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Podcast: What Your Teenager Needs Most (Paul Tripp)

By Koa Sinag

Podcast: What Your Teenager Needs Most (Paul Tripp)

This article is part of the The Crossway Podcast series.

Parenting Teens Is Impossible, but There’s Hope

In this episode, Paul Tripp offers practical advice and encouragement to parents seeking to raise their teenagers to know God and feel ready to go into the world. He shares how so many of the difficult situations facing our teens come back to the issue of identity, and he discusses how parents can cultivate a foundation that teens can trust as they begin to ask important questions for themselves.

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Check out more episodes of The Crossway Podcast on Marriage, Family, and Parenting

Topics Addressed in This Interview:

  • What Is a Parent’s Job?
  • Aiming for the Heart, Not Just Controlling Behavior
  • Phones and Social Media
  • What to Say When Teens Doubt Their Faith or Don’t Want to Go to Church
  • How Do I Help My Teen with the Habit of Daily Bible Reading and Prayer?
  • ‘New Morning Mercies for Teens’
  • 7 Issues Every Teen Will Face

01:18 – What Is a Parent’s Job?

Matt Tully
Paul, thanks so much for joining me again on The Crossway Podcast.

Paul Tripp
I always love our conversations, so I’m glad we’re doing it again.

Matt Tully
Today we’re going to talk about some common questions and issues that I think parents often face in relation to raising teenage children, years of a child’s life that can come with their own unique set of joys but also, obviously, some challenges too. But before we get into some of those specific teen-related questions that parents sometimes have, I wonder if you could cast a broader vision for us for a moment. Big picture, how should parents think about their role as parents? What’s our job as parents when it comes to our kids?

Paul Tripp
The phrase that I always use when I’m asked this question is that you are positioned by God to be his primary tool in the forming of this child’s soul. I can’t think of anything that is more important than that. This child will develop a view of themselves, a view of the meaning and purpose of life, a view of right and wrong, a view of spiritual things (God). You have an enormous opportunity and an essential calling to be part of the formation of all those things because how you answer all those questions will determine how you live your life. And so every day is full of opportunities. The heart and soul of a child is not formed in four or five dramatic moments. It’s formed in a hundred thousand little moments of everyday life, little conversations that begin to shape the way a child thinks about life. Let me give you an example. My youngest son is now a sports broadcaster. He was an avid basketball player. He played basketball in high school, and he would come home after school and right away change and go out back and shoot free throws in sets of a hundred. And he came in one day and I was working on dinner, and he had the ball in his arms, sweaty, and he said, “I want to ask you a question.” I said, “Okay.” He said, “How do you know when a good thing in your life, like basketball, becomes an idol in your life?” I was never happier as a parent because of the fact that he would ever have that thought in his brain at fifteen-years-old. I just walked across the kitchen, threw my arms around him, and said, “Praise God, praise God, praise God you’re asking that question!” Now what that meant is this whole issue of worship, which is the most formative thing you could talk about, because human beings are worshipers, had gotten inside of him. He had internalized that, and on his own he was thinking about, What if my love for basketball is beginning to replace God in my life? Well, that’s a wonderful thing for a child to be thinking about, but that was the result of endless conversations we had about that issue. So you’re in a formative position to help shape the identity, the meaning and purpose, the spirituality, the worldview of this child. What could be more important in life than that?

Matt Tully
That’s so helpful and such a good reminder for us as parents. It makes me think that you have a whole other book that you’ve written with Crossway called Parenting: 14 Gospel Principles That Can Radically Change Your Family. I think it’s a wonderful spot where you go into some of this in more detail. You help to shape the mind and the imagination of the parent in terms of what their role is.

Paul Tripp
I think often, and I understand why this happens, well-meaning parents reduce parenting down to getting your child to do stuff and getting them to stop doing stuff. You forget that they’re doing or they’re not doing flows out of what they think about themselves, what they think about life, what they think about God, what they think about joy and happiness and satisfaction and where they are to be found. So you’ve got to get at the reason for the behavior, or you’re never going to be successful in seeing that behavior change.

Matt Tully
Let’s keep that in mind—those principles and even that broader vision of what our role as parents is—as we dig into some of the specific questions and issues that parents of teens will sometimes face. And I think probably few issues are more ever-present for young people today than issues related to gender and sexuality. It feels like our culture is just awash in confusion on these, and teens in particular tend to encounter these in maybe a uniquely concentrated and powerful way. Big picture: How should parents approach these sensitive issues with their teens?

