Bert Fulks is a youth pastor from West Virginia who spends a lot of time counseling teenagers who have gotten mixed up with drugs and other destructive behaviors. He's also a father of three who worries about his children and the path they are on.
This lead him to thinking about those situations we've all been in when we were young, when we knew a party or other situation was bad but we didn't have an excuse to leave. Fulks asked the kids in his group if they had ever found themselves feeling that way, and every one of them raised their hand.
He wanted to guarantee that his own kids would never feel like they couldn't count on him, so he came up with a clever solution: the X Plan.
The X Plan is very simple: it's a safety net for your teen that lets them message you anytime, anywhere, saying they need to be picked up. When parents get a message that just reads "X" from their child, they should call right away, invent an excuse, and then pick their kid up.
Fulks says having a supportive attitude is just as important as the exit strategy.
“The X-plan comes with the agreement that we will pass no judgments and ask no questions," he writes on his blog, "even if he is 10 miles away from where he’s supposed to be.”
For Fulks, knowing his children are safe and comfortable at all times is the most important thing, and the X Plan lets his children know that they won't get in trouble if they ask for help.
Some parents may worry about even giving their teen a cell phone to use this plan, but Fulks points out "cell phones aren’t going away anyway."