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New Friend Request: Parent CUE

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Here is an overview of what we’re talking about. Listed below the summary is a “parent cue” to help you dialog with your child about the session.  The question is intended not just to be asked by you, but to be responded to by BOTH of you. Use this opportunity to find out what God is teaching your child, and allow your child to see what God is teaching you as well.


Series Overview
We all want friends—even if we don’t want to admit it. We all want someone to hang out with, someone to talk to, someone who knows us. But friendship requires something from us. It’s not just what we get or what makes us feel comfortable or happy. There’s a s
mart way to do friendship, a way with intention, a way that will draw us closer to God’s heart—if we surround ourselves with the right people. That doesn’t mean our friends have to be clones of us—but it does mean that they at least help us move in the right direction.

Session One: ACCEPT?
Middle School – Nov 6; High School – Nov 13
Having friends is great. Whether you want one, or you already have one, there’s just something about having other people in your life who you can count on. For many, friendships just happen. A new friend is in the right place at the right time. And while friendships may start out randomly, there is an intentionality about who we allow close to us—and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Because the people who are closest to you have influence on your life. They help shape who you are. So who are the friends closest to you . . . and how are they influencing you?

Session One Parent CUE: Who are some of your closest friends? Why are these people so important to you?

Session Two: RESPOND?
Middle School – Nov 20; High School – Dec 4
Someone to listen to my problems. Someone to do stuff with. Someone to talk to constantly. Someone to hang out with. When you make a list of what qualities you want in a friend, how many of the things on your list involve what that person can do for you? Most of us would have to admit that it’s a lot. But the best friendships are ones that are not just about what the other person can do for you—the best friendships also involve how you can be there for someone
else. How you can listen, instead of always talking. How you can give someone space when he or she needs it, or just hang out when your friend needs that too. In other words, the best friendships are not centered solely on you—and that’s a good thing.

Session Two Parent CUE: What are some ways you’ve been able to help out your friends?

Session Three: IGNORE?
Middle School – Dec 11; High School – Dec 18
Relationships=conflict. It’s natural. It’s part of two people relating to one another because at some point, you’re not going to agree. One person will do something the other person doesn’t like. One person will let the other person down. One person will say or do something stupid. It happens. And at some point, it happens to us—either we’re the person making the mess, or the one who is feeling the effects of the mess. So how do you navigate your way through the drama? Do you just ignore it and hope it goes away? Do you just drop that friend? Or do you find a way to work it out? The choice is yours.

Session Three Parent CUE: What is the biggest fight you’ve ever had with a friend? What was the outcome? 

Reversing Darwin: Parent CUE

Road Signs: Parent CUE

ImageYou can’t get to the OBX by driving north on I-81, and you can’t get to the top of the mountain if you are walking down it. In the Road Signs series, we will examine the book of Proverbs for wisdom to help each of us navigate the choices life brings because our choices determine the direction of our lives. And it’s our direction, not our intention, that ultimately determines our destination. Where are you heading?

Reversing Darwin: Parent CUE

Beginning this Wednesday, September 11th with our High School ministry, followed next week by our Middle School ministry, we’ll discuss this basic principle.  Our direction always determines our destination. While we all know this basic rule for navigating the roads we drive, we sometimes forget how the same rule is true in our lives. You can’t lose weight by shoving down quarter pounders and watching five hours of TV. You can’t have deep relationships by ignoring the living, breathing people around you. You can’t grow closer to God by shutting Him out of your everyday life or failing to make the effort to know more about Him. So what is the destination you desire for your life? Are you even on the right path to get there?


What kind of family do you want to be? What shared experiences do you want to have? What kind of legacy do you want to leave? This month, think about one goal, one destination, you want to reach as a family. Maybe you want to become more environmentally conscious. Maybe you want to serve others. Maybe you want to feel closer to each other. When you decide on your destination, then you can make a road map for getting there. Here are just a few questions to help you start planning your journey.

