08.21.17

Real vs. Fake Relationships by Leneita Fix

youthministry.com

We are living in a connection driven world.  Everyday it seems technology is advancing to help us better stay in touch with those we love. The upside of this is that those High School reunions are way less awkward now that we can deal with all the drama before we ever get there. The downside is a generation is rising that doesn’t always know the difference between “real” and “fake” relationships.

There are different types of relationships. As a nation, we once took this to heart. A person with common interests who you felt safe enough to share your secrets with was a close friend. The guy you make small talk with while waiting at the dentist’s office was not. Now since we can go home and follow dentist guy on Twitter, we don’t always know how to define him.

Today’s teens are the first generation to never recall a time when they could not connect to someone via technology. They are used to having access to people at anytime in any format. We can learn about them through pictures, videos, and 160 written characters or less. It can give us the illusion that we know someone just because we know some information about them.

Sociologists use the term, “social ties” to explain the way are truly connected to a person. How strong a tie is between any two people depends on the amount of time spent together, the emotional connection, the level of closeness and (I like this one) the reality of how reciprocal the relationship is.

They claim there are three types of social ties we can have with someone. I think it is vital to start teaching our students the truth about these different types of connections.

They are:

Weak Ties

These are “acquaintances” or people we interact with but are not emotionally attached to. This is the person we see every day in the hallway and say.”Hi” to but that’s it. We follow them on social media because we met them once. We might see a lot about their lives, but don’t really have anything to do with them.

Strong Ties:

These are the relationships that are most important to us. These are people we share our lives with, and who share their lives with us. Some would say this could never happen via social media. Personally, I would contend there needs to be sometimes when you truly interact with these people in person or face to face in some way. However, with Skype or a good old-fashioned telephone, we can have long-distance friendships pretty easily. What’s important in these ties is that you are going deep and that the connection is not one-sided.

Intermediate Ties:

These may go slightly deeper than just watching someone on Instagram, but they aren’t the people we will share our innermost desires with either. This is where many of our social media interactions lie. They are somewhere between an acquaintance and a true friend.

When we don’t know the difference between these types of relationships we can get confused. We follow someone on our social media of choice and maybe have some witty interactions. We don’t know what to call this person. Are they a friend or an acquaintance? We can navigate this in person, now to learn it online.

Various scientists keep studying the effects of our new way of connecting via technology. The common find is that the deepest intrinsic longing of people is for quality over quantity of relationships. Personally, I think that started way back in the Garden when we knew what it was like to walk and talk with God. He created two at the beginning, not a mass mob. It speaks to the very depth of our soul’s need in so many ways.

We need to understand safety in building relationships online as well. Is there someone we shouldn’t be talking to? Don’t tell your students talking online to friends is evil.

What’s vital is to understand the level of truth those people hold in our lives. There needs to be a way of building a safe relationship that is not a manufactured version of ourselves.  It’s funny, but we have to teach our students how to make friends in this new world.

08.14.17

Hi! I am praying for you right now! 

Daily Prayer Email: Please send ALL prayer requests for your class to: studentcbsprayer@gmail.com
 
Quotes:
raying is not about getting God to give us what we want; it is about learning to want what God wants to give. #deSilva
If we hope to mentor our kids and foster their leadership gifts-we must understand how they think and the world they live in. #elmore
The best way world views are shaped is in the context of relationships. #McDowell
Believe that change is possible. Believe that grace works. Don’t give up — just give everything up to Him. #voskamp
 
 
FYI:
1. Has the Smart Phone Ruined a Generation… https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2017/09/has-the-smartphone-destroyed-a-generation/534198/?inf_contact_key=5fce34c0c9ddadab40399a40ae6ac0515ab199b1fb7f5ed71ae437d2d05b8873
2. Gen Z Research from UK… https://www.bpi.co.uk/assets/files/MIDiA%20Research%20Gen%20Z%20Report.pdf?inf_contact_key=c9b48c18e86f894990c221a4fc8d883ef339a1312e1907a97bf0afd3a3e6d80e
3. Broken Trust with Teenagers… https://www.heartlightministries.org/2017/08/picking-broken-pieces-shattered-trust/?utm_source=CC+Master+List&utm_campaign=3b2a85d0c0-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2017_07_05&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_5926458580-3b2a85d0c0-126726953
 
4. FAN Favorite Youth Ministry Books… by youthspecialties.com (below)
 
Here is what I just posted on the blogwww.studentcbsblog.org 
 
The One Thing That is More Important Than Your Reputation by Tim Elmore
Are You in Charge of Your Kids or Are They in Charge of You? by Tim Elmore
How to Teach Kids Who Respect – NOT! by Carmen Kamrath
“I don’t believe in anything anymore”: How to respond when young people doubt God by Brad Griffin
 

Here are 2 video links I think you might like to see:

Ideas on using social media.. 3.5 minutes
https://youthministry.com/using-social-medias-stories/?utm_source=bm23&utm_medium=email&utm_term=Watch+Now&utm_content=YM_20170807_Content&utm_campaign=08/07/2017&_bta_tid=41331316245476417335822032074687714161699307345621509658686028812822610397407609900005661492759565867525
 
Here are 2 just for you:
 
The Enemies of Patience

But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. There is no law against these things. –Galatians 5:22-23

We all have things that trigger our impatience. Maybe for you it’s traffic, or kids, or being late, or parents, or your spouse. But, what is it that actually fuels impatience in our lives? I think there are three big enemies of patience:

1. Overload. We try to cram too much activity into our schedules and this results in a lifestyle that has no margin. It leaves no breathing room. So when we find ourselves running behind, it breeds impatience. When you live a life with no margin, any little mismanagement or unforeseen circumstance can result in losing your patience.

2. Unrealistic Expectations. Many of us place high expectations on those closest to us. Typically, these people are our spouse, kids, and closest friends. Then, when they don’t live up to our expectations, we grow impatient. But, the truth is that people cannot possibly live up to every expectation (many of which are unspoken) that we place on them. People aren’t perfect and sooner or later, they won’t live up to our expectations.

3. Pride. Impatience rears its ugly head whenever pride is challenged. When we selfishly think we deserve better treatment than we receive, our egos puff up and our impatience blows out.

I wish there were some easy answers for resolving these enemies to patience. But, these are issues that most Christians continue to wrestle with throughout their lives. I know that I do.

The bottom line is that we need to continually pursue the reign of God’s kingdom in our lives, where we say, “Not my will Lord, but Yours.” When we do this, we begin to see new options for how we can respond. We see that we don’t have to walk hand-in-hand with the enemies of patience. When someone smacks our face, we can turn and give her the other cheek. When someone wants our shirt, we can offer him our coat as well. When someone forces us to walk a mile on his behalf, we can walk a second mile voluntarily.

Each day we face choices where we either embrace the enemies of patience or embrace God’s kingdom. As we seek His kingdom, patience grows. Our patience changes us, and it changes others as well. Today, choose to allow God to reign in you and grow the fruit of patience in your life.

How to get where you don’t know you are going by Kurt Johnston

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we knew where we were headed?  Sure, like many people, you’ve probably made some long term goals and have a path of sorts you hope your life journey takes you. Maybe you’ve even gone the extra mile and met with a life coach who has helped you learn more about yourself than you know what to do with.

