It’s hard to think of a time in which parents have been more focused on their children – providing them with the best opportunities, the best chance at a good education, the best extra-curricular activities. The term helicopter parent describes this new perspective: moms and dads flying around and over their kids making sure they are getting all the benefits. There are many factors behind this trend: Read more »
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Happiness is a hug when you get home? We have a pretty clear rule in my family: when someone arrives home, it’s expected that the rest of us will stop what they are doing and greet them at the door, with a hug and at least a hello. Who wants to come home to a house where nobody acknowledges your arrival? Just last week, my eldest son interrupted a facetime with a friend to give his mom a hug when she got in from work – it turns out his friend has just done the same way with his mom. But this small consideration has fallen by the wayside is some busy households: an American study reports that in 40 per cent of arrivals by mom, and 50 per cent by dad, there was no greeting at all: just crickets. “Honey, I’m home,” certainly has an old-fashioned note to it , harkening back to the days when everyone was dutifully waiting for dad walk through the door. Now, in most families, everyone comes home at random times – and usually goes out again in rapid succession. Still, life is short, and a hug at the door takes, what, 30 seconds? That’s 30 seconds to make someone feel like they have come home to a family that values their presence over whatever activity is occupying them at the time. However tight time may be, that seems like a pretty good investment.
The August program is two weeks long for young people who wish to explore life and leadership at the intersection of faith and culture. It is for ANY young person (not just Anglican or Lutheran) who is interested in the program aims. The August program has many new components to it, including a three-day adventure training expedition – water, air and land. The cost structure has changed too – successful applicants are given full scholarship to attend, but must provide their own travel. Again, visit the website for details and applications process. www.askandimagine.org
If you have any questions about the programs, please write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
The May program is one week long, for anyone 18 and over who is involved in youth ministry in any capacity. The focus will be theological grounding for youth ministry, skills development, retreat and reflection and living in community in our beloved Brough House on the campus of Huron University College. Tuition for the week is $350.00 and you are responsible for your own transportation. (limited travel subsidies are available). If you are looking for theological formation and skills specifically for youth ministry, please consider the program, and look for details on our (all new) website www.askandimagine.org (including on-line registration).
Many past participants have been ordained clergy who want to hone their skills and theological grounding in youth ministry. Tell other youth ministry volunteers and staff whom you know and point them to the website. People have already started registering for this program, so don’t wait too long.
Everybody’s feeling more stress these days. Our lives are busy, and demanding, the expectation we place on ourselves and others growing. What’s the impact of all that adult anxiety in our youth? In fact, all the stats suggest they are also more anxious and stressed than previous cohorts of teenagers. That’s something we need to keep in mind – both in how we might be transferring stress down the line, and in ways in which we might use the time we spend with our own kids and other youth to help reduce the anxious messaging that they get from society. Here’s an article on anxiety by a certain writer I know at the Globe and Mail: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/health-and-fitness/health/conditions/why-are-todays-teenagers-feeling-so-anxious/article7604612/
If you are looking for a discussion to have with your older youth, this might be a good one: why would someone as powerful as Beyonce, or as A-list as Emma Stone still feel they should pose half-naked on the cover a magazine? A good column debating this question came out in the Guardian this week: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/jan/15/beyonce-photographed-underwear-feminism . It raises a lot of pertinent questions for young men and women who are inundated with this kind of advertising. What does it say about the lingering roles of women in society? Do they recognize that the pictures are heavily airbrushed? Does it alter their opinion of these actresses and singers? A lot of what our kids absorb online goes unchallenged these days, so it’s a good idea to take regular opportunities to discuss these ethical issues with them. You may not agree with all their answers, but at least you are helping them to consider the questions.
The internet is the new ground zero for social activism – and churches need to get on board with this. Facebook is more than a place where you post pictures of your kids – it’s also where you can decide to donate your organs. Twitter isn’t just a silly place where you share what you ate for dinner – it’s the place where presidential debates are discussed in detail live.
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Zombies are pop culture icons these days, and now in a pretty abrupt switch for its usual Public Service Announcement the Canadian Heart and Stroke Foundation is using them to teach CPR online. The ad, which has gone viral is done in Night of the Living Dead Style – a lone woman races through city streets, eventually going into cardiac arrest when she finds herself trapped by a crowd zombies. The zombies give her CPR in fewquick steps (calling 911, quick pumps to the heart) and then, well, devour her. But that’s not the point: the ad has gone viral online, becoming a brilliant example of how to speak to an internet generation about an important public service. (Since research shows that even people are often reluctant to jump in and help those having a heart attack for fear of making it worse.) It’s a reminder, that Sunday mornings, or your youth group meetings, can be a good chance to talk about our responsibilities to each other – and maybe even attend CPR training as a group. But it’s also a media lesson to the church about how we could perhaps sell the message of the gospel more cleverly – so that people pay attention. Zombies might be taking things too far, I agree (hey, I can’t even stomach the TV show Walking Dead) but the people at the Heart and Stroke Foundation suddenly have a lot of people watching, and they might have saved a life or two. Even zombies, it appears, may be good for something after all. To watch the video and read a Globe piece on the campaign, click here:
If anyone was up on the politics of his time, it was Jesus. The gospel, as we know it, was one big lesson in getting civically engaged – standing up for those people who didn’t have a voice, questioning the status quo. So it’s always disheartening to read yet another study about how youth are disengaging from the democratic privilege of voting. This new study comes out of the United States, on the eve of the first presidential debate this evening. Even here at home, the entry of Justin Trudeau into the Liberal leadership race should make for some interesting political news. But this survey out of the Pew Research Centre, shows that young Americans, at least, aren’t tuning in: the percentage of those under 30 who are following “campaign news closely” is about half the number (to 18 per cent) during the last presidential election, and fewer young voters say they plan to mark a ballot when election day arrives. And before you say, well, those are American numbers, Elections Canada has found the same trend here.
Now many pastors tend to steer away from politics in the pulpit (a debate for another time) – but this is an area where we shouldn’t be quiet, especially when encouraging civil action in our youth. It’s part of our job to preach the clear link between being up on current events and being able to change society for the better. And there’s lot of fodder out there, to discuss with your youth (think Mitt Romney’s now infamous speech about the 47 per cent of Americans who just want government handouts). Not the least of which should be: what’s their obligation as citizens? Knowledge, as they say, is power.
If you want to check out the study, here it is: http://www.people-press.org/2012/09/28/youth-engagement-falls-registration-also-declines/