Thursday, April 16, 2009

Figuring Out The Space Between. . . .

Last week I was standing on the top row of the bleachers with my friend Kevin. Our boys play high school lacrosse together. Kevin is one of the funniest guys I know. He's also a volunteer youth leader at his church. We love making each other laugh with war stories. His son is 14. My son is 16. As we were talking, Kevin offered this little bit of humored wisdom: "It has been said that the angriest people in the world are 14-year-old boys." We chuckled. Then I corrected him: "The angriest people in the world are the parents of a 16-year-old boy." We laughed again.

One of the most important journeys in life is the journey to understanding our kids. When I was youth pastor working with teens, I spent lots of time trying to figure them out. When we launched the Center for Parent/Youth Understanding, it became a vocation. When my own kids entered their teenage years (and one is still there), it became a matter of survival! Like other parents, I'm still working on it. Each one is different. Each one is a unique mix of gifts, abilities, opportunities, and challenges. Yet, there are some things that have been passed on to me by others and that I've learned (and am still learning!) from experience.

Yesterday was an exciting day as the mailman delivered the first copy of my effort to commit what I've learned so far about the teenage years to writing. The Space Between: A Parent's Guide to Teenage Development (Zondervan/Youth Specialties) is now a reality. It's my hope and prayer that it will open the eyes of those who love and care for teens to the reality of what teenagers experience and face as they move from childhood into that tumultuous period of life known as adolescence. The book combines research and experience in a practical and hope-filled read that offers some Biblically-based suggestions on how to understand, lead, and live with your teens. As the subtitle indicates, I wrote it with parents in mind. It's written from one struggling dad to other fellow strugglers! But anyone who cares for, loves, and works with kids will find it to be a helpful, winsome, and accessible introduction to the developmental realities of the teen years.

You can learn more about the book on our website at In addition, our staff is offering a deep discount for a limited time if you'd like to pre-order the book. . . . which will be shipped to you within a couple of weeks (we're waiting for our first shipment to arrive)just click here for more info.

If you are a youthworker, consider getting this book into the hands of all your students' parents. You might even consider getting together with them on a regular basis to discuss the book. Keep an eye on our website and your email for info on when our downloadable discussion guide is available.

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