Caring for Transgender Self-Identifying Students

When the first transgender student visits your youth group will you be prepared?

Which small group will you invite them to?

Which washroom will they use?

Which cabin will you assign them to at the retreat?

These are some of the things you will want to think through with your leaders but probably not the most important issues.

Screen Time and Improving Teens’ Social Skills

I fail emotional intelligence tests.

That’s when I am honest. I know the right responses. I just don’t use them in everyday situations. I don’t like to say “God bless you,” if someone sneezes (it’s based on a terrible superstition.) I don’t ask “How are you?” unless I really have the time to find out (which is rare.) And when asked, “What do you want to do?” it’s normally, “Work.”

I know I’m probably a terrible role model and the last one who should be writing this blog, except studies are showing that a generation is coming up with even poorer social skills than mine!

Here are the stats and what the experts say that we should do.

Paris, Immigration and Youth Ministry

What is your responsibility to refugees?

This will be perceived as the most political blog that I have written to date.  I am not intending for it to be political.

The world that our students are growing up in is a very different world than what I grew up in.  The most recent attacks on Paris were horrible and inexcusable.  As a result of these attacks and everything else that has happened in recent history, words like ISIS, Immigration and Muslims have become hot topics.  In fact, they are lightening rod issues.

Ask anyone on the street where you live and minister about ISIS, Immigration or Muslims and I bet you will get a very wide spectrum and even emotional response.

This includes your students. 

I know these are complicated issues and there are no easy solutions.  I know we cannot rush to give simple answers.  I also know that we cannot find our answers from CNN or Fox News.

Can we agree that scripture is what should shape our worldview.

I just read an article on www.relevantmagazine.com called, “What the Bible Says About How to Treat Refugees”.  The majority of the article is scripture.  It got me thinking, when we talk to students about current issues is scripture the next words out of our mouth?

It is just a thought and I would be curious what you think. 

Teens, Romance and Technology: 3 Responses to Pew Research

Here’s a crazy fact that I share with my students all of the time. 

When I tell them they don’t believe me.  

When Barack Obama became the president of the USA the iPhone did not exist.  In fact Obama loved his blackberry like most other smart phone users at the time.

Today the vast majority of your students have a smart phone.  And those smart phones shape every part of their lives.  Yes even the romantic part.

The good people at the Pew Research Center just published some data that they titled “6 facts about teen romance in the digital age”  Here’s what they found and what it means: 

#BEINGTHIRTEEN -3 Dangers of Lurking

The Special CNN report aired last night.

It highlighted the dangers of social media for 13 year olds.
Their parents had no idea! Sixty percent of parents underestimated how lonely, worried and depressed their kids were and 94% underestimated the amount of fighting that happens on social media.Here are 3 dangers that you should be aware of:

#Being13 Inside the Secret World of Teens

A 2 year CNN  ground breaking study of Tweens and Social Media investigates:

  • Are tweens addicted to their phones?
  • How does social media intensify the emotional roller coaster ride of Junior High?
  • And most importantly, how is plugging in changing growing up?

Here are 7 answers you will get in this special report

Speaking With Students About Same Sex Marriage

Meh.

“I don’t see what the big deal is…”

That’s what Brennan said when I asked, “What do you think about the same sex marriage decision?

“But your facebook profile still has a rainbow on it?” I objected.

“So what?” he messaged back, “everyone was doing it. I didn’t want my friends to think that just because I’m a Christian I’m hating on them. Besides, if two people are in love and want to get married, isn’t it better than living together?”

After the SCOTUS decision, legalizing same sex marriage, facebook and the twitter-sphere lit up with lively, colorful, and sometimes emotional debate. Rainbows colored teen faces who never previously identified with the LGBT community. Opinions are still flying. Teens are observing and processing bits and pieces of the ongoing debate.

What are they thinking and feeling? Where do we go with this conversation this year? Here are some stats and some insights from youth workers speaking with teens.