We’re all going to find ourselves facing tragedy at some point during our lives. We’re all going to walk through seasons of darkness. And when we do, it’s important to know how to respond. While most of us are taught what to do with the good things in life, very few of us are taught what to do in the face of tragedy. And because of that, we often find ourselves covering it up, lashing out, or ignoring it all together. But what if there was a better way to deal with tragedy? The good new is that there is, and it’s found in the Bible. The Bible not only shares stories of people just like us facing tragedy, but also shows us how to face it and move toward healing. This week we’ll take a look at how Jesus walked with and responded to someone going through a serious tragedy. Through that story we’ll discover that the first step toward healing is acknowledging our feelings.
PARENT TOOL // CRISIS GUIDE
With teenagers, the pressure seems to increase as their responsibility does. The potential for them to experience a crisis-- whether from bad decisions, rejection or trauma-- also increases. Sometimes it's easy to want to jump in and fix things, but supporting their efforts to handle their crisis helps them more.
Be aware of the signs that your teen is experiencing a crisis and don't take them lightly. Try to understand more than you feel like you know. See them for the adults they are becoming, be careful to respond, and offer more help if they need it.
We've attached the following Crisis Guides for parents of middle schoolers and high schoolers. We hope that you check them out and come alongside your kid(s) as they walk "through the darkness."
My guess is that in your house—like my house—there’s a constant tension between rules and relationships.
Your nine-year-old is supposed to help wash the car, but instead decides that riding his bike is a far more important to the functioning of the universe than cleaning your dirty minivan.
How do you respond?
On the one hand, you need . . .
rules—boundaries, guidelines and limits that make life work and shape character.
On the other hand, you need. . .
relationships—love for each other, respect and even some basic kindness.
But rules and relationships always seem to be in tension with each other, don’t they?
Clamp down too hard on the rules, and the relationship suffers. Or work hard on relationship and the temptation is to slack off on the rules.
To make matters more confusing, in most families, one parent tends to be the relationship parent and the other tends to be the rules parent.
If you’re like me, a rules guy, you are tempted to ground your nine-year-old for life, pull all video gaming privileges and be angry enough that most observers would assume you discovered your son had joined a street gang, not failed to pick up a sponge.
If you’re more the relationship type, you’ll abandon your bucket in the driveway, get on your bike and go have a picnic in a green field with your new found best friend while gentle music plays in the background and your rules-loving spouse drives the car to the junkyard in protest.
Left unchecked. . .
The rules parent thinks the relationship parent is a left-leaning hippie type left over from the sixties who thinks love can solve every problem.
The relationship parent becomes convinced they have married someone who should probably quit family to become a drill sergeant, robot or warlord.
Recognize the tension? So what do you do?
Here’s a maxim that I think can help those of us who struggle with this tension, which definitely includes my family:
Never ruin a relationship over a rule.
Never ruin a rule over a relationship.
READ MORE ON THE PARENT CUE BLOG
DO THIS // BED TIME
The end of the day, right before bed time is a surprisingly vulnerable time for most people. This is also true for your youth. One night this week, pop your head inside their room before lights-out and ask if they want to talk for a few minutes. You could start by talking about your day, and then ask about theirs. Be there just to listen, and only offer advice if you’re asked.
I am a planner and always have been. I carefully constructed a plan for almost every life milestone.
Choosing a graduate school program in high school? Check.
Wedding dress selection? Check (as soon as he proposed)
Birth plan? Check (as detailed as it could possibly be)
For as long as I can remember, I’ve enjoyed planning and longed for routine and stability. In middle school, I sat in the same seat in every class. In college, I decided on my class schedule a semester in advance.
I craved certainty and security.Even though I understood that life was anything but certain, there was something very gratifying about creating order amid chaos. Certainty is associated with clarity and predictability.
According to Dr. David Rock, the author of Handbook of NeuroLeadership, not knowing what will happen next is unsettling for humans and can be debilitating because it requires additional neural energy. Put simply, our brains have to work harder to process the unexpected.
But what happens when life throws you a curve ball that you did not, and could not, plan for?
