Why On Earth Would You Want to Work with Teens?
This is a question that is often asked of me... a lot. Easy...
When you bring your new baby into the world, you are bombarded with "how-to's" and "help guides", support groups, play dates, manuals, classes, videos, blogs, books, cd's, and entire television shows on how to care for your new little infant. If you're a new parent or a repeat offender, the world has you covered to make sure you know what to do with your adorable new family addition.
But as your infant starts to grow and become a little human, your support groups begin to dwindle a little. Your advice columns that you checked faithfully everyday no longer apply to your family situation. And yet, the babies just keep on growing.
Soon, they reach the double digits in chronological maturity and you find you are all alone in the parenting community!! There is no support group, a smattering of blogs, books and videos and no television shows (except the ones showing how the teens are needing new baby help!). A parent can feel awfully alone as their once logical, emotionally stable child goes through these horrifying changes.
It seems that overnight, the baby that they have loved and cared for has become unrecognizable, sleep deprived, mouthy, emotional, secretive, and no longer seeks the advice or friendship with their parent. Suddenly, the parent is on the outside looking in not knowing how to handle these changes. And just as suddenly, the child is on the inside, looking out not knowing why these changes are happening but are certain that no one else could possibly understand.
I saw a gaping hole in the parental/family teaching world and I decided to fill the need. I became a life coach specializing in teens first, then family dynamics and then relationships. There just didn't seem to be much help for families as their children grew into young adults.
When I was a teen, I felt lost. And I made sure my mom was just as miserable as I was. While I know my family loved me and did the best they could with the knowledge we had, they didn't think to teach me the skills of living a successful life, much less what to do with all these surging hormones and changes going on in my brain and body. No one really thinks to do that. Society believes that when a child graduates from high school, they just... know. We turn them out into the world and just expect them to be successful.
Science has now proven that teens go through as big of a "growth spurt" as far as change and learning, during their teen years as they did in the first eighteen months of life! That's huge!! Remember how quickly your newborn learned and changed and grew almost right before your eyes!! Your teens are doing a second round of growing and that is why they are so foreign to you. Information overload!
I am here to support the teens and help them get through this trying season of their life without going too far to any extreme. I don't doctor them or analyze them, I just respect them and help them work through all the stuff in their life. I work with the other family members as well, trying to keep that cohesion which is so important but so very fragile during this growth spurt. I help them make choices and work through this new growth without hurting themselves or others! Lol. I love being a teen-life coach! But there was more...
So I came up with the Total Truth Workshop. A lot of common denominators were coming up in my sessions with teens and so in order to reach several teens at once and focus on some of the core materials and have fun with it, Total Truth Workshop was born!
The Total Truth Workshop is an intensive, interactive weekend that I created to present a small group of teens with the basics of getting through this time in their life and planning for their futures, no matter what they might be. I've made it fun and engaging so they will lock it into their memories and be able to access it for years and years to come. Anytime we can connect an emotion or involve our peers in an exciting way, the information is more likely to stay with them. The Total Truth Workshop is an entire weekend of just that. The teens have so much fun! They meet like-minded people that will inspire and encourage them. They learn valuable life transforming information and skills. Plus they (and I) have a great time doing it!
Speaking totally selfishly, this gives me my teen fix, and it gives me the opportunity to travel! I'll take the TTW to cities all over the United States one weekend at a time. It's a win-win! The workshop can be so beneficial to teens and their families. I have created this in such a way that they get the most information, in the shortest amount of time and still have access to me in case they get "stuck".
There is also a class that follows the workshop for the parents, so they can get an inside look into what was taught and how they can best help their teen get the most from the weekend.
I love working with teens! They have SO much to offer! They are bright, intelligent, creative, funny and coming into their "own". I think because they are caught in that battle of finding out who they want to be that many people get turned off, because while in that battle, comes a lot of attitude, anger, secrecy and rolling of the eyes.
And while their parents are totally thrown off guard at the changes taking place in their "babies", I have the opportunity to be welcomed in as an odd outsider that is still an adult but is still welcomed and usually even respected! And for parents, hopefully, I fill that need for support and encouragement and information, helping them raise their teens without killing them. :)
The Total Truth Workshop embraces and celebrates this valuable time in their life as well as gives them some basic guidelines and tools to help them make the best choices for their present life and their future. My workshop can't fix everything, but it does give them a leg up if they apply the principles.
