Parents should cram religion down their kids' throats :)

Parents should cram religion down their kids' throats :)

Imagine it is 3:00 pm on the first day of school.

Your daughter or son comes home and gives you a horrible report. They didn't get the classes they wanted, one of her friends was mean to her, your son isn't in classes with any of his friends, and it turns out they aren't going to get to start their fall sport like they thought. So much disappointment all in one day.

As their parent, how do you respond? "It looks like school is going to be too difficult this year for you and I don't want you to have to experience this kind of pain and discomfort, from here on out, if you don't want to go to school or play that sport, you don't have to."

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The Most Important Thing To Do When Raising a Teenager

The Most Important Thing To Do When Raising a Teenager

I have just recently presented one of the most challenging classes eve called “Preparing to Parent your Adolescent.”

For this class I used every tool at my disposal; my 17 + years of ministry experience, access to the personal libraries of all our pastors on staff, and input from my colleagues. As I looked through over 40 years’ worth of books and resources, I landed on three that have shaped me the most and became the core of this class:

Understanding Your Young Teen, by Mark Oestreicher, Hurt, by Chap Clark and Parenting Beyond Your Capacity, by Reggie Joiner.

All three of these are must-reads for parents, youth workers, and those who interact with and love students. If you haven’t realized it yet, adolescence is a complicated and challenging process with a seemingly-unnatural amount of variables that play into the change from child to adult.

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A great perspective on parenting from an unlikely source

Whether you like country music or not, this song is an incredible seminar for parenting teenagers.  A couple of things before you enjoy these 3:09 of parenting gold! 1) Developing a sense of Identity and  instill Value over Behavior Management.

2) Remembering where you as a parent have come from might allow you a little more grace for your teen.

3) Take the blame and claim them every time!

[youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fRjw0-8b9mM]

I yelled he's mine that one Got a wild-hair side and then some It's no surprise what he's done He's ever last last bit of my old man's son And I'll take the blame And claim him every time Yeah man, he's mine and he'll always be The best thing that ever happened to me You can't turn it off like electricity I love him unconditionally I'll take the blame And claim him every time Yeah, y'all, he's mine I thank God, he's mine

Simple Parenting Advice: "Check Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself."

Ok, that isn't totally what my simple parenting advice is.  It is actually, "Check yourself before your kids actually end up like you." Over the past couple of years, I have had the opportunity to speak to MOPS (Mothers of Pre-Schoolers) groups and Parents of Teenager groups for my church as well as for some of the churches in Northern California.  Working with students and their parents for the last 15 years and then realizing how awful the challenge of parenting is as I have become one myself has made for plenty of space for spiritual growth and transformation.  Coninuting to work out my own faith development while having my own kids has proven to be quite the challenge.  So difficult, in fact, I had to write a little book to wrestle through my junk.

What I have learned is very simple.  Our kids will reflect us and our values.  Not necessarily our stated values, but our true values.  I have enjoyed pointing my fingers at the parents of my students as I have stood separate from them and their issues.  But this is no longer the case.  Now that I am a parent and I can empathize with the unending challenges and complexities of parenting, my finger is no longer pointed at those "old people" with high schoolers for kids, the finger is firmly pointed at me with my parenting advice.

Below is post I wrote for a friend's blog, thesestones.wordpress.com, as she put together a little blog series on the spiritual formation involved in parenting. My post is the third installment of a series on children’s faith development called Vision from the Frontlines:  Voices, Experiences & Practices of Faith DevelopmentI hope you enjoy :)

flannelgraph

There are so many things to be worried about when it comes to parenting.  And the bummer is that every year that goes by we just seem to exchange one set of concerns for new ones.  Before we realize it we have spent the better part of our parenting years worried about so many things.

Think back to when you kids were babies and the worries that consumed you.  Right now you have a whole new set of concerns, and we haven't even gotten to adolescence yet :)  With all of this worry and and never ending search for the silver bullet that will help our kids live into whatever un realistic dreams we have for them, we actually goof up the most important and most significant part in shaping our kids and the people they become.

You see, our kids almost always will always share the exact same values that you have as they arrive in adulthood.  The problem is that they will not always share your stated values, but they will always share your true values.

Kids have an amazing BS detector and will cut through all of the garbage we lay out there as priorities and values and will embrace your true values.  Since this is almost the most important case then the real issue in attempting to figure out parenting and especially faith formation in your children is for you as the parent to really sort out your own faith formation.

The truth is many of us have neglected our consistent, intimate walk with Jesus since we have had children.  Due to lack of schedule, lack of sleep, and a million other excuses our once vibrant faith has been exchanged for flannel graph versions of faith complete with cartoon bible devotionals.  

We try our best to pass on this faith by praying with our kids and reading our little story Bibles.  We get them to church as much as possible, and even take them to Vacation Bible School.  But some how in this new parental rhythm our we have become boring old Sunday School teachers and are no longer children of the Most High God, saved and sanctified, transformed and healed, given value and purpose, and a partnership with Jesus Himself to expand God's Kingdom here on Earth as it is in Heaven.

If we really want our kids to have a value for faith, and even more have a love for Jesus, then this happens first and foremost by us having our own passionate, authentic, vibrant, and transforming walk with Jesus.  This is the starting and the end of faith development for our kids.

May we never settle for the flannel graph version of faith we attempt to share with our kids and rather embrace the adventurous life of faith that we have been invited to through Jesus Christ!