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Inviting Intelligence

There is nothing more honoring than those moments in life when we are invited into conversations where decisions are being made and plans are being formed. Think of that for a moment. Imagine how that reality impacts you. Your boss invites you into a meeting, welcoming your insight into an area where you have been an observer. How do you feel? What happens at that moment? You feel respected. That respect builds confidence. You explore your ideas and experience and form answers - crafting ingenuity. Your insights are shared. The meter on the respect dial between you and your colleagues goes up. Beyond that, it encourages you to express insights, to move beyond internalized thoughts into a greater level of intelligence - crafting ideas and solutions . The invitation encourages you to think and work with others. You have been invited into a greater experience of intelligence.

This is exactly what happens when we invite our teenage kids into decisionary moments in life. The early years of life create followers - not thinkers. This is fine when the child is young but needs to shift in the pre-teen years to help develop thinkers. How can we create an environment where development is safe and encouraged in our budding pre-adults? It begins in the very normal patterns of daily life. It could include the decision process around a family vacation; a family day; an appropriate budget or time management problem. Inviting our teen to share their preferences, reflect on experience and express insights shows respect and it invites them to organize thoughts and present them with intelligence. Involving teens in family and life building choices strengthens them as they step into adulting, where decision processes happen on a regular basis. This invitation to intelligence also encourages them to function by the wisdom of Proverbs 24:6-7 “in a multitude of counselors there is safety” as we model the example to gather counsel before making decisions.

When thoughts are shared, respond as you would if your co-worker or boss shared that idea. You wouldn’t ridicule a difference of opinion. You would reflect and ask for more information, including any challenges the circumstance may hold. For example, “I like that idea. I’m wondering how to accomplish this with our budget of X dollars.” Invite more thought by honoring the thoughts given. Make exploration safe and welcome.

When we invite our kids into decision making moments we are inviting them to employ their intelligence in the home. Don’t allow school to be the only place for them to explore creativity, ingenuity and intellect. Look for ways to make home the safest - most celebrated place for intelligence. It’s a powerful way to show respect for your teen, who in a blink of an eye, will be emerging into life of their own. Developing that bond of respect will build trust between the two of you - and it will prepare them to think well as they embark into the journey of life.

Sandy Ohlman

Allendale Director


Healthy conversations with your teen: 


Blog Goal:The Talk With Your Teen blog encourages and equips Christian parents to have consistent, open, and meaningful conversations with their teenagers about relational and sexual health.


About us: This blog is hosted by The Joshua Center from Positive Options. The Joshua Center exists to mobilize the body of Christ to embody the Gospel as we build a culture of life in West Michigan.


Parenting teens can be challenging. We offer Biblically based social and sexual health workshops that help ground teens in God's truth and authority as they navigate a hypersexual and rapidly evolving culture focused on individualism and self-gratification. Talk with your Teen articles expand and build on these trainings by encouraging and equipping Christian parents to have ongoing conversations with their teens regarding sensitive cultural issues. For more information about our workshops, for both teens and their parents, please email

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