Preparing Your Teens for More – MBFLP 205

“You think this is hard – just wait till they’re teenagers!” the stranger told Melanie as she pushed our four young children through the Atlanta zoo. But that’s a cultural expectation, not a foregone conclusion. Why can’t the teen years be productive years of growth, maturity, and deeper fellowship between parent and son or daughter? This episode we’re looking at positive ways to build up your teens during these critical years of transition from childhood to independence!

The Remarkable Potential of Teenagers

The oncologist looked at Hal skeptically.

“Well,” he conceded, “if you feel up to it, you can travel. And you can speak from the platform. But you can’t stand around shaking hands afterward – your immune system is going to be completely shot.”

The results had come back from the biopsy – Hal had advanced lymphoma, and he was about to start chemotherapy. The good doctor from Duke had listened while we explained what we do in our ministry, and travel was a concession – no compromise on the personal contact.

We had hardly gotten this far explaining it to our family when our teenagers burst out, “Don’t worry, Dad – we’ll take care of the book fair!”

Our oldest still at home were 16, 14, and 12. We might have been a little skeptical, but at the time, we didn’t have a choice. Hal was sidelined, Melanie would be busy counseling and praying with parents, and somebody needed to handle the business part of our resource table. If teens are who we had, then teens would have to do the job.

And it has made a world of difference!

Don’t Underestimate Teenagers

So many people consider the teen years and react with alarm, “Batten down the hatches! Duck and cover!” And yet, we look back and history and wonder. Laura Ingalls Wilder was put in charge of a school before she turned 16. John Quincy Adams was 14 when he became the sole translator for America’s embassy to Catherine the Great of Russia. Paul Tripp calls it “The Age of Opportunity;” why shouldn’t we expect more from the teenage years?

What started as a necessity in our family developed into a tradition – ever since that day, our teenagers and their younger siblings have managed our booth and many aspects of our travel. They shoo us out into the aisle, telling us, “You need to be talking with the parents that need help! Let us take care of this stuff.” They load and unload, set up and manage. They deal with customers of all ages, polite or combative. And they take turns in charge of the booth and their siblings, watching the younger ones and passing on job skills to the middle group.

Sometimes they even challenge us! Our third son made it a point of honor to learn to drive our 15-passenger van and trailer in any situation – threading night-time traffic alone in downtown Phoenix, backing the trailer into a tight parking space, or turning the whole rig around on a one-lane road that suddenly became impassable. Hal had to step up and improve his own skills to keep from calling the 16-year-old to get us out of a spot!

They became so involved in the business and support of our ministry, we naturally included them in all our planning. “We need some products to keep the younger children quiet while you talk with their parents,” they told us. We challenged them to come up with ideas, and they located sources for the swords and rubber band guns we sell alongside our books on parenting and marriage.

Three of our teens took what they were learning from our own business and bought another for themselves. The one who took the greatest part at the age of 13 is majoring in entrepreneurship in college and has already attracted venture capitalists to the businesses he’s started.

One of our teens became a freelance journalist at the age of 17 and was writing investigative articles for a statewide magazine before he left for college.  Another taught himself guitar and mandolin and joined a bluegrass band at a local coffee house. His elderly bandmates used to tease him, “I’ve got blue jeans older than you, Curly,” and he’d smile and reply, “But I’ve got more hair than all of you, combined.”

What made the difference? For all our teens, they found an area where they could serve, then we encouraged them to step up. By the time they were ready for college, they’d already been participating in grownup activities for two or three years, and they were unafraid to face the new opportunities which opened up in college and their early careers.

Want to read more? CLICK HERE!


Special Thanks to Our Network Sponsor – Well Planned Gal

Rebecca from the Well Planned Gal understands the challenges of working within a budget, managing multiple children, and trying to keep up with a variety of information. That is why she created popular planner bundles!

Combine organizational tools with year long encouragement by bundling Well Planned Day planners with the popular Family Magazine. For a limited time, Save 30% with one of her popular planner bundles. Each bundle contains 2 planner products with a one-year subscription to Family Magazine.

Click Here to Go to Well Planned Gal


Comments

  1. I love to hear stories of teens who made great contributions to society, like Laura Ingalls Wilder and John Quincy Adams. I think we don’t expect greatness from our kids. I’ve heard about and kind of experience what is referred to as “prolonged adolescence “.

    • Hal and Melanie Young says:

      So often our kids respond to expectations. If we think they’re just “hormonally-driven slackers,” that may be a self-fulfilling prophecy. If we encourage them to aim for more, we can be very pleasantly surprised at how much they can accomplish!

  2. Racheal Fowler says:

    My husband and I had, and sometimes still have, his parents pushing and expecting us to handle our children and decisions according to how they want us to handle them. We had to stop talking about our lives and the things going on in our lives to them due to their meddling and lack of accepting our decisions. It is sad but quite necessary. We are taking a different approach to our teenagers thanks to your No Longer Little book and Raising Real Men book. Thank You!

Speak Your Mind

*

Download our "Thanksgiving Planning & Activities" Printables!