Monday, January 13, 2014

Sticky Faith #4

In the 4th chapter the focus was on sticky faith conversations.  A typical family does not have faith conversations.  So the issue becomes how do we make this a natural part of our conversations without it being awkward.  The first thing is to make sure our actions back up our words or we may do more damage than help.  The next thing is to make sure that when we engage in faith conversation we ask questions with the intent to dialogue rather than lecture.  If we are attentive to the Holy Spirit, there are always opportunities to engage in meaningful faith conversations.  I know that in the context of youth group, this is a vital part of our small group program.  The success of a small group will depend on initiating faith conversations.

Favorite Quotes

p. 72 - . . . students who feel the freedom and have opportunities to express their doubts tend to have more Sticky Faith.

p. 74 - Sticky Faith students often report that while their parents offered opinions, they ultimately gave the students some latitude to arrive at their own conclusions.

p. 77 - . . . you'll interact better with your son or daughter - whatever their mood or attitude - when you learn to listen and ask questions instead of lecture.

Sticky Faith #3

The 3rd chapter focuses on "Sticky Identity".  The teen years are complicated when it comes to forming their identity.  There are many stages they could go through in trying to find their identity that can be messy.  Parents can sometimes get in the way if identity formation by focusing too much on keeping their teen overly busy or basing their identity too much on performance.  The main thrust of this chapter is on the fact that as teens develop their identity we must reinforce ofter that their primary identity rests in the fact that they are a beloved child of God who loves them.  

Favorite quotes:

p. 57 . . . the single most important question affecting all of humanity, "Who am I?" is the message of Jesus and the Bible. Your child has been created, redeemed, and called to live as God's precious and beloved child.

p. 59-60 - A rich and sustainable faith recognizes that as I walk in community with God's people, I ultimately discover who I am. . . . The point is the build "social capital" into your child's life, creating a network of caring believers who will pray for, mentor, and bless your children with their presence over the course of their lives.

p. 65 - You goal is to train your kid to see life as a whole, connected adventure, versus a frantic race from one expectation and agenda to another. 

 p. 66 - When your child fails or is disappointed, model a tenderness that communicates that God understands and will in time life them up. Living as God's beloved child does not mean that pain and suffering won't come, but through gentle encouragement, they can know God has a purpose and a trajectory for them that is unique and good. 

Discussion Questions

1.  What are some ways you defined yourself growing up? How were they helpful to you as you grew older? How were they harmful?

Relational / Friendly - They helped me in any context I was in.
Cynical / depressed / sarcastic - this did not ever help me

2. Of Nouwen's three answers to the question "Who am I?" which of these are you most prone to rely on? Describe what that looks and feels like. Which of these does your child rely on? What does that look like?

Me: I am what I do.  Being a pastor is not something you just stop doing when the work day is over.  It has a way of defining you 24/7.  But I also recognize that my calling to be a parent and a husband are also 24/7 identities.

My kids can be drawn to define themselves with a combination of what they do and what others say about them.  Their peer groups and social groups can have a big impact both positively and negatively. 

3. On a scale of 1 to 7, 1 being easy, 7 not so easy, how hard is it for you to see yourself as the beloved child of God? How easy is it for your child? Describe what you mean.

Probably a 3 for me.  I am prone to see myself as letting God down.  It is too much of a "God as Judge" image of him.  I would say my kids are more like a 5 I would hope.  I think it is much easier for them to accept God's grace and love without the baggage us adults tend to carry around. 

4.  Name some ways your can emphasize who your child is (a beloved child of God) rather than what your child does. How would this emphasis change your approach to your child's extracurricular activities or academic achievements?

Never stop telling them how much you love them.  This goes for youth group teens too!  Don't be afraid to tell them.  My love for them would be based on who they are more than what they achieve or do in connection to school or sports.