Before I drop my kids at the school gate, I tell them 4 things…

I thought about the type of legacy I wanted my kids to have drilled into them as they went through their school life… I thought about what type of high-school kids I wanted them to be and realised those principles had to be ingrained early. So, my kids must have heard me say this over 100 times…

  1. Be nice to the mean kids
    (Don’t seek revenge, don’t get angry, practice being polite and not aggravating the situation. And don’t be one of them!)
  2. Look after the weak kids
    (Include them when the mean kids leave them out, protect them from the mean kids, stick up for them when they’re getting bullied, help them when they fall over.)
  3. Don’t just do what your teachers say, rather, be good.
    (This one always get’s their attention, and that’s the point. I don’t want them to ONLY do what their teachers say, nor do I want them to SIMPLY do what their teachers say. I want them to think… and sometimes say “No, I’m not doing that” and other times say, “I wasn’t told to do this, but I think it’s a good thing to do.”)
  4. I love you
    (I always want to leave them with this thought in their mind.)

Should your program be designed for the kids or their parents?

Yes, of course you’d like it to be for both. But the reality is that every decision will suite one group over the other. So how do you choose who to appease?
There’s a really helpful line of distinction in youth and kids ministry… Ask yourself who decides whether the kid goes or not?
See, if the kids are under about year 9, it’s their parents who make the final decision. They usually have to drive them! Sure, the parents are less likely to take their kids if their kids don’t want to go. But even up to year 6 kids… Their parents will choose whether their kids will attend or not – regardless of what they kids say on the day.
But year 10-12 kids… They really are getting that little more independent. They will go to things and arrange their own transport. Their parents aren’t really in the picture.
So, if your dealing with kids under yr6… You’re REALLY trying to convince the parents to bring their kids back.

There’s always the exception to the rule… I started taking myself to youth group when I was 9.