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By Marlena Rice

Mercer Mayer and his wife Gina could not have summed up a parent’s late night frustration any better than in their popular children’s book, Just Go to Bed. In the book, one in the Little Critter series, Little Critter attempts to bypass bedtime by becoming a robot, a cowboy and even a space cadet flying to the moon, all before finally giving in to his stuffed animal and bed. Does this sound familiar?

 

After countless nights of waking up after midnight after having fallen asleep on one of my living room couches with my son, not only do my back and neck hurt into the early hours of the morning, but I find myself wondering who in their right mind would air cartoons on TV after 8 or 9 p.m. The people who make this call must not have children, but, if they do in the future, I’m sure they will come to believe in karma. As my son nears age two, I’ve had to get creative when it comes to television rules and bed time.

Here are a few tips...

Farm-to-Table restaurants have become huge across the U.S in recent years, and in Alabama, it is not different. Here are five great farm-to-table restaurants to check out statewide. 

By Mike Green

Before I talk a little about parenting teenagers, please allow me a minute to share part of my story.

In the winter of 1983, I walked through the doors of the old Campus Life Teen Center off of 15th Street. It was a building I had been in as a kid when it was the Southern Grass Tennis Academy. I had spent many summers swimming in the pool and playing pinball with other youth my age. Now, as a college student, I was drawn back to these familiar grounds. That night I would meet a guy named Perry Liles. Perry was a volunteer with Campus Life and had invited me to learn more about what the organization was doing for area high school students. That night I began to learn the nuts and bolts of Campus Life, but what really impacted my life was the people I met.

 

Though I couldn’t quite label what this ragtag group of teenagers and adults had going for them, I sensed something unique. And I wanted to be a part of it. So, what was it that made this group so inviting? Yes, they were Christians, and that resonated with me. I had given my life to Christ in junior high. And this group gave me the opportunity to live out my faith. But there was more. They were fun. Campus Life in my college days was some of the most fun I have ever experienced. Trips to Gatlinburg, Scream in The Dark, Burger Bashes, the electric chair and more are the most vivid memories I have of my college days. But that wasn’t really it either. So what is it that made Campus Life, Campus Life?

There is one word that keeps coming to mind when I think of the people and relationships I made in those days, and it is “authentic.” These people were real. So much of my teenage and college years before Campus Life seemed to lack any of the honest relationships that I so eagerly desired. Many friends seemed focused on impressing me with the drinking escapades. My committed Christian friends wanted me to believe they were perfect and somehow had “arrived.” But here, I found others like me who were still trying to figure life out and were honest enough to say so. This place created a safe environment for teenagers and young adults to actually have honest conversations about life, God, church, and whatever the controversial issues were of the day.

I wish every person could experience what I found in Campus Life. I can’t imagine my life without these very special years of college. They have laid a foundation for my life and, of course, have a whole lot to do with why I still am a part of Campus Life 32 years later.

So here is my point: Help your teen find this authentic, safe, honest, challenging, and fun place to lay a foundation for life. Create this place at home. Find a youth group or youth ministry that will do the same. In doing so you will change the course of your child’s life.

Mike Green is Executive Director of Tuscaloosa Youth For Christ/ Campus Life. He and his wife, Laura, have two grown children.

Lake Tuscaloosa Living (LTL) is the premier community newspaper, covering the great people, places and activities of the area.

 

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