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Posts Tagged ‘Teenagers’

Do you have a child with a smart phone or tablet? Are they reluctant to remove their eyes from the tiny screen because someone is droning nasally on YouTube about Minecraft? Do they fail to hear calls for meals or run away from table too early in order to play Angry Birds? Let me share with you an app I came across recently that has aided our parenting and helped us to ease the Queen (aged 13, now a proud possessor of a smart phone on a super cheap but strangely comprehensive contract) into learning some self control:

DinnerTime

Seriously, I cannot recommend this free app highly enough. It works by allowing you to control your child’s smartphone or tablet from your own phone. It’s available from Google Play, the Apple App Store and the Amazon App Store. We have the Queen’s set to switch off at bedtime and we can summon her to the table at the touch of a screen. She doesn’t mind, and it can be quite funny to see how quickly she appears once I’ve used the ‘Take a Break’ function.

Of course, I want her to develop self control, but I never had the challenge of having to switch off my phone at night when I was 13. It was bad enough trying not to read under the covers. So this app enables us to help her let go of the phone without having to physically remove it from her grasp. If you are buying a device for a child this Christmas, you could install DinnerTime (or DinnerTime Plus for even more functionality) before the child has it and then bedtime screen battles will not even begin. I have mentioned DinnerTime to other parents and to a headteacher recently, and there seemed to be some keen interest. Perhaps it will help you or someone you know who’s battling in this area. It’s been a blessing to us.

A great weapon in the battle of the screens

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Last week I found out that our local YMCA branch are auctioning some pretty cool stuff. There’s a whole bunch of activities and items being auctioned in a very good cause – their Open Door project which arranges supported lodgings for homeless teenagers. You can bid for

There is also a charity ball this Saturday night at The Hawthorns (the West Brom football ground) to celebrate 5 years of Open Door, and to raise money for this brilliant scheme. There are still a few tickets left for a great night out to support Open Door. The Vicar and I have been invited too and will be there. It’s our first night out like this in I can’t remember how long. I shall have to do a serious shoe audit this week to check if I have anything that I can actually dance in. Maybe see you there?

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The Good Book Company have just released a great new retelling of the Life of Christ in comic book form by Jason Ramasami – it’s called Life Changer. I am putting in an order for some this morning – they are particularly suitable for teenagers, students and anyone who’s not big on reading. And at £3.99 each, they’re also ideal little extra Christmas gifts.

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We are very excited in the Vicarage. In about 2 weeks time, Dreamer will be joining us as our Families and Community Worker. Our church family are delighted to have appointed her and are looking forward to getting to know her as she comes to live and minister amongst us. In one of those ministry swings and roundabouts, a couple of days after she was appointed, our lovely Ministry Trainee Sweet Tooth decided that he wasn’t quite ready to step into ministry yet and left the Vicarage to start another course of study. So our house is a little emptier just now, although the children and other visitors (including Dreamer and her happy dog last week) seem to fill the place up well enough.

One challenge for Dreamer when she begins here will be leading our small youth group. Since the Vicar had A Very Important Meeting last week, I was helping out along with our new MT Radiohead and Cheery, a laughing lady from our congregation. The group has almost doubled in size since last year and in the meeting I attended the boy:girl ratio was 9:2, so testosterone levels were running pretty high. About a third of the kids have learning difficulties of some sort or another, which mainly means that attention spans can be rather limited. So, all in all, it was a pretty fizzy evening. But despite that, they still read the bible out loud and talked about what the narrow way looks like. And, as Dreamer said afterwards, noone died, noone was bitten and noone set fire to anything. I’m sure that many involved in youth work will recognise the experience of trusting that the Lord is working even when we don’t feel like much is going in!

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So, having analysed what sold well last year, and what appeals to 11-14 year olds on a Pathfinder Venture, I also have a list of new books to stock this year. Having bent publisher Jonathan Carswell’s ear off about this (and I guess someone’s been doing the same to Tim Thornborough), both 10ofThose and The Good Book Company have published books for teenagers this year. It’s great to see some new Christian books for young people published in the UK. And some of them are particularly suited to the younger end of the spectrum, where the selection seems weakest.

I’ve just discovered that The Good Book Company’s camp page has lists of suggested books for camp, many of which I already knew about, but which also has some new ideas for me. You may find it helpful if planning your own bookstall!

So this year, I shall be supplementing last year’s favourite books with the following – and others if you have any good suggestions…

Lost by Jonty Allcock (£3-4) – A retelling of the Prodigal Son suitable for young people, challenging them to meet Jesus.

 

True by Sarah Bradley (£4.50-5.50) – A book encouraging girls in their Christian lives

Genuine by Cassie Martin – a series of studies of young people in the Bible aimed at older Pathfinders

Bibles – This year we’ll be stocking pricier ones (I rather like the patriotic Union Jack one) but also More Than Gold’s On Your Marks edition of Mark’s gospel, which is only 60p.

No Girls Allowed/Friends Forever – Undated gendered devotionals (different from last year’s) from Scripture Union which may appeal to some.

Puzzle Book – this seems like a fun way to get younger or reluctant readers to grapple with some systematic theology!

Bible from Scratch by Simon Jenkins – this fun cartoon bible overview was a favourite of mine when I was a teenager and hasn’t dated – great to see it available again.