  1. What is your biggest obstacle in taking the first step? Everyone has some reason why you can’t do something. Find out what that big fear or reason is, and determine what is the best way to push through that roadblock.
  2. Is there something you need to stop doing in order to free up time to get to your chosen destination? For example, if you want to grow closer as a family, what time do you need to carve out of your schedule to spend time together on a consistent basis?
  3. Are there tools or materials you need in order to equip you for the path? For example, if you want to become more environmentally conscious, do you need to clean up the garage to setup a recycling center? Do you need to find a drop-off center for recyclable items near your home? Do you need to make a trip to your local home improvement store to make your home more “green”?
  4. What organizations can you contact or information can you research to help you prepare? As a family, if your goal is to start eating healthier, can you all take a cooking class to learn how to prepare more nutritious meals? Is there information you can find online about the nutritional information of foods at your favorite restaurants?
  5. What kind of mile markers and guardrails can you setup to make sure you stay on course for the long run? There will be times when things get too hard or when the family gets off track, so beforehand, develop a plan to keep everyone accountable and help get things back on course.

Let It Go: Parent CUE


1. Be a Student of What They are Learning

Reversing Darwin: Parent CUE

“I just can’t let it go.” “They don’t deserve to be forgiven.” “It hurts too much to move on.” Maybe you’ve heard your students say something like this in the midst of pain, frustration and anger towards someone who has hurt them—or maybe you’ve said or thought something similar yourself. Choosing to forgive someone who has hurt us is never easy. So why does it matter so much that we do it? How do we know when we should do it? And how do we know we have actually healed from the pain an offense has caused? How do we simply let it go?

2. Be a Student of Your Student

I can think of multiple times in my life when I’ve been in an emotional stand-off with someone over something they did or said—or maybe something they didn’t say or didn’t do. Taking the first steps towards getting back on good terms is simple enough—in theory. But saying the words “I’m sorry” often feels like it costs too much. So, too often we choose silence in the hopes that time will fix it, instead of intentional reconciliation.

Unfortunately, not apologizing can be costly—maybe even especially to the relationship with our teenagers. Maybe sometimes you don’t want to apologize because you know that they are the one who did something wrong. Maybe in reaction to something your son did, you lashed out and said something that was a little harsh—but you excused it because his behavior was completely unacceptable. Or maybe you found yourself sneaking through bedroom drawers just to squelch some rising suspicions and it really broke your daughter’s trust—but you were justified in what you did, so an apology seems unnecessary. You didn’t do anything outside of your parental rights, per se, but your son or daughter feels hurt, betrayed or angry.

Saying I’m sorry can be so hard. Admitting you’re wrong, or that you even had a small part in an argument or bad situation, can physically hurt sometimes. It doesn’t sit well. On the other hand, when someone has apologized to you, or you have made the first step towards reconciliation, something distinct and compelling happens. There is a sense of relief, of vulnerability and calm. All from simply saying—or hearing—“I’m sorry.”

What is it about an apology that can be so powerful—both for the receiver of the apology and the one actually apologizing?

To understand this a bit more, we want to share some excerpts from an article entitled “The Power of Apology: How to give and receive an apology. And it’s worth it, on both ends” by Beverly Engel featured in Psychology Today in June 2013, and taken from the book The Power of Apology by Beverly Engel: (To read the full article, go to

As you read, try to focus on the bolded words—on what giving an apology does—and try to imagine these action words taking place in the context of your relationship with your son or daughter:

“Apology has the ability to disarm others of their anger and to prevent further misunderstandings. While an apology cannot undo harmful past actions, if done sincerely and effectively, it can undo the negative effects of those actions … Apologizing helps us remain emotionally connected to our friends and loved ones.…

So, the next time you find yourself in a stand-off with your spouse, a co-worker a friend or even your son or daughter, remember that more is on the line than just your pride and sense of justice. The future relationship, the ability to stay connected to and vulnerable with that person is on the line too. The words “I’m sorry” may be hard to say, but they are always worth the effort!

