Wednesday, April 25, 2012


"...the sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out."  John 10:3

We had the honor of attending a great conference on parenting teens by author and speaker Jeff Schadt. I'd like to share some insights we learned....

Lead from the Front


Someone who guides and leads others by telling them what to do.

To show the way to others, usually by going ahead of them.

So many voices are trying to lead our teens today. 

The world trains our teens to "act" like someone else. To please people.

Think about it.

What toys did you play with as a child?

baby little girls can act like mommies
Barbie little girls can act like women

Tonka boys can act like construction workers boys can act like soldiers boys can act like firefighters

Then the world trains our teens to "act" like adults:

TV... Movies... Music... Magazines...

How old do you think this model is?  15 years old.....

We see young girls on VH1 or MTV acting like grown women. Some women even dress their 3 yr old girls like adult women to win a beauty pagent. 

We tell our kids to "act" a certain way.

Be this tall
Be this thin
Be this beautiful
Be this talented
Have this hair
Wear this product
Have clear skin
Drive this car
Eat this food
Listen to this music
Watch this show

...and churches aren't any better. We tell our teens to:

Be perfect
Don't sin
No sex
No fun
No drinking
No secular music
Always be positive
Always be happy
Always be in a good mood
Learn your Bible
Share your faith
Make friends
Don't be in the world
Don't gossip
Never fail
Never sin
Always smile
Always pray
Go to church
Go to youth group
Be righteous
Be devoted to God
Have all the right answers
Get along with everyone

....and most important:  Just be yourself!


Is it any wonder our teens are petrified of failure? When they fall, they have so much fear that we will know their secret:

They aren't perfect after all.

A Safe Place

"There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love."  1 John 4:18

Our job is to train our teens to please God.

We are to prepare our kids for when they fall....not if they fall, but when

You and I fell. And you and I are forgiven.

We must prepare our teens for the world they face. No, we cannot always be there to prevent the hurts and failures, but we can be there to listen and be that safe place for them to fall.

As our kids get older, our roles change. 

We go from having total little control. 

We go from having that controlling having that mentoring voice that guides and advises and prepares our teens for life in this world.


The Bible is full of failures. Men and women who fell.

But that's the good news! God used failures to change the world. God used failures to show us His love and mercy in that while we were yet sinners....Christ died for us!

God uses us despite our failures. Jesus showed His disciples how to please God. He rose early to pray...He didn't command His disciples to rise early to pray. No. 

He showed them. He led from the front. Then His disciples came to Him and asked Him to teach them to pray.

That's leadership.

So when your teen fails, focus on your teen's response rather than the failure. Did he repent? Did she confess? Praise God! 

That means the Holy Spirit is at work in them. 

Failure provides an opportunity for YOU to lead from the front. 

Council them
Disciple them
Serve them
Pray for them
Instruct them
Help them

Set your role in your teen's life as that mentor and guide. 

If you don't do this...some other person will. And you may not like who that person is!


The Lord has provided us with an awesome opportunity to influence our kids. But we only have the opportunity for a short window of time.

Take time today to be that person of influence in your son or daughter's life. 

Shepherd them through their successes and failures.

Be that person of influence in your teen's life. Today. Before they are gone....



  1. I think that if we listen, truly listen, to our children, and respect them as having deep knowledge of their hearts and their lives from a very early age (I personally think this starts in babyhood, trusting your infant's sleep and eat cues, for instance), then they will trust us back, even in the hard times. I think it's also very important to emphasize that lies and untruths have no place in a family--and we model that by being truthful with our kids. What an important post, Ruth.

    1. Yes, Jenny, listening is key. We get so use to telling our kids things...we sometimes forget to really hear what their saying.

      I think most teens just want their feelings to be validated.

      Thanks for visiting!

  2. This is exactly why I wrote Shannan - the heroine for Allon - the way I did: to show that a young woman can be self-confident and content within herself. That there is beauty in a quiet and submissive spirit. Shannan can stand toe-to-toe with her allies to confront evil, but willingly takes a supportive role to Ellis. She stands equal before God (Jor'el) though her role is different. I specifically use Shannan and Ellis to show how a true Godly relationship between a man and a women is to work.

    1. Very good, Shawn!

      Young girls today think they are to be like Katnis...a wounded and tough young woman with a chip on her shoulder.

      But I think most teen girls want to rely on a mate. They also want to be strong to support their mates, but they also want to be vulnerable too.

      Thanks for visiting!!

  3. Wow. This post makes being a parent sound hard. Really, really hard. Sometimes I wonder if I'm up for the challenge. Then I remember: if I follow God, and my child follows me, we'll go in the right direction. But that following God part can be difficult too. One day at a time, right?

    1. Parenting a TEEN is hard! Especially compared to when they are little.

      We inadvertently put so many expectations on our teens that we weigh them down. I can see it. They are already so hard on themselves and so sensitive.

      Parenting begins with prayer. I dropped the ball on that one when Nathan entered teenhood. I stopped praying for him specifically and just prayed generally.

      I will blog about "The Power of a Praying Parent" next week. That's another great book for you to read!

      And you are correct...following God is the best way to parent.

      Thanks Lindsay, for visiting!

  4. Great post, Ruth! Both my kids are in their early 20s now, so I've lived to tell the tale.

    It's a balancing act at every age, but you're SO right about loving them unconditionally. They will absolutely do some of the dumbest things imaginable, and you'll be scratching your head wondering "What ON EARTH."

    Which is probably what God thought in the Garden... I'm so thankful for His grace and mercy, so it's my job to shower that on my kids as I train them up.

    So happy to connect with you on Twitter. Looking forward to getting to know you!

    1. Thanks for commenting, Susan!

      I am impressed that you survived raising teens. I am trying to just get through high school. Sigh.

      Yep, I am looking to the Lord for His guidance.

      Looking forward to getting to know you too!

  5. Ruth - I teach junior high kids in a middle to low income neighborhood, so there are so many lessons I feel compelled to teach the kids who are already barraged with advice.

    However, one prevailing message gives me a taste of my own bile - Follow your heart. Or it's ugly twin "Do what your heart tells you to do." If I was a cow, all four of my stomach would be convulsing at that tripe. I hope I didn't offend anyone on that.