The Crisis of Teen Communication

Teens_talking_in_circle

Welcome to the new age of communication.  We are seeing our first group of students who were born into the internet age, and don't know pre-adult life without facebook, myspace, or youtube.  Imagine what that must be like?

They have no idea what a rotary phone is.
They have no concept of the necessity to write letters without e-mail.
"Friends" are just connection buttons on facebook. 

I personally am fan of social network sites, because it gives a larger reach for the work we do here at Camp KIVU.  But the results of a generation growing up without meaningful communication is quite interesting. 

I was sitting in a meeting with our staff the other day, and they were frustrated.  They were feeling they weren't really connecting with the younger cabins.  The guys weren't really talking about life back home, they weren't answering simple questions, and the staff guys felt like they weren't really being great counselors. 

And then it all came together…

The kids in the cabin are part of the generation born with the internet.  They don't know life without X-Box, PS-3, or the Nintendo Wii.  Fun for them isn't about going outside to imagine a world of Cowboys and Indians.  They don't know how to go out and make fun.  (this is obviously a gross overstatement but the reality is VERY INTERESTING!)

One of the guys said, "I don't feel like I'm doing ministry, rather; I'm teaching these teenagers how to talk."

And to that I say…

Isn't ministry about helping to give students the tools to become disciples?
If it's theological understanding, that's one way we do ministry.
If it's introducing a teen to the clear understanding of God's movement in their life, that's another.

But if we take a step back and help a generation to learn simple communication skills, then that's ministry too, right?  Think about the tools we give a teenager to be a successful disciple.  Think about the problem solving skills they can have if we can provide new life experiences with others, and help them articulate clear messages?  We can teach students a set of skills they will use for the rest of their lives. 

So teen ministry has taken another turn today.  We're working on a way to teach kids how to have meaningful face to face communication with others.  I know it seems like a simple concept, but believe me; there are some kids out here that don't know how look someone in the eye, and answer the easiest of conversations. 

Thanks for praying. 

We're having a blast out here working with teens from all over the world.  

Come visit us at http://www.campkivu.com

2 Comments

  1. I’ve heard that ONE of the problems is that kids don’t “hang out” with people that do know how to talk…i.e. adults! Too wrapped up in their own little world maybe, maybe the adults in their lives are too! Maybe it’s that old self-centeredness thing again; what I want to do, or think, or where to go …I will do, disregarding any other person. Me first? Now, me only! I can’t wait to see how y’all tackle this one!

  2. It’s so true, I tried having a conversation with my niece and she kept glancing at her phone. I could tell she was uncomfortable and had to keep herself busy with no eye contact…but remember when everyone smoked cigarettes, every time you start a conversation the hand would go to the pack then find the lighter, keeping the hands busy, chain smoking the whole time. Small talk is easy, meaningful conversation not so much, It comes with being comfortable with yourself and accepting who you are.

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