3. Action Point

The action point for this series is pretty straightforward: Apologize to your student.

But sometimes this is easier said than done. So what are some characteristics of a meaningful apology?

First of all, admit that you are truly sorry for the hurt or damage you caused. It’s easy with our students to unintentionally do or say something that they take personally. And even though we don’t always mean things the way they hear or experience them, the hurt that can be caused is still real to them. So, while you may not have meant to be hurtful, recognizing that someone else was hurt by your actions is incredibly important.

Secondly, a sincere and powerful apology includes an acceptance of responsibility. This may seem like the same thing as admitting you are sorry for the hurt you caused. But it actually takes this idea of admittance one step further. When you accept responsibility, you are not making excuses for what you did, which often has the effect of negating the apology. It’s like when your student says, “I’m really sorry that I dented the car, but the other driver was way too close to me and I couldn’t see them well out of my side mirror.” Too many excuses cloud a good apology with a message of “It really wasn’t my fault.” For an apology to be meaningful and sincere, you have to communicate that you take full responsibility for your actions.

And lastly, there should always be something in your apology that shows you have a desire to remedy the situation. You obviously can’t go back and undo what was done—or not done—but you can offer a plan to make sure it doesn’t happen again. So, if you’ve missed your son’s basketball game … again … and he is really hurt and angry, make a plan and offer a promise to get to one of his upcoming games. And then do it! An empty promise will only make the hurt deeper, so don’t promise what you can’t deliver. But be sure to offer some sort of plan of action so that your son or daughter knows that you will work towards not repeating the action that hurt them in the first place.

Take some time to think through what a meaningful apology might look like for your son or daughter. And then, go say the words that make all the difference in the world—I’m sorry.

 Get connected to a wider community of parents at

Reveal: Parent CUE

XP3_Reveal_SmBanner1. Be a Student of What They are Learning

Reversing Darwin: Parent CUE

The way we use the word miracle can be pretty broad. And when our students talk about miracles, it can range from “Getting through that exam was a miracle” to “I need a miracle for my mom to be cured of her cancer.” But miracles are about more than just the supernatural occurrence, whether that’s making the grade or witnessing an unexplained healing. A miracle reveals God’s activity, and the greatest miracle—Jesus’ resurrection—is an invitation to participate in God’s activity by putting the past behind us and choosing to become a new creation, every day.  

 2. Be a Student of Your Student

Miracles aren’t something we think about in our everyday lives. And for some of us parents, our biggest miracle may be that we got through the day without a massive fight with our son or daughter, or simply that our teenager chose to talk to us at all. But sometimes—every now and then—we truly need something that feels miraculous—maybe even impossible. And our students sometimes need that too.

Often the things our kids want can seem trite, unimportant and petty to us. They want to find the perfect dress for the upcoming school dance and nothing fits. They want to make the football team. They want their Spanish teacher to stop giving homework over the weekends. To them these moments can feel like the end of the world, even though we know they aren’t really all that important in the greater scheme of things. But sometimes our students really do need a miracle. Because their best friend was suddenly diagnosed with a brain tumor. Because your family is struggling through a recent divorce. Because they are being bullied at school and can’t seem to find a way out. And in those times, they might be looking at you and asking, “Why is this happening? Where is the miracle I need right now?”

When you’re staring down your teenage son or daughter and the loaded and heavy question of why starts to rise up, there is a powerful statement that we want to give you permission to use: “I don’t know.”

Saying I don’t know may feel like a cop-out. It might feel like you aren’t giving your student everything they want in that moment. And it’s true, you aren’t. Because you can’t provide the cure for a rare form of cancer or fix overnight the pain from a broken family. But you can be present and real with your student in the midst of tragedy and uncertainty. And most often, this is what they need the most. It’s what they are looking for and what they are craving. When you make yourself vulnerable, when you admit that you don’t have it all figured out either, you allow your student a chance to lean in to your relationship. You invite them into an opportunity to walk through the difficulty together, on the same page and with equal footing, standing in the “I don’t know” moment together.

