Miley…

I’ve waited to weigh in… considered dozens of pro/con/mixed blogs commentary on Miley and her VMA exhibition, all with very opinionated, even inflammatory content.

As a parent, I’m weary of the parade of pre-teen superstars – turned young adults with an edge. The media outlets seem insatiable in their need to provide the public with tragic – self-destructive tales of kids gone wrong.

Most "Tweeted" moment at the VMA's - 2013

Most “Tweeted” moment at the VMA’s – 2013

I’m so saddened by the ongoing cultural seduction of our kids…  Miley is simply a current illustration of the bigger point. Somewhere between grade school and college, we’re losing the truth battle within our kids hearts.

Kids are desperate for affirmation, for love and for acceptance. The need is most evident in their pre-teen and teen years as they seek to identify what /who / how they are going to be, believe and act. The process can take several years and multiple wardrobe changes. Boys and girls seeking to find a “place” they can fit in and be accepted. George Barna (Barna Research Group) notes that kids will decide by age 13 what they are going to “believe” for life. That means as parents we have a limited window to reach our kids hearts and help them sort through all of the “stuff” our world is throwing at them…

The attention and success that fame brings must be a world-class thrill, like emotional crack-cocaine. It seems once tasted, a desperate need to have another hit and another…existence becomes focused only on more attention, more fans, more money… more success. Nothing is out-of-bounds – no self-seeking, shameful act will be too far… IF it brings the rush of fame and fortune.

Our kids really need us to live our beliefs in front of them, to exhibit the contentment we claim comes from living a life according to God’s word. Families of faith are going to need to be pro-active about discussing events like the VMA awards and Miley with their pre-teens. Not to judge – hate- bash her, but to review the “why” of it all. To get our children to think a bit further than just the fame and actually stop to consider the desperate drive that causes people to go so far, the reasons behind it.

Miley’s ridiculous attempt to gain more fame and more success on the VMA stage presents a great opportunity for parents of pre-teens and teens to have a heart to heart discussion over dinner tonight. talking-to-kids-300x250

It’s time to ask them some bigger questions like; What is “Most” important to them ? What are they willing to do to achieve it?  Why?

Good questions to ask and help our pre-teens answer… before someone else does it for them! Miley didn’t jump from 12 – 20 overnight, she made a series of very intentional choices that led her to the very public moment we all cringe to see… those choices came from her core values, from her beliefs… all of which seem to simply reflect the lies of our culture. Her battle for the truth is still ongoing and will no doubt be very costly, painful and full of regrets… I want more for my kids… don’t you?

Lord, help us as parents to know the healthy balance for our kids and when / where and how to help them become young adults.”

Peace out – pastor B.

Recommended Parent of Pre-teens LinkiShinelive.com is a pre-teen Christian media site, full of family friendly and engaging content perfect for the pre-teen in your home. Check it out! For the parents and pastors of pre-teens… check out iShineministries.com

Teens, Family and Technology 2011…and the Barna Research Says…. ?

Recent studies by Orange and Barna Research Group have revealed some surprising trends in Teen media use as it relates to families of faith. If you’re struggling with your teen or tween’s addiction to media, technology and instant communicationyou are NOT alone. Most families are struggling with keeping a relationship alive with their teenagers in a time when most of our kids are either out of the house with their friends and extra-curricular activities or plugged in and tuned out when they do stop by…

No one ministry or expert can solve every family communication challenge, but we can point you in the right direction by recommending a great new resource by Orange and Barna Research. Their “The Family and Technology Study” 2011 is up to date with trends, and statistics that will directly impact how you react and guide your families and youth groups. I strongly encourage you to invest in this resource if you have teens or are in youth ministry.

Courtesy of forsistersbysisters.com

This is a proprietary research product, so I’m not going to be able to give you more than a introductory statement/quote about their findings, but it gives us something to consider for sure.  Here is a summary from the first page of introduction…

“So, whats the bottom line? Well, technology is impacting families in a significant way, but not in the way you might think. The state of relationships between parents and teens are not as healthy as we might have hoped, but technology does not appear to be the culprit. Technology is not the enemy, it simply facilitates the way we were already relating to each other...” (Reggie Joiner, Jared Herd and Carey Nieuwhof, of Orange)

Clearly with the extensive and detailed research of the Barna and Orange groups, the technology and families trend is being studied and evaluated for us to benefit. If you purchase and study this report, you will find the challenges to our tweens and teens begin and end with the parenting oversight and behaviors, much MORE than in the energy and effort to control the consumption of our kids.