YP’s Guide to Starting Secondary School – We’ll have a good few Year 6s with us on camp this year, so I thought it might be worth stocking a few of these.

The Back Leg of a Goat by Penny Reeve – The Queen enjoyed reading this a while back and I’d forgotten about it when I was planning last year’s bookstall. Penny Reeve has written a couple of other books for this age group which I thought I’d try out too this year.

I am also going to read through a few more of Kathy Lee’s books to work out which would be good to stock to ensure we have a good fiction range, alongside some Patricia St John and any other Christian fiction that I can find and think might work for lovers of stories.

Any suggestions and ideas will be gratefully received. I will be ordering our bookstall over the next couple of weeks and will blog the final order so you can see what I’ve ended up with. I am also starting to think about advertising the bookstall. As we’ve an Olympics theme this year (suspect this will be the case for every activity for young people this summer) I am planning on promoting ‘Training Manuals’ and using the Joker and the Engineer as Fit and Flabby who train with contrasting equipment eg Nintendo DS vs Bible etc.

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Now it’s June, we’re into the preparing-for-camp season. My Facebook timeline is strewn with appeals for helpers for various ventures around the country, Rocky and Bee are busy confirming exactly who is coming from our youth group and making sure we have the funds, the Vicar has booked the minibus and now my thoughts are turning to the bookstall that I’ll be running again this year.

Last year I had lots of fun planning the stall and reviewed a few books in the process. We had 50 or so 11-14 year olds from a range of booky and non-booky backgrounds. That younger secondary school end covers a wide range of abilities and maturity. Some kids were from Christian homes, some didn’t come to church at all. So the bookstall aimed to cover a pretty wide base.

We got our bookstall from the always-obliging 10 of Those, who have just launched a special camp bookstall service which I’ll be using this year. If they don’t have the book you want on their website, they will get it for you.

Bibles – we had great value NIVs costing about £5 which went like hot cakes, but these will be more expensive this year because there’s a new translation out. So I’m not sure how many we’ll sell. This year we’ll be studying Mark’s gospel at camp so I’m going to stock them – and they will be affordable, even if whole bibles are too pricey.

Bible reading notes – I stocked XTB (for 7-11s0, Discover (11s-14s) and Engage (14s-18s). They didn’t sell all that well.

Bible guide – We sold a good few copies of the YP’s Guide to the Bible – it only cost £2.50 and was affordable and interesting to look at.

Boring Bible series and 50 Weirdest/Goriest/Wildest Bible Stories (and similar by Andy Robb) – these cost £4.50 and are undated bible devotions. They were very popular and I’ll be stocking up this year.

For Girls Only & No Girls Allowed – These gendered devotional books sold well – I stocked a couple of each, but could have sold more. These are a little more expensive – around £8.

Grill a Christian – We sold this book at £2 – it’s packed with apologetics. Very popular with older Pathfinders (and with folk at church where I sold off some spare copies after camp).

The Case for Christ (Youth Edition), Case for Faith for Kids, Case for Christ for Kids – these sold well too.

Deadly Emily by Kathy Lee – I was very encouraged to sell this book to a couple of girls who aren’t great readers. I will be stocking more fiction for those who find non-fiction (even biographies) a bit heavy going. I am increasingly convinced that teenagers and preteens who love to read stories (like the Queen) should be reading stories with a Christian worldview. You can tell the truth in fiction.

Trailblazer biographies – we sold a bunch of these shortish books at £3. They are biographies and we stocked a variety, including ones of John Newton, Joni Eareckson Tada, Mary Slessor, Amy Carmichael etc. There are lots of these, including a new Eric Liddell one, which will be on our stall for our Olympic theme this year.

Lightkeepers (Ten Girls/Ten Boys series) – these are also short biography books. They also sold well at £3.

Sneaking Suspicion, If I were God I’d… (by John Dickson) – We sold these to some of the older teenage boys.

School Survival – An excellent book on school life.

Peril and Peace – we sold this book of church history to an older Pathfinder who was looking for something stretching. This is one of a series of 5 Chronicles of the Ancient Church.

We sold a few booklets like: Why did Jesus Die? Why did Jesus Come? Why did Jesus Rise? How do I know I’m a Christian? How do I show I’m a Christian? These were only 20p so a few kids picked them up.

I also bunged a few books on the stall for leaders – including the excellent Enough by Helen Roseveare.

 Later I’ll post a list of some new books I’m planning to stock this year. Both 10ofthose and The Good Book Company have published books for younger teens this year.

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In my quest for suitable books for the young people on our Pathfinder venture this summer, I picked up School Survival by Catherine and Louise House. Louise is Catherine’s school age daughter and some of this book is based on the experiences she had when she moved school. And although it’s called School Survival, it’s particularly about friendship and working that through, with a single chapter about starting in a new school. It is very suitable for the Pathfinder age group (11-14) as it covers many issues faced as young people move on to secondary school.

The book is a combination of stories, quizzes, activities and bible study and is split into 14 chapters, including ones on making friends, bullying, gossip, prayer and church. It might be suitable for a Year Six primary school leaver to study over the summer holidays, or for family devotions or even as an outline for a church Pathfinder group to study over a few weeks (the chapters are uneven in size, so some could be combined). I’ll be ordering a few copies for our camp bookstall.

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