Why Teens Rebel

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I have heard it more than once.  “Can you pray for my son.   He is just going through that tough time in life that all kids go through and rebel?”  It is a statement that surrenders to the idea that every kid, with few exceptions, has to go through a difficult time where they rebel against their parents.  But, why is it that so many teens seem to hit a time where they want to do their own thing, and go their own direction?

I know that every kid is different, and no doubt there are many reasons kids rebel, but I think that one reason some teenagers rebel against their parents is because their families are simply boring.  Here is what I mean…

Think about the average family for a minute.  They wake up late, leaving no time to spend together in the morning, except to argue  about who needs in the bathroom.  Then off to work and school, typically sitting in the car in complete silence, or perhaps with the radio on.  They spend their days separated, then the kids return home after school to an empty house that is full of nothing to do except passively watching TV and updating their Facebook status.   Then there is taco night for dinner, followed by dad heading off to the living room to watch TV, mom to clean the house, and the teenage son or daughter bored out of their mind heads out to hang out with friends.  When they return home, the TV is still on, like it has been for 6 hours straight.  Before everyone starts winding down and heading to bed, there is some light arguing about how there is still homework to complete.   The teenager slams their door shut, talks to their friends on the phone, sends a few (hundred) text messages, then falls asleep.   The next day, and almost every day thereafter, the same boring routine is repeated…again…and again.

Think about this routine for a minute.  It’s boring.  It’s mundane.  It lacks a sense of purpose.   And it drives kids to look for something better to do.  The trouble is they often find something more exciting in all the wrong places.

Tim Kimmel in Grace Based Parenting writes,

If we fail to address our children’s need for a significant purpose, it doesn’t mean they will necessarily end up living useless and unproductive lives.  In most cases, our lack of deliberateness in grooming their sense of purpose sends them into the future with a foreboding sense of irrelevancy and far more vulnerable to Satan’s counterfeits.

Read that line again, “Sends them into the future with a foreboding sense of irrelevancy and far more vulnerable to Satan’s counterfeits.”  That I believe is why many teens rebel.  Searching for purpose that their family doesn’t provide, they have went out looking for it, and have stumbled across something fake.  It might be a person, an activity, a substance, or something else, but they have found something that offers them greater purpose and joy than sitting around bored, watching TV all day, and arguing over homework.

What if families offered something better though?  What if families offered something that catches the imagination of their kids? What if rather than sitting glued to the TV every day, they served together in a soup kitchen once a month feeding the homeless?  What if families gave up their vacation one year to go on a missions trip together?  What if rather than ignoring each other at home, families spent time serving in their church and community together?   What if parents spent time showing their kids there is a God ordained purpose for their lives, a purpose that cheap substitutes cannot fulfill?

If this happened, I think Satan’s counterfeits would seem far less appealing to teens.  I think less kids would rebel.

I don’t want to oversimplify a complex problem.  Again, I realize that there may be many reasons kids decide to rebel against their parents and their values.  I wonder, though, if one of the reasons kids do rebel is because their families are just so boring?  Because their family lack a sense of purpose, and the counterfeits seem to offer something their family does not?  What do you think?

How to Save $100 Off the Cost of Summer Camp

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This year Calvary is hoping to send more kids and youth to summer camp than ever before. In order to do this we are offering a $100 scholarship for every single camper. Hopefully this will make camp affordable for every family. To qualify all you have to do is be a family who attends Calvary, fill out the camp registration form for your child (which can be found in the church lobby), and turn in the completed form. It’s that easy.

This deal is for every camper, so if you are a family of 2, 3, 4 or more kids, they all can save $100 if they register through the church.  In fact, if you send 2 kids from the same household you get $105 off, and 3 or more kids and you get $110 off per kid.

The dates for camps this year are as follows:

Kid’s Camp (3rd through 6th grade in fall of 2011) – July 4th – 8th
Senior High Camp (9th – 12th grade in the fall of 2011) – July 11th – 15th
Junior High Camp (6th -8th grade in the fall of 2011) – July 18th – 22nd

No, that is not a typo.  Both Kids and Jr. High Camp is for 6th graders. They have a choice. If you are unsure of what camp to send them to feel free to contact me or Pastor Clark.

Hurry up and register.  To meet the early registration deadline we need to have your completed application, which includes a physical dated within 2 years of the start of camp, by April 24th.  The early registration cost is only $155, for one kid with the discount, after that it goes up to $180.

Parents, you do not want your kids to miss camp.  There will be swimming, canoeing, paddle boats, archery, tubing, hiking, bonfires, a game room, tons of fun and competition, but most importantly an opportunity for your kid to connect with God. You don’t want them to miss out!

