In this episode of this series, we are talking to Tyson Dever, author of Trauma is a Team Sport, about life after the unexpected happens. As a young adult, Tyson’s life was forever changed after a distracted driver of a fully-loaded cement truck hit his car. This car accident left him paralyzed from the waist down, and changed any plans he had for the future. However, in the midst of this unexpected tragedy comes hope and the fulfillment of lifelong dreams. Join our conversation with Tyson Dever and his co-author, Sarah Paulk, as we talk about tragedy, recovery, motivation, and the will to thrive. If you have experienced an injury or traumatic event, or are walking through life with a teen who has a similar experience, this is the podcast for you! We invite you to join our conversation with Tyson Dever.
Summer is officially here, and I did not want to miss the opportunity to share the ways your support, donations, and encouragement have impacted the 1,204 students who participated in Teen Life Support Groups this school year. Each week, I get to see the impact these groups make. These teenagers are more than numbers, campuses and school districts to me. I get to sit in their circles, hear their stories, and talk about their futures. I get this perspective most weeks of the school year, but I know that most of you are not Teen Life Facilitators. You are in your own trenches – in your homes, classrooms, and churches. You are doing hard work, but you don’t always get to participate in the intentional conversations that a Teen Life Support Group can encourage.
In this episode of this series on the unexpected, we are talking to Charlotte Smily about life as a teen parent and life as a parent of a teen parent. As a 17-year-old senior in high school, Charlotte found out she was pregnant with her oldest daughter, Morgan. Years down the road, Charlotte found out that Morgan was going to become a teen parent herself when she got pregnant her sophomore year of college. With her incredibly unique experience and perspective, Charlotte walks us through the challenges of teenage pregnancy from both sides of the story. We are so thankful for Charlotte’s wisdom as we talk about choices, family, grace, forgiveness, accountability, and walking through difficult times. If you have a teen parent or parent of teen parent in you life, please listen, share and let us know what you think! We invite you to join our conversation with Charlotte Smiley.
“‘Stories don’t always have happy endings.’ This stopped him. Because they didn’t, did they? That’s one thing the monster had definitely taught him. Stories were wild, wild animals and went off in directions you couldn’t expect.” ~ A Monster Calls, Patrick Ness
A Monster Calls is a book and movie that is beautiful and devastating all at once. It is about a 13-year-old boy, Connor, with a mother who is battling cancer. This story is told from Connor’s perspective when he begins to have nightmares about a ‘monster’ visiting him and telling him parable-like stories that make him reconsider all he has been taught. This story, while fictional, paints a perfect picture of what happens when trusted adults cause a negative effect in a serious situation faced by a teen.
In the third episode of our series on The Unexpected, Chris and Karlie sit down with Vanita Halliburton. Twelve years ago, Vanita’s teenage son, Grant Halliburton, took his life by suicide. Following his death, Vanita co-founded the Grant Halliburton Foundation to strengthen the network of mental health resources for children, teens and young adults; promote better mental health; and help prevent suicide. Vanita uses her experience with the unexpected loss of her son to help educate and encourage. In this conversation, we talk about the warning signs for a crisis, symptoms to look for, questions to ask, and how to help a teen who is hurting. This interview is full of wisdom in the midst of a terrible situation. We would love for you to listen and share with helpers who come in contact with teenagers who are hurting or in hard places. Let’s continue the conversation and take a look at mental health for teens!
* Warning: Spoilers of 13 Reasons Why Season Two and discussion of graphic content ahead.
The popular, controversial Netflix series 13 Reasons Why returned two weeks ago with Season Two. It was as interesting, graphic, provocative and disturbing as the first season. I can see why teenagers identify with it and parents fear it. Last year, we received several questions and concerns around the first season of 13 Reasons Why. As an avid Neflix fan, I decided to watch the show to have a better idea of what teenagers were being exposed to and to help parents, teachers, and other helpers have positive conversation in the midst of a controversial series. After watching Season Two, I have a few thoughts, tips, and questions that I hope will help you have educated, positive, and relevant conversations with the teenagers in your life.
Drug use does not just stay with an individual – it can impact an entire family. In this episode of our “Unexpected” series, we are talking to Amy Deprang and Ross Van Gorder, a mom and son, about teen drug use, it’s effects, and how it impacted their family. As a teenager, Ross started using drugs, sending him into a phase of life where he disconnected from his mom and other support systems. Now Ross and Amy are sharing their experiences and even discovering different pieces of the story in the process. Ross and Amy give unique perspectives to a difficult situation.
We, at Teen Life, love the local school. Over my six years with the organization, I’ve been on what feels like hundreds of school campuses and interacted with the women and men who create these learning environments. They have a hard job and it seems like everything is changing – always! Whether it’s new students, students leaving, policy changes, administration changes, shifts in educational standards – whatever it is – our educators exist in a dynamic work environment. Literally it’s something new every day. And for those tasked with the social/emotional health of students, things can become more complicated. In order for a child to learn, they need to have basic needs met, and one of those is safety.
We all dread the unexpected – we worry, plan, and avoid it at all costs. In the first episode of this series, we are talking to Malaya Bizaillion about life after the unexpected happens. At just 9 years old, Malaya lost her mom, Jenny Ross Bizaillion, following an unexpected illness that took her life only 19 days after going to the hospital. Now as a graduating senior in high school, Malaya shares her story with grace and wisdom. Malaya gives hope in the midst of loss and is an incredible voice for teenagers who are living life in the midst of the expected burden of loss.
Recently my husband and I were watching Brain Games on Netflix. The episode we were watching was called “Focus Pocus”, and it was about attention. It gave several tests for viewers such as counting the number of passes in a scene and watching a pickpocket in action before selecting him out of a lineup. Despite considering myself someone who pays attention to details and despite knowing I was playing a brain game, I was amazed at all the things I missed. It led me to contemplate what am I missing in other people, and even what am I missing in myself.