Paul Tripp
I want to, again, give a backdrop here that what’s happening during the teen years that’s different than the early childhood years is teens are now internalizing their view of their identity. Little children just accept whatever identity you assign to them, but with a teenager, he or she wants to know, Who am I? How do I understand all the things that are going on inside of me? And so the issue is bigger than gender; the issue is a fundamental question of identity. If we weren’t in this present culture of gender chaos, that issue of identity would still be there. It’s human. That’s why in Genesis, when God creates Adam and Eve, he immediately begins to talk to them. Why? Because they don’t know who they are. They don’t know what their life is about. They don’t know what they’re supposed to be doing. They need truth outside of themselves in order to make sense out of life. So unless this child is rooted in a fundamental creation way of thinking about their identity, here’s what’ll happen. They’ll ask bad questions and they’ll get to bad answers. And so you don’t just fight the battle of gender in isolation. It’s got to be placed in the bigger issue of, Who is this human being named Josh, who’s been placed on planet earth? Who is he? And where do I get the answer to that question? Who is the ultimate authority of my identity? Who’s the ultimate definer of my identity? Well, we would say the Bible immediately answers that question in the first couple of chapters of the Bible, and then it elaborately expands that answer through the rest of Scripture. So if you haven’t started there, then it’s very hard to talk about gender because what the culture says is, You’re the authority over your identity, and you can choose to be what you want to be. The choice is yours. Well, that starting statement is wrong, let alone all the other biological, physiological things that people say about gender that aren’t true. The statement that I have the right to determine my gender is just wrong from the beginning. So you can’t really have the conversation unless you’re looking to some kind of authority that has the right to define who you are. Now, there’s a second issue here. The first issue is authority. The second issue is influence. You have to realize that your children, because they’re meaning makers and they’re seeking for understanding, are always under influence. They’re always listening to voices because they’re searching. You know how people have that wand at the shore and they try to hover above the sand to see what they could find? That’s exactly what human teenagers are doing. They’re hovering above life, real close to the surface, searching for the major answers to questions of life. And they’re gonna do it, they’re listening, and so I’ve got to ask the question, Who’s influencing my teenager? Where are they going to get their answers? You may have, if you’re fortunate, a fifteen-minute conversation with your teenager at dinner—most parents would think that was a huge gift—but your child has been under other influences for seven, eight hours. No wonder children at that age get confused. So I have to know the influences and the voices that are influencing my children. And there’s a good possibility those voices are on social media. And who are they? Is it responsible—this is another issue, but I’m going to speak to it—is it responsible to give a child who’s internalizing the major issues of life the ability to have a private cell phone connected to social media at thirteen or fourteen? Is it possible for a child to develop a healthy view of self if that’s his major influence? So you’re dealing with authority and influence. The third issue is you’ve got to handle these issues with patience and grace because a child who feels like he’s under attack and he’s not understood will build walls and go into hiding. You can’t let, as a parent, your fear cause you to overreact and drive your child underground. You have to have your response to your child rooted in faith and not in fear. What does that mean? It means I understand that I don’t have to load the burden of the welfare of my child upon my shoulders every day because that burden is carried by my Savior. He has already made a choice to place this child in a family of faith because he cares for this child, and so I have to believe that God will give me opportunities to have the kinds of conversations I need to have with my child as we’re negotiating these very difficult things in life.

11:54 – Aiming for the Heart, Not Just Controlling Behavior

Matt Tully
Paul, in recent years there’s been a lot of discussion about the dangers of the so-called purity culture of a previous generation. As parents, we want to protect our kids from impurity, and we want to encourage them to pursue godliness. But sometimes it’s hard to know how to do that exactly. So I wonder, do you have any thoughts on navigating the issue of purity, maybe even broadly defined? How do we encourage our kids towards that?

