Recovering our Shock Factor

A dear friend called one day to tell me about an encounter she had with her fourteen-year-old son. They were camping for the weekend, and she woke up one morning with a vivid memory of her dream. In the dream the family was driving in their van, and her son used some foul language. No one corrected him or showed any surprise at his inappropriate words. They all just went on with conversation as usual. She heard God’s Spirit speak to her that her son was losing his shock factor. His exposure to bad language through school and sports was starting to desensitize him. She hadn’t heard him use these …

Are you really listening?

For many years I led a small group of sixth-grade girls, and we often talked about issues going on in their middle-school lives. One day one of the girls was telling a story in great detail about a misunderstanding with her teacher. I asked what her mom thought about the situation. I was shocked to find that this girl had not discussed what was going on with either her mom or dad. I was intrigued. Of the five girls in the room, all agreed that they don’t tell their parents most of what is really going on in their hearts and minds. Panic rose inside me because at the time …

Counterfeits and the Real Deal

I remember being at church camp as a teenager and hearing the speaker tell a story of a little girl with a fake pearl necklace. Here is my version of this popular and often-told story. A little girl bought a plastic pearl necklace with the money she had been saving all year. She loved her pearls and felt so grown up when she wore them. She only took them off when she went swimming or took a bath. Though the pearls weren’t real, that didn’t matter to her. She had bought them all by herself. This little girl had a loving father. One day he said to her, “Honey, do …