Teens and Parents
About the Guest
- Dennis and Barbara Rainey identify four key areas of a child's life that parents must strive to develop before launching them into the big, wide world. (26 min. audio) https://www.familylife.com/podcast/familylife-today/preparing-your-teen-for-the-future/
- Dennis and Barbara Rainey share on how to guide your teenager. (25 min. audio) https://www.familylife.com/podcast/familylife-today/guiding-your-teenager/
- Check out all that's available on the FamilyLife Podcast Network. https://www.familylife.com/familylife-podcast-network/
- Learn more about becoming a Legacy Partner, a monthly supporter of FamilyLife. https://www.familylife.com/legacy
Jaquelle Crowe FerrisJaquelle Crowe Ferris is the author of This Changes Everything: How the Gospel Transforms the Teen Years (Crossway, 2017). She’s also the co-founder of The Young Writers Workshop and lives in eastern Canada. You can follow her on Twitter.
Sean CroweSean Crowe is the pastor of Gospel Light Baptist Church in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, and cohosts the podcast Age of Minority with his daughter, Jaquelle Crowe Ferris. Feel free to follow Sean on Twitter.
Jaquelle Crowe shares what her parents did right in giving her a strong faith. Her dad, Sean Crow, shares how important it is to live a transparent life in front of your children.
Teens and Parents
Jaquelle: Putting faith in Christ alone is a big one though, especially for young people; because we are constantly bombarded with this message to have faith in ourselves and to follow our own heart. A Christian is the only one who actually knows the futility of that—that only by putting faith in Jesus will we have the confidence and assurance to face life and all of its fears.
Bob: The heart is—what is it?
Jaquelle: “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked. Who can understand it?”
Bob: I thought she might know that verse.
Dennis: I thought so too.
Tell us about an area of your life, where you’ve struggled and you’ve had to give up your rights, and place your faith in Christ alone.
Jaquelle: I think a big one for me, as with lots of young women, is just in appearance, and how you look, and how you come across. That’s something that can be controlled in some way, so it can be easy to—it’s hard this language of “putting your faith in”—but putting your hope in/putting your confidence in—
Dennis: Yes, yes.
Jaquelle: —how you look/how you come across is something that I have definitely struggled with—it’s one of those things I continue to struggle with—but it’s one of those things that you can always come back to, you know, putting your faith in Christ as the center; even though I come away from it, you know, I can come back to it.
Michelle: What a great reminder from Jaquelle Crowe as she spoke with Dennis Rainey and Bob Lepine just a little bit ago—just that Christ needs to be at the center of our identity. Even though she’s talking about the struggles of teens—mom and dad and everyone else—we need to remember that Christ is at the center of our identity. Christ is always there. We might not struggle with the same struggles that our teen is struggling with, but we struggle with other things; and we need to remember that Christ is always there.
Hey, we need to take a break! But when we come back, we’re going to hear from Jaquelle’s dad, Sean; and he’s going to share his perspective on raising teens. We’ll be back in two minutes. Stay tuned.
[Radio Station Spot Break]
Michelle: Welcome back to FamilyLife This Week. I'm Michelle Hill. We are talking about teens and parenting and growing up, and just all that that looks like. You know, your children learn best from you when you’re transparent about your mess-ups—you know, when you’re modeling a mature Christian life with them—like apologizing to them when you’ve lost your temper.
Of course, when your kids were in kindergarten, all it really took was a little bit of brain power, but a lot of energy. You’re learning that, now that they’ve grown up, and they’re in those teenage years, it takes a lot more brainpower to raise them. Well, Jaquelle Crowe’s dad, Sean, was also in the studio during her interview with Dennis Rainey and Bob Lepine. Dennis and Bob had a chance to pick Sean’s brain. You see, Sean’s a pastor, and they wanted to know how Sean and his wife helped guide their daughter to become a woman of character.
[Previous FamilyLife Today Broadcast]
Sean: For the most part, what we have done is—we’ve tried to live that out for both of our kids. We want them to see what a person of character looks like. As you said, I’m a pastor. What we often talk about, when it comes to being a pastor, is: “It’s all about character”. When you look at 1Timothy, Chapter 3, Paul addresses the character of the leader. What we’ve tried to do is—we’ve tried to be an example to our kids of godly character; but also—and probably more importantly—is teach them, from the Word of God, what true godly character looks like.
Dennis: And Jaquelle, how would say they’ve impacted your character, just looking back over the past, now, 21 years?
Jaquelle: Well, I think, one big thing—and it’s a big part of being a godly pastor—is the issue of integrity. That’s a big area that I see in both of my parents’ lives. I also see faithfulness in the small things. My dad pastors a pretty small church and has been involved in a lot of just ordinary discipleship, that nobody sees/nobody knows about, and just faithfully plodding away at obedience. And then just purity is another area that my parents have modeled well and talked to me well about. There are a lot of other areas, but those are just a few.
