What Went Before (Parent Update)

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Hey Parents, Just a quick update about what’s coming up in the student ministry in the weeks ahead.  First, we are currently three weeks into our TRANSFORMED For Students series on Wednesday Nights; Mike Stivani taught last week about our physical health and we will have Ray McDaniel teaching a lesson in the weeks ahead.  Remember, each of our students who attend on Wednesday nights received a TRANSFORMED Student Journal; the journals are $7 and can be paid anytime (sooner than later please) during our fall campaign.

Second, this weekend is our annual Kid’s Fun Fest (KFF).  We really need “All Hands On Deck” for this event.  KFF is a great outreach to our immediate neighbors – did you know that there are nearly 1500 homes in a 1.5 mile radius of the church – We sent out over 500 postcards to many of these neighbors to remind them of our event.  Each year we have seen growth in outreach/evangelism through this event and we hope this year is no different.  Please consider how you (and your family) can help at the Kid’s Fun Fest this Saturday; the event is only two hours long (3-5pm) and there are several keys areas we need help.  If you can help, please contact July Westrate or Jen Porter to volunteer for a few hours on Saturday (September 27th).

Finally, I would like to share with you about our next lesson in Sr High Sunday School.  Next Sunday (September 28th) we will start a new series call What Went Before.  To prepare for our new series, here a few things you can remember and work on as you interact with your teens:

  1. Be a Student of What They are Learning

We have all made some decisions we would like to forget. Whether it’s cheating on a test, breaking a friend’s heart or something much more destructive, regret can haunt us and keep us from being able to move forward. But God has promised us that we have been forgiven and His glory allows us to switch our focus from what we’ve done and who we were, to who He is. And that allows us to move forward knowing that we serve a God who holds our future and shields us from our past.

  1. Be a Student of Your Student

Do you remember growing up and having that hard conversation with your mom or dad when they sat you down and told you that you had broken their trust? Do you remember the phrase that often followed: “You are going to have to prove to us that we can trust you again.” There was a sinking feeling as you realized that not only would your parents possibly see you differently, but they would also allow you to do less because of a bad decision on your part. But what about when the tables are turned? What about when our kids start to lose trust … in us? Can you imagine your son or daughter sitting you down and saying, “I’m very disappointed in you and you are going to have to work to get my trust back.” Seems like an odd scenario, doesn’t it? But in Chap Clark’s book Hurt 2.0, we find story after story of teenagers who have lost trust. Trust in their parents. Trust in security. Trust in their teachers. Trust in anything that is meant to provide them stability and love. We are now so busy and so fragmented in our own lives that our kids are feeling the weight of it and saying, “Who and what can I trust?” So, what do we do to re-instill a sense of trust in our teenagers? Chap Clark writes in Hurt 2.0

“The healthiest and most productive strategy is for parents to be so involved in the lives of their mid-adolescents that they can understand how complex, incongruent, and layered this phase of life is for their children. Parents who lovingly seek to understand that their son or daughter is in the midst of wildly changing psychosocial experiences and events will be well on the way to being the kind of anchor the child needs during this period. Parents need to realize that adolescence now lasts up to fifteen or more years. They need to see their parental role as a marathon, recognizing that building a relationship in which their child trusts them is even more important than whether they can trust their child regarding the immediate issues of the day” (100)

This may be a hard mental flip for many of us. Historically, parents of teenagers have focused on an establishment of trust which flows from the student to the parent, putting the onus of trust on the teenager. But what we are now seeing is the need for students to be able to put their trust in their families first and foremost, so that they can venture out to make the decisions that allow them to lay a firm foundation for healthy trust, not only in family relationships but also in relationships outside of the home as well as future relationships.

Making this mental shift is not easy for most of us, but the benefits of showing our teens that they can trust us and reversing a culture of abandonment will be evident in the lives of our students, both now and in the long-term future.

  1. Action Point

Most families have expectations. Maybe in your family they are more unspoken and assumed, than spelled out or hung up on the kitchen wall. But however clear or unclear these rules or expectations may be, every family has the dos and don’ts of their particular household. This week, sit down with your child and talk about the expectations that were present when you were growing up. Be honest and try making yourself vulnerable as you talk about how you either did or didn’t live up to those expectations. Is there an incident or story in your life that has informed any particular family expectation? In other words, do you (the parent) have any stories of a time that you didn’t do the right thing? Did God redeem it? Is there now a family standard that is somehow connected to your own personal story? Maybe even share some stories about why you now have certain expectations for your own family. How did some of the rules or expectations in your house come to be? Why do you think these boundaries and expectations are important? What are your expectations attempting to protect your family from?

If you don’t have any established expectations as a family, take this time to sit down and establish some. Remember, these aren’t just rules for the teenagers in your household. These are family expectations, and those include parents too. Age-appropriate rules that only apply to your younger members are useful. But, if your students are only allowed three hours of Facebook time a week, you may want to consider limiting your own allowed social networking time as well. As you wrap up your time together, encourage your students to work with you, together, as your family navigates the expectations for your home.

 

Have a great week parents!  Feel free to Email me or call if you have any questions about what we are teaching.

Serving Christ at Bible Baptist

Pastor Terry

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