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June 5, 2022 10:00 pm
After 1,200 interviews, Fuller Youth Institute’s Brad Griffin & Kara Powell offer conversations to navigate teens’ biggest questions--like, “Who am I?”
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The heart of Christianity is that we are sinners saved by grace. And so what better way is there to infuse our home was what it means to be a follower of Jesus than to have us as adults.
As parents, be quick to apologize for how we react to our assumption whatever is likely welcome to family life today where we might help you pursue the relationship matter and will think they will soon and you can find firstname.lastname@example.org or on our family life, family life today raised three teenagers and you, Dave, especially one that say we did it well when he got through three boys who are now men were actually you know grant were grippers yeah and you've ministered we've ministered to. Probably hundreds of teens and others. But what would you say the number one on the hell did you know what you know as I number one question teens are asking what you think number one question I know where this is going to my first thought was relational like will Mike and Mary with my relational life can look like, but I know it's deeper than that because you're so much deeper than me is I don't know what the real I think I would've even asked and I loved what does that mean you know there's so many different things, but what were talking about today is the number one question is why I think it's really important about that I because were parents yet and were family ministry that tries to help marriages and families in impact legacies for the kingdom of God. And so as parents we need to know what our kids asking so we have. I don't know if we could get to better people in the studio today to answer this question I talk about it called the three big questions that change every teenager so obviously these two have studied this with Brad Griffin and Carol Powell with this today run care welcome to family life today.
Thanks for having us wonderful to be here. We really are talking not only to to experts because you guys have written about this year at the Fuller youth Institute out in California.
This is your life work, but more importantly I think is your parents of teenagers right got my kids are 2119 and 15 52 college students at 1/10 grader Brad what about you holding 19 1613 so you really are in weight. We said is her golden year of parenting. All teenagers and what we feel like the teenage years for us. Her kids are grown, married and have just now were our favorite years. I agree the older archives of got the bar. My husband and I have enjoyed conversations with and doing fun things with experiencing life together so that would definitely be true for me how what you brought the same. I just love I love a great conversation, and while I enjoyed conversations with my kids when they were little in a certain way.
There's just a whole other level and I love I love when abstract thinking starts to kick in, and that for me is just a lot of fun. I think we really start seeing our kids and in discovering that maybe that's where discovering who they are, what they're passionate about.
And I think you guys probably relate to this. That's true of their friends because I love having their friends in the house, but I think as parents today there is a lot of fear and anxiety because the world feels so tumultuous and uncertain and with your book's subtitle is making the most of your conversations and connections. I think his parents.
We long for that, but were not sure how to make those connections decile talk about this book. I know you did research with some teenagers and you sort of develop. Okay, here's the. The questions are asked to help us understand what those are well and some of our previous research we've seen how important it is to empathize with young people do not judge them, but to journey with what we wanted to help parents, caregivers, grandparents, leaders, mentors, pastors know how to better empathize with young people in many ways we were inspired by a young person who told a friend of ours, a 15-year-old who told a friend of ours.
I wish the church would stop giving me answers to questions.
I'm not asking. I wish the church they can fill another noun for about my parents, my family, stop giving me answers to questions. I'm not asking so that really stimulated us to figure out what is it that young people are ultimately asking under the questions about technology and what should I do on Friday night where my going to go to college.
What are the questions beneath those questions and so we worked with our team at the Foley youth Institute to look at interviews with over 2000 teenagers interview surveys, focus groups, but then we didn't deep dive deep dive interviews with 27 very diverse young people from all over the country to try to figure out what are those top questions will here's a question. As a pastor for 30 years. I feel like we did that we answer questions. Our kids were not asking and maybe even our congregation. But let's talk about is apparent we do the same thing.
The question is why do we do this, there are we afraid to go there. When I read that your book I me I was right away. I leaned in and I'm like oh my goodness I did this I know. Actually other churches.
This is that my that's what I want to say but no, we did this so is apparent we sent 10 to do the same thing were answering questions. Our kids are you asking what we do this I want to lean into our own competence and I mean you know you use the word expert earlier which it is sometimes makes a little uncomfortable but I think we all would be experts in a way, and as parents, we will delete into what we know.
