How to talk to teens about George Floyd.

“He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly…

“He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”
Micah 6:8

This week the world has again witnessed injustice and cries out for restoration.

Many of us will have experienced a visceral response to the events broadcast on our screens and devices over this past week. I feel; grief, anger, disappointment, guilt, hope, anxiety, and remorse as I try to comprehend what I have seen and heard and determine how I should respond.

You may be wrestling with similar concerns. I know many young people are.

So how do we help teenagers make sense of George Floyd’s death and the unravelling events of the past week?

We create opportunities for young people to express and talk about their thoughts and feelings in the safety of relationship. Teens look to trusted adults for guidance on how to respond in traumatic moments such as these.

The expectation is not to have all of the answers (I am well aware that I don’t), and it’s not to be a professional helper. You just need to care enough to listen and to ask them some questions. Be willing to have a conversation.

Here are some guiding principles to help you talk to your teens about George Floyd.

Make time and do not rush. Time = Value. As a parent or caring adult, we demonstrate the value of our teens by the time we give to them. Difficult topics of conversation require extra time to allow each person the opportunity to understand and be understood.

Acknowledge and normalise feelings/responses. Teens are forming their identity; they are looking to trusted adults, and peers to gauge what is “normal” and where they belong. Creating a non-judgmental space for teens to express themselves reinforces their sense of belonging and identity.

Be honest. It is okay not to have all the answers, and to process your experiences. The best way for teens to learn this is to have it modelled by those closest to them. Teens need to see and hear you do the journey. Note: you may need to measure your level of disclosure depending on your teen’s mental/emotional capacity.

Encourage empathy and compassion. Identifying with another and seeking to understand their perspective helps us build relationship and work more effectively with others. Compassion (acting from empathy) is a powerful tool in addressing trauma and injustice.

Draw focus from concern to areas of influence. There is a lot in the world to cause worry and some of it is outside our control. The good news is, Our teens often have a very strong sense of justice and they have an extraordinary amount to offer to the world. Actively engaging our young people with people and projects who are currently bringing hope, will in turn bring them hope. Maybe you could join them in making a difference by getting involved in a local project? Organisations such as World Vision, TEAR and ZOE are just some of many which have youth focused campaigns that may be of interest.

If you are unsure how to start or have a helpful conversation with your teen here is a question roadmap. Feel free to reword questions to suit your personal style.

  1. What have you seen/heard/felt/experienced? (Break these down into separate questions.)
  2. Of your answers to the above questions, what has affected/impacted you the most?
  3. What might you think/feel if you were in …’s (insert different roles, e.g. police, protestor, witness, victim) shoes?
  4. What could we/others assume about the situation/people involved? Are those assumptions correct? How do we know?
  5. What do you think this all means?
  6. How does that (refer to Q5) apply to your life/work/school/community?
  7. Now what can/will you do?
  8. How can I help you?

It is important that we all have an opportunity to process what we experience and find a way to make that experience mean something. My hope for this moment is that we remember what is required of us as sons and daughters of God – to do justice, to love kindness and to walk humbly with our God.

 

About the author…

Tess is a former school chaplain and youth pastor with 15 years of experience in youth work. She now serves as SU QLD’s Children and Youth Program Team Leader, delivering training and professional development to chaplains and youth workers. She holds a bachelor of communications and diploma of youth work.

Posted: 3/06/2020

Dear Mind, remember to make time for you…

The Queensland Government have produced some resources to help support the mental wellbeing of Queenslanders through Covid-19. Here’s an excerpt… Your mental wellbeing is the unique way that you…

The Queensland Government have produced some resources to help support the mental wellbeing of Queenslanders through Covid-19.

Here’s an excerpt…

Your mental wellbeing is the unique way that you handle your emotions, respond to stress and also your general outlook on life. Having a healthy sense of mental wellbeing has many benefits. It lifts your mood, promotes resilience in difficult situations and helps you get the most out of life. It doesn’t matter who you are, where you live or how you’re feeling – taking a few moments for yourself each day will help you be a happier and more resilient you.

To access these resources, click here: https://mentalwellbeing.initiatives.qld.gov.au/

Posted: 3/06/2020

Parenting in a Pandemic – a new Podcast from Triple P and the University of Queensland

The University of Queensland, in partnership with Triple P – Positive Parenting Program, have launched a new podcast titled ‘Parenting in a Pandemic’. Each episode, Professor Matthew Sanders talks…

The University of Queensland, in partnership with Triple P – Positive Parenting Program, have launched a new podcast titled ‘Parenting in a Pandemic’.

