NEW INTERVIEW with Susan and Sarah (Teens, Parenting, Dating, Avoiding High School Mistakes)

Tell us a little about yourselves.

sarah bookout garrett bookSusan and I live in southeast Tennessee. We are twin sisters with a heart to serve God and to tell the next generation the truth of God’s word. We have both worked with teens in varying capacities for a decade. We received the same questions repeatedly and wanted a way to give Biblical and practical advice to more girls who also have the same questions and no one to ask. I started the blog, Transformed4more.com, in 2016 to attempt to reach a broader audience.

You have written a book that is about teens and dating. What are some important guidelines that you believe are important for all teens when it comes to dating?

One of the most important guidelines is that teenage dating is generally not going to last. We see many teenagers pour everything in a relationship that only lasts a few months. We try to get them to realize that if they choose to date at this stage, it is simply to find out some things you would/wouldn’t like in a future spouse and to make a few good memories.

Boundaries are another significant guideline we discuss. Many of the temptations and pitfalls of dating can actually be avoided if teens set definitive boundaries. Boundaries show that you value yourself and also help “weed out” the individuals who are not pursuing a relationship for good reasons.

What would you say to a teen that wanted to grow in their knowledge of the Bible but weren’t quite sure how to go about it?

Try your best to get a mentor. Having an older person help you in this journey is a wonderful thing.

If you don’t have access to a mentor, YM360.com has great devotionals for teenagers. One of the best is actually a year long devotional called “Tracing the Thread” that takes them through the entire story of the Bible.

Also, pay attention in church and youth group. Take notes during the sermon and then try to find out more about it. A good Bible with commentary can help with this.

What would you say to a teen that just did not feel it was all that important to be involved in youth group or the church?

I would point them to Proverbs 27:17, the verse about iron sharpening iron, and Hebrews 10:25 that states, “Do not forsake the assembling of yourselves together…”.

God created us to be in community from each other and learn from one another. Studying the Bible on your own is good but being able to discuss it among a community of believers helps them think about it in a different way that may not have occurred to them before.

I would also tell them that they are not the center of the church or youth group. It’s about God. Sometimes in our “it’s all about me society” that fact can get lost. We go to church to learn about and honor God; it’s not about how we feel or what we “get out of it.”

What are some mistakes that you see teens making in high school that ends up having a negative impact on their lives?

I could honestly write another book on this. Essentially, much of it comes down to the relationships they make. Their friends have a profound influence on their decision making and can quickly lead them down a road that leads to destruction. Romantic relationships do this as well. Girls may think that having sex with their boyfriend is an expression of love, but it isn’t. It just destroys them when the relationship ends. Teenagers need to surround themselves with good, healthy, positive relationships.

They also believe that God isn’t enough. They think, “If I just made better grades, that would be enough,” or “If I just had a boyfriend, that would be enough.” Believing that God will supply all your needs is something that is hard for them to grasp and they search for many other things to make them happy that can never satisfy.

What are some books that you would recommend for teens to read?

The number one book I recommend to all teens is Do Hard Things by Alex and Brett Harris. It challenges teenagers to rise above the low expectations placed on them and excel.

For boys, I also recommend How to be a Man: The Pursuit of Christ Centered Masculinity (Student Version) by Andy Blanks and Rick Burgess.

For girls, Lies Young Women Believe by Nancy Demoss Wolgemuth and Dannah Gresh. It discusses so many lies that girls believe about themselves and how to break free. I am also a contributing writer for their blog at LiesYoungWomenBelive.com.

Another good one is Girl Defined by Kristen Clark and Bethany Baird. It breaks down the Bible based feminine identity.

If girls are interested in dating relationships, then my book So, You Think You’re Ready to Date? is a great one. It is written in a 40 day “devotional” format and it lays a Biblical foundation for dating relationships. I did not shy away from hard topics and in the book I discuss topics like the cycle of violence, sexting, lies girls believe, and characteristics of bad boys.

We also have a “recommended resources” page on our site that discusses all of the books we recommend.

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