Illuminate: Parent Cue

21 03 2012

Parents, as we move closer to Easter we want to create conversation points for you and your student. Here is some information about what we are doing in Transit, and how you can create conversations with your student.

1. Be a Student of What They are Learning

We’ve read the story year after year. We know that Jesus was crucified, placed in a tomb and resurrected on the third day. And this is important! But when we take a look at the bigger picture of Scripture we see themes and images that come up again and again to shed even more light on the significance of the Easter account. Just like reading a good book or watching a gripping movie, we understand that the author is trying to turn our attention to something greater than the story itself. Over the course of this series, we look at a few key themes in Scripture—Bread, Water and Blood—to help weave together the greater story of God’s love for us. To take the power of the Easter story and allow it to shine in those places where we need provision, security and redemption.

2. Be a Student of Your Student

Over the course of this series, we have talked about the idea of themes; those things that come up again and again, whether in a good book or movie or even just in our day-to-day lives. And as we’ve learned, certain words or themes within particular stories in the Bible can trigger something that might remind us of another story, showing us how God’s Big Story connects, especially as it relates to the Easter story. But these themes occur in our everyday lives as well.

We as parents experience things that trigger us to know when our teens are happy or excited about something—and when they are anything but! Our students notice our triggers as well. Your student probably knows that when you pick them up from school late, slam the door when you come home from work or forget to check on them after their set curfew, that something is up.

And these triggers, these cues, are definitely something to look for in our teenagers. Especially for those middle school and early high school students who are still in a world of “egocentric abstraction,” which means that they may be trying on multiple personalities to figure out just who they are. And these triggers give us a clue into how these different sides of our students come together as they try to figure out who they are. And while this may be scary for us and seem like anything but normal, it is really just a natural part of their process of defining who they are—of shaping their identity. But does this mean that we just give them complete space to figure it out on their own during these very complicated years? No, it means we listen. And sometimes, the best way to listen to a teenager—no matter what age—is as much about hearing what they say as it is about hearing what they don’t. So, we want to provide an opportunity for you to sit down with your student and talk about some of these triggers, first allowing them to give you a glimpse into the things that clue them into your mood and next, having a dialogue about the things they do that tell you about how they are feeling.

3. Action Point

As you and your student sit down, remember to keep this conversation light. This isn’t a time to start probing into your student’s life to look for deep, dark secrets. Rather, it’s a chance to connect in a mutual way and start a conversation about the way that we often communicate how we feel without saying a word. It’s a chance to create empathy, both from you to your student and from your student back to you. So, as you answer the questions below, allow your student space to be honest and practice listening to what they are saying with their words, as you both figure out what you say from day-to-day without using words at all.

Questions from Parent to Student: 

  • What are some things I do that tell you that I’m in the following mood: Rested, Content, Stressed Out, Enthusiastic and Agitated?
  • What do you usually do when you sense that I am stressed out or agitated? How about when you sense that I am rested and content?
  • What is a word or a phrase that we can come up with for you to say to me when you are picking up on one of my negative triggers that worries you or makes you upset and you want to be able to talk about it?

Questions from Student to Parent:

  • What are some things I do that make you think I am sad, overwhelmed or upset? (For the Student to Answer: Are the triggers that your parent or guardian noticed pretty accurate? Do you feel like they are picking up on what you do when you are sad or upset?)
  • How do you know when I am happy and everything is going well?
  • What is a word or phrase that we can come up with for you to say to me when you are picking up one of my negative triggers and want to be able to talk about it?

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