Vol. 3 Issue 18 | May 5, 2017
Three Things This Week
1. College Signing Day
What it is: Former First Lady Michelle Obama, in collaboration with MTV, hosted College Signing Day today in New York City to celebrate a commitment to higher education.
Why it’s important: Students are encouraged to announce their college plans today and start dreaming about life after high school. Whether your students attend college or not, remind them that “all education is divine, that every good gift of knowledge comes from above…that the culmination of all education is a personal knowledge of and intimacy with God in which our being finds its fullest perfection”. Here are 10 conversations to have with your college-bound teens, as well as tips to help your students finish the school year strong by avoiding “Senioritis”.
2. Gallery Guardian
What it is: An innovative app allowing parents to monitor the pictures their teen takes or receives on their smartphone, with the capability of detecting if images include nudity.
Why it’s important: 40% of all teenagers have posted or sent sexually suggestive photos, and many believe sexting is just a normal facet of a dating relationship in the digital world. Download the app on your phone as well as on your child’s phone, sync both devices, and Gallery Guardian will immediately start supervising your child’s device. Though Teen Vogue criticizes it for privacy invasion, utilizing the app can provide an excellent opportunity to discuss the inherent tension between your teen’s desire for privacy and your right as a parent to know about their digital activity. As one mom explained, “I don’t call it spying, I call it parenting.”
3. Famous in Love
Why it’s important: Why it’s important: The pilot episode reveals it has everything teens are told they want: sex, drama, intrigue, fame. Ultimately, the show is “flatly acted” and mostly devoid of substance, ignoring the trend in TV to deliver more than the old tropes, to tackle life as it is and not how we wish it would be. Because Famous in Love offers only glamorized fairytale, pancake makeup, and “Who’s sleeping with whom?” plot twists, its biggest effect is to prey on teen girls’ emotions by normalizing shallow, destructive behaviors.
Extra: 13 Reason Why Update
Educators and suicide experts continue to denounce the way 13 Reasons Why tackles the topic of suicide, leading multiple school systems in Canada to ban any talk about the series on campus. Now, Netflix has added “additional advisories” to the show.
Christian author Sarah Bessey started a much-needed Twitter conversation about misogyny, sexism, and patriarchy in the Church under #ThingsOnlyChristianWomenHear. The hashtag, for “women who are routinely silenced, dismissed, oppressed, minimized, etc.” by the Church, exploded as young women took to Twitter by the thousands, expressing their personal stories of neglect, shame, and even abuse. Along with this Christianity Today article inspecting the authority of the female blogosphere, the tweet-storm provided an eye-opening glimpse into the western Church’s traditional views of leadership, purity culture, and gender roles, reminding us that religion has often been used to justify the servitude and invisibility of women, visually expressed by The Handmaid’s Tale.
The spiritual formation of our daughters will never reach full maturation in an environment that never asks her opinions, her interpretations, or her experiences of God. Whatever ministry she was born to perform will wither on an uncultivated vine. When our daughters learn in school that they can become the President but learn at church that they can’t serve communion, confusion is bound to ensue.
Our role is not to critique or judge your church’s views on this topic, but we do encourage you to join this challenging conversation with both your sons and daughters because this goes way beyond complementarian vs egalitarian theology and into conversations about human respect and human dignity. A great starting point is simply asking yourself and your teens, “How did Jesus view and treat the women of His day?” A close reading of the Gospels from a historical and cultural perspective lends great insight into Jesus’ interactions with, and views on women. Read the story and scholarly commentary of the Syro-Phoenician woman, the Samaritan woman at the well, or his post-resurrection appearance to Mary of Magdala with your teens and help them come to their own conclusions about what it means to be created fully in the image of God.