When our oldest started high school, multiple older parents told me that high school would fly by. I didn’t believe them, but now that Nathan is diving into eleventh grade, I’ve jumped on the “high school goes so fast” bandwagon.
That’s partly why it’s never too early to start thinking about life after high school.
As we at the Fuller Youth Institute interviewed over 500 high school graduates to try to understand what builds faith that lasts, or what we call Sticky Faith, we were struck by how students repeatedly pointed to the importance of their first two weeks in college. During these crucial first fourteen days, students make key decisions about sex, drinking, and other high-risk behaviors as well as about allegiance with a local church or on-campus ministry.
The decisions that graduates make during those two weeks can set them on a trajectory that lasts for the rest of their college experience. (tweet that)
As we have shared that trend with college pastors and college parachurch leaders, they have often responded that it’s not really a two-week window. It’s a four-day window. The decisions students make in the first four days set them on a path they will likely follow for the next four years.
Questions you can ask graduating seniors
Given the data about the first two weeks of college—and even the first four days—wise parents and leaders help soon-to-be-college-students develop a plan for that vital early window by asking some of the following questions ahead of time. Like now.
- Where will you be living? How will that affect your friendships?
- What church or on-campus ministry will you join? How will you decide which Christian group is the best fit for you?
- What type of qualities are you looking for in your new friends?
- What will your class load be?
- When will you study and do your homework?
- What extracurricular activities interest you? How much time will that involve?
- How much time can you devote to a job?
- What is your budget for school expenses? For personal expenses?
- What will you do when someone invites you to a party?
- If you decide to go to a party, what will you drink?
- What kind of person will you date? How will you learn about that person’s character?
- Where will you go for help when your struggle academically, physically, emotionally, practically, or relationally?
- What can you do those first few days and weeks to connect with God?
- How much communication do you want to have with your family those first days and weeks?
- How much communication do you want to have with me those first few days and weeks?
If you’re a parent and the flavor of your relationship with your child means that talking over these questions would feel forced or awkward, don’t discard them. With your child, identify another caring adult conversation partner to help them develop a vision and plan for those first pivotal hours.
From what I’ve heard from parent of young adults, college flies by also. Maybe even quicker than high school. Let’s help the young people we care about most by preparing them now for all they will face in the weeks to come.
Is Your Child a Bully? Is Your Child a Victim of a Bully?
Is Your Child A Bully? Is Your Child a Victim of a Bully?
F acts about bullies:
-Strong need to dominate other students and to get their own way
-Impulsive and easily angered
-Defiant and aggressive toward adults, including parents & teachers
-Show little empathy toward students who are victimized
-If they are boys, they are physically stronger than their peers
-More likely to smoke and drink alcohol
-More likely to carry a weapon
-More likely to be convicted of a crime by age 24
Some facts about Victims:
-Cautious, sensitive, quiet, withdrawn and shy
-Often anxious, insecure, unhappy, low self esteem
-Are depressed and engage in suicidal ideation more than peers
-Often don't have a single good friend, may relate better to adults
-May be physically weaker than peers
-May skip school to avoid the bully (thus poor grades)
-May have physical ailments (headaches, stomach aches, high blood
Bullying is on the rise. It can be name calling, verbal or written abuse, exclusion from activities or social situations, physical abuse as well as social isolation with gossip or rumors. The bullied are not the only victims however. Those who bully others are often at risk for more serious violence. Male bullies are more likely to engage in antisocial and delinquent behavior such as vandalism, shoplifting and drug use into adulthood. They are four times more likely than non-bullies to be convicted of crimes by age 24, with 60% of bullies having at least one criminal conviction.
Children who are bullied often withdraw even further from the social peers, silently suffering from a loss of self esteem. Some react with depression, suicide, anxiety, truancy, or some other self destructive responses. Rarely, students who are bullied act out violently. Bullying has been a factor in nearly every school shooting since 1992.
Bullying increases in elementary school, peaks in middle school and declines in high school. Verbal abuse, however, remains constant throughout all of these years.
The latest trend is Cyber-bullying. This is verbal abuse via social networking sites. It can include mean spirited text, email or Facebook messages. It can include posting unflattering photos of someone through texts or on the Internet. Some students have even created websites or Facebook pages dedicated to making fun of a particular person.
How Parents can stop cyber bullying:
-Keep computers in easily viewable places
-Talk to your teens about their online activities
-Make sure your teen knows what cyber bullying is
-Review your teens' online communication and text messages
-Review your teens' activity with tablets and smartphones
-If there are concerns, install filtering or tracking software
"The Bully, the Bullied and the Bystander" (Barbara Coloroso, Harper Collins) Great book available in the church library. Resources on how parents and teachers can break the cycle of violence.
Students at Tri Mountain Charter School in Colorado while doing research for a project about technology's negative effects on society found this page to be very helpful. Their teacher contacted us to express their gratitude for presenting the information. Also, the students named below wanted to share other websites which contain useful material on this subject.
Ben M. - Make a Difference for Kids
Angela P. - Cyberbullying Research Center
Andrew - Online Security Guide for Parents and Kids
Bullying Prevention Project www.clemson.edu/Olweus
Other Bullying information gleaned from "Sticks & Stones: Bullying leaves lifelong scars on innocent lives," by Judy Hare Thorne. The Angelos of Kappa Delta