There's so much about parenting that so uncertain or so much, that leaves us feeling from day to day like we just fly by the seat of our pants and so if we can feel like we know a few things we can lean on that because it's more comfortable with more stabilizing and I think we end up avoiding some of the things that our kids really want to talk about was interesting because you guys say every teenager is a walking bundle of questions so good and I'm thinking his parents as well and maybe even if these leaders were always giving answers so talk about that. What is that mean Cara, how do we get to those questions what his curiosity as part of a long list of what Brad and I love about young people as they are wondering things are starting to think abstractly bear more engagement with the broader world. Social media opens up all sorts of new frontiers for them to wrestle with them to try to understand so I think the role of a parent is to journey alongside that young person and try to help them navigate the most pressing questions that are maybe top of mine. But then these three deeper questions and let me just say I'm a little early this morning as I was processing the interaction that I had with one of my kids, who shall remain nameless. Literally this morning, I realized all my goodness, this child is trying to answer this one question and so instead of my feelings being hurt, which quite honestly what Mike Dunn was hurting my feelings. I empathize with them. Oh my kids trying to get an answer to that big question, and it changed how I felt about them. It's strange how I felt about myself and it's going to allow me to journey with my kid more effectively. So keeping the three big questions in mind has been game changing for me in understanding my own kids young people in general and often myself so every parent right now is like okay what I got there for now. They got the phone out the rated taken dad's hotels with the three big arts, so we believe the questions underneath the rest of our who am I the question of identity. Where do I fit the question of belonging and what difference can I make the big question of purpose. Certainly there's a swirl of other questions there, but as Cara said these cassette underneath the rest and for many of us human questions. You know, these are questions we have as adults for adults.
They might become a back burner similar questions that every now and then you turn up the heat.
You know when something happens and but for teenagers these are front burner rolling boil questions every day for many of you know when I hear that I think back to earlier thing. Why don't we talk about this, I gotta be honest as a pastor for 30 years of thousands of people. I would say almost most of our congregation doesn't know the answer those three questions for themselves as a parent and so for me to go dog my teenager. I'm not sure I know course, not about me I'm perfect, but I don't think a lot of us adults could shakily say I do know my purpose. I do know where I belong. I do know my identity so talk to Adele about how important is it for a parent to build a wrestle with those to build a dialogue with our kids about what I think were all in process right and part of how Brad nine the Foley team are starting to think about discipleship is discipleship is the process of moving from our current answers to those identity, belonging and purpose questions. The more Jesus centered answers to our identity, belonging purpose questions so you know one of those Jesus entered answers the question of identity. I honestly pray for myself every day. It's one of my major prayers for myself because a lot of my struggles have to do with identity and so I need to like daily marinate in Jesus's best answer for me to that question of who am I let along that 14, 16, 18, 22-year-old who's experiencing so many transitions so much upheaval all the more so in the midst of the pandemic and what we've experienced these last 18 months, and so the good news about teenagers and young adults is we as parents we can talk about our journey with our kids and so the interaction that happened yesterday. That hurt my feelings.
I was processing this morning with on my own kids. Attention was this child is hungry for belonging and made a choice in how they spend time with friends that ended up hurting my feelings. And so it's tempting for me to distance myself from that child or somehow try to cope myself and what I realized this morning's account. That child after belonging and that dodging my own identity, insecurities, because when they want to spend time with their friends, then that makes me feel like I'm not a good enough mom and with this particular child. I think a debrief how I was feeling and how these identity, belonging and purpose questions were in place for the two of us. So I guess that's part of the beauty of teenagers and young adults is we can actually keep this a secret that we can talk about the ways that God continues to change and stretch our own identity, belonging and purpose, just like God starting to sing with her son can walk us through that like you can have that conversation, you'll share what you are feeling how that maybe even triggered you with your own insecurity total and then what will you be asking her to get into some of those questions you think they are at the root of her conceit. She said it was a him gender-neutral not reveal which of my kids. It was their gender will remain. But that's a great question and so you know I we have found it very helpful if there's something we feel like we need to say to one of our kids like I probably will say to this child. I'm sorry for how I reacted. You know I sometimes struggle with identity and feeling like I'm not good enough mom and so when you made the choice that you made that just made me feel insecure. As a mom and I'm sorry for how I temporarily pulled away from you, will you forgive me. So I would say that's my first question to my child is is will you forgive me because like I don't like how I acted for that child, but then you know in talking more about how I'm looking for identity, and this child was searching for belonging something to Dave and I found really helpful if we need to share something with our kids is to ask them what you disagree with what I've just said so give them a chance to critique us and share what they think were misunderstanding or not aware of and then to ask, but what you agree with what you think I may be right.
