The Best Advice For Parents of Troubled Teens

Early in 2015, I had the opportunity to interview Nathan Mitchell, the Clinical Director of the ANASAZI Foundation. The ANASAZI Foundation is a family focused intervention program that helps troubled youth. (And by “troubled” I mean someone who is struggling with the challenges of life. So by that definition we’re all, at one point or another, troubled.)

During the interview, I asked Nathan what he might tell parents of troubled teens. Now, this is a tricky area to offer advice because every situation is unique and requires prayerful consideration, patience, and effort; it’s really difficult to condense something as important as that down to a simple soundbite.

Nevertheless, Nathan said some pretty amazing things (which I’ve compiled into a playlist here) and towards the end of the interview he said something that was particularly powerful. To be honest, I think it’s some of the best advice I’ve ever heard—for any relationship. You can watch it in the video below.

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The Seven Paths

Today, The Seven Paths—one of the most beautiful, and one of the most profound books that I have ever read—has officially been published.

The Seven Paths
The Seven Paths

Originally self-published through the Anasazi Foundation for over a decade, I first read The Seven Paths in 2006 after my attempted suicide. Up until that point, I had been living a very selfish life full of fear and lies. Like the main character in the book, I was running away from my people and my problems. All I wanted was to be left alone.

And yet…all I wanted was to not feel so alone.

Reading The Seven Paths was a complete game-changer. It helped me realize that “happiness in life’s walk depends upon how we feel about others in our hearts.” Indeed, happiness in life comes from living for others—or, in Anasazi speak, living the path of WE.

From The Seven Paths:

I have learned that the point of life’s walk is not where or how far I move my feet but how I am moved in my heart. If I walk far but am angry toward others as I journey, I walk nowhere.

…We travel only as far and as high as our hearts will take us. When I ran from my people, this is what the hills, the trees, the valleys, and the streams invited me to learn—and before it was too late:

The the success of my journey depended on whether my heart walked forward—toward my people—instead of backward, away from them.

Since reading The Seven Paths, my life has completely changed. Looking back, I can actually distinguish a clear line between living for myself and trying to live for others. My life before was a desert wasteland of selfishness. But my life after reading The Seven Paths, and living its principles, has been an oasis of peace and community. Of course, life has had its ups and downs, but I don’t lose sight of what is important: living the path of WE.

It’s no small thing to claim that living the principles found in The Seven Paths have brought me more joy than any other self-help book, but I claim it. In my opinion, The Seven Paths is the ultimate self-help book because it encourages the reader to leave the path of ME and live the path of WE. “Finding ourselves” and “helping ourselves” means that we lose ourselves and forget ourselves in the service of others. The Seven Paths taught me that—for which I will be eternally grateful.

I invite you to purchase a copy of The Seven Paths and read it for yourself. I promise you that its words will inspire you in your walking and help you move forward.