Tag Archives: Teens

If I Had a Parenting Do Over Q&A with Jonathan McKee

Jonathan McKee understands the joy and the challenges of parenting and offers practical help to parents who would rather learn from someone else’s firsthand experiences in hopes of circumventing their own parenting mess-ups.

  • The title of this book is so perfect! I don’t know anyone who doesn’t want a DO-OVER, especially in an area as important as raising our kids. Tell us the back story on why you decided to write about this 20/20 look-back at parenting and the changes you’d make?

It was an amalgamation of several elements. First, my own kids, now 19, 21 and 23 were now out of the house, in college and making decisions on their own. As my wife and I watched this we couldn’t help but look back at our own parenting and ask, “Did we equip them for this?” Or “Could we have done this better?” At the same time, the nature of my job put me intermingling with parents almost weekly at my parent workshops or interaction on our website helping parents. In these interactions I began hearing the same regrets over and over again. A lot of, “I wish I had done this…” So I began a little experiment of sorts. At times I created a venue where parents were given the opportunity to share past regrets. It’s not something that happens often. But when it does, when a parent shares, “As I look back on all my years of parenting, the one thing I’d change is…” That always captivated parents. Parents want 20/20 hindsight! So, I decided to embark on a journey to not only share my own thoughts, but look for the common denominators that most parents seemed to wish they could “DO OVER.”

  • In your book If I Had a Parenting Do-Over, you mention a parenting poll you conducted and the eye-opening results. Please tell us about this?

It was intriguing. I asked parents one simple question:

If you could go back in time and change one

parenting practice, what would you DO OVER?

It was fascinating, because out of all the hundreds of responses I received, I began noticing one overwhelming response. It was, “I wish I had spent more time with my kids.” I had answers all over the board, but well over a third of the answers were regrets that they didn’t spend enough time simply hanging out with their kids and bonding. The answer came in many forms.

“More time in conversation, and less time in front of the TV.”

“With a do-over, I’d jump in the ocean with them more instead of sitting on the sand watching them play.”

Few of the parents expressed regrets about “boundaries.” I didn’t hear a lot of people saying, “I wish we would have been more strict.” “I wish I would have had more rules.” And maybe that’s because of the crowd I surveyed. Because honestly, I was asking parents who were coming to our website for help, attending our workshops… so these were mostly Christian parents in the church who had been at the parenting thing for a while, if not empty nesters already. But less than 2% polled wish they had applied more boundaries. They just wished they’d gotten to know their kids better and built a relationship that opened the door to continual conversations.

  • I think of all the chapter titles in your book If I Had a Parenting Do-Over many of us are going to be drawn to “Let it Go”. Many parents seem to struggle with this and if we don’t then somehow we might feel like we aren’t good parents. Why is that and what prompted you to include this as a chapter focus?

Because teenagers are a pain! You can always spot a parent of a teenager. They look tired and beaten down. Ask a parent of a teenager which is more difficult, parenting toddlers or teens! They’ll tell you. Parenting toddlers might be physically exhausting, but parenting teenagers is emotionally exhausting. They know everything! And they’ll disagree with you at every interaction. “I like your pants.” “Actually, they’re not pants, they’re jeggings!” And if you try to tell them what to do, they’ll resist at every opportunity. “I need you to pick up that stack of dirty laundry in your room.” “Why do you care. It’s my room!”

This is where all parents struggle. We all have responses we’d like to give to this little punk who just told us “it’s my room” …even though they’ve never even considered pitching in on a single house payment.” So I spend an entire chapter helping parents not get entangled in “the drama.”

“Put on your coat!” “I don’t need a coat. It’s not even cold outside. Just saying!”

We need to learn how to let it go. After all, in most of these situations natural consequences teach far more than any of our lectures. Let the kid freeze for a day. They’ll remember their coat tomorrow without you even reminding them.

  • What happens when we don’t notice things our kids are getting into (even though we might notice other kids’ behavior and think that those parents totally missed it)? How can parents keep up and not let their kids fly “under the radar”?

I’ll be honest. Most parents, myself included, have very little idea what’s going on in the world of our kids. Parents often react to that statement. But the older our kids get, the more we realize it. Most of our kids have a device in their pocket that can access every type of media imaginable. And most parents have no clue what their kids our accessing. Most parents have no idea what music their kids listen to, the Netflix show they’re streaming, and the interactions they are having on social media. In my parent workshops I often give a quick tour of the top 10 songs at any given time, and parents are always shocked. Think about this for a second. I’m not even exposing deep dark secrets. I’m just showing parents what any parent with access to Google can find out at any moment. I’m just letting them listen to the lyrics of the newest Drake song they just heard while shopping with their kids at Wal-Mart. I’m just showing them a clip of the newest Ariana Grande video, the girl their kids grew up watching on Nickelodeon. I’m just showing them what their kids can click on from the SnapChat app, which is by far THE most popular communication tool kids use today. If their kids don’t have it, for sure their kids friends have it.

