The last two XGen Sundays, I have been blessed to share a children’s moment with our youth. These occasions have been especially dear to me because the messages were about having conversations and processing our thoughts and feelings together as a family. I truly believe that these are some of the greatest gifts we can give to our kids.
By making intentional conversation a regular part of your family’s routine, you are teaching your kids to be present, to listen and understand the points of view of others, and to reflect on and process their own thoughts and feelings. When life gets tough, when they have to make a difficult decision, or when they arrive at a conflict or tense situation with a friend or with a future partner, colleague, or boss, they will be equipped to handle it well. They will be better friends, spouses, employees, and future parents by being empathetic and good listeners, and you will be setting them up to have healthy boundaries and self-respect because they will know their limits and have a strong support network around them. So, here’s all my support and best wishes to you for this exciting, fun, and well-worth it journey!

1. Joys, Junk, and Jesus. The best part of your day, the worst part of your day, and where you saw God working that day. A simple way for all of your family members to know what’s going on with each other, and a chance for everyone to reflect on and process what’s in their own hearts. Share your Joys, Junk, and Jesus anytime, anywhere – at the dinner table, in the car, before bed, while walking the dog. Sure, you’ll get some silly answers, not everyone will be completely truthful, and there will be times when not everyone will want to participate – but by making the time for intentional dialogue, you are planting the seeds in your children that they can come to you when they need to talk, they are valued and respected, and that it’s okay and safe to share what’s in their heart. Stick with it and you’ll see results!

2. What did you learn? As we talked about during the children’s message Sunday, there is always something new to learn. During the children’s message, we talked about this as it relates to reading the Bible together: a great way to open up conversation about Scripture is to simply ask each other, “What did you learn?” – because there is always something new to learn, even if you’re read the same text many times! But another application for the “What did you learn?” question is to talk about it just like you would your Joys, Junk, and Jesus: “What did you learn today?” As adults, we’re often pressured to know the right answers or make the right choices, because we have wonderful intentions of wanting to set a good example for our kids. But I’m coming to believe that, as youth get older, they generally have a good idea of right and wrong, and they start to wrestle with more gray areas. The best thing we can do is to live in the questions with them. Discover together what you can learn and how you can grow. Don’t be afraid to say, “I don’t know, but let’s find out together.” And then go online to research, find someone else who would know better, talk it through with each other, or give it to God in prayer and see how he answers. You can do this both when you read Scripture and
when you talk about life!


I truly believe that the benefits of making intentional conversation a part of your family’s routine will be greater than we can imagine. I believe it will greatly pay off both for your children’s future and for your own satisfaction and joy as their parents. For your family’s overall well-being and joy in time spent together. Yes, there will be tough moments. Yes, there will be some frustrations and steps both forward and backward. But keep with it, don’t give up, and find your strength in God. Find other families who can support you and walk with you through this journey. It will be exciting!

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