Because I’ve been in youth ministry for quite a while, I’m often asked what it takes to last in ministry…how did I get where I am?   Honest answer: I don’t know! I had no idea when I began ministry as a junior high pastor back in 1988 that I’d still be doing it….and enjoying it!

The reality is none of us really know where we’re headed. Sure, we make our plans, but God often times has plans of His own that you could have never predicted (P.S. They are ALWAYS better than your plans).  I try not to make promises because I’ve been guilty of breaking far too many in the past, but I’d like to make one here: Your life will not turn out the way you’ve planned. I promise. Money-back guarantee.

Discouraged?  Don’t be!  Remember this: When you don’t know where you’re headed, Remember…God knows where he’s taking you!  Your future is in His very capable hands, and he has amazing plans for it.

But what do you do in the meantime?  What do you do on your road to where you don’t know you’re headed? How do you get to where you don’t even know you’re going?

THREE THOUGHTS:

EMBRACE THE AMBIGUITY

I’ve discovered something over the years. Humans seem to crave clarity and God seems incredibly comfortable not providing it.  Pick your favorite person in Scripture and reread their story. Odds are it is chuck full of ambiguity and uncertainty. Embrace the ambiguity of life.  Hug it out with the uncertainty you encounter on a daily basis. Might as well, because it’s here to stay.

PERSEVERE THROUGH ADVERSITY

Think about your favorite bible character again.  Not only was their life marked with ambiguity, but I’d be willing to bet there was a fair amount of adversity, too!  Ministry is tough. There’s adversity with parents, with students, with volunteers, with other staff members and with the church janitor….and that’s all just on Sunday!

When I’m asked how I’ve lasted in youth ministry, my typical answer is a fairly simple one: I refuse to quit.   When ministry has felt brutally tough, I’ve refused to quit.  I’m not an awesome youth pastor, but I’m a stubborn one!  On your way to where you don’t know you’re going there will be times you have to dig in your heels and simply persevere through the adversity of the moment, minute, month or year.

REST IN HIS AUTHORITY

I love this verse from Job’s life; a life marked by a season of tremendous ambiguity and adversity.

“I know that you can do all things; no purpose of yours can be thwarted.”  Job 42:2

God is the ultimate authority for where your life and ministry are headed. The creator of the universe; the one who knit you together in your mother’s womb, spoke calm to a raging sea and raised Himself from the dead has a plan and purpose for your life, and nothing can thwart it.  Like Job, it may be valuable to simply rest in your heavenly Father’s authority from time to time.

Life is a journey. Throw youth ministry into the mix and things get bonkers in a hurry.  There’s simply no way to accurately chart your course.

You, my friends, are on a road to God knows where!  But remember….God knows where!

 
FAN Favorite Youth Ministry Books… by youthspecialties.com

So in no particular order, here were some of the fan favorites and why they were chosen.

DIVIDED BY FAITH, by Smith and Emerson—great resource if you’re building towards a multicultural church/youth ministry.

YOUR FIRST 2 YEARS OF YOUTH MINISTRY, by Doug Fields—comprehensive book to help you not only survive, but thrive during the beginning phases of your youth ministry career and prepare for the long haul in ministry.

SUSTAINABLE YOUTH MINISTRY, by Mark Devries—in this book Devries pinpoints problems that cause division and burnout in addition to dispelling strongly held myths. He does all of this while providing practical tools and structures that church leaders need to lay a strong foundation for a youth ministry not built around personality or trend.

THE MINISTRY OF NURTURE by Duffy Robbins—a practical, in depth look at leading your kids into discipleship.

ADOPTIVE YOUTH MINISTRY by Chap Clark—the focus of this book is to help you learn how to integrate emerging generations into the family of faith, helping young adults become active participants in God’s redemptive community.

TAKING THEOLOGY TO YOUTH MINISTRY by Andrew Root—focuses on addressing key theological ideas in a modern youth context.

THE MASTER PLAN OF EVANGELISM by Robert Coleman—this book reminds disciple makers to teach to the masses, model to large groups, mentor a few, and multiply yourself through 1 or 2 people.

SEARCHING FOR GOD KNOWS WHAT by Donald Miller—this book reminds us that relationship is God’s way of leading us to redemption.

YOUTH MINISTRY MANAGEMENT TOOLS 2.0: EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO SUCCESSFULLY MANAGE YOUR MINISTRY by Mike A. Work and Ginny Olson—it honestly simplifies all of the practical essentials, gives you sample forms and provides a quick primer on background checks, medical releases, etc.

THE THEOLOGICAL TURN IN YOUTH MINISTRY by Kenda Dean and Andrew Root—the book helps you to reflect on your own practice of theology, and learn how to share that theology through rich, compassionate conversation and purposeful experience.

LETTERS TO A YOUTH WORKER by Mark Devries—this book allows you to have some of the best youth ministers in the country ride shotgun on your journey by providing wisdom and insight into practical and effective youth ministry.

PRESENCE-CENTERED YOUTH MINISTRY by Mike King—this book gives shape to what it means to develop a ministry where kids learn what it is to love and follow Christ through the classic disciplines and potent symbols and practices that have sustained the church over the centuries.

LOVE DOES by Bob Goff—this book is a light and fun, unique and profound read with the lessons drawn from Bob’s life and attitude and just might inspire you to be secretly incredible, too.

GOSPEL-CENTERED YOUTH MINISTRY—both practical and theological, the authors work to explore how each ministry activity serves to teach, form and equip our teens with the gospel.

GOSPEL-CENTERED DISCIPLESHIP—outlines a spiritual transformation through the work of the gospel in an intentional relationship between shepherd and sheep.

CHOOSING TO CHEAT by Andy Stanley—a great book for setting healthy boundaries around your team so that you can effectively serve your family and serve in your ministry.

BECOMING A COACHING LEADER by Daniel Harkavy—this book shows how coaching makes developing people a high-payoff activity. It allows you to equip tomorrow’s leaders today. And it gives you the ability to improve performance while raising the quality of life inside and outside of the ministry.

GETTING TO YES AND CRUCIAL CONVERSATIONS—this book is useful for learning to navigate the important church staff and parenting issues that go with student ministry.

DON’T DO THIS by Len Kegler and Jonathan Hobbs—helps rookie youth leaders to know some things that may be more advantageous to stay away from in their youth ministry journey.

PRACTICING PASSION by Kenda Creasy Dean—does a great job of placing youth ministry in the context of the local church, and the responsibilities that each has for the other.

THE YOUTH BUILDER by Jim Burns—this book can help you to make a life-changing impact in the lives of your young people.

PLAYING GOD by Andy Crouch—this book looks at the concept of power and how we’ve made it a dirty word and how the misuse of power causes many different problems in the world.

YOUTH MINISTRY 3.0: A MANIFESTO OF WHERE WE’VE BEEN, WHERE WE ARE AND WHERE WE NEED TO GO by Mark Oestreicher—in this book youth workers will explore the voices of other youth workers, why we need change in youth ministry, from a ministry moving away from dependence on programs, to one that is focused on communion and mission.

MY FIRST 90 DAYS IN MINISTRY by Group—practical, from the trenches advice to keep you on safe ground as you navigate a new church culture, settle into a ministry role, and sort through a pile of priorities.

THIS WAY TO YOUTH MINISTRY by Duffy Robbins—in this book thirty-year youth ministry veteran Duffy Robbins explores the theology, theory and practice of youth ministry to serve as a field guild to helping you navigate this unique calling.

