Known by Their Texts
This Week: Known by Their Texts
If in the distant future some diligent historian were to uncover a letter or e-mail or series of text messages to or from your child, what would they learn from that snapshot? What would they conclude about your child’s character, faith, or values?
We’re pulling our conversation starters for this week from reading 3 John, a personal letter written from one man to another about 2,000 years ago. It’s just a quick note, really, but it tells us volumes about what was essential to these two men.
Teenagers, especially, can have trouble seeing beyond the moment right in front of them. We all do. This week’s questions are designed to get them and you talking about the quality of the lives we’re building, how others think of us based on our choices, and what it means to live in the truth in a way that leaves an impact.
- Other than your parents, would you say that you have any Christian mentors?
- If so, what have you learned from them? How do you think they feel about you?
- Do you have any non-Christian mentors? How is that relationship different from being mentored by a Christian?
- When you don’t feel good physically, you have symptoms like a cough or stomach ache. What are symptoms that you’re not doing well spiritually, that your soul is hurting?
- How should we react when we see symptoms in each other that our souls are feeling down?
- If a future historian started reading your text messages or e-mail, what do you think he would think about you? What do the things you write—or that get written to you—say about your character or your commitments?
- Of course, not every text needs to be about your faith, but does it matter how other people think of us based on what we say or do? Does our reputation really matter?
- On a scale from 1 to 10, what would you say is our family commitment to truth? How about your personal commitment?
- On that same scale, how do you think your peers would rate your commitment to truth? Would your Christian friends give you a better or worse rating than your non-Christian friends? Why?
- Do you think our family could do better in helping people who spend their lives telling others about Jesus? How so? Could we do better helping people who are helping the poor or sick or hungry? Should we care about that?
- If your best friends were telling someone about you, what do you think they would point to as your best qualities? Would they bother to mention your love for God or your generosity or your truthfulness?
- How would you describe your own reputation at school or at church or at work? Do you wish your rep was different? Is there anything that could make it stronger?
[Mom or Dad: 3 John 4 says, “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.” If you’ve felt that joy, mention it to your kids as a way of encouraging them to keep going.]