Parents need to simply put their own phones down, turn their own screens off, slide their bills aside… and take notice of their kid. I spend an entire chapter talking about what this looks like. Not putting a nannycam in their kids’ bedrooms or installing the newest spy software. Notice them.

Believe it or not, your kids want you in their lives. Shaunti Feldhahn surveyed about 3,000 teens asking them about their parents’ involvement in their lives. Almost all of them (94%) said that if they could wave a magic wand, the perfect situation would be one in which their kids worked to be involved with them. Not spying on them or acting like a parole officer checking to see if they finished their chores… but in their life. That “bonding” thing again.

For more information please visit www.TheSource4Parents.com

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If I Had a Parenting Do-Over

coverartJonathan McKee understands the joy and the challenges of parenting. In his new book If I Had a Parenting Do-Over (Shiloh Run Press, February 2017) McKee offers real, practical help to parents who would rather learn from someone else’s firsthand experiences in hopes of circumventing their own parenting mess-ups. McKee comments “My own kids, now 19, 21 and 23 are now out of the house, in college and making decisions on their own. As my wife and I watched this we couldn’t help but look back at our parenting and ask, ‘Did we equip them for this?’ Or ‘Could we have done this better?’”

McKee shares 7 “do-overs” from his own parenting flubs, while offering encouraging advice to help today’s parents. With more than 20 years of experience working with teenagers and studying youth culture, Jonathan offers real-world help for all parents – especially parents with teens in the home.

Advance praise for McKees new parenting book includes best-selling author and speaker Shaunti Feldhahn who states, “Every parenting book from Jonathan McKee is a gem, and this one is no exception. Combining his own experience with what other parents have said they wish they had done differently, he clearly presents better ways to lead and connect with your kids, at any age”.

President of Focus on the Family, Jim Daly, comments “Do you ever wish you had a parenting mentor to walk alongside you, share the mistakes they made as a parent, and teach you how to avoid those same pitfalls? Now you do! Jonathan McKee offers timeless wisdom for parents who want to look back on their kids’ childhood someday and honestly say they have no regrets.”

Delivered with a refreshing blend of humor and vulnerability, McKee’s candid approach grips parents immediately; then real-world application equips them with solid, helpful practices they can actually use in their own homes. With chapters like “Let It Go,” “Press Pause,” and “The Yes Factor,” McKee draws from his years of parenting his own kids and making tweaks in his parenting style along the way, while providing the honest answers today’s parents are seeking.

For more information visit http://thesource4parents.com/

 

Connection. Compassion. The Gospel.

Nicole is 27, but had been living apart from her parents since she was 15. She logged on to JesusCares.com Thursday because she was pregnant and fighting with her boyfriend.

 

 

Some of her statements in the chat proved that she was broken but in the end – desperate to discover hope and love. Below are a few statements Nicole made while chatting with a coach:
• When hearing for the first time that God loved her she said, “I’m confused, Why am I hearing about this now and not years ago?”
• When the coach said she was precious, she replied, “I am anything but precious. No one thinks I am precious or anything good.”
• She asked the coach how she felt the day she understood for the first time that God loved her then she said, “A weird feeling in your stomach and heart? Because I’ve got that now.”
• “I’m still stuck on the fact that maybe Jesus loves me”
• “Why am I crying? I haven’t cried since I was 9”
• “I can get Jesus now, I don’t have to go to church first?”
• “How do you pray? I have never heard anyone else pray.”

This is just one of thousands represented in the JesusCares chat room.

Anyone who has lived through adolescence can testify that it is a difficult time. As they navigate the waters of our post-Christian society, today’s young people suffer from unprecedented levels of depression, anxiety, pressure, loneliness, and desperation for approval. For many, one nagging question motivates every social media post, short-sighted decision, and attempt to self-harm: Does anyone really care about me?

