The Enneagram & Teens with Beth McCord (part 1)

The Enneagram & Teens with Beth McCord (part 1)

We are excited to have Enneagram coach and expert, Beth McCord join the Teen Life Podcast! In part one of this interview, we start discussing characteristics of each Enneagram type. Beth does an incredible job of introducing the numbers of the Enneagram, especially if this is your first time to hear about each type.

In this episode, Beth with cover the Enneagram numbers 1-6 by discussing things like core desires, core fears, weaknesses, and what each number longs to hear. With her Biblical perspective on the Enneagram, Beth is full of wisdom and passion as she helps others explore the Enneagram.

Let’s start diving into the numbers on the Enneagram as we seek to better help the teenagers in our lives!



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In this interview, we mentioned the following resources:

About Us:
Beth McCord, founder of Your Enneagram Coach, is an Enneagram speaker, coach and teacher for over 15 years. Beth is passionate about coming alongside individuals and helping them re-write their story, allowing them to see that lasting change, meaningful relationships, and a life of deep purpose is possible.  Having been trained by the best Enneagram experts and pouring hundreds of hours into advanced certifications, Beth is now leading the industry in simplifying the deep truths of the Enneagram from a Biblical perspective. Beth lives outside of Nashville and has been married to her best friend, Jeff, for 23 years. Combining the gospel and the Enneagram has been instrumental in Beth and Jeff’s marriage and parenting of their two children, Nate and Libby.

Chris Robey is the CEO of Teen Life. Earlier in his career while working as a youth minister, Chris earned a Masters Degree in Family Life Education from Lubbock Christian University to better equip his work with teenagers and families. Chris’ career and educational opportunities have exposed him to teenagers from a variety of backgrounds. Follow him on Twitter!

Karlie Duke is Teen Life’s Marketing & Development Director, joining Teen Life after graduating from Abilene Christian University with a degree in Communications and a minor in Family Studies. Karlie has worked with teenagers for the past 6 years and is passionate about encouraging students to live better stories. Follow her on Twitter or Instagram!

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!
Don’t Panic, It’s the Intro Podcast!

Don’t Panic, It’s the Intro Podcast!

It’s the first episode of the Stay Calm, Don’t Panic! Podcast! We are excited to start helping the helpers – that’s you! In this episode, Chris Robey and Karlie Duke discuss why they decided to start a podcast, who the “helpers” are, and what you can expect from this first season. The first 3 episodes are already on iTunes, so check us out!


In this episode, you’ll find out…

  • A little background information about the podcast hosts, Chris Robey and Karlie Duke.
  • Who should listen to this podcast.
  • How Teen Lifeline is helping teenagers.
  • What topics we will cover in this first season.

Our overall goal is to encourage, equip and empower students to live life better - @dontpanicpodcast Click To Tweet 


 Additional Resources:

In this episode, we mentioned the following resources:


About us: 

Chris Robey is the Program Director for Teen Lifeline, Inc. Earlier in his career while working as a youth minister, Chris earned a Masters Degree in Family Life Education from Lubbock Christian University to better equip his work with teenagers and families. Chris’ career and educational opportunities have exposed him to teenagers from a variety of backgrounds. Follow him on Twitter!   Karlie Duke started working as Teen Lifeline’s Communications Director after graduating from Abilene Christian University with a degree in Communications with a minor in Family Studies. Karlie has worked with teenagers for the past 5 years and is passionate about encouraging students to live better stories. Follow her on Twitter or Instagram!



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!


Don't Panic QUOTE-3




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How to Get the Most Out of Your Teen

How to Get the Most Out of Your Teen

I have worked with teenagers now for over a decade. In that time, there have been significant changes in environment, social interaction, and educational expectations, but one thing has remained. Teenagers generally don’t feel they can talk to their parents.

I’m coming from a place where I sit in groups with teenagers who are strangers to me and within 30 minutes of talking to them can get them to share who the most important person in their life is and why. I’m writing this not as the parent of a teen but as someone who works with teens, so this is also for any youth worker that wants their conversation to get better. I’m hopeful that this helps you, and I’m also hopeful it helps me as I start to create an environment for conversation with my elementary school kids that will carry into their teen years – because we all know if I wait, it’ll only get harder.

In fact, today I was sitting in a group that has been meeting sporadically for about 12 weeks. One of the students brought up the difficulty she is having talking to her dad. There are lots of things involved with this situation, but I believe if her dad read these tips, he could learn so much more about his own daughter.

