RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org
Once a child enters middle school, there becomes a definite stride toward independence and wanting to think for their self. In regard to faith, there is either more of a curiosity (and lots of questions) or an absence of interest. If youâ€™ve laid a strong foundation for talking about spiritual things and praying together during your first two years together, your child may be more open to listening, discussing, and even asking your thoughts. Either way, know that you arenâ€™t guaranteed interest in spiritual things, and proclaiming the Gospel boldly in every conversation is key.
-Find an easy to read devotional book to read together (staff has recommendations)
-Bring them or encourage them to come to CoHâ€™s Middle School Bible Study
-Pair up with some other mentors and hold weekly/bi-weekly Bible studies â€¨on relevant topics
-Discuss things that each of you needs prayer for and then pray for one â€¨another together
-Buy them a teen-geared Bible for their birthday or Christmas
-Meet together with someone who grew up in South Dallas and is following Jesus
Since sixth grade is a new beginning, it becomes important for you to begin to talk through choices and cause/effect. The decisions they make will follow them, so talking through the importance of school attendance, turning in homework, avoiding drugs, not getting into fights, etc is vital. It is also important to ask a lot of critical thinking questions during this year to help them form a strong foundation for thinking logically through life with wisdom.
-Begin the New Year with a list of resolutions that you want to keep together
-Take them to work with you
-Help them get involved in a sport, club, or other activity
-Expose them to other cultures or new experiences
-Explore a hobby that interests them
Mentors may be naive or assume their protÃ©gÃ© will have similar experiences they did as a child. Itâ€™s a very different time period than when you grew up! Computers, Internet, cell phones, and social media provide a different context for todayâ€™s youth. Temptations are readily available, and our culture is very sexual. If your 6th grader isnâ€™t already engaging in sexual activities, they likely know someone who is. Just because they claim they, â€œarenâ€™t interested in boys/girls yetâ€ doesnâ€™t necessarily mean that is true. Go in with your eyes wide open!
-Print out their favorite song lyrics and talk through it with them
-Find some Christian spoken word (either live events or on YouTube) together and discuss themes afterward (good questions are key!)
- Remember that the biggest thing you can do at this age is to point them to Christ and to help them think for themselves, so winning the conversation or convincing that your way is best may shut them down- focus on being available and ready to talk
Thinking about something other than themselves isnâ€™t common among pre-teen and teenaged children. The middle school years are very self-focused. A key element in helping your protÃ©gÃ© reach out and serve might be remembering your own middle school years. What took your gaze and focus off yourself? Did you go on a mission trip, take care of a sick grandparent or younger sibling, complete certain chores, etc? Try duplicating some of those things with your protÃ©gÃ©. Show them that they have something vital to offer those in need around them and that learning to love is one of the greatest gifts in life.
-Babysit their siblings or your nieces/nephews together
-Make or buy a gift for their teachers to celebrate a holiday
-Help them learn how to tutor their younger siblings or cousins
-Ask them to come up with something nice to do for their grandparents
-Take them on a local mission trip or outreach with your churchâ€™s youth group
A lot of things change at the 6th grade level, but the biggest logistical change is attending a new school. As the â€œnew kids on the blockâ€ in the middle school, 6th graders often seek to fit in and experiment with new things, even at a cost. Teachers become lame, and the older kids endorse skipping class. Homework and projects go undone, and parents are baffled by what happened to their sweet, innocent child. Middle school is a big transition, so mentors need to head into these waters prepared!
-Attend a Parent/Teacher Conference to meet their teachers
-Regularly ask the guardians questions about how they feel their child is doing
-Inquire about their report cards (celebrate and reward good grades!)
-Make it a priority to ask about homework and projects (make sure the child always knows youâ€™re willing to help with either)
-Teach them how to be organized and keep a calendar/schedule of homework and projects
-Keep up to date on their truancy and reward class attendance
On Saturday May 3rd Champions of Hope in partnership with the Larry Johnson Center hosted our Third Annual Cinco de Mayo Fiesta. This, our largest community event, saw over 300 people enjoy food and games together. Thank to all who came and made this event so special.