These are the tools that they will not learn in any school. These are life skills. These are practices that I came up with from learning from my own mistakes and studying how to by-pass the pot holes in the "road of life". I don't pretend to know everything. I am still learning everyday. I do not have letters behind my name, and do not claim to be smarter than the rest of the "experts". But I can promise you that my study has been focused on these issues and this age group for many years. And while the information that I present to you isn't new, I have become an expert in creating memorable learning experiences so when the information that is being presented to your child would be considered boring and forgettable if just read in a book, will be retained, enjoyed and most likely executed because of the unique way I offer it up to them.
I had no idea the culmination of my creating summer camps, homeschool classes, coaching and writing would come to this, the Total Truth Workshop, but I love how all of my loves have joined together for this one special purpose.
Why on earth would I want to work with teens? Because I believe it was my calling, my specialty, my area of expertise. This is my arena. We can't ALL be baby experts! Lol!
I love working with teens.
I love teaching. And now, I can do both and change the lives of teens all over the world.
I can meet and bond with families.
I can see all of the beauty the United States of America has to offer.
And I can write at all the intervals in between!
How perfect for me!
If this is the last thing I do... travel from state to state and city to city working with teens the rest of my life... I couldn't be happier.
A Big Announcement
Now that the release of my second novel Waiting for the Sun has passed, I can move on to my BIG announcement!!
This has been a long time coming!! I am so excited to announce the official 2014/15 Nationwide Tour of the Total Truth Workshop!!
All year I've been doing smaller beta tests of the workshop to get out some of the bugs and to make sure I'm offering up what the kids need most and I am pleased with the results as are the kids. So the only thing left to do is to take it out on the road!
This is will be my first attempt to travel with this kind of event, but I see it as an adventure! So many new places to see and new families to meet! And lots of good information to be passed around to make a difference in people's lives and futures! I am so excited! (& terrified!)
"I'm so glad someone finally listened to what teens need and not what they think we need."
"I love this workshop. I think it will help a lot of people. Miss Elizabeth is awesome."
"The Total Truth Workshop wasn't boring at all. Miss Elizabeth always thinks for fun things for us to do and before we realize it, it became a lesson."
I'm kicking things off here in my home town of St. Louis, MO first on the last weekend of June, 2014 and then starting off slowly. A weekend here, a weekend there and when school starts back up, I'll really swing into gear hopefully offering two workshops per month through the winter months. What a life change for me! But I welcome it with open arms. I could use a good challenge to keep me on my toes!
I've been working diligently on the website which is now live. (I wish I was more tech savvy, but I am not! So, I had to work at it in bits and pieces at a time.) I am thankful for my support system at St. Louis Onsite (Shout out to Paul Arthur and Joey Felps) and to the newest addition to my tech crew, Ryan Lambert. Ryan is working on making the teen website pop with awesome videos. I am so very blessed to have so much talent around me.
I am also so thankful for my Personal Assistant, Sarah Arnold, she gets my phone work under control and helps keep me on track to what my most present task is. If you only knew how much I needed that!! Lol!
The workshop is starting to get press and is moving along faster than I'm ready for! So that just means I need to work harder and faster!! But I wanted to let all of you know first before it is released to the rest of the world! I am excited that it is getting positive feedback. I hope that helps the Total Truth Workshop get off the ground and have all the weekends sell out!
For those of you that don't know about the Total Truth Workshop, it is a project that I have been "working" on for about six years now. It was going to be just a book called Do It Now or Re-do It Later- and it still will be, but it seemed to me that teens would get more out of the information if it was presented to them in a live, interactive format. When we have the opportunity to experience something over just reading about it, those experiences are more likely to make an impact and stay with us longer. And since creating fun camps and classes are my forte, this seemed like a perfect fit.
So basically, for one weekend, these kids will come and hang out with me and we will work on life lessons, accountability, goal setting, and all the things they won't be taught in high school but NEED to know to be successful in the grown-up world. It's called Total Truth because I won't pull any punches or sugar coat the facts. The real world doesn't care whether you're tired or not feeling well or ran out of money. The world moves on and you need to be ready to move with it or get trampled by it! (I know the trampled part! I don't wish it on anyone!)
It's so much more than sitting in a room and being talked at for three days. I wouldn't want that... I can't think of anyone that would! There are games and dancing and a fun atmosphere. These kids will come out of this event with a good idea of where to go next to make their future one they can look forward to. Instead of waiting to see what opportunities or jobs "fall into their lap" they will have the power and the know how to go and get what they want. They will be given a set of tools to help deal with bumps in the road and letting go of harmful habits and replacing them with productive ones. The workshop also deals a great deal with relationships and communication. Two things that everyone needs to be comfortable with so they can be prepared to deal with the relationships of their future. Bosses, teachers, family members, love interests, co-workers. The information they learn at the workshop will be of use to them the very first day.
