Swiftwater Journey

faith, culture, and growing up in a rapidly changing world

Swiftwater Journey | a workbook April 26, 2016

Filed under: Adolescence,Parenting,Youth Ministry — billmacphee @ 4:22 pm

iStock_000008266776Small 236 89This workbook is offered to you as a helpful follow up to my teaching on parenting and adolescence . It is for all parents of adolescents and other caring adults as we embrace and nurture our children along a healthy pathway to adulthood.

I want this resource to be a helpful guide for you in implementing your own action plan for loving your teenager in a way that helps them move toward capable and mature interdependence as an adult. Thanks to Dr. Chap Clark, friend and mentor, and author of recommended books.

Swiftwater Journey Parenting Follow up Workbook

 

11 Tips for Parents – Welcoming Your Teenager Home From Camp February 18, 2013

Filed under: Parenting,Uncategorized,Youth Ministry — billmacphee @ 1:25 pm
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Our family enjoyed the privilege of sending our daughter off to camp this long weekend, and we are preparing to welcome her home. While it has been a great couples weekend, it will be fun to hear the life-change stories emerging out of camp.

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We often spend much time preparing for camp, and praying for our children while they are away at camp. But some of the best fruit from camp can be cultivated best by parents after camp.

Here are some simple tips on helping your son or daughter return home from camp well. My suggestion is that you pay attention and pick and choose from this list as you seek to maximize the positive spiritual impact of this outstanding journey at camp.

  1. Listen attentively. It is inevitable your son or daughter will return home tired. For some the fatigue makes them excited and talkative, for others it leads to grumpiness and silence. Be sensitive to trying to drag out too much information on the ride home. Pace the feedback. The next best activity for your son or daughter may be rest.
  1. Filter your questions. Let your student guide the conversation. Pay attention to what they are saying, and also to what they are not saying. Look and listen for a few key nuggets.
  1. Offer them their favorite meal. Though camp food might be good [or it might not], your child is likely longing for something to eat that is familiar and substantial. A meal is a great place for the family to listen to their stories.
  1. Temper your expectations. Parents may be hoping for a significant life change, but it’s likely not to show up all at once. Try not to communicate unrealistic expectations about spiritual life change, but rather applaud any movement toward spiritual sensitivity and growth. Ask in your own words, “What do you think God was teaching you at camp?”
  1. Remember the [pre] adolescent journey. By definition, pre-teens and adolescents are very self-focused and most of their experience at camp will be defined through the filter of “me.” Use this as an opportunity to affirm their journey of self-discovery and the unique identity you sense God is helping them grasp. Avoid exasperating [Ephesians 6:4] them with a sharp critique of their “selfishness.”
  1. Ask about friends. It is almost impossible for a developing adolescent to separate their relationship with God from their relationship with friends. Teenagers grow in Christ in groups. Who did you hang out with? Did you make any new friends? When will you see them again? It is likely there will also be some drama between friends to report. Hopefully you can guide them to not let this push them away from friends or the group. Or maybe you may walk them through changing friends due to new spiritual convictions gained at camp. If you have a high school student they will most likely want to go hang out with camp friends as soon as possible.
  1. Look at pictures. Having your son or daughter show you their pictures, even if just the big camp photo, is a great way for them to share their memories and experiences. Have them point out friends and adult leaders they enjoyed.
  1. Explore themes. Ask your son or daughter to tell you what the speaker, cabin times, and devotions were about. Keep it simple and look for or guide them into articulating one key lesson they grabbed from the week. Gently guide them to express a couple ideas they might want to act on in practical ways in the coming weeks. Ask what they want to change as a result of being at camp [in their relationships, in their family, in their beliefs, in their habits]. Don’t pry too much since these changes may be something they would rather share with their friends, small group, or other adult leaders.
  1. Affirm your support. Be very positive about their experience at camp and affirm your ongoing support of their relationship with God. This time at camp can be powerful but it is also one smaller part of a bigger and longer journey in their emotional, physical and spiritual development. Your child needs a fan that is cheering them on as they grow up.
  1. Keep them connected. An experience at camp is often times a launching pad for new friendships within the youth group at church. Maximize the partnership between you as a parent and the youth group leadership. Be sure to find a way to thank your child’s cabin leader. Do the extra work to help them get to a weekend worship gathering and the next meeting of the youth group. For those with a Junior High or High School student, encourage getting plugged into a smaller discipleship group. The older your student gets the more strategic support from the church gets.
  1. Model an intimate relationship of trust with Jesus. Your [pre] adolescent is looking to see what a relationship with Jesus looks like. They possess a keen radar system that sniffs out hypocrisy. They will be looking to see if you have an honest faith that trusts Jesus with daily life. Be the kind of person you want your child to become. Model love and grace, an intimate relationship with God, involvement with other believers, and a servant lifestyle.

