Is That Normal? Podcast Episode 60 – With Just Cause

In today’s culture, everyone is getting behind a cause. In this episode, Mark and Randell give some ideas on how to help the young people in your life evaluate causes they are interested in:

  1. Is it biblical. To be a worthwhile cause, it must line up with the truths of Scripture.
  2. Is it sustainable. Is this a cause that can make a longterm impact for them and the people they are trying to help.
  3. Does it fit with other callings in your community? Not that this has to be the case, but one way God leads us is by the people and community He puts around us. We need to see if there is another option already available that’s making a similar impact.
  4. Does it flow from the source cause? Ultimately everyone is created to worship God and make Him known to others. This cause should be the foundation and fuel for all other causes we would consider getting involved with.

To help the youth at our particular church, we are currently using Dare 2 Share’s Full Circle curriculum to help understand and engage in that source cause of sharing our hope in Christ. If you are a parent at our church, we’d challenge you to ask your teenager about what they are learning. If you aren’t we’d encourage you to check out Dare 2 Share and the resources they have for young people. Until next time, Be Abnormal!

Parenting Trend #4: Gender Issues will continue to rise

This excerpt from Episode 59 – Top Eight Trends Parents Need to Know for 2021 talks about one of the most prominent and challenging topics facing parents of teens and young adults – those of gender and sexuality.

Here are a couple of short articles with great ideas from the Gospel Coalition on having those difficult conversations:

How to Talk to Your Kids About Gender

John wants to be Jane: 3 Ways to Counsel a Gender-Confused Child

Until next week – have those hard conversations and Be Abnormal!

Finding Help

As we have developed this podcast and supplemental content, we have found several really helpful resources. These are individuals and organizations that are on the frontlines of reaching young people for Christ in this modern culture. Over the next weeks and months, we hope to highlight some of them so you can connect to these resources as well.

One that we keep coming back to is the Fuller Youth Institute.

For parents and concerned adults, they have a lot of great content to help equip you to engage with the young people in your life. We have previously highlighted their book Growing With. We have also tapped in to their research for numerous episodes. We would encourage you to take a look at their website and check out some of their posts for parents.

As we encouraged you in last week’s episode to engage in the difficult discussions and be super-sleuths at asking questions – this post on What Teenagers Need from Us More Than (Almost) Anything Else is a great place to start!

Until next week…Be Abnormal!

Is That Normal? Podcast Episode 59 – Top Eight Trends Parents Need to Know for 2021

With the start of the New Year, we’ve made a few changes around here!

We are going to an every other week format for our actual podcasts. However, we will be increasing our supplemental posting content to provide different ways to interact with important resources for raising teens and young adults who follow Christ. With that in mind, we’ve started our own Facebook Page, Instagram Account, and YouTube Channel. We also will be making those posts available at our website – isthatnormal.org. We hope you will connect with us and join the conversation!

In today’s episode, we talk about eight trends all parents should be aware of:

  1. Normal is Being Redefined. We like this one!
  2. Mental health issues, isolation, and loneliness are on the rise.
  3. We live in a blaming culture.
  4. Gender issues will continue to rise. And we have to be a part of the discussion or our children will let someone else help them form their ideas about this topic.
  5. Teens and Young Adults have only ever known a Post-Christian society.
  6. They are On-Demand Content Consumers. Our job is to help them monitor and curate what they are consuming!
  7. “I’m my own brand!” We must help our young people find their identity in the right way.
  8. They don’t feel safe talking…in traditional platforms. We have to be super-sleuths at asking good questions and being available to talk.

Join us in two weeks for our next podcast episode. In the meantime watch for supplemental content, check out our social media channels, and Be Abnormal!

