Vol. 4 Issue 40 | October 5, 2018

Three Things This Week

1. Big Bad Bully

What it is: October is National Bullying Prevention Month.

Why you can help end it: Research shows that direct adult responses to bullying ends the behavior over time. If you see it, stop it! Bullying is the result of an unequal power dynamic, where the dominant person attacks a weaker individual. It happens in politics, on the playground, and in schools, the workplace, churches, and homes. Whenever you witness an altercation or public exchange, ask yourself these questions: Who has the power in this situation? Are they using that power to dominate, control, or manipulate? If so, you’re witnessing bullying. If your teen suddenly doesn’t want to go to school, is having trouble sleeping, or manifests signs of anxiety, its possible they’re being bullied. Watch our Conversation Kit on Bullying with your teens or youth group. Remember, hurt people hurt other people. Use the film to start these needed conversation with your students today.

2. TOP Drops Trench

What it is: Twenty One Pilots released their long-awaited fifth album today in anticipation of the duos’ Bandito Tour starting next week in Nashville.

Why it’s creative: Fans are already trying to make sense of Trench, the cult-like world Tyler created on the album. Watch the music videos with your teens. Which songs do they resonate with and why? What is the real meaning behind “Jumpsuit” or “Nico and the Niners”? What are Tyler and Josh asking fans to “wake up to”?

3. The Politics of Gen Z

What it is:A new study shows the political divide in America to be at an all-time high.

Why teens might be different: While much of public life is sharply divided along party lines, Gen Z seems to be primarily independent, and many students will soon cast their first votes in November. Specifically, today’s teens appear fiscally conservative, yet they are very concerned about climate change. They enjoy a highly individualistic capitalistic economy while also supporting gun control. Gen Z represents a hybridized version of many liberal and conservative values, and according to pastor Tim Keller, this might be a new model for Christian political engagement. Do you agree or disagree? Ask your teens which political issues they are passionate about and why. How can they help foster unity in the Body of Christ in an age where believers are so hotly divided along party lines?

This Week in TV…

As fall TV season gets into full swing, two notable releases are on teens’ radars.

First, the third season of teen fav Riverdale begins airing on the CW next week. Though based on the beloved Archie comics, the series isn’t something grandma would approve of. It uses sex, sensationalism, drama, and beautiful people to capture its younger audience’s attention, and nothing is as it seems in this campy adaptation. Unlike the original comics version, Riverdale reveals the dark, deeper issues bubbling below the surface in small town Americana. For more on the show and how to talk about it with your teens, check out our brand new Parent’s Guide to Riverdale.

Second, the entire second season of Netflix’s Big Mouth releases today. In case you weren’t aware the first time around, this highly sexualized animated series is filled with adult themes, but geared toward teens. Think Southpark, just ten times cruder. It highlights the awkward nature of adolescent life, puberty, hormones, and shame. Rolling Stone calls it “astonishingly filthy,” yet still endorses the series for its ability to force a cultural conversation about the acceptance of all forms of sexual expression.

We appreciate the desire to talk with teens about sex, but that’s not Netflix’s job; it’s ours. Our kids need to hear from their parents about what physical changes they’ll go through and how they’re normal, that their sexual urges aren’t sinful, and that God designed all of this as a good and healthy process in human development. Help them see that Christianity isn’t anti-sex. God created sex, designing it to function and flourish within the parameters of marriage, but it’s also dangerous and can be harmful when misused. Check out our related Parent Guides: Big Mouth (season 1), the Sex Talk, Dating, and Tough Conversations.

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