10 Common Mistakes Parents Make Today ( Me Included) by Kari Kubiszyn Kampakis
When I became a mom, I got lots of advice on how to love my child. But not until a few years ago did someone actually point out that loving a child means wanting what’s best for them long-term.
Now that my kids are maturing I’m no longer a pledge of parenting, but rather an indoctrinated member. The perk of this stage is that my kids want to spend time with me. We have real conversations that reveal their beautiful personalities. With everyone sleeping through the night, I’m sleeping better, too. I can think coherently and be more intentional in how I raise them.
These days, I put more thought into long-term. I think about the kind of adults I hope my children will be and work backward to ask, “What can I do today to foster that?” Being mindful of their future has changed my parenting paradigm, because what makes my children happy at age 10 or 15 is somewhat different from what will make them happy at age 25, 30, 40 and beyond.
A while back I came across some interesting articles and books that dig into what psychologists today are seeing: a rising number of 20-somethings who are depressed and don’t know why. These young adults claim they had magical childhoods. Their parents are their best friends. They never experienced tragedy or anything more than normal disappointments. Yet for some reason, they’re unhappy. Continue reading
Sequels, Selfies an Space: 2013 at the Movies by Barna Group
The Oscars are Hollywood’s big night. Among pizza deliveries, selfies and the crashing of Twitter, the Academy handed out its coveted awards. This year’s were purportedly some of the closest races in Academy Awards history, which perhaps accounts for why there was no “big winner,” with the space thriller Gravity collecting a mere seven awards to lead the pack and Best Picture winner, 12 Years a Slave, capturing just three awards.
While the Oscars do not bring in the mythical “billion viewers” they often tout, more than 40.3 million viewers tuned in to the Awards show last year, making it the seventh highest-rated telecast of the year—the other top ten are all NFL-related—and proving audiences still love the movies.
So, what movies did Americans watch in 2013? Are Oscar winners also box office winners? How do factors like gender, age and faith affect American’s viewing patterns? And what power do movies have to influence our thoughts and actions?
Americans Watch Movies Continue reading
The Right Way to Praise Kids by Donald Miller
Not long ago a study was released explaining kids are negatively affected when we tell them they’re good at something. It sounds crazy, I know, but the article said if we say to our kids they’re good musicians or good athletes, they feel an enormous amount of pressure to live up to the expectations we’ve unknowingly set. The study found kids are much better off if we say great job scoring that goal or you sounded really good in practice today.
The difference, the study suggested, is we’re praising what a kid did rather than praising his or her identity based on select criteria. In other words, when we say you’re a good musician what the kid hears is you only matter if you’re a good musician and you should fear losing that status but when we say you sounded great in practice today what the kid hears is you sounded great in practice today, nothing more and nothing less. Their identity has nothing to do with whether they’re a good musician or not. Continue reading
4 Reminders to Leaders Serving at Youth Group by Aaron Crumbey
I can say pretty confidently that valuing these three things change the game at youth group.
I try to remind our volunteers of 3 things very frequently:
- Their Purpose at youth group – You are not just creepy people holding up the wall in the back.
- Their Importance at youth group – We couldn’t do youth ministry the way we do it without you.
- Their Commitment to youth group – We appreciate your commitment to our ministry, and we thank God for you.
Also, as a quick reminder to volunteers, here are 4 things they need to be on youth group night: Continue reading
Four Things Kids Hate About Your Teaching by Brandon Early
I have been teaching/speaking for a couple decades now, and I am still growing. While I have not figured out how to give a perfect talk week after week, I do have a list of misses to avoid when teaching. Here are 4 areas that might seem obvious but aren’t. We might get caught in the moment, rely too heavily on our skills, or think we are doing a better job than we are. A sad truth is, students don’t often complain about these things…they just vote with their feet. How are you doing in these 4 areas?
