A Tool to Help Youths Remember Their Creator
“REMEMBER your Creator while you are still young,” wrote the wise man Solomon some 3,000 years ago. (Eccl. 12:1, Today’s English Version) Christian youths now have another tool to help them do that. The book Questions Young People Ask—Answers That Work, Volume 2, was released at the “Guided by God’s Spirit” District Conventions of Jehovah’s Witnesses, held worldwide from May 2008 through January 2009.
Inside the book’s front cover is a letter from the Governing Body to young people. In part, it states: “It is our earnest prayer that the information in this publication will help you to withstand the pressures and temptations facing today’s youth and will show you how to make decisions that are in harmony with God’s will.”
Parents rightly want to bring up their children “in the discipline and mental-regulating of Jehovah.” (Eph. 6:4) Upon reaching adolescence, however, many youths feel unsure of themselves and yearn for direction. If you are the parent of an adolescent, how can you help your child to get the most out of this publication? Following are some suggestions.
▪ Obtain your own copy of this book and become thoroughly familiar with it. This involves more than just reading it. Try also to capture the tone. Rather than merely telling youths what is right and what is wrong, the book strives to train their “perceptive powers.” (Heb. 5:14) It also gives them practical suggestions on how to take a stand for what is right. For example, Chapter 15 (“How Can I Resist Peer Pressure?”) does more than tell youths to say no. It outlines Bible-based strategies and realistic responses that will help them learn how to “give an answer to each one.”—Col. 4:6.
▪ Make use of the book’s interactive features. Although these portions are designed for youths, why not write in your own copy where appropriate?* When considering on page 16 the two interactive questions about dating, for example, try to recall how you felt when you were your child’s age. Perhaps in the spaces provided, you will want to fill in the answers as you would have answered the questions at that time. Then you might ask yourself: ‘How have my feelings on this subject changed over the years? What insight have I gained since my adolescence, and how can I effectively convey it to my child?’
▪ Respect your teenager’s privacy. The interactive portions of the book are designed to draw out your child and elicit either a written or a mental response. Your goal is to look into his heart, not into his book. On page 3 of the section entitled “A Note to Parents,” the book suggests: “To encourage your adolescents to write in their book with candor, allow them a measure of privacy. Later they may well open up to you on the issues they have written about.”
An Aid in Family Bible Study
Young People Ask, Volume 2, is an excellent aid for use during your Family Worship. Since the book does not contain paragraph-by-paragraph study questions, how can you use it? Why not customize the study format by using a method that is most effective with your children?
For instance, some families may enjoy holding practice sessions when considering the “Peer-Pressure Planner” on pages 132 and 133. The first question there may help your son or daughter to identify the issue that he or she finds most challenging. The second question identifies the situation in which that pressure is likely to arise. After considering the consequences of either giving in to or resisting peer pressure, your child is asked to plan some responses that either absorb, deflect, or return the pressure. Help your son or daughter to be creative and to prepare responses that he or she will feel comfortable with and will be able to use with confidence and conviction.—Ps. 119:46.
A Tool for Communication
Young People Ask, Volume 2, encourages youths to communicate with their parents. For example, the boxes “How Can I Talk to Dad or Mom About Sex?” (pages 63-64) and “Talk to Your Parents!” (page 189) provide practical suggestions on how to open up about sensitive topics. One 13-year-old girl wrote, “This book gave me the courage to talk to my parents about things that were on my mind—even things that I had done.”
This book promotes communication in other ways as well. At the end of each chapter is a box entitled “What Do You Think?” More than a review, it can be used as an outline for family discussion. Near the end of each chapter is also a box entitled “Action Plan!” This box gives youths an opportunity to write out specific ways that they can apply what they learned in that chapter. The last segment of each “Action Plan!” box states: “What I would like to ask my parent(s) about this subject is . . .” That can help young ones to look to their parents for valuable advice.
Reach the Heart!
As a parent, your goal is to reach the heart of your child. Young People Ask, Volume 2, can help you to do so. Consider how one father has been able to use this book to promote heartfelt communication with his daughter.
“Rebekah and I have some nice spots that we like to walk, bike, or drive to. These outdoor settings provide an environment that I find allows her to open up.
“The first part we considered in this book was the letter from the Governing Body and ‘A Note to Parents.’ I wanted my daughter to know that as brought out on page 3, she could feel free to write uninhibitedly in her book. I would not look to see what she had written.
“I allowed Rebekah to pick the chapters she would like to discuss in the order she would like to discuss them. One of the first chapters she selected was ‘Should I Play Electronic Games?’ I would never have guessed that she would pick that one! However, she had a reason. A number of her friends were playing a pretty horrific game. I had no idea of the graphic violence and foul language it contained! But all of this came up as we discussed the ‘Action Plan!’ on page 251. That box also helped Rebekah to prepare a response in case anyone tried to pressure her into playing the game.
“At this point, Rebekah does not hold back from telling me what she has written in her book. Our study is a nonstop conversation. We take turns reading, and then she wants to talk about everything, including the pictures and the boxes. This gives me an opportunity to share with her what it was like for me when I was her age, and then she will tell me what things are like today. She wants to share everything!”
If you are a parent, no doubt you were thrilled when this book was released. Now you have the opportunity to put it to good use. It is the hope of the Governing Body that Questions Young People Ask—Answers That Work, Volume 2, will prove to be a blessing to your family. May it help all—especially our dear young people—to ‘keep walking by holy spirit.’—Gal. 5:16.
Some of the interactive work sheets in the book apply to all ages. For example, the box “Control Your Anger” (page 221) may be as helpful to you as it is to your son or daughter. The same might be true of “Peer-Pressure Planner” (pages 132-133), “My Monthly Budget” (page 163), and “My Goals” (page 314).
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What Some Youths Are Saying
“This is the kind of book that you have to sit down with a pencil and read meditatively. The fact that it is laid out as a personal diary allows for private reflection with the goal of creating for yourself the best way of life.”—Nicola.
“I get a lot of pressure to date, even from well-meaning people. The first section of this book convinced me that no matter what anyone says, I’m not ready to date.”—Katrina.
“The box ‘Are You Thinking of Getting Baptized?’ has helped me to take my baptism even more seriously. It motivated me to reevaluate my study and prayer habits.”—Ashley.
“Even though my Christian parents have taught me since I was small, this book has made me reason for myself about the steps I should take in my life. It has also helped me to be more open with my parents.”—Zamira.
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Parents, become thoroughly familiar with this book
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Make it your goal to reach your child’s heart