Each episode, Professor Matthew Sanders talks about real, actionable advice to help you steer your household through these uncharted waters.

You can access the podcast by clicking here: https://pfsc.psychology.uq.edu.au/parentinginapandemic

Posted: 29/05/2020

How my personal experience drove my love of camps

People often ask me why I love camping so much. Camps are super fun, they create amazing memories and allow people to build incredible friendships. Going deeper, at the…

People often ask me why I love camping so much.

Camps are super fun, they create amazing memories and allow people to build incredible friendships.

Going deeper, at the centre of every camping journey is your personal experience – and my experiences with camps growing up inspired a love for them as an adult.

I remember going on my first Beach Mission as an assistant leader when I was 15. We started each day with worship and a devotion together before going to the beach to show God’s love through various community programs. Spending this week with a strong Christian community of leaders showed me what it is to be a Christian.

After that camp, I became more engaged with church and started reading my bible to keep growing. It was my experience on SU Beach Missions as a teen that led me on a lifelong journey of faith. This is why I’m so passionate about camps.

Camps give young people the opportunity to get a glimpse of God’s Kingdom. Camps are not an everyday experience.

Research from McCrindle and The Christian Venues Association shows Christian camps have significant positive impacts on faith formation*.

As camp leaders and church congregations, it’s important for us to understand the flow of a camp – there are three main stages…

1. The lead-up
As campers get ready to go on camp, they can go through many emotions – ranging from excitement to anxiety. It’s important that parents and camp leaders are aware of these emotions – and able to set realistic expectations for the child so that they are not caught off guard when they arrive on camp.

2. Not an ‘everyday’ experience
Camps can start off relatively similar to the ‘everyday’ we know, but when they get rolling and the camp’s community starts to grow, many campers experience God’s love – something they might not feel in the everyday.

3. Heading back to the ‘everyday’
When camp is over, leaders, parents and churches can support their young people by helping to welcome them back into the ‘everyday’. Life after camp can be a bit dull – so youth groups and social activities are a great way of helping young campers transition back.

Overall, the sense of community that develops over the course of a camp, and the time spent learning and growing in faith is transformational. My experience on Beach Missions at age 15 changed the course of my life, and I’ll forever be grateful for that.

Due to COVID-19, our normal SU Camps were not able to run in the Easter Holidays. For the Winter Camps Season we have moved to an online model – which we are so excited about!

We believe that having online camps will create an online community that will allow our kids to still have a peak experience – you can find out more at our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/sucamps/

*https://www.christianvenues.org.au/impact/

 

About the author…

Jane has been involved with SU Camps and Community Outreaches for 15 years. She has experience as working as a chaplain and has a background in nursing. Jane currently works as the Camp Specialist for SU QLD, overseeing the camps and missions across Queensland.

Posted: 28/05/2020

Understanding Coronavirus for Kids

We love this pdf the Australian Childhood Foundation has put together to help kids understand coronavirus. Check out this excerpt… Coronavirus is a new kind of cold. It’s so…

We love this pdf the Australian Childhood Foundation has put together to help kids understand coronavirus.

Check out this excerpt…

Coronavirus is a new kind of cold. It’s so small that we can’t see it with our eyes. It’s quite sneaky and rude because it is traveling around from person to person without being invited. Coronavirus can go from a person who has it, to another person who hasn’t had it, if they spend time close together.

If you’d like to download the full pdf, click here: https://www.childhood.org.au/app/uploads/2020/03/Talking-to-Children-COVID-19-Social-Story.pdf

Posted: 26/05/2020

QLD Department of Education return to school information!

The Queensland Department of Education has released some guidelines for children as they return to school next week. While details may vary between schools, they’ve asked everyone to please…

The Queensland Department of Education has released some guidelines for children as they return to school next week.

While details may vary between schools, they’ve asked everyone to please follow the protocols so we can keep our schools and communities safe.

For more up-to-date information about the return to school on Monday 25 May 2020, please visit https://qed.qld.gov.au/…/frequently-asked-questions-for-par…

Posted: 22/05/2020

Young and Free? Helping our younger generation with their covid concerns

Last week, the ABC aired an episode of Q+A entitled ‘Young and Free?’, focusing on concerns that young Australians have about life after COVID-19. Guest panelists wrestled with questions…

Last week, the ABC aired an episode of Q+A entitled ‘Young and Free?’, focusing on concerns that young Australians have about life after COVID-19.