With that in mind here are the tips I have found to be helpful, and I hope you can apply to your relationship with your teen as well.


Talk less.

As a parent, it is difficult not to fill the silence. Resist this urge. In our training for group facilitators, we teach that counting to at least 10 (counting to 30 is better) when silence begins can help us wait long enough before assuming the other person is done talking. With kids, they are often just processing out loud, something most adults have decided needs to be internally. For them, it is normal to say out loud what they are thinking because they are trying it out. Let them. The fact is, they will become uncomfortable too and will likely say something else to fill the silence. 


Really listen.

Deciding at the beginning of a conversation this is about them, puts you in a position of listening rather then looking for what is wrong and correcting, or even worse, that there is a problem when none actually exists. Listen just to hear, listen to learn, listen to be able to repeat back. Make an intentional decision to not be thinking about how to answer or how to tell them what they should be thinking or doing instead. There is a stage of life for that, but it should mainly apply to kids under 9 years old.


Ask great questions. 

You can decide to do the others, but asking good questions is a skill – asking questions that invite more information, that don’t put them on the defensive and that show empathy are key and vital to getting the most out of your teen. Here are some suggestions to get you thinking:

  • What bothered you about feeling that way?
  • Have you ever thought that before?
  • What do you think will happen if you do that?
  • How do you think this might affect your future (or those around you)?

These are just some ideas to get you thinking, but the point here is to ask open-ended, inviting questions without making assumptions or projecting your bias onto the student you are working with.


Don’t correct unless safety is a concern.

This is so hard because we as parents tend to think that this is our full time job, or maybe that’s just me. It is easy to feel that if we don’t correct or advise in a situation with a kid, we are depriving them of a learning opportunity or wasting a teachable moment. What if the teachable moment happened without us saying anything? As I mentioned above, at this age, kids are trying things out. Allowing this in a safe way actually helps them learn better.

Here’s how I would suggest using this…

Simply decide to allow a whole conversation to happen without correcting, unless it is something dangerous. It will be hard, but do it. Decide to do this on a regular basis, but you have to realize how often that makes sense – once a week, twice a month, 5 days a week. Whatever it is, allow your conversation to be driven by your child or the teen you’re working with without any advice or correcting on your part (don’t worry too much, the odds of having the same conversation again are good). The value you will gain by doing this will open doors you never knew existed as they feel more comfortable sharing because they won’t feel so judged.


Create a safe environment.

One of the best things I have ever heard was a story about a father who told his kids that the old truck sitting out by the barn that didn’t run was a “safe zone.” It was the one place they could have conversations and tell him anything without any punishment. Consequences sometimes are unavoidable but he committed to no punishment. They knew that anytime they needed to tell something they feared they would be grounded for or worse, their cell phone would get taken away, they could tell him in that old truck.

You can do this too. Declare a safe zone in or around your house. At our house, right now, it is simply that my kids can tell me, “I need to tell you something but I don’t want to get in trouble for it.” I have given them permission to share anything because I would rather be in the loop than be seen as the enemy when it comes to decisions that affect character and life lessons my kids experience.


Reassure them about everything.

This is an extension of the listening tip. If you really are listening, you will hear opportunities to come back to and reassure them that you are there for them. A simple recognition of their interest or a question about a relationship they told you about can help them know that you truly care. This isn’t about you, so you can’t measure this based on how many times you think is enough. You have to keep reassuring until they tell you to stop or until that season has passed and it is no longer an issue.


If you work with teens, knowing how to get more out of conversations is vital to their success. Maybe you have some better ideas. Take a minute to share them below. We love hearing from you and learning together.


Ricky Lewis is our Executive Director and has been with us since the beginning. As a father of 4, he seeks to help parents and their kids Live Life Better.
About the Power of Your Bad Day

About the Power of Your Bad Day

About a year ago, our communications director, Karlie Duke, brought us a great idea for our groups. While I don’t believe she would claim this idea as original to her, the concept is really simple and effective. It is called “Fist to Five”. So we ask a question like – “How is your day going?”, or “How do you feel about yourself today?”. Then, the students answer with anything between a “fist” (bad) to “five” (the best). This gives us a baseline to have conversations about where they are and what could be better. And simply, it offers a great way to check in on how the student’s week is going.

But there is something else here which holds power. One of the things we ask all of our facilitators to do during their groups is to participate in the activity themselves. That is, if they ask a question or put an activity out asking students to be vulnerable in some way, you as a facilitator should be wiling to do the same. So when we do the “fist to five” activity, our facilitators participate as well.

