7 REASONS YOUR TEEN HAS GIVEN UP ON SCHOOL—AND WHAT YOU CAN DO APRIL 2014
® KNOW. GROW. BECOME.
How NORM MILLER turned a call from CHRIST into a worldwide movement of REDEMPTION APRIL 2014 // USA $3.95
VOLUM E 36, NUMBER 7
I AM SECOND Who was the first to say “I Am Second”? PT sat down with founder Norm Miller to talk about the organization’s genesis and how hope and healing through Christ can reach the hurting in all of us.
A PROM IN PERSPECTIVE
Prom season: Whether it’s excitement, fear, or anxiety, you can count on your teen to bring the emotions. By making a few intentional decisions ahead of time, you can bring the perspective.
PT sat down with the 13-year-old teen star of Bridge to Terabithia and Just Go With It on life and faith.
INSIDE 4 The Wire 6 Media Reviews 8 Teen Issues
THEY ARE SECOND A HOUSE OF GRACE We asked a survivor, a rocker, and a Hollywood mom to share their stories—and how they rely on the One who comes first.
Parenting with grace doesn’t look like perfection. It just looks like Christ. Here are five ways to lead your teenagers through grace-based parenting.
14 The Final Walk 16 Teens & Tech 18 Life Stages 32 Single Parent/Blended Family 34 Got A Minute? 40 On Your Knees/Conversations 43 Essential Connection JANUARY APRIL 2014 1
encouraging and equipping parents with biblical solutions to transform families VOLUME 36, NUMBER 7 | April 2014 Vice President, Lifeway Church Resources | Eric Geiger PRODUCTION & MINISTRY TEAM Editor | Scott Latta Production Editor | Angela Reed Graphic Designer | Charles Long Editorial Team Leader | Mike Wakefield Send questions/comments to: Editor, Parenting Teens One LifeWay Plaza, Nashville, TN 37234-0144; Or make comments on the Web at www.lifeway.com MANAGEMENT PERSONNEL Director, Student Ministry | Ben Trueblood Director, Student Ministry Publishing | Jeff Pratt ADVERTISING One LifeWay Plaza, MSN 136, Nashville, TN 37234 Phone: (615) 251-2289 Fax (615) 251-2039 E-mail: email@example.com Media kits: www.lifeway.com/magazines/media Director, Magazine Advertising & Circulation | Rhonda Edge Buescher Advertising Production | Scott Hancock PRINTED IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
Parenting Teens (ISSN 2167-8936; Item 005075228) is published monthly by LifeWay Press®, One LifeWay Plaza, Nashville, TN 37234, Thom S. Rainer, President. © 2014, LifeWay Press®. For inquiries visit www.lifeway.com, or write LifeWay Church Resources Customer Service, One LifeWay Plaza, Nashville, TN 37234-0113. For subscriptions or subscription address changes, visit www.lifeway.com/magazines, fax (615) 251-5818, or write to the above address. For bulk orders shipped to one address, visit www.lifeway.com/magazines, fax (615) 251-5933 or write to the above address. Annual individual or gift subscription, $22.50. Bulk orders shipped to one address when ordered with other literature, $1.60 each per month, plus shipping. Please allow six to eight weeks for arrival of first issue. ADVERTISEMENT DISCLAIMER: This magazine includes paid advertisements for some products and services not affiliated with LifeWay. The inclusion of the paid advertisements does not constitute an endorsement by LifeWay Christian Resources of the products or services. All Scripture quotations are taken from the Holman Christian Standard Bible®, copyright 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Cover photo courtesy of Stanley Tongai
Grace goes beyond crisis JD moved to Nashville with a passion for music and the dream of a music career. And while his passion for music and performing fueled his career, alcohol and drugs soon began to cloud his life. His marriage and his family suffered. I first met JD when he and his family moved across the street from my family. Through occasional conversations, it was easy to tell that he had no relationship with Christ—and wasn’t really interested in one. Then, a crisis hit. One afternoon, my wife, Tricia, had walked over to greet JD and his wife, Roza, as they sat outside their house. Tricia quickly noticed tears on Roza’s face. JD quietly asked, “Would you and Mike pray for us? Our marriage is in trouble.” That quiet request opened a door for many conversations with JD and Roza about their marriage, but mostly about their need for Christ. Within a few weeks, JD and Roza gave their lives and their marriage completely to God. Having a personal relationship with Christ transformed their lives, their marriage, and their family. It’s a beautiful story, and one I was honored to be a part of. But it’s just one story in the countless beautiful stories of love, grace, and forgiveness God is writing in the lives of people all around our world. As believers and parents, it’s important that we hear those stories and see how God is changing lives. That’s why we’re highlighting the ministry of I AM SECOND in this month’s issue of Parenting Teens. This ministry brings to light other great stories of God’s redemption from athletes, celebrities, and other notable people who have been changed by the grace of God. But God’s grace and transforming power are not just for athletes, celebrities, and those on the precipice of a broken marriage—it’s for each one of us! Every parent or person reading this magazine needs to experience His grace and forgiveness. We need to receive it for salvation, walk in it as we grow as disciples, and model it as we parent our teenagers. May His great love and grace wash over you anew as you read these pages.
Mike Wakefield Team Leader, Parenting Teens firstname.lastname@example.org
Check out our blog at www.parentingteensmag.com
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your teen’s world
APRIL 2014 3
The Wire: DIGITAL HARASSMENT Digital Harrassment: When kids use cell phones, social networks, and other communication devices to bully, threaten, and aggressively badger someone. It is a form of cyberbullying that often takes place between two people in a romantic relationship. If your teen is experiencing too much texting and too much calling by a boyfriend or girlfriend, Common Sense Media offers these suggestions to parents: •C heck your teen’s texts, IMs, and status updates. Be aware what is being said and how it is being said. •H ave a zero-tolerance policy. No sexting, no hate speech, no stalkerish behavior. •T alk about what’s private. Your teen needs to know that intimate posts can be rebroadcast to thousands of other kids in an instant.
LIVING BEYOND YOUR MEANS More than half (52 percent) of respondents to a 2012 Country Financial survey said they spent more money than they made at least a few months a year. Surprisingly, only 9 percent of those admitted their lifestyle was more than they could afford. To finance the shortfall, 36 percent dip into savings while 22 percent use credit cards. Source: http://finance.yahoo.com
SELFIES WHILE DRIVING? Check out these Instagram hashtags: #driving, #drivinghome, #drivingtowork, and #drivingselfie. According to the Huffington Post, more than 3 million posts had been tagged in this manner by the end of 2013. Are you aware of your teen’s driving habits? Source: http://huffingtonpost.com
GOD’S NOT DEAD
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In this new faith-based movie, Josh Wheaton heads to college, ready to make new friends and enjoy life on campus. Instead, he accepts a great challenge when his philosophy professor threatens to give him a failing grade unless he professes that God does not exist. In theaters now, God’s Not Dead challenges Christians young and old to decide what they believe and be prepared to defend their faith. Learn more at GodsNotDeadtheMovie.com.
DON’T BRING THAT TO THE TABLE Hate mobile phones and tablets at the dinner table? You’re not alone. Eighty-four percent of Americans say they agree with a policy of not allowing handheld devices at the table when the family forks up a meal. The survey fails to note how many parents are actually successful enforcing a no-device rule. Source: Saint Leo University Polling Institute
3 WAYS TO BANISH WORRY
FRIENDMAKER APP Teens with autism or other social challenges can use this app to gain real-time advice about how to respond in specific social situations. The app is a companion resource to a book called The Science of Making Friends, which is based on research done in the UCLA Program for the Education and Enrichment of Relational Skills (PEERS) Clinic. The app is available on iTunes for $1.99.
1. Search God’s Word for reminders of the ineffectiveness of worry. “Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses every thought, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus” (Phil 4:6-7). Also see Matthew 6:34 and Psalm 55:22. 2. A sk if there’s a solution to the problem. Ponder on your own, seek input from a mentor, and take the question to the Lord. 3. Take captive every thought. When worry comes in, recognize it for what it is and confront that negative thought with reality, a prayer, and a hopeful possibility. Source: More Living Magazine
JOY FISHER is a freelance writer, editor, and reviewer. She and her husband, David, make their home in Nashville, Tenn.
APRIL 2014 5
Reviews LOVE IS A LEGEND EP COPPERLILY
THRIVE CASTING CROWNS
House of Heroes frontman Tim Skipper and Gotee artist Stephanie Smith must have really enjoyed collaborating on HoH’s Suburba project because they were engaged and married soon after. Love is a Legend is their first of hopefully many more records to come. This six-song EP is full of love songs from the newlyweds, but the songs are so infectious that you’ll listen again and again. Every song feels like springtime in your ears. Check the happy couple out at facebook.com/copperlilymusic.
Atlanta’s multiplatinum selling Casting Crowns may not be the most artistically inventive band out there, but that’s OK because their music is made for the masses. Thrive continues this tradition, but with a bit of a folky, acoustic flair. Thankfully, singer Mark Hall writes lyrics with a sense of urgency to wake the sleeping, energize the tired, and lift the fallen. “All You’ve Ever Wanted” and “Love You With the Truth,” songs about repentance and witnessing, never feel preachy or self-righteous. Hear the rest at castingcrowns.com.
READY TO FLY JAMIE GRACE
THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA 8:18
Jamie Grace is a treasure. A role model for millennial tweens and teen girls, she takes her platform and influence very seriously, but always leads with her beaming smile and self-deprecating style. She is not afraid to let her Jesus Freak flag fly with songs about saving herself for marriage (“White Boots”), her battle with Tourette syndrome (“Fighter”), and other heaven-meets-earth themes. If you have a daughter between 8 and 19, you couldn’t ask for a more sincere and strong role model. Find out more about her at jamiegrace.com.
