They were the perfect gift for her 13th birthday! Mariah’s dad had given her tickets to Wicked, the prequel to Wizard of Oz. As soon as the curtains parted and the first note was sung, I was mesmerized. Galinda, who later became the good witch of the North and Elphaba, the green girl who became the wicked witch of the west had me hooked. Galinda waltzed across the stage in her glistening snow white dress singing her trademark song “For Good”; her words of love for Elphaba.
“But I know I’m who I am today Because I knew you.….because I knew you I have been changed for good…So much of me is made of what I learned from you. You’ll be with me like a hand print on my heart….” In the dark of that theatre, I glanced over to the precious teen sitting next to me. In a moment the puddles in my eyes became streams down my cheeks. “Lord, I want Mariah to be able to sing that song one day about us. Make me a mom that influences for good.”
For good…this weekend, I had the privilege of sharing with a group of moms how to connect with their teen by building a bridge to their child’s heart. Building a bridge so we too can influence our children for good. On Wednesdays over the next few weeks, I will break down the six ways to build a bridge to your child’s heart.
** Brick #1: Be Informed**
God has made it clear in His word that “for good” doesn’t just happen. “For Good” has to be very intentional.
I wrote an article for Wesleyan Life Magazine called “Sexting? What’s That?” last spring. As I shared with the gals in the Proverbs 31 office my joy in having this article published, one with a teen daughter said, “Well, what is that?” Sexting is the transmission of sexual pictures or words via the cell phone and is a very common occurrence in the teen culture today. (In fact, my mother-in-law received a photo like this on her cell phone, so it is not just effecting teens.) This brazen behavior has torn down another layer of modesty in the lives of our kids. In fact, my daughter recently shared with me that some of her girlfriends had posted pictures in their bras on FaceBook; and this at only 13 years old.
It is battlefields like this that we need to be aware of so that we can help our children. They are running into things that go against our Biblical world view at younger and younger ages. Now, you may be tempted to say, “My child isn’t running into that sort of thing, so I don’t have to worry about that.” Unfortunately, our children are exposed to a lot more than we think and we need to be aware. When we are informed, it says to our kids, “I care enough about you to learn about your world so that I can stand beside you.”
How can we get informed? There are some terrific books and websites that can help us do just that. I have brought along a must have book called “Real Issues, Real Teens” by one of our P31 speakers, Suzie Eller. It is terrific. There are also two women who also share information are Vicki Courtney and Dannah Gresh. Every Wednesday I write these posts on my website called “In The Know” to help you be informed. You can sign up in the subscription box to get these directly to your email every week.
Purchase this book or sign up to receive by email updates from myself or these other sources. With these resources, we have no reason to not be in the “know” for our children.
Not only should we be informed about the culture, but informed on how the culture is affecting our child. I try to do this by making conversation about their lives and asking them questions. My very best conversations take place in the car; with no direct eye contact, my child feels more comfortable. Ask questions about their friends on ball teams and classes, what they are watching on tv, music they are listening to. Be sure to ask in a way that is conversational, not confrontational. Sometimes this can be a little hard to figure out because our child may be embarrassed. At one time, my older daughter came to me to inform me of questions that my younger daughter was asking her. I love that Madi feels comfortable going to Mariah, but I wanted her to be comfortable coming to me as well. One reason is because I want my daughter to have a Biblical view on the things she is asking. I remember as a child I learned a lot about life on the playground: sex, abortion. These were just not conversations we had at our house. I want nothing to be “off limits” with my kids. For that reason, I have often been the one to bring things up; so that I could give them God’s perspective.
Think of each of your children. What is happening in their world? How are they being influenced and pulled? What can you do to get informed and come alongside during this tough season?
If you would like to receive this article “Building a Bridge to Your Child’s Heart” in it’s entirety and free of charge, just email me at Lynn@LynnCowell.com.