What I'm saying first on asked for forgiveness and then I want to give them a chance to share what they think I'm missing in my understanding of them are our interaction and then give them a chance to share what they agree with and let me just say my kids that they have a chance to critique their way quicker and stronger in their agreement with with where we do overlap what we can set What You Just Said Cara I Think Blows Away A Lot Of Miss That A Lot Of Parents Don't Understand Number One, You Said You Admit Vulnerability and Mistakes like I'm Not Perfect and I Struggle Even My Own Identity and Then You Ask Your Kids to Critique Your Bread Use the Same Thing Because That Is A Lot Of Tears Never Do That. And yet You and I Both Know Our Teenagers Long, yet Is Not Counterintuitive. Yeah You're Listening to Dave Anand Wilson with Brad Griffin and Cara Powell on Family Life to Their Responses in Just a Minute. The First to Send You Brad and Kara's Book 3 Big Questions Change Every Teenager Is Our Gift to You When You Partner with Us and Make a Gift of Any Amount This Week to Support the Work of Family Life to We Are. As You May Know, Listener Supported so Blessed by Family Life Today.
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You Could Partner with email@example.com or you can call with your donation at 800-358-6329 give a one-time gift or become a family partner with the recurring monthly gift. Again the number is one 800 peasant family L as in life and in the world today. Right now, back to Brad and Cara on the importance of humility in parenting is Brad. Also Karen, I've been working together for 16 years now and this is one of the ways that you know even our research has shaped our respective parenting In ways that and that's a challenge for me in the word that was coming to mind his care was talking is it's humility.
This takes a certain kind of humility that, as parents we want to be right because were supposed to be right. Parents, but in those teen years what kids need is not actually the parent who's always right. The parent who's willing to be humble and vulnerable enough to say was wrong. There you know are what I did there.
That's not the parent. I want to be for you and not the kind interaction will have what I think that's the heart of Christianity that we are sinners saved by grace. And so what better way is there to infuse our home with what it means to be a follower of Jesus than to have us as adults. As parents, be quick to apologize for how we reacted for our tone of voice for our assumptions.
Whatever it might be and asking our kids to forgive us that just sets the tenor for who God wants us to be in all relationships.
People who are quick to apologize.
Ask for forgiveness, repent in front of each other. So Brad and I have found that it's never too early to start apologizing to our kids so parents, grandparents, caregivers of preschoolers elementary age and we encourage you to ask your kids to forgive you to talk about mistakes affect one of our dinner questions when our kids were in elementary: middle school was what mistake did you make today because we wanted our family to be a place where we could talk about mistakes and it also sometimes our kids would point out the mistakes that they like they were keeping their own list and that's just fine. I want us to be able to talk about how we blow it, whether it's a small thing like not filling the soap dispenser properly, which I have a perennial problem with. So that's often something more major like how I reacted to my child last night. I think with our kids or was really anybody. If we are hoping, though, come to us with their questions, they've gotta have a sense of trust that were honest enough and vulnerable enough to receive your questions and you know I'm saying what Cara model Brad what you're talking about is when we admit our stakes apologize that opens up a connection there struggle and they've admitted that they've apologize or humility there.
I'm go to somebody else with my question. Although there's nothing wrong with that come to mom her death is a true use of the word connection. Yeah, and I think that's right at the heart of it that connection requires vulnerability vulnerabilities, how we build trust and I'm hearing a question in my mind coming from parents right now her listening and that question is about. But wait, what about authority, what about my leadership you know it of my kids and I kind parent. Not just be their friend. Yes, and that's absolutely true and I want to say our vulnerability and humility does not necessarily undermine authority, it actually can undergird our authority in a way that is, the relationship changes in the teenage years.
