Forward Motion: Parents Only

1 12 2011

Parents, here is a short story about how we can prepare our students for success, and how we can challenge them to grow.

 

When I was in high school, I remember my dad used to give me lots of space. He wanted me to be independent and take responsibility for my own decisions. Don’t get me wrong, I still had rules and I still got in trouble when I broke them. But overall, I was given freedom to explore and learn.

 

The catch was that sometimes I still needed his help. This was never more obvious than when I turned sixteen and started driving a car. I could practice driving all day long, but without his instruction I would have never learned how to check the oil or recognize a problem under the hood. When I got my first car, a little grey Chevy Nova with over 150,000 miles on it, my dad explained to me that he wanted me to know how to take care of a car. He told me that it was important for me to know about the car I drove so that I could handle any situation that came up. Driving was a big responsibility, and he wanted to make sure that I was prepared.

 

He took me out to the garage a number of times to show me different things. We had a lot of fun learning together and I was grateful that he took the time to teach me. Only six months after I got my license, my car blew a tire in the middle of a ten lane, divided highway. Fortunately, because of my dad’s instruction, I was able to handle the situation. When I came home and told him what had happened, he was relieved and proud of me. I was proud too.

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Forward Motion: Parent Challenge

22 11 2011

Many of you crave forward motion in your family. You know what you want your children to be. You want them to be kind, respectful, responsible, intelligent, creative individuals. You want them to be able to succeed when they grow up and leave your home. But sometimes you look at them and you think that it may never happen.

 

This month, think about helping your student make one step. Think of one new thing that you would love for your child to do. Maybe it’s to improve his or her science grade, learn how to do laundry, cook a meal or change the oil in the car. Once you have decided on one goal for your child, communicate your desire to teach this skill and let your child know why it is important to learn it. Then spend time during the month helping teach your child how to accomplish the goal.

 

If you want your student to improve his or her science grade, sit with him and study flash cards. If you want them to know how to do laundry, do a load or two together until he or she gets the hang of it. By communicating to your child why you want him or her to know or do a certain thing, you communicate respect. By spending time helping them learn, you are letting him or her know of their importance to you. You will also alleviate your child’s fear of disappointing you if they get it wrong.

 

The most important thing that fuels forward motion is celebration. Make sure that you celebrate your child’s step! Tell him or her that you are proud of them for working so hard or for learning something new. When your child knows that they can make you proud, they will be much more motivated to continue working on their new goal.





Forward Motion

20 11 2011

Series Overview

We’ve all made resolutions and set goals, but too often we fall short of what we expected to accomplish. Unfortunately it’s often the same when we try to become the Christian we really believe God has called us to be. We fall short of the goal and become increasingly discouraged. In this series, your student will learn that following Christ is more about the small steps we make every day, not about the huge leaps of faith that we think we need to make. They will set a goal, determine the first step and then make it. The series will end with a celebration!

Session One (November 20, 2011)

So many times we look at our lives with great expectations, thinking we should be leaps from where we are. We expect perfection. We expect to arrive at some level. The reality is that following Christ isn’t about leaping to instant perfection. We’re walking with Him daily–a walk that involves steps, not leaps. Following Jesus Christ is about the small steps we make every day, steps of obedience, steps in relationship with Him. Sometimes those steps are small, sometimes they are big–but they are all still steps, moving us forward.

Session One Parent Cue: Following Christ is about steps, not leaps. This week your students will be introduced to the myth: that Christianity is all about taking big leaps of faith. They will encounter some of Scripture’s most daunting verses, and wrestle with what it means to have a life of consistent spiritual growth. Each student will set a goal for himself or herself, and the next few weeks they will revisit their goals. Discuss with them what you think may be some unrealistic goals you have for yourself.

Session Two (November 27, 2011)

The goal of every Christian is to become more like Jesus. But the problem comes when we think we’re going to achieve that today. It’s a lifelong journey, a process, a walk. Following Jesus is about the steps we take every day, and as Christians, we have divine help in taking those steps–the Holy Spirit. What is the step God is asking to take? What’s holding you back from taking it?

Session Two Parent Cue: The way you get from where you are to where you want to be is one step at a time. This may sound ridiculously obvious, but we all forget it. We want to go to the gym one time and look like a model; we want to make one smart comment at work and be promoted right to the top. But we know deep down that isn’t the way things work. The good news is that in our spiritual development, God has not left us alone to work out the mess. He has sent His Spirit to guide us. This week, students will look at the power of the Holy Spirit to guide their paths, and they will make a plan for beginning to take the first step toward their goals. What is an obtainable goal that you can work on achieving this week? 

Session Three (December 4, 2011)

What if you acknowledged the steps you took every day in your own “walk” with God? What if you realized that even though you may not be where you want to be, you may be exactly where God wants you to be, learning the things you need to know one step at a time? It brings a lot of freedom, doesn’t it? But not only that, what if we started celebrating not only the steps we take every day, but the steps those around us do as well? Because what may not be a big deal for you, may be huge for someone else. And all that celebration begins to turn into one big party.

Session Three Parent Cue: Celebrate the steps you take in your relationship with God, and celebrate the steps others take as well. It’s all about celebration, not the cheap kind of celebration that comes from making a big deal out of nothing, but the real party that comes naturally when we know that we have made even the slightest move in the right direction. Your students will talk this week about what it looks like to encourage each other and celebrate with each other whenever they make progress toward one of their goals. What are some specific areas of growth you have seen in your teen in the last couple of weeks, months or even year?