Recently, we have been looking at five shifts to make that will help empower your teenager to become mature, healthy self-led adults. Last week, we looked at the Shift #1: Talker to listener. Shift two is all about moving from the center of their lives and decision-making to the side. As a reminder, I am not an expert in parenting. But I have learned a thing or two about coaching and helping people take action towards the direction God has designed for them in life and ministry. Also, these five shifts are not limited to parenting. They relate to working with teenagers in youth groups or wherever you’re connecting with people in meaningful ways to help them take the next step on their journey to follow Jesus’ mission for their life. Let me give a bit of background so you have some context.
Shift #2 – Center to Side
One of the things we did very early with our kids was to involve them in sports. When we lived in Phoenix, Gina and I coached their respective “recreation” soccer teams. We lived in the city and the rec leagues were designed for all kids to participate regardless of athletic ability or economic situation. Our son played one summer of T-ball and we asked him not to play again (the summer heat even for an early game was suffocating) and later basketball BTW – both kids are athletic and our son is a very quick learner so new sports came easy for him. They enjoyed sports.
When we relocated to Southern California we graduated from rec leagues to competitive soccer. What the kids gained were nicer uniforms, higher calibre of coaching and players with a bit more skill. What they lost was the fun factor! For me (playing competitive soccer most of my life through my sophomore year in college at a NCAA Div I program) and Gina (elite gymnast and field hockey player in Australia with the additional bonus of studying kinesiology at university) – we had to make a hard decision and consider: Was this about us or the kids?
Our response to that question led us down the path of understanding what we cared about and hoped to instill in our kids. So we made the hard decision to tell the kids that they did not have to play a competitive sport; but in exchange they had to remain active. That meant, regular body movement. We died to ourselves and helped the kids discover activities they were passionate about!
We took ourselves out of the center and moved to the side!
This meant we had to become like Barnabas. What we discovered was that we were able to dedicate the time we had given to all-weekend tournaments and engage with the kids on hikes, camping and exploring various activities like rock climbing, mountain biking and swimming together. Today, they continue to be curious about the outdoors, learning new activities like trail running and walking the streets to explore new parts of the city while testing their skills and levels of fitness with new activities. This was the vision of what we wanted for our kids back when we made the difficult decision of making this about them – not about us.
Here are some of the things we did to make this shift in the way we parented our teenagers.
Key Question: How can I resist the temptation to force my agenda and be attuned to the other person’s agenda?
- Sacrifice your need to be the center of the conversation
o Make your teenager the focus of the conversation.
- Support your teenager to discover their next step
o Facilitate the discovery of a step for your teen to take responsibility.
- Put your assumptions, opinions, and biases in the background
o Resist the temptation to make judgements and remain curious.
Following are two opportunities that can help you refine your disciple-coach skills!
5 Disciple Coach Habits webinar – Monday, October 11 from 10-3 PST
The full package includes the webinar AND triad sessions: