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FSM 246, FN 355  DO "Special PER Issue"
Required reading for senior teens & up!
Communication & Respect!--Part One
Copyrighted December, 1993 by Family Services, Zurich, Switzerland

Mama's Introduction
Dear Family,
       God bless you! Thank you for how you are so wonderfully responding to the challenge of the PER!--The Personal Encouragement Revolution! We know you're thankful, as we are, for this opportunity to grow in many new areas. Any revolution has many different aspects, & since we can't attack everything at once, we will pinpoint various major areas to work on one by one. In this FSM we will be addressing communication--loving, respectful & encouraging communications--between all age groups, but especially between our adults & young people.
       We realise that you adults wouldn't deliberately do anything to squelch our precious teens, for whom you've sacrificed so much in bringing them into the World & raising them in God's Family.  From counselling with YAs & teens, as well as with many of their Shepherds, we have heard from them what they need & desire in order to take their rightful place as adults in our Family. In order to fill their needs, we are going to have to change some aspects of our present ways of seeing them & relating to them. We feel that you will want these changes to be made, so that all your lifelong efforts for our children can come to full fruition.
       We have found that some of our YAs & teens are having a hard time feeling or having the faith that they can make a difference in the Family or achieve any kind of position of responsibility, & this has caused them quite a bit of concern & frustration. Most of them are dedicated to the Lord & the Family & are trying to do their best to serve Him. They love Grandpa & me & they know the Letters are right, & agree with the policies & practices laid out therein. But sad to say, they are having some trouble reconciling the treatment that they receive in some of their Homes & the behaviour of the adults they come in contact with, with what they have read in the Letters & what they know of the Family in general.
       The following is an excerpt from a teen's letter which explains a basic concern many teens have mentioned: "For a long time there hasn't been really good communication between the adults & teens in this Home. We are sort of talked down to. I don't know if you know what I mean, but it's very frustrating to have adults talk to you as if you were a little kid. Then you have to be yielded & take it. I don't know if it's just me, but it's always a real battle for me if I have to take things from people whom I feel look down on me & talk down to me.
       "Sometimes I feel like we are just expected to accept whatever an adult says completely, without any questions asked, or without being given a chance to explain why or to give our side of the story. Just because we are teens & they are adults we have to accept things without question or discussion, which I don't think is right, because a lot of times we may have a very valid point that the adults need to see. We often do have a reason to give for why something went the way it did, that they need to take into account. But we are not always given that chance to explain, & then if we can't express our side, sometimes it can turn into bitterness, which we can't explain to anyone because no one will make allowances for the fact that maybe an adult was wrong.
       "Why can't adults communicate with us? Why can't they talk {\ul \i with} us & not {\ul \i at} us? And why don't they understand that we also have needs & feelings & a way that we look at things that isn't inferior to theirs? I'll be eighteen this year, so why can't they talk with me & not have the answers only coming from one side? Also, why are they always asking for suggestions, & then when we give them, they are brushed aside? Why will no one face the fact that in some situations we {\ul \i are} getting a generation gap in our Family, which we need to counteract?"
       This teen's convicting heartcry is representative of many we have received. It brings out a major overall problem that we need to face, which seems to be the lack of respect for the teens & the belittling & demeaning of their opinions, abilities & capabilities, what they call "talking down" to them, & also looking down on them, which results in their not having the freedom or authority to carry out the ministries the Lord has for them. Of course there are many reasons behind this lack of respect, but rather than getting into all that right now, what we need to do first is find practical solutions, & follow them, so we can start doing better immediately.
       In this particular FSM we're going to concentrate on how you can improve communications with the teens in your Home, so that they are not looked down on or talked down to, which will result in their status being improved. We will offer some practical steps & how-to's which we believe will help. It may sound like a tall order to try to change habits of years; as any parent will testify, it's hard to begin to treat your offspring like an adult when they have been a child for as long as you've known them! But we feel that you'll see how with the Lord's help it will be possible to change habits & ways of operating, so that we have more loving & respectful communication at all levels.
       This is a universal problem between young people & adults, & such behaviour has resulted in the proverbial "generation gap".  This is why each generation complains that the previous generation does not understand them & can't relate to them.  However, in the Family, in our Homes, things should be different & can be different & are different in many instances.  Love & prayer & humility can solve all problems, including the so-called generation gap!  We believe that the Lord expects the two generations to work side by side in harmony & understanding.
       We do not believe that two generations can be exactly the same, however.  The younger one is always going to bring something special to the relationship--a fresh new approach, new ideas, new faith, new courage, physical strength & energy, etc.; while the older one contributes experience, wisdom, support & understanding. But there's no reason why these two cannot work side by side in love & harmony & support with God's Love.  All things are possible, & this is what God desires in His Family.
       Also, we need to remember that the PER isn't just for the purpose of helping the teens, it's for the benefit of everyone. If you learn to relate to teens correctly, you're learning to relate to people correctly. Most of these points apply not only to your interaction with teens, but with everyone.  If you learn how to treat the teens right, you'll be more effective in your communications with everyone.
       Not only will the improvement in communication benefit everyone, but the encouragement in other areas that will be brought about by the PER will also be good for all. Not only the teens, but the adults need more love & appreciation, more meeting of their personal needs, more freedom to exercise initiative--all the changes that we are promoting for the teens are changes the adults deserve as well.
       Following are some reports & recommendations outlining specific improvements we want to make. But please remember that although we're zeroing in on what will benefit the younger set, these reminders & explanations apply to relationships with people of all ages. This is a revolution of personal encouragement for everyone--adults as well as young people.--And as we all work together on opening up lines of communication, with love & respect, all ages will learn to appreciate each other more, work together more, & understand each other more! PTL!

P.S. to YAs & Senior Teens,
       GBY! ILY!--And am praying for your faith, encouragement & patience as the PER is being implemented. Although this FSM is primarily directed to the adults, I believe you will also benefit from it, as the weak areas we will be mentioning may also apply to your interaction with each other, with children in your care, or with your younger brothers & sisters. Therefore, I pray that you will respond with wisdom to the challenges in this FSM. You can get a lot out of your reading of it, if you do so with an eye as to how it applies to you & your treatment of others!
       Many of the problems we will be mentioning are not mistakes of the heart, but they are just areas in which our adults need to be educated to understand that you young people are now growing up & need to be treated differently. So please don't condemn or judge the adults harshly.
       In mentioning weaknesses we are working on in our Family, it's good to recall what one man said who had left the Family for a while, then returned after a few years. He said, "The Family at its worst is better than the System at its best!" Thank the Lord that in spite of our problems we have continual joys & strengths & special privileges in our beautiful Family because of our unity, fellowship & lifestyle.--So unlike the terribly lonely, often abused & neglected children in much of the modern World--called "latch-key kids" because so many of their parents work outside the home, are gone all day, & simply leave their child a key so he can let himself in the house when he comes home from school.
       Our children are raised with peaceful, loving friends & concerned, dedicated parents or overseers who are with them 24 hours a day. Our personal interaction with each other is also much more considerate than what most people experience in the rat race of the World's loveless workplaces & its violence-prone schools. However, just because we're better off than the System doesn't mean that we don't still have lots of room for improvement. So much of our personal growth, usefulness & daily effectiveness for the Lord can be hindered by communication that is not as it should be.
       We are each precious & highly prized by the Lord, from the very youngest to the eldest, so it's very important that we do all we can to help each other in overcoming our problems, & encourage each other more in our service for the Lord.       
       God bless you! I love you & appreciate you!

