16 year-old Daniel announced today, “I’m DONE with going to (Sunday night) Youth Group, I’m NOT GOING anymore.” “Why, what don’t you like about it?” “The music is too loud and it’s boring.” “Don’t they let you go into the game room during the music time?” “Yes, but it’s boring.” “Well, Dad and I will talk about it and let you know our decision.” “OK, but I’m NOT GOING.”
So, a parent conference follows, and we can each see both sides of the issue. On the one hand, the room IS noisy and provokes anxiety. It’s probably boring because he’s the only one in the game room during the music, so he doesn’t have anything to do. He is going in the morning without fussing, so that’s a positive thing. Should we MAKE him go at night against his will? On the other hand, there is his spiritual development to consider. Plus he’s an only child and needs the socialization. And how will he spend his time at home if he doesn’t go? Playing video games (non-violent, thank God) or watching game shows on TV or Disney movies. But will he get anything out of it if he doesn’t want to be there?
Well, wait a minute, we’ve had this discussion before, and instituted Pizza Night on SUN after church if he went to Youth Group. Let’s just revisit that contract and see what he says. “Daniel, we’ve talked about this before and agreed you could have pizza for dinner after Youth Group if you go on SUN night. So you don’t have to go if you don’t want to, but we won’t be having pizza when you don’t go. It’s your choice.” “Oh, all RIGHT. I’ll GO.” He even came downstairs and told me when it was time to leave. Problem solved. Until next time