Kidzturn Supersonic

Strap on your helmets, and get ready for another awesome week with Kidzturn! It will have been 2 years since we had then them here at Calvary last. I have missed all the Lussiers, Elmer, games and especially the foam machine. So, I am super excited to have them back with us this year from May 1st to 4th.

Each night beginning at 6:30 everyone will be meeting in the sanctuary for a time of worship, games, a sermon and altar time. Everything is designed for kids, but for the whole family (kids, moms, dads, guardians, grandparents, great aunts twice removed, everyone). Here is a little glimpse at what each night is all about…

If you can’t see the video click here.

For those of you who have been out to this event before I know that you are already writing the dates on your families calendar. For those of you who haven’t been out to this before, trust me you do not want your kids to miss any of these services. Again, the dates are May 1st – 4th beginning at 6:30 each night.

Also, be sure to invite every kid you know. There will be some wicked nice prizes for the kid that brings the most visitors.

New Service Times

For all of you who attend Calvary please note that we will be tweaking our Sunday service times beginning March 6th.  The new times will be 8:30, 10:30, 12:30 and 6:30.

Photo courtesy of © flickr.com/photos/29254399@N08/3187186308

We are extending the time between our services from 30 minutes, to 45 minutes, in hopes of cutting down on some of the congestion in the parking lot, and to make it easier for people in the 2nd service to find a place to park.

So glad to be facing great problems like too much congestion and too few parking spots.  These are great problems to have!  Again, the service time changes take effect March 6th, so be sure to take note and be on time!

Kindness

We have been having a ton of fun talking about kindness in kid’s church this month.  This past week we had the kids write up a want ad for a fake newspaper, asking them to describe what an ideal kind person would be like.  All the responses were great, but this was my favorite…

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As the father of a 3 year old, who typically picks the most inopportune times to need use the restroom, I am always thankful for a kind person who gives a bathroom to the bathroomless!

This coming Sunday is the last week we are talking about kindness.  In March, we move on to courage.  Also, if you haven’t heard yet, our Sunday morning service times will be changing in March to 8:30, 10:30, 12:30 & 6:30.  So be sure to be on time!

How to Create the Best Day Ever For Your Child

The other day I stumbled across a video of Nigel Marsh at TED (http://www.ted.com/) sharing on “How to Make Work-Life Balance Work.”  This is a great video for anyone who is busy, and feels like life is out of balance, to watch… especially busy moms and dads.  It talks about the realities of achieving the perfect balance of work and family, and  how even small efforts we make can have a huge impact in the lives of those we love.  Honestly, Nigel’s dream perfect day is a little different than mine.  As a non-drinker, rather than stopping by the pub, my preference would be Starbucks with a good book.  That being said, the point of the talk is well made.  Here is the video….

If you can’t see the video click here.

Then today I came across this video at Dad-O-Matic (http://dadomatic.com) that shows Nigel’s principle in action.  It demonstrates how a little effort from a dad can light a kids face up, and turn something as simple as a birthday cake into a lifelong memory.

If you can’t see the video simply click here.

The small things we do can make a big difference can’t they?  They small things really do matter, especially to our kids.

What is a small investment you can make in your child today?

Homeless – How Well Would You Do?

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This great site put out by Urban Ministries shows the tough choices the homeless and unemployed are forced to make, and why it is so difficult for them to get back on their feet.  Take a few minutes to see how you would do if you were in their shoes.

I did this twice.  The first time I couldn’t find a way to make ends meet without breaking the law.  The second time I made it to the end of the month with $742 in my pocket, but I owed a buddy $150, my phone got shut off, my car was in danger of being repossessed, and I was ignoring both some major tooth and chest pain.

Here is the site…. http://playspent.org/

How well did you do?

Helping Kids Succeed

Kids are pretty stinkin’ amazing.  It blows my mind what they are capable of.  In fact, if you asked me what the biggest mistake I have made in children’s ministry is, I would tell you it is underestimating kids potential.  Whether it is memorizing scripture, raising money for missions, serving in ministry or whatever else, I don’t think kids are pressed to their full potential.  Too often they are simply minimized and marginalized.

That being said I also realize that kids also need help, and lots of it.  They need people speaking into their lives.  People coaching them.  People teaching them.  People mentoring them.  Sometimes, like the kid in the video below, they need someone to give them a little help…

If you can’t see the video click here.

