Teens need more sleep, according to research reported by the Washington Post. This might seem obvious for most of the youth we work with, but this issue may be more serious than previously believed. The rise of mental health issues and feelings of hopelessness have affected teens across the world, but studies show that getting good provides a positive boost. With barely 1/4th of teens getting the recommended amount of sleep, what can we do to help? While the recommendations may be aimed at parents, youth leaders can still help. Moderating caffeine intake can help teens go to bed on time rather than being wired right before bed. Putting up the Coke and Mountain Dew and switching them out with water at youth events could be a great alternative. Exercise is also a great way to help teens get the sleep they need. That's a free pass to get students involved in youth games! Get them active and involved, you could be helping them in your own small way.
"Wouldn't It Be Like You" is a new single released by Bryan and Katie Torwalt. The couple's latest project is something that stemmed from their reflections during the pandemic. When thinking about the effects of Covid and how Jesus worked throughout the New Testament, they were reminded of how God works in unusual ways. It's rarely in the way we expect, but it's normally better than anything we could ever imagine. God's gained a reputation for doing the unimaginable, and this song refers to that. You can read more about the story behind the song here.
Knee tag is a great, low prep game to get teens active without needing a bunch of room. The game is played in pairs, with students facing off and trying to get the most amount of points. Have partners face each other with their hands on their knees, blocking them from the other person. It may be called tag, but players should only be moving their hands. Their feet stay planted on the ground. Points are won by tagging the other person's exposed knee while they are simultaneously trying to tag your knee. When facilitating the game, you can keep a timer to track rounds and keep an eye out for cheating. In another version, you can have teens try and reach a certain amount of points in order to win the face-off (5, 10, 15, etc.). In the link at the beginning, there is a video example if you are more of a visual learner.
If you've ever played sports or particularly rough games, there's a good chance you've been knocked off your feet. One second you're going after the ball when suddenly you're blindsided and laying on the ground. It can be scary, trying to catch your breath when your lungs are fighting against you. Sometimes in life, we are blindsided by school, family issues, and other things we can't control. The good thing is, God sees us lying on the ground in these moments, and He is there reaching out a hand to lift us up. Throughout Scripture, we see people at their lowest moments where life blindsided them such as Job and Paul. Jesus walked beside them until they could stand on there, and He never left them alone. He'll do the same for us today. We just need to catch our breath and accept His help to stand up.
When life blindsides you and leaves you breathless on the ground, keep going. As long as there is breath in your lungs, God still has more for you to do on this earth. Hang in there and remain patient for God. More than likely, He's waiting for His perfect timing to do something better than we could ever come up with on our own.
2 Peter 3:9 - The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead, he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.