Helping parents understand teenagers and their world
A resource from CPYU
“When we cave into our pride, we believe that everyone can and should be able to choose to live as whoever and whatever they want to be.”
“Look at that! It’s a double!” My daughter texted those words along with a picture she captured from her front porch. Two multi-colored arches, one above the other, reached across the cloudy sky after a recent rain storm. Like me, she’s never gotten over the excitement of looking up to see the beauty of a rainbow.
During this month of June, we’ll be seeing lots of rainbows. From social media posts, to product packaging, to advertisements, to yard signs in front of businesses and homes, to just about everywhere and anywhere else, what’s now known as “Pride Month” is a time when the rainbow colors will be used as a widely recognized symbol of LGBTQ+ identity and pride. We’re sure to encounter dozens if not hundreds of rainbow flags, which is the symbol of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer pride. The multiple colors have been adopted to reflect the diversity and spectrum of human sexuality and gender.
For those of us who seek to teach our kids God’s grand and glorious design for sexuality and gender, the rainbows we encounter during Pride Month might be seen as a challenge to our efforts to lead our kids into an understanding of God’s will for sex and gender. But instead of seeing Pride Month and these encounters as a challenge, why not seize them as a parenting opportunity? We can begin by teaching our kids about the origin and meaning of the rainbow.
The story of the rainbow begins in Genesis 6, as God sees that the human beings he created are so enmeshed in pursuing sin and evil that he feels sorrow over creating humanity in the first place. This sin of God’s people has its roots in pride, which was the original sin of Satan, the rebellious angel who was cast out of God’s presence due to his desire to become self-sufficient, believing that he knew better than God. When Satan tempted our first parents, Adam and Eve, in the Garden of Eden, he encouraged them to entertain and indulge their pride. He encouraged them to actually be like God.
Pride was the root and essence of the first sin, and it continues to mark the sinful and rebellious leanings of us all. When we cave into our pride, we believe that everyone can and should be able to choose to live as whoever and whatever they want to be. We believe that self rather than God is sovereign. Pride undid humanity, and it continues to undo us today. Humility and dependence on God is what the Christian is to pursue. As Jesus said, following him is only possible when we turn from pride and deny ourselves (Luke 9:23).
In the story of Noah, a righteous man who walked blamelessly with God, we see God’s grief over humankind’s sin. And while God chooses to cleanse the earth through a flood, he also chooses to make a covenant with humanity to never again destroy the earth through a flood. The mark of this gracious promise is the rainbow. As a sign of God’s promise of grace, the rainbow should point us to exhibit a response of humble gratitude marked by obedience to God’s will and way for our lives, rather than a pride-filled life where we follow our own will and way for our lives. In today’s world, the image of the rainbow is used as a symbol of pride. Sadly, this steals the rainbow way from what it was originally established to symbolize. Whenever you see the rainbow. . . in the sky, on a flag, wherever. . . don’t think of it as a sign of pride and human autonomy, but as a sign of humility and dependence on God who has offered up his own son to redeem us from our sin and pride.
Associate Minister for Children and Families at Christ Church in Winsford (UK), writing about the importance of theological study among children’s ministers.
May 23, 2022
We must never forget that they are inexperienced drivers. Consequently, we need to be warning them to take precautions regarding the known risks to teenage safety behind the wheel. A new study from the American Automobile Association outlines the three most common driving mistakes that teenagers make when they are behind the wheel. Because driving is an act of worship, remind your kids to avoid these mistakes so that they might not only drive safely, but bring glory to God. First, warn them against speeding. Second, remind them to avoid distracted driving. This happens most often when there are other people in the car, and/or when they are focused on their phones. Finally, remind them to keep their eyes scanning the road for risks and hazards. Too many teens get tunnel vision while they are driving. Driving is a privilege. Help your kids keep themselves and others safe on the road.
The concept of expressive individualism is one that all parents should be aware of, as expressive individualism is a pervasive ideology in today’s world that’s guiding the beliefs and behaviors of our children and teens. Perhaps a better way of saying it is that this ideology is mis-shaping our kids away from who God desires them to be. In a recent article in the 9Marks journal, Abigail Dodds explains expressive individualism as holding that each person’s core self is an inner psychological self based on inner feelings and desires that ought to be lived out and expressed. Dodds offers three suggestions about raising children in the midst of this ideology. First, help your kids see that who they are is discernable and given to them by God. It’s not a matter of personal choice. Second, help them to see that they need to focus their thoughts and actions on God and his will. Finally, help them to trust the external reality of God and his Word as the guide for life, rather than their own personal feelings.