The Devil Wears Prada has found substantial success both in and out of Christian music circles. They are a well-respected (very) heavy metal band that has never shied away from faith. To the point, 8:18 is a reference to the famous verse in Romans about enduring hardship. With that theme in place, TDWP take us on a dark journey through struggle, doubt, and fear yet always pointing listeners back to the Author of our faith. As a parent, you may have misgivings about the sound, but the content is totally trustworthy. Check them out for yourself at tdwpband.com.
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GIMME SHELTER VANESSA HUDGENS ROADSIDE AT TRACTIONS
Everyone has a story. Once we know their story, it helps to love them better and it helps us be honest about our story. Apple is a 16 year old who has been in and out of foster care, abuse, and is pregnant and scared. After an accident, she awakes in a hospital under the care of a priest who helps get her pointed in the right direction. This movie is all about faith and the slow, transforming work of the gospel. Based on a true story, Gimme Shelter is a raw and unflinching look at a life marked by struggle, but redeemed by kindness, restored by faith. PT’S GRADE: A-
THE GUN BOX W W W.THEGUNBOX .COM
After a successful Indiegogo campaign, The Gun Box is now available for purchase. If you own a handgun at home, you know the importance of keeping it secure and away from children (or others). The Gun Box gives you absolute peace of mind by utilizing state-of-the-art technology and design and is available in three models ranging in price from $249-$475: the RF (unlocked via a unique RFID chip), the Biometric (unlocked via fingerprint), and the Premier (combination of the other two), which features GPS tracking and 24/7 monitoring. PT’S GRADE: A
THE NUT JOB WILL ARNETT, LIAM NEESON
DIGITAL PUBLIC LIBRARY OF AMERICA
OPEN ROAD FILMS
W W W. DP. L A
Surly is a squirrel with a bad attitude and a penchant for stealing nuts to store away for his own use—hardly a cutesy Disney-esque role model for anyone. The Nut Job is a colorful, frantic, ADD-inducing romp with a convoluted plot and messy morals strewn about here and there along the way. Unfortunately, the moral of the story is so hard to pin down that it appears the movie is just about getting and taking what you want—and adolescent gags about bodily functions. Save your money and just watch a rerun.
Lately, the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) has stolen countless hours from my life. Since the early 90s, educators and libraries have been trying to digitize America’s public libraries. From the site, dp.la exists to create “an open, distributed network of comprehensive online resources…from libraries, universities, archives, and museums in order to educate, inform, and empower everyone in current and future generations.” At this point, there are nearly 6 million (!) items available for viewing and they’re constantly growing. The DPLA is an incredible resource for students, teachers, or simply the curious.
PT’S GRADE: C-
RANDY WILLIAMS is a Grammy-nominated musician and writer who lives in Franklin, Tenn.
PT’S GRADE: A+
APRIL 2014 7
* T EEN|| ISSUES
Motivation 7 R E A S O N S W H Y T E E N S W O N ’ T D O T H E I R S C H O O LW O R K by Gretchen Williams
1. FALLING BEHIND If your teen is involved in time-consuming activities such as sports, drama, or band, she has most likely had to miss class for off-campus events. If absences are not planned carefully, students get behind very quickly, and the makeup work can seem insurmountable. The result is crippling procrastination
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and the search for distraction from the nagging memory of those missing assignments. This denial can cause quite a bit of anxiety. Encourage your teen to face the facts, break down the work into smaller, more manageable bites, and plan it out. Research indicates that crossing items off a list actually releases endorphins in the brain, providing motivation to keep going. Whatever system she chooses, give her the option to design it herself. This will create more internal, rather than external, motivation.
2. FEAR OF FAILURE Students often compare themselves to the “smart” kids in their classes, assuming that success is only based on natural talent and beyond their reach. But if your teen connects success to hard work, he will have increased self-confidence and therefore higher motivation. The best tactic is to praise your son for his effort, as opposed to his grades or level of intelligence. Replace comments such as “You’re so smart, you should be getting better grades” with “I noticed how hard you studied for that test.” Many teens also adopt a philosophy that doing nothing at all is better than completing an assignment
ou’ve been there. The conversation goes something like this: “What do you have for homework?” “Nothing.” Or, “Shouldn’t you be studying?” “I’ll do it later.” What appears to be laziness is a complicated issue for teens, with multiple emotions attached. It can feel like walking on eggshells trying to avoid homework battles or angry outbursts over grades. While you can’t make your teen care about his work, you can inspire, direct, and encourage him in this area of his life. Learning how to complete tasks he isn’t excited about is an important life lesson, and with good communication and a listening ear you can be his teacher. Here are seven reasons why students shut down academically, and some ideas on how to intervene.
and failing. A 60 is considerably better than a zero when their grade is averaged, so remind them that all-or-nothing thinking is usually counterproductive.
3. LACK OF FUTURE VISION Some teens have a hard time visualizing what they want to do with their lives, and how school might relate to that. Find out what your teen is passionate about, and help her to identify her strengths, both academically and personally. Then connect that interest with what’s right in front of her. Even if you don’t like her idea of her future career, inquire, rather than judge. What will it take for her to reach her goal? Will a high school diploma be necessary, or a college degree? What type of skills might she need in her future work? Just remember, the “If you don’t start making better grades you’re going to work fast food for the rest of your life” speech doesn’t usually go over very well. Delivery is key!
4. DEPRESSION When combined with other symptoms, lack of motivation can sometimes indicate clinical depression in teenagers, so it’s important to look at how pervasive the issue is. Is your teen unmotivated only at school, or in multiple areas of his life? Does he isolate himself for long periods of time, and refuse to engage socially? Does he often seem lethargic and exhibit low energy? Does he internalize his emotions, or does he have outlets for his feelings? These are important questions to ask. If you are worried your teen might be depressed, consider having him evaluated by a counselor.
5. NEGATIVE PEER INFLUENCES When teens get involved with friends who don’t care about school, it can rub off. On the flip side, there is nothing better than a positive peer group to steer your teen toward good choices. While you can’t choose your teen’s friends for her, you can help her explore opportunities to widen her social circle. Has she gotten involved in youth group, or is there a volunteer opportunity with which she could become involved? Are there clubs or extracurricular activities she would like to try? When teens invest their time in their gifts and talents, they live more fully and vibrantly into the life God has planned for them. A byproduct is increased motivation for school, better decision-making, and a happier teenager.
SOME TEENS HAVE A HARD TIME VISUALIZING WHAT THEY WANT TO DO WITH THEIR LIVES, AND HOW SCHOOL MIGHT RELATE TO THAT. FIND OUT WHAT YOUR TEEN IS PASSIONATE ABOUT, AND HELP HER TO IDENTIFY HER STRENGTHS, BOTH ACADEMICALLY AND PERSONALLY. 6. COMPREHENSION STRUGGLES Teens who struggle in school often feel shame or anxiety at not being able to keep up with their peers. When the work becomes too difficult for them, they shut down. It is important to communicate with your teen’s teachers and find out if he is simply not working to his potential, or if there is truly a limitation in his ability in a particular subject. There may be a genuine reason why he is underperforming. Most school guidance counselors can direct you to a good resource for professional testing if needed.
7. PRESSURE FROM PARENTS Your teen wants to please you, but he or she can become overwhelmed under too much pressure. If reaching your expectations is too difficult, your teen may conclude that there is no point in trying. It is good to set high standards for her, but try to help her identify realistic, specific, short-term goals. And let her take the lead on it. She is much more likely to reach for a goal that she has set than one that you have imposed on her. While your teen may be unmotivated, he might not necessarily be lazy. Take the time to listen to his emotional experiences regarding schoolwork. If he is refusing to do homework, what is at the root of it? A poor relationship with a teacher? Is it a lack of understanding? Is he distracted by emotional difficulties? Aside from prayer, the best intervention is always building and keeping a positive relationship with your teen. You won’t be able to make him love Algebra, but he’ll know you love him. And love is the greatest motivator of all. GRETCHEN WILLIAMS is a Licensed Professional Counselor in Austin, Texas. She has more than 17 years of experience working with teenagers in a variety of capacities, including current counseling work with adolescents and their families. In her free time she enjoys traveling, photography, and playing piano on her church worship team.
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A Prom in Perspective Excitement, fear, anxiety. Your teen will bring the emotions. You can bring the perspective. By Amy Byrd
10 PARENTING TEENS
It is that time of year again: prom season is upon us! Whether you are the parent of a young lady or young man, this time of year has the potential to become stressful and overwhelming—for you and your teen— if not handled carefully and covered in prayer. Prom can become a joyful memory in the life of your teen and your family—if you make a few intentional decisions ahead of time. If corsages and boutineers are in your future, here’s where you can start.
First of all, ask yourself the following questions: 1. How can I make the days leading up to prom a time of growth and encouragement for my teen? 2. How can I guard my teen from the negative effects of prom that can last long after the dance floors clear?
Open communication clause Talking with your teens about the details of their lives is vital. Create a safe place for them in your family to share the ins and outs of the turbulent and wonderful days of these high school years. Ask them questions. Show interest in their passions. In specific relation to prom, find out all of the details about the evening they have planned. Who is the date? Where will they go? Who else will join them? As the parent, you have the right to know the details of your
teen’s life. I like to call this the “open communication clause.” Boundaries are vital, and without the information and general idea of your teen’s plans you will find it difficult to set them adequately. This process may be a difficult one that can cause some tension between you and your child. That’s OK. It’s normal. What your student may not understand is that the questions you ask and the details you seek are so that you can protect them. Fight through the blind stares and the short answers. Do not give up when you meet resistance. It will not last forever, and your student will be grateful for the effort you took to know and to talk with them.
