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Category Archives: DRIVEN

DRIVEN Parent Cue – Devotion

THINGS UNSAID

By Tim Walker

There’s been a lot of buzz lately about the term “helicopter parents,” people who hover over their kids all the time. For most of us who see a true helicopter parent in action, our first inclination is to say, “Relax. It’s okay.” But, as parents, if all of us were real honest, we would have to admit that we can understand their motivation. Parenthood is scary, uncertain, and filled with doubt. You wonder if you’re doing it right. You wonder if you are teaching them the right things. You wonder if you are raising independent kids, or ones who will be living in your basement when they are 40.

And here’s a big doubt—sometimes you wonder if they even love you anymore.

Let’s face it, the hugs and smiles came a lot more easily when they were little. When you came home, they ran to the door to greet you. They lit up when you walked into the room. You could just feel your child’s love for you simply by looking at his or her face. But now that your child is a teen, those hugs don’t come as often—unless there’s some item being purchased. And when you walk into the room, sometimes they seem more annoyed at your presence than joyful.

It’s easy to get hurt. It’s easy to quit trying to connect with them when the responses aren’t what they used to be. You can only handle hearing the word “fine” so many times before you just want to stop asking, “How was your day?”

But don’t stop. Keep it up. One of the things that we are teaching your child over the next couple of weeks is—when faced with a big doubt, rely on the things you do know. We’re teaching your child to look back and realize that there are some foundational things you have to hang on to in the face of uncertainty.

Your child loves you. He or she may not know how to show it anymore as they seek to break away and establish their independence, but it’s there. There are so many things going on in and around your child, that a lot of things that seemed normal a few years ago are just confusing now. Hang in there with them. Keep loving them. Keep fighting for relationship with them. Keep finding ways to connect with them.

And when you are scared or unsure, remember that you taught them a few good things along the way, and they are learning more from you than you realize.

© 2010 Orange. All rights reserved.

Get connected to a wider community of parents at www.orangeparents.org.

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Posted by on April 25, 2012 in DRIVEN, Parent Cue

 

DRIVEN Parent Cue – Doubt SESSION 2

Session Two (April 29)

It’s one thing to recognize that doubt can strengthen faith—but HOW do you get there? How do you handle a doubt that you just can’t seem to move past? One way is to look back. When you look back, you draw on the things you do know to help you live through the things you don’t know or can’t understand. When you remember the things that God has shown you, you remind yourself of a bigger picture that can help you deal with the close-up situation at hand. The ways you have learned about or experienced God in your past are still true in the present, and can be used to pave the way to belief now—in spite of and in the midst of doubt.

Session Two Parent Cue:  What are some things that God has taught you in the past about Himself? How can those things specifically help you with the doubts you now have?

 
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Posted by on April 24, 2012 in DRIVEN, Parent Cue

 

DRIVEN Parent Cue – Doubt Session 1

Doubt:

Series Overview

Everyone has moments of doubt. We doubt if we are heading in the right direction when going some place new. We doubt if that low-fat snack is really as healthy as it claims to be. We doubt if the people in our lives really care about us—even in spite of the evidence that they do. And sometimes our doubts are about God. Can we trust God? Does God really have our best in mind? What does a particular Bible verse actually mean?

When questions arise, they can be a little unsettling, especially questions about faith. But what if God was big enough to handle the questions? He is. What if God was secure enough to handle our uncertainty? He is. And what if doubt actually paved the way to a deeper belief, a stronger relationship with Christ? It can.

Session One (April 22)

You know those nagging questions that seem to linger in the back of your mind? The ones you hesitate to ever speak out loud, admit you have or let anyone else know you think? Questions like: “Does God hear me when I pray?” “Does He have a plan for my life?” “Does God really have everything under control?” Questions and doubts can be unsettling if they are left unsaid. We begin to think we are alone in our doubt, and often our doubts only grow until they paralyze our faith. But when we learn to admit our doubts openly, we learn that we are not the only ones—that everyone deals with questions. And when we learn to live with doubt, doubt can be a tool that strengthens our faith.

