5 Areas of Focus for Social Distancing

5 Areas of Focus for Social Distancing

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Here we are…still social distancing! In this podcast episode, Chris and Karlie discuss 5 different areas of focus that can help shape this unique time of social distancing. They will talk about the importance of…

    • Physical movement
    • Mindful moments
    • Self-care
    • Tech breaks
    • Generosity

It is so vital that you take care of yourself and encourage teenagers to do the same. We might have to change our expectations, and that is OKAY. But let’s make the best of this time of social distancing due to COVID-19! While we hope that life can return to “normal” soon, we want to continue to equip teenagers to grow, learn, and thrive today while also maintaining hope for the future.


In this interview, we mentioned the following resources:

About Us:
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 8 years and is passionate about encouraging students to live better stories. Follow her on Twitter or Instagram!
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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!
Generosity Changes Everything

Generosity Changes Everything

I recently finished a business book, which not to brag, is a pretty big deal for me. Just finishing a book, not the business part. But the fact it was a business book is important and has my mind spinning about how I interact with people and help our readers interact with teenagers. The book, Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazzi, is essentially a networking book. While that sounds stale and uninspiring, the motivating force behind his book and world class networking skills is what has got my head spinning – generosity.

Now, I’m probably a few weeks late on the generosity post, but this goes way farther than presents. Ferrazzi posits any relationship and connected group of relationships (a network in this case) is best when done from a standpoint of generosity. That is, when seeking out a new relationship or even finding someone who can help you must start with what you can do for them. This seems upside down (which as I’m getting older seems to be where all of the good stuff is), but it makes a lot of sense. If I’m seeking out someone who can be of help to me, I will likely get that help much more freely if I have something to offer them – especially when it comes to people of influence. Everyone is wanting something from them, but if you have something you can offer them that is helpful and timely, they might choose you to build a relationship.

Reading this book also got me thinking about another highly influential book in my library – Hurt: Inside the World of Today’s Teenagers. Dr. Chap Clark did a research study at a large California high school to get a reading on teen culture as well as how they interact with adults. The book is stunning because it paints a rather grim picture of adolescents really being on their own when it comes to adults. What Clark dubbed “The World Beneath” encapsulates a hidden subculture of teenage life where teens live and function without the help and guidance of loving adults. 

So, why are there no adults? Dr. Clark theorizes that since the mid 1960’s, adults have increasingly withdrawn from teenagers and become more protective of what they have. Institutions like public schools, civic organizations, and even churches have become adult institutions that teenagers have to exist within. Fewer and fewer adults interact with teenagers for the joy of doing so. For Dr. Clark, a lot of adults have trouble relating to teenagers in a way that is not corrective or directive.

There is a lot more to this book than what I am describing, but suffice to say it made an impact on how I interact with teenagers. I want to be someone who a teenager can see as a safe place to talk, think, explore. I try my best to help them think and encourage them to make a good decision based upon what they know. I don’t walk in their shoes. I don’t know what they go through. But, I can help them think.

And that brings be back around to the generosity stuff. I believe if we start from a stance of generosity when we work with teenagers, our relationships will be so much more robust. But, we need to think a little more about what they need. And, that is where this generosity stuff gets good. If we are willing to give of our time, our resources, our experiences, and our people, what an amazing impact we could have. If we were generous with patience and grace (both of which teenagers need in abundance), we would stand out as someone who could be trusted.

You see, teenagers need more than your advice and direction. They need your generosity. What would it look like to be more generous with a teenager in your life?

(Another great resource on generosity can be found in a recent Michael Hyatt podcast found here.)

Chris Robey, Teen Life’s COO, has worked with teens for over a decade and strives to help students see the best in themselves.
The Gift That Changes Your Life

The Gift That Changes Your Life

As a non-profit, we depend on the gifts and generosity of others to function and continue to run as an organization. On days like today (North Texas Giving Day), it is easy to bring awareness to giving. But why do we give? Does it actually help? What is in it for me?

These are questions I have asked myself many times, especially as a poor college student who had a desire to be generous but barely had money for all the fast food and shopping trips that occurred. That’s when I realized – it shouldn’t be about me, but giving does benefit me in a strange, backwards kind of way.

You probably have experienced the fuzzy feeling you get when you give a gift to a loved one, when you hand a $5 bill to the lady who needs a meal, or when you participate in a mission trip or service project and give of your time. You know that you gain moral and personal satisfaction from a warm smile, sincere thank you and the knowledge that you helped someone who was not able to help themselves in that moment.

However, did you know that giving also has health benefits?? Bonus! In a Huffington Post article, generosity is encouraged by the 7 science-backed benefits that are given. Generosity is good for your health because it is proven to:

  • Lessen stress
  • Increase happiness at work
  • Benefit the greater good
  • Lengthen your life
  • Encourage more selfless acts
  • Strengthen your marriage
  • Promote mental heath

Sounds good to me! By helping others, you are also helping yourself.

But what if I don’t have money to give away? The great thing about generosity is that it doesn’t have to involve a pocket book! For my husband and I, we try to give generously when we can and have set aside funds for a couple of ministries. However, as a young, newly married couple, sometimes giving of our time and resources is more realistic. We might not be able to financially change a teenager’s life, but we can volunteer with a local youth group and give our time. We can’t clothe the nation of Haiti on our own, but we can donate shoes, food, time and other resources through mission trips.


One is not better than the other, but there are at least 3 major ways that you can be generous today!

Giving of your time.

Being generous with your time can mean countless things! See someone stuck on the side of the road? Pull over and help fix that flat. Set aside time to tutor students after school. Visit your local food bank and stock shelves. Find a mission trip that serves a population you are passionate about. Mentor teenaged parents through Teen Lifeline.

Sometimes, time and selflessly investing in the lives of others can change a life in ways money alone cannot.

Giving of your resources.

Have you been thinking of holding a garage sale, but the organizing is too much, it is too hot to sit outside and you know you won’t even make that much money? Consider donating items to a local non-profit or charity that will see those items get into the hands of people who need them. Donating clothes, shoes, food, school supplies, toys, furniture, cars and other material goods can get them off of your hands and into the home of those in need.

 Giving of your finances.

Money is not the only way to be generous, but it is an excellent way to give to others! This could be a yearly donation to your local church or non-profit, perhaps you contribute to a fundraiser or run in a 5K, or maybe you have decided to sacrifice 2 cups of coffee a month and have committed to giving $10 each month. Whatever the amount, whichever organization, your money, sacrifice and generosity can be used to help and encourage others.


As I said at the beginning of this post, North Texas Giving Day is an excellent excuse to give generously, and you can find Teen Lifeline’s donation page here. There are other great organizations that you can generously give to, and we encourage you to find some way to benefit others (and yourself) by living generously!

If you are looking for an organization to help, a place to volunteer, a non-profit to take your money and use it to directly affect the lives of other, visit our “Get Involved” page and see if Teen Lifeline is a good fit for you!

Don’t wait until you have more money, time or resources – there is never enough of any of those things – but choose to use what you do have, however small, to impact those around you!


If you would like to support Teen Lifeline for North Texas Giving Day and take advantage of our $20,000 matching fund, please visit and give here to double your donation and help teenagers live life better!


Karlie Duke was in one of Teen Lifeline’s original support groups and now is our Communications Director. She is passionate about speaking life into students and encouraging them to live better stories.