After ministering to Middle School Students for a decade, I am now on the parent side, along with you, asking how I can speak Godly Wisdom into my own two children before they enter Middle School, so that I might be focused and equipped to hand them over to the loving Father in this phase of life. With all the messages our culture is speaking on the issue of sex and dating, this short Parent Guide is a simple tool for you to use in preparing for a conversation with your preteen or growing teenager. Mark Oestreicher is a Middle School expert, and Joel Mayward is a fresh voice, as both take steps to give you a brief theology on sexuality, reveal cultural myths, as well a church myths, and give specific helps for each gender, setting boundaries, and dealing with personal sexual issues. This book is a great springboard into diving in deeper on certain issues and pointing me in the right direction to face the truth in our modern day culture.
Helping your child make wise choices about sex and dating requires more than just one chat. It’s about building bridges of ongoing dialogue throughout the teenage years.
But youth workers Mark Oestreicher and Joel Mayward realize many parents don’t feel comfortable or prepared to have these kinds of conversations. That’s why they wrote A Parent’s Guide to Understanding Sex and Dating—to equip you to initiate healthy, honest discussions with your teenager. This book will also help you understand some of the relevant trends and issues in today’s youth culture.
Your role as a parent is to do more than provide your teenager with information about sex and dating. You have the opportunity and the calling to help your child live wisely and honor God in this sometimes tricky, occasionally awkward, and always vital area of life.
The space between expectation and reality in relationships can be difficult for middle schoolers to understand. Often, the only idea of what a relationship should look like for someone their age comes from what our culture and media portrays, not from their personal experience.
God’s design for sex is better than the world’s design for sex.
Talk with your student about expectations they have for both themselves and others. Help them see the difference between realistic and unrealistic expectations, and talk with them about healthy ways to respond when their expectations aren’t met.
Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.
PHILIPPIANS 4:6 NLT
My guess is that in your house—like my house—there’s a constant tension between rules and relationships.
Your nine-year-old is supposed to help wash the car, but instead decides that riding his bike is a far more important to the functioning of the universe than cleaning your dirty minivan.
How do you respond?
On the one hand, you need . . .
rules—boundaries, guidelines and limits that make life work and shape character.
On the other hand, you need. . .
relationships—love for each other, respect and even some basic kindness.
But rules and relationships always seem to be in tension with each other, don’t they?
Clamp down too hard on the rules, and the relationship suffers. Or work hard on relationship and the temptation is to slack off on the rules.
To make matters more confusing, in most families, one parent tends to be the relationship parent and the other tends to be the rules parent.
If you’re like me, a rules guy, you are tempted to ground your nine-year-old for life, pull all video gaming privileges and be angry enough that most observers would assume you discovered your son had joined a street gang, not failed to pick up a sponge.
If you’re more the relationship type, you’ll abandon your bucket in the driveway, get on your bike and go have a picnic in a green field with your new found best friend while gentle music plays in the background and your rules-loving spouse drives the car to the junkyard in protest.
Left unchecked. . .
The rules parent thinks the relationship parent is a left-leaning hippie type left over from the sixties who thinks love can solve every problem.
The relationship parent becomes convinced they have married someone who should probably quit family to become a drill sergeant, robot or warlord.
As the Middle School Pastor, here at Oakwood, I have seen many moves of God and have been thankful for lives changed. This Weekend, my thoughts were “THIS NEVER GETS OLD!” The ultimate treasure for the Kingdom of God is one more life turning to Jesus Christ. The ultimate joy here on Earth is to see students that came through the Oakwood Student Ministry return as leaders to invest back into the next group. The excitement for the upcoming days is to see what steps each student takes as they follow the Lord and walk in His ways.
We saw over 500 students sign up this year. 55 of those students made the decision to follow Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. With the help of over 50 small group leaders and almost 400 volunteers, students heard from the Speaker, gave over 12,000 cans and food items to our Local Salvation Army, built long lasting relationships, and ended with a celebration service on Sunday to see 44 baptized. God is SO GOOD! Thanks to all that served to extend the Kingdom of God!
