A Seat at the Table

A Seat at the Table

Last week, as we were working through an activity in our support group, one of the young ladies asked if she could step out in the hallway. She had a mask on, so I wasn’t quite sure if she was upset, but the counselor followed her out to be sure. About five minutes later, she re-entered the room and finished the group. While this didn’t seem like much, I asked the counselor what had happened with this student.

“Well, she got very emotional all of a sudden and needed a second. Apparently, the issues the other students were talking about were exactly what she was going through. She wasn’t sad or upset. She just got overwhelmed with knowing she wasn’t alone.”

Can you imagine? Well, of course, you can. We have all felt alone.

Alone in our thoughts. Our struggles. Our fears. Our failures. Our pain.

Feeling alone is like a millstone around our neck. The weight and pressure of loneliness is unspeakable. Not until that weight is lifted do we understand how much of a burden it was.

And that is where so many teenagers find themselves. Despite living in a world that is overly connected, most teens would tell you they are lonelier than ever.

This year at the Teen Life Dinner and Auction, we spent time focusing on the concept of the open table. That is, we all long for a seat at the table where we know we won’t be judged and where we can connect. That’s all we really want most of the time. We want to hear that we aren’t alone and that we won’t be rejected.

During adolescence we find crucial developmental milestones taking place. Autonomy. Differentiation. Self-actualization. Reflection. Establishment of core values. Identity formation. In other words, the most important stuff!

But imagine going through all of those milestones feeling like you were the only one in the world that was experiencing these things.

When a teenager is becoming “themselves” through the process of adolescence, healthy relationships are crucial to positive outcomes.

An open table is key. A teenager needs a safe place to turn when life gets difficult.

Will that be you? Will you be the non-judgmental presence needed when no one else will help? We need more safe people. Period.

How do we start?

Be shockproof. No matter what a teenager says to you or does, take it in stride. Be safe. Be a welcoming presence.

In doing so, you welcome them to the table where they can find the safety and connection they need to make the right decisions and become who they were meant to be!

Chris Robey

Chris Robey

CEO

Chris has worked with teens from a variety of backgrounds for over a decade. He has a desire to help teenagers make good choices while also giving their families tools to communicate more effectively as choices are made.

Ep. 76: Fentanyl & TikTok Now

Ep. 76: Fentanyl & TikTok Now

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Summary:
Up to 50 times stronger than heroin and up to 100 times stronger than morphine, fentanyl has been making the news lately for its recent re-emergence. Learn the signs of overdose and tips for starting a conversation with teenagers about what to look for and the dangers of taking pills or other drugs from friends or strangers. Then, learn the latest changes in social media with our TIkTok update. And get a hot tip on keeping school lunch prep fast and easy!

In this episode, we mentioned or used the following resources:

Have a question? If you have a question about something you heard or just want to give us some feedback, please leave us a comment below.  We would love to hear from you!
About Us:
Chris Robey

Chris Robey

CEO

Chris has worked with teens from a variety of backgrounds for over a decade. He has a desire to help teenagers make good choices while also giving their families tools to communicate more effectively as choices are made.
Karlie Duke

Karlie Duke

Director of Communications

Karlie was in one of Teen Life’s original support groups and has always had a heart for teenagers and the vulnerable life stage they are in. She has a wealth of experience to share from working with teens in ministry and leading support groups.

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Ep. 66: Talking with Teens about Value

Ep. 66: Talking with Teens about Value

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Summary:
Summer is a great time to start conversations with your teen! Use the extra time with them while they are home to get curious and ask open-ended questions.

To help, we’ve designed this series to be a quick, fun way to get everyone talking. Listen together with your teen, or by yourself. You might be surprised at how willing teenagers are to talk when they get started!

Episode 66 is one of our most important conversations in the series. Karlie and Tobin look at how much teens feel valued by the people in their life.

Question:
How much do you feel you can depend on the people in your life?

Talk through these with your teen after this podcast ends!

  • Who do you think you can depend on the most?
  • Are there people who you depend on that don’t value you?
  • What would it take for you to feel more valued by the people close to you?
  • What can you do to be more dependable to the people in your life?
Have a question? If you have a question about something you heard or just want to give us some feedback, please leave us a comment below.  We would love to hear from you!
About Us:
Chris Robey

Chris Robey

CEO

Chris has worked with teens from a variety of backgrounds for over a decade. He has a desire to help teenagers make good choices while also giving their families tools to communicate more effectively as choices are made.
Karlie Duke

Karlie Duke

Director of Communications

Karlie was in one of Teen Life’s original support groups and has always had a heart for teenagers and the vulnerable life stage they are in. She has a wealth of experience to share from working with teens in ministry and leading support groups.

Follow Us

Ep. 59: Talking with Teens about Integrity

Ep. 59: Talking with Teens about Integrity

 Listen & Subscribe

 

Summary:
Summer is a great time to start conversations with your teen! Use the extra time with them while they are home to get curious and ask open-ended questions.

To help, we’ve designed this series to be a quick, fun way to get everyone talking. Listen together with your teen, or by yourself. You might be surprised at how willing teenagers are to talk when they get started!

In episode 59, Kelly Fann is back with Karlie to talk about integrity and setting healthy boundaries.

Question:

How comfortable are you saying “no” when someone crosses your boundaries?

Talk through these with your teen after this podcast ends!

  • What is something you said “yes” to when you should have said “no”?
  • How did that impact you?
  • When is a time someone said “no” to you, and you really appreciated it?
  • What are some things you could do to make saying “no” easier?
Have a question? If you have a question about something you heard or just want to give us some feedback, please leave us a comment below.  We would love to hear from you!
About Us:
Karlie Duke

Karlie Duke

Director of Communications

Karlie was in one of Teen Life’s original support groups and has always had a heart for teenagers and the vulnerable life stage they are in. She has a wealth of experience to share from working with teens in ministry and leading support groups.

Kelly Fann

Kelly Fann

Digital Media Manager

Kelly has lived in three countries and worked with teens across the world, encouraging them to pursue their passions and to be kind. She’s been refining messages and telling stories for brands and non-profits since 2009.

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Ep. 54: Mental Health Awareness & Booktok

Ep. 54: Mental Health Awareness & Booktok

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Summary:
Even now, there are many misconceptions about mental health problems and their treatment. Join Chris and Karlie as they talk about common myths versus the reality of mental health issues.

Then, have you heard of BookTok? Don’t miss this overview of the latest social media trend to hit TikTok.

In this episode, we mentioned or used the following resources:

Have a question? If you have a question about something you heard or just want to give us some feedback, please leave us a comment below.  We would love to hear from you!
About Us:
Chris Robey

Chris Robey

CEO

Chris has worked with teens from a variety of backgrounds for over a decade. He has a desire to help teenagers make good choices while also giving their families tools to communicate more effectively as choices are made.

Karlie Duke

Karlie Duke

Director of Communications

Karlie was in one of Teen Life’s original support groups and has always had a heart for teenagers and the vulnerable life stage they are in. She has a wealth of experience to share from working with teens in ministry and leading support groups.

Follow Us