My Initial Concern about Reggie Joiner's Orange

Kara Powell | Dec 3, 2009

When I first heard about Reggie Joiners orange philosophy, my first concern was that he didnt value the impact of non-family adults in a kids life. Now that I have read Think Orange and talked with Reggie Joiner, I know thats far from the case.

Reggie tells a great story about his own relationship with his son. Its such a good story that Ill be telling it to other parents. So that you can share it with parents also, Im going to basically transcribe it in this blog.

One night, Reggies sixteen year-old son, Reggie Paul, came home past curfew because he had been out on a date with a girl. Reggie remembers,

I confronted him in his room. I said something that probably wasnt the wisest thing for a father to sayI told him, You are late coming home from a date, and I just need to know whats going on in your relationship, and I need to know now. I want you to tell me everything.

He looked at me and said exactly what youd expect him to say: No, Im not going to tell you that.

Then I said to him, You have to tell me; I am your father.

He said, No, Im not going to tell you because you are my father. You make the rules.

I was so flustered. I felt paralyzed. I didnt know what to do.

The next day, I showed up at Andy Stanleys office and said, I just dont understand it. Im trying to get my son to tell me whats going on, and he wont tell me anything.

Andy thought for a second, then with his gift of mercy said to me, Well, did you tell your father everything?

The next day I went back to Reggie Paul. I said, I talked to Andy and he said he didnt tell his father everything either, and I should understand why you wont tell me everything. Im trying to be okay with that. But heres the question: if you wont tell me, then who will you tell?

His response was easy. He said, Thats fair. Ill tell you who Ill talk to. He named someone.

As soon as he said the name, I felt a huge sense of relief because the person he named had been a lifelong friend of mine.

Thats the type of web of relationships every student needs, and thats the type of relationships every parent and youth worker can point students toward.

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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