Improving Our Communications with Our Young People
--By Lisa
The Way We Don't Want to Be
       Time & again in our conversations with teens, they have expressed the desire to be friends with the adults & be able to do things together & communicate more on an equal basis as disciples for the Lord.  Many have shared that while they do look to their elders with respect, they also feel that we adults sometimes come across as feeling a bit intimidated by them. Because of this insecurity we adults put on an "air of seniority", which undermines good heartfelt communication.
       It seems that in our well-meaning attempt to not get familiar & to uphold a good standard, we can easily end up coming across domineering, negative, or nagging. Our goals could better be achieved through a more positive & open approach. Maybe we shouldn't get so hung up in all the little things that may sometimes get to us, while letting some of the more important issues & goals slip by.
       We know none of us want this to happen, & as many of you have expressed, you truly want to draw close to the teens & learn how to meet their needs & communicate well. So why don't we take an honest look at some true-to-life situations & examples brought out by different teens.--So we can learn to avoid any unnecessary difficulties we may be unintentionally causing our young people?

Avoiding Labels
       One thing that has been discouraging to our teens is how they feel "labelled" for their different NWOs, & that JETTs & teens in adults' minds seem to spell "trouble".  Some adults seem to talk quite freely about our young people's weaknesses between themselves, even bringing them out in public meetings. We heard of a statement being made like, "You see, it's not only teens & JETTs that have problems & NWOs!"--thus singling out our young people.
       It seems that we adults could have easily included ourselves in what was said, don't you think? From what we have learned in our communications with the Homes, it seems everyone could benefit from positive instructions & help! It might be more encouraging for the teens to know that we're all fighting these battles together, rather than our making them feel as though they are being singled out as "problem cases".

Appreciating New Inspirations from the Lord
       We can also unintentionally discourage them & squelch their personal drive if we impart the feeling that we're looking down on them & not really respecting them. For example, if a teen is trying to explain something or share his heart, we often jump to conclusions without really hearing him out fully or seriously considering that his concern, point, problem or suggestion may definitely be the voice or inspiration of the Lord.
       On this point, the teens brought out that when they present their ideas to the adults, the adults sometimes say, "Well, that's a good idea, but..." & then they get an explanation why it can't be done, or why it doesn't fit in the schedule, etc.  In some cases this kind of reaction is unfortunately all too predictable.
       Sadder yet, in some cases there may actually be no response at all, or there will be a promise of a response to come later, but nothing more is heard about it by them.
       We can all see that such responses do not inspire personal initiative or heartfelt participation. It seems it would be to our benefit to really pray about our young people's ideas & realise the importance of letting them try out their suggestions. Maybe we shouldn't be so worried or concerned about messes or upheavals in our schedule, or activities being a bit too lively for our tastes. Maybe that's exactly what they need & what we need as well, to keep us young & alive!
* * *
       What is "tact"? Some of these errors in communication can arise when well-meaning adults are trying to draw teens out or make a joke, but say the wrong thing in doing so. A word that seems out of place or is said at the wrong time to the wrong person is often thought of as a lack of tact.  The dictionary defines tact as "the ability to say and do the right things; skill in handling difficult situations or dealing with difficult people without giving offense; delicacy; diplomacy." Delicacy means "fineness of feeling for small differences". The word "tact" is taken from the Latin "tactus", which means "touching".
       So the art of having tact and saying the right things to people at the right time is really just to be sensitive to the way they feel, to have that personal touch that helps you to be aware of what might hurt their feelings and avoid it. We can have tact through prayer & treating others as we would like to be treated. The opposite of "tactful" is "blunt, insensitive". Tact sounds like something well worth praying for, doesn't it?
* * *

Letting Them Do It!
       At times we unfortunately don't really listen to the teens when they express their feelings. Nor do we acknowledge the big job they're doing in the Home, & often we underestimate their skills. When do we do this? One example would be something like doing their personal needs list for them without even asking them beforehand what they need. We sometimes do what we feel is best, without even consulting with them.
       Another example of this would be our doing jobs that are actually part of their ministries. So often it seems that we adults rush in to do things for them as we feel best, while they may have had very good training in these ministries, or be capable of learning to do those things just as well themselves.
       We may also waste our time by nagging them or telling them the obvious, when this causes much more discouragement than help. More trust & faith in their ability & training will be the biggest help to them. More genuine training that is sincerely designed to teach them to expand in the number of things they will be expected & counted on to do well will bear more fruit than if we always keep trying to do things ourselves!

Hearing All the Facts &  Valuing Their Opinions  
       Another area where our teens could sometimes feel quite helpless would be when adults come upon a situation & see only a small part of the action or hear only one side of what has happened, yet they jump to a hasty conclusion. The adult bases his judgement on previous situations or on someone's "NWO reputation" without really hearing out everyone or understanding all the facts.
       If the adults don't take the time to fully investigate the situation, or they over-react in their own spirit & give a judgment which the teens do not feel is fair or deserved, because it is hasty & uninformed, this undermines the teens' confidence & trust in that person.
       It has also happened that an adult in a conversation or pow-wow tries to include & involve the teens by asking them questions, but then if the answer is not really what the adult expected, a teen may get a demerit for being disrespectful! Here our teens feel they are in quite a fix, as they're asked their opinion, but when they give it they get in trouble for it. They can then easily draw the conclusion that there is no use explaining how they really feel about things, & end up feeling lonely, misunderstood, & resentful of the correction.  
       On the topic of respecting our young people's spiritual link with the Lord, we'd like to share that on several occasions of late, the Lord gave our young people dreams or verses or forewarnings about persecution or other events that were going to happen in the near future! He knew we needed to prepare for these things, & He chose to use them as the channels of His warnings. In instances where we adults took these checks seriously, we were prepared ahead of time. But when we didn't, we learned a big lesson about how the Lord does really speak to our young people. We learned that we would be wise to listen & take heed to what they share with us, in the same way we would listen to any of the adults in our Homes. (See 1Sam.3 about the Lord speaking to young Samuel.)
       We adults desire & are praying for the Lord to help us communicate in such a way that our young people would look to our counsel for help & guidance. We would like them to welcome our counsel as a helpful aid in teaching them to become what the Lord wants them to be, as a vehicle of heartfelt concern & counsel.
       This kind of counselling doesn't happen without real prayerfulness on our part, & without our being mindful of the need to show our love & respect for others through our actions & words. It's a very great responsibility, to be handled with a great deal of prayer & understanding!

Dangers in Over-relating
       Another lesson we learned from these honest heart-sharing times with our teens was how it sometimes bothers them that we try to over-relate. We as adults come across like we understand so well the battles & trials they're having, that there is no need for the teen to explain. However, on the teens' end there is a real need to be able to express what they're going through, unburden themselves, & share their hearts.  
       They have also felt that there actually is a marked difference between us & them, in that we were brought up in the System & were teens there, while they have been raised in the Family, & have had a very different background, & different problems & experiences. This of course does make a difference.--And although it may be true that we can truly relate to many of the lessons they're learning & trials they're going through, it may be wiser not to be so quick to judge their particular situation without hearing it out fully.
       When we do this, in the teens' eyes we are minimising their battles by over-relating. They prefer that we don't say all the time that we understand & habitually state that we have been through all the same things. They would rather that we see each new situation with fresh eyes, & prayerfully listen & hear from the Lord about the specific situation they are talking about.
       They seriously look to us for the Lord's wisdom & answers, & are very frustrated & alienated when it is so obvious to them that we are not praying about their individual situation. They feel that when we lean to our own understanding & our own past experiences, it is as though we are not trying to seek the Lord's mind on their specific experience or need.
       When they come to us for counsel, they do it as unto the Lord, & they expect us to have counsel from the Lord & be Spirit-led in our understanding, our reactions, & our words.

