Learning my lines . . .
. . . discovering what it means to follow Jesus, seeing my story swept up into his . . .

How One Youth Worker Is Processing Kim Kardashian With Parents. . . .

I love this. . . absolutely love this. I love it because it’s what we hope to see happen after we do what we do here at CPYU. I love this because it shows that youth workers are thinking, processing, and boldly addressing real life issues that are hammering our kids. I love it because someone is taking steps to address things that matter from a Biblical perspective.

body image 2Yesterday morning I woke up to an email from my friend Eric Upton. Eric is a middle school pastor at Bridgeway Christian Church in the San Francisco Bay Area. I recently had Eric as a student in a Master’s level class at Azusa Pacific University. Eric read my blog about the Kim Kardashian photos and culture from a couple of days ago and decided to act. He sent me his email after 2 in the morning. I guess he was losing sleep. Being on the East Coast, I saw it arrive in my email box early yesterday morning and I opened it right away. . . and I smiled.

Good job Eric. I love this. What you’ve written oozes passion and urgency. . . the kind of passion and urgency that we all need as we endeavor to bring the light of God’s Word to bear on the cultural realities that exist in our world. I love that you are thoughtful and realistic. I love that you tell it like it is. I love it that you are filtering this through the lens of a Biblical world and life view. And I love that you are offering parents practical ways to respond.

I would encourage you all to read Eric’s letter to parents. . . then, write a letter to parents on your own. . .

Hey Parents,

It’s 2:00am and normally I am not awake. Regardless of the reason for my night owl tendency, something came across my view and I felt it was too important to wait. I have a great friend, Walt Mueller who works for an organization known as CPYU (Center for Parent/Youth Understanding) and they put out exceptional stuff on youth, parenting and our culture.

Recently, a major event took place that has captured the attention of adult, teen, and even tween boys and girls. Kim Kardashian, a pop-culture sensation whose fame from the release of a sex tape launched her into main stream media through social media, television, modeling, etc. has recently made news again. Photos of Kim Kardashian exposing her body (mainly her backside) for the sake of a popular New York magazine have swept through pop-culture.

So why do I bring this up? Two reasons really 1) The guys in our group 2) The Girls in our group. Our culture is shaping, training, and molding the young men in our group to value young women based solely on their looks, physical attraction, and ability to provide pleasure. In addition our culture is shaping, training, and molding the young girls in our group to base their own identity and value on their looks, relationship status, and the affirmation of their bodies and sexual prowess from young men.

I need your help! PLEASE have a conversation with your student about this issueWAIT…I take that back! DO NOT HAVE A CONVERSATION WITH YOUR STUDENT ABOUT THIS!!

HAVE A LOT OF CONVERSATIONS WITH YOUR STUDENT ABOUT THIS!!! 

There is no such thing as “THE TALK”…If there were a singular speech which could be given to students in order to answer questions, provide information, and prevent the misuse of sexuality then I would be all for it, but clearly there is not. Our culture has “THE TALK” with YOUR student dozens if not hundreds of times EVERYDAY! What makes us think that a one-off conversation will do the trick?

One of the most common fears I hear from parents as it relates to this subject is something to this effect, “I’m worried that If I bring it up before they are ready/aware, then won’t I be the one exposing them to something that is dangerous and unnecessarily?”. First off, students have/are already exposed to the sexual agenda of our culture. If you do not believe me or want to argue that, I welcome the conversation, but am more than confident that my evidence will support that claim. Second, it is better to be PRO-active than it is to be RE-active when it comes to these issues. Lastly, the only danger in pro-actively engaging your son/daughter in a conversation of this subject matter is if you only do it once. Once is never enough.

Students need to be engaged with the truth on this subject and many others as frequently as possible. “But Eric, won’t they get annoyed, frustrated, and even angry if I bring this awkward and uncomfortable subject up all the time?” YES THEY WILL!!!! And, that’s exactly what you want. You want them to be exposed so frequently to your stance, and more importantly the TRUTH in regard to the subjects of sex, media, and culture that they can quote them back to you. When they start cutting you off and finishing sentences you will know that you’ve got them right where you want them, and then you will only have to repeat those same messages another 100,000 times! After all, our culture plays their sexually charged songs/tv shows/ movies so much that our students memorize them, and then they play them again.

So, here’s what we do:
1) Read the article from Walt Mueller and CPYU that I am linking here: NOTHING BUT PARTS:

2) Plan a time to engage in a conversation with your son/daughter about the issues brought up in the article.

3) Commit to continuing the conversation with your student about these and other issues as they arise.

Here are some sample questions you might consider using in your ONGOING CONVERSATIONS with your student:

QUESTIONS TO ASK:
What do you know about Kim Kardashian?

Why do you think she is as “popular” as she is?

Based on what you know of Kim, is her popularity worth it based on what she had to do to earn it? Why/Why not?

What kind of message do you think people get from her?

FOR GUYS: 

Media kind of portrays Kim as “The Ultimate Woman” How many girls that you know measure up to the way Kim is portrayed?

What do you think Kim’s image trains you to value most importantly about a girl?

Do you think those things are the right things to value, the wrong things to value, or do you think it even matters?

What do your guy friends say/think about Kim when she comes up in conversation? Does she come up in conversation?

What will/would/should you do if one of your good guy friends offers to look at her pictures with you?

How can I help you avoid the temptation to look at and become addicted to the things Kim portrays?

What kinds of things do you want to be noticed for by a girl?

What kinds of things do you want others to value about you?

FOR GIRLS:

Media kind of portrays Kim as “The Ultimate Woman” How many girls that you know measure up to the way Kim is portrayed?

Do you feel like you would measure up to Kim if you felt like someone was comparing you with her? Why/why not?

What do you think Kim’s image trains guys to value most importantly about a girl?

What do you think Kim’s image trains girls to value most importantly about themselves?

Do you think those things are the right things to value, the wrong things to value, or do you think it even matters?

What do your guy/girl friends say/think about Kim when she comes up in conversation? Does she come up in conversation?

What kinds of things do you want to be noticed for by a guy?

What kinds of things do you want others to value about you?

How do you deal with comparing yourself to other girls? Do you struggle with that?

How can I help you not to get trapped in comparing yourself with other girls?

How can I help you to develop the things you want others to value in you?

PRAY WITH YOUR STUDENT and commit to follow up with them on the things you talked about. 
Thanks for being a great parent and leaning into this opportunity. It’s easy to claim busyness, hide behind feelings of awkward discomfort, or even live in the denial of thinking your student hasn’t been exposed to things like this. Even if your student has no clue who Kim Kardashian is specifically, these questions can be used in a variety of ways with only minor adjustments. Remember, be a pro-active parent, not a re-active one.
I’m honored to serve with you and walk the journey of your student’s life with you. If you need anything in this endeavor please let us know.
Sincerely,
Eric Upton
Middle School Pastor
Bridgeway Christian Church

2 Responses

  1. I love this! Thanks for continuing to demonstrating the need for relevant youth ministry to our children, teens, and families. Helping the parents throw out life lines to their precious children who are drowning in the soup of culture is so very vital.

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