Session One Parent Cue: Do you ever have doubts about God? If so, what are they? What do you do with them—vocalize them or keep them to yourself?

 
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Posted by on April 18, 2012 in DRIVEN, Parent Cue

 

DRIVEN Parent Cue – EVOLVE, Action

Action Point

While it may seem like there are very few things we can agree with our students on while in the middle of these tumultuous teenage years, we probably all have a similar goal in mind for our families. We want to be functional. We want to be healthy. We want to do everything we can to set ourselves up for success. And this may require some hard work—on everyone’s part. But, as parents we should be leading the way here.

So, as you get a glimpse into how your family is changing and evolving, sit down and ask yourself the following questions, taking the time to be introspective and answering honestly—as difficult as that might be.  Then sit down with your teenager and ask them the specified questions that follow.

Parent Questions:

  1. How can you learn not to be reactive but to take a step back and get some perspective on the tension and issues within your family?
  2. What can you do to help your children see a patient and in-control parent in the midst of conflict?
  3. How would you feel about letting someone else into your family dynamics in order to bring the most health to your family relationships?
  4. Who would you consider to be trustworthy to confide in about your family and the potential issues and struggles you face?
  5. Are you opposed to seeking outside counsel from a pastor or Christian counselor? Why or why not?

Student Questions

  1. Think about some families that you know and enjoy spending time around. What makes them comfortable and fun to spend time with? Try to share a particular experience that you’ve had with this family.
  2. What are some things you have seen or experienced this family do that you admire?
  3. What are some things that you would enjoy doing together with your own family?
  4. What are some characteristics of you’re your family that you really like? Why?
  5. How do you feel about the interactions you have with each of the people in your own family? Is there one person you have an easier time relating to compared to the others? Is there one person you have a harder time relating to compared to the others? Why do you think this is?
  6. What is one way that you would like to see your family change and grow?
  7. What can you begin doing this week to make that change happen?

After answering the previous questions, ask your teen to help you make a list of 5 family goals for the following year (i.e. have a family meal together once a week to connect and re-assess the above questions, commit to spending one radio/cell phone­­-free drive to or from school per week to just talk, research and set up a family counseling session, etc.).

To Read Rhett Smith’s entire article, go to http://fulleryouthinstitute.org/2011/06/managing-anxiety-in-the-family/

Get connected to a wider community of parents at www.orangeparents.org.

 
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Posted by on January 22, 2012 in DRIVEN, Parent Cue, Parent's Connection

 

DRIVEN Parent Cue – EVOLVE, part 2

Be a Student of Your Student

One of the toughest aspects of the teenage years is the growing feeling our students have that the conflicts within their families are actually their own fault. And maybe as a parent, you hear that and agree that most of the developing conflict is the fault of your teenager. You may find yourself thinking if you could just fix them, things would be better. There is no doubt our teenagers have some attitude adjustments that need to be made and some issues that need to be dealt with. That comes with the parenting territory at any age. And while we are taking a look at how we can help them through their teen years, it’s also a good time to take a look at our own actions and reactions within our family to figure out how we can actually escalate or diffuse the tensions that arise.

As we experience anxiety in our own marital relationships, work relationships, friendships and even our own view of ourselves, it’s important to remember not to project these anxieties onto our children.

Because your teenager it not your best friend.

Your teenager is not a licensed counselor.

Your teenager is not responsible for the tension between you and your boss or you and your spouse or you and your other children.

As Rhett Smith (MDiv, LMFT-A), a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist Associate, and part-time pastor to youth and families at Highland Park Presbyterian Church in Dallas, Texas explains in his article entitled “Managing Anxiety in the Family: Strategies for Changing our Relationship Dance” (fulleryouthinstitute.org), “If we really want to have healthy families, often we need to begin with the adults in the family taking responsibility for themselves. Rather than point the finger at our kids because they might be convenient scapegoats for our anxiety and conflict, real transformation lies within a family’s ability to do the hard work that relationships require.”