 3. Action Point

Think through the following questions and share your answers with your student:

 Has God ever answered something specific that you’ve prayed about?

Talk about a time when God came through for you?

Talk about a time when you prayed for God to come through for you and it didn’t happen? How did that feel and what did you do?

Take this opportunity to pray with your student about somewhere they feel like they need God to intervene in their lives.

Get connected to a wider community of parents at

Upper Hand: Parent CUE




1. Be a Student of What They are Learning

Beginning Wednesday, January 30th, we’ll begin a series titled UPPER HAND.  We all deal with authority. WheReversing Darwin: Parent CUEther it’s our students dealing with parents, teachers and coaches or us as adults in our work relationships, marriages and finances—authority is everywhere. As teenagers, most of us believe that if we can just grow up and get out—out of high school and out of our parent’s house—we will be free from authority. But the truth is, authority is always an issue. No matter how grown up we are we never out grow authority. When we look at what the Bible has to say about it, we realize that authority isn’t a bad thing. If we can learn how to respond to authority now—both the good and the bad—we will reap the benefits for the rest of our lives.

2. Be a Student of Your Student

Can you remember the worst argument you ever had with your parents? Not just some little tiff over a bad attitude or a snarky comeback, but the kind of moment where you felt like your rights as an individual were on the line; that felt like a personal declaration of independence?

I remember one such occasion. I desperately wanted to go with a group of friends to see a rock concert. I was a junior in high school. I could drive. I had a part-time job. I had no major infractions on my teenage record. For all intents and purposes, I believed I was an adult. Except that I was only 17 and my parents still had the final say on how I spent my time once the clock ticked past 8 pm, especially on a weeknight. I was asking them if I could go with a group of friends—predominantly guys—to downtown Los Angeles to see a rock band play a huge concert. Obviously, I was stepping way outside my bounds. But when my mom told me no—when she explained that it would be absolutely unwise of her to let me go—I still had a meltdown that resembled a three-year-old temper tantrum. I was absolutely mortified. I went back and forth every way I could with my mom. Negotiation became the name of the game. What if I drive myself with another girlfriend and promise to be home by midnight? What if I only go for the first half of the concert? What if I actually let YOU drive me down? No matter how hard I tried, the answer was still “no.”

Needless to say, I was not very happy with my mom for quite awhile. But, ultimately, I complied. And two days after the concert, I was glad I did. When the reports came in from friends about what was going on both before and after the show, I knew that I wasn’t ready to handle what would’ve been right in front of me that night. But something more than my safety was gained in the moment my mom said no and I pushed back. There was dialogue. I was able to present my case and actually talk with my mom, as an almost-adult, about why I wanted to go. And here’s the thing: As I made my case to my mom, with tears in my eyes, about why I simply HAD to go, I felt my own case unraveling. As my mom and I went back and forth about who was going to be there, what was happening before and after the show and how late I would really be out, I started to get the sense that I was making a pretty poor case. Suddenly, even though my mom was the true authority and would have the final say, something inside of me said that this really wasn’t a good idea after all. Ultimately, the ability to push back allowed me to figure out on my own what my mom was trying to tell me all along.

This wrestling, this pushing back, may have been frustrating for my mom in the moment, but in the long run, it was a really good thing! Not that disobedience is okay. It’s not and that is a separate issue. But the ability to talk something out, to push back, to wrestle and negotiate creates something that is way more valuable than a simple “Yes, Sir” or “Yes, Ma’am”; it creates movement towards independence, autonomy and a transfer of authority from you, as the parent, to your student, them self.

An article published in Psychology Today in May of 2011 speaks to this idea of transferring an adolescent’s authority from their parent to themselves—something all of us need to be able to do to become healthy, whole adults. Here is an excerpt from the article: (You can read the full article at

Come adolescence, parents often won’t get exactly what they want, exactly how they want it done, exactly when they want it done, and that’s okay. The older the adolescent grows the more she pushes back against parental authority. And this opposition is functional.

