There are many voices competing for students’ attention; perhaps they are more distracting now more than ever before. They’re coming from different platforms compiled onto one screen, so we’re given the false notion that we can actually do more with all the voices because we’re not separated geographically into different buildings across Northern Virginia. I mean, no one’s wasting time in the car. How can we put that extra 20 minutes to good use?
And we’re all. over. the. place.
I can watch a YouTube tutorial for baking. I can post on Tiktok about my dog. I can learn another language! I can start a podcast! I CAN LIVESTREAM MY QUARANTINE WORKOUT!
There are voices your students can hear, and voices your students should hear. The age-old dilemma of time management is still the same, but looks different than it did in the past. How are we challenging our students to not just do wise things with their extra time, but listen to the right voices?
Some of the essential voices should be obvious: school is important, but it may not take nearly as long as it did inside a building. Online lessons from coaches, teachers or mentors may be in that top list, too. But hearing from their youth leader is crucial.
Your voice is one that’s familiar to them and likely a trusted calm in the middle of an unpredictable storm. You have the added benefit of already having a relationship with your students to build a foundation of consistency and trust that you’ll be there (virtually) to support them.
Social media, Zoom, YouTube, Duolingo, etc. all allow us to indulge in passing fads and fleeting notions. Once your students try baking bread for the 12th time, they’ll get tired of it and wonder what else there is to do. Using a foreign language learning app is fun the first few days, then it gets hard. The luxury of free time will, likely, yet fall by the wayside and in the meantime, your students are longing to hear from someone they already know, admire, and trust. Take advantage of this window because you’re needed! Build upon relationships with students who are longing to go deeper into God’s Word. Disciple students who are unsure of their faith. They have the time, and you probably do, too.
Don’t worry about the social media following; those numbers don’t represent personal relationships.
Worry about the students who you briefly met at Wednesday night and wondered where they really were in their walks with Christ.
Worry about the students who you knew were hiding things from their parents before all this began.
Worry about the students who have no relationship with their parents and are now without any after-school outlets in which to find relief.
Invest in them.
Care for their souls.
Be a voice that won’t quit on them and that they won’t find easy to give up, either.
Use this time to build strong foundations which won’t shake, even after we emerge from quarantine.
Your students want and need to hear from you, youth leader
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”