Bob: Here’s the thing about trying to raise kids of character. It can be easy for us, as parents, to want to mold behavior through behavior modification rather than trying to raise kids who, from the heart, have the character of God built into them. Lots of times, as parents, we just want the behavior—we just want our kids acting right—and whatever makes that happen, we’re fine with that.
Sean: Yes, there’s no question that it’s much easier to focus on the obedience than on the grace. I think, especially for Jaquelle’s mom and I, one of the most difficult parts of parenting has been in the later years. In the earlier years, it’s so easy; because you are focusing a lot on the obedience. Of course, we can’t understand grace unless we understand law. So when they are younger, you focus a lot on the law; but when they get older and, as you talked with her before, when their relationship becomes their own relationship with the Lord, then you’ve got to make sure that they understand grace; and that’s a challenge!
Dennis: One of the things that you and Diana did was—you explained who God was, too—and that really is at the heart of the character issue. Once you know who God is, you can become like Him.
Sean: Yes, absolutely. If you don’t understand who God is, then how can you understand the gospel? Then you do just end up in moralistic therapeutic deism.
Bob: Jaquelle, do you remember recognizing the difference between just doing the right behavior and having it come out of your heart because this was what you wanted to do, not just because you wanted to please your parents?
Jaquelle: I do. I was around a pre-teen when I really kind of like noticed this switch or made this switch for myself. I realized that obedience to God wasn’t something that I did so that I could be saved/that that’s what being a Christian was all about; but obedience was something I did because I was saved and because I loved God so much. I wanted to read His Word! I wanted to pray! That should flow out of a heart, just so in love with Jesus and so compelled by the beauty of the gospel, that I should want to do that for myself.
Bob: If you look at the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness—all of these virtues—we can probably fake that for a season: you know, a couple of days, maybe; if you’re really good, you could go two or three weeks—but when it’s coming from inside of you, not just something you’re trying to fake—and I don’t mean fake in the sense that you’re being a phony; this is you’re just trying to act it out rather than it coming from inside of you—that’s not going to work for a young person or for a grown-up; is it?
Jaquelle: No; absolutely not. I think for young people, especially, we are attracted to authenticity. We want people to be real, and we want to experience something real. That’s why I think we have some of these teenagers who buy—or say they are buying into—a faith that is not real; and then they get out of the home, and they are like, “Oh! This wasn’t my faith, so we’re not/we’re done with this.”
It’s the teenagers, who actually encounter who God is for themselves, that are saved by this authentic faith, that spend the rest of their lives just sold out for this message.
Dennis: A good bit of how character, I think, is formed is as parents live out their lives in front of their kids—and as Barbara and I have had to do with our kids—get down on one knee, when they were little, and look eye to eye with them and confess how we just made a mistake and name it. The kids had seen it/they had seen what had happened and to ask them to forgive us for getting angry, for being short, or for not being the kind of parent we needed to be.
Do you recall a time, that you can tell here on the broadcast, when your dad—pastor of the church, who is a great man; I’ve already heard a lot; I’m impressed, personally—but every great man—we all fail. How has he passed on character to you by sharing his failures and letting you in on the interior of his life and where he struggles?
Jaquelle: Oh, I know that I can answer this; because this is something that we’ve talked about a lot. They were not perfect, and they were willing to ask for forgiveness. I can think of a couple of different occasions. [Laughter]
Dennis: So give us one. [Laughter]
Sean: I can think of something from two days ago!
Jaquelle: Okay, what?
Sean: The other morning, when I got up.
Jaquelle: Oh, yes!
Sean: Yes! She remembers right away!
Jaquelle: Okay, so he got a message on his phone that just was not a great message. He woke up; he looked at it—it was the first thing—and it immediately set him off. He came downstairs; my mom and I were down there. He just was clearly very frustrated and just spoke harshly about this thing. We were like, “Whoa! You need to go back to bed!” [Laughter]
Sean: It’s true.
Jaquelle: He was just completely off; he did not speak kindly to us. We were just like, “Okay.” Then what?—like half-an-hour later?
Sean: —not even.
Jaquelle: Yes; he was like, “You know what? I was not kind. That was not right. I ask both of you for forgiveness for how I responded to this frustrating message and how I spoke to you.”
Bob: Sean, we had a guest on FamilyLife Today, who said something that was one of those moments, where I went, “That’s profound!” It has just stuck with me; he said, “Most Christian parents today are teaching their children how to be sin avoiders and sin concealers instead of teaching them how to be sin confessors and sin repenters.”
Sean: Yes, yes.
