Monday, July 21, 2008

Order Your Copy Today!

Emails to My Daughters has made the final rounds between students, parents, and professors and shipping! Click on the cover to the left or click here to order a copy today for yourself and/or a friend!

Friday, May 30, 2008

What’s a "Spiritual" Parent to Do?

One of the privileges I’ve had as a speaker on over 40 college campuses in the past few years is to really get to know my “audience.” Spending 100’s of hours in conversations with college students of both genders and all ages, from all parts of the United States and from every type of institution (private, state, religious, and junior college campuses) has convinced me that you and I—no matter our age or marital status—can and should take seriously the call to become surrogate parents to this young generation of 21st century students, both men and women.

Getting to know these students—whether it has been over an extended amount of time or in brief, chance encounters—has absolutely convinced me that this young generation unequivocally wants (and desperately needs) sound advice from caring adults in their lives and usually (even often) it is better if you’re not their parent! I’ve also found that students are more open to counsel when it is neither overly emotional nor demeaning. The combination of truth without anger allows students to feel a healthy dose of pain or embarrassment in disappointing someone who cares about them without feeling shamed by that person. (I’ve also found that students are usually quite humiliated by their self-destructive behavior, as well as the circumstances they find themselves in, so by the time they confide in me, heaping more humiliation upon them is not necessary!)

I want to encourage you to join my Spiritual Parent's Club--to get involved in a student or young adult’s life as an encourager, mentor or spiritual parent whether you are the parent (or family member) of a student, their co-worker, neighbor, a mere acquaintance, or even a stranger. Here a few simple ways…

First, I have found that striking up a meaningfully, often timely conversation is much easier and less complicated (and less stressful) than imagined. Rather than being intimidated, simply ask personal and pointed questions of students and expect honest answers—out of genuine interest without building an argument in response. Whatever they say, don’t overreact, roll your eyes in disapproval, or be judgmental. Be listeners first, advocates second and finally, don the role of spiritual/surrogate parent, rather than professional counselor.

Sample Questions to ask students might include:

1. Is there anything in your life you would change right now?
2. What are the tenets you believe about yourself or your gender/generation?
3. What do you believe is the purpose for your life?
4. Is there anything you are doing right now that is harmful to yourself or another?
5. Do you have a personal relationship with God?

Second, please don’t underestimate the courage (and comfort) that is exchanged when you consistently (or even randomly) encourage and physically, emotionally, mentally, or spiritually support a local or out-of-area student!

Third, don’t lose touch with students and young adults with whom you begin a relationship. This simple rule is very parental in nature. A parent will simply not lose contact with a child—they will patiently pursue, always keeping up with their most recent address and phone numbers. With true and long-term interest, parents stay informed with their status of their child’s progress in school or at work. Of course, parenting takes time and intention. And “spiritual parenting” is really no different. Knowing how to stay “in touch” by email (on a computer) or how to send and receive text messages is part of the “drill” in communicating with this younger generation. Because this is the way most students and young adults communicate, it is important to make the effort to be accessible to them through these methods.

In closing, I want to remind you that you don’t have to look very far to find a student who needs to be supported or encouraged. They are everywhere! Just be courageous and assertive. Of course, if you don’t feel personally prepared, I would encourage you to immediately begin your research of today’s culture, upgrade your technology, and fortify your own life spiritually. Most importantly, know what you believe, why you believe it and how to articulate it in a few brief sentences. Then live out the tenets of your faith in front of others with consistency. Remember, you don’t need to be a parent (or have been a parent) to mentor or “spiritually” parent this young generation. You only need to possess a deep confidence that you have been called—for such a time as this—to come alongside one or more students or young adults to give moral, spiritual and parental support.

Be encouraged,


Thursday, November 29, 2007

Focus Group

Okay, I'm convinced that I have found a need (with both mothers and daughters) and I'm going to attempt to fill it with this little book, Emails to My Daughter. I have begun to read each entry aloud to students (young women and men) I read it to them, we have cried together. Even my editor and his wife had the same "teary-eyed" experience.

So, now I'm going to ask each of you to email me ( with your direct email address and I would like to send you random sections of the manuscript to read and review with others who might give us truthful insights. Most importantly, I know we all want to reach a young generation of women who are selling out to (or being swept away by) culture and giving away (and losing) their precious selves to those things that will never satisfy.

I would also like to ask your permission to randomly and anonymously include your blog comments in the back of my book--I feel that we all come from different places but we have the same your words, which articulate so personally your pain, can help another person who hasn't identified with me...if you would give me permission in your email to me, I would be grateful.

The manuscript has to be completed by December 13, 2007, so don't delay in contacting me, okay!!

You encourage me!


Friday, October 19, 2007

Correspondence to include...

As this literary project unfolds, I realize I have finally found a forum in which to publicly address all the students who have shared their inmost secrets with me through confession. After visiting almost 40 college campuses, I am convinced that this young generation--especially those who have been raised in the church--are completely overwhelmed with the mixed messages that come at them from every angle.

Media presents one picture. Professors in state schools present a dramatically different viewpoint than those in private schools, and yet, students who left high school with a Christian foundation seem to be flailing.

I am convinced that the culture in which we live is aggressively stealing, killing, and destroying our children's faith, sexual purity, morality, and the purpose for which they were born--and women of all ages need to stand up and say something!

This book, Emails to My Daughter (working title), is a compilation of the stories I've heard from students while visiting almost 40 college campuses. And I am convinced, they will shock you into helping me reach this young generation--whether you have a student or not!

In the coming weeks, I am planning to post only 1/2 of the correspondence between me and my daughter--her words and questions to me. (My answers will not appear in this blog, but be published in 2008, yet if you believe I'm on the right track, I'd love your thoughts on each entry.) But for those of you who have lived through what I'm going to share, I write this book (1) to assure you (and your daughters), that you're not the only ones experiencing heartache, and (2) to provide some answers based on biblical principles that I have seen work in the lives of the students who've inspired this correspondence.

I have a very specific purpose for this "fictional" book--that every parent and/or student who is desperately seeking spiritual encouragement, indomitable hope, and practical answers for standing firm amidst the incredible challenges of our culture will find it.

Pray for me, will you? The answers to my daughter's emails will be published in 2008...

In the meanwhile, be encouraged.


Saturday, September 15, 2007

I sat next to a college student on a plane recently...

We struck up a conversation immediately--about where she was going, what she would do when she got there, and why some of the decisions she was about to make could really hurt her. She was anxious, tearful, and afraid.

After a short time I said, "If you were my daughter, I would tell you to get off this plane and get on the next plane home!" She sighed and said, "My mom told me to go and have a good time."

I've had numerous, similar conversations lately. And I'm convinced that there are many young women who are looking for mentors who will speak the truth in love to them.

So, I've decided to send emails to the daughter I've never had (though my son has gotten plently of these from me)...with the expectation that I'll reach someone who is sincerely looking for the advice, encouragement, and love of a mom.

Check in regularly for my thoughts and feelings...and don't hesitate to ask me questions!

Be encouraged,