you probably know already that i wrote a book earlier this year with my two teenage kids, liesl and max. it’s called 99 Thoughts on Raising Your Parents: Living the Sweet Life at Home.
but yesterday on his blog, josh griffin hosted a little Q&A with my kids about the book. i loved their answers, so asked josh if i could post them also.
Q&A about 99 Thoughts on Raising Your Parents
With Liesl Oestreicher and Max Oestreicher
Marko: Liesl and Max really did write these answers, just like they really did write the book with me (they wrote 100% of these answers, and about 70% of the book). Btw: Liesl is 18 – she graduated from HS last spring, and I currently on a gap-year, living in Ireland at the moment, and heading to India in January. Max is 14 (turns 15 in a week), and a freshman in HS.
Josh: OK, first off tell us about YOU!
Max: Drums + ukulele + bacon = Max Oestreicher
Liesl: I’m a dirty hippy, loving trees one hug at a time.
Josh: OK, now … what’s up with your dad’s beard?
Max: I think he should go pro.
Liesl: Babies and old, senile women enjoy grabbing and stroking it. It’s true, I’ve seen both happen.
Josh: The book is awesome – how did it come about?
Max: My dad wanted me and my sister to write a book about how cool he is. At first i refused, and then he told me i’d get paid.
Liesl: I was sitting in a forest, writing my autobiography, when a glowing figure approached me. The figure told me He was God, who had come down in human form to tell me something. He told me that He had peeked at what I was writing and that it was very good, that it even exceeded the work of the great Mark Oestreicher. He then told me that He wanted me to write a book for teenagers, just like me, about how to get along with their parents. And, of course, I gratefully accepted.
I don’t know, maybe I imagined that. Now that I think about it, my dad just sent me an email one day that said my brother and I were going to write a book and we were going to get paid for it.
Josh: What’s one thing that teenagers can do to change the game for the relationship they have with their parents?
Max: When you are getting in an argument/fight/disagreement with your parents, don’t get defensive. Respectfully communicate your point of view, and then listen to their’s.
Liesl: Respect their opinions. If you don’t, how do you expect them to respect yours?
…or you can just move to Ireland, like I did.
Josh: Tell us a story about when your parents screwed up. Make me laugh!
Max: My parent lost me at Disney World when I was three. They let go of my hand and I decided I wanted to go see KIng Louie.
Liesl: Once my mom and I were on a snowmobile on a family vacation. My mom accidentally went too close to a little dip and our snowmobile rolled over sideways. We couldn’t get up on our own, so before he helped us, my dad laughed as he took pictures.
Josh: Who do you love more – mom or dad? What do you value most about them?
Max: I think my mom is just ok, but compare her to my dad and she’s amazing.
Liesl: I would say my mom, but my dad is more likely to see this, so… definitely my dad.
Josh: You have the attention of a TON of youth workers – what would you say to them about their jobs/roles/calling?
Max: I think youth workers should give a lot of opportunities to get involved in a leadership roles as this has been very meaning full to me.
Liesl: It is really encouraging to here your life stories, especially the times when you screwed up. It shows us (teenagers in your youth group) that it is a safe place to admit to our faults when you do the same.
that’s the end of josh’s interview, but let me add a couple things.
first: one of the creative youth workers in my youth ministry coaching program recently told me about a very cool way she used the book. she took a single copy, cut the spine off (so all the pages were loose), and handed out each section (there are 6 or 7 sections) to a group of teenagers in her group. the groups read their sections, then made a presentation to the whole youth group, highlighting their own takes on a few of the ideas for improving their relationships with their parents.
and, here’s a goofy little video i shot for simply youth ministry when i was at their offices in august!