Ep. 5: Developing Thrivers with Dr. Michele Borba

Ep. 5: Developing Thrivers with Dr. Michele Borba

 Listen & Subscribe

 

Summary:
What takes a kid from being a “striver” to being a “thriver”?

Dr. Michele Borba is an educational psychologist, best-selling author, and TODAY show contributor who has spoken to over one million participants on five continents and to countless media about child development issues.

This week, Chris talks with Dr. Borba about the 7 teachable traits that, when combined with a caring adult, become the keys to resilience.

To hear more, be sure to join us for the Teen Life Summit, May 11-12, 2021 and use the code podcast20 for $20 off!

In this episode, we mentioned 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 now is passionate about encouraging students to live better stories. She has gained experience working with teenagers through work, volunteer, and personal opportunities.

Follow Us

Ep. 4: Dating Relationships & Streaming Services

Ep. 4: Dating Relationships & Streaming Services

 Listen & Subscribe

 

Summary:
The dating scene for teenagers today is very different than it was for millennials and Gen Xers. On episode 4 of the Teen Life Podcast, Chris and Karlie talk current teen dating lingo and habits, so you can know what to talk about and when to ask questions. Also, get ideas for what to watch as a family and what to look out for on popular streaming services. You won’t want to miss this week’s tip on how to start conversations with your teen about race.

In this episode, we mentioned the following resources:

Teen terms to note:

  • Ghosting: To suddenly stop communicating with a person (without explanation)
  • Zombieing: To randomly text or call after ghosting someone
  • Talking: To be interested in each other, but not officially dating
  • Sexting: To exchange texts and usually photos of a sexual nature
  • Hooking Up: Used for anything from kissing to sex
  • Netflix & Chill: Used as a front for inviting someone over to make out (or maybe more)
  • DTR: Define the Relationship
Movies to watch together that discuss race or diversify your content:

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 now is passionate about encouraging students to live better stories. She has gained experience working with teenagers through work, volunteer, and personal opportunities.

Follow Us

The Power of Teamwork

The Power of Teamwork

Teamwork: cooperative or coordinated effort on the part of a group of persons acting together as a team or in the interests of a common cause.

As the wife of a High School Basketball Coach, I spend A LOT of my time thinking about and cheering on good teamwork. It is not super fun to watch a team full of individuals who won’t work together. It can be frustrating and, more times than not, will lead to a loss.

But man…when you see good teamwork, you know it!

Let’s take the recent events of March Madness for example. My alma mater, Abilene Christian University (ACU), did the seemingly impossible and beat #3 seeded Texas in the first round of the NCAA tournament. As I was watching, you could feel the energy of the entire team – those on the court, and those sitting on the bench who would never go into the game.

In fact, one of the ACU players went viral as the “hype man” for the team. He was the first to start a defense chant and the one yelling the loudest, even though he never played a single minute of that game.

Today, it is significant when we see that level of selfless teamwork because it is often counter-cultural. I have witnessed incredible teamwork at the High School level over the years, but I have also watched players who only care about their own stats at the end of the game. Even in the midst of losses, they celebrate high-point averages and plays that will look good on highlight reels.

In a world where our kids are told to be the best at any cost (even to the detriment of the team), we need to be intentional about encouraging teamwork. And this doesn’t just apply to sports! Teams can take nearly any form: a group of friends, a family, a group project, a grade level, a team at work, or humanity as a whole.

What if instead of rewarding individual success, we celebrated the team player? Our families, schools, places of work, and communities would be more enjoyable if individuals were willing to take roles that would benefit others.

Let’s take a look at some of the roles that are worth celebrating…

The Utility Player
This person is willing to take any position that will give the team the best chance. They will set aside their own wants for the greater good, even if that role isn’t always their favorite. You gotta love the team player who is always up for a challenge – they are the one you want on every project or team.

The Hype Man
This team member will cheer for others, even when they aren’t the center of attention. This is the person who encourages, pumps up, and cheers for those around them. When you’re having a bad day or feeling pessimistic, you’ll want to turn to your hype man – they are the one who will pick you up when you fail and then celebrate the loudest when you succeed.

The Assister
This teammate does their best to make sure others succeed. Sometimes that means that they give up the “shot” so that someone else can score. This might be a person doing the difficult work behind the scenes or giving others information they need to make the right decision. Teamwork does not mean that you put others down so you look better. On a team, you win when everyone wins

It is important to celebrate the often over-looked positions on a team. But what does that look like?

Here are a few ideas:

  • Ask, “Who have you had a chance to help this week?
  • Look for ways to acknowledge the little things – in sports, in your family, at school.
  • Be the hype man for those in your life!
  • Ask, “Who has helped you this week? Who would you go to when you’re having a bad day?” Encourage those relationships!
Karlie Duke

Karlie Duke

Director of Communications

Karlie was in one of Teen Life’s original support groups and now is passionate about encouraging students to live better stories. She has gained experience working with teenagers through work, volunteer, and personal opportunities.

Ask Culture and Guess Culture

Ask Culture and Guess Culture

I was scrolling through a Facebook group recently and one of the members shared this Tumbler post. For the original post the author is referencing, see here. To summarize the post, someone who lives in New York has a friend asking to stay in his home. The first time he and his wife had a ready excuse. The second time, he’s asking for advice on how to say no to the request, and essentially what would be the nuances of rudeness in a direct NO versus another excuse.