Date debacles More than a few time I have spoken with parents who are unsure about the date that their teen has chosen to
a school function. My encouragement and wisdom in this vein is to ask your teen pointed questions about her date. One bottom-line question: Will his or her time with the guy or girl point them to Christ? Will the Lord be honored in the time that they spend together? Will this person uplift his witness to his non-believing friends or will it raise questions and cause doubt? Take this opportunity to help your students place the situations in their lives up against Scripture. Point them to Philippians 4:8: “Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable—if there is any moral excellence and if there is any praise— dwell on these things.” If you don’t already know them, make contact with the parents of your teen’s date. Confirm the
Take this opportunity to help your students place the situations in our lives up against Scripture. Point them to Philippians 4:8: “Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable—if there is any moral excellence and if there is any praise—dwell on these things.” APRIL 2014 11
Give them some buy in Prom can cost a pretty penny. It adds up quickly if you aren’t careful. This is when the open communication clause comes in handy for parents. Chat with your student about what budget you would like to stay within on their attire and other expenses. Be upfront and realistic with him or her. Share
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your reasoning and allow questions. If her dream attire is outside that dollar amount, invite her to be a part of the purchase. These conversations are important to have before you are standing in a department store with puppy dog eyes looking at you that have fallen in love with a gown that is triple the budget that you had in mind!
The most important thing is that to the best of our ability we point these teens to Jesus and encourage them to live a life that honors Him in all that they say and all that they do. ©©Thinkstock Image
plans for the evening and ask any questions you may feel necessary. Ultimately, if you don’t feel comfortable with your teen’s date, the decision rests with you as to whether you allow your son or daughter to attend. These circumstances are rare, but if this is something after prayer and conversation you deem necessary, you have the authority to do so!
If this is your first teen to send off to prom, ask other parents in your church or community for some of their tips and advice.
Try to find specific ways to make this process special for you and your teen. Make a day out of the preparations. Take him to lunch. Commit to staying away from cell phones and other duties for the day and really spend time with your student. This would be a wonderful time for you to share those embarrassing prom stories and photos you have from your high school days. The name of the date in your son or daughter’s prom photo years from now may be faint in his or her memory, but how sweet it will be when they can recall the lessons and laughter shared with their families during this time. All in all, prom can be a sweet time for your student and his or her peers. Memories will be made that will be filled with laughter, joy, and perhaps some embarrassing stories. (Don’t we all have a few?) The most important thing is that to the best of our ability we point these teens to Jesus and encourage them to live a life that honors Him in all that they say and all that they do. You cannot control every detail of your teen’s life. But you can certainly be in prayer for the details of his or her life and trust that the Lord will guide and keep her. ✤
Make a memory As the high school years fly by and the milestone memories of these years—like prom—come and go, I encourage you to look for every opportunity to point your teen to Christ and teach her along the way. Prom is a wonderful opportunity to do so.
AMY BYRD loves walking through life with teens and talking with them about Jesus. She serves students and families at Hunter Street Baptist Church and lives in Birmingham, Alabama with husband William and new puppy Watson.
YEP, IT’S SENIORITIS By Cynthia Hopkins
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months now. And, somehow, his senioritis is killing me. Now that basketball season has ended, he has nothing left to hold his attention. The college he has wanted to attend since he was 3 years old sent his acceptance letter in October. October…really? Why would they do that? I can’t remember the last time he studied for anything. He gets out of school before sixth and seventh periods even start. The most stressful thing in his day is when we run ©©Thinkstock
“So I’ve done the math. All I have to do to graduate is make a 19 in government for a 70 for the semester, a 33 in dual-credit biology, and a 33 in English.” This was the text I received today from my almost-graduate…while he was sitting in class. I told him I have never been quite as proud of him as I am at this very moment. He replied, “Sarcasm, I’m guessing?” He guessed right. Don’t tell him I said this, but I actually was a little bit proud; that was a lot of math he had to do to figure out those grades. It may have been more math than he has done in weeks. But I also knew he was serious. In his mind, he is done with high school. He has been done for
out of Cheez-Its, or he loses a game of “Madden 2014” on the PS3. It’s a good thing he has a job, or else he would literally be driving me crazy. As I can recall, people have been talking about senioritis at least since 1987. That’s how you know it’s real. It’s a terribly crippling disease that strikes the vast majority of high school seniors in late fall each year, and has no cure except for graduation. Its symptoms include apathy, excessive tardiness, laziness, excessive wearing of T-shirts, elastic-banded sweatpants and athletic shorts, a generally dismissive attitude, and general malaise. Or so I’ve heard. I know it’s normal, and I understand it on some levels. But that doesn’t make it any easier. As a parent, you spend the better part of 18 years trying to encourage your children to always do their best, no matter what the circumstances are. Apathy and laziness are not character traits you have worked to instill in them. It makes you wonder, is this “itis” going to stick? Is this how he is going to approach college? Work? Life? Maybe I’m overreacting. After all, hundreds of thousands of other seniors have experienced senioritis and have gone on to be productive members of society. Still, I want him to finish strong—to rise above all the other 18 year olds. I’m no doctor, but maybe a prescription for senioritis will help us all: Do what you can to help your senior stay focused. It’s human nature to want to coast when you’re nearing the end of most anything. It happens in offices all over the world every Friday at about 2 p.m. But in those same offices, work still happens on Friday afternoons when there is expectation and accountability. So ask your senior what projects, assignments, and tests are left. Then, together, set realistic expectations for the remainder of the school year. Strongly encourage your senior to get a job. It’s a good idea, whether she needs the money or not. Even teachers often stop expecting excellence from seniors by April. A job is a productive use of all that spare time, a great lesson in money management, and the encouragement to learn and practice good work ethic all at the same time. Give your senior projects to do around the house. All year long, seniors hear about how they are top dog. In their minds, everything is about them, and with all of the special events being planned for them, who can really blame them? It doesn’t have to be that way in your house, though. Help your senior remember that other people have lives that matter, too. Don’t go crazy, but giving them a few responsibilities at home if they don’t already have them will help them learn to be others-centered, even when circumstances put them in the spotlight for a time.
AS I CAN RECALL, PEOPLE HAVE BEEN TALKING ABOUT SENIORITIS AT LEAST SINCE 1987. THAT’S HOW YOU KNOW IT’S REAL. ITS SYMPTOMS INCLUDE APATHY, EXCESSIVE TARDINESS, LAZINESS, EXCESSIVE WEARING OF T-SHIRTS, ELASTICBANDED SWEATPANTS AND ATHLETIC SHORTS, A GENERALLY DISMISSIVE ATTITUDE, AND GENERAL MALAISE. OR SO I’VE HEARD. If you can’t beat the system, join it. Hear me out on this one. There does come a point where you have to lighten up. If your senior doesn’t care about school, and only has to make a 19 in government this grading period, then you’re fighting a losing battle and causing unnecessary friction if your expectation is a 98. He’s smart enough to know that his college isn’t going to rescind that acceptance letter because he barely squeaks by on that last high school English exam. So choose your battles, laugh at the text messages, and save your best speeches for college. There’s a good chance you’re going to need them. CYNTHIA HOPKINS has been writing for LifeWay for more than 12 years. She has two teenagers and is married to an associate pastor. She also speaks regularly at youth and women’s events. Check out Cynthia’s blog at cynthiahopkins.org.
APRIL 2014 15
Flirting With the Phone
16 PARENTING TEENS
2. “Once you send it, it’s anybody’s business.” Make sure your teen understands that if they send a photo to someone else, it can then be distributed to any number of other people. More than 40 percent of teens say they have seen a sexually explicit text that was meant for someone else. 3. “Present actions can have long-term consequences.” According to a UCLA study, today’s teens are more motivated by immediate fame than by planning for their future by making healthy choices today. This kind of attitude fuels the need for attention that phone flirting can garner someone. Help your teenager see how the wrong photo/text could hurt future opportunities. 4. “Your faith is both a safety net and a compass.” In Ephesians 5:3, Paul says there should not be “even a hint of sexual immorality” in our lives. Ask your teen how they deal with pressures like these from friends who might suggest it. Talk about God’s design for sexuality and the freedom that comes from living within His boundaries. Ask your teen, “How can I help you to live within God’s plan for freedom?” Provide a safe environment at home so they know they can talk to you if they ever feel pressured to take part in this kind of activity. BRIAN HOUSMAN has been working with parents and teens for more than 20 years and is a regular speaker at camps and conferences. You can connect with Brian on Twitter at @ awaketolife and read more from him on teens and technology in his book Tech Savvy Parenting.
THE CELL PHONE IS THE NEW RITE OF PASSAGE for tweens. According to my own two teenagers, it is now a right guaranteed to them by the U.S. Constitution and to not give them a cell phone is cruel and unusual punishment. Maybe they are right, considering that 78 percent of all teens now own a cell phone. Typically these tiny portals to the world are given to young teenagers with very little guidance by parents. The loose restrictions parents give their teenagers have created another unforeseen problem with the cell phone—sexting. Just point. Click. Shoot. Another picture for Instagram or Facebook. Tens of thousands of teens use their phones every day to send photos to friends. Most of the time the photos are innocent, but a growing number of teens are redefining flirting with a cell phone. Far from fringe behavior, this type of communication is now common practice among both females and males. A recent Sex & Tech Survey revealed some startling trends with teens and their phones: 39 percent of all teens say they have sent or posted a sexually suggestive message, 71 percent of girls and 67 percent of guys said they sent the message to a boyfriend or girlfriend. You need to address it, but do so in a way that helps your teen make God-honoring choices. Here are a few situations to talk about regarding purity and his or her cell phone. 1. “Everything you do is part of your ongoing image.” Help them to see that every day they are creating an image (reputation) for others to see who they are as a person. Every text, post, and photo is part of that reputation.