After all, if the young person ended up adolescence in the early to mid twenties content to live life entirely on parental terms, then independence would never be taken. That’s the downside of excessive parental authority …

Although adolescents still need the preparation and protection of parental authority, they also need more experience of becoming their own authority if they are ever to become functionally independent. Turning over increased amounts of responsibility to the teenager is how this education in becoming one’s own authority is done.

That’s right. The final battle for independence at the end of adolescence is not against parental authority, but against one’s own …

And yet, at last relieved of their role as authority and of all the responsibility that went with it, parents have actually won in their own way. They have finally worked themselves out of a job. Now for good and ill, their son or daughter is finally in charge.

So the next time you ask your son or daughter to do something—or not to—and they ask “why?” take a moment, breath and be thankful, because their willingness to ask that question is a good step in the direction of adulthood. And after they have asked the question and you have answered it, kindly remind them that you, as the parent, still expect them to listen and, ultimately, honor your authority through obeying.

3. Action Point

Choose your battle.

Every student/parent relationship has its hot button topics. Whether it’s a romantic relationship, a certain friendship, an issue with a grade or a teacher … there are always issues that students and parents struggle to see eye-to-eye on. What are those particular struggles between you and your student? Where does your student feel like he or she wants to have more say? Where are the areas that you feel like your student needs to be under your authority and more compliant?

Choose a time to go out with your student—whether to coffee, dinner, a walk, a drive—somewhere you can talk—preferably in a different place than where your most heated arguments take place—and work through, in a civil way, one of these hot-button issues.

Get connected to a wider community of parents at

Babel: Parent CUE

XP3S_BabelLgBanner1. Be a Student of What They are Learning

Reversing Darwin: Parent CUEWe just completed a 3-week series about technology which began with the Tower of Babel. What does a tower in ancient times built to reach the heavens and a cell phone have in common? A lot more than you think. The people responsible for the tower of Babel, the uh Babel-ers we’ll call them, took the technology, the tools of their day and used them in a way that elevated themselves and took God out of the picture. And the reality is that you and I have tools in our hands, the technology of our day, that we take and use in similar ways. The technology itself isn’t bad or good. It’s neutral. But like the people of Babel, how we choose to use the technology is important—it reflects the kind of relationship we have with it. And the right kind of relationship with technology will help us to do the right kinds of things with it.

[Note to parents of Middle School Students: We know that many of you have set up guidelines for your kids about how and when they can use different pieces of technology like Facebook, texting, etc. We want you to know that we did our best to uphold those values in our messages. We want to partner with you in creating healthy boundaries and guidance for your students in how they use the technology around them. If you have any questions about how we presented this material, please feel free to ask.]

 2. Be a Student of Your Student

Most people know teenagers have technology issues. Here’s an interesting article that might help you understand your teenager—and how they really feel about technology and social media—a little bit better:

 We all think our students have addictions and issues with their technological devices. But if you took away an adult’s connection with the outside world—their cell phone, Facebook or Twitter accounts, texting or computer—many of us would find it hard to function too. Technology is a part of all of our lives, not just a student’s. And it’s become such a big part, that many of us aren’t even conscious of how much we check that phone or FB—even in a place you might least expect it. Here’s an article from the Fuller Youth Institute to give us a little food for thought on this idea of technology, and how it affects all of us.

 The happiest place to text

By Brad Griffin

 Recently I spent a day at Disneyland with my family, riding rides and battling crowds at the “Happiest place on earth.” Despite my cynicism for over-commercialized places and my frustration about marketing to kids…we had a great day and my kids had a blast.

But there was one thing that distracted me over and over throughout the day. It wasn’t all the teenagers attached to their cell phones—I actually saw most of the teenagers engaged in real-life conversations with the people around them.

 It was the parents.

