This community message is from Nancy Lincoln Reynolds, associate pastor at :
The Severna Park Area Ministry Group is sponsoring monthly seminars
for concerned parents and members of the community committed to the
prevention of teen suicide.
The forum on Thursday (July 12) begins at 7 p.m. and will address parent/teen bonding facilitated by Dr. Jack Myhill whose knowledge and work with youth is well known in this community. A panel will also be present and time given for questions and answers. The forum will be held at the. in Severna Park.
There will be time for questions and answers during which parents may share their own experiences.
Below is a message written by one of the members of the Severna Park Area Ministry Group, the Rev. Earl Janssen from . Please take a moment to read it and use it as foundation for Thursday evening’s program.
Being a parent is one of the hardest and most challenging jobs there is. Thank you for your willingness to take it on, and to be interested in doing it well.
Maintaining good and open communication with your children is a task that is critical, but as you know it is also constantly changing. About the time you think you've figured out how to do it, the rules seem to change. How does one keep the lines of honest communication open?
No doubt, there are many strategies, and the Community Forum on July 12 (and the follow-up conversations) touches on many of these. I simply want to invite you here into thinking about what you do in the "in-between times".
I believe that how you respond to the interruptions in your plans and agendas is an important time for good communication and maintaining a relationship with your child.
Interruptions happen often. They are actually a routine part of the day. Think about all the times you handle interruptions. Someone enters or leaves the home. The phone rings. An unexpected problem arises. You have a decision to make. A comment is made that demands attention. Your plans are changed because of a scheduling conflict. A television commercial is aired. You transport your child (and maybe some friends) to an event. Yes, interruptions happen all the time.
How we respond to an interruption communicates volumes about what is important to us. Our time and attention signal our priorities more accurately than do our words.
Does your child experience the reality that she or he is important enough to you that you are willing to stop important things in order to listen to them? Or, does your child get the unspoken message that their value is pretty far down on the list of what you value? How you respond to interruptions communicates exactly this.
I'm not suggesting that each and every interruption requires an immediate response.
I do suggest that most of us can set aside more of what we are doing to attend to the people we claim are the most important people in our lives. I've sometimes asked myself, "If I would allow the phone to interrupt what I'm presently doing, why wouldn't I allow myself to be interrupted by a child that I care deeply about?"
There is a simple place to start to make some real change. I've discovered that one of the more important times in family life is the transition times. When a family member enters or leaves the home for any reason is the perfect time for affirmation and connection. It is helpful for it to be acknowledged each and every time.
Remember, communication is a two way street. If you are asking your child about the day, be willing to describe yours. After all, it's how they learn how to share about their day.
Janssen has been married for 34 years to Lori and they are parents to two adult daughters.