Paul Tripp
I think that for me the problem of purity culture was not that we don’t want to encourage our children to be committed to an absolutely pure life before God. It’s that it tended to address behavioral commitments versus heart issues. For example, there were some people who would have a ceremony and give children a purity ring. I think it’s pretty obvious that a purity ring doesn’t keep me from lust. So I can have a purity ring, but I have an inward battle. Let’s say I’m a boy, and I become alive to the shape of girls, and I’m growing in my sexuality and my awareness, and all of a sudden I’m interested in things I wasn’t once interested in. That whole thing isn’t solved by signing a piece of paper and getting a ring any more than sort of legalistically reading the Bible in the morning will keep you from sinning that day. The purpose of a devotional life is to draw my heart toward God because I have to be in a position, let’s say as a teenager, where I believe that God is holy all the time and in every way, and he’s infinitely wise. Now, those two things together would tell me that it’s impossible for God to ever ask anything of me that isn’t good for me. It’s impossible for him to guide me to any place that isn’t the right place to be. And so I want to have those kinds of conversations about What are you telling yourself will satisfy you? What are you telling yourself where joy will be found? How are you handling issues of lust as a teenager? And so I’m trying to get at the heart of what purity is about. Purity is a commitment of the heart that’s lived out in behavior. That’s why Jesus said if a man looks after a woman to lust after her, he’s already committed adultery in his heart. Jesus didn’t put the fences at behavior; he moved the fences inside to the heart because unless your fences are there, you’ll jump over any other fence that you erect.

Matt Tully
That’s so helpful, especially for all these topics when it comes to our teens. As you already said, so often our temptation with our kids can be to erect these fences, to create these rules, and really pursue behavior modification sometimes at the expense of really doing the harder work, probably, of digging into the heart and trying to help our kids love the right thing rather than just do the right thing.

Paul Tripp
Absolutely. I was counseling a teenager’s father—again, I think this was well-meaning and I think he actually loved his son, but his son was just in love with the world and would get out of his room at night. He would go to bed at a certain time, and his father put locks on the window so they couldn’t get open. I think he nailed him shut and put a lock on the door. Well, the boy snuck tools in one night, quietly took the pins out of the door so he could take the door off, took the lock set off the door, got a shovel, went down the street, and buried it. Now, what’s the moral of that story? Inside the locked room was a boy whose heart had not changed a bit. And not even locks were able to keep him. We want heart change. I don’t want to have to be the prisoner of my teenager. I want to be able to say, Sure, go—because I know I can trust them because their hearts have been developed to love God and believe that God’s way is the best way. So they can be trusted.

Matt Tully
I think that connects to one of the biggest challenges of parenting, though, is that as parents we so often want to be able to control our kids. We can control the locks on the doors. Those are things that are theoretically in our control, but we kind of eventually come face to face with I can’t control my kids heart. I can help, I can point them in the right direction, but fundamentally, I don’t have any control over that. Is that a dynamic that we just have to come to terms with? How do you think about that?

Paul Tripp
Sure. I think there are two issues. First of all, change in a person’s heart is always a divine act of grace. No human being, by the force of their personality, by the threat of punishment, by control and manipulation, has the ability to change the character and content of another human being’s heart. That’s why we love the gospel. That’s why Jesus had to come. If human beings could alter the content of human hearts, Jesus would have never had to come. So that’s basic to what we believe. The other thing that’s operating is in God’s plan, a child early in life needs lots of authority and lots of instruction, but my job in parenting is to work myself out of a job so that this child has internalized the right thing, they’re capable of making good decisions, they’re capable of wanting to be on their own. So there’s a natural inclination in teenagers to want to have some freedom. That’s what God planned for them. Finally, enough freedom to establish their own home. You have your lack of control and the desire of the child for freedom. I always say fight your major battles early so that you’re establishing good things so as a child gets to teenage years, he’s prepared for what those years will throw at him. But you must never say to yourself, If it’s the last thing I’ll do, I’ll get my children to obey. I am only ever an instrument of change in God’s hands. I’m never the agent of change.

18:08 – Phones and Social Media

Matt Tully
That’s good. That’s good. Let’s talk about one of those major battles—fight those battles early. Maybe one of the biggest battles you’ve already referenced that we can sometimes face with teens relates to phones. And so I do wonder if you could speak to that a little bit. What would you say to the parent listening right now who’s like, Paul, just tell me how old is the right age for me to get my kid their first phone?

Paul Tripp
Are you fastening your seatbelt and putting on your crash helmet? Because here we go. I don’t think, given the kind of power and influence that we now know social media has—there is a whole set of therapy and mental health counseling issues that teenagers are now struggling with that research says are directly connected to social media—so I don’t think it’s responsible to hand your child a phone until sixteen—I’m not done—then, not connected to social media. So they have a little more freedom. They can be out and about. They’re able to connect with friends. They’re able to keep in contact with you and you with them. And so you’ve expanded their freedom, but they’re not able to live on social media. I would say you shouldn’t allow a child to be connected to social media until eighteen, and maybe even later than that. These rules are never hard and fast. You have to know your own child. Some children are wiser than others. Some children are more susceptible to influence than others. There’s just kinds of things they’d be attracted to. There’s just not the kind of messages you want your child to have. Now, you have to help your child, lovingly, through the fact that they’re going to feel like they’re a freak at school, and though that’s hard. When I was growing up, I wanted to go to parties that my parents wouldn’t let me go to. That was hard. And I got made fun of. But I’m so thankful that my parents made those choices for me because so much of what my classmates got involved with that actually set the direction for their lives, I had no exposure to, and I’m so thankful. So you got to be willing to have your children upset at you and think you’re weird and regressive in order to properly protect your children. Let me say it this way. You could reduce parenting down to three important things. Instruction—I’m doing that by my life and by my words. Protection—that means I have to make decisions for you to protect your heart and your physical body. And provision—to provide the things necessary for you to be healthy spiritually and physically. Instruction, protection, and provision.

