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Students in Need

       According to a study done last year, one in every 10 students has considered harming themselves at some point in their life.  With recent news headlines discussing people who cut off limbs because they are “at war with their bodies,” and magazine covers insisting self-mutilation is a good thing in order to call someone “Caitlin,” is this really a shock that more and more of our students are also trending this way?  The numbers insist that at least a handful of our students here at ZPC are probably dealing with this issue now, or have dealt with it in the past.

       So how can we help them?  How can we even know if they’re doing this?  I think the article outlines some ways to combat this growing trend of self-harm.  One person in the article described being in relationship with three different therapists.  I don’t think we necessarily have to all take our kids to therapists, but students having relationships with caring adults, (in addition to their parents) is a positive thing.  Statistics show that having 5 adults investing into a student increases that student’s chance of sticking with their faith.

       At the end of the article, another idea says, “legitimizing their feelings is the first step to recovery.”  This is an incredible statement and so very true.  Much of what our students are going through can be solved by someone who is there to understand, empathize, and struggle through the pain with them.  All we have to do is think back to our time in Middle School and we can instantly become the friend we so desperately desired at that time in our life.

Discussion questions with MS students – Have you ever harmed yourself or ever thought about it?  What made you do it or not do it?  Have any of your friends?  What would you do if you found out a friend was thinking about harming themselves?

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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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