!

Here are a few of the principles highlighted in this discussion:

  • We are helping our children develop skills; not controlling their behavior.
  • We are helping our children look at the potential future and be ready so as to avoid a crisis.
  • We are helping our children monitor their heart; not just comply with commands

We all agreed that it is a wonderful thing when we put in the hard work and investment in preparing our children and we see them start to own their actions and their future!

We are looking forward to next week’s one-year anniversary episode! Make sure you subscribe to our email list for a chance to win some prizes! You can do that in the sidebar of our website – isthatnormal.org

Until then Be Abnormal!

Is That Normal? Podcast Episode 50 – Book Review: Family Driven Faith

We all want to influence our children. The most important area of influence should be their love of and obedience to Jesus. In Voddie Baucham’s book Family Driven Faith, he lays out a compelling case as well as practical applications for becoming those kind of influencers.

Some of the key areas of application are:

  • personal discipleship
  • establishing a worldview for our children
  • teaching the Bible to your family
  • emphasizing moral truth
  • practicing family worship
  • prioritizing your family
  • being an intentional leader

Ultimately, Voddie lays out a compelling case for evaluating your family and choosing to put God first. This is a challenging book based on biblical principles that encourage us to be abnormal (something we like to think about around here!). We encourage you to put this book on your “to read” list. We also would recommend these prior episodes of our podcast for further related content:

Until next week – Be Abnormal!

Is That Normal? Podcast Episode 49 – Can’t We All Just Get Along?

In this episode we talk about personalities. Particularly we discuss some of the nuances of the Myers-Briggs personality profile. You can explore those profiles and take a personality test at 16personalities.com.

Different personalities in our homes can bring different conflicts. As parents, we must help our children navigate resolving these conflicts and understanding where the other person is coming from.

We talk in this episode about two big areas of conflict: “I wouldn’t do it that way!” and “It’s not fair!”

A couple of tools to resolve these conflicts are:

  • REFRAMING: where we take a step back and have each side share their side of the story. Often this allows us to see the underlying issues and help gain a clearly understanding of the other person’s perspective.
  • PRIORITIZING: We must check to see if our reaction reflects the magnitude of the offense. If not, we must dig deeper to see why and then come up with a different approach.
  • TAKE A BREAK: Sometimes, we need to step back and let the situation cool off before we move any further towards resolution.

Ultimately, we want to see our children value each other’s perspective and ultimate well-being. Particularly, we want our children to grow into the people God wants them to be, and that includes their own desire for that growth in each other. Spend some time this week investigating the personalities in your house. We’d love to hear your findings. Leave us a comment. Be Abnormal!

Is That Normal? Podcast Episode 48 – Bulldozers and Helicopters!

One of the most difficult transitions for parents, as our children grow into adolescents and young adults, is releasing some control. If we aren’t careful, our hovering and maneuvering can turn into some not-so-nice parenting practices -the Helicopter Parent and the Bulldozer Parent!

In this episode we talk about some ways to evaluate and avoid these dangerous temptations:

  • Allow for Failure. We have to leave some natural obstacles and difficulties for our children to learn from and should always ask what our child will gain from us not getting involved.
  • Teach them to Advocate for Themselves. It’s often easier to do it ourselves, but we have to guide them on how to initiate and navigate hard conversations.
  • See Difficulties in Life as Opportunities. It’s okay for our children to be a little uncomfortable or stressed. Make a culture of having good evaluations and conversations surrounding the challenges of life.

It will often take more effort for us to guide our adolescents and young adults through difficulties than for us to handle it ourselves…but the benefits can last a lifetime! Be Abnormal!

Is That Normal? Podcast Episode 47 – Go Grow Yourself!

Discipleship can be an elusive concept to discuss. Simply put, discipleship is the process by which we grow closer to Jesus and being who He wants us to be. In this episode we look at why that is so important for us as individuals and parents.