What additional tips would you add from your experience as a parent?

 

VCS Mexicali Team Emergency Plan 2011 March 2, 2011

Filed under: education,Missions,Parenting,Youth Ministry — billmacphee @ 12:52 pm

Momentum is building as we anticipate our service in Mexicali over Easter Break. Attached you will find our emergency communication plan. Let me know if you have questions or comments.

vcs mexicali emergency plan 2011

 

Middle school is when the right friends may matter most | Media Relations February 8, 2011

Filed under: Adolescence,Parenting — billmacphee @ 5:21 pm
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Researchers at the University of Oregon may be on to something middle school teachers and parents need to focus on – the shifting friendships happening as their fifth graders move into the sixth grade. Read the full article here:

Middle school is when the right friends may matter most | Media Relations.

  • As the early adolescent moves from one teacher to multiple teachers and classrooms, his or her social radar gets finely tuned into a plethora of new friendship possibilities. This is just the place where new friendships begin to blossom, for good or for not.
  • One of the profound conclusions is that young students who engage in friendships that are “pro-social,” [meaning that they are socially active friendships that respect rules and enjoy activities planned and monitored by caring, attentive adults], do better academically in high school and are better adjusted into their early twenties.
  • Academics are a vital focus during middle school but teachers and parents need to pay specific attention to the development of healthy, positive, social friendships among their children and students. Know your children, know their friends, and meet their friends parents.
  • Parents are wise to plan and support wholesome activities and establish clear behavior boundaries, while monitoring compliance and holding to consequences for misbehavior.
  • Parents, teachers, and youth workers will wisely collaborate and communicate about the friendships developing in their sphere of influence. Intervention is appropriate when friendship bonds lead to a sudden increase in rebellion and rule breaking.
 

Jim Liebelts Youth Culture Watch: Kids Texting in Class is the New Normal September 15, 2010

Filed under: Adolescence,Parenting,Technology — billmacphee @ 8:24 am

Jim Liebelts Youth Culture Watch: Kids Texting in Class is the New Normal.

What we do is often more powerful than what we say. It is so tempting to pick the phone up and check email or a text while driving, but we usually “get what we are.”

 

msnbc video: Are 20-somethings afraid of growing up? August 25, 2010

Filed under: Adolescence,emerging adults,Parenting — billmacphee @ 9:20 pm
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msnbc video: Are 20-somethings afraid of growing up?.

What are the implications for parenting and for secondary school teachers and youth workers in our churches?

 

Raised by the Pack July 27, 2010

Filed under: Adolescence,Parenting,Sports — billmacphee @ 12:14 pm
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“Raised by the Pack”

Common sense, research, and Biblical tradition reveal that having at least five adults who relate to an adolescent with a “beyond-performance” agenda greatly enhance his or her movement toward responsible and interdependent maturity. All kids need a pack.

Vicki Hart writes for Bicycling Magazine and zeroed in on a young Thomas Jondall, who turned 18 in July. Thomas has grown up in challenging circumstances including estrangement from mom and dad, sleeping in parks, missing school, and yet, excelling in bike road racing. A group of cyclists and neighbors noticed and then took Thomas under their wings, including Dave and Katie Jonsson, who adopted young Thomas. He now has a home, a family, a high school degree, and a promising cycling career. This is a great story worth reading and emulating.

Gradually, the cyclists realized that the kids who seemed to have a great future ahead of him didn’t have much of a present.