Guest panelists wrestled with questions directly from young people about education, employment, the environment, isolation, and mental health.

Strong concerns were expressed about what the coming weeks, months and years might hold for them. One young person, looking right at the camera, asked, “What are we supposed to do next, like literally, next…?”

It’s such a strange and worrying time for our young people.

I watched and wondered what the answers to such complex problems could be and where such solutions might come from? Panelists offered up various options and likely sources for solutions – governments, businesses, local communities. All reasonable suggestions given the concerns.

I thought to myself, “What hope do these young people have? Where are they going to get their help?”

Then another question popped into my head – one from the Bible…

“I lift my eyes to the hills – where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of Heaven and Earth.” Psalm 121:1-2

The danger of a verse like this is that it can be read in a glib way, citing “God” as the one-size-fits-all answer to life’s many complex and serious questions. “Where will our jobs come from?” God. “Can we make our economy environmentally sustainable?” God. “What can I do about my crippling anxiety?” God.

I don’t want to treat young people’s concerns or take God’s name in vain in such a flippant way.

But, the beauty of a verse like this is the deep truth that lies within it. The kind of truth that doesn’t necessarily solve life’s complex and serious problems, but offers a way of moving and being in the world while we live through them.

Australian young people are not highly religious beings. Many who grow up in Christian contexts drift out of those in their teenage years and move on to attempts at stitching together a way of moving and being in the world they hope might get them through. These are strange and worrying times. They’d be wanting something pretty robust to meet the challenge, but I fear it’s an impossible task.

There isn’t a lot of research out there about what helps Australian young people discover that God, the maker of heaven and earth, might be where their help could come from. What we do know is that strong families, good friends and a connected church community are good influences in this space.*

So, as families let’s pray for our governments, businesses and local communities and encourage them as they seek solutions to the problems that trouble our young people.

Let’s play a role in helping to build a more hopeful world.

Let’s be there with our young people as they ask their questions and wrestle with their concerns. Let’s listen, encourage, understand and offer small daily supports.

In these ways, we can at least encourage them to lift their eyes to see where their help might come from.

About the author…

Steve has over 30 years experience in school, community and church-based youth work. He is currently working as the Training & Development Manager at SU QLD, overseeing teams that deliver training and produce resources for SU QLD staff and volunteers. He holds post-graduate qualifications in Social Work, Politics & Government, and Christian Studies.

 

 

*Hughes, P. & Reid, S. (2019). How Australian Young People Understand and Experience God and influences on their Thinking: A Review of Secondary Research and Literature Study. Converge Oceania.

Posted: 21/05/2020

Kids’ Talks with Colin Buchanan

Compassion Australia have partnered with Colin Buchanan to produce Kids’ Talks – a new video series featuring short talks, Bible readings, prayers and of course, music! Click here to…

Compassion Australia have partnered with Colin Buchanan to produce Kids’ Talks – a new video series featuring short talks, Bible readings, prayers and of course, music!

Click here to access these great songs and materials! https://bit.ly/2zgaYNr

Posted: 20/05/2020

Domestic Violence During Lock-down

We found this podcast episode from Healthed Australia really interesting! In it, host Dr harry Nespolon (GP and RACGP President) along with guest Professor Kesley Hegarty (Chair in Family…

We found this podcast episode from Healthed Australia really interesting!

In it, host Dr harry Nespolon (GP and RACGP President) along with guest Professor Kesley Hegarty (Chair in Family Violence Prevention, University of Melbourne and The Royal Women’s Hospital), discuss the impact of lock-down and isolation on domestic violence in Australia.

They talk about…

  • Police reports are up, yet calls to helplines are down – why?
  • The impact on children who witness domestic violence
  • Role of the GP in this situation

To have a listen, click here: https://omny.fm/shows/healthed-australia/going-viral-domestic-violence-during-lock-down

Posted: 19/05/2020

30 creative ideas to get kids physically, creatively, spiritually, compassionately, or academically active

It could be a break from school, a rainy day, a sick day, or just a general period of doldrums. Kids often experience frustration when they feel that they’ve…

It could be a break from school, a rainy day, a sick day, or just a general period of doldrums.

Kids often experience frustration when they feel that they’ve run out of exciting activities or tasks, especially in modern times of continual entertainment and over-stimulation.

We want to keep children engaged and occupied, but we don’t need them to be constantly glued to a screen.

Click here to access 30 creative ideas to get kids physically, spiritually, compassionately or academically active: https://ministry-to-children.com/fun-biblical-boredom-busters-activities/

Posted: 15/05/2020

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