Building up body image The way your teen views his or her body changes with age. Supporting a healthy concept of body image begins now.
ody image. These words are familiar to anyone who has ever been, worked with, raised, or had any interactions with a teen. In other words, all of us. Negative body image is a battle that all of us, regardless of age, may fight daily. However, it can intensify during seasons of inconsistency or transition, such as the ever-changing teenage years. The multiple transitions in such a small amount of time positions teenagers as prime targets for battling negative body image. This battle is fought with extra doses of grace and constant reminders of the truth that our image is defined in Christ. Younger and Middle Teens (13-17) For younger teens, the struggle of body image begins just before puberty. They experience awareness of their body in new ways. As teensâ€™ bodies change, the image they have
18 PARENTING TEENS
of themselves transforms as well. It is challenging for anyone to love all of who they are, but speaking positive affirmation to your teen goes a great distance in building positive body image. Adolescents will begin to notice how others look, directly comparing themselves with their peers. They start learning about fashion and hair trends, language, and even how to carry themselves. Their perspective of themselves compared to others begins to create self-esteem. As their body image changes, their self-esteem follows suit. In a very impressionable season, an age when connecting and fitting in among peers can be most important, not everyone grows or develops at the same time or in the same way. Media also plays a large part in how teens see themselves. Not only do teens compare themselves to their peers but also to celebrities, athletes, reality stars, and models. While these images are unrealistic, they have a
By Meredith Cromer
strong presence in the conversations, ideas, and dreams of your teen. Family and friends also impact a teen’s body image. Some parents or coaches may overemphasize obtaining a specific weight or looking a certain way for a sport or dance team. Teens may experience teasing or hurtful comments about their physical appearance from peers. Although these comments may not be intended to hurt, they still may cause a lasting effect. The teenage years can be a season of insecurity and sensitivity. Older Teens (18-20) Once older teens finally adjust to their new bodies, there is more change just around the corner. The body and mind spend another season maturing and changing. More transition means more risk for negative body image. For boys and girls alike, this means growing into adult style, body shape, and even different levels of comparison. Teens do not realize the amount of support they need during this time. This is a great opportunity for you to anticipate these changes, preparing to do your part to combat negative body image in your child. —Teach your teen healthy exercise and eating habits, encouraging her to love her body no matter how she looks. Model both of these things yourself. —Don’t just affirm your teen in areas of performance and physical abilities. Make a point to encourage and affirm him in all areas; kindness, humor, serving others, creativity, and being himself. —Teens encounter countless images that will impact their idea of the “perfect” body. Comparison can lead
to negative body image if it becomes the leading voice. As parents, you have a special voice in loving your teen well. Talk with her about how specific and creative the Lord was in making her who she is. Ultimately, speak biblical truth to your teens as they fight against a negative body image. Tell them that they are created in His image. Remind him that they are uniquely designed to be who they are, both in body and in mind. Pray with them and for them concerning issues that arise. Conversations about how much the Lord loves him or her and modeling a growing relationship with Christ will be defining and set the groundwork for positive leaps towards body image. As God molds and changes us, we can always learn more about the character of Christ. You have the priceless opportunity to teach and love your teen through years of developing a healthy body image. It is a great challenge but an even greater reward. Affirm your teens in encouragement through Christ. Let them know that they are loved just as they are.
MEREDITH CROMER is originally from South Carolina and now resides in Franklin, Tenn. She has a degree in Journalism and is currently pursuing a Masters degree in Marital and Family Therapy. She is a freelance writer who loves learning, laughing, writing, and serving at her church. She has been actively involved in student ministry for more than a decade through various roles such as student ministry associate, interim student minister, Fuge staffer, and Fuge program specialist.
BAILEE MADISON The 13-year-old teen star of Bridge to Terabithia and Just Go With It on life and faith PT: What role does your faith play in your life and career? BM: My faith plays such a huge role in my everyday life and in my film career. It’s so rare in this business to have a relationship with God. Because of that, I’m able to use my faith in everyday life to read different scripts and say: Would God be proud if I did this? Am I staying true to my morals in doing this or that script? Is this the right event to go to? Is it what I believe in? In my career and in my life, I want to do things that show my faith and connection to God and only put out positive things that He would want me to do. I try my best to do that.
BM: It means so much to me! I wear my I Am Second bracelet every single day, and I face it towards me—that way I can look at it. When I say I Am Second it means that no matter what happens in this world or in my life, I will always know that God is in control and God is the first person that I should turn to and look to and always have in my heart. My bracelet is a way to remind myself that what I’m doing is not about me; it’s about doing things for the Lord the best that I can. Saying that I Am Second means that no matter what, I know that God’s in control and He has a wonderful plan and that He is everything. PT: What has it been like being a teenager of faith with a growing platform? BM: It’s been so fun! It really has been. It’s really great. Every day I encounter different experiences in the teenager world and also in my faith. I’m able to grow and I learn from my mistakes and I learn from my experiences. As a teenager in this world, there are so many things that can happen to you, and I’m really grateful that no matter what, I know that I have my faith, family, and friends that I can always turn to—they’ve really helped me grow and become the person that I hope to be.
20 PARENTING TEENS
PT: Has it been hard being a teenager of faith in Hollywood? BM: It hasn’t. I feel like you don’t really hear all the stories about people who have a strong relationship with God. It’s really exciting for me to work on projects and have someone turn to me and see the bracelet and say, “Why aren’t you first?” I say, “Oh, do you really want to know?!” The hard part is finding material, scripts, and good people to work with that stay true to what I believe in. It’s about sticking to your morals and saying the word “no,” which is so hard to say. But it’s the easiest word to say when you know that it’s the right decision for your faith and for God. PT: How has your mom encouraged you in your walk with Christ? BM: My mother is the most inspirational, strong, beautiful woman, inside and out. She has encouraged me from day one that what I’m doing is not about me—it’s about God. She reminds me everyday that all this could end in an instant. From the moment I started, my entire family reminded me that it’s not about the red carpet, it’s not about the interviews; it’s about giving back and spreading the Lord’s love and light the best that we can. She always reminds me of that in the lightest or darkest of times. She is my rock. She is my everything. Read an interview with Bailee’s mom, Patti Riley, on p. 29.
PT: What does it mean to you to say I Am Second?
Visit EscapeToTheSoutheast.com for additional travel information.
On the Road Again . . . THROUGH THE SOUTHEAST
illie Nelson said it best: “On the road again . . . I can’t wait to get on the road again.” Ol’ Willie sang about being a wandering troubadour, but his sentiment suits many people. Travel writers love the song. Tour bus drivers play it to start trips. Vacationers build dreams around it. The song – an Academy Award nominee and a Grammy Award winner – illustrates the spirit of Escape to the Southeast and the Southeast Tourism Society, which encourage you to explore little corners or big chunks of their 12-state region. EscapeToTheSoutheast.com and the annual Escape to the Southeast Travel Guide provide scores of reasons to get “on the road again” yourself. The Southeast is a trove of places to explore, experiences to have and
people to meet. Consumer research verifies that some of adults’ most cherished childhood memories are from family vacations. They remember the chill and underground oddities of Virginia’s Luray Caverns or Kentucky’s Mammoth Cave. They remember the pageantry of “The Lost Colony” outdoor drama in North Carolina or hugging Mom’s leg when they heard a lion roar at the Turpentine Creek Sanctuary in Arkansas. Group leaders, youth and senior alike, have unending destination choices. They can center tours on Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium, Florida’s Marineland, a “Gone With the Wind” museum in Georgia or a West Virginia spa town George Washington visited. Smart business travelers know
they can build an extra hour – or extra day – into a trip and detour for a barbecue lunch at The Shed outside Ocean Springs, MS; for a nature walk at the Congaree National Park outside Columbia, SC; for some sparkle at the Mardi Gras Museum in Lake Charles, LA; or for a trip to another world at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, AL. There’s a story about every one of the travel examples cited above in the 2014 Escape to the Southeast Travel Guide, along with many more inspirations to travel. Request your own copy at EscapeToTheSoutheast.com, sign up for a periodic online newsletter and be guided by two more lines from Willie’s song: “Goin’ places that I’ve never been. Seein’ things I may never see again.” That’s the joy of being on the road again.
Plan Your Great
Your online travel guide. “Caesars Head State Park” © South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation & Tourism
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Families are discovering a tucked away paradise on North Carolina’s Outer Banks
ucked away — like a love letter in a drawer, a sequined gown at the far end of the closet, a cherished memory in the back of your mind; tucked away as in hidden, not easy to fi nd, but always there waiting for the right moment, holding that spark to ignite your emotions and carry you away. The Currituck Outer Banks — always ready when you are — is tucked away in the northeastern-most corner of North Carolina. Tucked away, yet discovered especially for its popular, family beaches. Countless residents and tourists have fallen in love with this seaside retreat, not more than a day’s drive from most places on the Eastern Seaboard and known for its mainland rustic chic and oceanside appeal. Currituck’s residents and businesses are ready to offer an unforgettable vacation in a place where families grow closer; friends reunite and make new friends; lovers fall and refall in love; groups gather to celebrate weddings, anniversaries and birthdays; and all leave with memories tucked away to be revisited as often as desired. Here’s where wild horses roam the dunes, sunsets blaze over the sound, migratory birds and osprey soar and dolphins surf ocean waves. This is also where history buffs fi nd stirring stories; sports enthusiasts golf, kayak, fish, swim, surf, hike and bike; epicureans dine on the daily catch of fresh seafood and local produce; nature-lovers inhale salt-tinged air and thrill at the feel of sand between their toes; shoppers fi nd treasures in locally owned boutiques and outlet stores; and vacationers do as much as they want or as little as possible in a setting that’s inspired countless people to be just “tucked away.”
Show your kids a real social network.
Reconnect with the ones you love
on the tucked-away shores of Currituck’s Outer Banks, NC.
Now is the time to plan your escape to a place where wild Spanish mustangs roam secluded beaches and find out why Fodor’s named Currituck’s Corolla one of the “Best Family Beaches on the East Coast.”