At JesusCares.com, hurting teens and young adults from across the globe find comfort, guidance, and the answers they desperately seek. An initiative of Groundwire, JesusCares.com follows and expands the remarkably effective model that has touched millions of young viewers and listeners since 2006. Using a multi-pronged strategy, Groundwire leverages media and technology to meet the age 15-25 demographic exactly where they are — viewing, listening, texting, or chatting — and to invite them to voice their questions and struggles so they can find answers in the message of the Gospel. Young people listening to popular radio broadcasts or viewing favorite shows on networks like CW, MTV, VH1, Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim programming, and Comedy Central are interrupted by direct advertising spots that catch their attention, resonating with where they are today.

The JesusCares.com initiative includes targeted, authentic, and well-produced commercials that grab the attention of young viewers and listeners by the millions. As they respond to the broadcast messages, they are invited to visit the JesusCares.com website where they can chat with a live spiritual coach available day and night, as well as find a collection of resources such as podcasts by Groundwire’s founder and executive director, Sean Dunn, and daily devotionals.

“Statistics indicate that 86% of teens believe in God, but most don’t believe He is loving. Even fewer believe they are lovable. What if this generation truly understood and responded to God’s offer of hope, truth, and purpose?” Dunn asks.

Since 2006, Groundwire has interacted with broken and searching youth on thousands of live chats. Students are drawn to the honest dialogue about spiritual issues, often receiving Christ as their Savior as a result of the coaches’ ministry. Coaches then do their best to connect visitors to local churches and resources where they can continue to grow in their faith. JesusCares.com looks to grow Groundwire’s reach in contemporary culture.

To bring JesusCares to your community or to sign up as a coach,

go to www.JesusCares.com.

Doable, Cost-Effective, Leading Edge… Life Changing.

Sean Dunn“We can bring the Gospel to a generation that is literally dying without it. An invasion of truth that interrupts the lives of people ages 15-25, in a venue they use every day. This unique strategy—to “go into all the world and preach the good news to all” by leveraging mainstream media and technology—is doable, cost-effective, and cutting edge. More importantly, it’s working.”

–Sean Dunn

Today’s young people suffer from unprecedented levels of depression, anxiety, pressure, loneliness, and desperation for approval. For many, one nagging question motivates every social media post, short-sighted decision, and attempt to self-harm: Does anyone really care about me?

At JesusCares.com, teens and young adults from across the globe find comfort, guidance, and the answers they desperately seek. An initiative of Groundwire, JesusCares.com follows and expands the remarkably effective model that has touched millions of young viewers and listeners since 2006. Using a multi-pronged strategy, Groundwire leverages media and technology to meet the age 15-25 demographic exactly where they are — viewing, listening, texting, or chatting — and to invite them to voice their questions and struggles so they can find answers in the message of the Gospel. Young people listening to popular radio broadcasts or viewing favorite shows on networks like CW, MTV, VH1, Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim programming, and Comedy Central are interrupted by direct advertising spots that catch their attention, resonating with where they are today.

The JesusCares.com initiative includes targeted, authentic, and well-produced commercials that grab the attention of young viewers and listeners by the millions. As they respond to the broadcast messages, they are invited to visit the JesusCares.com website where they can chat with a live spiritual coach available day and night, as well as find a collection of resources such as podcasts by Groundwire’s founder and executive director, Sean Dunn, and daily devotionals.

“Statistics indicate that 86% of teens believe in God, but most don’t believe He is loving. Even fewer believe they are lovable. What if this generation truly understood and responded to God’s offer of hope, truth, and purpose?” Dunn asks.

Since 2006, Groundwire has interacted with broken and searching youth on thousands of live chats. Students are drawn to the honest dialogue about spiritual issues, often receiving Christ as their Savior as a result of the coaches’ ministry. Coaches then do their best to connect visitors to local churches and resources where they can continue to grow in their faith. JesusCares.com looks to grow Groundwire’s reach in contemporary culture.

“Today’s younger generation hungers for a real and personal relationship with the Living God. And that really transcends culture. Unfortunately, a common misconception many older Christians have about young people is that they only desire interaction with others who are young like them and are products of the same culture,” Dunn says. “The truth is that this group is desperately in need of intergenerational connection. They crave it. The Jesus Cares initiative has already shown us that, when we make ourselves available to listen and respond, young people cling to that, and they are willing—even eager—to share their burdens and receive the Good News we offer.”

Hundreds of volunteers from around the world form a team that offers coaching 24 hours a day, and that number must increase alongside launches of the ministry in new locations. JesusCares.com is seeking coaches of all ages and backgrounds to be available when young seekers respond to the TV and radio ads.

JesusCares.com is rapidly expanding, having arrived in Colorado Springs and Chicago during the first and second quarters of 2015. The initiative launched in South Bend, Indiana this summer and fundraising efforts are underway to support upcoming launches in Dallas, Tampa, and Denver this fall.