Matt Tully
I can imagine there’s some parents listening right now who would say, I see the negative impacts of phones and social media on my kids. I already crossed that line and gave them something that maybe now I regret. Maybe I wish I could go back, but the cat’s already out of the bag. Any advice that you would offer to that parent who maybe just feels a bit stuck because of that?

Paul Tripp
Well, I think there are an awful lot of things in life, Matt, by God’s common grace, that are undoable. You can change courses. In fact, one of the great stories in the Bible that I just love is the story of Jonah, who ran from God. And one of my favorite verses in the Bible is Jonah 3:1 where it says, “The word of God came a second time to Jonah.” We believe in fresh starts and new beginnings. And so there are times as a parent where you have to go and say, I’ve made a bad decision. I see the effect on your life, and so we’re going to undo this one. It’s going to be hard for you, but I’m doing it because I love you. And I want to confess that there are times where I just succumb to the pressure around me and make bad decisions. And I don’t want those bad decisions to affect your life. So I hope you can forgive me and I hope we can get through this, but when it comes to phones and social media, we’re going to have to make a change.

Matt Tully
That’s so good. And the effect of acknowledging our own mistakes to our kids and apologizing for them, that in and of itself is such a valuable practice that we as parents can be doing. But that’s a helpful next step for those who are in that situation.

Paul Tripp
Well, of course you’re going to make unwise decisions over twenty years of a child being in your home. Of course you are. Get used to owning those. If I say to my child, I can’t believe you would ever do such a thing!—how self-righteous and unapproachable is that? But if I say to them, You know, I know how you got yourself in this mess because I’m like you, and I get into messes like this myself. But there’s help for us. There’s a person they think you can talk to.

23:07 – What to Say When Teens Doubt Their Faith or Don’t Want to Go to Church

Matt Tully
So keeping in that same vein, one of the things that we can often experience as parents in those teenage years is that our kids, as they start to experience more freedom and, as you said, internalize their faith in different ways, that might lead to them struggling with some doubts—doubts about God, doubts about the Bible, about things like the resurrection, and a whole host of other issues. And I think as parents that can be a really scary experience where we start to worry about our kids and worry about whether or not they going to follow Christ like I just desperately hope that they do. How should we as parents think about it when our kids come to us and start to share some of those doubts that they’re wrestling with?

Paul Tripp
By God’s plan, failure is a necessary part of the growth of anything as human beings. Michael Jordan was asked how he became such a great basketball player. He said, “By failing half of the time. I learned from every moment of failure.” That’s why in his final season he was in the gym two hours before the game. Because every time you get up from failure and you think again, you grow. And as failure in learning math is a necessary part of getting to the point where you understand math, doubt in Christianity is a necessary part. Think about this. The fundamental concepts of Christianity are counterintuitive and unnatural for us. They just are. I’m a sinner? That’s counterintuitive. I tend to think I’m righteous and everybody else is a mess. That there’s such a thing as life after death? That’s weird and counterintuitive. That there’s this Being who rules the universe, that I can’t see and can’t hear? That’s counterintuitive. That somehow the death of Jesus does something in terms of my relationship with God? That’s counterintuitive. That Jesus actually died and rose again from the dead? That’s counterintuitive. That there’s such a thing as an ascension? That’s counterintuitive. That God created this entire universe and people out of nothing? That’s counterintuitive. And it’s only because of enabling grace that we ever have the ability to believe any of that. So of course my child’s going to doubt. Of course they’re going to wonder. Of course they’re going to ask questions. Of course they’re going to go through seasons of struggle to believe. That’s all the natural part of this. Doubt is all through the Psalms. In Psalm 73, basically Asaph says, Why are the bad guys winning and the good guys are losing? Psalm 13: “How long, O Lord? Will you forgive me forever? How long will my enemy triumph over me and say, ‘Where is your God?’” Most of us are too externally religious to give ourselves the permission to speak that way to God. And never in the Psalms do you see God slapping people for that kind of communication because he understands. My thoughts are not like God’s thoughts. My way is not his way. I need help. And so doubt, instead of a tragedy, is an opportunity. If a child says to you, I don’t believe that, That’s an invitation to a conversation rather than, How dare you! And so I just think it’s a natural process of internalizing the faith. Here’s why doubt happens. Because in the early childhood years, the child is absorbing your faith. In the teen years, they are struggling with whether they will internalize the faith. And that’s why these doubts arise.

