Making Waves Through Adolescence

This last Sunday I heard an interesting metaphor regarding how parents are raising their children through the turbulent adolescent waters of life.

Draw a simple mind picture with two islands and a huge body of water separating them.  The islands are known as Kid Island and Adult Island.  The body of water represents the season of life known as “adolescence”.

The vehicle parents use to help kids get from Kid Island to Adult Island differs.  There are 3 primary vehicles for transportation: the Hover Craft, the Submarine, and the Battleship.

1) The Hovercraft: A vehicle or craft that travels over land or water on a cushion of air provided by a downward blast.

How many of you know someone who was raised in a family where the parents did everything they could to protect the kids and isolate them from the potential dangers of life?  Kids raised in an over-protective bubble.  In an attempt to shield their children, these parents don’t teach discernment but instead just say no to every teachable moment…their kids aren’t allowed to watch TV, listen to music, play with older friends, surf the internet, have a sleepover or, in general, do anything ever for fear of the wrong influence.

I believe there is a certain amount of discernment needed in what we expose our children.  The isolation mode has its dangers – namely rebellion and fear in the children.

2) The Submarine: A submersible vessel that operates under the water.

On the other side of the equation are the kids that operate totally submerged in the culture.  They are steeped in the popular lifestyles of the day, going with the flow of the current.  These children grow up lacking discernment and principle-based living.  If everyone is doing it, so am I.

3) The Battleship:  any of a class of warships that are the most heavily armored and are equipped with the most powerful armament.

I believe we should raise our children to operate in the adolescent water like a battleship.  Armed with the truth, understanding the principles of right living, and making waves.  If a threat arises, they can withstand an attack and fight back.

MTV is one of the most powerful influencers of our youth ages 25 and under.  In January 2010, the Kaiser Family Foundation reported that kids ages 8-18 years old were absorbing an average of 7 hours and 38 minutes a day of “entertainment media” (not including cell phone talking and texting which adds an additional 1 hour and 35 minutes a day).  WOW!  We haven’t watched cable TV in our home for years, not because we are a hover craft family, but because we are building battleships! We are teaching our kids to make waves with the truth!

How were you raised? How are you raising your kids?  What are you doing to build a battleship in you and your children?  I encourage you to leave a comment and maybe some great discussion will follow.  Godspeed to the life you have always wanted!


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18 Responses to Making Waves Through Adolescence

  1. Jen Ulrich says:

    Cool analogy, Matt! The older my kids get, the more I realize what a struggle my parents had raising their three kids–it can be hard determining if your battleship is starting to morph too much into a hovercraft or a submarine. I find myself not recognizing it as soon as I’d like to with my own kids. My parents did the best job that they could do, and they still haven’t given up influencing us to make smart decisions. The awesome thing about life is that every day you can try again, try harder, get smarter, be wiser. I’m thankful I had such a great foundation from my parents (and Jeff had the same from his) to start from in raising my own!

  2. I was raised totally submersed in the culture. I did what everyone else did. But through LIFE I realized the importance of a self-directed education. I have begun to transform myself into a battleship. I have not been able to stop reading truths out there! I hated reading when I was younger, but now I can’t stop learning from all types of sources. I strongly feel that the LIFE products and the Compensated Communities are what is going to turn the tide around. As a part of LIFE we are not making a ripple, or even a wave, we are making, as Jill Guzzardo says, “a tsunami!”
    God Bless You Matt and thank you for being that example of servant leadership!
    Jeremy Pethke

  3. Keith & Tracie Whitaker says:


    Thank you for the great post! I found that this type of being prepared teaching was one of our best tools for raising our children! Our children are all teens now, and thanks to Tracie and I operating on a united front teaching the same princibles. We created a system that runs on its own and is very smooth! We do have our struggles as most people do! But when we all are prepared to fight through our problems it is as if God himself lays out a path for us to walk on! And when we walk the path he has planned for us we get the life we always wanted! Tracie and I truely belive the LIFE/TEAM is exactly what God wants for us, and we are so thankful for all who have helped us on the way!

