10 Ways Your Parenting Might Be Crippling Your Kids’ Leadership Potential

Kathy Caprino’s recent article in Forbes highlighted 7 ways parents may be contributing to the stunted growth of their kids’ leadership potential. She interviewed a guy named Tim Elmore who has written some books on leadership. From the article, he seems to have a pretty good pulse on the current generation of youth and parents.


  1. We don’t let our children experience risk
  2. We rescue too quickly
  3. We rave too easily
  4. We let guilt get in the way of leading well
  5. We don’t share our past mistakes
  6. We mistake intelligence, giftedness and influence for maturity
  7. We don’t practice what we preach

I love this list and it really challenges me in some of my common parenting mistakes (the article really fleshes this out, I recommend reading it).


As a parent and a youth worker I thought of three more things that I would probably add to this list. These are 3 common ways we stunt the leadership potential in our kids:

  1. We subtly communicate the false notion that we are more different from one another than we are alike.
  2. We fail to show respect to our kids in ways they need it.
  3. We unknowingly communicate that we are doubting they have what it takes.

If you’d like to delve further into ways you can avoid these pitfalls, please read my post: 3 Things Teenagers Need to Hear from Adults.

To read Caprino’s full article, “7 Crippling Parenting Behaviors That Keep Children From Growing Into Leaders,”  just follow the link below from my Twitter feed.

3 Things Teenagers Need to Hear from Adults

 Teenagers in Nepal

Distance is what adolescents often feel from adults. They think adults don’t understand them, are vastly different from them, and don’t struggle with what they struggle with. This could not be further from the truth. Here are three things that teenagers need to constantly hear from you through verbal and nonverbal vibes…

Youth Devotions that Capitalize on Mountain Top Experiences

photo by Thomas Haines

Every student ministry organization wrestles with the quandry of what to do with mountain top experiences. Young people are impacted by a retreat or leadership camp and the idealistic side of them is tapped. At the summit of their emotions and desires they want to change the world. This is normal and good. All of us need mountain top experiences from time to time to gain new perspective or to be reminded of things God has already spoken to us that we have forgotten. Here’s how…

5 Bible Study Tools to Improve Your Small Group Meetings | The VISION Inductive Study Method

VISION Inductive Bible Study Method

They key to a great Bible study and discussion with young people is helping them discover the truth in the passage. There is an art to writing good questions that will invite participation. These Bible study tools take time and effort. When you start out it can be overwhelming to try to write well-crafted questions that will help your group understand the meaning of the passage and how to apply it to their lives. That’s why I put together the VISION Inductive Bible Study method. It’s one of the simplest Bible study tools you can find. It helps you take any passage of Scripture and write compelling questions that will help your group learn its meaning and the implications of what it teaches to their lives. Here’s how…

Helping Youth Align with God’s Design for Relationships & Sexuality

alpha center logoOne of the more important issues to address in modern youth culture is how to help youth align their lives with God’s design for relationships and sexuality. There are so many mixed messages. Young people are so wounded and looking for love and acceptance. Girls are willing to give themselves away to a guy to get love, and guys are willing to give some relationship if they can get sex. Young people, who are so relationship hungry are being misled in ways that you may not even be able to imagine.


Why Adolescence is All About Friendship?

good friendship

Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. -John 15:3

Friendship is important in every stage of development. But during adolescence friendship becomes central to everything. This is a critical stage of development because teenagers are building a foundation for having good friendships the rest of their lives.

One of the most powerful benefits of healthy youth ministry is that we can help kids understand God’s design for relationships. Jesus talked alot about friendship, and we know that he nurtured model friendships in his disciples. A teenager’s intense preoccupation with friendship is a good thing. It is an opportunity for the adults in their lives to imprint in them a road map for a lifetime of good friendships. Here’s how…

Questions Leaders Ask That Everyone Else Around You is Thinking

Leaders Ask Questions that Everybody Else is Thinking

“The best journeys in life are those that answer questions you never thought to ask.” ~ Richard Ridgeway

I was talking with my daughter about what it’s like in her high school classes this week and she shared a profound thought. She said, “There is a girl in my class who is so funny, she always asks questions that everybody else is thinking.” We laughed out loud at some of the examples she shared. Then as I thought more about it, it occurred to me that this is a profoundly important leadership quality. People are often thinking things that they may not be comfortable voicing out loud. It helps others when we are willing to ask those questions that everyone else is thinking.


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERALeadership training for youth ministry back in the days when I started youth work was pretty simple. I was a student at the University of Arizona and I wanted to help kids meet Jesus. But I had no idea what I was doing. I was available, I was somewhat teachable, and I was wanting a mentor.

The first “youth leadership training” I got was through a very short conversation with an older more experienced leader in our area. He said, “You see that high school over there, Ashley? It’s full of about 3,500 high school kids who need Jesus. Let’s go.”

The essence of youth leadership is just as simple today. To reach the students in your area it takes leaders who are: Teachable, Available, Humble, and willing to be Apprenticed.

As I think back to the way my leader Jim apprenticed me to start building relationships with kids and sharing Jesus with them, he basically did four things. And I believe this is the essence of how to train leaders to reach the next generation, which every generation must do.

30 Things Teenagers Want in a Relationship

camp lake

Teenagers are intensely relational. They are figuring out who they are and what it means to be a friend. They are also thinking about what they desire in a relationship. This is a very normal stage of development. It is also an incredible opportunity for youth workers to help teenagers figure out how to align their lives with God’s design for sex and relationships.

A survey at a high school outreach camp asked a few hundred kids this question:

What is one thing that you want from a relationship?

Here are their answers:

21 Reasons Why People Don’t Listen When You Speak

How to get people to listen to you when you speak

Do you ever wonder, are people really listening when I speak? People may look like they are listening, but how do you know if you are actually impacting them? Afterall, the goal of speaking is not to just get people to sit still until you are finished talking. You want to impact them and help them grow. You want to serve them in some way. Just to be transparent, I’m still processing each one of the bullet points below. I hope I never stop growing, and if I ever do, anyone please hit me over the head with a bag of nickles and remind me to keep improving!