Our Fusion Wednesdays are beginning the year with a look at the Journey ahead. As 2017 has now ended and 2018 is at the beginning , we find a place in time that we have memories, good or bad, in the rear view mirror and a new horizon ahead. At this place, we carry hopes and dreams of making things better and growing along the way. However, what we don’t commonly encounter in our hopes and dreams of new resolutions and new beginnings is the truth of life. No matter what we wish to become, there will be OBSTACLES ahead.
No one likes to think about OBSTACLES on the journey of life. In fact, how we react to them may indicate what type of person we are.
That might be why this video seems to be very engaging .
Watch this “Digital Exclusive” as an unexpected man tackles great obstacles on the American Ninja Warrior Show.
Why does this video seem to be so engaging? What are we hoping as a six minute and thirty second video captures us?
I was first amazed, then I wanted to see the 81 year old character WIN! Yet, my thoughts about the man brought disbelief as well. The truth is, it was all a show, and there is another reveal clip on YouTube.
What about you? How do you react to OBSTACLES that come your way in life?
A man that had many OBSTACLES brought upon him, as he boldly preached the Gospel and fervently served the Lord, brings it into perspective for our daily lives in Christ.
Read Philippians 3:12-14
12 Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. 13 Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
Paul looks at his life, OBSTACLES and all, and lays the past aside, with a diligence to PRESS ON and STRAIN FORWARD.
Much like at true old man might have taken the Ninja Warrior course, Paul strains with all he has, and in the OBSTACLE, he keeps his focus on true hope, true resolution, and ultimate RESURRECTION!
When we look at the horizon, and press on toward the goal of the upward call of Christ Jesus, we find that in the face of OBSTACLES we have a power to move forward on the journey of our faith. The hidden secret is that it is usually the OBSTACLES we face, head on, that move us to growth. It is also in the time we tackle the OBSTACLES that we see the death of ourselves and the RESURRECTION POWER of JESUS CHRIST.
What are your hopes and dreams for the NEW YEAR? What OBSTACLES do you need RESURRECTION POWER to overcome?
On Monday nights when our girls were growing up, Cathy and I would take them to the Golden Spoon for frozen yogurt after dinner. The weekly yogurt run was part of our family identity — part of what made us who we were. Even the neighbors knew our routine and sometimes shouted to-go orders as we pulled out of our driveway. Our three daughters are now grown, but when our family gets together, we still make trips to the Golden Spoon. It’s one of those simple traditions that have kept our family bonds strong.
Not surprisingly, a strong family identity also helps children develop a strong and healthy self-identity. Knowing what makes their family unique — traditions, values, and ways of relating to one another — gives children a clear starting point for discovering their own place in the world. Studies have shown that kids who identify with their family’s values tend to be less promiscuous and face less risk of drug and alcohol abuse.
I’m a big fan of parents who make the effort to build a strong family identity. But how is it done? Here are three principles that I believe are critical to the process.
1. Be present. Children regard your presence in their lives as a sign of care and connectedness. Families who eat meals together, play together, and build traditions together thrive. Your presence matters! Does your family eat together at least four times a week? If so, there is a greater chance your kids will perform better in school and be less likely to exhibit negative behavior.
2. Celebrate everything! Don’t miss a single chance to celebrate your family. You can celebrate birthdays, graduations, and other rites of passage, but don’t miss out on celebrating life’s smaller occasions such as Little League victories, learned skills, and school achievements.
3. Talk about faith. For some families, spiritual discussions are easier said than done. But having faith conversations with your kids helps to build your family identity. They also help your kids build strong convictions, as they get older. When you regularly expose your kids to God’s truth, it can, as a friend of mine says, “help them develop a sweet tooth for Jesus.” And that’s something far better than buying your kids frozen yogurt at the Golden Spoon.