Teens' drive for academic perfection can be much more harmful than helpful according to this article from the Los Angeles Times. This issue goes deeper than surface-level stress. It creates a mentality in which teens feel the need to reach neigh impossible standards for academic excellence without room for any failure at all. Often, failure is the thing that allows us to grow and realize that everyone is human. Teens facing this pressure for perfection leave no room for failure, put their own well-being behind their success, and may be highly critical of perceived failures. As for our part in the lives of teens, we need to be aware of the pressures we are putting on students around us and model healthy ways to deal with high standards. The article made sure to clear up that just because a student is doing well does not mean they may be facing these issues, but we can look out for our teens who are by recognizing the signs and side effects.
Chris Tomlin is at it again releasing a new single titled Always. Combining an upbeat tone with the exciting stories of God, this song creates a space to celebrate what God has done. It also reminds us that God is always faithful. He's the same yesterday, today, and forever, which is based on Hebrews 13:8. It's Tomlin's declaration that God will never let us down, even when it feels like nothing is happening. Don't be surprised when churches are singing this song in a couple of years as is the case for many most of Chris Tomlin's songs.
As a bonus, there's another track that Tomlin did with Elevation called YAHWEH (No One). That song is also worth setting aside a couple of minutes to listen to and enjoy.
For this week's game, we have a fun, absolutely zero-prep game that can be played with just about any size group. 60 Second Objects is a team-building game where students must recreate objects that a leader shouts out by posing themselves and working together. Groups have 60 seconds to get together and make the most accurate object they can. When the 60 seconds are up, they must hold the pose while a judge walks around and gives out points. The team with the most points after as many rounds as you want is the winner. Examples of objects are a flower, train, car, shark, coffee table, etc. The size of the groups are up to you and how many students you have, although a good minimum for a group is 4 to start with.
Have you ever watched an amazing, entertaining sports game where both teams are going back and forth? One minute, one team has all the confidence in the world after an incredible play. Then, a couple of minutes later, the other team has gained all of the momentum with a key play of their own. I want to lock onto that word "momentum".
Just like in every sports game, every single person is going to experience seasons where they feel that momentum is with them; these are the mountain top seasons that everyone enjoys. However, these seasons don't last forever. There will be other times when it feels like we don't have any of the momentum, and that we are fighting an uphill battle. In sports, the best teams are the ones that can capitalize on the times when momentum is on their side and also weather the storm when the other team is coming at them with everything they've got. Just like the best sports teams, our goal as Christians should be to grow closer to God in our high seasons so that we are able to deal with the struggles of the difficult seasons.
Just like the sports analogy, it's inevitable that you will experience both high and low seasons. It's simply a fact of life. Being aware of this, however, can help us keep an eternal perspective on the changing of seasons. Even when the things around us change, God doesn't. He remains constant in the brightest days, the darkest valleys, and everything in between.
Malachi 3:6-7 - "I the Lord do not change. So you, the descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed. Ever since the time of your ancestors you have turned away from my decrees and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you,” says the Lord Almighty.