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The four cries of a teens’ heart. – Words to Live

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Dr. Lonnie G. McCowan, pastor of Miracle Center of Ventura

I think most adults think it’s hard to build a relationship with teens. They think teens are totally different from them and they can’t understand their world. I don’t really buy into this though. I think teens have real needs, and if you can meet those needs, you can have a transformational relationship with them. The key to understanding those needs is what I like to call. The four cries of a teens’ heart.

1. Spend Time With Me

Teens know that your time is valuable, so when you give them your time, they know they are valuable to you. When teens know you value them, they are willing to open their hearts to you.

Here are some practical ways to spend time with teens:

  • Take them places you are going.
  • Go to their activities, for example: plays, sporting events and musical performances

2. Discover Me

Teens have a favorite subject and it’s them. Not many people want to talk about their favorite subject, so if you spend time asking them questions about themselves, they will be your friend forever. Here are a couple of question to ask them:

  • What is your favorite movie, song or book?
  • What are your dreams, goals and fears?
  • Who do you like? (This may seem awkward, but few adults actually ask them this question.)

3. Connect With Me

Teens have hobbies, interests and activities that they love. Some of these activities are the same things you love. Find common interests and bond over them. You may like the same sports teams, hobbies or cooking. When you discover something you connect on, plan a time to get together and do the activities together. Through a shared experience, you will create a bond that will last.

4. Pursue Me

Teens want to know that you will not quit on them. Many adults in their lives have left them and they don’t want to be treated that way. By pursuing them, you are demonstrating how much you care, so write notes (the best are the ones that come in the mail), make phone calls, text and ask to have ice cream or pizza. All of this will communicate that you are different and that you care.

If you understand the four cries of a teen’s heart, you can build a transformational relationship with them. If you want to help teens or even adults, you have to grow here are seven sure ways to grow yourself.

1. Desire growth. Sounds simple, but we tend to seek what we desire most. If you truly want to grow find ways to do so. Check your heart. Do you really desire to grow as a person?

2. Accept correction. No one enjoys hearing they did something wrong, don’t view all correction as criticism use it as an opportunity to grow… Can you take correction, even when it stings a little to hear?

3. Listen to wiser voices. Experience is a great teacher. And, all of us are surrounded by people who have grown wise through their experiences. Be a wisdom seeker?

4. Invest in others. Reinforce what you learn by helping others learn. Are you helping to grow others around you? Are you allowing others to learn from your experience?

5. Recognize your weaknesses, and strengths. When you become more aware of what you do well and what you don’t, you grow as a person and as a leader. You will start investing more energy in your strengths and seek to minimize your weaknesses. Can you admit there are some things you simply aren’t good at doing? Are you confident enough to recognize your strengths?

6. Refuse mediocrity. Growing people push themselves beyond the limits of normalcy. Average is common. Exceptional takes work. Are you seeking to go beyond what’s expected? Are you holding yourself to standards nothing short of your very best?

7. Embrace failure. Falling down, Getting back up, Falling down, Getting back up, this is a part of maturing…but never stay down!

Lonnie G. McCowan is pastor at The Miracle Center of Ventura, in Ventura, CA. He can be contacted through email at lonnie100@msn.com or by visiting www.miraclecenterventura.com.

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