Translated…our kids are following our lead when it comes to media and technology. mimicking our personal use  down to almost the exact number of minutes of media ingested per day… over 225 minutes per day for parents compared to over 275 minutes for teens. (page 18 of study) The reality comes abruptly at us when you stop to think about it… our kids are simply learning from us.

So, if your kids are blasting away too much of their days online, gaming or instant messaging their seven hundred Facebook friends… it may be time to take a long hard look in the mirror of our lives and see how much we’re using our laptops at the dinner table?  Sobering reality to realize that the erosion of the family and faith cannot simply be blamed at the feet of the awful technological tsunami outside our doors… much scarier to realize it’s from the parenting habits well established within.

I encourage you take the time to find out more with a summary of their report at Barna Research, cost is $29.00 but well worth it for concerned Parents or Pastors. ( this is not an advertisement, I use their research regularly in my work and ministry and have purchased my own copy at a recent Orange conference, which I also HIGHLY recommend attending)

God has a strategy and a way for us as parents to reach our kids with the truth of an authentic faith… what may be the most difficult part of that mission, is the changes He may ask us to make along the way. Technology maybe one of the first places we get challenged to carefully consider…

Gotta go… Sorry, I really need to go now to practice my defensive moves on my “Call of Duty” game.  🙂

Peace out,

b

Teens and Career Choices – Barna Study Helps Parents

Teen Dreams: Church Influences Career Choice

  • McKinley Cobb, WORLD News Services (reposted from the Crosswalk.com website) For more information, click HERE.
  • Friday, July 01, 2011

(WNS)–A new Barna Group studyshows that most young people have clear ideas of what they would like to do, and their faith plays a role in their decisions.

Today’s teens have huge aspirations in life and a great deal of self-confidence that is sometimes out of proportion with their abilities,” said David Kinnaman, the Barna researcher who directed the study. “Taught to believe they can accomplish anything at anytime, many young people figure if they see a problem or a need, they can just start a new company or nonprofit to address it. And armed with technology, some of them are actually doing that.”

The most common goal among teens is to work in medicine or the health care field (mentioned by 23 percent of teenagers). Overall, more than half of the students express interest in some type of scientific or applied science career.

One-fifth of the students are attracted to creative vocations, including arts or music, graphic arts, culinary arts, and fashion or interior design.

Students with an active faith (defined as reading the Bible, attending church and praying in a typical week) are more likely to be interested in arts and music, ministry, journalism and law. Young Protestants are comparatively more interested in physically demanding careers such as construction, agriculture and the military, while young Catholics express above-average interest in journalism and education.

Teenagers with a literalist view of Scripture are among the least likely to want to pursue careers in “science” or “technology.” This pattern does not extend to other science-oriented careers, such as medicine or engineering, where literalist-minded teens express average interest.

Private school students are more interested than average in arts and music, ministry, government and political science, and graphic arts. Public school teens are relatively more interested in accounting and financial careers, social work, law and business.

Only 1 percent of teen females explicitly identify “domestic work” or “homemaking” as their future career choice.

“Today’s teen girls—even if they aspire to be married and have children at some point—want or feel they ought to have some career plans in place,” commented Kinnaman. “The vast majority of today’s young women are thinking education first, then career, then perhaps family someday.”

The Barna study also probed the views of Protestant clergy. Thirty-eight percent of youth pastors and 36 percent of senior pastors say they frequently discuss college plans with their students. Only 1 percent of youth workers say they had addressed issues related to science in the last year and a similarly small percentage had taught about creativity or the arts.

Kinnaman suggested that college and career decisions represent an important opportunity for faith leaders to influence students. “Many young people do not seem to understand how a rich, historic understanding of the Christian faith and the gospel ought to inform their career aspirations,” he said. “And faith leaders are not as intentional as they could be with instruction and coaching on these types of decisions. Understanding how teenagers hope to spend their professional lives can help faith communities and institutions better support these students as they discern God’s calling in their lives.”

McKinley Cobb writes for WORLD Magazine.

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I’ve added this repost to the roadtrip parenting blog with some interesting information and recent research. My hope is to expose my readers to great resources from three very helpful parenting websites you should be aware of and monitor for content. Not saying I agree with everything found on all of these websites, so my disclaimer is clear here. But it’s helpful stuff for sure to know for parenting kids today 🙂

1) Crosswalk.com 

2) Barna Research Group  

3) World Magazine

To find out more about them, simply click on their highlighted links in the blog above ! Parents, my prayer for you is to faithfully walk your teens through the transitions of growing from a student to a young adult in the years ahead and as you do, that your able to keep your purpose and vision clear and confident in the process ! Blessings to you dear parents as you seek to keep your children in between the lines and on the road of life ahead !

Brad.