CONTINUE READING "5 WAYS TO HELP TEENS COPE WITH CHANGE"
For more parenting resources visit www.ParentCue.org
Just a quick reminder, on Monday mornings, I will be publishing a brief, "what's going on with the youth" post while, on Thursdays (post Wednesday night) I'll be sharing about "what the kids are learning." Since there was a snow-out last week, there was no Thursday post.
* We're back and better than ever this Wednesday night! Yes, snow-outs happen-- and I hope everyone got the word in a timely manner about youth being cancelled last week. A good rule of thumb is this: find out what Kutztown schools did that day. If there was no school because of weather, there will be no youth that night (because of weather). Also, be on the alert on weeks where school had an early dismissal because the weather may have just gotten bad enough to decide it's not worth it to have youth on that night. Either way, though, we're back this week, for week four of our "Know God" series.
* Operation Youth Room is still happening. We have new furniture coming this week-- probably not in time for youth this Wednesday, though-- but it's coming.
* Enjoy your Valentine's Day. I hope you drop your kid(s) off at youth and go enjoy a dessert at Pop's or a nice dinner out. If Wednesday's not the best night for romance, I hope that you take the time (if possible) to enjoy one another over the weekend. Kids may say "ewww" when their parents kiss in front of them, but I'm a firm believer that one of the greatest gifts a married parent can give to their kids is to have a healthy marriage.
Monday morning is now going to be the time where I (Paul) post a bit of a memo of what's going on with the youth. The Thursday post will be in relation to the content of what the students learned the night before. I just felt the two would be more effective if sent separately.
* Congratulations to all the Eagles fans out there. I know there are many in the youth, and I'm sure last night was one wild ride for everyone. The thing I love about sports is that it can connect people and generations to a bigger story. Stories with heroes, villains, heartbreak, battles, and joy. In that sense, I feel like sports fandom echoes the story of the Bible-- something that is passed down from generation to generation and builds community. For many, it doesn't get much sweeter than last night. I'm thankful for the Good News because I know that, well, actually, it does; and it will.
* Thank you to Rich (for preaching last Wednesday). I've learned to trust that Rich is always going to do a great job when it comes to sharing the Bible; but also, I know that he has taken the time to build relationship with the students so that, when he speaks, they want to listen to what he has to say!
* What a turnout at Manna Distribution! It was great to see so many youth at Manna this past Saturday. For some, it was a first time; and, for others, you faithfully serve. Either way, how cool is it that our kids are growing up realizing the joys of serving others.
* Operation Youth Room is still in full effect. As some of you know, we're working on making the student ministries room a functional space on Sunday mornings in preparation of having our Sunday morning offerings in there. That being said, we've done some clearing out, some painting, and (this week) I'll be purchasing new furniture. Stay tuned.
TALK ABOUT THIS:
The Bible encourages us to talk about our faith (peacefully) with others. Ask your kid how comfortable they feel discussing their faith. Help them come up with a few go-to phrases they can share if they’re asked about their beliefs.
"The Lord is close to all who call on him, yes, to all who call on him in truth."
Psalm 145:18 NIV
It may be challenging for your student to verbalize their thoughts and feelings, especially when put on the spot. Send them a text sometime this week, asking them to think of three ways you can be there for them, where they are, right now. Give them some time to respond. When they do, affirm their answers and support them in their greatest areas of need.
READ THIS:There are two kinds of people you encounter: people who give life and people who drain life out of you. You have dinner with a friend and leave feeling refreshed and energized. Conversely, you can spend 10 minutes with someone who drains you and walk away feeling like you need a mini-vacation to recover. I think you know what I’m talking about.
I’ve been asking myself: What is it that makes the difference? I think life-giving people have one thing in common: they have external sources that give them life, and conversely they have something to give when you get in a room with them.
What about the people who drain the life out of you? I’m not an expert, but here’s my guess: they don’t have consistent external sources of life. They have little to give and in fact spend much of their time trying to take. And that’s exhausting.
So, here’s the question: What if this pattern impacts our parenting? I have seen the lives of parents get so interwoven with the ups and downs of their kids that I sometimes wonder whether we approach our kids from a life-giving perspective or whether we end up trying to steal life from them?
CONTINUE READING "STEALING LIFE FROM YOUR KIDS"
For more parenting resources visit www.ParentCue.org