I am SO OVER Resolutions!!!
New Years Inspirations for Teens in a Fresh New Concept!!!
New Year, New You. Resolution Rules.
The 12 Gifts of 2012. 525,600 Minutes.
You name it, I’ve done it!Every year I think, “Do we REALLY need to do a ‘New Years’ themed meeting in January?” And alas, I end up coming up with some ‘new spin’ on the New Year’s Resolution Theme. It’s a challenge, and it gets harder every year, but still I try! How could I really pass on the opportunity to start a new year fresh with a new ‘theme’ or ‘inspiration’ for my teens. And so, here I am again with my 2014 meeting idea. I happened to see a picture that had been shared on facebook (and apparently twitter and instagram according to my teens) over and over on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day this year. It was the simple book picture above with the quote, “Tomorrow is the first blank page of a 365 page book. Write a good one.” I thought to myself, “Wow, that’s a great way to look at it. Not only is it a new book for the entire year, but each day is a fresh new page. Each month could be a fresh new chapter! And hey, (this is where the light bulb really turned on) books have chapters that cover all types of things. Some good. Some bad. Not all necessarily have to be in a progressive ladder leading to the end. They can go up and down with events, emotions, and topics.” And there, on my ipad sipping coffee outside by the pool on January 1st (I live in Florida, it was 85 degrees!) my New Years 2014 Youth Group Meeting Idea began to take shape!
What You’ll Need:
Bibles & Prizes (I used tootsie pops)
Opening Game: Bible Scavenger HuntI began by giving each teen a bible and told them we were going to have a Bible Scavenger Hunt. This can be as easy or difficult as you like, depending on the age/knowledge level of your teens. I thought mine was pretty easy, but I didn’t want to spend a ton of time on it, just used it as a fun opener. Basically, I put a game bell in the center of the room and asked one question at a time. The first person to think they had the correct answer ran to the center of the room and rang the bell. If they answered correctly, they got the prize. If not, the second person got to try. Some sample questions I used were…. 1) What book is on page 365? (easy first question) 2) What book, chapter:verse does Noah build his ark on? 3) What book, chapter tells the story of the First Thanksgiving as discussed in Youth Group in November (See my previous post re: Cain & Abel, a Story of Two Bros!) 4) What page is Father Kelly’s (our pastor here at St. EAS) favorite verse one? What is his favorite verse? (Book, Chapter:Verse) 5) What book, chapter:verse is a common scripture read at weddings? (1 Corinthians 13:4) 6) What are the ten plagues and what book are they found in? 7) In which 4 books and verses was the stone ‘rolled away?’ 8) What book, chapter:verse did Bruce Almighty recreate in the diner with his soup? (Exodus 14:21)…This was my favorite question and the teens favorite as well!
DiscussionI began by asking the teens a few simple sharing questions. Since this was our first meeting after our Christmas Break, it was a good entry into the discussion. – How did you celebrate New Years? -Did you make any resolutions? -What were they? -Have you given up yet? -Do resolutions work? -Is there too much pressure on making New Years Resolutions or New Years Goals/Changes for ourselves? Then, I showed a copy of the above ‘365 Book’ picture and asked if any of them had seen it over they holidays. Many of them had. Some had even ‘shared’ or ‘liked’ it on social media sites. I continued the discussion with questions such as: -Did you think anything further about this picture if you had already seen/liked/shared it? -If you think about 2014 as an entire book that isn’t yet written, does it seem more like a year of possibilities rather than a year of trying to maintain a goal or resoultion that may not last more than a week? I challenged my teens to wake up every day thinking like they were actually documenting their thoughts/activities/actions/prayers etc. for a book/story they were writing. (A good way to have them think about this is to have them think about some reality/documentary style tv shows they might watch. Teen Mom, etc. where the show will cover a year or a certain amount of time with the subject of the show commenting on the story as it is covered) Whether they just used the ‘thought’ as an inspiration, or even if they were up to it, to write down something every day. Not necessarily a diary, but more of a focused summary or thoughts etc. either at the beginning or end of each day. Documenting something good, something bad, or just something for each day. I asked them if they thought this eased the ‘resolution pressure’ of 1 long term goal. Did this seem more attainable to write yourself 1 day at a time this year? Most agreed that it did seem more attainable. The ‘ole ‘1 Day at at Time’ theory seemed to resonate for them more so than the ‘goal for the year’ which usually ends by Jan 10th! Then, I proposed to them that since there are 12 months in the year, perhaps we could focus each month on 1 specific topic. Not only did they love this, but I (another light bulb came on in the middle of my meeting…gosh I love when that happens!!!) suggested that they put into their phones a daily reminder!!! Every morning, for each month, their phones would chime/ding with that month’s ‘Chapter Focus Topic’ to remind them what to focus on. We decided that they would select a time either during breakfast or while they were getting ready each morning and they all set their reminders on repeat for each month. I had pre-planned what our Monthly Chapters would be, but you could also use this as a group activity and have your teens come up with their own. I even had them published in our weekly church bulletin to encourage parishiners to participate with us!
St. EAS’s 2014 Chapters are as follows:Chapter 1 / January- Motivate & Inspire Others During a month of ‘I need motivation & inspiration’, we decided that we might be better off focusing on providing it for others, rather than focusing solely on setting our own goals. Perhaps, as we motivate and inspire others, we will gain some of our own in return! Chapter 2 / February- Spread Love Showing love and compassion to others as Jesus taught us! Chapter 3 / March- Focus on Faith An obvious choice during the Season of Lent Chapter 4 / April- Make a Difference In any small way, an attempt at this is better than none at all Chapter 5 / May- Look on the Bright Side Summer Break is around the corner. Although you might be stressed with exams and the end of the school year, there is a bright side, you are a few weeks away from Summertime! Chapter 6 / June- Pay More Attention to Others Instead of Myself Being humble and helping out others will do wonders for us, even without us realizing it! Chapter 7 / July- Be A True Friend Don’t involve yourself with gossip and be there for those who really need you! Chapter 8 / August- Be Honest & Truthful Plain and Simple Chapter 9 / September- Look Inside Myself & Remember Every Day is an Opportunity for a Fresh Start Great advice at the beginning of the school year! Chapter 10 / October- Be Your True Self- Don’t Be Afraid to Live as a Catholic/Christian Don’t modify who you are based on who is around you or what environment you are in! Don’t be afraid to let others see your ‘Jesus Freak’ flag! Chapter 11 / November- Appreciate & Be Thankful for All I Have Another obvious one for this month Chapter 12 / December- Be Joyful Yep, at Christmas, we for sure should be filled with the JOY of the REASON for the SEASON!
How It Went:
We had a wonderful discussion and my teens were excited about putting the reminders in their cell phones. (Allow time for this…it took a while!) They left feeling inspired and I assured them that throughout the year, we would have brief ‘check-ins’ on how our 2014 chapters/book was coming along. I reminded them that just like in a book, there are ups and downs and good parts and bad parts and that each day was a FRESH NEW PAGE!!!
I ended the meeting with a prayer song and prayer intentions. It should come as no big surprise that I chose “Unwritten” by Natasha Bedingfield. It just seemed the obvious choice! (:
Should you choose to share this meeting idea with your group, please send me a note and let me know how it went for you!
Wishing you all a wonderful 2014!!!
God Bless Your Groups and All You Do!