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(Parenting) Lessons Learned

Do you have teenagers? Do you know a teenager?

When you are around students, do you:

  • Love them?

  • Tolerate them?

  • Hurry to get away from them?

  • Get totally intimidated by them?

Over the last few months, I have been giving hands-on oversight to C3 Church’s Zeal Student Ministry, 7th-12th grade. Matt and I used to be full-time student ministers, so some things are familiar, but every generation is different, so some things are a new learning experience.

But teenagers, like all people, want to be known, loved, and heard.

Students also have gifts & talents, and we want to help them discover what those are and start living a life bigger than themselves.

This is why at C3 Church, we say students aren’t just the church of tomorrow; they are the church of today. They can add value, and they will if we will spend some time investing in them.

When hanging out with students, you have to have some patience because their world is different from what we grew up in, so you have to learn to laugh and enjoy who they are.

Their energy is infectious! It helps me to stretch and live a little crazy, but they need adults in their life with wisdom and experience to help lead them.

This summer, we had a Zeal Summer Internship Program where our staff and leaders poured into the group of students by immersing them into church life through ministry training, prayer and devotionals, and classes for practical application of biblical principles.

We also did workouts, and they had a little challenge keeping up with me. LOL! We also played intramurals for team building. It was so much fun just to be active together.

Parents, you need to do some fun moving, outdoor activities with your kids.

We ended the Internship with a fun trip to Carowinds! Now this will keep you young or sick or a little of both! But I rode the big rides and hung out with the students. :)

When hanging out with students, here are some things to think about and consider.

  • You cannot dismiss the world they live in.

  • It’s important to incorporate things that are important to them.

Ex) We had a rule of no headphones on the bus. BUT they could use their phones.

At first, they were disappointed, and there were a few groans that there were no headphones, but I gave them the why. It isolates them into their own world, and I wanted us all to be in the same atmosphere.

They all ended up playing a game TOGETHER on their phones, including the leaders. There was lots of laughter, conversations, and having fun together.

They even started conversations in the group once the game was over!! If we had allowed the headphones, they probably would not have talked to each other and been more isolated. Overall, the phones were not really a big deal, because we didn’t make them a big deal.

So parents, instead of making teenagers feel bad because they are on their phones (that you bought them) all the time, figure out ways to embrace the phones in a positive way.

  • Play games with them on their phones. “Heads Up” is one of my favorites.

  • Do a family devotional together on You Version.

  • Have a family group text and send encouraging messages to each other or funny things you find. Our family does more funny things. :)

What are some other ways you can think of to engage and not criticize?

Here are some parenting resources to check out! Don’t be overwhelmed! Just pick one and get started on being the best parent you can be!

From Dr. James Dobson

Bringing Up Girls

Bringing Up Boys

The New Strong-Willed Child

Jimmy Evans

7 Secrets of Successful Families: Understanding What Happy, Functional Families Have in Common

Blending Families

Kevin Leman

Becoming the Parent God Wants You To Be

Have a New Teenager By Friday

When Your Kid Is Hurting: Helping Your Child Through Tough Days

Robert Bucknam and Gary Ezzo

Baby Wise - My favorite for soon-to-be and new moms

Growing Kids God’s Way - This is a parenting curriculum that you can even do with other parents. They also have a website.

Pastor David Baker

How to Raise Rich Kids: Rich Relationships, Rich Life, Rich Finances