Get Outta My Face!by Rick Horne, was published earlier this year, and the subtitle, accurately describes the message contained therein…”How to reach angry, unmotivated teens with Biblical counsel.”
Horne holds a D. Min from Westminster Theological Seminary and is a guidance counselor for a Christian school in the Philadelphia area. As you might imagine, he has plenty of experience in counselling teenagers. But more important than his direct experience, he brings Biblical wisdom, primarily from the book of Proverbs, which he notes was mostly written by Solomon for his young son, (Proverbs 1: 8) who may well have been a teenager at the time Solomon wrote it.
While Horne’s ultimate objective is to point angry and unmotivated teens to the cross of Christ, he dedicates the lion’s share of the book to Biblically grounded techniques for connecting and communicating with teens. He does so by first informing the reader that he/she must first understand the teen and importantly understand him/herself in the light of scripture. This approach offers great theological reminders about the nature of man, and sin’s corruption, irrespective of age.
Then Horne teaches four processes that he acknowledges are fundamental to most any formal counselling. But he expands on these ideas with very helpful descriptions and dialogue, some of which are real life examples from his own “client base” of students at his school. The four processes are:
Listen Big – To build a bridge to your teen
Clarify Narrow– to expose the realities of your teen’s experience
Look Wide– to discover your teen’s solutions
Plan Small – to support changes your teen wants
While the narrative of the book often appears to be written to parents who are in the midst of dealing with angry or unmotivated teens, the book is clearly applicable for anyone who deals with teens, whether youth leader, or coach, or simply an interested party. And while the subject is most explicitly dealing with teenagers, I would submit that the teaching found in this book would apply just as well to the pre-adolescent and the young adult. And, I would not hesitate to use the techniques on a middle-of-life adult, either. The wisdom is that broadly applicable
At 171 pages, the book is a relatively quick and simple read. But much of its good advice that can and should be referred to again and again as we have occasion to deal with teens (of all ages).