Parents, what are you teaching your kids through the ways that you use your smartphones and social media? Researchers at the University of Central Florida have discovered some interesting trends. For example, parents who love posting lots of pictures of their children on social media have more of a friend-like parenting style. They tend to be more permissive as parents, including allowing their children to interact with smartphones and social media at younger ages. These parents also frequently post pictures of their kids which are accessible for anyone to see. Experts say that this raises many privacy and safety concerns. Rarely do these parents ask their child for permission to post these photos. Researchers also note that permissive parenting has been linked to problematic internet usage among children. Parents, you are your child’s parent and not your child’s friend. Be wise, be careful, and use social media to the glory of God alone. Your example is an investment in your child’s future.
(2021 Monitoring the Future Survey)
Week of June 5, 2022
Source: New York Times Best Sellers List
1. Family of Liars by E. Lockhart
2. I Kissed Shara Wheeler by Casey McQuiston
3. Rising Troublemaker by Luvvie Ajayi Jones
4. One Of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus
5. Iron Widow by Xiran Jay Zhao
6. See You Yesterday by Rachel Lynn Solomon
7. You’ve Reached Sam by Dustin Thao
8. Once Upon a K-Prom by Kat Cho
9. Welcome to the Universe in 3D by Neil deGrasse Tyson
10. She Gets The Girl by Rachael Lippincott and Alyson Derrick
by WALT MUELLER
One of the best lessons I learned from my parents is that there is more to life than sitting around and doing nothing. My parents were available to us on those quiet evenings when it would have been easy to plop down in front of the tube. But they always had something fun to do. We would play board games or cards, wrestle or box with my dad, build models, work in the basement woodshop, etc.
Sure we watched TV, listened to the radio, and played records. But those voices were tempered by the involvement of our parents in our lives. We even learned to enjoy listening to our parents; there was good communication taking place. Because I had such fun-loving parents most of the neighborhood kids wanted to spend time at my house.
In today’s world, the two greatest distractions to family time and fun are first, a full schedule of organized activities, and second, everyone keeping their faces buried in their phones. Make an effort to connect by disconnecting from the distractions.
“Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh?’”
While the world around us can get the gender message right from time to time, the culture is sliding quickly into accepting and teaching a gender message that gets it wrong. More and more people are choosing to believe that its ok and normal to adopt a gender identity based on how they feel inside. You could feel like you are male, female, some combination of both, or actually neither. For some, gender falls on a spectrum that can even change from time to time. People now believe that your gender identity has nothing to do with the sexual organs with which you were born. Your gender is not biologically determined. But is this really true?
As followers of Jesus, we must go to and trust God’s Word as the spotlight that shines truth on our understanding of gender. God, the Creator of all things, pronounced everything He created as “good!” But when He finished creating humans He said “very good!” And what He pronounced as “very good!” was male and female. . . the binary genders He designed and assigned. . . male and female only, that are both fully human and equal in dignity and value. This is the way things are supposed to be. Jesus affirms this in Matthew 19:4 when He says, “Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning made them male and female?”
God desires that we never allow our feelings to dictate and misshape our understanding of truth. Rather, we need to submit our feelings and desires to God’s Word. Satan, the wrecker of this world, is on a mission to derail us from hearing God’s Word and living God’s way. Just like he did with our first parents (see Genesis 3:1-7), he whispers continually in our ears the doubt-inducing question, “Did God really say. . . ?” Don’t ever forget, God in His goodness has created and given us each our gender, which is indicated by our anatomy, either male or female.
Youth Culture Today with Walt Mueller is a one-minute daily radio show and podcast from CPYU.
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The Ten Commandments of Progressive Christianity
(From the author, Michael J. Kruger…)
Not long ago, I came across a list of ten principles set forth by proponents of progressive Christianity. They are, in effect, a new Ten Commandments. What’s striking is that they are far less about God revealing his desires and far more about man expressing his own—less Moses, more Oprah.
Yet each of these “commandments” is partially true. Indeed, that is what makes this list, and progressive Christianity as a whole, so challenging. Half-truths can sound quite appealing until you recognize their foundations and implications. In this booklet, I diagnose and critique each of these tenets and offer a brief biblical and theological response.
Liberal Christianity never really goes away. If the church is going to hold fast to “the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3), we must, in every era, be able to distinguish the true faith from the false.
© 2022 All rights reserved. The CPYU Parent Page is published monthly by the Center for Parent/Youth Understanding, a nonprofit organization committed to building strong families by serving to bridge the cultural-generational gap between parents and teenagers.