This week we are taking a break from our podcast but we will be back next week with a great interview episode. We have some other great episodes coming up in the future as well about communicating with your child and what they need to communicate to you!
Over the course of the last forty weeks, we have covered a lot of content. We encourage you to look back over our archive and check out some of the episodes you have missed. One of our greatest goals is to give practical resources for parents to lead their children and their families closer to Christ. To do that we have reviewed several books. Here’s some of those books and their corresponding episodes:
Do you struggle with knowing how to answer your kids’ questions about faith? Or maybe you just struggle getting them to talk about it at all. And yet it is one of the most vital, close-to-the-heart issues we have as parents – will our kids choose to believe the truth. Or maybe more specifically, will they know and trust Jesus with their life?
In this EPISODE, we talk about some of the responses and approaches to help walk your adolescents and young adults through the process of knowing what they believe.
Here’s some things to remember when responding to their questions:
It’s about a person and a relationship. More than a set of ideas, philosophies or tenets, we are talking about getting to know Jesus. It has to start with Him. He’ll walk them through the rest. How are you introducing your children to Jesus?
It’s about trust and faith. We aren’t necessarily looking for all the answers, but learning to trust the one who has all the answers. If we really believe God is who He says He is, we’ll trust Him for the unknowns.
It’s about personal evaluation and commitment. We’ve got to move from ideas to actions. We have to remind our children that they ultimately are responsible for owning what they believe.
At the end we talked about a whole bunch of resources to guide them:
This book is a study of the biblical book of Ephesians and pulls out fifteen powerful statements that define who we are when we are “in Christ”. Among them are the concepts that we are Saints, Adopted, Heard and Accepted. It further helps us see that we often look to wrong things to find our identity when we should be looking to our Creator.
Here’s a great acronym to help us evaluate if we are looking in the wrong places (IDOL):
Items – the trap of materialism
Duties – the trap of leaning on our own strength and ability
Others – the trap of putting others in a place that only God can fill
Longings – the trap of wanting things our way rather than God’s way
Some ideas to help parents have this conversation with their children is:
Read the book of Ephesians and pull out the identity statements found there.
In this EPISODE we unpack the phenomenon that many of our children look more to YouTube and Instagramers as celebrity heroes than they do movie actors and rock stars. This becomes a particularly challenging topic as we realize these social media channels are helping shape our children’s worldviews.
We take some recent podcasts from popular YouTubers Rhett and Link as a case study. Rhett and Link – who grew up in church, were involved in ministry leadership, and were even missionaries for a time – recently came out with stories on their podcast Ear Biscuits explaining how they have moved away from their Christian faith. If you would like to hear the podcasts, you can find Rhett’s story here and Link’s story here. However, I would caution you to use great discretion in sharing these with your child.
As we move to helping our young people process these kinds of stories and voices – those that challenge our Christian faith and worldview – here are a few ideas on approach:
Acknowledge that this is real. These people are real and in many cases our young people feel very relationally connected to them.
Create space for doubt and discussion. We will be doing an entire episode on this topic in a few weeks but we encourage you to delve into the deep concepts of faith development and ask some scary questions to help your kids process and own their faith.
Teach them to evaluate the voices and channels in their lives. Help them to not just take every statement at face value. Advise them of some counterpoints to consider. Introduce them to some deep Christian thinkers to help them. A few we mentioned were Josh and Sean McDowell and Lee Strobel, for starts.
Make it personal! As our kids wrestle and struggle through what they believe, we must guide them to truth but do it through biblical grace and with a great sense of belonging. Help them know you are in this with them. Remember this is a process; not a product.
Closing challenges were to ask your child about what YouTube or Social Media voices they are listening to and ask some questions. Also we encourage you to SUBSCRIBE so you don’t miss any of our exciting upcoming content! Until then Be Abnormal!!
In this EPISODE, we talk about the phenomenon of media streaming. Media consumption and teenagers go hand in hand. You add to it the increased fluidity of our schedules during this current time, and a parent can feel really overwhelmed. How do I monitor? What is okay to watch? How do I help my kids make healthy media choices?
We cover the importance of having a plan for screen time as well as monitoring what your children watch. In addition to discussions and checking histories, we recommend using imdb.com‘s Parent Guides and Common Sense Media to check out content of Movies and TV before watching. We also mentioned Vidangel, which is a subscription based filtering service for streamed content.
