Showing posts with label teens. Show all posts
Showing posts with label teens. Show all posts

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Teens, be a SURVIVOR this August

Being a high school teacher, and the fact that my own high school days were not that long ago (ahem, ahem), I know full well that the teen years are often full of drama.  Especially in today’s broken and temptation-filled times, it seems harder than ever to survive adolescence without garnering some pretty deep battle scars. 

Well, CCF-CDO’s teen youth ministry, JZone High, presents the SURVIVOR SERIES. These next 5 Saturdays (four, actually, the first session already passed) will showcase one way a teen can survive this difficult time in life.  The five sessions are:


So this Saturday, August 13, 2011, will feature the second session,  How to SURVIVE DISAPPOINTMENTS.  This is a fantastic series, one that I once taught when I was a youth leader several years back. 

See the pics on when and where JZone High meets, and I’d love to see you (or your adolescent child, if you’re a parent) there.

Monday, June 27, 2011

JZone: a great partner in helping you raise your teenagers

Without doubt, the primary responsibility of the molding of a young person’s character is on the home.  I’m hoping that my past articles have made clear the need for us to be actively involved in the development of our young ones by being the type of person you want them to become, and to work hard in developing meaningful relationships with your children.

However, having great partners to help you on this parenting journey is a huge plus.  One such partner is the school you send your child to.  My boss always says that the school forms an important partnership with the home, and I take my role as a partner to the parents who trust their children to our care quite seriously.  Indeed, at The Abba’s Orchard, the Montessori system that it faithfully follows makes us more than just teachers.  We are often mentors.

If you belong to a churchgoing family like I do, then you have another great partner at your disposal…that is, if your church is a good one; and by that I mean that it has programs and activities that empower families and develop the youth.

The church that I go to here in Cagayan de Oro, Philippines is called Christ’s Commission Fellowship (or CCF for short); and it is one such church. It has strong advocacies for marriage and parenting, and it has great youth programs.  I blogged about some of the teens that go there in my personal blog site that I no longer update (see Teens Who Wait and M&M).

But later this week, something special will happen.  There will be an overhaul in the youth: new name, new vision, and likely a new level of awesome.  The new names?  JZone for the college students (formerly TOUCH-College), JZone High (formerly T.E.E.N.S.) for the high schoolers.

I will not explain what JZone means here.  That’s for your teen, should he or she attend, to find out.  And trust me, as a former youth leader some years ago, ministries like this are fantastic partners that you can have in helping you raise happy and healthy teenagers. When I led the youth, many of them came up to me after the messages and said stuff like “Man, I wish so-and-so was here to learn that,” or “this is really changing me.”  They also get to know teens with the right mindset, but who also struggle with the things all teens struggle with. 

The launching of JZone will be this Friday, July 1, 6 PM, in an event called JZONE CONNECTION.  It’s open to all high school and college age youngsters.  Best of all, it’s totally free!

The great people who run it tell me that it would be the start of great, great things to come.  They are super excited, and as a parent of a soon to be teen, I am excited too.  Looks like the youth of CCF will be as dynamic and as vibrant as ever.

If you live in Cagayan de Oro, and you are a teen or you are a parent of a teen, then consider this an invitation to this Friday’s JZONE CONNECTION.  I will certainly be there (see address in the video below; it’s right across from the Robinson’s Mall indoor car park), so I hope I’ll see you and your teen, too.

Just like the sentiments of the JZone leaders, this could be the start of great things to come.

Saturday, June 11, 2011


No, I’m not talking about the popular candy.  You’ll see what I mean later.

Listening to the podcast of a great role model, Paul Tan Chi, in my last post reminded me of a conversation I had with my eldest daughter, Lynn, a few days after she came back from our church’s SOLD OUT youth camp. 

We were driving, just the two of us, and I wanted to strike up a conversation with her about her first experience with the youth (remember, she’s only 11, too young to be in the youth but I let her join their camp anyway).  The topic eventually happened upon who she likes and admires in the group, which led her to mention several names, such as one student of mine who she became quite close to, and a daughter of the woman in the Garage Sale for A Cause blog I did a while back, among many others.

However, when I asked her who was the one person she wanted to emulate, without batting an eyelash she mentioned a certain girl’s name.  Smiling, I asked her why she considered this girl her hero, and Lynn started her reply with the overly clichéd, yet still meaningful, Gen-Y expression:

“She’s awesome.”

