Vol. 2 Issue 21 | May 27, 2016
Three Things This Week
1. Adventure with Purpose
What it is: Axis is looking for 2 twenty-somethings who are passionate about helping younger generations build lifelong faith to join our Flex Team for the 2016-2017 school year! Know anyone who might be interested?
Why it’s good: Our 9-month Flex Team Internship offers young adults with 60+ college credits the chance to utilize their skills (graphic design, writing, photography, videography, research) and experience for the Kingdom of God. Not only will interns get to travel and speak to students across North America, they will also get to work directly with Axis staff to create incredible content that helps build lifelong faith in the next generation. Click here to learn more!
2. Just Win, Baby
Why it’s important: Since 2003, Baylor has spent $372 million on athletic facilities in its meteoric rise out of the Big 12 basement. In the process, the university virtually sold its soul as coaches and administrators ignored and even tried to cover up multiple allegations of rape committed by football players. Sexual assault is terrifyingly under-reported and under-convicted. A study revealed that 23% of women are sexually assaulted in college. As a leader or parent, create a culture in which students know their stories will be heard and actions will be taken when reporting assault. Talk with them about situations that put them at risk, and learn how to stop sexual assault.
What it is: A hashtag that, along with #GiveCaptainAmericaABoyfriend, has gone viral over the last month and hopes to prompt filmmakers to create homosexual protagonists that children who experience same-sex attraction can relate with and look up to.
Why it’s important: In the age of devices, many teens feel most comfortable going to the Internet for advice. Face to screen is a lot less scary than face to face, amiright? But instead of waiting until our students have embraced harmful ideas, overcome that awkwardness by initiating face-to-face conversations with them about this and other difficult topics. Show your children, starting at young ages, how loved, accepted, and safe they are, no matter what. Who needs random strangers on the Internet when you’ve got parents, grandparents, pastors, and teachers?!
Top 7 Ways to Connect with Teens
Everyone who interacts with teens knows it’s hard to show them you care, let alone have conversations about important topics with them. We all thought the eye-rolling, angsty, dismissive teens of the ‘80s and ‘90s were bad, but they had nothing on today’s screen-obsessed, constantly distracted, Snapping fiends. But just like generations past, teens today want to be understood. So here are 7 things our traveling teams have learned from students about how to earn their respect and trust.
1. Listen and understand first.
Even if we think they have the wrong priorities or perspective, students need to know that we understand what they’re going through before we ever offer advice or feedback.
2. Be open, honest, and willing to admit fault.
Sharing your story is paramount! Teens tend to assume that adult Christians are perfect and have never had doubts or made mistakes. #EyeRoll. By being honest with them, we help them to see us as real people who don’t just follow God because we’re supposed to, but because we’ve learned (sometimes the hard way) that His ways are truly best.
3. Be yourself.
Younger generations are all about authenticity, and they can spot a fraud a mile away. So instead of trying to speak, act, or look like them, just be you. Even if you are totally “uncool” by teen standards, embracing that will go so much further than trying to be something you’re not.
4. Help them see the “why.”
“Because I said so!” doesn’t cut it. Teens are fully human beings who think critically and want to be trusted. Help them understand the reasons behind certain decisions, and invite them into the decision-making process. This communicates that we believe in them, as well as that we aren’t afraid of pushback.
5. Give them the benefit of the doubt.
Always assuming the worst of anyone is a bad idea in general, but even more so with teens. Typically they’re just waiting for us to react as though everything they do is the worst. But if we believe the best of them, many times they’ll pleasantly surprise us.
6. Have high standards.
Teens meet whatever standards we set. If we expect them to act like young children, they’ll respond in kind. But if we expect them to be mature, responsible, deep thinkers, the vast majority will live into those expectations.
7. Speak their language.
Giving long lectures or making them watch cheesy, outdated videos are surefire ways to lose their attention. They’re used to fast-paced, screen-based, and cool. So if we want them to hear what we have to say, then we need to spend some time learning how to speak their language.
Apology: Last week, we included a link to statistics published by a pornography website. Though the link directed to their blog, rather than their actual site, we should not have included the link and apologize wholeheartedly for any awkwardness or harm this may have caused.