The Best Thing We Did For Our Teen


“Mom… Dad…

I want to know if you feel that I’m ready to start dating.

And if you don’t feel that I’m ready, can we talk about what you want to see in me for you to trust me with this?”

It was Wednesday night.  My husband returned home from picking up our teen from fpStudents.

Kyle knew something was up because of how much time our teen spent talking with his Small Group Leader after services ended.  I received a text message just before the boys arrived home.

I wasn’t completely surprised that our son would ask about dating.  Though I don’t relish the idea of him stepping into this realm, I also know that it’s part of his progression into young adulthood.

We had a great conversation about what dating can look like at this season in his life, what expectations we have for him, what we want to see in him to know he is mature enough, etc, etc, etc.

But that isn’t what this post is about.  Given that I’m on the cusp of learning how to parent a teen I am NOT the person to dole out advice.

This post is about how the conversation came about.  And the beautiful relationship a student ministry can have with the family when church and home partner together.

You see, our son has loved being involved in fpStudents.  And over the past two years, he’s had some great Small Group Leaders leading his crazy group of boys every week.  He’s developed a friendship with his leaders and subsequently he trusts them.  He listens and cares about what these men have to say.

So when he knew he had a tough topic to tackle with his parents, he had a safe place to gain advice.

His SGL coached him on what to ask us and how.  His SGL challenged our son to respect our decision and where we land on the topic.  He equipped our teen to initiate a conversation rather than demand an outcome.

So today we’re talking about dating.

Tomorrow there will be tougher conversations to tackle.

But we know we’re not in this alone.  We’ve got other people invested in our teen and the process of learning how to live out his faith daily.

This SGL lives out the value of partnering with the family.  We trusted how he would guide our son before this conversation.  We trust him even more now.

One of the best things we can do for our kids is to help them engage in an environment where other Christ-followers have opportunity to influence them, invest in them and help them embrace an authentic, relevant faith.

For all the times I earn a ‘Needs Improvement’ on my “Parenting Report Card”, this is one of those moments I can step back and say… I think I actually did something right this time.