THE GODBEARING LIFE by Kenda Dean and Ron Foster—in this book the authors offer a spiritual primer and practical guide for those who pastor young people.

REVISITING RELATIONAL YOUTH MINISTRY by Andy Root—this book shows that true relational youth ministry shaped by the incarnation is a commitment to enter into the suffering of all, to offer all those in high school or junior high the solidarity of the church and gives us guidance for how to effectively enter in.

Blessings, Kendall

08.14.17

Are You in Charge of Your Kids or Are They in Charge of You? by Tim Elmore

growingleaders.com 

Four months ago, our family bought a puppy. We named her Sadie, short for Mercedes. She is a Morkie, a hybrid of a Maltese and a Yorkshire terrier. At this point, she is the life of our family—very cute, cuddly, confident and full of energy.

And right now, she’s the “alpha dog” of our family.

I know, I know. It’s not supposed to be that way. She’s a puppy for Pete’s sake. But I am traveling quite a bit and my wife has been far more responsive than directive with Sadie. Because we’ve given to her every desire, our puppy thinks she’s in charge. In our busyness, we’ve not taken Sadie to a trainer or exposed her to much training at all from anyone. Outside of her mealtime regiment, Sadie pretty much requests what she wants, and someone gets it for her—be it a toy or a treat. After all, she’s adorable.

I am not trying to throw anyone under the bus. Because I am at the office during the day or gone on a trip, my wife finds herself in survival mode with this cute little critter. Sadie can be a handful. Cleaning up after her can be exhausting. But this also explains, however, why Sadie assumes she’s the alpha dog.

When we give her everything she wants, she begins to believe that she must be in charge. Does this situation sound familiar?

Students or Adults: Who’s Leading Who?

Our experience with Sadie illustrates what I frequently see as I speak on campuses of schools across the country. Over the last three decades, a growing number of schools and families have migrated into a new leadership style. Aware of the psychological needs of adolescents, we want to be responsive to them, meeting their every requirement for self-esteem, safety, security—you name it. And because so many students come from single parent homes or from a lower socio-economic-status (free or reduced lunches), we want to lead with empathy. I believe that’s a good thing. Sadly, however, many of us have not figured out how to be empathetic while still remain directive or demanding. We lower our standards. We let down our guard. We grade on a curve. We upgrade our language to hyperbole, in an effort to praise our kids and help them feel good about themselves. We become reactive, not proactive . . . and it’s had a sinister effect on millions of students.

The result? Much like our puppy, many of these teens feel like they’re in charge. At times it happens subconsciously and unintentionally. And sometimes, the students know it’s happening. I’ve watched them brag on social media about how they’ve manipulated their teacher, how they’ve negotiated a grade, how they’ve persuaded their parent to get them the latest Apple product, and how they’ve threatened to “quit” if their coach or leader doesn’t give in to their requests.

When we show a pattern of giving in, even in the name of compassion or empathy, we actually begin to confuse students. They become fuzzy about what rules will be enforced and which ones will be adjusted. Just like Sadie. Our puppy is confused right now because we’ve not offered clear parameters to her. We say something, but she figures out we really don’t mean it. We cave. We’ve unwittingly conditioned her to keep barking or continue pushing for what she wants, knowing that her will may just be stronger than her owner’s will. At least she’s figured out that it’s worth trying.

Both our students and our cuddly pets need a wise alpha dog. Unless we’re proactive (rather than reactive) in our leadership—we can send the wrong signals.

Six Steps We Can Take

1. Be clear. Lack of clarity breeds insecurity.

Kids often learn that if they argue long enough, they can wear us down and eventually get their way. As our leadership vacillates, our kids feel uncertain about their boundaries. In short, a lot of little uncertainties produce a few big insecurities. Our fuzzy-ness usually results in our kids’ insecurity. The greatest gift leaders can offer students is the gift of clarity. It fosters security and energy in them.

2. Be consistent. Lack of consistency breeds confusion.

Parent psychologists Jayne Rutherford and Kathleen Nickerson, write, “No matter how well you’ve selected your rules, how much you praise your kids, or how effectively you discipline them, you must be consistent, or your efforts will be in vain and your household will still be in crisis. Kids need consistency to get the message because your actions speak louder than your words—it’s part of how they’re wired.”

3. Don’t cave. Lack of strength breeds instability. 

When adults give in to the requests and demands of our children, we begin to send mixed signals to them. At first, they like it. After all, they just won the argument. They got what they wanted. In time, however, our constant “caving” begins to foster a constant “craving” in them for strength. With boundaries unclear, they need more direct attention. Unwittingly, we actually breed instability in our young.

4. Stay committed. Lack of commitment reduces growth.

Dr. Kathleen Nickerson says: “Sticking with a new endeavor is what makes it become a habit, and the sooner you start, the easier it will be for both you and your child. What’s going on around children strongly impacts the development of their brain. In order for your child’s brain cells to learn healthier rewards, rules, and consequences, and to behave accordingly in a way that becomes automatic, you must remain consistent while his brain develops.”

5. Determine your compass. Lack of direction breeds anxiety.

As a parent or teacher, if I am fuzzy on what should happen next, I tend to be fuzzy in my direction and in my behavior as well. I may waver back and forth, trying to figure out my dilemma as I go. It’s like building a bridge as you cross it. It’s very difficult. Up front, write down the non-negotiables and make them known to everyone. Be both supportive and demanding. This actually can lower the level of angst a kid feels.

6. Stay accountable. Lack of accountability diminishes grit.

In the end, decisions only have weight if people are held accountable. We’ve all heard the phrase: “You can only expect what you inspect.” If you’ve made a decision, find ways to hold students or children accountable to their part. We can be friendly but firm. Model this yourself. Everyone performs better when they are “watched.” If a student fails to come through, talk about it, don’t ignore it because you’re tired.

In the end, I wonder if we need just as much training as Sadie does.

08.14.17

How to Teach Kids Who Respect – NOT! by Carmen Kamrath

childrensministry.com

Do you ever feel like respect is disappearing from kids’ vocabulary these days? If so, read on.

As I passed by a Sunday morning kindergarten classroom a few weeks ago, I overheard a frustrated volunteer negotiating with a 5-year-old boy to join the rest of the class for the Bible story. As the boy ran in circles around the other children, the volunteer kindly asked him again to please join the group. I stopped to watch his response as he walked over to his classroom leader, stared her directly in the face, and shouted, “You can’t make me! You’re not the boss of me!”

“R-E-S-P-E-C-T,” the song made famous by Aretha Franklin, has become a favorite tune for many — and a battle cry for many adults who work with today’s children. From the school classroom to the local athletic field to the weekend children’s ministry program — today’s kids have gained the unpleasant reputation of being disrespectful. And adults aren’t the only targets of disrespect — kids lack respect for property, each other, even themselves. Why is a lack of respect one of the biggest problems among kids today?

What They See Is What You Get

Flip the channels of your television and you’ll get a glimpse of how respect is modeled via the media. Whether it’s prime-time sitcoms, cartoons, or a movie on the big screen — kids are viewing programming that encourages them to be less respectful of others. Music and video games can also lay a foundation of disrespect and hostile behavior, especially when there’s a lack of guidance and discussion about appropriate behaviors at home.

Good Intentions Out of Control

In an eagerness to raise independent children — those who think for themselves rather than bow to the demands of others — many adults have stopped disciplining children for being disrespectful.