Respectful Speech
       It has also hurt our young people that we as adults often talk to them as we would to little children. They rightfully bring out that we wouldn't talk to another adult in the way we sometimes do to them. It seems that sometimes we are quite inconsiderate about where we correct them, such as in front of a group of their peers, & we even scold them, which can cause them to feel rebellious. Unfortunately, at times we're much quicker to lose our temper with our teens than we would with adults, & talk to them harshly. Of course we shouldn't talk with anyone in an angry, harsh way, regardless of their age.
       Although they see & understand that they may have been out of it at times & in need of some kind of correction to get back in line, they would prefer that it not be done in front of their peers or other children or adults. They would appreciate being shown the same consideration & concern in handling their mistakes & NWOs as adults like to have shown to them or feel they need.
       We can also show a lack of respect to teens, JETTs (or even adults!) by whistling to tell them to come or shouting at them across the room or across the yard, or calling them names. They've felt hurt by name-calling & labelling, even though it may be in a joking way. Although the adult may feel he or she is softening the blow or taking the sting out of the comment by presenting it humorously, this can come across as quite offensive at times.
       Unkind comments also may easily slip from adults' mouths, like, "Well, that was a stupid thing to do!" or, "Why do you always do this or that?" or, "Will you never learn?"  Words like these, our young people feel, show a real lack of love & respect. The sad thing about forming such unloving & disrespectful speech habits is that everyone around us so easily picks them up, from adults on down, until even our little kids talk to each other in these unloving ways.

Let Them Make Decisions
       One area where it seems we may need to step out a little more & really trust that the Lord can speak to our young people is concerning decisions about their own lives & service for the Lord. Whenever possible, we should present a possible change of ministry or change of Home or any other decision involving them to the teens personally, & ask them to pray about it & hear from the Lord as to what they think the Lord's Will is in their lives. Then trust the Lord that He will speak to them & that we will come to a good agreement in Godly counsel together. ({\ul \i Editor's note}: In the early Letters when {\ul \i we} were teens, as well as in more recent years, Dad has said many times that it's always best to include others who are involved in your decision-making as much as possible.)        It seems if we really are serious about our young people being the leaders of the future, we have to start giving them more choices & trusting them to make decisions & hear from the Lord now, not only concerning their own lives, but in their ministries & in other areas of our Home life as well.

Keeping Our Promises
       Most likely we can all relate to the following example: A teen or JETT comes to speak with one of us & shares his heart's desire. He explains how he's prayed about a move & is asking for counsel on how to go about it. We promise that we will look into the situation & help with whatever we can to meet this desire, but then with everything we have to do in our busy schedules we don't follow through on it.  
       It would naturally appear to that young person that we adults don't always keep our promises. Maybe we don't realise how much these things mean to our young people, & that when we say we'll get back to them, they believe us & expect us to! If we promise that Lord willing we'll try to get back to them about a certain thing within two weeks, but then nothing happens after two weeks, nor is there any acknowledgement or explanation, it undermines faith & trust. It makes our young people sceptical about any further agreements & promises.
       When we don't follow through on our promises, the teens are left to feel that we don't take them seriously. Sometimes our young people have been very serious about what they are asking &  have taken the time to pray about these matters & share things with us. We may answer, "Well, we'll pray about that!" or, "We'll let you know," but we then don't really take it seriously & don't pray about what they have shared with us. When we have this attitude, we then most likely don't follow through on the conversation or suggestions, or don't get back to them about what they have asked.
       This makes the teens feel that maybe they didn't hear from the Lord in the first place, & they could start doubting if they have a channel with Him. It can result in them not being challenged spiritually & not being accustomed to stirring up their gifts or following through on what the Lord shows them. They may figure the Lord doesn't really speak to them or show them things, or if He does, it doesn't do any good anyway. They could think, "So, what's the use?" ({\ul \i Editor's note}: Teens always have the right to express their individual burdens directly to their CRO Shepherds if they so desire, as Maria points out in the "PER" GN 553, paragraph 74.)
       Perhaps we adults can agree that, Lord helping us, we will try to change in this area, take their questions & suggestions seriously, & pray about how they could work. We need to ask the Lord to help us get responses back to our young people to the best of our ability, especially answers we have promised & they are waiting for. Even if what they are requesting doesn't always work out, we can at least explain why, & show loving & sympathetic understanding for their possible disappointment in hearing the news.

How Activities Can Be Geared to Teens
       Maybe we could look into a few of our Home activities together & see them more through the teens' eyes.  Some teens said that they would really like to have some activity nights for adults & teens together, but if possible, they would prefer to be in charge of them, as they felt the adults would often resort to just having a video.  To put together an activity committee of the teens & to follow through on their ideas could be the beginning of fun & fruitful fellowship time between adults & teens. If you haven't done this yet, try it & see how much fun you can have!
       The teens also felt that the adults didn't pow-wow teen videos properly on many occasions. Most adults stop too often & generalise about conclusions which seem obvious, which is not conducive to real deep & heartfelt discussions.  When the pow-wower is stopping too much at obvious points & asking if everybody's getting it, video time is not so enjoyable. Instead of just telling them your conclusion, you could try asking the teens their opinion, what they felt was most important to remember in the movie, did they notice System lies or wrong attitudes that were being pushed by the movie, what had a positive effect on them, etc., or other thought-provoking questions, rather than stopping the movie & saying things like, "This guy is really proud, did you notice that?"
       We are not against pow-wows, but many may be using a style which is appropriate for younger children, when their audience is older & doesn't need as many things explained to them as they did a few years ago. When we first started pow-wowing movies, we explained everything, but now particularly our older teens have had a few years of pow-wows & often understand what's being portrayed in movies without it being explained. JETTs, however, may need to have much more explained; it all comes down to knowing your audience & being Spirit-led.
       Many expressed that they would rather see a video on adult video night & get the different adults' reactions, good or bad, rather than have a separate teen showing which is poorly pow-wowed. Maybe you could pray about doing this.        ({\ul \i Editor's note}: Although you may be in the habit of having teens & adults watch videos separately, it would be fine whenever you wish to have the teens & adults view movies together, as long as the movie you choose to view together is one that is approved for adults & teens, of course. You could then discuss together what you got out of it. Changes are always fun, & it would probably be very interesting for both sets to hear what the other ages have to say!) Otherwise maybe the adults who pow-wow teen videos could take turns, or in some other way change your video pow-wowing to make it more fruitful. If you take the time to communicate about these activities in your Homes, you will most likely come to the best conclusions for your individual situations.
       It would also be helpful for our teens if we gave them more explanations about things that strike us adults as funny, whether it be in videos or at times when reading Letters.  When we adults read certain Letters with the teens, there are points that the adults may find very amusing because of past experiences together. All the adults then have a good laugh, while the teens feel left out, often because they aren't aware of the background, when just taking a few minutes to explain would help them enjoy the humorous points with us.

Having Faith for Victory over NWOs
       Maybe we should also pray about our attitude when NWOs come up, & whether we limit our teens more for their weaknesses than we would adults with the same problem. It seems many times we adults have just as many, if not more NWOs than the teens do, but we still show faith & trust in our adults to carry on & do their job, trusting that they will learn their lessons. It seems much easier for us to lose faith in our teens when we see weaknesses & mistakes in them.
       If we can now have more honest & heartfelt communication with our teens, we may even find them an invaluable help in correcting some of our NWOs as adults!--Since many of them have been through teen training & had Word & pow-wows on these topics that we as adults may have missed. We may even grow & learn faster by taking them into our confidence & asking for their prayers & suggestions & experience in our own war against besetting sins to become better & more fruitful disciples for the Lord. Although this may be a new & awkward experience, & we would still need to be sure to consult with our overseers about serious problems, still, confessing battles & asking for prayer is often a real help in reaching heart-to-heart communication.

