• ~IMPORTANT~

    Youth will move to Wednesday Nights, 6:30-8:00, beginning June 5th.

What is the Difference Between Reacting and Responding? (Week 1—3/3/19)

Hello to the Amazing Parents of AYM! 

What is the difference between Reacting and Responding?

Actually there is a huge difference. If you and I can understand that difference we can build bridges instead of walls in our relationships with teenagers.

This month’s online parenting class is focused on helping you as a parent learn some tips to “Respond” to your teenager in a healthy way.

I want to start by sharing a great example from an experienced mom of teenagers:

It was my favorite lip gloss! Burt’s Bees (the tinted one, no less) is not exactly cheap. And did I mention it was my favorite? What could she possibly have been thinking? Every sane person knows that when lip balm is left in a warm car, it tends to get soft. So what would possess her to twist it till it was all the way up and then try to push it back down into the tube? Really? Of course it split right down the middle.

This would have been the perfect time to teach my teen the difference between reacting and responding. I failed. Again. There were so many ways to do this better. I could have said anything other than “What in the world do you think you are doing? Did you even think through that?”

How am I ever going to teach my child this lesson if I can’t get it myself? Reactions are governed by emotions, while responses are governed by the ability to think through the situation. That means closing our mouths and not saying the first thing that pops into our heads, which is usually critical.

Not so easy when our teen is hurling their attitude at us with acute precision. Don’t kid yourself. They know our buttons and are not above pushing them. Over and over and over. I think they have created a fantasy league where they earn points by pushing us over the edge again and again! But how different would our relationships be with our teens if we responded rationally to their attacks instead of reacting immediately?

There is one tool that I use that is helping me learn this concept. It’s called breathing. I know, profound, right? But you would be amazed at how well this works! First, it gives you a moment to lower your blood pressure. Extra oxygen always helps. And those few precious moments it takes to breathe a few extra times may be the difference between teaching them and arguing with them. I will take teaching every time!

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I want to challenge all of the parents in our ministry to memorize with me a short verse to help us “breathe” when our teenager’s stir up anger in us.

So, your homework for this week’s class is to look up Proverbs 15:1, memorize it, and repeat it to yourself every time your teenager tries to push your buttons. Are you with me? Next week we will dive deeper into the this month’s topic. 

As always, if you have any questions or prayer concerns please respond to this email and let me know.

Your Parenting Partner,
Pastor Dustin

LEAVING A LEGACY THAT MATTERS — 2/18/19

PART 2

Happy Monday Parents!

I hope you enjoyed our last lesson. I really appreciated your responses to the email and the feedback you gave me. We are really beginning to build an online community of parents!

If you didn’t get a chance to read it, I have posted our last session online. You can get to it by clicking this link- http://awakeningyouthministries.com/blog/leaving-a-legacy-that-matters-2-11-19/.

Today we are asking the question, “How do you pass down faith to your teenager?”

Let’s begin by watching this 3 minute video… http://vimeo.com/parentministry/review/43519296/a13f91ff3d

Deuteronomy 6:4-9 gives us our mission from God as parents:

“Hear O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.”

I want to quickly unpack this job description for parents into 3 action steps that you can do today to begin passing down faith in your home:

1) Put it in your Heart First- “these commands…are to be on your hearts” You can’t give away what you don’t have. You can’t inspire someone else to do something unless it inspires you first. If you want your teenager to be fueled by their faith than make sure that is what is fueling you.

ACTION STEP: Consider planning a spiritual retreat for yourself. You could get away for just a few hours or you could invest a whole week in a focused time with God. It may feel selfish, but filling your own heart spiritually allows it the ability to spill over into the life of your family.

2) Infuse Faith into Everyday Life- “talk about them when you sit at home” The center of spiritual activity for your family should be your home. Many times we believe that should be the church. In God’s blueprint for passing down faith He sets up parents to be the leaders and the home to be the main stage.

ACTION STEP: Brainstorm ways you can discuss faith with your teenager daily. Practice intentional conversation about spiritual matters this week. It could be as simple as leaving your teenager a note with your favorite verse and an encouraging word. It makes a difference.

3) Use Symbols and Ceremonies to Pass Down Faith- “Tie them as symbols on your hands” If you read the Bible you will quickly see that God values symbols and ceremonies as a way of giving faith away to the next generation. The Hebrew word for “impress” in verse 7 literally means to “tattoo”. God made the hearts and minds of children and He knew that the way to “tattoo” faith on their hearts was to give them symbols they can touch and ceremonies they can experience.

ACTION STEP: What are some Christian symbols and ceremonies you can bring into your home and lead your family to experience together. Our Student Ministry has created these kinds of experiences you can do with your teenager. Go check out the Rites of Passage Experience materials we have available for you by clicking this link: http://awakeningyouthministries.com/parent-info/.

God sure did give us an important job didn’t He? The encouragement we have for you today is that you are not alone in this task. God Himself will give you all that you need to accomplish His will as a parent. 

Also, AYM stands ready to partner with you in this task. This is why we started this Online Parenting Class and we are making the Rites of Passage Experience available to your family.

I would love to hear your questions, thoughts, or continued discussion.

Your Partner,

Pastor Dustin

P.S. Feel free to forward the emails from this Online Parenting Class to any parents of teenagers that you know.