Resistance to exercise authority for fear of stifling a child’s independent nature has bred children who display a lack of honor to individuals in a position of authority. Today’s kids often believe they’re on the same level as adults and have a right to know the reason behind adult decisions; they argue against every decision made that doesn’t meet their expectations. In a desperate attempt to be liked by their children, many parents compromise their parental role to be their child’s “buddy.”

Children Learn What They Live

This poem displayed in many schools and physician’s offices is all too true when it comes to the virtue of respect. Attend a youth soccer game and watch parents who yell at the referees or chew out the coach when their child doesn’t get enough time on the field. Or listen to the mom who intimidates a teacher in front of others regarding her son’s reading progress or the dad who explodes at his daughter in front of her friends for being late. Despite the outside influences, the bottom line is that many kids today lack a positive model for respect at home. The “Do as I say, not as I do” method may sound good in theory, but the reality is that kids are watching their parents carefully as they model the behavior of the people who have the most influence in their lives.

Cultivating Respect in a Field of Rudeness

Can the church plant seeds of respect in children and expect those seeds to grow when they aren’t being properly tended at home? The question is one of faith. Will God honor the values we teach? Will God instill those values on the hearts of the kids — that one day they may be a positive model of respect for others? Learning respect is an integral part of healthy child development, and it’s never too late to start instilling this virtue in the children who walk through your doors each week. Here’s how.

  • Be a role model. Many kids in your ministry may not have a healthy model of respect at home. But if you treat children with respect, you’re teaching them to respect others. Facilitate respect by having kids make cards for others who are sick, saying “thank you” when someone offers help in class, or acknowledging people when they show kindness to another. Talk to kids in a kind tone — even when disciplining a child, your tone can be confident without yelling. Kids will learn more from our behavior than from our lectures.
  • Set the ground rules. Kids need boundaries to feel safe and secure in their environments. Boundaries and simple rules lay the foundation for what will and won’t be tolerated. Kids respect adults with rules that are fair, and it often helps to let kids have a say in what rules they’re expected to follow. Kids who have no limits at home will have trouble with limits at church. But limits will inevitably bring comfort to children, especially when the rules are consistent and are followed through with love.
  • Create immediate consequences. Kids need to know the consequence for disrespect and that you’ll follow through. If possible, make the consequence logical to the offense. For example, if a child makes a rude comment about another child, have him write an apology and include at least two positive comments about the child he offended. Sometimes a reminder of the Golden Rule followed by discussion is consequence enough — “Sally, would you appreciate it if I made that rude comment to you?” Or have a child who’s been disrespectful to you explain his actions to his parents when they arrive to pick him up. This will not only acknowledge to them that there was a problem, but it can also be a teachable moment in assisting families with communication. When a child displays disrespect for property, such as deliberately smashing crackers into the floor, have the child clean and vacuum the room at the end of class.
  • Name rude behavior. With the vast array of messages children receive, they may genuinely be unaware that their words or behavior are inappropriate. Respond to inappropriate behavior with comments such as, “Jacob, the tone you just used was disrespectful and is not acceptable in this room.” In the same manner, give praise when kids display respect to others: “Ashley, thank you for waiting to talk until I was finished. That was respectful of you!”
  • Help kids look in God’s mirror. It’s amazing how many young children display behaviors that are disrespectful to themselves. Even preteens are experimenting with behaviors such as cutting themselves, binge eating or anorexia, and inappropriate Internet chatting. If children can’t show respect to themselves, they’ll definitely have difficulty showing respect to others. Tell kids that they’re created in God’s image and that God loves them unconditionally. Helping kids respect themselves is the first step toward respecting others.
  • Help respect bloom at home. Children’s ministers have an hour, sometimes two, to influence a child’s behavior each week. Parents have a greater amount of time to model respect for their children during the week. Remind parents of the important role they play in developing positive behavior traits in children. Help parents learn how to instill values in their children that’ll last a lifetime. Provide materials with activities and devotions that families can do together. Offer parenting classes that teach parents the importance of being a respectful role model for their children. Lead a worship service designed for families that teaches kids and parents together the importance of respect, as well as other positive values that are important to a child’s development.

Respect is a character trait that should be foundational for children as they grow and mature. Letting kids get away with inappropriate behavior will only breed more of the same, but kids will typically demonstrate as much respect as we ask of them. In a world where respect is rarely modeled for kids today, it’s essential that we do all we can to instill this value in the lives of the children we minister to each week.

08.07.17

Hi! Happy August!! I am praying for you right now! 

Daily Prayer Email: Please send ALL prayer requests for your class to: studentcbsprayer@gmail.com
 
Quotes:
Complaining is like throwing up. Afterwards, you feel better but then everyone around you feels sick. #gordon
 
A happy person is not a person with a certain set of circumstances, but rather a person with a certain set of attitudes. #Downs
 
When the enemy points to everything I’m not, I point to everything God is. #furtick
 
God’s grace is not just an addition to our life. It’s a contradiction to our life. #keller
 
As leaders, we are never responsible for filling anyone else’s cup. Our responsibility is to empty ours. #Stanley
 
 
FYI:
 
1. Top Questions to ask college students before they head to school… https://fulleryouthinstitute.org/blog/questions-college-students?utm_source=E-Journal+%2F+Parent+Update&utm_campaign=67215008f2-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2017_07_27&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_e88a54a953-67215008f2-312895925&mc_cid=67215008f2&mc_eid=4cf06de2c7
 
2. Gen Z most diverse media users… http://www.nielsen.com/us/en/insights/news/2017/youth-movement-gen-z-boasts-the-largest-most-diverse-media-users-yet.html

3. How Living Counter-Culturally Can Lead to Your Kids’ Resentment of Christianity… http://christianmomthoughts.com/how-living-counter-culturally-can-lead-to-your-kids-resentment-of-christianity/

Here is what I just posted on the blogwww.studentcbsblog.org 
 
Addressing Sexuality With Teenagers by Michael Guyer
6 Tech Habits Changing the American Home  by Barca Group  
Do Christian Teens Really Believe in Jesus? by Group Magazine
One Act That Improves Kids’ Emotional Health by Tim Elmore
 

Here are 2 video links I think you might like to see:

I may have posted this years ago but it is absolutely awesome! Totally worth your time!!
 
 
 
Here are 2 just for you:
 
God’s Timing 
 
There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven.  Ecclesiastes 3:1
God’s timing can be frustrating, but it eventually leads to freedom. Perhaps you strongly desire something or someone. It is right at your fingertips but you can’t have it now and that frustrates you. The timing is not right, for whatever reason. It may not be right for you and/or it may not be right for the other person. However, you can allow this frustration to lead you to freedom.  
God may be protecting you from failure because you are not ready for the grueling responsibility that lies ahead. There are still valuable lessons to learn where you are. It’s like your last semester of school. You are way past ready for graduation, but there are still final exams to study for and pass. You need to do your best where you are before moving on to God’s next assignment.  
“Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days”  (John 11:5-6).
Timing is everything. Your son really needs you right now during this challenging stage of his life. The insecurities of his teenage years are eating him alive. He needs extra attention and time from you to navigate through this uncertainty. This is a season, a season that will not be repeated. Your career can wait; children can’t. Yes, children are resilient and may not even say anything during difficult times, but you can rest assured that they will never forget that you were there for them. The security and confidence you sow into your children will stay with them for a lifetime. Your absence will stick with them as well. Fearful and insecure adults were once fearful and insecure children. So, allow this season of life to build bridges rather than barriers between you and your children. It is just for a moment in time. In the blink of an eye, they will be gone. 
 
