You Can't Assume Your Teen Already Knows

10 Important Things You Can’t Assume Your Teen Already Knows

After only five minutes in the presence of my granddaughter, I’ve already concluded that I don’t have nearly enough ruffles and sequins in my closet. Of course, I recover quickly enough, not being even remotely a ruffles and sequins kind of woman, but that doesn’t stop me from delighting in her girliness and her love affair with the color pink.

Her older brother is fashioned in the express image and likeness of my oldest son, his dad, and I was surprised one day to hear myself saying to him something I don’t think even occurred to me to say to his dad: “I’m so glad God made you a little boy!” This has nothing to do with gender stereotypes or cliched cultural straight jackets, but everything to do with the glorious truth that if God made someone to be a little brown-eyed boy in Mid-Coast Maine, it’s jolly well because he intended for him to be a little brown-eyed boy in Mid-Coast Maine.

I pray differently (and perhaps more ferociously) for the Morin grandchildren than I ever did for my four sons, because it feels to me as if there is more at risk for those growing up in 2021. It does seem as if Rebecca McLaughlin’s book for teens and young adults couldn’t have come at a better time. 10 Questions Every Teen Should Ask (and Answer) about Christianity reframes the content of her excellent adult non-fiction Confronting Christianity. (Named Book of the Year 2020 by CT and reviewed by me here.) She tackles the major questions confronting this generation, for myths and misconceptions about Christianity (and, therefore, reality itself!) abound in our world.

Kids and teens have complex questions, and parents who feel ill-equipped to address them will find in McLaughlin’s work a resoundingly confident voice who dares to be both clear and orthodox about Christianity’s deepest beliefs. Organized around ten questions, the book provides a solid foundation for great conversations between parents and kids–particularly if they commit to reading the book together. What a relief to discover that it is not our calling as Christians to arrive at a perfectly curated set of pat answers, and, thereafter, never to ask again!

Kids and teens have complex questions, and parents who feel ill-equipped to address them will find in @RebeccMcLaugh ‘s work a resoundingly confident voice who dares to be both clear and orthodox about Christianity’s deepest beliefs.

Does Your Teen Know…?

One solid conclusion from each chapter (and it was hard to choose just one!) provides a helpful overview, and also some substantial food for thought on today’s mental menu (Kindle locations cited):

  1. “Jesus never promised us an easy life now… But following Jesus and living as the Bible calls us to live turns out to be really good for us–even here and now” (473),”
  2. “Christianity isn’t against racial and cultural diversity. It’s the most racially and culturally diverse movement in all of history” (637).
  3. “Saying all religions are equal paths to God sounds respectful, but it actually isn’t, because it doesn’t take the truth claims of any religion seriously” (775).
  4. “If there is no God who created the universe, there is no universal right and wrong. We can all just have different opinions. But if there is a Creator God, he has the right to tell us what to do” (996).
  5. “Some of the smartest people in the world–including people who know all about modern science–believe that the Bible is true” (1179).
  6. “Science can tell us many amazing and important things, but it can’t tell us the most important things about who we are and why we matter” (1392).
  7. “Jesus’s love is the greatest love there is. It’s worth giving up any other relationship for him” (1682).
  8. “Christianity is not against women. There have always been more Christian women than men. In fact, Christianity is the greatest movement of and for women in all of history” (1954).
  9. “There are times when God intends for us to suffer, not because he doesn’t love us but because he does” (1983).
  10. “When we come to Jesus, we find out two things: (1) we are more sinful than we ever thought, and (2) we are more loved than we ever dreamed” (2229).

We can’t just assume that our teens and children (even the ones who have grown up in a pew!) are ready to engage in hard conversations or to respond to big questions on these topics. As parents, let’s initiate a few dangerous conversations around the dining room table. Allowing our own minds to be challenged is the first step!

Holding you in the light,

Don’t assume that teens or children (even those who have grown up in a pew) are ready to engage in hard conversations or to respond to big questions about faith. As parents, let’s initiate a few dangerous conversations. Allowing our own minds to be challenged is the first step!

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Many thanks to Crossway for providing a copy of this book to facilitate my review, which is, of course, offered freely and with honesty.

I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program and an affiliate of The Joyful Life Magazine, two advertising programs designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees. If you should decide to purchase any of the books or products I’ve shared, simply click on the image, and you’ll be taken directly to the seller. If you decide to buy, I’ll make a small commission at no extra cost to you.