Call 877-287-7488 for a free visitor’s guide www.TuckedAwayOBX.com
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OFFICIAL TRAVEL URL alabama.travel
Experience Elvis Presley’s Graceland in Memphis
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hen you visit Graceland in Memphis, you will experience the life and legacy of Elvis Presley, who started a revolution that changed the face of culture, music and society around the world. You will explore Elvis’ home and follow his amazing journey to superstardom through exciting videos, personal mementos, displays of authentic clothing, amazing showcases of awards and much more. You will also get a unique and up-close look at where Elvis played, relaxed, and enjoyed time with friends and family. This portion of the tour includes the famous Jungle Room, Music Room, the Racquetball Building, Meditation Garden, and his amazing display of gold and platinum awards. Other experiences include Elvis Presley’s Automobile Museum®; his custom jets; Elvis’ Hawaii: Concerts, Movies and More Exhibit; and the Elvis: Live From Vegas Exhibit. For more information or a travel planner, please visit Elvis.com or call 800-238-2000. SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION
elvis lives Visit graceland
elvis.com ©EPE Reg. US Pat. & Tm. Off.
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ELVIS PRESLEY’S GRACELAND IN MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE Elvis.com
MONROE-WEST MONROE, LOUISIANA Monroe-WestMonroe.org
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PIGEON FORGE, TENNESSEE PigeonForgeMeeting.com
CURRITUCK, OUTER BANKS NORTH CAROLINA TuckedAwayOBX.com
ALPINE HELEN / WHITE COUNTY, GEORGIA HelenGA.org
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Welcome to a favorite destination for faith-based groups. One built on family values under the grandeur of the Smoky Mountains. Here you can discover more horses and lumberjacks. More roller coasters. More down-home cooking. More shopping and attractions. And more ways to connect with those who share your beliefs. Welcome to the city where excitement and wholesomeness peacefully coexist.
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1/23/14 1:31 PM
Racing Go-Carts with Mom in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee Pigeon Forge vacation experiences produce instant joy and pay dividends for a lifetime. Here’s a sampling:
igeon Forge, next-door neighbor to Great Smoky Mountains National Park in East Tennessee, is a memory-making machine. That’s something you can take to heart. Research from no less than the U.S. Travel Association shows that two out of three adults age 55 and older recall family vacations from as early as age 5, and 93 percent of kids say vacations deliver quality time with parents.
★ Ride Dollywood’s new FireCatcher roller coaster or its established Wild Eagle, Thunderhead or Tennessee Tornado. ★ Race Mom or Dad in roaring go-carts. ★ Meet a real-life miller at the Old Mill and then enjoy muffi ns baked at the Old Mill Restaurant. ★ Organize your own miniature golf tournament. ★ Glide 400 feet into the air at Wonders of Flight. ★ Salute our nation’s veterans at almost every theater show in town.
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★ Take a quiet stroll on the Riverwalk. ★ Laugh at Dad when he gets called on stage at the Comedy Barn. ★ Get a spectacular sunset view on the Great Smoky Mountain Wheel. ★ Get a sugar buzz with a classic Pigeon Forge pancake breakfast. Variety abounds. And if you think about it, you realize that every fun family activity translates well for couples seeking some together time or church groups hunting a destination to please everyone. Pigeon Forge is ready-made for fun and good times. The only extra ingredient you need is yourself. Details are at MyPigeonForge. com and 800-251-9100.
Visit EscapeToTheSoutheast.com for additional travel information.
Monroe-West Monroe, Louisiana – Home of the Beards family home of Joseph Biedenharn, the fi rst bottler of Coca-Cola, as well as beautiful gardens, the Bible Museum, and the Coke Museum. High-flying adventure can be found at the Chennault Aviation and Military ome of the Robertson family, Museum as you discover the world stars of A&E’s hit show Duck famous General Claire Chennault, Dynasty, Monroe-West Monroe is his Flying Tigers, how Delta Airlines the place to discover, eat, and shop got its start, and more. in Northeast Louisiana. With over Hungry? Our food is full of tradi100 locally owned and flavored tional Southern comfort that is good restaurants, abundant shopping, and for the soul. We have over 70 locally unique experiences and attractions, owned, distinct restaurants each ofMonroe-West Monroe is just the fering a mouth-watering taste of true place for your next getaway. North Louisiana cuisine. Choose Follow the Beards around town from menus offering fried chicken, with the Duck Commander Homesmothered pork chops, black-eyed town Tour and visit the locations fea- peas, Catfish DeSiard, gumbo, potured on the show. The Biedenharn boys, sweet potatoes, hotwater cornMuseum & Gardens showcase the bread, homemade cakes, pies and
more. Whether dining on the water or at a plate lunch diner, you are sure to be satisfied. Need a bit of retail therapy? Take a stroll through Antique Alley, “a shopaholic’s delight.” You’ll fi nd blocks of unique antique stores and trendy boutiques in beautiful downtown West Monroe offering home decor, jewelry, clothing, antiques, art and more. Continue your shopping adventure at Pecanland Mall, North Louisiana’s largest shopping mall, or one of the many chic boutiques located throughout Monroe-West Monroe offering the latest in clothing, accessories, home décor and more. Visit our website, www.monroe-westmonroe.org, or call (800) 843-1872 to plan your trip today.
22 Cities Cities 11 river river Big Big things things to to discover discover
Discover Discover The hOMETOWN OF THE dUCK cOMMANDER The hOMETOWN OF THE dUCK cOMMANDER
EAT EAT over 100 locally owned restaurants over 100 locally owned restaurants
SHOP SHOP unique boutiques and stores unique boutiques and stores
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Alpine Helen / White County Georgia No Passport Required
ravel: to a place that has Old World towers, gingerbread trim, traditional German foodstuffs, and strasses and platzes spilling over with Scandinavian goods. See: a natural beauty perched on the Chattahoochee River in the Northeast Georgia Mountains. Alpine Helen-White County is home to a flourishing arts community: glass shops; art studios; and specifically The Sautee Nacoochee Center: Visual and Performing Arts, the Helen Arts and Heritage Council, and the Folk Pottery Museum of Northeast Georgia. Shop: at more than 150 shops in Helen and Sautee-Nacoochee with the nostalgic Old Sautee Store and the surrounding boutiques at the Sautee Junction. Taste: Helen offers over 25 restaurants, cafés, bakeries and candy shops to tempt your taste buds. Enjoy: the world’s largest Alpine model railroad museum at Charlemagne’s Kingdom and Babyland General Hospital, home of the Cabbage Patch Kids and a family-friendly retail store/gift shop. Go: mining for gemstones in three different locations, tube down the Chattahoochee River, ride horses in the mountains, and zip line at three breathtaking locations. Photograph: Indian mounds, old mills, historical buildings and nature at its best. Explore: the many waterfalls and hiking trails in the region—including Unicoi State Park’s lake trail, canoeing, swimming, daily activities and the county’s most difficult mountain bike trail. Tour: the Historic Hardman Farm, Smithgall Woods Conservation area and antique shops. Go: fly fishing on Smith Creek, Dukes Creek or the Chattahoochee River. Stay: downtown or in the woods. For these and many more options visit us at www.helenga.org or call 1-800-858-8027. SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION
your parenting skills
APRIL 2014 21
Who was the fir st to say “I Am Second”? In 2008, Inter state Batteries CEO Nor m Miller envisioned a ministry to reach the hurting and healing in North Texas. Two hundred countries later , I Am Second’s founder knows it was a “God deal” all along. PT: How did your heart for this ministry evolve into what I Am Second is today?
every day I write down where I am. I have it back to ’94. I wrote down the year. It was the March of ’08. I wrote the date, and I thought, “Wow, this summer I’ll be 70.” I thought, “Man, I don’t know how long I’m going to live.” Then what came in my mind was, “Have you been a good witness?” You know, the Scripture in Acts about Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria… “You are to be My witnesses throughout the earth.” I thought, “I’ve been a pretty good witness here in Dallas, here in North Texas.” The next thought was, “Well, have you gone for broke?” And I thought well, I really hadn’t gone
22 PARENTING TEENS
NM: I do a daily devotional where
for broke. Then the next thought was, “Well, can you?” Well, I guess I could if I wanted to or had to. Then the next thought was, “Does Jesus need to be lifted up in North Texas?” And I thought, well yeah. And then I said, “Well can you do it?” And then I said, “Yeah, I can do it.” The very next thought was, “Well if I did it, what would it look like?” I started thinking if I was going to try to lead North Texas to Christ, what would I do? So I started thinking, well what would I try to do if I were going to sell more batteries? I have a warehouse, truck, employees…we’d cover the whole area, so I’d probably do a media campaign. Then I thought, “Well, just do it.” And then the Scripture John 12:32 came to mind. “If I be lifted up, I’ll draw all men to myself.” So I decided to just do it. What’s really funny in all the involvement that I’ve had with Christ, that’s the only time I felt like a physical weight came off me. I didn’t have to worry about all the logistics. I didn’t want it to be something that was a f lash in the pan. So we started in April of ’08. We started trying to get celebrities. I knew Joe Gibbs, somebody else knew Josh Hamilton, Steven Baldwin…then it just kind of went like that. We just finished five years. It’s just amazing. My whole target was North
A long time ago, I thought about having to stand before God and He would ask me, “Why didn’t you do that?” I would say I wasn’t sure. I’d r ather tell Him, “I did it because You wanted me to.”
NM: It’s looking at the facts related to who Christ is and making Him first in your life. In attitude, action, heart, prayer…He’s Christ almighty, the only begotten Son of God, full of grace and truth. This is life. It’s just magical. PT: Why do you think I Am Second resonates with people so deeply? NM: It goes into specific needs.
Texas. When we went public with it—with the campaign—in six weeks we were in 50-something countries. I call it my exceedingly, abundantly, beyond-all-you-canask-for thing (Eph. 3:20). It’s just been crazy ever since. We’re in 200-something countries. The small group aspect has grown phenomenally. We have a whole bunch of small groups that are meeting all over the place. Everybody has their own “I am second” story. They can tell it to anybody. You get people talking about Christ, about what they believe, about what the Scripture says to them, and who they’re going to tell the Scripture to. It’s a God deal. The whole thing is just unbelievably a God deal.