Learn to celebrate various seasons of life. Do not resist them; embrace them. Join the wonder of their realities. The marriage of your adult child is imminent, so celebrate the occasion. Do not let the stress of the details and the outlay of cash rob you of the joy connected to this momentous occasion. You can rest in the fact that He has brought these two together. This is what you have prayed for concerning your child. You have prayed for a marriage into a God-fearing and Christ-honoring family. You have prepared them the best way you know how.
Ultimately it is in God’s hands. As the father and the mother of the bride or groom, learn how to let go and allow them to become one flesh. Your relationship will look different going forward. This is a new stage of life. So, do not try to control them. Let go of them and leave them in God’s hands. Your ability to adapt and adjust to new seasons of life has a direct correlation to your joy and happiness. God’s timing can be a surprise.  It is rarely early and never late.
Jesus understood this when He said to His mother, “Dear woman, why do you involve me?” Jesus replied. “My time has not yet come” (John 2:4).
 
Prayer: Heavenly Father, give me the patience to wait on Your best and the humility to glorify You in the process, in Jesus’ name, Amen.
 

Why It’s Worth It

Ministry–let’s be real shall we–it isn’t always glorious. It isn’t always rewarding. It isn’t always easy.

You don’t usually hear that right out of Bible college or seminary. You hear just the opposite: You’re equipped! Thousands like you have gone before. Take the world by storm. Be Jesus to the masses.

Ministry is Hard

The reality is this: ministry is difficult, messy, full of broken people, and not about you. This can lead us to some very hard places. Places of doubt and anxiety. Feelings of am I good enough? We may question our calling and if it’s time to move on. 

I’ve been there. In fact, if I were completely honest, I’ve been there more times than I care to admit. I just walked through a period exactly like I described. Feelings of doubt. Questions of calling. Hurt. Depression. Worthlessness. Asking God why…

The truth is I questioned if I was to be in ministry after a very, very hard season. A season that saw much pain and grief. A season marked by a lack of affirmation, being moved without understanding why and wondering why we were leaving good students who we loved and cared for.

“God,” I cried out, “Why does it hurt?! Did You not call me to this? Why is there so much pain? Such heartache? Do you have a plan? Am I washed up?”

Many of you are or have been there. You question why. You wonder if you’re called. You take a break from ministry to heal and consider not going back. You cry…for hours, days, months…you’ve been there. I have too. 

But It’s Worth It

But in walking through this I have seen that it is worth it. That God has a plan. That ministry can and will get better. That there is light at the end of the very long tunnel. That we are called. That the enemy will try to use doubt, inadequacies, hurtful comments, critical natures, and rough patches to try to turn you from being God’s faithful servant.

Brothers and sisters hear me: we are CALLED according to God’s purpose, by the One who foreknew us, and is using us to accomplish His WORKMANSHIP! Ministry was never meant to be easy. We are called to a life of difficulty in ministering to a world that has turned its back on its Savior. There will be moments of SUFFERING, moments of FRACTURING, but also moments of GREAT JOY!

We do not do this for our own affirmation. We do not do this for notoriety. We do not do this to be the best friend of students or to be the most popular youth pastor. We do not do this to be liked or given gifts. We do not do this to be the center. We do this to point to the Center: our Savior.

My friends. My co-laborers. Know that ministry is hard, but it is worth it! We may not always see it on this side of eternity, but know that you can continue to serve because our rest and OUR REWARD IS IN HIM AND HIM ALONE. The author and perfecter of all things! It will get better, God will use you, lives will be changed, and God will say, “Well done, My good and faithful servant.” Ministry is worth it!

08.07.17

One Act That Improves Kids’ Emotional Health by Tim Elmore

growingleaders.com

This year, both parents and educators can do something about their students’ well-being and future success. The suggestion may sound so simple, we can miss it. After surveys in a variety of countries, however, one act (on the part of an adult) can move the needle for our kids’ emotional health. Are you ready for this?

“Spending time just talking,” the students said.

Hold on. Are you serious?

Yes, I am. A substantial amount of young people in industrialized nations around the world report that they feel “alone” as they face the pressure of exams, relational conflicts, bullying and other sources of angst. But ARE they alone? Most of us would swear they’re not alone, as we watch them spend the same number of hours online with peers as a full-time job would require. Yet—perception is reality.

Screens do not accomplish the same goals as face-to-face conversations.

According to a report from the BBC on Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries, “about 11% of teenagers reported they were frequently mocked, 7% were ‘left out of things’, 8% were the subject of hurtful rumors and about 4 %—that is still roughly one per class—were being hit or pushed around.” In summary, the OECD report said, “A substantial number of young people feel isolated, humiliated, feel like an outsider at school or are physically assaulted.”

What Are They Worried About?

In fact, when we asked teens in our 2016 focus groups, the biggest sources of stress for students are likely predictable, but worthy of our notice:

  • Academic pressure (make the grades so I’ll be accepted at the right college)
  • Social angst (FOMO – Fear Of Missing Out; friends doing things without me)
  • Lost opportunities (FOLO – Fear of Living Offline; missed information)
  • Family problems (Conflict with parents or siblings)

What the BBC report suggests (and what our data confirms) is that students actually do want to talk about these sources of anxiety, but don’t know how. Adults often make things “cheesy” or “corny” or they begin “lecturing me on what to do.” In short, the dialogue turns into a monologue. The adult becomes “prescriptive” with their words, rather than sharing ownership of the topic with their student.

But check these realities out from the BBC report:

For educators: “On average across countries, students who reported that their teacher is willing to provide help and is interested in their learning are also about 1.3 times more likely to feel that they belong at school.”

For parents: “Spending time just talking” is the parental activity most frequently and most strongly associated with students’ life satisfaction. For instance, “girls whose parents encouraged them to be confident in their abilities were 21% less likely to report feeling tense about schoolwork.”

Some Simple Steps We Can Take

1. Make sure you eat together regularly.

While this is fast becoming obsolete in our hectic world, meals together spark not only trust, but satisfaction. I recall reading about a non-profit organization created to help families do meal conversations. Food somehow brings people together. While occupied with eating something, we feel safer and tend to open up and become more transparent. Meals together set you up to go deeper later.

2. Ask questions on meaningful topics they’re interested in.

When my kids were younger, I would choose a Habitude® once a week, and make it our guide to intriguing conversation. We’d choose an image (at times together) and found the “picture was worth a thousand words.” We discussed what movies they’d seen where the principle was practiced or violated. We discussed people they knew who embodied the principle. With little effort, these talks led to great outcomes.

3. Plan experiences that will spark dialogue.

We all know that trips, events, encounters and experiences lead to natural conversation. We like to talk about interesting things that happen to us. So why not create some? Plan experiences that are engaging and will lead to discussions. As my kids grew up we took overseas trips, we fed homeless people downtown, we sponsored several children from various African nations, we visited great companies and interviewed interesting leaders; you name it. We grew from it all.

4. Tell them what you see.

At the right time and in a safe place, communicate the potential you see in them, not just the reality they see in themselves today. Cast vision for the strengths you find evident and be specific in your description. Don’t tell them what they should do with it, but let them know they’re capable of more than they may currently imagine.

