Author: Kara Powell

What Motivates Teenagers on Social Media

Often parents feel like kids are tethered to their phones, constantly glancing or full-on staring into a screen. It’s unnerving. But before we judge kids or insist they “put that thing down,” we need to understand what motivates them to check social media so frequently. At the Fuller Youth Institute, we’re fans of the adage, “There’s a belief behind every behavior.” By identifying our kids’ motivations, we can empathize before we seek solutions. Without this empathy, our conversations about boundaries, rules, and good decisions get lost in translation. Teenagers often seem hypersocial to adults because they are in a...

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What I Learned from My Kids About Serving

I’ve been making a big mistake with my previous short-term mission trips. I’ve always thought of them more as group experiences rather than individual journeys for each kid. It’s easy to do when you’ve got 32 college students for a single weekend building a house in Mexico. Or 18 high school students digging wells for a week in Guatemala. There are so many details to organize that if the entire group seems to learn—and make it back home safely—the trip feels like a success. A few months ago Compassion International invited our family to Brazil because of the Fuller...

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How a Pet Can Build Faith This School Year

To help parents do family better, the Fuller Youth Institute is debuting the DVD release of the new Sticky Faith Family Training five-session video curriculum. To celebrate this new resource, we’ve asked Kara Powell to share research-based ideas to help your family build lasting faith as you head into the school year. There’s a sixth member of the Powell family now: Samoa. She is a hamster. And our first pet. Her nickname is “Hammy.” Our 14 year-old son sometimes refers to her as “Dinner.” Our oldest two children have asked for a pet periodically, but have never been that serious....

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Connecting with Your Graduate When They Leave for College

This post is adapted from The Sticky Faith Guide for Your Family by Kara Powell. To find out more about Sticky Faith or order this book bursting with practical ideas for parents of all ages, visit  The two credit card applications, I expected. The handwritten letter was a surprise. It was my first day on campus as a college freshman, and I decided to check my PO box. I immediately discarded the two credit card brochures. My mom had warned me about those. While I chucked the applications, I was surprised to also find a handwritten note. It...

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Three Key Words Your Kids Are Longing to Hear

*Portions of this blog post are adapted from “The Sticky Faith Guide for Your Family” by Kara Powell.  Our friends Dale and Jody have a great relationship with their kids. So great their 24-year-old son drives ninety minutes across Los Angeles (in traffic!) for family dinners or to watch basketball playoff games with his parents. Their 27-year-old daughter asked Jody if the two of them could meet to study the Bible together. Every week. My husband, Dave, and I have asked them what makes their family relationships so magnetic. Their answer is pretty simple: “Our kids know we like being with...

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