There are the predictable myriad of comments ranging from “How could she?” to “What’s wrong with asking? Just say no.” One of my favorite comments is, “If you need an excuse, tell her you’re going out of town. If you need an honest excuse, go out of town.” Who actually goes out of town to avoid saying no?

Until one reader leaves this comment:

This is a classic case of Ask Culture meets Guess Culture.

In some families, you grow up with the expectation that it’s OK to ask for anything at all, but you gotta realize you might get no for an answer. This is Ask Culture.

In Guess Culture, you avoid putting a request into words unless you’re pretty sure the answer will be yes. Guess Culture depends on a tight net of shared expectations. A key skill is putting out delicate feelers. If you do this with enough subtlety, you won’t even have to make the request directly; you’ll get an offer. Even then, the offer may be genuine or pro forma; it takes yet more skill and delicacy to discern whether you should accept.

All kinds of problems spring up around the edges. If you’re a Guess Culture person — and you obviously are — then unwelcome requests from Ask Culture people seem presumptuous and out of line, and you’re likely to feel angry, uncomfortable, and manipulated.

If you’re an Ask Culture person, Guess Culture behavior can seem incomprehensible, inconsistent, and rife with passive aggression.

Obviously she’s an Ask and you’re a Guess. (I’m a Guess too. Let me tell you, it’s great for, say, reading nuanced and subtle novels; not so great for, say, dating and getting raises.

Thing is, Guess behaviors only work among a subset of other Guess people — ones who share a fairly specific set of expectations and signaling techniques. The farther you get from your own family and friends and subculture, the more you’ll have to embrace Ask behavior. Otherwise you’ll spend your life in a cloud of mild outrage at (pace Moomin fans) the Cluelessness of Everyone.

As you read through the responses to this question, you can easily see who the Guess and the Ask commenters are. It’s an interesting exercise.

Mic drop.

The concept of Ask Culture and Guess Culture really struck a chord with me.

I have spent the vast majority of my life as a Guess. As a teenager, I very rarely conflicted with anyone, because I avoided all conversations that might result in a no or any other kind of conflict. My parents called me the “easy child.” Other parents praised them for my obedience. I lived with a low level of very well-concealed anxiety that had me taking prescription medications to calm my stomach for a period of time. Everyone blamed school and stress.

In hindsight though, in the context of this comment, I believe that a fair share of that internalized stress was a fear of risk. A fear of the unknown, of failure, of a NO.

My father used to say, “What’s the harm in trying? The worst that can happen is they say no.” And logically, I knew it was truth. But emotionally, it was terrifying.

The commenter is right. The farther I wandered from home, the more I was forced to learn to interact as an Ask, but it is a conscious decision every time. In my heart of hearts, I’d really rather wait until the answer is 99% Yes before we talk about it. The only real exception is when advocating for others. Somehow asking is easier when it doesn’t feel selfish, right?

As a parent, I’m with my dad. I want my kids to ask fearlessly and not to dwell on the No’s when they happen. I want every question to be valid and heard, even when it doesn’t produce the desired result. And even then, the balance between bulldozer and fearless self-advocate is essential. I don’t really want kids who ask for forgiveness instead of asking for permission. Ask respectfully, but ask away!

So moving forward with this new awareness of the two ways to view the world, I’m hoping to be more intentional about fostering an Ask Culture in my home, by validating and honoring requests, even when the answer is No. As a Guess though, I’m suddenly aware of what I’m modeling. Am I being overly cautious or am I just being polite?

What about your experience and Culture? Are you an Ask or a Guess? Is your spouse the same? Are your kids the same? How does it affect your household interactions? How does it affect your teens in school?

Tell me in the comments. I’m fascinated and I want to hear more! 

Kelly Fann

Kelly Fann

Marketing Assistant

Kelly has lived in three countries and worked with teens across the world, encouraging them to pursue their passions and to be kind.

Restorative Practices with Sarah Sampson

Restorative Practices with Sarah Sampson

Listen & Subscribe:  iTunes | Google Play | RSS

 

In this episode, Chris and Karlie talk to Sarah Sampson about the basics of Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) and Restorative Practices. Sarah gives some great insight into how to use belonging circles and sentence stems to have difficult conversations around race and privilege. She talks about some practical uses for restorative practices in the home and at school while also giving advice on how to advocate for SEL resources at your students’ schools.

Here are some good conversation starters:

  • A time I felt left out was…
  • I’m most conscious of my race when…
  • I cope with the difficulties race creates for me and others by…
  • I experience privilege by…
  • I make others feel more welcome by…
 
Remember, you don’t have to have all the answers – difficult conversations are uncomfortable. But it is important to empower teens to have these discussions by giving them a safe place to practice. Let’s give teenagers a place to grow and learn!

 

About Us:
Sarah Sampson is founder of Art of the Circle, an organization that provides trainings, consultation, experiences to schools, businesses, and individuals using circle practices based in Restorative Justice, Social-Emotional Learning, and Mindfulness. As the former Social-Emotional Learning Facilitator for Keller ISD, Sarah led the district-wide implementation of SEL and mindfulness-based activities for over 34,000 students. Sarah is trained in MBSR (Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction) through the UC San Diego Medical School. As a certified social-emotional learning, restorative practices, and yoga teacher, Sarah has developed training, curriculum and workshops to empower educators and humans of all kinds nation-wide.
 
 
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 10 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!