Bob: He said, “We’re raising kids who—the message is: ‘Stay away from that!’ and ‘If you do it, and I find out about it, you’re going to be in big trouble,”—rather than: ‘Look, I’m going to fail; you’re going to fail. When we do, here’s how we get right with each other and right with God.’” This is something I think moms and dads need to grab onto and go, “We need to change the atmosphere around here in our home.”
Sean: Yes, I remember a point in my life, where this became so real to me; and it changed everything from that point on. It was a time when Jaquelle’s brother, Travis, indicated that he thought that his mom and I didn’t sin—it was a very young age. For me, that just blew me away; because I didn’t sin in the same way that he sinned. I mean, I think, at that point, he was—I don’t know, five, six, seven/eight—something like that—from that point on, it became very clear to me that I had to make sure my kids knew that I sinned, and that I confessed of sin, and I repented of sin.
Because we see that from parents/we see that from pastors—that we think we have to put on this aura that we are perfect/that we have it all together—and we don’t. We need to be authentic.
Bob: I felt that when I was raising my kids; I felt, “My job is to model godliness for my kids”; right?
Bob: “I need to let them always see me being godly and never see me being ungodly, or they’ll somehow think, ‘Oh, oh, okay! He’s not as godly as he says he is,’ and they’ll abandon the whole thing.”
But a part of godliness is confessing your sin; right?
Sean: Yes; right.
Bob: “If we say we have no sin we lie, but if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from unrighteousness.” Our kids need to learn that; we need to model that for them.
Jaquelle: Kids can sniff out hypocrisy very quickly. [Laughter]
Sean: Yes; yes.
Dennis: You think?! [Laughter]
Jaquelle: I think so.
Dennis: I think you’re right. Barbara and I wanted to make sure our kids, not only knew how to live the Christian life, but also how to handle their failures; because we knew, in their lifetimes, they were going to have to face their failures a whole lot of times; because we faced a bunch ourselves. I think kids need to see, and be coached by parents—not to go sin on purpose so you can model how to do it—but when you do find you have done it, you own it!
Dennis: You say, “You know what? That wasn’t appropriate. I did sin against you. I want you to remember your dad as someone who tried to model a Christ-like life; but at the points when he didn’t, he owned it, and he confessed it, and he asked for forgiveness. And he waited for people to process long enough to grant their forgiveness,” because sometimes the wound we can cause, as parents, can be deep.
Bob: Jaquelle, Psalm 127 says that children are like arrows. You are familiar with this verse; you’ve heard this before; right?
Jaquelle: Yes, I am.
Bob: The assignment moms and dads have is to craft that arrow so it will fly toward the right target at the time you release the arrow, which can be a painful release. Sean, just get ready for the pain that will come when that moment—because it sounds like that might be sneaking up on you; okay? [Laughter]
My question is: “How have your parents helped you develop a missional mindset so that you go, ‘You know what really matters/what life is really all about is advancing the kingdom.’”
Jaquelle: Well, I think the biggest thing is—again, that I have seen them willing to do that. I alluded before that we made some very big moves—from western Canada to Texas, from Texas to eastern Canada—because my parents were absolutely compelled by obedience. And they were like, “You know what? As much as we love being near family/as much as we love our friends here, we believe that Jesus is better. Our lives are not about us, ultimately. Our lives are about doing what God has called us to do.”
Michelle: That’s Jaquelle Crowe and her dad, Sean, talking with Dennis Rainey and Bob Lepine. Isn’t Jaquelle’s energy, and her zest for life, almost invigorating? You almost feel like you could go for the next—I don’t know—24 hours on a high, because you’ve just heard from Jaquelle. You can tell that she is a young woman on purpose.
Maybe that reminds you of your teenager. You know, moms and dads, parenting is hard work; and you’re probably feeling right now like you only have a few years left. You might be asking questions like, “Is my teen prepared for life?” Well, go to our website, FamilyLifeThisWeek.com. We have some resources for you, including a past broadcast that Dennis and Barbara Rainey talked about preparing your teen for life; again, that’s at our website, FamilyLifeThisWeek.com.
Hey, talking about the Raineys, next week we’re going to hear from Dennis and Barbara Rainey. They’re going to share some stories/stories that we can learn from. You know, Dennis and Barbara encourage wives and husbands to work through the hard times and, well, to laugh through the difficult and also the good times. We’re going to hear some mentoring advice from them; we’re going to learn together. I hope you can join us for that.
Hey, thanks for listening! I want to thank the president of FamilyLife®, David Robbins, along with our station partners around the country. A big “Thank you!” to our engineer today, Keith Lynch. Thanks to our producer, Marques Holt. Justin Adams is our mastering engineer, and Megan Martin is our production coordinator.
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