Photo by Dariusz Sankowski on Unsplash

51 thoughts on “10 Important Things You Can’t Assume Your Teen Already Knows”

  1. Thank you, Michele! I feel like I have got to get this book now. Having this type of discussion is such a vital need for today’s teens.

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  2. Michele, I so agree with you – I think I am praying more for my granddaughters than I did for my children. These days we are living present many challenges. May we be faithful to pray and have these conversations.

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      1. I also think it is the times we are living as well. But I also realize, in praying for my grands, I am praying for my children to parent well and in the wisdom of the Lord. So you may be right, maybe we are just becoming stronger advocates for prayer. Maybe this comes with age (?) 🙂

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  3. She’s a great author, I’ve heard a lot of good about this book! Thanks for sharing more about it and especially the conclusions you highlight, Michele! I’m sure it was very hard to choose!

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  4. McLaughlin has included important truths for all of us to understand. Some of these issues come up in adult conversations too. Your idea to use these questions around the family dinner table is a wise one. I can see older kids and teens absorbing the true answers and thus becoming equipped for the battles likely to come!

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  5. A great book suggestion during our troubled times. Raising teens is difficult even in the best of times. Thanks for linking up and have a great weekend.

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  6. When I was a school teacher, Kids knew I was a Christian. They sometimes wanted to talk to me about God and I always was happy to talk to them (after school, of course). #1 on your list was one of the things that was hardest for them to understand and something that usually came up in conversation. Great list!

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  7. What an incredible read – thanks for this insightful and awesome post. I refer to this post in an upcoming post on my blog next week.

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  8. This sounds like a great book, Michele. This might sound odd, but some of these points (1, 9) make me somewhat grateful for that our family has walked through some difficult, sad days together while the girls have been at home. We’ve had opportunities to talk about what it means to trust God when things are turning out very differently from what we’d like or hoped. It’s been hard, but real, and my prayer is that it has built a stronger foundation of faith for them. I also love the idea of your house being taken over by sequins and pink! 🙂

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    1. You are demonstrating the importance of modeling a lively faith. If our kids never know about disappointment or how to weather the wilderness by watching us, they will have to start from scratch.

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  9. Some interesting questions there. My children are a little younger at the moment, but with the second eldest about to make his first holy communion we have had a few interesting discussions and questions around the dinner table #MischiefAndMemories

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  10. I think grandchildren are such a precious gift and sure raising teens today is a big challenge. Any help that supports their healthy living is great.

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  11. I loved this piece! As parents and grandparents we can use all the Biblical Advice we can get… and there is no better source than the word! Communication is key. I have taught kids re HIV and my advice to parents is always to open up those tough discussions.

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  12. Great insights! I know that all families are different. We’ve made a priority of not hiding from tough questions (though sometimes we have to say, we need to talk about that later, not in the car, during meal time, or when it’s bedtime). I want my children to know I’m available for anything they need to talk about, any time. I also tell them if they don’t want to talk with me, we have several safe adult friends that they can talk to – for my son, we started lining those people out specifically about two years ago. It’s so important. Enjoyed this post! I’ll be signing up for your newsletter and looking forward to the next anything goes. #MischiefAndMemories

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  13. I’m very much looking forward to being a full time grandparent now to our almost 2 year old granddaughter and looking forward to the birth of our 2nd grandchild in November.

    Thanks for joining in with #pocolo

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  14. It definitely feels like a much scarier world today as I am raising my children then it did when I was a child. And I really believe that it does take a village to raise a child. Drawing on knowledge from all walks of life as well as religion, science, philosophy, and psychology is the best way to ensure that the youth of today is getting full information in order to make their own educated decisions. While I am not religious due to my own personal experiences and journey through life, I still expose my children and teach them about all the different ways that one could live a rewarding and loving existence. For the greatest of all Bible teachings, in my opinion, is love. If we all can love in the same unconditional manner as Jesus or at least strive to do that, what an entirely different world this would be. Another wonderful post, Michele! Thanks for sharing and linking.

    Shelbee
    http://www.shelbeeontheedge.com

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  15. I feel like kids today hear a lot of opinions but rarely get to express their own. It is often not a reciprocal discussion but an online video etc proclaiming ‘facts’. Thanks for linking up with #MischiefAndMemories

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