Jeremy Lee is a middle school minister who started a site called Parentzilla which is a resource for parent's of teenagers. I haven't meet Jeremy in the real life yet, but we have become digital friends because of our mutual love for middle school students. Since Jeremy works with middle schoolers and also runs a site dedicated to parents, I thought it would be appropriate to ask him some questions about both.
How did you end up in middle school ministry?
I was 18 when I started in student ministry. I can't believe someone gave a job to an 18 year old watching over teenagers! In my late 20s, I realized that I stopped being cool to high schoolers, and quite honestly, the feeling was mutual. I realized then that I never really left puberty and was meant to be a middle schooler for life. Therefore, I simply wanted to hang out with my tribe.
What do you think is the biggest challenge for parents of middle schoolers?
Accidental Adolescence. This is especially common if it is the first teenager in the family, but regardless it is easy to stumble into the teenage years with no strategy and little preparation. That's why I started Parentzilla, to end accidental adolescence. If I could only tell parents one thing, I'd encourage them to spend their time building a trust connection through a regular appointment with their teenager. Time and attention develop trust in a relationship and offers a reward that will help you thrive in the adolescenet journey.
So what's Parentzilla all about?
Parentzilla is a resource website that is meant to help parents tame the teenage years. I discovered that parents of teenagers were discouraged, and I wanted to create an online parenting partner. It would be a place where they didn't have to feel alone in the most difficult but rewarding stage of their parenting journey.
As a middle school minister, what are some ways that people can partner with parents to better walk alongside parents?
I believe in teaching parents to pass down their faith through symbol and ceremony. Middle schoolers are concrete thinkers, and God in the Old Testament was very concrete in His method of passing down faith. I tell parents all the time to think of the times when you bring out the camera to celebrate a major transition and come up with a way to infuse faith into that moment through symbols and ceremonies. Middle School Ministers can help parents come up with those ideas; I'm launching a project in June to help youth workers do that - you'll be able to find it at parentministry.net.
What are your top 3 favorite parts of working with middle school students?
1. Their energy.
2. Their honesty.
3. Their innocence.
Parent's Guide to Giving the First Cell Phone for Free
Jeremy was super generous and also decided to give away his ebook called the Parent's Guide to Giving the First Cell Phone ($8 value) for free. If you're a parent or want a gift for parents in your ministry, this could be a great resource. Go to http://www.parentzilla.com/our-new-ebook-launches-today/and use the discount code "rj" and you'll get it for free . All I ask in return is that if you like it, they tell your friends.