Posted on Leave a comment

Lap Band Surgery for Teenagers?

There was no question, at 5-foot-1 and more than 250 pounds, she was overweight. But she resisted, saying she could diet.

“I’ll lose weight,” Ms. Gofman assured her doctor.

Dr. Vayner said, prophetically, “It’s not your fault, but you’re not going to be able to do it.”

source

No doubt, obesity is a massive problem in the United States. Among adolescents the obesity rate is alarming. But lap band surgery for teenagers? People who are still growing, have relatively high metabolism, and aren’t even really trying to lose the weight conventionally?

This seems opportunistic to me on the behalf of doctors. They know if they order it that an insurance company will cover it. But there’s not a lot of proof that such surgeries are effective for adolescents.

What do you think? Good idea or bad idea? 

Posted on 21 Comments

The marriage rate

Just about every youth worker I’ve ever met would agree with this statement: “It’s best to not have sex before marriage.

It makes sense until you pair it with data from the U.S. Census Bureau. “The average age for first-time brides and grooms is the highest it’s ever been: 26.5 years old for brides and 28.7 for grooms.source

It makes even less sense when you consider that the age of puberty continues to drop. “At 7 years, 10.4 percent of white, 23.4 percent of black and 14.9 percent of Hispanic girls had enough breast development to be considered at the onset of puberty.source

So let me get this correct. A students body is “ready for sex” by, on average, 13 years old. (Most states have statutory rape laws outlawing sex before 16) However, the average person is waiting until their late 20s to get married. And one of our primary messages continues to be that students should wait for sex until marriage?

No wonder they  think we’re crazy!

While I agree, like we all would, that it’s best to wait for sex until marriage. It would make sense that we must also argue for early marriage for that to be realistic.

It would seem that we, in youth ministry, need to help change some minds. You can’t argue both for no sex before marriage and realistically expect a person to wait 15 years. Our bodies just aren’t built that way. Instead, more realistically, we need to argue for no sex before marriage and getting married in the early 20s. (Or sooner)

What do you think? 

Posted on 7 Comments

Braylon Edwards Keeps His Promise

The former Cleveland Brown promised in 2005 to give $10,000 scholarships to 100 eighth-graders if they could graduate high school with a 2.5 GPA with 15 hours of community service and get into college.

Edwards has a base salary of about $1 million with the 49ers, which is only $210,000 more than he will have to pay for the kids to go to school.

The students are spread out across 22 college campuses, including Cornell and Harvard.

Read the rest

A couple of thoughts

  • I bet he didn’t think this was going to cost him 80% (or more) of his wages when he made the promise!
  • With his challenge, 79 out of 100 students met the minimum requirements. Maybe schools should think about that?
  • We need more guys like that in the NFL. I don’t have any idea what else he is doing with his life, but this is great.
  • He’s gonna get audited. Nothing says “flagged by the IRS” quite like writing off 80% of your salary.
  • If I were his wife I’d say, “Two dropped passes today? Two dropped passes aren’t going to pay for that kids pre-med, is it? Catch the ball Braylon!
  • Sometimes you make a promise to do something, and it sounds like a good idea at the time, but when it comes right down to it, it’s going to cost you 80% of your money.
Posted on 1 Comment

Is youth group the kids table?

We love Kara Powell and the learnings that came out of Fuller Youth Institute’s Sticky Faith research.

There seem to be two dominant schools of thought in the youth ministry world right now. There are the self-contained program models and the family-based models. But this video seems to be advocating a third option, one of integration. (Dare I say de-age-segregation?)

What do you think? Does youth group relegate our students to the kids table of the church? And what if the “kids” in our ministry like sitting at the kids table?

Posted on Leave a comment

Nuns of Finance

We caught this story in the New York Times and were left with interesting questions:

Way up on the 41st floor, in a conference room overlooking the World Trade Center site, Sister Nora and her team from the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility laid out their advice for three Goldman executives. The Wall Street bank, they said, should protect consumers, rein in executive pay, increase its transparency and remember the poor.

In short, Goldman should do God’s work— something that its chairman and chief executive, Lloyd C. Blankfein, once remarked that he did. (The joke bombed.)

Long before Occupy Wall Street, the Sisters of St. Francis were quietly staging an occupation of their own. In recent years, this Roman Catholic order of 540 or so nuns has become one of the most surprising groups of corporate activists around.

Read the rest

Long story short. The nuns learned that if they invested their retirement money, buying the minimum stock required by a corporation to speak at the annual shareholders meeting, that they could effect change within a corporation.

It’s a brilliant form of non-violent activism. 

Some questions for discussion:

  • Do you think the nuns activism is doing God’s work?
  • What are other types of activism using a similar tactic?
  • What is a form of activism that you could get your students involved in?
Posted on Leave a comment

Does Same-Sex Education Reinforce Gender Stereotypes?

“The bottom line is that there is not good scientific evidence for the academic advantages of single-sex schooling. But there is strong evidence for negative consequences of segregating by sex — the collateral damage of segregating by sex.”

Read the rest

Are boys and girls neurologically different? Do they learn differently? Are their mental capacities the same? What are the positives and negatives of separating students by gender?

These are all legitimate questions for the academic world to wrestle with. But they certainly have important implications to youth ministry, as well. Like so many other things in youth ministry many of us segment small groups and even Sunday school across gender lines. Chances are good that you either have your own theory as to why that is done or it has just always been done and that’s the way it is.

The quote I pulled above takes the question to a different level– one that may even be applied beyond gender boundaries and into other contemporary issues. “Does segmentation by gender foster the creation of positive/negative stereotypes?” (Of course, the philosophical question to explore as well, could be “Are gender stereotypes inherently positive/negative or are they simply a natural occurring phenomenon in social structures?)

What are your thoughts? When it comes to your ministry when/why do you segment your group by gender? 

Posted on 1 Comment

Don’t study video games, study gamers

“Video games are not simply good or bad for everybody,” he says. “But for some individuals who have certain dispositions, if they play video games they’re much more likely to be negatively affected.”

Read the rest

A new study released in the Review of General Psychology said that there is no correlation between violent video games and violent teenagers. There is, however, a correlation between aggressive video games and aggressive behavior in real life. That makes a lot of sense, right? While some students may be completely fine playing first person shooter games for years of their life and show no aggressive tendencies, another student who is aggressive while playing a video game is likely to be more aggressive in interactions with the real world.

The study also revealed that some video games relax teenagers and girls who played an age-appropriate game with a parent felt closer to their parent than those who did not.

What’s your experience with parents on this topic? How do you talk to your students about violence in video games as a Christian? 

Posted on Leave a comment

Adult Children Living at Home

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ChzIMdcLSt0&

Increased joblessness and difficulty in buying a home has more and more of these adults continuing to live with parents after high school or coming home after college, which is called the boomerang effect. According to the U.S. Bureau of the Census in 2005, 46 percent of the 18 to 24 age group were living at home; 8 percent age 25-34 were still living with their parents.

Read the rest

According to this article at The Blaze, there is a lot of research being done on the impact of 18-24 year olds living at home with their parents. This phenomonon is not limited to the United States either as a lot of the research referenced in the article comes from Europe.

Some questions for discussion:

  • How has the boomerang effect impacted your student ministry?
  • Have you seen this cause conflict in families in your church?
  • Over all, do you see this trend as positive, negative, or neutral for the development of later adolescents/young adults?