In Closing
       The above are just a few examples to help open our eyes to the areas where we adults cause unnecessary hurts or trials or miscommunication with our young people by our unprayerful reactions.  Thank the Lord that we can all now draw closer & help our wonderful younger generation feel more excited & challenged in their service for the Lord.
       It might help to remember that we were only 17, 18, or 19 years old when Dad trusted us with a worldwide revolution! We didn't have nearly as much training as our teens have now, but the Lord still used us, in spite of our mistakes, so why not our wonderful teens, who should be an improvement on the stock!
       Let's try to make it work together & pray & counsel & help each other win the World for Jesus!  We can't do it without our young people, & we'll find new joy & excitement & have more fun if we include them & make them our friends.  We love you!
       Love, Lisa

Establishing Deeper Communication  with Our Teens
Excerpts of Reports from Shepherds Worldwide
       From these reports sent in by Shepherds from various Areas, we can learn more about how to improve our communication with our young people. It's wonderful to know that by zeroing in on our weaknesses in this area, we will not only improve communication with our teens, but also with our children & even with other adults. "Learning, learning, learning, it never ends!" (DM 1:216)
       In looking at some of these reports, Mama brought out that these are problems which are common to people everywhere. She said, "Unloving, uncaring behaviour, not taking another person's feelings into consideration, double standards, etc.--these things are by no means confined to the Family, but are in fact, much more common in the System.
       "The difference is that in the Family when we find something is not working or something is wrong, we work to change it for the better. We have realised that some of our teens are unhappy & unchallenged, so you adults are going to try to change things. In your Home you may be doing the right thing already, but if not, here are some new goals & new challenges to strive for. Praise the Lord!"

Talking Down to Teens
From Shepherds in SEA:
       From our visiting & reports received, we've found that many adults need a lot of training in not talking down to our young people. We're not so sure if adults are even all that conscious of the fact that they do it. We're certain that they would probably be more than willing to change their attitudes if they were corrected on it more often, or were trained how to avoid it & to address our young people properly. It just seems to be an old-bottle habit that some people have of treating their teens as if they were still little children.
       Of course we should not be talking down to anyone, not even to our little children,  but how much more should we avoid this with our teens, whom we should relate to as co-workers. We sometimes talk to our teens as though they were very young, & we have not grasped the fact that they have grown up! They need to be treated with respect & admiration for their love for the Lord, their commitment to His Work & to the Family, their training & experiences, their dreams, desires, initiative & inspiration.

Answering Too Quickly
       Even though some do better in this area than others, there still seems to be a problem of answering our teens' questions too quickly before we have actually listened to the whole question & heard them out the whole way. If another adult asked certain questions, we would be much less hesitant to cut them off or not take the time to prayerfully think about how to answer.  Sometimes the teens are answered with a quick little retort, as if to say, "You don't have a right to ask that type of question", or, "You're murmuring", etc. Adults may not actually always be talking down to them, but are often very disrespectful & very insensitive to their questions & just plain impolite & unloving.
       Some adults think that when teens ask certain  "questioning"-type questions that they are murmuring, therefore they think they need to be corrected. What our young people really need, though, is the adults' understanding that they have genuine questions that need answering, & they need someone to sit down with them & take time to lovingly answer their questions from the Word & with prayer.
       ({\ul \i Editor's note}: Mama Maria recently said, "Our teens--as well as our children of all ages--have a right to ask any questions that they may have, without our adults reacting harshly, or with shock or condemnation." We realise that often teen questions are quite deep or searching, frequently blunt, & sometimes even aggressive, & may sometimes come at times we feel are inconvenient. However, it's natural that they should question our ways & habits; they have a legitimate need to learn how & why we do things the way that we do, and asking questions is a major way in which they learn. As adults we should be mature & humble enough to graciously accept their probing, even if we feel inconvenienced or perhaps even bothered, annoyed or put on the spot by their questions. They are, in fact, golden opportunities for learning for all to benefit from. Please see "Let'm Ask" & "More on Letting'm Ask", MLs #2650 & #2651.)

Witnessing Brings Need for Two-Way Communication
From Shepherds in Europe:
       Our teens' need for more open communication with the adults is evidenced by the fact that many of them have of late been in contact with many more people outside the Family than before, through their witnessing on the streets. These people question the Message & ask for further clarifications about our beliefs. In some cases our young people haven't been able to discuss these questions sufficiently in their Homes, & thus points brought up during their witnessing have not been addressed properly with the Word.
       It doesn't help if some adults are quite dogmatic & simplistic in their responses to the teens & therefore don't address the issues sufficiently. Comments have been made like, "It's not revolutionary to question", or "It's the Word of God & if you're ashamed of Him & His Words in this generation, He'll be ashamed of you in Heaven", which doesn't leave too much room for further conversation! In addition, such responses put the teens under quite a cloud of condemnation for even wondering about these things.
       Also, with many of our adults feeling insecure about training teens & wanting to do the right thing, they hold on to certain guidelines from teen training techniques or methods from four or five years back, not considering that our teens are now four or five years older. Their training & shepherding therefore needs to be adapted to the way they have grown & matured in the Family. We need to find Spirit-led answers that will truly feed them & help them.
       When we talked with the teens, we felt many of their questions were legitimate & needed to be answered. When they were, it was liberating for the teens, giving them some ammunition to fire back with on the streets. From the examples they gave of their witnessing encounters, we felt that they often hear from the Lord & want to be Spirit-led in ministering to people, but feel insecure if they do not have enough information to back up their witnessing replies. Therefore if met with dogmatism on the part of our adults, the answers they receive to their questions just don't ring true to them & this tends to discourage them & even make them feel rebellious.
       We are praying that the Lord will help us to maintain two-way communication, with all being able to honestly share what's on their hearts. This deeper open communication in itself could be an avenue of further training for adults, & could help them, as well as the teens, to make the changes needed.
       ({\ul \i Editor's note}: A discussion after each witnessing outing is very helpful--to discuss sheep's questions, review how situations were handled, & share  testimonies & prayer requests, especially for our young people who may be confronted with such questions for the first time. If time permits, these points can be touched on immediately after the witnessing outing--on the way home, over dinner, or in a meeting at the Home that night, so that questions or problems do not linger. Your weekly meetings of the witnessing department or monthly outreach meetings of the whole Home would also be good times to discuss tough questions that may have come up. {\ul \i Whenever} it is done, it is important to have open-hearted discussion of these difficult situations as soon as you can after witnessing.
       (On tough questions about the Endtime, the Family's controversial beliefs, or other deeper topics, it would be very good to have {\ul \i Word} or {\ul \i witnessing} classes where the teens [EDITED: "on their own or with an adult teacher if available"] delve into the Bible, Letters, Statements, "Wise Witnessing Replies", HOPE Mags, & other pubs for researching appropriate answers for witnessing.  Study like this can result in our young people being strengthened in their faith & gaining confidence in the Lord & the Word they have stored up.
       (Our young people can be some of our {\ul \i best} witnesses, but they--and all of us--need to study up & be prepared! [EDITED: "2Tim.2:15"] Then they can meet not only difficult questions, but also attacks of the Enemy with the Word & faith, as shining, powerful witnesses! "Time spent sharpening the scythe is not time wasted.")