I smiled because that “awesome” girl, let’s just call her Angelica, was also my student.  Another reason why I smiled is because it brought me back to a time when Angelica was a few years younger.

I was serving in the youth ministry that time and Angelica, if I’m not mistaken, had just entered high school, maybe a year or two older than Lynn is now.  While we were hanging out after one of our youth ministry gatherings, in comes a friend of hers, a former member of the group and an alumnus of the same school, back in town for a week long break from one of the country’s top universities.  Let’s just call this girl Katrina.

As Katrina was saying her hellos to the girls in the group, Angelica told me, “You know, sir, I want to be just like Katrina.  She’s so awesome!”  (There’s that cliché again)

Well, Angelica has recently also gone on to graduate, and indeed she ended up much like her hero.  Both got into the best universities of the Philippines.  Both led the school in championship winning endeavors.  Both have earned the respect and admiration of peers and faculty alike (Katrina is still being used as an example by our boss, years after she’s been gone).  Most importantly, they both loved and served God passionately.

Katrina was a greatly positive influence to Angelica, whose character and excellence then became an inspiration for Lynn.  Surely, they are far from perfect, but I hope one day Lynn will be able to follow in their footsteps and be an “awesome” role model to younger girls.

It goes to show how great an impact M&M could be.  What’s M&M you ask?  Modeling and Mentoring.  I have my own “awesome” M&Ms in my life, and I think we all need that.  More importantly, for our own children and for the glory of God, we need to BE that.

So what are the characteristics of a great model and mentor?  I have some answers for you, coming from our 2nd module of our Parenting That Makes a Difference study.

First off, modeling is lifestyle teaching.  The adage “Do what I say, not what I do,” doesn’t work because the truer phrase is “Your actions speak so loudly that I cannot hear what you’re saying.”

No bones about it, kids and teens can sniff out hypocrisy like a bloodhound, so you yourself have to be what you want them to be.  If you don’t walk your talk, then don’t talk!!
Philippians 3:17 – “Brethren, join me in following my example, and observe those who walk according to the pattern you have in us.”

For the mentoring part, here’s the Law of Relationship: the closer the relationship, the greater the influence.

I remember Angelica writing a note to her teammates on Facebook after the girls’ varsity soccer championship win, which ended up being her very last match. Here’s a small part of what she said:

“I am so proud to be a part of this team and I will truly miss you. Keep playing for God and always remember that it’s for His glory and His alone. I love you guys. :’) “

Not only was my heart warmed by her urging them to play “for His glory and His alone” (not the glory of the school or their own person), but also by the flood of heartfelt comments on the note, thanking her for her leadership and example, that things wouldn’t be the same without her, that they’d be lost if she weren’t there.

She was obviously a large part of their lives…just like a mentor should be.

Parents, here’s a warning: biological relationship does not automatically mean a good relationship.  Sadly, many kids are closer to their friends then they are to their parents, and a lot of it is because of lack of time and lack of relationship nurtured by the latter.  No wonder there’s so much rebellion.

Remember parents, “our values become their values if they like and respect us.  If they don’t like us, they will oppose our values.”

Both Katrina and Angelica were very close to their dads, both Godly men who served Him in great ways…and their daughters followed suit.   Furthermore, Angelica becoming so much like Katrina is due in part to their friendship, having been friends since they were young kids and lately sharing a tent in the aforementioned youth camp.

How about you?  Are you a role model to your kids?  They will follow you whether you’re a good example or a bad one; and that’s true whether you like it or not.  Furthermore, do younger kids consider your children as role models?  These are big, heavy questions, and I hope you’re honest with your self assessment here.

1 Corinthians 15:33 “Do not be deceived: ‘Bad company corrupts good morals.’”

Personally, I have decided to give my professional life and much of my personal life to the effort of mass-producing these “awesome” role models, be they teens or peers.  Some, like Angelica and Katrina, don’t really need a whole lot of work, but there are lots of broken young people out there who do need someone to turn to…a hero.  May I be used by God to be one such person.

Man, I think I should be a Life Coach, hahaha!

I’ll close with one of my favorite songs…it’s as if it was tailor made for how I feel about this.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Teens who wait…and how yours could be one of them.

I remember, during a reunion with college friends, a conversation when they were telling me how appalled they were to see two very young teens just fresh out of puberty making-out in the movie theater.  According to my friends, those two were just all over each other like you wouldn’t believe, and they were maybe 12 or 13 years old.