To bring JesusCares to your community or to sign up as a coach, go to

Q&A with Sean Dunn Founder and Executive Director of JesusCares.com

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Q: What motivated you to create the ministry of JesusCares.com?

A window of opportunity now exists for us to bring the Gospel to a generation that is literally dying without it. Not with an invitation that can be rejected, but with an invasion of truth that interrupts the lives of people ages 15-25 through the media that they use every day. Our unique strategy—to “go into all the world and preach the good news to all” by leveraging mainstream media and technology—is doable, cost-effective, and cutting edge. More importantly, it’s working.

Q: Through the JesusCares initiative, the parent ministry, Groundwire, is continuing to grow and to “interrupt” the lives of teens across the entire country. What has been your strategy for gaining exposure?

Groundwire’s strategy is to buy ad time on television and radio stations. Our thirty and sixty-second, Christ-centered radio spots proclaim the message of God’s unconditional love to millions via some of the most influential secular stations. We also reach our target audience through television buys on MTV, VH1, Cartoon Network/Adult Swim, Comedy Central, TruTV, and Nick at Night.

Q: What happens after someone views or hears a JesusCares spot? How do you then go beyond the radio and TV spots to share the message of the Gospel?

After encountering a JesusCares ad, young people are directed to our website to download podcasts, read online devotionals, or talk with a spiritual coach. Hundreds of volunteers from around the world form a team that offers coaching 24 hours a day. Since 2006, we’ve interacted with broken and searching youth on thousands of live chats. Students are drawn to the honest dialogue we offer about spiritual issues, often receiving Christ as their Savior as a result of our coaches’ ministry. We then connect as many as we can to local churches and resources where they can continue to grow. We are praying for more volunteer coaches to join our ministry.

Q: Some Christians might be hesitant to volunteer as a coach because they feel they aren’t qualified. What kind of person makes a good spiritual coach?

A: Spiritual coaches are sold-out Believers who are committed to the Great Commission and love people. They realize that although they are not perfect, God desires to speak through them. They realize that technology offers amazing opportunities to minister to people all over the world. Coaches need to be over eighteen and willing to submit to a background check and go through the necessary training. The key qualifications are compassion, a teachable spirit, good listening skills, sensitivity to the Holy Spirit’s leading, patience, resilience and authenticity.

Q: What does the process of becoming a coach look like?

A: Training begins when an application is completed and returned to the Director of Ministry. From that point, the majority of training is done online and consists of learning how to deal with the different types of conversations that might take place. There are a series of written responses that take place in email format and then an online mock chat as well.

Q: Describe the issues JesusCares coaches address most often as they interact with young people.

A: The most common issues include:

• Self-Image: Students are trying to figure out who they are. They are looking for acceptance, belonging, and meaning.

• Loneliness: An abnormal number of people live lonely and desperate lives in the midst of families that care and with crowds all around. They feel isolated and as if no one cares.

• Hopelessness: Many students feel that their life will never get better. They are trapped in painful circumstances and can’t envision a time when things will get better.

• Fear of Failure: They are afraid that they won’t live up to others’ expectations for them. Some respond by placing all of their value on their achievements. Others stop trying all together. They won’t disclose their goals, so that no one will ever know if they fail.

• Transition to Independence: Many students rely on their parents’ faith, morals, and convictions without developing their own. When it’s time to venture out and make their own choices, they give leadership of their life to the first person or group that comes along.

• Lust, Immorality, and Sexual Addiction: Many people (even Christian young people) are caught in this horrible battle with lust. They are drawn in by sexual images and fantasies but then feel dirty and guilty after giving in to them. The shame that comes from sexual mistakes continues to hold them in a difficult cycle. They want to be pure but don’t know how to get there.

• Spiritual Connection: They hunger for a real and personal relationship with the Living God. They long to know God intimately but have never been taught how. It has not been intentionally modeled for them. So, they wonder if the person down the street, who appears so close, loves them more than a seemingly distant God. They think something is wrong with them.

Q: Through JesusCares and other initiatives, Groundwire targets not just teenagers, but young people in their early twenties. Why do you think young adults continue to struggle with so many issues that were once associated just with the teenage years?

A: Young adults do not have the stability of healthy families, strong spiritual lives, and distinct purpose that used to be more common. They are struggling to find themselves, find purpose, and find hope. To quote scripture, this generation is “harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.” When Jesus recognized these conditions in Matthew 9:35-38, he came to a conclusion. “The harvest is plentiful”.