I will never forget my son’s facial expression, when at age 12, I first told him in a serious tone, “Jonathan—you have what it takes to be a man.” He stared at me for a moment with big eyes, pondering what I’d said. Then, he smiled. My words weren’t magic, but I felt they were necessary as I watched him second-guessing his choices. We all need someone we respect to relay words of empathy and direction.

The good news is, according to the BBC report, “Students with high levels of life satisfaction were significantly more likely to have parents who regularly spent time talking to them. Parents who sat around the table to eat their main meal with their children and talked about how they were doing at school also made a difference.”

These highly satisfied students also “tend to have greater resilience and are more tenacious in the face of academic challenges.”

Let’s start the conversation.

07.31.17

Adolescents in Crisis: Why We Need to Recover Religion by Paul Vitz and Bruce Buff
Nationalreview.com
With no belief in higher meaning, too many young people turn to hook-up sex, drugs, and social media for fulfillment.
Our teenagers and often those still younger are taking their lives in increasing numbers, many seemingly without warning. Many more young people are suffering from depression, anxiety, or related mental-health problems. The reports often link to social media: bullying leading to suicide; serious self-harm in an attempt to deal with emotional pain; suicide pacts; a widely cited post giving reasons for suicide by a child who killed herself; drug abuse and other destructive behaviors; school shootings that often end in suicide.
Other evidence of youthful mental-health problems: Pre-adult suicides are up three to five times (depending on the source) since the 1950s and still increasing. One study reported that 10 percent of the young are taking anti-depressants. In “Teen Depression and Anxiety: Why the Kids Are Not Alright,” Susanna Schrobsdorff  of Time magazine noted that “adolescents today have a reputation for being fragile, less resilient, and more overwhelmed than their parents growing up.” We are also seeing an increase in mental-health issues in college-age students. The average well-being of entering college students has been in decline since the 1970s, when the measuring began. During college years, mental-health problems are on the rise, according to recent studies.
Yet American society today is far better off economically than it was 50 years ago, and we have a better understanding of mental-health problems. Moreover, we now have a great many more psychiatrists, psychotherapists, counselors, and mental-health practitioners than we did even a generation ago. So what’s wrong — what has happened?
Schrobsdorff proposed that the cause for the decline is the social climate that teenagers experience. She attributes this climate to social media, smart phones, and school pressures. These factors are recent, though, and did not emerge until well after the observed decline of adolescent mental health.

A far stronger case can be made for our society’s decline in religious faith as the cause of these mental pathologies in the young. The decline in religion that began in the ’60s has accelerated in the past 15 years and is especially great among young people. A recent Pew report noted that over a third of its young respondents described themselves as “believers in nothing in particular.” Schrobsdorff’s omission of religious decline is one indication of how great the decline in religion has been — and how much our secular culture is in denial on the issue. The media just doesn’t “get” religion.

In America, the transcendent dimension of life has historically been expressed primarily through the Judeo-Christian tradition, whose decline in recent years has created an enormous vacuum in meaning. This vacuum has been “filled” by postmodern nihilism combined with the “deconstruction” — aggressively taught in the academy — of belief in objective truth, goodness, and beauty. Moral relativism now eclipses transcendent meaning. The fragility of many young people — often termed “snowflakes” — shows their emotional vulnerability. They interpret ideas that challenge them as unbearable acts of aggression, and they use harsh and even violent measures to silence disagreeable opponents. In short, the prevalence of political correctness is a clear sign that belief in higher meaning and rational discussion has ceased to function in much of our higher-education system. Furthermore, political correctness is itself a symptom of the unstable mental condition of those who insist on it.
Countless young people now live in a world without any real meaning; they feel there is nothing for them to believe in. Emotional numbness is one of the consequences. They no longer value themselves for their inherent worth and dignity as created by God; they no longer find self-worth in their efforts to lead lives based on truth and love. Instead, many of our young people look outside themselves for validation — to material goods and social feedback. But many find these superficial, transitory, and empty. In addition, the decline of religion has resulted in sexual relations becoming trivialized and deprived of any greater meaning. The “hook-up” culture leaves many wounded young people in its wake.
While the secular class and those victimized by their policies have been shedding their religious beliefs, evidence for the positive effects of religious life has been repeatedly reported by many studies over the past decades. Many of them show that strongly religious people are happier, healthier, and live longer than those with no religious belief and practice. Having faith in God and attributing a religious meaning to life anchors people, directs their efforts to things beyond the material world, protects them against setbacks, and provides supportive community.
What might be done to imrpovee mental health via religious practice? To begin, this is not a problem for government policy. The government just needs to get out of the way — and be less hostile to religion. Recent Supreme Court decisions dealing with religious issues suggest that this will happen.
Individuals can respond in many ways. Fathers and mothers can encourage their children in religious practice centered in family life and encourage them to join serious religious peer groups. Relatives — grandparents, aunts, and uncles — can give valuable advice. For young people drawn to atheism, many recent books address the topic brilliantly (see Alister McGrath’s Twilight of Atheism,for instance). Darwinism, materialism, and atheism have received powerful recent critiques (as in Thomas Nagel’s Mind and Cosmos, Stephen Meyer’s Darwin’s Doubt, and Robert Spitzer’s New Proofs for the Existence of God).
Religious and private schools can make a tremendous difference in their student communities by regularly emphasizing the importance of God and promoting faith.
Business leaders and others in the professions can speak out about their faith in public settings and implement new ideas about how to reach the young.
There have been times in America’s past when religion was in decline and seemed on the way out — especially according to its intellectual detractors. But at these moments, Biblical religion recovered with new movements and energies. We propose that we are now at the threshold of another such renewal. Let us pray so since our secular culture offers no credible reasons to believe in higher meaning. It offers only empty materialist distractions on a slow march to societal suicide. The plight of our young sounds a wake-up call we can no longer ignore.

07.17.17

Hi! I am praying for you right now! 

Daily Prayer Email: Please send ALL prayer requests for your class to: studentcbsprayer@gmail.com
 
Quotes:
God wants to bring you to a place where you are not defined by your dysfunction but by your deliverance. #lusko
When you focus on everything that could possibly be missing, you miss everything that could be possible. #furtick
He who fears not the future may enjoy the present. #fuller
Trust is accepting what God sends into your life whether you understand it or not. #keller
 
FYI:
1. Guide for Teen Slang… https://netsanity.net/teen-slang-parents-guide/?inf_contact_key=212eef2d96d68c5ccc8b2ac124c863d85b4670f59a5b027563136e1e779ff5ca
2. 56 Games Students Love… http://childrensministry.com/articles/list-of-bible-games/?utm_source=internal_children’s_ministry_resource&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=
 
4. Maybe it’s Time to Shut Up… https://www.heartlightministries.org/2017/07/maybe-time-shut/?utm_source=CC+Master+List&utm_campaign=bb35a72359-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2017_07_03&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_5926458580-bb35a72359-126726953
5. Why Christians Need to Make the Case for Making the Case (Below)
 
 
Here is what I just posted on the blogwww.studentcbsblog.org 
 
Facebook Can’t Replace the Church by Grayson Pope 
Ways to Reach More Millennials at Your Church by Brandon Hilgemann (For churches and reaching millennials… but this applies to our students too!)
Why Big Fun Doesn’t Work & What To Do Instead by Aaron Helman (Blog post for youth pastors but the what we do instead has some great reminders.)
When Pain is All You Have – Why Teenagers Cut Themselves by Jim Burns (Some good info here!)
 