PT: How do you explain I Am Second to people who want to know what it’s all about?
Alcoholism, drug addiction, pornography, abortion, divorce…all these things in life that the world is infected with. It becomes personal. Plus the fact that it’s one-on-one. They can sit in their closet with a computer, and there’s nobody talking to them. They just listen to one person. It gives them a peace and quiet to think about what it’s about.
PT: What has I Am Second taught you about faith?
NM: I make a joke: if it’s a godly thing, then listen to the great prophet, Nike, and Just Do It. A long time ago, I thought about having to stand before God and He would ask me, “Why didn’t you do that?” I would not want to say, “I wasn’t sure that you wanted me to.” I’d rather tell Him, “I did it because I thought You wanted me to.” ✤
APRIL 2014 23
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As a teacher with 25 years in the classroom and the last 21 years as a reading specialist, I have strong opinions about the reading process. Even though phonics is highly regarded and an important piece of the reading puzzle, the goal is NOT to memorize a long list of rules, nor is it to be able to “sound out” a bunch of nonsense words. And even though sight words are an important piece of the reading puzzle, the goal is NOT to be able to read a long list of sight words. To me, the goal is to be able to decode words in a text while at the same time understanding the text and enjoying the text, the key words being “the text.” To put it another way, the goal is to be able to pick up a book, read it, understand it, and enjoy it.
To read the rest of this article covering reading strategies and to learn more about the Burton Reading curriculum, visit LifeWay.com/HomeschoolDirectory.
24 PARENTING TEENS
S P E C IA L
A D V ERT I S I N G
S EC T I O N
Note: In December 2011, 24-year-old Lauren Scruggs lost her left eye and hand after walking into an airplane propeller.
loving—and my friends around me, I had to depend on the Lord and something so much greater than me. Those impossible moments really brought a lot of depth to faith, and they really changed my perspective about what it means to really have a relationship with Christ and depend on His comfort and even mercy during that time.
PT: How did your idea of faith change after your
PT: Where do you think you would be without this
LS: I feel like I never fully understood full dependence on Christ, because even though I had gone through some things with my parents being divorced and other hard situations, I had never experienced personal trauma where I would wake up feeling helpless. I used to always try to fix things on my own. Although we don’t have the power to do that, it felt like I could. In this situation, I was thinking, “I can’t physically bring my hand back; I can’t physically bring my eye back; I can’t change any of this.” Even with my family���who’s so supportive and
LS: I don’t know. It’s funny because I look back sometimes and I’m like, “Well, I loved life so much before my accident,” and it was heading in a fun direction. The website I started was growing really fast. I realize now how self-involved I was and I didn’t even realize it. I definitely had a relationship with Christ and it was deep, but it just changed so much, and I feel like…I don’t know, I would be pursuing more the success of the world, and I would be more focused on that. I’d still be doing what I’m passionate about, but where I place my time now is a lot different.
“I had to depend on something so much greater than me.”
26 PARENTING TEENS
PT asked a survivor , a rocker , and a Hollywood mom to share their stories—and how they rely on the One who comes fir st
PT: What does “I Am Second” mean to you in your walk with Christ? LS: I don’t always realize how focused I am on myself. A lot of times it is easy to get caught up in little issues around us that aren’t that big of a deal, and all of our conversations are focused on that. I think sometimes that my timing looks a lot different in my head than the Lord’s timing, and I’m more focused on myself and what I’m thinking. I’m moving in about six months, and I wish it could be sooner. In my mind I’m thinking, “Oh my gosh, that’s such a long time—I don’t know if I can wait six months!” Then I started really thinking through it. The Lord has me here for six more months for such a greater purpose than me. I might be here because He wants me to
interact with this person or this person. It’s just about looking outside of myself. “I Am Second” helps me keep that in my mind. It helps me continually focus on, “What does the Lord have in this situation?” I may not understand it, but just trust in what He has and walk in faith that way, which can be difficult at times, but so wonderful at the same time.
PT: What message do teen girls need to know about beauty and worth?
LS: I actually just finished writing a book about this that is geared toward teenage girls. I would say that beauty truly comes from—I know everyone says this—but it comes from inside you, and your pursuit of Christ, your heart for Christ, your love for other people. How quickly we tend to focus
on comparing ourselves with others, saying things like, “She’s way prettier than me, she’s way cuter than me, she does this...”. I think it is just realizing, “God put this passion and gift in my heart, and He’s put me in this place and given me these friends for a reason.” I think beauty is really encompassed in understanding who you are in Christ. Beauty can never define us outwardly. I feel that I really experienced that with my physical appearance changing and realizing that no one saw me any differently. I think that spoke volumes to me because I would hold a lot of my identity in my physical appearance and still struggle with not focusing too much on it. I think that proved and showed me the truth in Scripture that beauty is really from within and other people view it that way as well. ✤
APRIL 2014 27
“It’s Christ, my daughter , and then me.” PT: You became a Christian and left the band Korn in 2005. How has your faith evolved since then? BW: It’s grown leaps and bounds in the last five years. I basically went through a lot of stuff where I gave up everything and then after a couple years I lost everything. I’ve watched God provide every step of the way with what I needed, not what I wanted.
PT: Your daughter is a teenager—how has your parenting changed as she has gotten older?
BW: When she was 14, she went through a really difficult time. I’ve been a single parent since she was 3 years old. It was really hard for me to juggle the parenting thing with my touring schedule and everything, so my faith has been really helpful. I would say that the biggest thing that I fail the most at is being a parent. But I keep trying. I’ve been so busy on the road, so I started bringing her on the road with me in 2011, and she was doing homeschooling. That’s when she got lost, feeling the pressures of loneliness and not connecting with the kids. This last year we found a boarding school for her. She is living there in Indianapolis, Indiana. I’m most likely going to be having a place that is just a few minutes from where she is staying, so I’ll get to see her often when I’m not traveling.
It’s about other people. You have to die to yourself and be a servant. Being a parent has really taught me about being a servant.
PT: What does it mean to you specifically to say I Am Second?
BW: Christ is everything. Christ is first. Christ comes before everybody. I should say I Am Third, because it’s Christ, and then my daughter, and then me. ✤
BW: It’s not at all about me. 28 PARENTING TEENS
PT: What has being a dad taught you about faith?
Patti Riley “We don’t get out of bed in the morning without giving the day to the Lord.” PT: As the mom of an up-and-coming Hollywood star (actress Bailee Madison) how have you helped Bailee stay grounded as her career has grown? PR: I think helping her stay grounded mainly had a lot to do with moving back to Florida. Even though she works in the industry, we still do family. We have good people around us. Being [in California] is completely different. We’re here six months out of the year, or close to it. But we still head to Florida every time we can…back to her Christian school in Fort Lauderdale.
PT: How has your parenting evolved? PR: I have three other children (Connor, Kaitlin, and Sean). I think that it’s still the same as it’s always been…it’s about morals and values. We know we’re going to make mistakes, but we try to make good choices. We try not to make a move without saying a prayer before we do.
PT: What can parents do to encourage
their own teens in their walk with Christ?
PR: We don’t get out of bed in the morning without giving the day to the Lord. We say to Bailee, let it be something your grandchildren can
watch and be proud of you as a person. Stay firm in your beliefs. Stay true to your values and what you are—the joy that God has intended for you to have. Live that kind of life and take every moment and every circumstance, regardless of what it brings you.
PT: How has being a parent affected your own walk with Christ? PR: I could not live one moment without Him. I thank Him every day for giving me four beautiful children—
not only Bailee. I have four amazing children and now a grandbaby. I thank God every minute for what He’s given me and what He’s allowed me to watch. Especially Bailee’s walk—it’s so beautiful with what she’s been doing. She is on her knees. She knows she is doing this for God and it has nothing to do with her. We know that as a family. It has nothing at all to do with Bailee. God has put her in the position she’s in. We know we couldn’t make it one second without Him. God is in control of every second. ✤
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A Different Angle:
WHEN CHRIST HAS A HOLD OF YOUR HEART IT DOESN’T EVER TAKE LONG TO FORGIVE. IT SHOULDN’T. LETTING OUR HEARTS HEAL, THAT TAKES LONGER. AND IT SHOULD.
By Dedra Herod
EVERY MORNING THAT WE ARE BLESSED WITH WAKING UP WE RECEIVE SOME OF THE MOST AMAZING GIFTS. Every morning you open your eyes on this side of heaven you receive grace, mercy, and forgiveness. Every day you confess your sins to God, you are forgiven. Instantly your weaknesses, mistakes, sins are forgotten, never to come up to Him again. If these things are true, and we are to live like Christ lived on this earth, then why is forgiveness so hard? I’d love to know. Recently, in the current season of my life, I came to a shocking conclusion. I was holding on to some unforgiveness in a family relationship. Grief has been a big part of my life. I had gotten to my early thirties affected by four deaths of family members, including the death of my first husband. I kind of had to
32 PARENTING TEENS
DEDRA HEROD is wife to a husband that refuses to be tamed, mom to three college kids that make her laugh, and whose desire is a home where everyone loves to hang out, as long as they clean up after themselves.
Why is forgiveness so hard?
“get” the whole grief process and work through it biblically or I was going to bust. Seriously. This world is hard and I was determined to walk this grief road well. I’d seen it done not-so-well first hand. Christian counseling for my kiddos and myself was necessary. Prayer became so incredibly important. Bible Study was crucial to my daily walk. But somewhere forgiveness fell through the cracks. Fast-forward about 15 years and here I stood with the glaring fact that I had in my hands: unforgiveness. What? How do you not forgive others instantly? When we are blessed with a Savior who so shockingly died for us, how do you not so quickly forgive? I discovered that it was all based on taking a portion of pain and grief and putting it in a neat box on the shelf of life and deciding to let it sit there. I moved on with growing up and raising a family and I just let it sit there, until one day recently that box came crashing down. It was right there staring at me. The situation and relationship that I hadn’t let God be the King over was just staring right at me. Let Christ take hold of your heart. When he does, it doesn’t ever take long to forgive. It shouldn’t. Letting our hearts heal, that takes longer. And it should. But forgiving, with all that He gifts us with every day? That should be easier.