We also gave some recommendations for family watching that are currently on three of the major streaming services. We would make the caveats that most of these films are not overtly Christian but lend themselves to good discussion with teenagers. Some of them might not be appropriate for younger viewers, so make sure you use one of the content monitors we mentioned previously to make your decision to watch.
DISNEY+: This new service (which is offering free accounts to Verizon customers through the end of this year) has a lot of good, family entertainment. A couple of standout DISNEY+ original movies are Togo and Timmy Failure. Both are good for the whole family.
Ultimately we always come back to the encouragement to be intentional in helping your children make choices about what they are watching. And also be engaged to discuss with them what worldviews are present in current media and how that compares to our Christian worldview and values. So this week, watch something fun as a family, have good conversations about why we believe what we believe, and Be Abnormal!
In our first remotely recorded EPISODE, we talk about some of the questions and concerns facing us during the COVID-19 situation. We particularly address some of the unique circumstances parents of teenagers are finding themselves having to navigate.
Here’s a few of the thoughts we covered for parents to help their children process this event:
Ask Questions. You need to help your children process their emotions and fears. You will most likely have to initiate and guide that discussion. Check out our Episode on Asking Good Questions.
Stay Close to the Lord. We need to make sure we are finding our strength from God and helping our families do the same.
We also discussed some great ideas to help our children with schooling and social interaction during this time. We’d love to hear some of your ideas and stories as well, so please comment or contact us. Bottom line is that we must be more intentional than ever about helping our children seek God and seek answers. It’s a great time to Be Abnormal!
This EPISODE was recorded prior to some of the current world situations, but has so much to say about finding that routine in the chaos of life. In our discussion we explore the challenge of time management and talk about some resources and principles to help us create manageable schedules for our families. As many of us are having to manage new and different situations this week, we hope you find some encouragement and help.
Here’s some tools and ideas that we have found helpful:
Finding something to help you manage and organize. For us, we tend to use digital resources – our phones, shared google calendars and docs, notes functions, etc. Mark’s wife likes a paper calendar and organizer. The one she currently uses is the Living Well Planner by Ruth Soukup.
Creating a Posted Schedule. Mark’s family literally has an hour by hour schedule on their wall. This can be a great tool to help keep your sanity and train your children. A good resource for more info and ideas is Managers of Their Homes
Creating Systems. To help your family, you must have systems in place for household tasks, communication, calendaring, school and work management, and much more. A great resource for that process is Large Family Logistics by Kim Brenneman.
Fixed Schedules. We referenced some articles by Carey Nieuwhof – like this one and this one – that talk about scheduling the important tasks of life and deciding ahead of time what you will do with your time.
While we know that the specifics of these ideas will look different for each person and household, we ended with some UNIVERSAL PRINCIPLES:
Work from your energy. You must schedule the time you have the most energy to do your most important work.
Establish goals and work backwards. You must decide what you want your family’s life to look like first. Then plan your schedule and systems accordingly
A Schedule for Man; Not Man for a Schedule. The schedule is a tool to help us do and be who we are called to be, but you have the freedom to make adjustments as unique circumstances occur.
It will be hard. Whenever you create momentum, you also create resistance.
We hope that you will take some time with these resources and principles this week and make a plan for the next steps towards creating time for God, yourself and your family. We’d love to hear your comments and questions. Until next time… Be Abnormal!
In this EPISODE we have special guest Ryan Akers (and a squeaky chair!) Ryan is a long-time Youth Pastor, and we got to catch up with him while we were attending the COLLIDE Youth Retreat. We had a great conversation and found that he was thinking about a lot of the same things we have been talking about on our podcast.
We challenged Ryan to predict the future and help us see some of the important trends that parents need to be aware of:
Generation Z Thinking: Ryan shared some insight on generational studies and helped us see how young people today are intrinsically thinking differently. One great point was that Gen Z tend to learn through images, personal experiences, and conversations.
Parenting Style Shifts: We talked about some of the differences and challenges in parenting today. One observation that really stood out is adults tend to use the term “concern” over “care” or “caution” when talking about young people. The advice there is to be careful to not move to a controlling parenting style.
Rise of Technology and Shift of Human Relations: Ryan covered a lot of ideas on this topic. He cautioned about the tendency our current culture has to pull away from personal interaction. He shared some of the language he uses in his house – to reflect a good thing, a God thing, and a kind thing each day. He also challenged parents to make conversation about the Bible normal in their houses.
Lastly, Ryan encouraged parents to be faithful to what God has called you to do. Then we trust Him for the outcome.