In particular, it boosts our ability to speak into our kids lives.
It boosts our believability. So you may have positional authority with your kids and your you know you can hold that positional authority but to have relational authority in the teenage years, it requires us to have connection in that connection is only going to be as deep as our ability to be real, be honest, be vulnerable and appropriately vulnerable and at age-appropriate times what we tell a 17-year-old you know that that can be different than what we say to our seven-year-old you and we should be vulnerable in certain ways for seven-year-old but you know our kids who are almost adults ready to hear the real stop and the more we hold from the less there really able to see us as as true friends in their life which you know as they move into adulthood that is more of the role we move from being full on authority to being the parent who is guide the parent who is companion who is friend who is who wants to be mentor you know I want to be a mentor. My young adult kids, but I gotta earn the right to be that mentor because I love the positional authority anymore right because they're making adults. The shots I was thinking as I listen to Karen.
I thought well that's so genius that she saying you guys that just triggered me in terms of my own identity and some of the stuff in the past, just that comment right there and because it wasn't about her.
She's just saying this is why reacted that way and I'm apologizing that I'm thinking of all the kids that are struggling with those questions of belonging and identity.
I think that what that would deal because there's so much anxiety going on right now and I think that we just eat them thinking how mom and dad aren't perfect, there still kind of struggling with some of those questions and it allows me now to open up as you're saying Brad had that connection with my parents because they've displayed their own phone yeah and you sort of mean what we've all said is you want them to come to you. You don't go somebody else but I want to create a culture in my home and a relation with my teenage son or daughter that they want to end and I could tell you I love doing this when they were teenagers laying on the bed at night you think that ends at seven.
It is because it's different, but still being able to land that early in the floor whether Linda bid as a teenager going to bed at night and being able to talk about these big questions of identity and belonging and purpose. Again, you don't always frame of that way. But as you're listening you're like oh my goodness, they're asking the same questions I'm asking and there's a sense that I do have some wisdom of live longer so there's a respect for that same time.
I struggle and so want to share both like you're saying Brad sort of the authoritative and the wisdom but also I'm a fellow traveler with you and I still asked the same questions, but I know where to go for the answers that opens him up right yeah and part of what were doing. There is were creating relational safety so you know this big question of belonging where we need to belong.
First is in our family and of course we lay the pathway for that in the early years, you know, we lay out the groundwork but in the teenage years. In some ways that foundations really really important, but it also gives you know have to write and edit. It's a little more unstable and in some cases we can have to rebuild that foundation of trust and safety, so safety is essential for belonging and in fact when we talk to teenagers in those interviews, we we talked about and we heard over and over. I feel like I belong when I'm safe when I'm safe to be myself and there were young people talked about really feeling safe to be themselves and their families, and there were those who said you know home is not a place that I feel safe homes, not a place I feel like I can really be myself and that I think that's a tragedy for a kid and I would say I don't know what you would say and I'm thinking of a dad in action step for today as you think about okay will you do. What if tonight you laid on the floor in your son or daughter's bedroom.
I'm guessing there teenager and you just listened and you may have a strained relationship your ear you're going. I can't do that. Just start there. Just like hey and so what happened today in your life.
They may not be on to talk about but if you started there. Bet you if you listen you can hear one of the three questions sorta rise to the surface and you know I would say don't tell him anything.
Don't preach out of the night. Just listen and let God start to rebuild a relationship with Stephen and Wilson with Brad Griffin and Karen Powell on family life today.
Their book is called three big questions that change every teenager making the most of your conversations and connections you can get firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 800-358-6329 that's one 800 F is an family L as in life and in the word today. If you know of anyone who needs to hear today's conversation. Be sure to share it from where ever you get your podcast and while you're there. It really help us out rate and review us now.
Tomorrow Dave and I will sing to him talking again with Brad Griffin about how we can help our kids know they belong in the confusing times of adolescence and teenage years is coming up tomorrow.
We hope you'll join us. On behalf of David and Wilson. I'm shall be added next time for another edition of family life today life today is a production of family life accrue ministry helping you pursue the relationships that matter most