Deep within the heart of every person is the desire to be known, wanted, and loved; itâ€™s how God wired us. Sin skews these hopes, but the root of each is still present in all hearts. As mentors, the task to get to know a child and demonstrate that love to them can seem impossible at times and daunting at others. It indeed takes much work and investment to truly know someone and love them!
Something Iâ€™ve found personally helpful in getting to know and love people, as Iâ€™ve examined the Bible and how God/Jesus interacted with people, is the art of asking really awesome questions! Often a great question is able to accomplish meeting the need of a child to be known, wanted, and loved. It takes preparation, practice, and much patience.
I think one of the most vital ways a question can be used with a child is modeled by God often throughout the Bible. God already knew whatâ€™d happened, but He, in great love and grace, offered a chance for repentance and reconciliation to His children (ie: Adam/Eve in the Garden, Cain after he killed his brother, Job, Jonah, etc). I often find myself doing this with our students. Being in contact with parents, mentors, and teachers, I often know whatâ€™s happened from all sides before I even talk with the student. But coming in with accusation and condemnation shuts a child down quickly! Asking good questions, that Iâ€™ve prepared beforehand, is often my most valuable tool to know and love that child well in any given situation.
Another type of question seen modeled in the Word are the numerous questions Jesus asks that in an instant delve straight to someoneâ€™s heart. Since we are not being the Son of God it can make this type of inquiring seem unobtainable, but I promise itâ€™s not impossible for us mortals! It takes discernment, consistent involvement with our protÃ©gÃ©s, prayer, and being led by the Holy Spirit, and. This type of questioning requires you to be willing to surrender your desire to see results, because these sorts of questions normally reach their goal in the still, quiet moments of the heart. It takes a humble realization on our part that we are but a tool in Godâ€™s hand, not the savior or molder of their hearts or lives.
Here are a few practical tips on becoming better in this area: Ask expanding or open-ended questions.
-If the second word in the question is â€œyouâ€ itâ€™s probably a closed question (â€œDo you like..?â€ or â€œHave you been..?â€).
-Who, what, when, where, why, and how are conversation expanders (â€œWhat are your favorite..?â€ or â€œWho is your role model?â€).
-Ask about: ideas, feelings, thoughts, challenges, frustrations, concerns, dreams, goals, achievements, inspirations, etc.
With a little time all this will become natural and hopefully open doors into knowing and loving your protÃ©gÃ© well.
-Christina Hickman, Relationship Coordinator
In 5th grade, your protÃ©gÃ© is in the oldest grade at their elementary school. The younger students all look up to them. They should be setting the pace for their peers, and this means that they must learn to lead through by example as they look to transition back to being the youngest group in their school. They are not only future leaders but also present ones. Help your protÃ©gÃ© develop leadership skills as well as the ability to think about what it takes to work toward the future wisely.
–Talk with them about being a leader
–Visit the 6th floor museum to talk about JFK
–During Black/Hispanic history month, bring up an important leader and talk about why they were important
–Create a budget for a hangout and ask them to plan something that fits within that budget
Fifth graders are typically 10-11 years old, and the earliest age at which a child is first exposed to pornographic material is in this range. The median age is 14 in regard to first exposure. In regard to sexual material (that is not pornographic), exposure is already prominent in readily consumable media such as music, movies, and television. Even though fifth graders are young, it is likely they have been exposed to sexual material! Because of this, it is important to start talking to kids about sex and sexuality at a young age. We want to be proactive about helping them form Biblical opinions!
–Continue to ask questions about the opposite sex and what they think about dating & marriage
–At this age, â€œflirtingâ€ means getting into arguments and shoving matches, so they usually arenâ€™t overtly interested
–Ask them whatâ€™s appropriate in regard to how we treat the opposite sex
–Expose them to media that is enjoyable but holds up appropriate views on sex and gender