The gift everyone of us can give

Parents of adolescents… stay cool, don’t panic.Your precious little -sweet- child has not suddenly lost their ever-loving-mind!

It’s just THE epic transition you’ve been dreading since they arrived! You know, the painful process of growing up. A rite of passage that every parent endures, as kids move up from childhood to become young adults! All of it aggravated by nearly permanent ear buds, post-Christian pop culture and the once-in-a-lifetime, hormone fueled…adolescent growth spurt!

I recently talked with a slightly sheepish 11-year-old who was anxious about when he could expect to enter the aforementioned hormone tsunami, and finally get his mustache and muscles. He was openly noticing how much taller his ‘younger’ sister was… and woefully predicting that he could end up being the only one in his family shorter than mom!

I paused for a moment and reminded myself of how it felt to be a pre-adolescent boy – living in an adult world. The shortest kid in your class, with a child’s cherubic, stubble-free chin to defend every hour of the junior high day. I could feel this little guys angst… his uncertainty and his frustration and even open bewilderment.

racheldevine.com

racheldevine.com

It suddenly dawned on me… his dad wasn’t around to reassure him. Raised by a single mom who was working day and night to make ends meet, he didn’t have many role-models in his masculine life. Like many kids today, there just wasn’t anyone to take the time with him to dig into the deeper stuff… to explain this hormone fueled season of life and to convince him it would all turn out OK in the end…

So I did.

I had forgotten just how terrifying the path to adulthood really was.

The issues are still exactly the same as when I grew up… (Identity, acceptance, purpose, girls…) but the intensity and complexity of all the ‘extra’ stuff kids struggle with has dramatically amplified the impact of stress on our kids. The layering of uncontrolled circumstances and the pace of life has increased the stress on pre-adolescents like never before and we adults need to be extra sensitive to our kids needs.

No generation has ever needed to be more affirmed, encouraged and supported. No other generation has ever felt the anxiety of only knowing and growing up in a post-9-11 world. 

Pre-Teens are desperate for adults to take the time with them! They long for someone to show a genuine interest in them…. to believe that they are important enough to warrant a semi-adult conversation about their very grown up fears and frustrations, loves and likes.

Let’s all agree to listen more and pay attention to the 10-11 and 12-year-old kids in our world. To really LOOK AROUND and be aware of these ‘tweens’ ! To remember they are little adults desperate to be affirmed, accepted and included in a grown-up world.

It maybe that our extra attention at just the right moment in a tween’s life will change their world forever. 

That’s a gift every one of us can give.

Pastor B.

 

 

 

 

 

Parenting through that awkward pause…

I hate awkward pauses… I change the channel sometimes in a romantic comedy – right when the good guy or lady get caught doing something totally innocent that appears to be totally awful. AAArrghh. I HATE that feeling.

The moment when the elephant in the room is overtly discussed…

That sick pit in your stomach – pause in conversation – moment of time, when we realize… I just completely missed a critical social cue from my spouse… and put my entire foot in my mouth.

Life is full of those awkward pauses, when we realize if we continue forward… we will undoubtedly reduce our credibility and an escape of going backward isn’t an option. The option to wait… to pause, it’s all we have.

Awkward.

Parenting is a lot like that with pre-teens.

You can’t go backward, not an option. Moving forward “as is” isn’t really a good idea, so we have to pause. To wait for something vital inside of them to change. To grow.

And for many parents, that pause is too difficult to endure. We feel the need to do “something”, anything to catalyze their transformation from child to adult.

My encouragement to you dear pre-teen parent, let the awkwardness be.

Yes, let the pause grow in tension and wait. Our kids need to have the space to be awkward. Their personalities, values and beliefs will grow and expand and condense as they age, just like those size 11 shoes and braces they endure. School – peers and society all pressures us to move, to keep ourselves in action. Don’t stop, don’t rest… don’t wait, just act.

But what if we didn’t give in to that pressure to keep our pre-teens in motion.

What if we let them take some time to consider, to reflect and to grow. What if we didn’t push for them to be on the sixth grade soccer team, or travelling cheer squad ? What if we let them transition from the old to the new and in doing so, we gave them permission to explore – to discover.

brianvsmovies.blogspot.com

brianvsmovies.blogspot.com

What if we allowed them an awkward pause before they jumped into the frenzy of organized clubs and junior high academic awards.

I think it would be awesome.

I hope you will give it a try, pre-teens are being crushed by an average of eighty hours of media a week. They live juggled between intense school work and evolving peer pressure, adapting often at school (but not at home) to assume an identity that’s premature and forced.

Sometimes, being awkward and unsure is a good thing, it gives time for the “real” us to emerge and grow and strengthen. Parents can be an amazing support to an awkward pre-teen if we show the patience and foresight to help gently nudge them into the areas of life that truly interest them. But if we blow right through these years, checking off our lists and making sure “our” kids set the bar for others to follow… we may deeply regret the decision to push through instead of “backing off”.

Just a few thoughts to consider. My hope is to help, and every reader should…know that I didn’t get this issue right very often. So God taught me to pause. Learn from my mistakes 🙂

Peace and Grace, Pastor B.

PS – if you have a pre-teen, get yourself over to ishinelive.com

 

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