A Different Angle:
The Price of Forgiveness
By Gayla Grace
AFTER MY FIRST MARRIAGE ENDED, I held onto unforgiveness. I had been mistreated and I justified my actions from a wounded soul. Aware of what Scripture said, I didn’t want to consider how my unforgiveness contributed to my lack of peace and affected my daily walk with others and with the Lord. Communication with my ex-husband was strained. Coparenting seemed impossible. Until one day, when I realized how I contributed to the difficulty with my unforgiveness. The same thing happens in stepfamilies. Wounded from hurtful words from our stepchild or misunderstood by our spouse, we hang onto unforgiveness, hindering our relationships. We feel justified because we’ve been wronged. As a result, tension in our home co-exists with every interaction. There’s a price to pay for the choices we make. The price of unforgiveness is a burden of resentment, a poison
THERE’S A PRICE TO PAY FOR THE CHOICES WE MAKE. THE PRICE OF UNFORGIVENESS IS A BURDEN OF RESENTMENT, A POISON OF BITTERNESS, AND STRAINED RELATIONSHIPS. THE PRICE OF FORGIVENESS IS LOVE, FREEDOM, AND PEACE.
of bitterness, and strained relationships. The price of forgiveness is love, freedom, and peace. Why do we choose poison over freedom? Because when we’ve been wronged, forgiveness is hard. It doesn’t happen naturally. We have to seek the Lord’s help and make an intentional choice to go against our human nature and forgive. Christ paid a huge price so we could experience forgiveness. His death on the cross is a powerful reminder of the sacrifice He offered us. But even Christ struggled with doing what the Father asked of him. Matthew 26:39 says, “He fell facedown and prayed, ‘My Father! If it is possible, let this cup pass from Me. Yet not as I will, but as You will.’” Some days we’d rather say, “Not your will but mine.” My will includes justifying my hurt and wallowing in my wound. My will seeks to take care of myself instead of considering others’ needs. Unfortunately, my will also leads to a life of heartache and disappointment. Our pastor’s words recently spoke to my heart: “Unforgiveness is demanding that other people be perfect, and that’s a standard You can’t meet.” If I fail to forgive my stepson for an imperfect action, I’m expecting he’ll never have to forgive me for a wrong. I make imperfect choices every day. Why, then, do I hold onto unforgiveness? Forgiveness provides the key to unlock the tension in stepfamily relationships. We’re called to forgive, even when it’s not our fault. It’s not easy, but when we choose to be obedient to the call, we experience peace and joy in our relationships. GAYLA GRACE trudged through her single parenting years with two young daughters. She later remarried and is now a mom/stepmom to five children, ages 12-28, and ministers to stepfamilies at her website, stepparentingwithgrace.com.
APRIL 2014 33
Got a Minute? Compliments should be strong and specific. Saying “great job” or “good work” is a good start when complimenting. But it’s even better to say something like, “I’m so proud that you made the starting team. You persevered and worked really hard to get there.”
By Mark Merrill Several years ago, my son and I had a brief conversation that has really stuck with me. Son: “ Were you there for the first quarter of my game, Dad? I started!” Me: “ I didn’t get back into town and to the game until the second quarter…but you did great!” Son: “Oh.” Me: “But you really need to start eating better.” Son: (Silence) So, what was wrong with what I said? Well, he understood my flight was late and so I missed the first quarter—and my compliment was good. But the “but” was the problem. Instead of just praising him for his accomplishment, I criticized him for his eating habits. And that criticism crushed the compliment.
34 PARENTING TEENS
MARK MERRILL is the founder and president of Family First, a national non-profit organization dedicated to strengthening the family. Mark hosts the “Family Minute with Mark Merrill,” a nationally syndicated daily radio program. He is the author of All Pro Dad: Seven Essentials to be a Hero to Your Kids. This article was adapted from a post at markmerrill.com.
Don’t crush compliments with criticism
Looking back, I realize that the words I had spoken weren’t the same words my son heard. The moment I said, “But you really need…” what my son heard was, “What you did was good, but not quite good enough.” So what did I take away from this experience? First, I learned that compliments should be strong and specific. Saying “great job” or “good work” is a good start when complimenting. But it’s even better to say something like, “I’m so proud that you made the starting team. You persevered and worked really hard to get there.” Second, I learned that criticism should not be mixed with a compliment. Criticism can be so loud to the listener that he won’t even hear a compliment when they are spoken at the same time. Third, I learned that it’s important to compliment exponentially more than criticize. Mark Twain once said, “I can live for two months on a good compliment.” Giving your child a strong compliment can greatly inspire and propel him forward. Criticizing your child, although necessary at times, can quickly take the wind out of his sail. What is a compliment you can give to your child today?
more like Christ
APRIL 2014 35
A House of Grace Grace-based parenting doesn’t look like perfection. It just looks like Christ. By Ryan Mason
36 PARENTING TEENS
But we also want her to understand that grace is connected to the very heart of God. It is the heart of God that gives grace in order that we can be in relationship with Him. As parents, we want our children to learn how to both give and receive grace as they mature in their faith.
“For you are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift— not from works, so that no one can boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9 The word grace [Greek: charis, pronounced khä’-rēs] is a small word with life-changing implications. Some have defined grace as God’s unmerited favor. It is receiving something good that you do not deserve. A. W. Tozer stated that,
OUR DAUGHTER HAS A POSTER in her room that reads, “I will hold myself to a standard of grace, not perfection.” We like that poster for a couple of reasons. First, we want her to know that she is loved because of who she is and not for what she does. Our personal standard is not the fashion industry, sports arena, or reality TV. Our standard is Jesus and our desire is to grow into His likeness.
LifeWay “Grace is the good pleasure of God that inclines him to bestow benefits on the undeserving.” Grace is not just showing kindness to others, but it is showing kindness to the undeserving. It is easy to be kind to those we like but it is altogether different to extend grace to those who have wronged us. That is why we must understand God’s grace and learn to freely give it away. The application to our role as parents is monumental and its benefits extend well beyond mere behavioral change. A home built upon grace creates a new family culture—a culture marked by trust, freedom to be yourself, and a place where you can be transparent about your struggles. Grace holds each other accountable but is quick to forgive even when things do not go well. I recently had a milestone birthday. It was one of those birthdays that cause you to consider the reality of getting older. My wife had worked hard to prepare a special meal and go to the trouble of trying to surprise me with a couple of gifts. The kids were excited to celebrate and have a little fun at my expense. Then it happened. My son blurted out what they had gotten me as a surprise gift. My daughter was deeply wounded because she wanted it to remain a surprise. The meltdown ensued. We spent the next few moments in awkward silence at the dinner table.
The grace that God gives us is a lavish grace. It is a grace that cost Him everything. If God was willing to give up His only son so that we might walk in grace then how much more should we be willing to extend grace to those that have offended us?
The fun and laughter quickly turned into tears and tempers as our special meal was drained of all joy. Grace in that moment did not come easily. The temptation was to send everyone to their rooms or to hand out punishment for bad behavior. Why is it so difficult to live and breathe grace? There seems to be a connection between difficulty and the things that are life transforming. The lavish grace that God gives to His children is free, but it certainly was not realized without difficulty. It is the fact that we are imperfect and struggle with showing grace that makes us dependent on the Lord’s power—and that is the point. The apostle Paul came face to face with this reality when he recorded, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness. Therefore, I will most gladly boast all the more about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may reside in me” (2 Cor. 12:9).
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5 Reminders for Grace-Based Parenting
It is easy to look at other families and think that they have it all together. This is called a comparison trap because it traps you from being what God desires for you. It is good to learn from others, but never doubt that God is doing a good work in you, your spouse, and your children. It is not about being perfect, because that is an illusion, but it is about being real and striving to grow more in the likeness of Christ.
1. God Gave it First “We have redemption in Him through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace that He lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding.” Ephesians 1:7-8 The grace that God gives us is a lavish grace. It is a grace that cost Him everything. If God was willing to give up His only son so that we might walk in grace, then how much more should we be willing to extend grace to those that have offended us? One of the best ways for us to model grace in the home is to give lavish grace to our spouses. There may be no better lesson for our children than to generously love our spouses and to freely pour out grace in daily living.
3. Acknowledge Your Own Mistakes “For by the grace given to me, I tell everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he should think. Instead, think sensibly, as God has distributed a measure of faith to each one.” Romans 12:3 Our children push back hard against anything that even smells like hypocrisy. Grace-based parenting requires a level of authenticity that is willing to acknowledge mistakes. Do not pretend to always get it right, but use your failures as teachable moments that will draw your family closer together.
2. Release Yourself From Perfection “But by God’s grace I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not ineffective.” 1 Corinthians 15:10
4. Clarify Boundaries and Hold Each Other Accountable “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It
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teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live selfcontrolled, upright and godly lives…” Titus 2:11-12, NIV Creating a culture of grace in the home does not mean that all rules get thrown out the window. Grace clearly defines the boundaries and holds each other accountable as the family builds their home on biblical principles. 5. Encourage Your Family Members to Forgive Easily “Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” Colossians 3:13, NIV Forgiveness is a choice. Pray for it, model it, and reward it. Do whatever you can to prevent unforgiveness from turning into bitterness. Bitterness quickly becomes like an acid that destroys its container from the inside out. Teach your teens to accept God’s forgiveness and help them learn to easily forgive others. RYAN MASON serves as Minister of Education at Hillcrest Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas, and loves to write about real life issues and help others apply biblical truths to daily living. He is married to Kilie and they have two amazing children. ✤
Grace-based parenting is not without challenges, but it is absolutely worth the commitment. Consider these reminders to create a culture of grace in your home.