Is That Normal? Podcast Episode 58 – Why Family Trees Are Worth Cultivating

In this both fun and reflective episode, we explore family trees and our places in them. For everyone sending us an email at connect@isthatnormal.org by midnight on January 30, 2020, we will enter you in a drawing for a DNA + Family Tree Bundle from ancestry.com

In addition to talking about some fun and challenging things about their personal family trees, Randell and Mark encourage parents and significant adults to cultivate thought about how our family fosters faith from generation to generation. Here’s a few ideas on how to do that:

  • Share your story. Talking through the good, bad and ugly of your life story and your journey of faith can help young people place their own path in perspective.
  • Read through the genealogies of the Bible. Often thought of as boring, these lists of family connections actually have a lot to say about how God uses messy families to do His work. Start with the genealogy in Matthew 1 and talk about the shortcomings and redemptions found there.
  • Get out the photo album. Take time to sit with your kids and show them some of your family history. Pass on the stories and the connections.
  • Talk about your children’s legacy. Challenge them to think about what they want their story to be and then help them work backwards to their current decisions.
  • Pray together! Your young people need you to pray with them more now than ever.

Don’t forget to send us an email with some fun family facts to enter our drawings. Until 2021, Be Abnormal!

Is That Normal? Podcast Episode 57 – The Gift of Presence

Christmas is a time for celebrations, gifts, and family. It is also a time for us to remember that God in the flesh came and dwelt among us. The word for that is Incarnation – an intentional choice to be with His people.

As we reflect on that powerful truth, we should let it motivate us to be present in the lives of our children and family. However, we also know that can sometimes be a real challenge with teenagers and young adults. We talked a lot about this concept in Episode 10: Are You Withing? Take some time to check that out.

Here also are some ideas on how you can make space to be present this Christmas:

  • Make Traditions and Memories. Young people love to see how they are a part of an ongoing story of family and history. Traditions and family memories help to foster this concept.
  • Schedule some special meals. This could be simply a breakfast or dinner that you plan to be together.
  • Have a Game Night. Nothing bonds families like a little friendly competition. Check out Episode 25: Family Game Night for some ideas.
  • Let your children plan an event or outing. Give them some experience in responsibility and decision making as well as learn what they truly enjoy.
  • Take advantage of captive moments. Those times that you are alone with no agenda – maybe it is in car rides or early mornings or late nights – ask some good questions. Check out Episode 11: The Art of Asking Good Questions for some ideas on great question asking.

In order to be successful at these ideas, you will need to address some of the common barriers:

  • Technology. Make sure to set some expectations and boundaries. You might schedule some “no device” events or set guidelines on when a person needs to be off of their phone.
  • Outside interests. Realize that there will still be other people and events pulling at your family’s time this season. Be sensitive to that as well as proactive in establishing what your expectations are for their availability.
  • Personal needs. We all need some down time but we also need intentional engagement in relationships. Help your family set some healthy balances in this area ahead of time.

Enjoy your holiday and invest in your family. Be Abnormal!

Is That Normal? Podcast Episode 56 – What Every Teenager Wants!

As we quickly approach Christmas, we wanted to help out our listeners with ideas of gifts to give the teens and young adults in their lives. They always love cash, but here are a few other ideas:

We hope this list has given you some great ideas and a little bit of joy. Merry Christmas and Be Abnormal!

Is That Normal? Podcast Episode 55 – A Third the Ministry We Used to Be

We finish up our series on fostering faith that lasts a lifetime with this episode. If you missed week 1 – Fostering Faith that Lasts a Lifetime or week 2 – Doing Hard Things, make sure to go back and check them out.

This week we talk about the enormous effect that family connection, church involvement and significant adults play in developing young people’s faith. Parents must be intentional in being a part of their children’s faith journey.

Here are some ideas on how to do that:

  • TAKE COURAGE: It’s worth it and you are the one best poised to make an impact.
  • COMMIT TO DISCIPLING YOUR CHILDREN: Deuteronomy 6 challenges us to always be looking for those teaching moments for faith in our children’s lives. So share your story. Talk about the Bible. Reflect on sermons. Ask questions and listen.
  • GROW TOGETHER. We must move our homes to be missional. Help your family set spiritual goals. Celebrate faith.

We hope this series has been helpful and encouraging. Make some plans and Be Abnormal!

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!