Family Focus, Week 2

This is a weekly e-mail I’m going to send to parents of my life group students. I’m going to post them on this blog in case they might somehow be useful as a template for other youth workers or a good source to mine ideas from.


This week was kind of fun. We started out building some community by playing some games together. Keeping with the theme of building community, we had a lesson on the importance/value of friendships within the small group. I put the verses for the lesson inside fortune cookies. Each of them had a different verse. Each one read the verse then explained to the group how the truth of the verse could be brought into the relationships of our small group. I hope these guys will become not only best friends, but will live out these biblical concepts in our group.

This week we had a slight drop in attendance, especially on Tuesday. If your son was absent, I’d love it if they could clear their calendars, get homework done, etc, to make sure they can get to small group. The group and I have decided small group members who are habitually absent will have to be removed from the group until they can commit to regular attendance. Having a consistent group is important for the group members to feel able to open up to each other on a deep level.

A special thanks to Clayton for bringing delicious homemade cake this week. If you’d ever like to send a dessert, let me know. In next week’s e-mail, I’ll include a list of who’s up for each week.


1. Our small group starts meeting in homes next week! I’m very excited about making the move. Here’s where we’ll meet:

– Tuesday night: At the Smith home – (address deleted)

– Wednesday night: At the Jones home – (address deleted)

2. This Saturday I look forward to getting together at the parent meeting! We’re getting together Saturday, October — in the Refinery classrooms (upstairs) at -:–. MANY of you have let me know you’ll be there. Thank you! For those who can’t make it, I hope to have two more during the school year.

3. Our group would like to go camping on the beach in ————–. It turns out the October date wouldn’t work out. Our backup date is November __-__. Hopefully we’ll find out soon if it’s available on that weekend.

4. BIG news! I’m super excited to announce that, as of today, I am working on staff at Saddleback Church on the Celebrate Recovery team. While I have many responsibilities, I’m most excited about my role as the leader of a student program starting in January called The Landing. It is for any student who has pain, abuse or habits they would like to work through. I know this will be a huge help for students and families.

As always, I’m happy to meet one-on-one or over the phone if you need.

Thanks for your support! See below for a quote from a great book I’m reading called The 5 Love Languages of Teenagers, by Gary Chapman.


Dennis Beckner
Cell: (949) 555-5555

The 5 Love Languages of Teenagers, page 20

2. Entering the Age of Reason

Adolescence is also the age of reason. The teenager is able to think logically and see logical consequences of different positions. This logic is applied not only to his own reasoning but also to the reasoning of his parents. Do you see why a teenager might often be perceived as “argumentative”? In reality, he is developing his mental skills. If the parents understand this, they can have meaningful and interesting conversations with their relationship, and the teenager must go elsewhere to flex his newfound intellectual muscles. With this rapid growth in intellectual development and the gleaning of new information, the teenager often believes himself to be smarter than his parents and in some areas, he may be right.

This advanced level of thinking leads the teenager into a whole new arena of challenges in the field of social relationships. The discussion of “ideas” with his peers and listening to their point of view gives rise to new levels of intimacy on the one hand and opens the possibility of an adversarial relationship on the other. Thus, development of cliques (small, close social groups) among teens has far more to do with agreement over intellectual ideas than it does with things like dress and hair color. Teens, like adults, tend to feel more comfortable with those who agree with them.