On a recent Sunday morning, I was talking with some of our high school youth about how we might increase the number of people we have attending our activities. To my surprise, one of them said that parents should make their children come to youth group, at least for a few meetings, and the other two youth agreed.
Trying to hide my surprise that any youth would be in favor of their parents requiring them to do anything, I asked for their reasoning. They believe that after coming a few times, youth will discover that youth group fills a need and that they want to keep coming. For example, one youth said, “I never wanted to do spiritual stuff. But, after experiencing it a few times at youth group and regional youth events, I found that I liked it.”
I have always made youth group optional for my children. I think most UUFRC parents take the same path. Maybe that’s a mistake.
My youngest never wanted to go to youth group until I sold her on a regional, weekend-long event. Now, she attends most UUFRC youth events.
I have seen parenting as a gradual letting-go process. As they become more mature and responsible, my children are allowed to make more decisions about what they do. However, even in high school, there are times I put my foot down. For my family, those times have included a weekly family meal together and Our Whole Lives (OWL) human sexuality classes.
Maybe youth group should be on that list of must-do’s. Our children may wind up appreciating it (even if they don’t thank us for it).
Something to think about.
See you in church. —Derby