On Your Knees
Praying your teen will find forgiveness
orgiveness: easily said, gratefully received, but greedily withheld. In order to forgive, we must understand what it means to have been forgiven. The King of Kings made us His children and heirs to His Kingdom; although Scripture teaches that we were rebellious and selfish, acting as His enemies. He forgave us, cleaned us up, took our sins upon Himself, took the punishment for those sins, and adopted us as His own. Wow! Pray for your teen to understand forgiveness and learn to dispense it. Help her realize what God has done and what it means to give it to others. As you pray for your teenager and meditate over the following verses, you may find God convicting you of your need to forgive your spouse, child, or another person. If so, utilize your own personal growth and share your experience with your teen.
ray that your teen will understand the P great gift of forgiveness. •G od has a forgiving nature (Ex. 34:6; Ps. 86:5). •H e forgives us in our sinful rebellion (Dan. 9:9; Rom. 5:6).
ray she will realize that true P forgiveness is found in Jesus alone.
•W e deserve death, but Jesus gave us eternal life (Rom. 6:23). •U pon confession of our sins, Jesus forgave us (1 John 1:9). ray that she will know Christians are P commanded to forgive others. •O ur hearts are to be forgiving as God’s is (Col. 3:12-13). •W e are to forgive multiple times (Matt. 18:21-22; Luke 17:3-4). • I t is to our benefit to forgive others (Matt. 6:14-15; Matt. 18:35). “As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.” Psalm 103:12 God has the amazing ability to forgive our sins and then intentionally forget about them because Jesus paid the penalty for every sin we commit. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could become more and more like Him in how we forgive others? As you pray for your teenager to grow in Christ, pray for her to learn how to forgive and move forward in her relationships. While you’re at it, be sure to ask our Almighty Loving Father to help you do the same.
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•C hrist secured our forgiveness (Luke 24:46-47).
forgiveness, point to Jesus
“And be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving one another, just as God also forgave you in Christ.” —Ephesians 4:32 THIS VERSE SOUNDS SIMPLE, DOES IT NOT? God forgave you, so you are to forgive others. Paul wrote these words in his letter to the Ephesians. It comes after a big “therefore” following his explanation of how Jesus provided salvation and what that means to Jews and Gentiles alike. It is written in a section that expresses how believers, as grateful recipients of grace, are to behave. Life is hard. Relationships are complicated. Temptation and selfishness make forgiveness difficult. Remember we live in a fallen world. The enemy wants to stop forgiveness. Grudges and hard hearts are the results of his work. In a world like this, we need to constantly remind our children of God’s forgiveness and our gratefulness. The job of all believers is to be like Jesus toward others in order to draw them toward His love, not push them away from it. Help your teen remember three things: 1. Jesus never took personal offense. He kept his focus on greater issues. The next time your daughter is offended at the carelessness of someone else, remind her to take all matters into consideration concerning the offense. Is the offender hurting? Is it possible that she misunderstood the person? Is there a way to help that person overcome anger or another issue? 2. Jesus never held a grudge. You will never read of Him allowing preconceived notions to affect a situation.
If there is a teacher or authority who seems “out to get” your son or daughter, remind your teen that each new interaction or situation does not necessarily have to be a continuance of a previous one. Holding a grudge or preconceived notion of someone’s intentions limits how successfully he or she can communicate and cooperate with that person the next time. 3. Jesus never got even. His focus was to stay on His mission of forgiving others. When your daughter is hurt by another student, remind her that Christians are not called to get even, but to give grace. No matter how many times she may be hurt (see Matthew 18:21-22), there is always a call to forgive. (There is no excuse for true abuse of any kind, and you, as a parent, should be aware of and act upon anything that falls in this area.) Help your teen in the struggle to be authentic. This subject is easy to talk about but hard to live out. Look for opportunities in other conversations to interject God’s call to authenticity.
KEVIN GARRETT has served in music ministry, collegiate ministry, and student ministry. He currently serves as associate pastor for education and outreach at Parker Memorial Baptist Church in Anniston, Ala.
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THREE-IN-ONE | JEALOUS | IMMANUEL | FORGIVING
A C O N S I S T E N T WA L K W I T H C H R I S T. LO V E F O R H I S W O R D . A D E S I R E TO K N O W H I M .
There are many spiritual tools you want your teenager to develop. Essential Connection: Devotions for Students is a monthly devotional to help them get there. Each issue of EC focuses on four aspects of God’s character—one per week—and asks students to consider the implications His character has on who they are and how they are to live out those truths in their daily lives. But faith is not something teenagers need to journey alone. You need to be there right alongside your son or daughter, and so Parenting Teens is now including all of EC’s Scripture references in our pages for you to read alongside your teen. Each week looks at Scripture through
three lenses: God’s character (who He is), Transform (how it shapes your teen’s faith), and Live It Out (how it affects your teen’s life and witness). As you read these Scriptures alongside your teen, discuss the beauty of God’s character together. What are we promised in Scripture? How does this change our lives? How can we use it to change the world? EC is available in a variety of formats, including print and a digital app, and can be found online at lifeway.com/ec.
APRIL 2014 43
GOD IS THREE-IN-ONE Genesis 1:24-27 & 3:22-24
2 Corinthians 13:11-13
Matthew 28 : 16-20
LIVE IT OUT
4.1 The Point:
4.4 The Point:
4.6 The Point:
God has always existed in three Persons and always will exist in three Persons.
Each person of the Trinity is worthy of blessing, honor, and praise. The love of God the Father, the grace of Jesus the Son, and the fellowship of the Spirit should provoke all God’s people to the highest forms of adoration.
Baptism symbolizes a Christian’s identification with the whole of who God is—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We belong to God the Father, are saved by Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit indwells and empowers us to live life God’s way.
4.2 The Point: Jesus’s baptism signified the beginning of His public ministry. All three Persons of the Trinity were present in order to show unity, oneness, and full approval of the task Jesus was about to undertake.
4.3 The Point: As believers in Christ, we have been chosen by God the Father and redeemed by the work of Jesus, His Son. The Spirit gives us spiritual security and guarantees our inheritance in Christ.
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4.5 The Point: We worship a triune God. Because the Father has sent the Spirit, we can boldly testify about Jesus, the Son.
4.7 The Point: As a Christian, you were never called to go it alone. God exists in community, and He has called us to community.
GOD IS JEALOUS Exodus 34:14-16
2 Cor. 11:1-4
Luke 14 : 25-34
LIVE IT OUT
4.8 The Point:
4.11 The Point:
4.13 The Point:
God wants to be first in your heart. He is not willing to share your devotion with idols of any kind.
God wants you to maintain purity of devotion—your single-minded pursuit of Him.
4.9 The Point:
4.12 The Point:
We often try to live with divided hearts, loving God while sharing our affection with other things. We need an undivided heart, fully committed to God alone.
His desire is for you. He is zealous for you to belong to Him completely.
God demands our unrivaled commitment. We should be loyal to Him above all else.
4.10 The Point: God is so jealous in His love for you that He went to heroic lengths to bring you into a relationship with Himself through the Wonderful Counselor, Prince of Peace.
4.14 The Point: Giving God first place in your heart requires not being infatuated with the world and what it offers.
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GOD IS IMMANUEL John 1:10-18
LIVE IT OUT
4.15 The Point:
4.18 The Point:
4.20 The Point:
In Jesus, God became human. Jesus lived on this earth, and His life points us to the glory of God.
Jesus came to this world with a mission: to seek and to save. He came to save you.
There are many people in this world who will reject the Savior. Regardless, we must live and share the gospel with love and compassion.
4.16 The Point:
4.19 The Point:
In order to bring about salvation, God had to become one of us. The name Immanuel is a very important reminder of God’s faithfulness to His people to bring about their salvation.
Your Heavenly Father will not leave you as an orphan. He is always present in believers’ lives through the Holy Spirit.
4.17 The Point: In Jesus, God came near. Jesus isn’t far away or uncaring. He is personal.
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4.21 The Point: When the Messiah dwells in our hearts, we are so filled with Him that we become more like Him. Others can then see Him at work in our lives and seek to know Him themselves.
GOD IS FORGIVING Nehemiah 9:14-17
1 John 1:5-10
GOD’S CHARACTER 4.22 The Point: God’s very character is one of forgiveness. Regardless of our sin and rebellion, He remains constant and true to His willingness to forgive.
4.24 The Point: God’s willingness and ability to forgive is immeasurable. Once God forgives sin, it no longer exists.
4.25 The Point: When God forgives a sin, He completely wipes it out and doesn’t hold it against us anymore. He doesn’t do this because we deserve it or have earned it. He does it for His sake, in order to accomplish His purposes.
4.26 The Point: We are sinners, and we cannot escape the truth that God has determined there is no forgiveness without a sacrifice.
4.23 The Point: Not only is God a forgiving God, He is a God who is ready to forgive. We don’t deserve God’s forgiveness, but it is His character to extend it.
4.27 The Point: There is no forgiveness without a sacrifice. In God’s mysterious grace, He determined to make forgiveness possible through the sacrifice of His Son, Jesus Christ.
4.28 The Point: Because God is a forgiving God, He is faithful to forgive us when we admit our sin and ask for His forgiveness.
LIVE IT OUT 4.29 The Point: Because God forgives our sin, we need to forgive others. We reflect the heart of Christ when we forgive.
4.30 The Point: Receiving God’s forgiveness should motivate us to extend forgiveness to others.
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CONNECT ON A WHOLE NEW LEVEL WITH 90 DAYS OF DAILY DEVOTIONS FOR STUDENTS
AVAILABLE IN LIFEWAY CHRISTIAN STORES AND ONLINE AT LIFEWAY.COM/EC IOS APP AVAILABLE