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Best Buddy

       Who would your student pick if they had to choose one same-gender person as their absolute, without-a-doubt, can-always-turn-to-you, best friend?  Does your student know who they would pick?  Would you want your child to pick this person?

       A recent study done among kids ages 11-19 showed that students within these ages benefit the most from finding ONE best friend rather than a large group of friends.  I think back to my days in middle school, and I remember trying to cast out my nets among many different types of friend groups, only to come back each time to my best friend.  Thankfully, my parents encouraged close relationships with friends inside the church rather than those outside.  Of course we want to reach out to our non-christian friends too, but my parents consistently gave me opportunities to pursue deep and godly friendships.

       I can still have conversations with one of my best friends and I can talk to him about anything.  He's not afraid to tell me when I'm in the wrong, and I trust his opinion because we've done things like go on trips together, play ping-pong, watch movies, and talk about girls.  Hopefully, your student has a friend like that and let's continue encouraging those types of relationships!  I'm sure glad my parents did!

Discussion questions with MS students – Who's your best friend?  Why is this person your best friend?  Would you trust them?  What do they think about Jesus?  Does this person genuinely care about you?  Why do you think so?  Would you want to become like this person?

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Social Media Encouragment

       And now that last week we posted about a way to “monitor” things students are doing within social media and their phones, this week is about the complete opposite.  Despite many of the negative aspects to social media, there are so many positive things for which it can be used.  We have seen this within our own ZPC youth family with students connecting with other students to talk them through a tough time, to encourage each other in scripture, and to reach out when others don’t feel included.  Continue to celebrate these WINS with our students!

       Recent research has shown that things like that can happen when students are encouraged to use social media in a positive way.  Let’s be honest, we don’t like it when our friends get hurt, and neither do students.  So when this happens, many times a student’s close friends can, and will, come to the rescue.  According the article below, social media can strengthen friendships, create new friendships, provide a sense of belonging and support, and help kids express themselves.  We have also experienced this at ZPC as we have been able to connect with students with which we typically wouldn’t connect, allow students to contact us in ways that are more informal, and keep up on things that are of highest importance to specific students.  Click the articles below that demonstrate the positive aspect of social media among students.

Discussion questions with MS students – How have you used your words in person (or social media) to encourage someone lately?  If someone anonymously posted about you, would it be positive or negative?  How have you seen someone use social media for good?  Can you name a person that is constantly posting encouraging or positive things?  Why do you think they do that?

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