Sunday, August 10, 2008

Phone victims

Phone Victims... P.V. It's becoming our own "gang" symbol.

A couple of weeks ago I took about five teenagers to another church to blend with their teenagers in hopes of creating a partnership.

As we sat in on their meeting, the group was trying to figure out what they wanted to call themselves.

Though the teenagers I know and call on come from many different neighborhoods, I suggested that our teens should come up with a name for themselves as well. We don't meet on a regular basis, but I have several who I know are consistent and will come to take advantage of a good opportunity...or will come if I sound like I desperately need their help. It didn't take very long before Vanessa piped up, "Phone Victims!" she offered.

Everyone laughed and agreed that they are my "phone victims" so it was a fitting name. Personally, I don't think that sounds like a very good group name, but they didn't offer up any other suggestions...nor did they ask my opinion.

Though I could be offended by them dubbing me as an evil captor, ever since they came up with the name, I have watched them eagerly tell everyone they come in contact with of their "Phone Victim" status and caution new teenagers I meet (sometimes introduced by the Phone Victims themselves), then roll their typical teenage if they were unable to choose whether or not they were there. (mind you...most of the time they ride the bus to get to wherever or whatever we are doing).

When I first moved to Dallas, I read a book called, Real Hope in Chicago. It's an easy read that I highly recommend if you want to understand how to do urban ministry...or any kind of "ministry" with kids, for that matter. On pages 118-122 Wayne Gordon talks about how to invest in people. His points have always stuck with me in a very profound way:
    1. See Fifteen Years into the Future.
    2. Make them feel important.
    3. Don't Go Anywhere Alone
    4. Be Accessible.
    5. Expose Them to Other Role Models.
    6. Involve Your Family.
    7. Remember Those Who are in College.
    8. Love, Love, Love.
    9. Let them Fail.
I have always heard that kids like discipline and structure and like for adults to be involved in their life. Despite their outward resistance, I truly believe that. I think kids like the praise and accolades that happen as a result of their good and responsible behavior. I think they want to hear what the respected adults in their life think...about anything from politics to ethics to everyday opinions.

I also believe that they like to be Phone Victims.
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