Again, sometimes kids need that extra push, the extra encouragement to do their homework, or read their Bible.  They need involved moms and dads, and children’s pastors who care about them.  They need Sunday School teachers, and Royal Ranger commanders.  They need people who will help them reach their full potential and to figure out their problems.

The trouble is most people don’t take the time to speak into children’s lives.  Maybe it is because they don’t feel like they are good with kids, or maybe it is because they think they are too old to relate to kids.  Whatever the reason, it’s wrong.  The reality is kids need introverted non-wild people speaking into their lives just as much as they need the super kid friendly people.  They need more than just their friends and their parents generation speaking into their lives, they need to hear about the experiences of people from every age in the church.

In Deuteronomy 6 Moses states, “Hear O Israel, The Lord Our God The Lord is One….These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts.  Impress them on your children.”  Did you notice how this passage starts?  Moses begins by saying “Hear or Israel.”  Yes, this would have included parents, but it would have included everyone else in the community as well.  Raising a kid, although primarily the parents responsibility, was designed to be community event. But, again, too often often it doesn’t happen.  The trouble is most people in the church don’t take the time to speak into children’s lives.

What about you, when was the last time you spoke into a child’s life?  When was the last time you gave a kid a little help and guidance?

How to Help Your Child Make Wise Media Decisions

There is a lot of junk out there for kids to absorb.  TV, music, movies, video games, the internet are all have messages, both good and bad.  So how do you help your child decide what messages are okay to listen to, and which should be ignored?  Here are a few ideas….

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1. Plugged In Online –  There are a several good sites out there that review media, but one of my favorites is www.pluggedin.com.  Plugged In Online provides reviews for movies, videos, TV, music, video games, you name it.  This site, which is put out by Focus on the Family, highlights the positives and negatives in each of its reviews, including whether there is swearing, sexual or inappropriate scenes, spiritual content, and more.  In my opinion, Plugged In Online gives parents a balanced perspective to help them decide what their kids should be tuning in to.

2. Parent Link – This resource is put out by Calvary (with the help of Group Publishing) almost every month.  Each issue is packed with articles containing all sorts of parenting advice, but there is always a page dedicated to reviewing new movies, music, and video games.  Look for a new edition in your bulletin this week.

3. Talk to Your Kid – No fancy website or brochure here to help you as a parent guide your kid to making wise media choices, just old fashioned conversation.  Perhaps rather than just flat out telling your kid they can’t watch that TV show, or go see that movie, take the time to explain why.  Explain your convictions.  Bring your faith into the conversation.  Don’t just control your child and tell them they can’t go, but take the time to fully explain why you are taking this stance.  Try to win them over to your opinion.  Try to influence them, not just control them.

4. Limit Your Child’s Media Intake – Even if the content isn’t bad, the quantity can still be harmful.  Some studies show that the average kid spends 8 hours a day consuming media!  Impose some boundaries on your child’s media intake.  I know one family that had a rule that for every minute their kids wanted to play a video game, they had to read their Bible for a minute before they even picked up the controller. Tell your kids to turn off the TV and go outside and play, to go read a book, or to actually go hang out with a friend as opposed to “talking” to them on Facebook all the time.

These are just a few quick ideas for making sure your kids make wise choices when it comes to the media they consume.  What else can parents do to limit the poor media influences in a child’s life?

Why I Love Royal Rangers and Girls Ministries

A few Sunday nights ago we had a special awards ceremony for our Royal Rangers and Girls ministries.  Literally hundreds of awards were handed out that night, and we even took a little extra time to honor a few girls and boys in the main service who had earned some special awards.

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There are lots of things I love about Rangers and Girls Ministries, but one thing I love the most is the mentoring that takes place in these ministries.  Studies show that kids who have multiple voices speaking into their lives are much more likely to have their faith stick with them than kids who do not.  Seems like common sense, but having a mentor, someone that they can trust and talk to beyond their parents, is not something that very many kids have.  If you’re looking for a good role model for your child I would recommend coming out on Sunday nights.  Built into Rangers and Girls Ministries is a small group environment where each kid has multiple leaders working with them and speaking into their lives.

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Another reason I love Rangers and Girl’s Ministries is that they both give kids a great footing in life.  Each ministry teaches leadership and relational skills, both allow kids to make great friends who will be a positive influence in their life, and both give kids tremendous opportunities to grow in their faith by keeping them accountable to reading the Bible, praying, memorizing scripture, and more.

Again, if your child isn’t involved in Rangers or Girls Ministries let me encourage you to bring them out this Sunday night @ 6:30 pm.  The fun all begins down in room 031, which is the KidZone room downstairs.