Middle School Parent Cue for August

Parent Cue

BRANDED: Parent CUE

1. We’re Teaching this.
Branding- it’s everywhere. You can’t turn on the TV or drive down the street without seeing hundreds of ads and billboards. Companies spend millions of dollars trying to shape how YOU see THEM, developing their brand. But what about the Church? What are WE known for? Philippians chapter 2, has a lot to say about the way we love others. As we unpack this chapter, we discover that our love for people, both inside and outside the church, ultimately determines what we are known for—our brand.

2. Think About This
From Losing Your Marbles / Playing for Keeps by Reggie Joiner, Kristen Ivy, Elizabeth Hansen

I remember a few years ago when I was leading a small group and one of the girls had stopped attending. I knew she was making some unwise choices related to drinking, and she was choosing not to come to church anymore because she didn’t want to feel judged. But here’s the interesting thing: she still liked hanging out. We would meet from time to time, at Starbucks, at a school event,—anywhere that she knew we would have fun. And
in those moments, I didn’t talk about her decisions. She knew what I thought. But I knew at that juncture in her life, it was more important to have fun and stay connected than to continue reminding her of something she already knew.
Hint: most kids and teenagers shut down when you take the eye-to-eye, “let’s talk about what’s going on” approach, they tend to talk when they’re engaged in a fun activity, not making eye contact, and feel in control of the agenda.
If you’re a parent, you may need to set aside time with your kids when you agree not to discuss their issues. This can be especially true if they are in a tough season of life. When the tension is high, you need a scheduled break—just to have fun together.
It’s not that fun is the most important thing. If you give teenagers words and stories that are boring, they may not care. If you belong to a tribe that never laughs, they won’t want to be a part of it.
So whatever you do this week,make it fun.

3. Try This
When is the last time your family had fun without an agenda? No strings attached, fun? No lesson involved, fun? No obligations to the baseball team, work picnic, church activity or school involved, fun?
Maybe it’s time for that.
Ask your student for ideas on something that they think would be really fun to do as a family. Students tend to engage more when they have some input into which activity is chosen. Say something like this, “I think it’s time we do something fun as a family. How would you feel about planning it?” Some students really like to go to the mall. Others hate it. Some would love to play mini-golf with their family. Others would cringe at the idea. Allowing them to plan the event, offering some ownership, can help students have a positive attitude and prevent the dreaded eye-roll.
As parents, sometimes the idea of a family event can be intimidating. “What if my teenager doesn’t want to be seen in public with me?” That’s the great thing about letting THEM choose. They may choose a big night out but or they may ask for a simple movie night in the house. Choose to have fun together no matter what you do! Simply spending time together as a family without fighting can go a long way in easing the tension between parents and teens.
Make a commitment on your part to do the activity—no agenda, no complaining, and no lecturing. So give them a budget limit, if appropriate, and let them be as creative or as simple as they want.
Just have fun together. Remember, the goal is to let students know you not only love them, but you like them and what better way to communicate that than by hanging out with them and having fun?
Get connected to a wider community of parents at www.orangeparents.org.

Beach Camp Day 2

I have been amazed at the beauty of God’s creation on our first full day of Beach Camp.  Many of our students woke up early to see the sunrise on the ocean and you can see some of them on instagram.  I was floored by the number of kids who woke up early after a long day of traveling to see a sunrise and admire the handiwork of God.  After a hearty breakfast and a quiet time our students amassed into a huge blob of teenage energy to worship the creator of the universe.  If you have never seen a large group of students with hands lifted high, singing as loud as they can to reflect the glory of God it truly is a life-changing experience.  The speaker, Chad Eidemiller, brought the word again teaching the students how they are beautifully and wonderfully made, hand-crafted for the purpose of showing the glory of God.  We enjoyed a lunch on the lawn of Taco Bell tacos and jumped right into a Beach Camp wide volleyball tournament.  I hate to say that one of our teams made it all the way to the final round but loss by 3 points (ultimate frisbee is next which should be more suited to our strength).  Free time on the beach was well spent where students can explore the pier, find jelly fish, play putt putt, swim in the ocean or enjoy the cool water of the lazy river.  Springmaid is full of options for students to enjoy along with the activities like volleyball that are offered by the camp.  Tonight’s evening session was all about the word “of” we are “of” God and made to reflect His glory, God created mankind in Genesis 1 especially to show His glory.  I can tell God is working in the hearts and lives of your students and I look forward to seeing and hearing about how that will effect their lives in the days to come at Beach Camp and ultimately when the return home.  I hope and pray that parents will use this blog as a sneak peak into a week that cannot be described or summed up into a statement but you can still understand the highlights of the week to walk alongside your student in their spiritual journey with Christ.  Finally, we celebrated the many who served in our armed forces with a Memorial Day celebration.  The night started out with a prayer over all the students who have family or know someone in the armed forces (which was over half of the entire student body).  After the prayer the America madness began with pie eating contests (with one of our Manley students throwing up on stage representing Manley well), a sing along competition, sock wrestling and a final game that can only be described as War (the game involved four sections of students throwing pit balls all over the room at one time to fill each other’s section with as many balls as possible).  The high school girls reigned victorious in the Memorial Day competition that resulted in a ice cream dance party.   A great day in the books of Beach Camp 2014 and we are ready to see what the next 3 days have in store.

Beach Camp Day 1

After a great start to our day, with leaving on time and everyone getting on the bus in an orderly fashion, we hit a few bumps on the road.  First, we had some confusion with the bus schedule, then we had a bus (luckily not our bus) break down, and on top of that when we arrived at the hotel 10 hours later some of our bags were soaked from condensation in the air conditioning unit.  However, everyone is here, and God has mighty plans for this generation and I just know it.  God has mighty plans for all of His people but as our speaker Chad stated tonight, we need to make sure we are listening to the small whispers of God to do immeasurably more.  Even after all the bumps in the road and the stresses of getting here (please pray for me as I try to stay focused on God myself instead of getting sidetracked with all the details or worrying about things out of my control) today is passed, and a new day starts in just 40 minutes.  The band did a stellar job tonight and the energy in the room with the games and speaker was awesome.  A great week lies ahead full of spiritual moments, lives changed and memories made! Please continue to pray and check back for more posts throughout the week.