As For Me and My Crazy House

Kara Powell | Aug 16, 2012

The last few weeks I’ve been enjoying Brian Berry’s new book, As for Me and My Crazy House. Brian’s a youth leader I respect and his subtitle captures the heart of the book: “Learning to Protect Your Heart, Marriage, and Family from the Demands of Youth Ministry.”

While Brian writes from the perspective of a busy church leader, his insights are relevant to all of us. In particular, two of the insights that I found most helpful and have actually talked with my husband about since reading the book are the power of family vacations and the power of one on one times with your kids.

Brian writes,

“If I could wave a magic wand over the world and get parents to do just one thing that many have mental agreement with and very little real action behind, I’d tell them to leverage their influence and have consistent one-on-one time with their kids…The truth is, in almost two decades of youth ministry, I’ve never had a counseling appointment with a parent about the teenager when the parent was doing this. Whenever I ask, ‘Do you and your son or daughter have a regular, standing lunch date or java chat or Saturday breakfast or anything that is consistent and just the two of you?’ the answer is always, ‘No.’”

Obviously, there is no silver bullet, and Brian has an advantage in that a ministry schedule is demanding but pretty flexible. Nonetheless, my husband and I had a great chat two days ago about how we could make one on one times more of a priority with our own 3 kids (which takes some dividing and conquering, as well as clever scheduling).

The second of Brian’s reminders that I really appreciated was the power of family vacations. Brian reminded youth leaders that:

“I don’t have to convince you that we can’t compare the influence of 20 two-hour youth group meetings with the power of just one 40-hour summer camp week.”

Too true! I’ve often said that a week (or even a weekend) of camp meant more to a kid’s spirituality and relational connectedness than 6 months of Sunday School.

I love Brian’s encouragement of applying that same principle to our families. Dave and I had already planned some family time away this next year, but Brian’s words motivated us to make sure those don’t get crowded out, and that we move forward on securing those camping reservations.

Whether or not you’re a youth leader, how has your family benefitted from one on one times or time away together? How have you squeezed that in given your busy family schedule?

Kara Powell

Dr. Kara Powell is the Executive Director of the Fuller Youth Institute (FYI), a faculty member at Fuller Theological Seminary, and Fuller's Chief of Leadership Formation. Named by Christianity Today as one of “50 Women You Should Know,” Kara serves as a Youth and Family Strategist for Orange, and also speaks regularly at parenting and leadership conferences. Kara is the author or coauthor of a number of books, including Growing Young, Growing With, The Sticky Faith Guide for Your Family, Sticky Faith Curriculum, Can I Ask That?, Deep Justice Journeys, Deep Justice in a Broken World, Deep Ministry in a Shallow World, and the Good Sex Youth Ministry Curriculum. Kara lives with her husband Dave and their three children, Nathan, Krista, and Jessica, in Southern California.

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