High Expectations and First Priorities: Lowering A Teen’s Stress Level
Last year God used a lesson in a way I did not expect. We were discussing expectations and stress with the youth group kids. I honestly expected a fairly normal lesson with normal reactions.
Yeah…that’s not what happened.
We did the lesson in small groups which helped create a more open atmosphere among the kids. We had them start off by making lists. They had to write down lists of five. 5 things parents expect of them, 5 things teachers expect, 5 things their church expects, 5 things friends expect and 5 expectations from other people. Lastly, they had to write a separate list of 10 things they expect of themselves and why.
Let’s just say I have never had kids write so furiously or be so quiet while writing…like ever! The amount of stress and pressure teens are under today feels insurmountable. And I think it wise we as their youth leaders to be aware of this – especially as our new fall season kicks off right alongside school starting up, sports, clubs, drama, homework and family commitments. Below is the lesson I used and wanted to share for you to possibly use. It is just a template so feel free to change where needed.
Activity: Have each student write down 5 things parents expect of them, 5 things teachers expect, 5 things their church expects, 5 things friends expect and 5 other expectations from other people. Then have them write a separate list of 10 things they expect of themselves AND why.
Question 1: Have students share their lists. What are some of the similar themes coming out of the lists?
Question 2: Why do we feel such pressure to live up to other’s expectations?
Question 3: Why do we pressure ourselves with expectations?
Question 4: Are expectations in and of themselves bad? When do they cross the line from healthy to unhealthy?
Question 5: How healthy are your lists of expectations when it comes to growing in your faith? Explain.
Question 6: Looking at your lists – would you say God is a priority? Why or why not?
Question 7: Did you find yourself relating to Chan’s message? Do you often give God the leftovers? Why?
Question 8: Think through your life and schedule. What can you actually do/change to meet the expectation you set in making God a priority?
Read: Proverbs 3:5-6, Luke 12:34, Haggai 1:9.
Question 9: How do these passages relate to making God a priority?
Question 10: When you line up the passages against your life – do you pass the test of making God a priority?
Read: Psalm 128:1-4.
Question 11: What are the benefits of making God priority according to these Psalm 128?
Read: Mark 12:29-30.
Question 12: What should be our highest priority?
Sarah Vanderaa is currently serving as a full-time youth director in a church located in the south suburbs of Chicago. She is currently in her 11th season and is excited to see what the year will bring. On her rest days, she can often be found behind a computer writing and updating her blog, while drinking lots and lots of coffee. In between naps, she still finds time to read novels. You can connect with Sarah through her blog at WWW.UNLOCKANDRELEASE.TUMBLR.COM or her Facebook page @UNLOCKANDRELEASE
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