Matt Tully
Another thing that we as parents can sometimes hear from our teenage kids relates to church. Whether or not they would say that they’re Christians or say that they’re really struggling with doubt, I think sometimes we are all hearing, at some point, a resistance to church or youth group. Things like, It’s just so boring. It feels so irrelevant. Why do I need that when I can pray to God and I can read my Bible? I just don’t get the point. Again, as parents I think our temptation can be to come down hard and to just make a rule that is very clear and unambiguous. But how would you encourage parents to actually talk about the value of the church and the value of things like youth group for a kid who’s pretty resistant to it?

Paul Tripp
Well, I love this question because I think, again, it’s so easy when we’re thinking about church just to revert to law. Do it because I told you to do it. But I think what happens is, often the requirement to go to public worship is totally out of context. It has nothing in the child’s life that makes that make sense to him. And so I always go back to you’ve got to root this in a larger discussion, and the discussion is this: the most important function of every human being, whether religious or irreligious, is worship. Now, worship is not first an activity. Worship is first an identity. I am a worshiper. I am always worshiping something. That means my heart and then my behavior is shaped by the rule of some craving for something. And so I want to early have worship conversations with my child, that everything you do, every word you say, every choice you make, every act of obedience or disobedience, every moment of joy, every moment of sorrow, every happiness, every moment of satisfaction, every relationship is shaped by the worship of something. You could always trace your emotions and your behavior and your words back to worship. So why do we go to Sunday worship? Because I have to remember that I was placed on earth to worship the one thing that won’t hurt or fail me—God. Worship of everything else will hurt you in some way and will fail you in some way. And so Sunday after Sunday is refocusing something that I know about myself. I know I’m a worshiper. I know it’s dangerous to worship the creation because it hurts and fails me. And I need to be refocused again on what it means to worship God. Now, if you have that conversation, your teen still may not like to go to church, but he’ll know why.

30:02 – How Do I Help My Teen with the Habit of Daily Bible Reading and Prayer?

Matt Tully
That’s so helpful, Paul, and I think it’s so convicting in a sense too because so often our kids’ misunderstanding of something, like the importance of corporate worship, can arise out of our own misunderstanding as parents. I think of another two books you’ve written with Crossway that connect to these things. Awe, which speaks to our fundamental identity as worshipers, as creatures that just need to worship something, and then Sunday Matters, a more recent book on what the purpose of Sunday is and why we do this. So often we ourselves aren’t clear on that, and so that kind of gets transferred to our kids. Maybe a last couple questions here. How do I help my teen get into the habit of daily Bible reading and prayer?

Paul Tripp
The way you get your child interested in daily Bible reading and prayer is accessibility and realism. Accessibility is find good things that are written into the world of a teenager that make sense for him or her. Your child is not going to read Vos’s Biblical Theology, but there may be a resource that is solid that really does speak into the world of a teen. Second is be realistic. I would rather have my teenager spend five minutes with God than to hate devotions. If you have a child, I just think it’s such a victory if a child will do just a brief reading and a brief prayer every morning. Praise God! Praise God! Your teenager is not going to have hour-long devotions. They shouldn’t think that that’s your expectation or there’s something wrong with them. And you shouldn’t think that they’re going to be excited about reading something that wasn’t written for them. And so we got to find things that are accessible to them, and we have to be realistic in our expectations.

31:57 – ‘New Morning Mercies for Teens’

Matt Tully
That’s a helpful thing, and that’s true probably for all of us. Even as adults we often have unrealistic expectations for ourselves that lead to discouragement, that lead us to give up and not be consistent when sometimes if we just went simpler, we would do better. That’s a great segue into this new book that you’ve written. But before we get to New Morning Mercies for Teens, just talk very briefly about New Morning Mercies. This is a book that came out a number of years ago now, a daily devotional that you’ve written that I’m sure many of our listeners own and have used maybe for years and have benefited from. Last I looked, I think the book has sold over a million copies worldwide since it was first published. I wonder if you could just reflect on that for a minute. What do you think of when you hear that book has sold that many copies to date?