This workshop will be a huge asset for those kids who choose to use it. They are not only creating a future for themselves, they are linking with like-minded teens and developing a support system, a mentoring group and new friends that will last them a life-time. And me. I'll be there with them for as long as they need me. I've set up a members only Facebook group, their own membership pages within the website, on-going blog posts to keep them on track and they will have life-time access to me and to any webinars I host.
I am just so excited about this whole thing! This is my life's work. This is what all my years of experiences have led me to. I wish I had something like this when I was in my teen years. I certainly wouldn't have made as many mistakes trying to figure things out as I went. I hope you will come on board and help me spread the news about my new "baby"! I can't wait to share it with the world! I love this age. So many new things coming their way and so many things to learn.
Please comment below or shoot me an email if you'd like to know more information but I'll try and keep everything posted on here so you can see my progress. To find out more about the Total Truth Workshop, please visit the page on this website or you can bounce right to the brand new website to learn all the details! www.totaltruthworkshop.com
Please be happy for me and keep theses prayers and well wishes coming my way, because I need all the encouragement I can get!
BONUS if you or would like to sign up for the Total Truth Workshop (in the St. Louis area), please send me a message in the Contact Me and I'll give you a discount code for HALF OFF!! This offer is only good until June 17th.
(Not in the St. Louis area? Message me anyway and first, let's see when I'll be heading to your city and second, I'll give you a special friends and family discount offer that you can use!)
Love Will Keep Us Together
This may be showing my age, but I am TOTALLY singing the Captain and Tennille song, "Love Will Keep Us Together!" (Go on, admit it, you are too!) Don't know why that song was floating around in my head today, but it created this latest Blog-Spot for your entertainment and inspirational intake.
Love. It is the base of all relationships and it can, single-handedly, give you the strength to keep trying to make a relationship go. It gives you the desire to forgive and move forward. It gives you the passion to keep working and connecting to your mate or close friends, even those pesky little, stress-inducing, two-legged things we call our children. Love. It is a powerful thing. Many times it is abused and taken for granted. Other times it's assumed that you don't have to work at it. And sure, love will probably always be there, at the core, but in order to make it blossom and grow it takes a few other things as well.
Love can keep you together, but don't you want more than that? Don't you want deeper, long-lasting relationships? Closer bonds, strong friendships and the secure feelings of forever... Then read on. Here are a few helpful tips to keep those relationships moving forward....
Make Eye Contact. This simple act lets your partner, children or friend really know that you are listening. It speaks of honesty and vulnerability. The eyes are said to be the window to the soul, let your partner know they are welcome there. That you are genuinely, sincerely involved in this relationship.
Think Before You Speak. Is what you're about to say going to move the relationship forward or will it be hurtful or damaging? Once the words have been released, they cannot be taken back. You can apologize all day long and be completely sincere about it, but you cannot make your words un-heard. Speak words of love and of encouragement. If you must reprimand, or have a difficult conversation be sure you are at a place where you can talk without emotions taking over. It could be as simple as a few seconds of breathing before you begin or answer; Or you may have to reconvene at another time to get your thoughts in order. Try never to argue out of passion, and never, never say things that you know will damage your partner. You may win the battle, but you may also have struck a huge blow in your future together. (Same applies to your children! They may always love you, but they don't have to like you or they may feel a need to seek protection from you be it through verbal distance or re-location.)
Listen Attentively. We all like to know that we are being heard. One of the nicest feelings besides that warm, squishy love feeling is to know that we have been heard and understood. Give those people that are important to you that feeling of value. Put down the cell phone games, or let the e-mail wait for a few minutes. Facebook will be there later, I promise. Ignore the television, the phone, the kids, the dishes... Give that person your undivided attention. I know you are busy. But these are the relationships that deserve your time. They will give you the best ROI. Value them.
Bring God into the conversation. Be sure that He knows He is welcome in your relationships. I have heard that the best relationships are compared to that of a tripod. Three legs. Two legs alone will not give you balance or security. But add that third leg and everything evens out. Pray together, seek Him together and He will give you balance and security.
REALLY get to know your partner/child. Share details. Ask about their likes and dislikes. Who are their friends and what drew them as friends? What do they like to do? People change all the time. Our children, especially. Always be in a state of getting to know them all over again. It creates an unforgettable bond. And with your mate, it gives you insight to the section of their lives that happened perhaps before you became a part of it and how you can continue to grow together.
Verbally communicate your wants and desires and find out theirs. Open communication is SO important!! With out this, it's just a guessing game. And when left to our own imaginations, we ALWAYS imagine the worst. Put your thoughts and feelings into words. Say how you feel. Ask for what you want. I know. I hear you saying, "But if he loves me, he should know!" I wish that was the case. But it's not. People cannot read your mind. And we also struggle with remembering details.
