Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Teen Week Interview With Susie Shellenberger

Hi Susie, thanks for joining us today! Tell us a bit about yourself and what you do.
I’m the editor of BRIO Magazine for teen girls published by Focus on the Family. Before that, I was a high school speech and drama teacher. And before that I was a fulltime youth pastor.

How did the Closer conferences get started?
As editor of BRIO, I receive about 1,200 letters and emails each month. Many are from teen girls who don’t have a great relationship with their mom but really desire that. I also hear from a few moms who want to be closer to their daughters but just don’t know how to do it. So I began thinking, ‘Wouldn’t it be great it we could set aside an entire day just for moms and their teen daughters? A day of fun, laughter, hugs and bonding! So that’s exactly what we’ve done! CLOSER: Moms & Daughters is a one-day Saturday event that truly does draw moms and their daughters closer together. It’s life-changing!

What is your goal for this conference?
We want moms and daughters to have fun; but we also want to provide a safe environment where they can deal with real issues that need to be dealt with. For example, if a mom is saying to her daughter, “Honey, you don’t need that piece of cake,” the daughter needs to be able to share with her mom in a respectful way that this hurts. And if a daughter is rolling her eyes and slamming her door, Mom needs to be able to let her daughter know how alienated that makes her feel.

What kind of feedback are you getting?
From moms: “Thanks for giving me my daughter back.”
From daughters: “I loved spending an entire uninterrupted day with my mom.”
From both: “This event was really life-changing.” “I had no idea it was going to be this much fun yet also this deep!”

I have a Closer conference coming to my area, but what about those folks who do not? How can they bring a Closer conference to their area?
By going directly to our Website. We give details on how to bring a CLOSER event to any area:

I know so many moms who desire to be closer to their teen daughters. What is your best piece of advice to those moms?
It WILL get better! Be patient. These days of eye-rolling and door-slamming are temporary. And don’t settle for simply praying FOR your daughter; pray WITH her.What have you learned from these conferences? Anything that surprises you? I’m surprised at the desperation moms and daughters BOTH have to truly unite. Both moms AND daughters really really REALLY want to experience a tight bond with each other; most just simply don’t know how to get there. We provide the tools that makes their dream a reality.

Thanks Susie for dropping by Teen Week this week and helping us learn about another resource to help us raise godly teen girls. I hope that many of you will take the initiative and go to one of these Closer conferences, if there is one in your area. And if not, pray about bringing one to your area!
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Jennifer, Snapshot said...

Her book Here for You (the first in the Closer series) is phenomenal! I can't wait until my daughter is a few years older to take advantage of these kinds of events.

Anonymous said...

Hi MaryBeth,
I think Susie is coming Nov 17th to Charlotte. She will be at Christ Covenant Church if you are interested in taking our girls.

Elisa @ Extravagant Grace said...

Very cool! I never knew about these!