Naming Loss and Gratitude with Young People in These Uncertain Days

During these long and complicated days of working and learning from home, we want to share an outstanding article about talking to our children, youth and young adults about the changes and feelings they're experiencing during this crisis. The Fuller Youth Instititute provides some of the best resources for supporting young people (and ourselves!) during every phase of life, and this article is especially poignant. It describes two lists that can help us all come to terms with what... Read More
at Monday, March 30, 2020
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Sticky Faith: How to Nurture Lasting Faith in Young People

Young people aren’t the church of tomorrow, they’re the church of today.   I’ve been visiting the MOM’s (Ministry of Motherhood) Group meetings occasionally, even though I’m well past their demographic of parents with young kids and babies. I’ve visited for two reasons: one is to check in on their conversations, challenges and wonderful example of fellowship and mutual support. It’s an amazing group of dedicated, faithful, authentic... Read More
Posted by Elizabeth Castleman at Wednesday, April 3, 2019
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What Teenagers Need From Us More Than (Almost) Anything Else

We hear many parents express their frustrations about their tween or teen children developing attitudes and behaviors that push their buttons like never before. These formerly sweet and caring children start showing signs of disinterest, disrespect, perhaps even dislike toward their parents. They seem to be pushing us away, and sometimes, in our hurt and frustration, we feel compelled to turn away as well. Lisa Damour, author of many books and articles on teen girls, shares a poignant... Read More
at Sunday, February 10, 2019
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Selfies and Self-Worth

“I look hideous in all of these photos.”  This was something that one of the girls in our youth ministry said about a series of group photos I had taken on one of our fall retreats. She, like the rest of the youth, wanted to inspect the photos of their fun I had snapped. Her comment struck me because it was so blunt. The way she talked about herself is how the Phantom of the Opera would have described himself.  This girl’s comment also struck me because I... Read More
Posted by Andrew Hostetter at Thursday, January 24, 2019
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Supporting Grieving Children, Teens and Families

Our community is grieving the loss of two Conestoga High School students in the past week, and it has been a time of many deep emotions among students, families, friends, teachers, coaches, neighbors and many others whose lives were touched by such young and vibrant boys. So many are grieving, and so many teens in the high school community are processing the grief, confusion, anger, despair and other deep emotions that can all accompany loss. The school administration and faculty are... Read More
at Tuesday, January 15, 2019
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Connecting with college students over break: they’re bringing home more than their laundry

Parents all over the country are anticipating their young adult kids coming home for the holidays. For some, it’s the first time they’ve been home since they sent them off and set them up for the college school year. Home will feel like home again. Likely, they’ll bring their laundry, too. If you’re one of those parents, you’ll see them walk in with that laundry bag slung over their shoulder, and in that moment, you’ll have a choice. ... Read More
at Wednesday, December 19, 2018
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Self Care is About Looking Up

As my husband Andrew and I were thinking about what we wanted to talk about on our retreats for our High School and Middle Schoolers, we kept thinking about how busy and tired and exhausted they seem to always be. We thought about what it might be like if our young people really believed that life was more than a checklist, more than being overwhelmed with everything they needed to do. Originally we called our Retreat, “Treat Yo Self,” because we really wanted them to know and... Read More
Posted by Sarah Hostetter at Wednesday, December 12, 2018
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Those Who Wait

Hi, I’m Rachel Donnelly, mother of three beautiful kids, and member of Wayne Presbyterian Church. This is a writing I did about the challenging season of life, and parenting, that I am currently in. Although it doesn’t give a new perspective on how-to-do parenting, I hope it does allow others to see how sharing our stories is so important. Being vulnerable is tough, especially for parents who are trying to keep it all together for our families. Being vulnerable as a parent... Read More
at Monday, December 10, 2018
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Why Is Faith Important to Families?

Researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health recently published a paper that concludes that a religious upbringing is linked to better health and well-being during early adulthood . At first, I thought this was great news, since we’ll do anything to improve our kids’ chances of being happy and healthy adults, right? Then I started considering the real reasons we think faith is important to our family. It’s a lot more complicated than just wanting them to be... Read More
at Thursday, October 4, 2018
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How to Have Faith Conversations with Youth

There are not many universal truths out there. People will argue about whether God is love, or if all people are created equal, but few care to challenge this truth: parenting a teenager is difficult.  I am certain it always was difficult, because just looking at what is happening inside teens’ bodies and minds is enough to make any parent pray for reinforcements, but I think it has gotten more complicated over the years. Now not only are teens changing quickly, but society with it... Read More
Posted by Andrew Hostetter at Wednesday, October 3, 2018
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The Only Six Words Parents Need to Say to Their Kids About Sports — Or Any Performance

It’s back-to-school season – a time when thousands of local kids are returning to school, sports fields, stages and recital halls to display their talents to their families and to the world. Parents come to watch, coach and cheer, and their words and actions matter deeply. After many years of coaching and cheering my kids from pre-school through high school, I finally found the best advice for what to say to players or performers to encourage them and bring them joy on the... Read More
Posted by Elizabeth Castleman at Wednesday, September 12, 2018
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Three Benefits of Sabbath for the Busy Family

A few months ago, I preached a sermon on why sabbath is a gift from God. In it, I invited the congregation to see sabbath less as a rigid prohibition than as a route to freedom. As our families continue to suffer under the weight of the many responsibilities, agenda items, practices, rehearsals, recitals, concerts, games and tournaments, I think sabbath might be just the type of commitment that can set us free. Specifically, I want to lift up three benefits of a sabbath practice for the busy... Read More
at Monday, August 27, 2018
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Encouraging Your Kids to Speak Up

Earlier this year, WPC held a Parent Education Series on the topic of how to help our youth talk about issues that are important to them. Experts from Speak Up!, a local organization that helps youth and parents develop the skills they need to talk about difficult topics, joined us for the first two classes to facilitate some powerful discussions. These classes were exceptionally well-attended, as parents looked for guidance on building a culture of open, honest communication in their... Read More
at Thursday, August 16, 2018
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From Fear to Gratitude

Last week my teenage son woke up in the middle of the night and could not open his eye, it was clamped shut. We tried hot compresses and drops, but the eye was protecting itself from something and would not open. When he awoke in the morning his eye was still clamped shut making it very hard for him to open both eyes. For a few hours, he could not see and needed help to get around the house. I held his arm to walk to the car and to the doctor’s office. The eye doctor gave him a drop... Read More
at Sunday, July 8, 2018
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The Surprising Gifts of Service

On a middle school mission trip a few years ago, we served a meal to women in a shelter. Some of the women were quiet and didn’t express appreciation for our service. Some might even have seemed a little dismissive. Afterwards, I had a conversation with a few youth, who were a little disappointed at the lack of gratitude – relating to me that “they didn’t even say thank you.” This is such an important and appropriate feeling for young people who are still... Read More
Posted by Elizabeth Castleman at Friday, July 6, 2018
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