News & Notes This Week

Effectively Parenting Teens: Leading by Example (Huffington Post)
Shamed – A Documentary (Jessica Mockett)
How YOU can help prevent child trafficking (Washington Times)
More churches offer counseling for sex addiction (KEPRTV.com)
Arkansas woman admits guilt in sex trafficking ring (kait8.com)
Good parenting ‘matters more than a good school’ (The Telegraph)
Japan’s child porn addiction (The Independent)
Does your child know he or she has an enemy? (Laura Gallier)
Thoughtful Parenting: The importance of the family dinner (Steamboat Today)
Anti-Cosmo Mission (Nicole Weider)

Notes From the Road (Purity Is a Struggle Everywhere)

We have had a busy and rewarding past week! Our team has traveled from a school in Ohio, to a church in North Carolina, to a church in Texas, to a country club in California.  We’ve interacted with parents, pastors, church leaders, women, men, 20 year olds to 80 year olds, law enforcement, and business professionals.

At Miami Valley Christian Academy, our Vice President, Noel Bouche and Director of Parenting Ministry, Dan Martin talked about s-e-x with parents and school officials.  They shared Biblical foundations and God’s compelling story and design of sex. Partnering with Covenant Eyes, they helped families put systems in place to navigate the ever-changing world of technology and the internet.

In North Carolina, Dave Brown, our Director of Counseling and Support, spoke at the Band of Brothers men’s conference for the International Pentecostal Holiness Church. Purity is not automatic for pastors and church leaders.  These courageous saints have to pursue purity like anyone else, with the hope of Christ and leading of the Spirit.  Dave shared with these men some equipment for the battle.

In Texas, we had the privilege to partner with Traffick Stop an initiative to educate, advocate, and engage people on the issues of human trafficking. Tomi Grover, founder of Traffick Stop, and Noel met with East Texas area men and women, pastors, law enforcement, and advocates to discuss the church’s response to the prevalence of sex trafficking, as well as the correlations to pornography, and the normalization of sexual exploitation and objectification.

Finally, Noel finishes our long week of traveling by touching down in Orange County tonight to bring the Word to the workplace!  The marketplace is arguably one of the most dangerous places for a man or woman of God on a pilgrimage of purity.  Business can take us miles away from home where secrets can creep and thrive, work can make us tired and susceptible to temptation, the office is often a cesspool of the secular and over-sexualized.  Men and women attending the Christian Leadership Business Forum will be strengthened in their resolve to pursue purity even during the nine to five daily grind.

Whew! It’s been a whirlwind, but a valuable thing we are reminded of this week: Folks, purity is a struggle everywhere — whether in Ohio or California, in school or in the office.  Be encouraged, you are not the only one battling.  You are not the only one with questions.  You are not the only one to act out in doubt that God’s design is actually best.  You are not the only one who has been hurt.  Our God sees.  And He is touching hearts and lives, healing wounds, redeeming impurities, setting His people on a trajectory of freedom and justice.  It has been truly humbling to be a part of His reach these past few days.  May His truth ripple out and multiply fruit in many lives– maybe even yours!

Let us know how we can encourage you! And hey, knowing that we’ll go just about anywhere, let us know if your church, or school, or fill-in-the-blank could use some of our resources and teachings at your next event.

Talking to Your Teen About Sex

Life in the twenty-first century moves pretty fast.  The pace of innovation is mind-blowing and seems to reshape how we live, work, and play every few years.  Yet when it comes to parenting a teen and addressing the subject of sex, the biggest challenge many parents face is not the task of keeping up with tech or pop culture trends; rather, it is talking about
sex with their kids.  While anxiety about this is understandable, it is no justification for inaction.

Dr. John Townsend provides a useful framework for parents in his book Boundaries with Teens: When to Say Yes, How to Say No.  Three primary recommendations should guide our approach as parents: Continue reading

Freedom: Every Teenager’s Addiction

Your teenager is addicted.  In their book For Parents Only, Shaunti Feldhahn and Lisa Rice say every teen has the same addiction; not to a substance or behavior, but to a concept: freedom.  And every parent of a teen needs to understand that though an adolescent’s obsession with freedom is natural, too many restrictions or too few boundaries can lead to trouble.

This issue, of course, is at the root of what keeps parents up at night, particularly in the technologized environment kids now grow up in.  Ironically, too much freedom is scary for kids, too.  As much as they might kick and scream at boundaries, deep down they want their parents to provide guidelines and communicate expectations (and consequences), particularly regarding weighty issues like sex, relationships, and technology.  As the teenager in this British newspaper article put it, “I wish my parents would say I’m not allowed to be home alone with a boy. I wish they’d say boys aren’t allowed in my bedroom. They make this big deal about ‘trusting us,’ but that’s not helping me. They have no idea what goes on, and I’m too embarrassed to tell them.”

On the subject of helping your kids navigate the increasing levels of freedom and independence they enjoy, Feldhahn and Rice offer the following recommendations to parents:

Continue reading

2011: The Year Parents Totally Freaked Out

Here is a great infographic on the evolving nature of Internet threats from Internetsafety.com, makers of Safe Eyes Internet parental control software.  The parent-o-meter moves from “blissfully unaware” in 1969 to “total freakout” in 2011.  The bad news: too many parents are still “blissfully unaware” in 2011.  The good news: we don’t have to have be in “total freakout” mode, either.

Pray for your kids and lay your anxieties before God (1 Peter 5:7).  Understand the tech threats affecting your kids by continually educating yourself (2 Corinthians 2:11).  Resolve to invest the time and effort necessary to put a plan in place (Proverbs 16:3).  Engage with your kids, discussing Internet safety and sexual purity as part of an ongoing dialogue (Proverbs 22:6).  Internetsafety.com has a helpful Family Internet Safety Gameplan that can help you engage with your kids in an open an honest way.

Be encouraged.  You’re not alone.  But while there is no excuse for being blissfully unaware, there’s no need to be totally freaked out.  What we need is to be totally engaged.

Question: What are some successful ways you’ve engaged with your kids regarding online safety?