I understand. This can be uncomfortable. But it can also bring you so much closer all while removing doubts and encouraging feedback. (This goes hand in hand with the above Listen Attentively!)
But my favorite reason to verbally communicate is that it builds trust. The walls come down the more you talk together. Share with each other. Listen to each other. You should reach the point that there is nothing that you can't talk about. There is that sense of security that allows you to feel safe in good times and in bad. The good times make it easy to share but when those tough conversations have to come up, its good to have that trust there to know that your partner will still be around when you get to the other side of the problem.
And, of course, verbally communicating also includes:
Saying those three little words: I Love You. Say it. Don't ever let anyone doubt that you love them! Say it and mean it! (The opposite is true, DON'T say it if you don't mean it! Ouch.) We never know what tomorrow may bring so never go to sleep at night without letting those you love know how much they mean to you! I never want my children to ever question my love for them. I try and do all the things to show them, but I feel better just putting it out there. I hope the people closest to me know how much I value them and rarely waste an opportunity to sneak the actual words in every once in a while. I tend to be an over-lover! I'm all about the saying it and expressing it and hugging....
Physical Contact. Touching, hugging, holding hands, a quick pat as you pass by... These are the non-verbal cues that we can give to show our love. I don't care how old you are, touching is good and necessary for people to stay close. (Literally and emotionally! lol)
Forgiveness. I can't say enough about this simple little word with its not so simple expectations. We are all going to make mistakes. We all tend to hurt one another. Forgiveness is the salve for the wound. Forgiveness doesn't fix everything but it allows for the healing to begin. Sometimes you have to begin healing alone, and other times you have to heal together but healing will never happen if resentment, anger and pain stand in the way. Forgive and allow the rest to take care of itself. Forgiveness is a choice. Staying together is a choice. Love, not so much. You can't control who you love and who you do not love. But you can decide how you are going to act on it and you can decide if love is only going to keep you together or if you will enjoy the journey to the fullest.
What's on your mind??
Do you have an additional tip to add? How do these things effect your relationships? Please leave a comment below!
It's back to school season and this time of year always makes me a little melancholy as another summer quietly comes to an end.
I am "momma" to about 15-20 young adults not including the ones that I paid taxes on, and this time of year when I send them back off to school or watch them take on the next level of adulthood or (worse!) stop to look at how much they have all grown, it is a moment that is bittersweet. Some have been a part of my life since my kids were small, others have only joined the family, but seem to fall right into place and still others take a side road for only a few visits and are gone again, but have still known the love of this momma and unique collection of family.
I am so proud at how far they have come in their lives and when I say that I love them all, I truly and honestly feel down to my very heart their accomplishments and their sorrows. My little house is empty now and has been for a couple years, but this time of year always brings back that initial... sadness.
And when they do come back in increments of a few or a whole party and they speak their foreign languages of Magic, Xbox, Robot Chicken and other nerd-isms, it fills my heart with so much joy. I don't care that they keep me up all night long with their talking and laughing, singing and wrestling, I just love that they are there. Nothing makes me happier than when I wake up and see my living room sprawling with bodies that slept where they fell. I am honored that they still find happiness coming to my home and doing their thing. They could easily go any where else, but that they choose to come to Momma's house, makes me extremely happy.
As they grow and don't heed the council of Momma, it makes me so sad to hear of some of the choices that they make. We all have to have our turn to find out which ways are right and which ways are wrong and let me tell you how I was a person who was going to do what I wanted regardless of all the warnings. And now I find myself in my elders shoes. I want to protect them and guard them so that they never know sadness or fear, prejudices ... or cancer.... But then I have to remind myself that my greatest challenges turned into my greatest lessons.
I am who I am today because of, or in spite of the mistakes I made. My heart has been broken, I have been so poor I had to live on popcorn and Pepsi, I have been lost in darkness and found my way back to the light. I am not perfect- I should be- but I still make mistakes. And my kids need to be "allowed" do it too. And now, knowing what I do, I have to let them. I am here if they ever want to talk or need advice or a meal or a bed to sleep in, but I have to let them grow.
So, as you send your "babies" off to school, and you can feel them slowly slipping from your grasp, know that this is the way things are supposed to be. They are only ours for a moment. And in that moment, we do the best we can to teach them and love them and give them a strong foundation to stand on. So when they are ready to take that leap, they do so knowing that no matter how warm and cozy and safe that nest is, they were born to fly. And we, have to let them go.
This is essentially a script to offer you (and me) comfort. Take comfort in the fact that because of that strong foundation and love and coziness, they will be back and cleaning out your refrigerator in no time!