Here are some of the big action areas we discussed for personal discipleship:

  • KNOWING. It’s that daily pursuit of knowing and experiencing who Jesus is better. That includes reading our Bible, prayer, listening to Him, learning to obey His commands, and being still.
  • SERVING. Jesus said people would know we are his followers by our love for one another. As individuals and families we need to be serving in our church and our community.
  • CONNECTING. God points out early on that it is not good for man (or woman) to be alone. We must be pursuing intentional relationships for the purpose of accountability and mutual learning.
  • GIVING. Jesus said where your treasure is, your heart is also. We must be planned givers to the ministries of God’s church. Share that plan with your kids and teach them to do the same.
  • SHARING. If what Jesus did for us on the Cross and at the Resurrection really is the best news ever, we should share that with others. Do that and do it with your family.

We hope this episode helps you take the next steps in your personal growth towards Jesus as well as gives you resources to lead your family to Him. Be Abnormal!

Is That Normal? Podcast Episode 46 – Building Better Brains!

Tapping in to the experience and knowledge that books can provide is invaluable in moving ourselves towards our goals and our God. In this episode we talked about four categories of books you should consider reading:

  1. Spiritual Development. Obviously the place to start and the first book you should read is the Bible. We also should look to books by other Christians for practical examples of how to apply God’s Word. A few honorable mentions are Rick Warren’s Purpose Driven Life, C.S. Lewis’ Mere Christianity, and David Platt’s Radical.
  2. Parenting Resources. Along with the numerous books we’ve already reviewed and recommended in prior episodes, we would suggest Family Driven Faith by Voddie Baucham and Visionary Parenting by Rob Rienow.
  3. Cultural Research. Great options to understand teenager’s mindset are Jean Twenge’s iGen, James Emery White’s Meet Generation Z, and David Kinnaman and Mark Matlock’s Faith For Exiles.
  4. Knowledge/Enjoyment. It’s also important to find things that relax, entertain, or develop you.

We ended our episode by talking about how to approach a reading plan:

  • Determine where you want to grow
  • Pick a starting place
  • Set a goal
  • Find someone to join you and hold you accountable.

We hope that you will find a great place to start reading and allow this habit to help you grow! Let’s keep pursuing being Abnormal!

Is That Normal? Podcast Episode 45 – Watch Out!

This episode is timely and needed as we face an uncertain world with accelerated issues of anxiety and concern. As parents we need to be aware that our children have feelings of anxiety, depression and loneliness that they need to deal with. In today’s episode we cover some common warning signs and discuss how to respond. You can also access further information at fulleryouthinstitute.org/anxiousworld.

With the help of a licensed professional counselor, we identified four common categories of warning signs:

  • What they say. We need to watch for repeated comments about stress, overwhelmedness, busy-ness, anxiety, depression. We should also watch for patterns of upset stomach, headaches, fatigue, insomnia. If there are sudden, dramatic changes in performance or personality. These signs should all trigger us to ask some questions and dig further.
  • Irregular responses. If we see habits of overreaction, fixation, refusal, extreme embarrassment or shyness, indecisiveness, these can be signs of deeper concern.
  • Extreme emotions. Perfectionism, outbursts, impatience, being “on edge” are also signs of potential underlying issues.
  • Unhealthy habits. Addictive or obsessive behaviors, delays in development, unhealthy coping skills.

If we see any of these or combinations of these, we don’t have to immediately panic, but we should take note and try to dig further. Here’s some ideas of how to respond:

  • Assess the level of seriousness and get the appropriate help.
  • Assure them that you will be with them through the process.
  • Ask them deeper questions on what they are feeling and what they need.
  • Support healthy habits.

In conclusion, we urge you as parents to evaluate these signs and have these conversations with your child. We also urge you to seek help if you think there are deeper issues going on. Reach out to a pastor, counselor, or a professional if you think you need further evaluation or advice. If you have serious concerns you can contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or suicidepreventionlifeline.org.