Here are 2 video links I think you might like to see:

http://www.worshiphousemedia.com/mini-movies/67995/stuff?utm_source=WorshipHouse%20Media%20–%20Around%20the%20House%20(CD%20Update)&utm_medium=email&utm_content=stuff-2169778&utm_campaign=fp-07/14/2017-2169778
http://www.worshiphousemedia.com/mini-movies/68153/i-am-his?utm_source=WorshipHouse%20Media%20–%20Around%20the%20House%20(CD%20Update)&utm_medium=email&utm_content=i_am_his-2169778&utm_campaign=fp-07/14/2017-2169778
 
Here are 2 just for you:
 
Why Nothing You Give Up for Christ is Ever Lost 
 
I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me.   Galatians 2:20

Mark 10:29-30 Jesus says, “I tell you the truth, no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age and in the age to come, eternal life.”

1 Corinthians 3:12-15 reminded me that God notices all the work we do for him and also reminded me that those who know Christ will be rewarded in heaven for what they do on earth.

When I embrace these truths, difficulties take on an eternal meaning and I am bolstered with confidence that nothing in this world can really shake me because nothing that I give up for Christ will ever be lost. Every sacrifice will be ultimately redeemed.

Joy! In Christ, we win and the story ends very, very well.

Perhaps this knowledge is why Corrie ten Boom, the beloved author, evangelist, and concentration camp victim who traveled for over thirty years telling the world about Jesus, said that material things would never be important to her again after her time in Ravensbruck. Corrie had stood at death’s door, and when she did, heaven’s priorities became illuminated.

There is an internal freedom that comes when we realize that what we do here matters for forever, and because it matters for forever, absolutely no earthly happening will ever be able to destroy us. Nothing will ultimately ruin us. No disappointment will keep us down—and nothing that we give up for Jesus will be lost. Not when we give up a job, a home we love, or loved ones as we move across the country and say goodbye. In the end, we win.

What have you given up for Christ? You can be confident that He notices. And, when you work for Him, you are storing up for yourself treasure in heaven that can never be destroyed.

“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal” (Matthew 6:19-20).

Prayer: Lord, how wonderful you are that you reward those who know you, love you, and do your will. Please help me to live in light of eternity. Amen.

Jesus heals our broken hearts

The physical heart muscle, fed by arteries, pumps and regulates the blood flow that carries oxygen and nutrients throughout our bodies. If we exercise that muscle through cardiovascular workouts and feed it healthy nutrients, it grows stronger. But let it languish and feed it toxins, and we all know what happens: the muscle grows weak and the arteries get clogged.

The same is true of our spiritual hearts. The heart is the seat of our passions; it drives and compels us to be who we are and act as we do. It is the essence of our character. So what happens if our spiritual heart is fed toxins and we let it languish? It too grows weak, gets clogged, and sends those poisonous toxins pumping through our lives. When shame has been pumping through a heart, over time the heart itself grows toxic. When we are wounded, we leak toxic waste, and that waste poisons us and the people around us — even when we are completely unaware of it.
The reality is:

  • Hurt people hurt people.
  • Broken people break people.
  • Shattered people shatter people.
  • Damaged people damage people.
  • Wounded people wound people.
  • Bound people bind people.

Many of us have been hurt, suffered offense, and then lived with it unforgiven in our lives. But over time God will replace our clogged hearts with His heart of flesh because healthy hearts create healthy and fruitful lives (Ezekiel 36:26). And free people can truly free people.

  • Hurt people hurt people, but helped people help people.
  • Broken people break people, but rebuilt people build people.
  • Shattered people shatter people, but whole people restore people.
  • Damaged people damage people, but loved people love people.
  • Wounded people wound people, but healed people bind up wounds
  • Bound people bind people, but freed people lead others to freedom.
Why Christians Need to Make the Case for Making the Case by J. Warner Wallace
coldcasechristianity.com

Now, more than ever, Christians must shift from accidental belief to evidential trust. It’s time to know why you believe what you believe. Christians must embrace a forensic faith. In case you haven’t been paying attention, Christians living in America and Europe are facing a growingly skeptical culture. Polls and surveys continue to confirm the decline of Christianity (refer, for example, to the ongoing research of the Pew Research Center, including their 2015 study entitled, America’s Changing Religious Landscape). When believers explain why they think Christianity is true, unbelievers are understandably wary of the reasons they’ve been given so far.

As Christians, we’d better embrace a more thoughtful version of Christianity, one that understands the value of evidence, the importance of philosophy, and the virtue of good reasoning. The brilliant thinker and writer C. S. Lewis was prophetic when he called for a more intellectual church in 1939. On the eve of World War II, Lewis drew a parallel between the challenges facing Christianity in his own day and the challenges facing his country as war approached:

If all the world were Christian it might not matter if all the world were uneducated. But, as it is, a cultural life will exist outside the Church whether it exists inside or not. To be ignorant and simple now—not to be able to meet the enemies on their own ground—would be to throw down our weapons, and to betray our uneducated brethren who have, under God, no defense but us against the intellectual attacks of the heathen. Good philosophy must exist, if for no other reason because bad philosophy needs to be answered. The cool intellect must work not only against the cool intellect on the other side but against the muddy heathen mysticisms which deny intellect altogether. (C.S. Lewis, “Learning in War-Time,” The Weight of Glory page 58)

Over seventy years ago, Lewis recognized two challenges facing the church: (1) Christians are largely unprepared to make the case for what they believe; and (2) many in the church still deny the need to be prepared in the first place. We are a largely anti-intellectual group, even though the history of Christianity is replete with some of the greatest thinkers who ever lived. In spite of our rich intellectual history, we have arrived at a point where there is a need to make a case for making a case.

Blessings, Kendall

07.03.17

How Adults Reduce Grit in Kids by Tim Elmore

growing leaders.com

Recently I read Angela Duckworth’s book, “Grit.” Dr. Duckworth left a high-paying job in consulting to take a job teaching math to seventh graders in a New York City public school. She quickly realized that IQ isn’t the only thing separating the successful students from those who struggled. In her book, she explains her theory of “grit” as a predictor of success. She believes grit is a combination of both:

  • Passion – “I love this issue and want to do it more.”
  • Perseverance – “I want to do it long enough to master it.”

Today, as a professor of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania, Angela also believes educators and parents need to understand how students develop from a psychological perspective. It’s not usually a lack of intelligence that prevents young people from development. It’s that we’ve removed most of the grit from their lives. We’ve stolen the need for grit in their childhood.

Sadly, the single greatest predictor of success is grit.

Grit means sticking with something for a long time. It’s approaching life like it’s a marathon—not a sprint. Grittier kids are more likely to solve problems, to achieve goals and to graduate. Talent doesn’t make us gritty. IQ doesn’t make us gritty. In fact, they often diminish it. With talent and smarts, kids easily assume they can coast on their abilities. In one study, Duckworth found that smarter students actually had less grit than their peers who scored lower on an intelligence test. This finding suggests that among the participants—all students at an Ivy League school—those who are not as bright as their peers “compensate by working harder and with more determination.” And their effort pays off: The grittiest students—not the smartest ones—had the highest GPAs. Dr. Duckworth believes we, adults, need to get grittier about building grit in our kids.