They were telling me that teens today are way out of control.  Well, teens needed to put on the brakes during my day as well, not just today.  Hey, I became a dad at a very young age, so I should know.  And how easy for my friends to forget that they were teens once, and maybe they had their own struggles in this area, and not just in movie theatres.  Heck, some of them still need someone to put the brakes on them today, but that’s another story.

But, yeah, I agree with my friends in that we feel technology and media has made teens today less disciplined in keeping their hands, lips, and other parts to themselves than in previous generations.

However, all is not lost.

One girl my church’s high school youth ministry has promised her dad that the first kiss she will ever have will be with her husband on the altar.  Her “you may now kiss the bride” will be kiss #1.

Another teen girl in the same church, who lives apart from her parents, told them “I will not give my heart to any man until you give me your approval.”

Another girl, also living apart from her parents, not only is choosing to wait, but has gone on and mentored her dorm-mates who have fallen to pieces because of relationships they shouldn’t have had.

These are just three of many such breath-of-fresh-air statements; both made a few years ago but today are kept as strong as if they were said yesterday.  By the way, these are not girls who have faces only their mothers could love.  All three girls are actually very pretty, with looks and personalities that would attract any guy.

Oh, and don’t think it’s only the girls who are making a stand like they are.  My favorite testimony of all time in this topic is from a teen guy.  I wish I could tell it here, but as of the time this is published, I failed to ask his permission to share his (quite personal) story…and it’s such a beautiful story of conviction, wisdom, patience, and, I believe, genuine affection (How much did he love her?  He loved her so much that he chose not to pursue…man, it’s sooo nice).

Anyway, so what is the difference between the out of control, newly post-pubescent pair liplocking at the movie theatre and the examples I mentioned?  I saw two common denominators.

One, all of the teens I mentioned had fathers who were willing to mentor them in walking the right path, especially in this area.  I know so, because I know their fathers quite well, and I know what kind of men they are.  These men know that their first disciples are their families, and they take to raising their children very seriously.  I look up to all of them very much and I hope I can parent my two daughters and youngest boy as well as they did their own children.

Second, and this is just as important in my opinion, is that all these teens were part of a youth ministry.  These activities are true gems in not only molding a teen’s character, but in getting together like minded young people, with the result being some fantastic camaraderie and mutual growth that cannot be achieved when alone (a lone ranger is a dead ranger).

It also gives them a big brother/sister role model that they could look up to and emulate.  My wife and I had the pleasure of playing that role for all of the teens mentioned above except for the 2nd, who goes to the same church but in a different city.

I remember, when my students were still doing Alex Lacson’s book (see my previous blog on a BUY PINOY experiment), my final project was for them to submit their very own “12 Little Things Every Filipino TEEN Can Do For Our Country.”  A great number of them included joining a youth ministry as part of their 12 things.  I couldn’t agree more, especially if said ministry has the guts to tackle this topic head on.

And there are so many great churches with great youth ministries to choose from.

The church that I go to, Christ’s Commission Fellowship (CCF) has T.E.E.N.S. for high school youth and T.O.U.C.H. College for the college youth.  To tackle sex and relationships, they just had their “Love Dare” event to great success and they will launch “True Love Waits” very soon.

(2012 note:  CCF’s youth ministry is now called JZONE ELEVATE)

Some of the most ministry-oriented and active Christian students in the school I teach in belong to GCAF’s Inside Out.  It is a fantastic youth group where, if my students are any indication, young people are molded really, really well.  They also do “True Love Waits”.

The school also has some wonderful people from Victory Christian Fellowship (VCF) visit from time to time for leadership and personality training.  These guys belong to VCF’s youth ministry, Lifebox, and they just had an event called “Love, Sex, and Kwek-Kwek” (what a cute name, and they served 400 pcs of the heralded street food that night) to great success as well.  The students love their weekly visits and have a blast with these awesome guys.

So readers, if you really care about your child’s purity (in both body and mind), I feel that you need to be a real mentor to your child, especially in sensitive areas like love and sex; and you need to get them in an environment where they can grow socially and spiritually, so that it partners with you in your parenting journey.  Pick any of the youth groups above for that.  In CDO, these three are among the best.

Well, this was a long one, but I hope you got a lot out of it.  Now, I’m gonna ask those Lifebox guys if they have any spare kwek-kwek left.  I love me some kwek-kwek!

Share this to friends!