    Thanks again,
    Keith & Tracie Whitaker
    “LIFE is Life – Fight for it”

  4. Matt, what a great metaphor and explanation! It is obvious that you and Michelle are building battleships in the home because it is a reflection in how you build your teams. Personally I think I was given a canoe with only one oar to get from one side to the other and that is why I am so thankful that we have access to information that will teach battleship parenting for the next generation. Thanks for being a model parent and leader, you are making waves!

    • Matt Mielke says:

      Thanks Kristen. Regardless of your upbringing as a 1 oared row-boat, you are a great example that one can become a battleship for sure! Your example is already sending waves from your bow as you set the example and course for others to follow. Thanks for your leadership. Matt

  5. Matt, this is an awesome explanation of how parenting should be. Thanks for being a great example of what a dad should be. (And being a dad who leads his boys to wrestling and not the dark-side or BB!) 🙂

  6. Betty says:

    Hi Matt this is Mom. Your Blog is quite thought provoking and very meaningful. It is more than meaningful,it is great. I do know life was simpler and we did not have all the outside Influences that we have today. I would like to think we taught you VALUES ( not only in life, but with money as well as monetary things),RESPECT (yourself as well as others),RESPONIBILITY ( for yourself,words,actions,and deeds). Last,but MOST IMPORTANT,without your early teachings and your continued zest and devoted studying and teaching of what it is to have a LIFE WITH JESUS you and your family would not be what you are today.You’re love for GOD has made you and your family a remarkable example of how a loving family,a good husband and wife, are able to raise your wonderful children in a Battleship environment. for me that is special–spoken like a true mom.
    Keep up your remarkable work–I learn from you everyday. Mom

    • Matt Mielke says:

      Thanks Mom! I wouldn’t be on this journey if you and Dad didn’t raise me the way you did. I love the fact that our family has willingly worked hard to stay close. Your love for Michelle and the kids is exemplary and I pray that we continue to run life together as a family. Love you Mom and thanks for the reply!

      • Kristina Meinel says:

        It’s really cool to hear your parents’ perspective. Thank you mr. and mrs. Mielke for being good parents to Matt and Michelle and their kids. They are making a huge impact on many lives and I cannot thank them enough for their time, insight, commitment, encouragement, and love. Being raised from a battleship background, I know how important equipping kids to make their own decisions in the right direction, can be. Thanks for this post Matt. I see how hard it can be as a parent, when you just want to make every decision for your kid so they will be “safe” but in the long-run, you are taking the reasoning process away. Sometimes we just need to fall and leave butt prints in the sand.

      • Matt Mielke says:

        Amen Kristina! I’ve left a few prints along the way.

  7. Matt Mielke says:

    Matt, what a great metaphor for what we are knee-deep in right now….teaching our kids how to traverse adolescence! I just read a book that added a few other thoughts to your word-picture that I want to share because they were so helpful for me. The book reminded me that I need to show my kids that I care by investing in the relationship with them (entering their world and creating dialogue), disciplining them in love, communicating (and creating “arenas” of communication with each of them on a regular basis so we stay connected), and teaching them to rely on God and give God control of their life. I thank you Matt for having such high expectations for our kids, for limiting the entertainment media in our home, for teaching them Christian values, for keeping family meals important (I think we counted 3 meals per day together as a family almost every day!). You are not a “ghost” parent and I know our kids feel safe and loved knowing that they can experience failure in your shadow as we help them find the way to Adult Island. Thanks for your guidance, leadership, boundaries, love and Godly example in our home!

  8. Chris Brady says:

    Great post, Matt!! Love this illustration for such a critical role in this country…Parenting! Thanks for sharing!!

  9. Carole Eldredge says:

    Awesome post Matt, but the proof of that is in your mom’s reply! WOW. There’s some edification for you and Michelle . Thanks Betty for saying it the best!

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