In many ways, it is a yielding of power. So many adults ask students to behave or respond in a way that is not being modeled by the adult. We ask students to study, read, walk the straight line, and follow stringent rules while sometimes we don’t show them what it looks like. We expect them to figure it out.

This is no different when it comes to vulnerability. Many who are in the helping profession with students (and I guess parents for that matter) encourage students to open up and share what is frustrating them so they won’t act out of those frustrations. Yet, so many of us are unwilling to model vulnerability.

I work with a group of guys every week at a local inpatient drug rehab in Fort Worth. These guys are there because they are addicted to drugs, selling, or on the road to one of these things. They are a hard group to work with sometimes. They test me, come to group angry or frustrated, and sometimes will come to group just to sabotage things.

However, they are incredibly vulnerable. When they are having a bad day, they both show it and talk about it. There is really no filter and we find out very quickly how things are going.

Sometimes when I show up for group, I am not in a good place either. Maybe things haven’t been going well at work. Or, maybe I am struggling with my kids or had a bad day with my wife. Maybe I am feeling bad about myself because I am gaining weight and not taking great care of myself. Or, maybe I am lonely and need someone to talk to – just like them.

And as I have the opportunity, I share those things. When I am having a crappy day, I tell them. When my kids are driving me nuts, I tell them how that feels.

I want the teenagers in my life to know if I am having a bad day. Or, if things are going great they need to know that too. The point is, being vulnerable to someone you hold influence over is one of the more powerful tools for change you have. For a teenager to know adults struggle and can be honest about that struggle shows they can find safety in the relationship. Even a glimmer of “I struggle too” can reinforce a healthy relationship and give them someone to follow.

Adults who project infallibility and lack of struggle paint a hopeless picture for a teenager. Also, they don’t believe it. If you are unwilling to be vulnerable, they will write you off quickly as fake and someone not to be trusted.

And, they might be right. Ouch.

So, have you tried being vulnerable with a teenager? What has this looked like? Where have you seen this work?


Chris Robey, Program Director, has worked with teens for over a decade and strives to help students see the best in themselves.


There and Back Again

There and Back Again

Many things can create opportunity. This blog is about 2 separate opportunities. One has been created because of the work we do at Teen Lifeline and the other comes from a friend’s life experience. As the two intersect something cool happens and a new opportunity is created to impact students lives.

Let’s begin with Teen Lifeline’s opportunity. Over the past 5 years our nonprofit has continued to build relationships with schools as we offer our services to teens to help them make better choices. This time one of those relationships translated into an invitation to speak at a local high school. I accepted before I realized it would be a group of 700 high school freshman. Regardless I saw this as a chance to speak on some important topics and help these freshman shape their view on these matters. As I prepared, my wife had a great suggestion. She thought I should invite someone to join me that could speak from personal experience about one of the topics.

KellerISD_Kyle and Ricky

I thought about who this would be for a long time before realizing I should invite Kyle (pictured above). Kyle was a student in the youth group when I was a youth minister. I had worked with him some to try to help him create positive coping skills rather than the drug and alcohol use he was choosing. Though things didn’t change immediately I trust that our conversations helped influence his later decision to stop using and turn things around. Unfortunately he experienced all kinds of drugs, prison, and dropped out of high school 3 credits short of graduating.

Thankfully the story does not end there. Kyle chose to start getting help. His help has included church, a 12 step program, and his  sponsor. These steps have made it possible to take on the responsibility of getting married, starting a new job and expecting a baby anytime.

This turn around has created Kyle’s opportunity. He accepted my invitation to be interviewed at the high school. As he spoke you could tell the students were really listening. Afterward he stayed around and was swarmed by students asking questions and thanking him for what he shared.

These opportunities come from what Teen Lifeline is intentionally doing to help teens live life better.

Thanks goes to Kyle for turning things around and for being vulnerable enough to share that with an auditorium full of freshmen.

Here’s the truth, we cannot act on these opportunities without your help. Your support of our efforts makes it possible for us to build relationships with schools, students, and other organizations. Right now is the perfect time to do just that. Our 5th annual 5K is coming up this Saturday October 26, 2013. Please take a moment to learn more about our only fundraiser each year at You may already have a heart for teens and want to go ahead and donate which you can do at TL5K 2013.

If you are unable to support us financially would you help us spread the word by sharing on your social media choice below?

Before you click away, do you have a story you are willing to share? Comment below, you never know who’s life  it may change for the better.