Too Long Continue reading
10 Ways to Make a Difference in a Teen’s Life by Rachel Wojnarowski
How can we make a difference in our teens’ lives today? Maybe the teen is in your Sunday School class, your neighborhood, or your own family. Maybe your role is dad, aunt, teacher, coach, neighbor or youth worker. No matter the role, here are 10 ways to make a difference in a teen’s life.
1. Pray for them.
When you feel like you know what to do and you don’t know what to do, pray for them.
2. Listen to them.
When they are ready to talk, make time to listen.
3. Write a note.
I have letters and cards from my mom while I was in college that I treasure even more since she’s in Heaven.
4. Feed them. Continue reading
What Do You Mean “Boundaries”? by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend
The parents of a twenty-five-year-old man came to see me (Dr. Townsend) with a common request: they wanted me to “fix” their son, Bill. When I asked where Bill was, they answered, “Oh, he didn’t want to come.” “Why?” I asked.
“Well, he doesn’t think he has a problem,” they replied. “Maybe he’s right,” I said, to their surprise. “Tell me about it.” They recited a history of problems that had begun at a very young age. Bill had never been “quite up to snuff” in their eyes. In recent years he had exhibited problems with drugs and an inability to stay in school and find a career. It was apparent that they loved their son very much and were heartbroken over the way he was living. They had tried everything they knew to get him to change and live a responsible life, but all had failed. He was still using drugs, avoiding responsibility, and keeping questionable company.
They told me that they had always given him everything he needed. He had plenty of money at school so “he wouldn’t have to work and he would have plenty of time for study and a social life.” When he flunked out of one school, or stopped going to classes, they were more than happy to do everything they could to get him into another school, “where it might be better for him.”
After they had talked for a while, I responded: “I think your son is right. He doesn’t have a problem.” Continue reading
5 Ways To Lose Credibility With Students by Chris Schaffner
We all know youth workers who have lost credibility with their students. We often pass judgment on them and know personally what we would have done differently. However, what makes a youth worker credible in an teenager’s eyes may be different from what a youth worker thinks will make them credible. Credibility is often confused with trustworthiness and likability, or the youth worker is more concerned with being liked than respected. But teens are smart consumers, and they know the difference between authentic adults and those just trying to sell a product.
We cannot transmit something we don’t have. When we minister to youth and don’t take care of ourselves first, we end up taking shortcuts, overcompensating, or looking for the easiest ways to do the bare minimum. Usually the intentions are good, but sometimes the outcomes of our ministry efforts are not. Adults in general can try too hard, control too much, or pretend something is working when it clearly in not, and this is typically because they don’t know what else to do. When the glass is empty, it’s empty and there’s nothing left to give to others.
1. Craving Student’s Approval Continue reading
4 Characteristics of Biblical Discipleship by Andy Blanks
I we think there are some unique characteristics of Jesus’ model of discipleship that need to appear in our own processes.
Let’s call these characteristics of biblical discipleship. If we look at Jesus and how He lead the 12 on their discipleship journey, we can see at least these four characteristics:
#1: A Call To Something
When Jesus called the disciples, He gave called them to a purpose, a goal of sorts.
Luke 5:10-11–Then Jesus said to Simon, “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will catch men.” 11So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him.
Matthew 9:9–As Jesus went on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax collector’s booth. “Follow me,” he told him, and Matthew got up and followed him.
Matthew 16:24–Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.
I think this is actually a characteristic that’s missing in a lot of our discipleship efforts. I think we too often take this characteristic for granted. Do your teenagers see their faith as sa movement? Do they see themselves as part of a mission? Or do they see their faith as little more than a moralistic framework to live as good people? How many of your students are you “discipling” simply because their mom and/or dad just keep dropping them off?
Jesus called His disciples to be part of a world-changing movement. The call is still the same today. We just have to make sure we’re not underselling or misrepresenting it. How many of your students, if you asked them right now, could articulate a purpose or vision behind the disciple making process they are in the midst of? We need to be sure that our students understand the call and accept the task.
#2: Faithful Teaching of The Bible Continue reading