Reasons for Communication Problems
       Some adults seem to have very good, honest & open communication with the teens, & the teens feel quite free to open their hearts to these adults.  Unfortunately, though, other adults seem to have a difficult time communicating with the teens. There are various kinds of problems encountered in such teen/adult communication.
       In some cases, there may be adults who actually don't seem to have a good attitude towards teens, & therefore project intolerance & a lack of faith or trust. This is very discouraging for the teens & so they tend to not communicate at all with these adults. Some of the more outspoken teens end up in arguments or disagreements with these adults.
       With other adults, the problem lies in them being too preachy, where the teens feel that when they open their heart to these adults they will receive a long exhortation in return rather than just a sympathetic open ear. ({\ul \i Editor's note}: Sometimes when someone is having a trial, they need a listening sympathetic ear which helps ease the hurt or confusion they are going through. When you're in an emotional turmoil, it can be hard to even comprehend any answers or a sermon someone may try to preach to you, even if it's right! When someone is upset, or needs to "talk out" a problem to clarify their own thoughts, a sympathetic listening ear, along with prayer, can help the trial to be greatly diminished. Then when things look brighter, and the sea of difficulties has calmed down somewhat, the ground is much more receptive to answers or counsel. In other cases, someone may just want you to understand them & how they think; they may desire acceptance and to know that you love them as they are. But there are, of course, many times when it's important to offer a word of counsel and advice. It takes prayer and sensitivity to know exactly how much listening and how much answering should be done; it's not something that's easy to know without making a conscious effort to pray & discern the situation. Being a good counsellor is a very important gift to be prayed for and worked on. There's also lots written on the subject. In addition to the Letters, see articles such as "A Friend in Need", and "Caring Enough to Hear and Be Heard", and other interesting material in the reading list at the end of this Mag.)
       In other cases, the teens have difficulties with some adults being somewhat unresponsive. When the teen opened their heart & the adult's response was only, "Umm, interesting!" or, "Thanks for sharing that," & that's all that was said, the teen would be left to wonder what the adult was thinking of him, & so would stop opening his heart to that person.  In one case even though the teens knew that a certain Shepherd loved & cared about them, because of his lack of response, they felt they would rather not open up to him, & found it very difficult to confide in him.
       In some Homes there hasn't been a lot of thought, prayer or discussion among the adults about the communication with their teens. The adults are so busy in their daily duties that they are not really taking the time to strive to create a deeper relationship with their JETTs & teens, even though the young people do constitute such a large & vital proportion of the personnel in their Home. Thus the adults end up talking down to the young people, with most of their communication being correction, & not reaching out to them heart to heart.
       Another Home reported they felt everyone is rather bound by "keeping the standard". Because of this they have found it difficult to relax or even allow the kids room to make mistakes, etc.  This again causes the young people to be resentful of those with whom their normal communication is just instruction or correction.

Trust, Appreciation, & Listening
       We have realised that we need to go into a different mode of shepherding in order to relate to the teens better.  One way in which talking down to the teens or lack of respect for them can manifest itself is that the teens aren't trusted as much as they could be. Particularly if a teen manifests some problems, & they are pointed out to him: Say he receives the correction well, has prayer and begins to work on them. But in spite of his going on the attack against his weaknesses, immediately some of the adults don't seem to manifest the same degree of trust in that teen. They seem to lose faith that that teen can still be used, which is very sad. We adults have had many problems through the years. It helps if we remember how the Lord has used lessons learned this way to make us better vessels.
       When a teen is having some problems, he is likely to feel labelled about it, which makes it even harder to pull out of the difficult time in his life where he just seems to blow it right & left. During these times, we should make a greater effort to emphasise the positive by manifesting our love & an attitude of encouragement & faith that we believe he will get the victory.
       (On this topic, Mama said: "When one of our young people--or anyone, for that matter--is making a special effort to change in some area, we need to manifest {\ul \i trust} in his desire to change & {\ul \i believe} that he {\ul \i is}{\i   changing. Don't keep nagging & `peeking around the corner' to make sure he's not doing the same old thing as before, but put some confidence in him that he really is doing what he should do. Otherwise he could become very discouraged, sort of like the alcoholic who has given up drinking, but every night when he comes home from work his wife goes up to him & sniffs his breath to see if he's really changed his habits. That would just make you feel like, `Well, what's the use, they don't believe me anyway, so I might as well just go back to the way I was before. They still think I'm the same person I was before.' It's important to express faith that you know the Lord will answer someone's earnest  prayers & bless his efforts to change.}
("Equally important is the need to {\ul \i tell} people when they have changed, & {\ul \i express} that we see they have grown. We all need to have our progress acknowledged by others. This can go a long way in overcoming & helping to combat any problems with labelling.")
       Also on the topic of expressing faith in our young people, often adults end up just doing a job themselves rather than trusting the teens to take over & training them properly for the job at hand. When a teen is rather untrained in his ministry, the lack of training can hinder the  adults' placing trust in him, so it's kind of a vicious cycle--a lack of training & a lack of trust, with no progress being made. ({\ul \i Editor's note}: Trust & training will have to go together--that's how we adults learned! We were allowed room to make mistakes, starting with some responsibility & taking on more as we learned more. But we had to start somewhere!)
       We need to look at the teens more as co-workers in the Lord, working alongside us, rather than as some kind of under-workers or our "children" who are doing this work for us, which could be another way of looking down on them rather than treating them as co-workers.
       Sometimes in going to talk to our YAs, teens or JETTs about something, our mind may already be made up about the situation, & therefore we don't really listen to them as we should. But we need to approach any such situation with an open-minded attitude. As soon as we realise that there is another side of the coin that they're trying to express  to us, then we need to immediately listen, make ourselves very open to what they want to express.
       Often they bring out a viewpoint that we weren't aware of, & if we don't give them an opportunity to air it, they may begin to feel cornered & hurt & misunderstood. It's vital to establish good lines of open-hearted communications by really listening to them.
       Also, at times we show a lack of appreciation for all that our teens do. It seems we would never be able to express enough how thankful we are for all their precious contributions. Without them our whole operation would be very difficult & wouldn't function properly. We should thank them for everything that they do, sincerely realising what a big job they're doing.
       It would be easy for us adults to show more appreciation throughout the day. This can be done in so many ways while the teens are doing their work--even just by saying, "Thank you so much for doing this! We really appreciate you!" & giving them hugs & encouragement. Seeing what a blessing they are ought to make us want to do all we can to open opportunities for them to have fun & activities that they enjoy, such as dance nights, music projects, witnessing projects, etc. This is another way we can show our appreciation for them & relate to their needs, which again helps them to see that we are concerned about their needs, act on them, & respect them.

Be a Friend!
A Teen Shepherd's Lessons on  Communication
From Elaine, Pacific:
       As I was recently talking with S., one of our teen girls, she mentioned two teens here at the HCS who have a difficult time communicating with adults. In fact, both of these teens said that they don't like to talk with adults about their problems, but would rather just talk to their fellow teens.
       This is something that S. found difficult to relate to, because she has very good relations with the adults & Shepherds around the Home. She has come to learn the value of being able to open up & communicate & be honest with her Shepherds, & has gotten a lot of help because of it. On the other hand, she can understand some of the fears & apprehensions that some of the teens have.
       She explained to me how one girl was feeling really depressed & discouraged & she began to blurt out things to S., such as how she didn't like her job, she didn't like being here, she was lonely & she felt the School was impersonal. The things that she initially shared, S. felt, were not the main root of her problem. She just let her talk & asked questions & encouraged her to get it out. The Lord's given S. a real burden to try to help people, especially teens, & to learn what it is to be a good listener & counsellor.
       As this girl began to pour out about why she had such a difficult time communicating with adults, S. felt that some of the points she shared were valid. This particular teen told S. that oftentimes she doesn't understand her own emotions & she'll just start blurting things out that are irrelevant. The Shepherd will try to deal with them one by one & tend to spiritualise those things or answer them, when actually they aren't really the major thing that's bothering her, but just because she has a hard time expressing herself, things come out all jumbled & confused.
       S. told me she agreed with this, that a lot of Teen Shepherds do tend to over-spiritualise & try to answer the teens too quickly & feel they have to have an answer for every little thing.--When in fact the teens already know what the Word says about their problem. But oftentimes, because of the way teens' emotions work, they are feeling a little rebellious & frustrated. They may not even be prepared to receive the answer yet, but what they do want & need is someone to listen to them. They want someone to be a little sympathetic & understanding.
       Basically what they want is a friend; they want to feel like they can communicate with someone who won't condemn them, who won't over-spiritualise, who will just be "normal" with them. S. said that what she felt most teens wanted in their Shepherds was someone that they could talk to--not just when they're having problems, but someone they could talk to about their fantasies or dreams or aspirations, the things that they would love to do but maybe know they can't.
       She also felt a big hindrance to adult/teen communication was that the adults feel that they have to have their own act together, that they needed to appear to be "on top of things" in their own lives & have all the answers. Then they come across with this spirit of being so together, & that's very intimidating for the teens, as they often can feel so hopeless & helpless. They seem so incapable of facing the many obstacles to growing up. When Shepherds come across in this manner, even if it's nothing they say, but just their presentation or their attitude, it makes it real difficult for teens (or anyone else) to want to open up.