While this is solid advice, it can be really difficult to do! In the book Parenting Beyond Your Capacity, Reggie Joiner points out that one of the best tools to help you walk the journey with your teenager is to “Widen the Circle.” In other words, it’s important to invite other healthy adults into the life of your family; adults who are committed to your children and your family for no other reason than that they care. And this is also a great way to begin to develop processes for taking a look at how our family functions and how we can develop the most healthy family possible.

With this in mind, your student will be invited to participate in an XP, or experience, that encourages them to choose some wise people to help guide them through middle and senior high school. And, we have also encouraged them to include you in the process. Look forward to some more information from your student’s small group leader after week 2 of this series.

Our teenagers are dealing with so many pressures and competing voices. Our best bet is to set them up for success by being their champion and a safe place for them to unload their woes and worries. While this may not be an easy thing to do, it is important for us as parents to start with ourselves and look at how we play into the tension within our family relationships. We are the best place to start when addressing the health of our families.

 
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Posted by on January 15, 2012 in DRIVEN, Parent Cue, Parent's Connection

 

DRIVEN Parent Cue – EVOLVE

Be a Student of What They are Learning

When we were growing up, our family was everything to us. They were the safe place to run to. They were the calm in the storm. They were the people whose opinions we trusted most and whose advice we took to heart. But over the years, especially the teen years, the voices of our mom and dad become more like nails on a chalkboard than the sweet sound of comfort. So what happened? Our relationship evolved. And while that isn’t necessarily the most comfortable thing in the world for a teenager to go through, it also isn’t the worst thing either. So what do we do as our students become less and less willing to listen to the wisdom their families give? How do we handle the everyday conflicts that come up between students and their families? These are important questions worth finding answers to. Because, let’s face it, the relationship is changing. But as difficult as this may be to handle right now, that change can be for the good of everyone.

 
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Posted by on January 11, 2012 in DRIVEN, Parent Cue, Parent's Connection

 

DRIVEN Parents Cue – Unwrapping Christmas ACTION

This Action Point is where you, as parents, can start to define what Christmas is truly about through the traditions we establish and the way we express the Christmas story—in our homes, in our schools, in our churches, in our neighborhoods and to the world at large. This is not just an exercise for the Christmas season, but rather a great time to start refocusing our family’s attention on putting Christ back into His rightful place. So, this Christmas as you and your family settle into the usual gate of the holiday season, take a moment to pray, reflect and search your heart for how you want to represent the Christmas story to your family. And then, do something together as a family that will allow those values to be expressed in a way that will forever shape the way they “do” Christmas.

Here are some ideas for ways you and your family can connect to and define the Christmas story together:

  • Adopt a family for Christmas through the Salvation Army: Salvationarmyusa.org.
  • Volunteer at a local homeless shelter to serve a meal on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day.
  • Give one less gift this year to each family member and instead buy gifts for children whose parents are in prison through Angel Tree: Angeltree.org/angeltreehome.
  • If you have a musical family, visit a convalescent home or local children’s hospital and sing some of those Christmas favorites.
  • Help the local hospice or meals-on-wheels organization distribute Christmas dinners. You can help prepare the actual meals or donate your time and car to transport the meals to the elderly or sick.
  • Look through Martha Stewart and other crafty magazines or old craft books for Christmas-inspired crafts and buy enough supplies to have a hospital ward of children or a retirement home ward make crafts or ornaments with you and your family.
  • Ask your church if there is a family that attends that could use some extra help this holiday season. Invite them over for Christmas dinner or offer to buy and decorate a Christmas tree for them.

This Christmas, as you celebrate the gift of Jesus and the story of God’s redemption in all of our lives, take the time to put that message into motion. Christmas is not just about giving things away so that we get that warm fuzzy feeling, or because we want to “share the wealth.” It’s about expressing God’s heart for justice, love and reconciliation.

As well, here is an encouraging blog post entitled “10 Reasons to Escape Excessive Consumerism” by Joshua Becker. Check it out at: http://www.becomingminimalist.com/2011/08/03/escaping-excessive-consumerism/

Get connected to a wider community of parents at www.orangeparents.org.

 

 
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Posted by on December 9, 2011 in DRIVEN, Parent Cue, Parent's Connection