 I couldn’t help but notice how many parents of kids of all ages were getting off rides and immediately checking their email and text inbox, ripping back responses as they floated behind their kids to the next attraction. Maybe they were bored out of their minds to be spending the day with their kids, but I doubt it. Maybe they were just distracted at that ONE time at the point I happened to see them (and I happened to catch about a hundred of them at just the right time).

Or maybe they forgot what boundaries are and how to give their kids the gift of presence.

 I get a lot of things wrong in parenting. But the more I saw this behavior, the more I was determined to completely ignore my phone (and it was my birthday!) to be present to my kids. I have to wonder, though: if this is what kids see at Disneyland from the adults around them (parents or otherwise), what are we as a culture showing them day after day in our “normal” lives?

 I suspect that if we want them to put their phones down every now and then, we have to go first.

 Originally published at Reprinted with permission from the Fuller Youth Institute.

 3. Action Point

In the above article, Brad Griffin talks about “going first” in the battle to create boundaries around the technology that is present in our everyday lives. It’s not that we have to delete our Facebook account or throw our iPhones out the window for dramatic effect. Take the opportunity to model good technology boundaries to our kids so they can start to think critically about the technology that surrounds them everyday, and how they choose to use it.

Two weeks ago we challenged your student to take a break from a particular technology or social media tool for 24 hours. You may have heard the moaning and groaning already if your student made the choice to participate. So, in the spirit of unity and empathy, we are encouraging you to do the same. Make a list of your top 5 favorite social media/technology tools (i.e., Facebook, Twitter, texting, cell phone, phone apps, etc.). Once you have your list, prioritize each of them from one to five (one being the most important/most used and five being the easiest to live without).

 Now, here’s where it gets tricky. Just as your student committed to fast from a technology tool for 24 hours, you are going to get rid of the number five on your list for 24 hours. (We’ve tried to make it easier by giving you the option to get rid of your number five, but feel free to get serious and axe number one on your list.) Sit down and show your student your list and then let them know which particular technology you are fasting from. In order to help you both stick to your fast, choose a reward—some sort of activity or special outing—that you and your student can look forward to once you both make it through 24 hours without using your chosen technology. Encourage each other throughout the day and check in to see how things are going. At the end of the day—either during your reward outing or maybe during a mealtime or your morning drive to school—ask each other these questions:

  1. Was this fast from technology easier or harder than you thought it would be?
  2. What was the hardest part?
  3. Were there any unexpected benefits that came from giving up this particular technology? If so, what were they?
  4. Do you think you would be able to give up this particular technology long-term? If not, could you use it on a more limited basis?
  5. Name one way that you could use this particular technology to help others or to do something good for someone else.

  Get connected to a wider community of parents at

The Thrill of Hope: Parent CUE

1. Be a Student of What They are Learning

Reversing Darwin: Parent CUE

For 2000 years, Christians have gathered all over the world to celebrate the birth of Christ, & not just as a historical event, but as a powerful reminder that God doesn’t give up on his promises & as God’s children, we always have hope.  The Christmas story began with the nation of Israel, a group of people who had good reason to lose hope—they hadn’t heard a word from God in hundreds of years.  To the poets, prophets, & priests, it seemed as if God might have turned His back on them.  The thrilling nature of the Christmas story is that God didn’t turn His back, & although He had been silent, He had not been still.  A baby was coming.  God was putting skin on & moving into the neighborhood.  Hope crashed into the silence.

2. Be a Student of Your Student

Our kids are desensitized.  Maybe that is a sweeping generalization, but let’s be honest: how many times have you heard people talk about the selfishness & lack of empathy in the upcoming generation?  To be completely fair, this is probably a label that every generation tends to give the one coming up on their heels.  But whether we like it or not—there is a growing body of research which suggests that our young people today are lacking in empathy & sensitivity.  Whether because of the media barrage of violence, sexuality & not-so-real reality television shows or simply because of a general lack of education & intergenerational connectivity, more & more people are writing about this next generation’s deficit in empathetic abilities. Read More…