My Lessons in Learning to Be  Approachable
       If we as Shepherds could learn to be more natural with the teens, more human, & share our natural weaknesses, our frailties, our battles, & confess our failings more, that would make it easier for the teens to approach us. That's an approach that we found effective in all of our shepherding, not only with teens, but I think it's especially true with teens. I know from my own experience, for many years as a Teen Shepherd I thought that I needed to come across as someone who was "together". I thought I needed to be a "perfect sample", without shortcomings, or battles, or difficulties meeting the standard I wanted to live up to.
       I wasn't in the habit of opening up to the teens & sharing my weaknesses & frailties with them. Actually I initially felt that this kind of sample was detrimental to them. I've learned more about this in the last couple of years, from getting some personal shepherding myself. I've learned through my own Shepherd's example of "tarnishing his own image" by confessing his weaknesses, making himself more relatable, being more human, more natural, & I've been able to be that way more with the teens.  
       I first reaped the fruits of my previous mistakes of looking so "together" with both of my older daughters, Kezia & Jennifer, when they came to a point where they were not willing to receive my sermons & my preachments. I remember at the time it was a pretty shattering experience for me. But at the same time it was very liberating as I learned to look at the teens through different eyes.
       But it took that experience to wake me up to the fact that they didn't want that any more!--They didn't want the sermonising, they didn't want me to preach at them, they didn't even want me to give them the answers, they just wanted me to listen to them, to try to understand them, to be natural & normal with them, to show them I had had many of the same problems that they were experiencing, & in some cases still had them, & to maybe share the things that had helped me.
       I don't want to appear that I have attained in any way in this respect, but I know for me it was a major turn-around in the way I shepherded the teens. I've learned since then a lot more about the value of being able to confess my mistakes & my shortcomings to them on a regular basis--not just once in a while when I have a big breaking, but on a regular basis.
       I'm constantly learning that I have to send out a signal that they can approach me with their problems because I have problems too, & I may be able to be a help to them, simply because I'm human. Maybe one thing we don't realise as Teen Shepherds is how inadequate the teens feel a lot of the time, just as we adults often do, especially when we get new responsibilities. We need to try to do everything we possibly can to make it easy for them to approach us.

Childcare Teachers Becoming Teen Shepherds
       We've found that when a former teacher of a younger CC group becomes a Teen or JETT Shepherd, there can sometimes be a problem in the way they relate to the JETTs & teens. It can come across as though they're talking down to the teens or JETTs.  Oftentimes CC teachers who take on JETT or teen shepherding need help in learning to see our teens as disciples, not just kids.  Because of having worked with small children, they often don't expect enough from our JETTs or teens, or they have a "do-it-because-Daddy-says-so" attitude, which isn't very well received.
       I can see how it's easy to fall into this because I've done it myself so often.  But something that I have had to learn & re-learn is that we are dealing with God's Endtime Prophets here, who are being prepared for this day! Like Dad says, there's something inside of them that tells them they are it!--And they know it!
       We do still need to shepherd them, but there's an awful lot to learn on how to go about it, & in so many ways I feel like I'm just getting started! I just marvel each time I go back over & study the DTR Letters & the Techi Letters & Dad's Letters on teens, because Dad & Mama really know how to shepherd teens! It's all in the Word.

More on Being a Friend
       Although I mentioned above the importance of being a friend to the teens, one mistake that a lot of new Teen Shepherds make is in trying so hard to be the teens' friend, that they end up not expecting enough of the teens. Remember that they want to be shepherded, just like Dad says.  They are just like us adults in that way--they need it!
       Although they need a friend, if you try too hard to be accepted by the teens you can lose them. We feel that shepherding teens means to love them, respect  them, try to understand their problems by listening to them, & correct them when they need it!
       I think we all probably talk down to the teens at some time or another, but if you do, you can tell them you're sorry!  The teens have been really patient with us, waiting for us to learn how to handle them, & they are so forgiving.  Don't you remember how forgiving your kids have been with you?--Well, that's just how teens are; they're some of the most forgiving people I know!

Points to Remember from  These Shepherds' Reports
* Communicate with teens as friends & equals.
* Treat them as respectfully as you do adults.
* Have an encouraging, listening ear at all times.
* Avoid being preachy, or too vague in your responses.
* Be positive, not domineering, negative or nagging.
* Respect legitimate individual feelings & needs.
* Expect teens to be capable & diligent; give them responsibility.
* Ask for their ideas & pray about how to use them.
* Include teens in decision-making & give them real choices.
* Keep your promises & get back to them with replies to their questions & requests.
* Avoid labelling teens, individually or as a group.
* Avoid hasty, one-sided judgments.
* Show faith & trust in them when they're "in trouble" or battling NWOs; speak faith & encouragement.
* Don't hold back encouragement & training just because of NWOs.
* Answer questions as fully as possible; consider the questions they encounter in witnessing & their great need for answers.
* Don't cut off questions or answer impatiently, self-righteously or disrespectfully.
* Respond with tolerance & trust; don't over-react, or react in shock.
* Don't be too busy for them.--Take time to enjoy their company!
* Have more teen activities!
* Notice & compliment victories, personal growth & improvements.
* Praise loudly, correct softly (respectfully & privately whenever possible).
* Be open about your own weaknesses, & honest about your convictions.

       Following are lists of some comments to avoid, as well as comments that would be good to try to use when talking with young people. These lists were compiled with the help of some YAs, & many points are not only useful for conversations with teens, but with everybody!--And these lists can give you teens ideas on how to do better with your younger brothers & sisters, too.
       For a helpful discussion with all ages in your Home, assess together which lines from the first list you have been guilty of! It's also fun to see if together you can think of more--both of things not to say & things to say.

to Say to Young People
* Oh, you teens are all the same.
* Oh, come on! It's not that bad!
* You're too young to understand.
* Some day you'll grow up.
* Do I have to tell you a million times?
* When will you ever learn?
* Haven't I told you before not to do that?
* You just need to get the victory. (When the person is pouring out their heart about a serious personal problem, or something that has caused him or her an emotional battle.)
* You're not supposed to feel that way.
* You should know better than that.
* Use your head!
* If you'd been through what I've been through... (like they can't make a qualified decision until they're older).
* I can't believe you said that. (Or saying things with disgust in your voice.)
* You never fold your clothes nicely. You never make your bed.
* Why do you always do that? (Try to avoid the use of statements using "always" or "never" as applying to people's behaviour in a negative way.)
* You forgot to do such-&-such. (Instead of asking, "Did you remember to do such-&-such?")  
* I'll pray about it.  (If you have any idea whatsoever that you won't get around to it, & that nothing will happen as a result.)
* Wow, you're getting whiskers! Oh, is that some fuzz on your chin? (Or to girls:) Are those breasts under your blouse?
* You're not old enough to do that.
* Why can't you... (before anything).
* Your sister was never like that. (Comparing to someone else.)
* Aren't (or are) you supposed to be doing something? (--When you see two teens talking, not taking into account that they could be talking about something important or something they need to discuss.)
* We've always done it this way. This is the way I do it. (Cutting off all their creativity & new ideas.)
* Look me in the eye when you're talking to me.  Call me "Sir" when you're talking to me, Son. (We shouldn't demand respect of the teens & JETTs in this manner, just as we wouldn't with adults.)
* I know what you're going through. (The young person may feel, "No, you don't know what I'm going through." It's better not to present yourself as knowing exactly what someone else is going through, because each person is different, & young people want & need to be seen as individuals.)
* I just don't understand why you would do it that way.
* Talk like a big girl (or boy). (The phrases "big girl" or "big boy" are very condescending for anyone but small children.)
* Is that a murmur?  Is that a doubt? (You wouldn't question an adult's motives in that manner, you'd hear them out.)
* Why don't you start acting your age?
* If you only knew what it was like in the System. (Like we adults know so much more than they do.)
* Well, what are we supposed to do now?  (Asking really obvious questions, rhetorical or childish questions which you would ask a child, but which will seem condescending to a JETT, teen or YA.)
* Do you realise what kind of an example you're setting for the children? (Although this can be a helpful point if shared in a loving time of counselling, if said in a condescending way over a little thing, it could be very discouraging.)
* You've never done that before? You don't know how to do that? (If there are other JETTs or teens around, this could be very embarrassing.)
* You need to get inspired. You guys just need to get inspired.
* You're just acting cool. You're acting worldly. That's your cool jacket. (Accusing them of worldliness, when actually it's just a pet like or favourite thing, which doesn't make that much difference.)
* I can't believe you're going to be 18 next year. (Depending on the intonation, this can be encouraging or discouraging.)
* You'd better go & pray & come back with a revelation. Or you'd better go & get a verse. Did you get a verse before you did that?
* That's just a Job 9:20.
* You're hopeless.
* Are you deaf?
* Just do it because I say so.
* Do you know how to lock the car door? (Assuming that they don't know something. They feel, "Yes, I learned that when I was 6 years old.")
* Revolutionaries don't ask questions. (Answering too quickly without praying through & finding an answer.)
* That's a doubt. That's a murmur. (Not explaining, but just cutting them off with a short answer & no explanation.)
* God hates murmuring. (Using the Word or MO quotes in a hurtful or squelching way. Quickly throwing in, "Dad has said...", rather than taking time to find out what the question is & prayerfully answering it.)
* You're just going to have to trust the Lord. (When people ask questions that deserve & need an answer.)