Paul Tripp
Well, I cry because the only thing that gets me up in the morning is wanting to get the gospel into people’s hearts and lives. That’s all I live for. And so the fact that it’s touched that many people just reduces me to tears. But the second thing I think is there’s enormous hunger out there. And the hunger is for something that flows out of the Bible, that is honest and hopeful. And that’s the gospel. The gospel is honest. It’s sad news about the tragedy of sin, and it’s glorious news about the redeeming, renewing, restoring power of God’s grace. And if you don’t hear the bad news, you’ll never be excited about the good news. And if you hear the bad news without the good news, you want to kill yourself. And if you hear the good news without the bad news, the good news doesn’t mean anything to you. So I really tried to write something that every day would be honest about life but super hopeful about the grace of God. And I think that’s why the book has done what it’s done.

Matt Tully
Yeah, it does ring true. So how does this new book for teens relate to New Morning Mercies?

Paul Tripp
I think the exact same thing. Wouldn’t it be good for a teenager to have a short devotional that is really honest about life in a fallen world but really hopeful about the goodness of God’s grace? The fact that there will be teenagers reading this just makes me—these are brief devotionals. In just a couple of minutes you can read through. They’ll touch you where you are, make you think, but give you hope.

Matt Tully
And how much do these pair with the full original devotional, New Morning Mercies? Is it like where if a parent is reading the original book and your teen is reading the teen edition, do they kind of follow each other and it would be on similar themes every day or is it a kind of separate thing?

Paul Tripp
There’s going to be commonalities between the two. Some of the teen devotions are shaped to be more thematically targeted at a teen, but essentially, you would be fellowshipping in the same gospel, and it’d be easy to have conversations between the two.

Matt Tully
And at the end of the book, you include a pretty robust Q&A where you address a bunch of common questions that teens themselves often struggle with. What I loved about it is they are questions from the perspective of a teen, questions related to anxiety and depression, sex and gender, phones and social media, and many more things that we didn’t even talk about today. What was the rationale behind including something like that in this book?

Paul Tripp
I think the rationale was it’s important to have a book that is basically giving you the gospel every day under the same binding as a book that honestly speaks to the struggles that you’re facing every day in your life. What this book does is say, Oh yeah, this gospel speaks into your real world. And you really get that at the end. This is real world stuff. And so I was excited that that would all be under one cover. Now you have the gospel over here in this book, and a discussion on the real issues of a teenager’s life in another book. The fact that it’s under one binding I think is a really good message.

36:27 – 7 Issues Every Teen Will Face

Matt Tully
At the beginning of the book, you note seven broad issues that teens will face that have the power to shape the trajectory of their lives. I wonder if you could just, as a last question, just briefly summarize what those issues are, and then as you think about this book as a whole, what’s your hope? What’s your prayer for the teenager who engages with this book? How do you hope that God uses it to help them in those areas?

Paul Tripp
Let me just tick through these. During these years—I’m addressing teens here—you will begin to decide what will be the meaning and purpose of your life. Wow, how important is that? Will you internalize the faith that you have been taught? That’s the second issue. Third, major decisions will set the shape of your future—major decisions made during the teen years. Four, you will begin the process of stepping out of some of the daily parental protection that you’ve had. Five, what kind of community will you surround yourself with? The Bible depicts how important that community is to shaping me. Six, how seriously will you pursue your relationship with God? Obviously, a very shaping thing. And then seven, what kind of success will you value most? I think, for parents, those seven things are a great basis for conversations with your teenagers.

Matt Tully
Thank you so much, Paul, for taking the time today to talk with us through these common challenges and issues and questions that we as parents can face when it comes to our teens, and for writing this book that I think, Lord willing, will be a great resource for teens as they seek to make their faith their own and engage some of the questions and issues that they’re coming up against each and every day.

Paul Tripp
All the time over the last few months I’ve thought what an enormous privilege it is for me to be able to speak into the lives of real-life teenagers who can get things right before they make the major decisions of life. Pretty exciting.


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Podcast: Christians, the LGBTQ Community, and the Call to Hospitality (Rosaria Butterfield)

Rosaria Butterfield encourages us to engage our LGBTQ neighbors for Christ, highlighting how God used the radically ordinary hospitality of Christians to draw her to himself.


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