Q: How have you seen JesusCares impact the families of the young people you counsel?
A: One young man we coached first responded to a JesusCares spot because of fears over his parents’ constant fighting. During the chat with our coach, “Taylor” accepted Christ. A few days later, he discovered that a friend on his lacrosse team was a Christian. That friend invited him to church. Soon, Taylor’s family visited the church to witness his baptism. Before long, the rest of the family responded to the gospel, and his parents sought relationship counseling through the church. In Taylor’s words, “My home feels different now. It will take time, but my parents say they want our house to be `full of Jesus’ from now on.”

Q: Not all the individuals reached by JesusCares are non-believers. How have coaches encouraged Christians who are struggling?
A: There are countless stories. Recently, one of our coaches encouraged a teenage girl from a believing family to tell her parents she needed to take a pregnancy test. Praying with the coach and experiencing the support of her parents has helped this young woman deal with feelings of shame and fear and withstand pressure from the baby’s father to get an abortion.
Q: What is your vision for the future of JesusCares?
A: We are working towards a national launch and anticipating this impacting millions in the US before we take it into some other strategic nations. The goal is to flood the culture with pictures/messages about Jesus as He truly is–kind, loving, compassionate, and forgiving.

www.JesusCares.com

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This all-new Bible features the complete NIV text, as well as other insightful and informative inserts.
  • Rock Solid Truths that examine Christian beliefs and explorations of other religions;
  • Rock Solid Principles that apply the Bible to relationships, sex, money, and more;
  • Rock Solid Promises that call out what is (and is not) promised in the Scriptures;
  • Rock Solid Plans that explore God’s plan for daily life;
  • Unshaken People that provide scriptural examples of overcoming challenges; and
  • Unshaken God that points out God’s amazing and unyielding attributes.

In addition, readers will find reading plans, eight pages of full-color maps, Bible book introductions and many other insightful features to help teens grapple with their big questions about the world, their futures and their faith. Annette Bourland, SVP of Zondervan Book Publishing comments, “It’s our hope that the Rock Solid Faith Study Bible will help teens grow their faith, find deeper meaning for their lives and have hope in their futures. It’s a timely guide for teens that are grappling every day with big questions about the world, what the future holds and their faith in God. We believe this Bible is an excellent tool and companion to help them find the answers they need to mature into rock solid Christian adults.”

Zondervan, a HarperCollins company headquartered in Grand Rapids, MI, is a world leader in Christian communications and is the leading Christian publishing brand. For more than 75 years, Zondervan has delivered transformational Christian experiences through general and academic resources authored by influential leaders and emerging voices and has been honored with more Christian book awards than any other publisher.

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Teenagers today admit that they are feeling uncertain and insecure about their lives, the world, and their futures. They are sincerely looking for something solid to hold on to in these turbulent times. They really want to know more about God, but they don’t know where to find it. How can they be sure that what they read is true? There is often conflicting information from sources which can cause confusion and even despair.

To address these important issues for teens and to provide traction for their beliefs and promises for their futures, Zondervan created the Rock Solid Faith Study Bible for Teens.This innovative edition of the New International Version helps teens face their questions head on and build a steadfast foundation for their faith. With the Rock Solid Bible,teens discover constant and concrete truths rooted in the unchanging love, guidance, and promises of God.

This all-new Bible features the complete NIV text, as well as other insightful and informative inserts such as:

  • Rock Solid Truths that examine Christian beliefs and explorations of other religions;
  • Rock Solid Principlesthat apply the Bible to relationships, sex, money, and more;
  • Rock Solid Promises that call out what is (and is not) promised in the Scriptures;
  • Rock Solid Plans that explore God’s plan for daily life;
  • Unshaken People that provide scriptural examples of overcoming challenges; and
  • Unshaken God that points out God’s amazing and unyielding attributes.

In addition, readers will find easy to understand apologetics, reading plans, eight pages of full-color maps, Bible book introductions, and many other insightful features to help teens grapple with big questions about the world, their futures, and their faith.

Scheduled to release in August 2012, Zondervan plans to provide the Rock Solid Faith Study Bible for Teens in three printed formats—a hardcover ($29.99) and two Italian duo-tone designs with cool printed page edges ($44.99)—as well as an ebook version ($14.99). It’s the perfect gift for every teen whose heart and life needs reassurance in the midst of our disturbing times.

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Rock Solid Faith Study Bible for Teens

Zondervan 2012

978-031-0723-302 • $29.99 Hardcover • 11.1 x 6.1 x 1.1 • 1,664 Pages