Additional points to guard against:
* Over-explaining things can be condescending, such as over-explaining a procedure that they already know, as well as over-explaining videos, or over pow-wowing an obvious point which they learned long before. To gauge at what point "over-explaining" begins, maybe you could ask the teens themselves to define this, in any given situation.
* Ordering them around as though they were small children without considering their thoughts or suggesting things to see if they agree.
* Interrupting when they're talking.
* Giving an answer before they have a chance to explain their situation.
* Putting words in their mouths, or finishing their sentences.
* Brow-beating, harshly scolding, or threatening  privately, or, worse yet, in front of others.
* If a teen points out any discrepancies he sees in the Home practices from what he's read in the Word, the adult shouldn't over-react or get upset. Even though it may be hard to take, the adult should thank the teen & acknowledge his contributions. Although the presentation may not be perfect or tactful or even done through the proper channels, most important would be to not have a big negative reaction, which would cut off communication & stifle their initiative.
* Teens should be able to ask questions or say things without people appearing shocked, & not be told they're murmuring & just to get the victory without letting them talk about it with a responsible Shepherd. Appreciate their honesty & acknowledge their feelings sincerely. Don't jump to hasty conclusions or pre-judge a matter you haven't fully heard. Suggestions or direction, if needed, should be sincere & prayerful after sincerely making an effort to understand their situation.
* Reminding teens, because you are assuming that they didn't remember, can be belittling. "Can you go empty the potties?" when they were probably planning on doing it soon anyway.
* The tone of voice could make a difference, like using baby talk such as you might use when talking to a baby or a dog or cat. It can over-kill on sweetness, & sound unreal & not sincere.
* Don't ask questions that you would ask small children, or use phrases that would be appropriate for small children, like, "Who knows what comes next?"
* Sometimes not saying anything can make the other person feel uncomfortable. For example, a teen is doing something & an adult walks into the room & looks at what is happening. The teen is wondering what the adult is going to say, knowing they stopped & watched, but the adult doesn't say anything. Or the teen says, "Yes?" & there's no answer. Silence can make the teen feel that something is wrong.
* Don't shout across the room at a teen (unless of course it's to warn of some imminent danger).

Say to Young People
* It's a blessing to have your counsel.
* You're a good sample to me.
* We really need your fresh view on things.
* We need your new bottle outlook.
* I know the Lord will do it through you.
* I know you'll do a good job at this.
* Thanks for filling such a big hole.
* I knew I could count on you.
* I'm proud of you!
* Thanks for being so faithful.
* I really appreciate how you're so willing to pitch in!
* What do you think is the problem here?
* What do you think would be the solution?
* Please handle this project as you feel best. I'm here, if you'd like to counsel about anything. ({\ul \i Editor's note}: Of course, if it's a completely new experience you wouldn't always say, "Do it however you feel led." For example, if you're teaching someone how to drive a car, they need detailed instructions! But on something they probably already know how to do, it's nice for them if you assume they {\ul \i do} know how to do it instead of that they {\ul \i don't}. It will cause them to use their own initiative more, & will help them have more faith. Following are encouraging ways to show varying degrees of supervision, depending on what the task is:)
* Here's a project to be done. What do you think would be the best way to do it? (Then discuss ideas together before starting.)
* Here's this project. Why don't you think & pray about it, & come & let me know your ideas on how to attack it.
* Here's an idea or project for you to work on. If you have any questions about it, just come & ask.
* Can you think of a better way to do this than the way we've always done it?
* Thanks for being such an inspiration & so much fun.
* I'm so thankful for all the training you've received.
* If you see me doing something you wonder about, please ask me about it.--Maybe I'm not supposed to be doing it!
* Please tell me what you think about this. I need your honest opinion. (If you say this, you need to be ready for an honest opinion, & not get upset, or put the young person down for thoughts or ideas he may mention.)
* This is what we've discussed possibly doing. Would you pray about this & get back to me with your honest opinion as to whether you think it would work or not?
* You've really matured since I saw you last. It's wonderful to see you taking on so much responsibility.
* It's encouraging for me to see how the Lord has grown you up.
* It's inspiring to see how the Lord is using you.
* You're really good at such-&-such... (and mention a specific job or detail about something, rather than a generality).
* I knew you when you were just a baby, & it's wonderful to see what a strong disciple you've turned out to be! (YAs say that it's OK to say you knew someone as a baby if you don't say it in an embarrassing way. Sometimes such comments can be encouraging.)
* The Lord's really given you a gift in.... (Because the teens are trying to find out what they are good at, they appreciate adults being specific in telling them what they do well.)
* What do you think about this?
* That's a good idea!
* Thank you for your good work.
* The way you handled Johnny in that situation was very good. You did a good job on that.
* I know you're the one for the job.
* I'm sure the Lord can really help you with this job.
* I have faith for you to do this job.
* I'm so thankful that you're carrying such a big responsibility.
* It's a blessing for me to work with you.
* I enjoy working with you... (continue with something specific)...because you're so lively...because your ideas are so fresh...because you're so enthusiastic!
* I like your fire.
* You do well at this & I don't, so it's wonderful that you're here.
* It's so nice to have you on our team.
* You do a very good job leading inspiration. It's my weak point, but it's your strong point.
* Did things go well today?
* Did anything happen that you'd like to tell me about?
* I enjoy working with you!
* How did such-&-such make you feel?
* I'm sorry it didn't work out for you to do such-&-such. Are you disappointed about that? We'll try to work it out.
* "You had a rough day, didn't you?" or, "Today was difficult, wasn't it?" (If you know it was.)
* (When they've failed at something) Well, don't worry, I'm sure you'll do better next time.
* Don't worry about it, we all make mistakes.
* Just look at it positively--you know more about it now than you did before! Where there's life there's hope!
* I make mistakes all the time, but the Lord keeps using me! So I know He'll do the same with you!
* Now's your hour, so we know the Lord is going to come through!
* Thank you for your prayerful contributions!
* We couldn't do it without you!
* You're terrific!
* The way you do that is great!--I never would have thought of doing it like that!
* You're so much fun!
* Thanks for praying & finding a solution to that problem!
* It gives me a boost to have you around!
* Thanks for being such a blessing! I love you!
* I know you're going to make it.
* I have faith in you!
* I see your point. (Not followed by, "But...")
* Watching how you handled that situation taught me something. (Be prepared to answer what it taught you, but this can be a springboard for some close, heart-to-heart communication, as it immediately puts you on the same level & shows you feel they have value & talent.)
       When helping compile this list, a YA working behind the scenes commented, "Sometimes the adults are not trying to put you down or squelch you with the things they say, they just have certain habits in the way they are used to talking. Especially if they have lived with you a long time, they may have habits of relating to you in a certain way which are hard to break. Maybe they want to relate to you honestly & deeply in their heart, but they have a hard time. So I think it's good that they have lines to use, to help break the habits.
       "At first it might be awkward for everybody--for the person who's been saying this all their life, & also for the teen, who might think, `Does he really mean that?' But it's nice to know that the awkwardness goes away after a while & people do start to change."