The State of Grit in Our History

Angela’s research demonstrates that past generations tended to develop grit as they grew into adulthood. They had to do so. My parents are both from the “Builder Generation,” (1929-1945) and grew up during the Great Depression and World War II. Do you remember these days? Or have you heard about these days?

  • Life was slower, with less technology and on-demand conveniences.
  • Life was harder, with more manual labor jobs and do-it-yourself lifestyles.
  • Life was more boring, with fewer screens and activities to entertain you.
  • Life was quieter, without social media pinging at you night and day.

While these realities may sound depressing, they actually nourished grit in people’s lives. With less glitz, glamour, noise, and clutter, people stuck with something longer, even when the novelty wore off. Jobs lasted longer. Marriages lasted longer. Memberships lasted longer. Friendships lasted longer.

  • There wasn’t an expectation to be entertained.
  • There wasn’t an expectation that everything would be fun or fast.
  • There wasn’t an expectation that someone else would do the work we had been assigned.

Today’s culture of speed and convenience frequently reduces the level of grit kids develop as they mature. Instead, we have a “Google Reflex” and assume we can click and find answers in seconds. We don’t have to memorize as much. We don’t have to wait as much. We don’t have to work as hard as we once did. We don’t have to search as long. This portion of our culture is out of our control.

But I’d like to focus here on one element that is IN our control.

The Inverse Relationship Between Our Leadership Style and Grit

There is an inverse relationship between the way we’ve led our students and the development of grit in their lives. In the name of results, we’ve all but given them the answers to the problems. I believe adults today unwittingly diminish the cultivation of grit in our young people. Just observe the patterns:

  • In class, we prescribe each step of their day, leaving little for them to figure out on their own.
  • In practice, we direct every minute, conditioning them to merely follow directions and not think on their own.
  • In extra-curricular activities, we program every minute, tutoring them to wait for our instruction for each move.
  • At home, we often over-function, placing them in extra-curricular activities (instead of jobs or doing chores), forcing them to need our leadership.

When we over-function, they learn to under-function and fail to build grit.

Consider These Common-Sense Thoughts on Grit:

1. The more we do for them, the less they learn to do for themselves.

2. The easier life is for them, the less they naturally develop grit.

3. The more we prescribe for them, the less they’re apt to develop grit.

4. The faster their solutions come, the less they tend to develop grit.

5. The more resources we give them, the less resourceful they become.

The Role of Deliberate Practice

Deliberate Practice is an idea we must re-introduce to students. It’s the idea that grit requires consistent, ongoing habits to be practiced, even when results are not fast and the activity is not fun. Jonah Lehrer, a journalist for Wired magazine, summarizes this term for us:

“Researchers, such as K. Anders Ericsson, argue that talent is really about deliberate practice, about putting in those 10,000 hours of intense training (plus or minus a few thousand hours). Beethoven wasn’t born Beethoven – he had to work damn hard to become Beethoven. As Ericsson wrote in his influential review article, “The Role of Deliberate Practice in the Acquisition of Expert Performance:” “The differences between expert performers and normal adults are not immutable, that is, due to genetically prescribed talent. Instead, these differences reflect a life-long period of deliberate effort to improve performance.”

My challenge to you? Stop doing the grit for your students. Let them build it themselves.

06.27.17

How Your Students Utilize Social Media by Tim Elmore

Growingleaders.com

Happy 20th Birthday Social Media! It was in 1997 the first social media site launched called, SixDegrees.com. (Based on the theory that there are no more than six degrees of separation from anyone and actor Kevin Bacon.) Today’s students cannot imagine a world without it. Snapchat. Instagram. Twitter. Facebook. YouTube.

Whether you realize it or not, social media now plays a central role in:

  • How students derive their personal identity
  • How students determine their value and popularity
  • How students bully, criticize or affirm each other
  • How students discover news stories and causes to engage in
  • How students communicate with both friends and strangers
  • How students find and connect with partners, from hook up to break up

According to #Being13 Study by CNN, some 13-year olds check social media accounts 100 times a day and spend about 9 hours a day using media for enjoyment. That is more time than they spend sleeping, at school, or with parents, and it’s more than an adult spends at a full-time job. (This time frame does not include the hours they spend using media at school or doing their homework.)

Nearly 2 in 3 say they check social media to see if their friends liked what they posted. What’s more, 36 percent say they want to see if their friends are doing things without them. More than 1 in 5 say they check to see if anyone said “mean things” about them.

Clinical psychologist Marion Underwood (co-author of #Being13 Study) says this is how they know who they are and where they stand with peers. It’s where they get their identity . . . and it’s highly addictive.

What’s Up With That?

What’s trending now will continue to morph as new platforms are introduced. For instance, teens and twenty-somethings chose Facebook as their site of choice for almost a decade. Then—Moms and Dads got on it, and they had to find another spot to hang out and interface. Many are still on it, but for other reasons.

I believe leaders like you and me need to leverage social media for constructive (and even educational) purposes. In order to do this, we need to understand how and why kids use various platforms. So, let’s glance at some popular sites to discover why and how students utilize them.

Five Popular Social Media Platforms

Facebook 

For most students, Facebook is an information hub. 

While declining among teens, it’s still the most used social media platform in the world. But it is now used more for scrolling than for posting. Students use it just to see what people are talking about. It’s an easy and quick way to get the scoop. They know this is where all demographics go to post their thoughts.

Twitter 

Students use this for real-time updates—to vent or to brag.

Twitter is the “be on” platform. Messages coming or going are short and sweet. It’s not about being eloquent but instant. The life expectancy of a tweet that’s been re-tweeted is 18 minutes. It’s about immediacy. There are more Generation Z kids on Twitter than any other generation. It’s about here and now.

Instagram 

This is where students go to get inspired.

They spend time editing and creating the most aspirational versions of themselves. They post lots of updates of better photos to increase “likes” given by others. No low-quality images are used here; that’s what Twitter is for. There are more Generation Z kids on Instagram than any other demographic.

Snapchat 

Students use this for raw, real and personal up-to-date posts.

While Twitter uses words to update others, Snapchat utilizes images and video. But Snapchat is more personal than Twitter, since the user must choose who gets it. It is a visual way to send a text message that’s often humorous, familiar or personal. There are more Generation Z students on this than any other generation.

YouTube

Students use this for entertainment and to gauge popularity.

YouTube has been around since 2005, with millions of videos posted each year by all ages. At first most students used it to watch or download content; now more Generation Z kids are using it to create and upload video. It’s a way to discover how popular your work is with peers.

What Can We Learn?

As you consider the messaging you wish to relay to students, consider how each of these tools might be useful.

1. When you want to broadcast something, Twitter or YouTube are valuable resources for you to utilize.

2. If you have a more personal message for a handful of select students you know, Snapchat could be helpful.

3. If you want to teach something to students that will open up a discussion later, why not leverage a video on YouTube?

4. Before a performance (a game, competition or show), why not post an inspirational meme on Instagram?

5. If you have an article you’d like students to read, Facebook may be the best platform to use.

The key is to leverage both familiarity and uniqueness. Think about what it can do for you, using social media utilizes mediums with which students are already familiar. At the same time, for your message to stand out, you must be unique to differentiate it from others.