Monday, October 29, 2007

Spending Time with Kids

I have maintained for a long time that the best way to make a difference in the world, especially with teens, is to spend time with them. When you spend time with teens you can develop relationships with them and influence their lives in positive ways. To that end, I have developed this list of practical suggestions for spending time with teens.
  • Learn to have conversations with people, especially young people. The most important part of a conversation is listening. Learn to be interested in what others have to say. Listen with your whole mind. Lead the conversation so that you are talking more about the other person than you are about yourself.
  • Volunteer in ways that puts you in contact with kids. Help out at your local school, YMCA, Boy's Club, Scout Troop or church youth group.
  • Attend school functions so that you get to know some young people. Plays, concerts and sporting events are obvious examples, but you can also inquire about having lunch at school, judging speech competitions helping in classrooms, etc.
  • Develop a profile at Many young people in your neighborhood are using this social networking website. You can become a friend to many people that you have never met. This will also give you new credibility when you have time with kids in other settings.
  • Take a teen to lunch after church. Pick a youth from your church and have a meal with them. Talk to youth group leaders, youth pastors and Sunday school teachers for suggestions and guidelines.
  • Watch MTV. Merely watching MTV will not get you in touch with kids, but knowing the culture and environment of teens will help you when you do spend time with kids.
  • Hang out where kids hang out. If the teens in your town eat at Taco Bell, then you should learn to like Mexican food.

Make a difference in the world by reaching out to one teen at a time. Do not put it off. Everyone can do it. Do it right away.

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