Points to Ponder
The "Communications and Respect"  Challenge!--How to Take It!
       We realise after reading all this that you adults may feel very incapable of measuring up to the standard explained in this FSM. You may feel the doorknob's too high, or you may think, "I'll never remember to say all those nice things!"
       Of course, you will continue to make mistakes, and you're not always going to be the perfect teacher, Shepherd or parent. The Lord doesn't require us to be perfect, but simply asks us to put our will on His side, to pray, and to do what we can as we trust Him to do the rest. If you haven't already done so, please read Mama's Letter on "Loving Presentation" (in GN 570) right away, as it gives lots of good tips and encouragement about making the changes that this FSM recommends.
       And dear teens, as you read about the goals being set for the adults in this FSM, we'd like to remind you of Mama Maria's admonitions in the PER GN, where she cautioned you to be merciful and patient with the adults during this transition period. Please look for the Romans 8:28 in situations that may not be perfect, and watch out that you are not self-righteously accusing the adults of mistakes which you yourselves may make with those younger than you.
       The adults may fall short at times in their speech or shepherding, but it's not something to look down upon them for. They know they need to improve, and it's no doubt their weaknesses that give them compassion & understanding for you in yours!--As Grandpa says: "If we were so righteous & didn't have weaknesses, we couldn't help others much. We couldn't be sympathetic or compassionate if we were so self-righteous & perfect. We couldn't even understand others."
       If you were to honestly examine some of the situations which you feel were not handled properly, you would probably see that your actions, reactions, or lack of them, may have contributed to the problem. It helps when we realise that our actions & reactions often determine how others respond. Learning to communicate in ways which can prevent misunderstanding is what we all need to strive for together.
       Please remember, as well, that your overseers still have their duty to the Lord & the Word to continue to shepherd you & correct you when needed. The PER doesn't change that; it doesn't mean that misbehaviour will no longer be corrected! The Family standard still stands, and nothing is changed in that regard. Our Shepherds still need to shepherd you faithfully, just as you need to continue to respect them in their great responsibility of being your overseers in the Lord, responsible to Him for your well-being. We all--adults and young people alike--need someone who is willing to "watch for our souls, as they that must give account" (Heb.13:17).--God bless all our dear Shepherds for their sacrifice in doing so!
       We believe you will all take up this challenge--and that it will help you to work closer together than ever, sharing and receiving counsel & communicating with greater respect & love on both sides than you have ever had before. God bless you! We love you!  
* * *

       (Note: The Open-Forum Discussion Assignments in this Mag & in "Communication & Respect, Part 2" can take the place of one of the already required Home Meetings, such as the Childcare Meeting.)
       * Discuss together the specific problems, weaknesses, or lacks explained in this Mag, to determine whether or not they exist in your Home & to what extent.
       * Discuss specific solutions for any of the weak points that you have discovered in your Home. What can you do about it? How can you, adults & young people alike, begin to change things for the better?
* * *

Helpful Reading on Communication & Respect (Optional)
       Here is a list that you can refer to over the next few months, if you would like to do a reading project on the subject of "Communication & Respect". Please don't feel obligated to read through this whole list right away, but take your time.  Read as you feel led & as the need arises.

"Love Never Fails", DB4, p.63.
"Epistles to Pastors", DB4, p.107.
"Prayer for Love & Mercy!", DB4, p.278.
"Dear Ho & Faith" (on leaders & volunteers), DB5, p.75.
"New Bottles" (on letting them go further), DB5, p.300.
"Little People", DB1, p.205.
"Appreciation", DB1, p.212.
"Without Love It's Nothing!", DB2, p.362.
"The Early Teens", DB3, p.118.
"Let'm Do It!", DB3, p.273.
"Teen Sex" (on responsibility), Vol.16, p383-384, par.11-26.
"The Early Teens!" (on decisions), Vol.16, p.291-293, par.16-34.
"Accentuate the Positive!", Vol.18, p.31.
"The Power of Positive Correction!" GN 453,   #2649; "Let'm Ask!", #2650; "More on Letting'm Ask!", #2651; "Let'm Explain!", #2652;  "Explaining Things & Answering Questions", #2653.
"Don't Be Afraid to Ask Questions or Share Your Heart", GN 481, #2715.
"Love Is the Most Important Thing", DB2, p.339.
"The Importance of Good Communications", DB2, p.351.
"Dad's Good Sample in Conversation", DB3, p.308.
"Communication!", DB3, p.342.
"Teaching Kids Consideration", DB3, p.345.
"Do unto Others!", DB3, p.350.
"Walk in Their Shoes", DB3, p.362.

"More on the DTR!" (on sarcasm, gossiping, labelling & loose talk), FSM 191, p.11, 16-24.
"Family Decision-Making Between Parents & Children", FSM 155, p.14.

Raise 'em Right
"Apply the Love Cup Principle", p.24.
"Be a Hero to Your Teenager", p.49-52.
"Applause!--Handle Kids with Praise", p.146-147.
"Talk So Your Teenager Will Listen", p.148-157, 160-162.
"Laugh with Your Teenager", p.315-318, 320-323.
"How to Live (Almost) Happily with a Teenager", p.462-463.
"Communication!--Key to Your Teens", p.524-527.
"Communications Skills", p.631-633.
"Listening", p.635.

Secrets to Success with People
"Confidence and Power in Relating", p.1-7.
"Secrets for Attracting People", p.14-16.
"White Magic", p.20-24.
"How to Get 100% Cooperation", p.24-29.
"How to Criticise Without Offending", p.29-31.

How to Love
"Counselling & Communicating with People", p.6.
"How to Get People to Do Things", p.9-14.
"Ask Questions", "Praise", "Make the Fault Easy to Correct", p.42-43.
"Respect the Other Person's Feelings", p.45.
"Power with People!", p.61-62.
"The Art of Conversation & Salesmanship", p.63-66.
"Simple Secrets of Conversation", p.75-76.
"Straight Talk!", p.87-98.
"Connecting at Work", p.105.
"How to Talk So Kids Will Listen" p.106-117.
"101 Ways to Boost Your Child's Self-Esteem", p.122-127.

Marvellous Marriage (on Communications)
"Communication: Key to Your Marriage", p.150-153.
"More Communication Keys", p.153-157.
"How to Speak Your Spouse's Language", p.185-188.
"A Friend in Need", p.202-209.
"Caring Enough to Hear & Be Heard", p.273-278.
"I Am Somebody--Self-esteem", p.282-284.
"Dare to Be Vulnerable", p.343-344.
"Space to Breathe--Room to Grow!", p.345-350.

Other Pubs
"11 Ways Not to Start an Argument", Treasures, p.541-548.
"Criticism & Gossip", "Love One Another", & "Relations with People", The MOP.
"The Power of the Tongue", Word Basics.
The index topic of "Appreciation", references under the categories of "Love" and "Relations with       People", Good Thots.

Copyright 1996 The Family