A little Church Chat.

My husband and I have been asked to speak at a youth group meeting tonight. They call these youth Sunday night meetings: Firesides.

Of course they don't have fire at these Firesides. But I think it's required to serve Rootbeer Floats afterwards.

The team-speak topic we were given is from the Bible.

1 Timothy 4:12.

"...but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity."

Apparently the theme for the youth world-wide for 2009 is being an example. And Seth and I don't have teenagers, so we are kind of wondering how we're qualified to speak to the youth here? Yes, we both once were youth. But that was soooooo long ago!

I came across a story. About Peter Vidmar. An Olympic Gold medal winner in Gymnastics. The story goes that when he was 15 he was training with a prestigious club and the coach was convinced Peter could do great things with the sport. They asked him to train additionally on Sundays (he already trained 6 days a week). Peter refused. And they kicked him out of the club. He was devastated and began training at his high school gym pretty much on his own, and several weeks later, the coaches asked him to return to the club and that in fact if he worked hard they would allow him to take Sundays off. And later that same coach continued to not require his athletes to practice on Sundays. Instead he spent time with his own family on that day.

Peter Vidmar was LDS.

I used to work with the young women in our congregation in Brooklyn, New York. There were only two of them in our group at the time and they were sisters. I was young myself. Only 22. I asked them how they were able to hold up being the only members of our faith in their schools, with our strange lifestyle beliefs and such. (We don't drink alcohol or coffee for example, and two piece swimsuits are kind of out, and we don't pierce our ears more than once, and no tatoos).

They both looked at me like I was nuts.

We have no problems at school at all. They told me. Ours is only one of many faiths represented at our high school, and many kids we know have similar if not more bizarre dietary restrictions. Some don't eat meat, this friend doesn't drink alcohol, that one can't mix dairy with meat...

Oh? I thought? How amazing for them to know so much about all these various religions and beliefs. I kept thinking how much luckier THEY were to live in a place where there were so few LDS kids. I grew up totally believing EVERYone celebrated the 24th of July!? (The day the early Mormon settlers first entered the Salt Lake Valley in 1847...often called Pioneer Day).

The teens I know from my new congregation and from past areas, totally amaze me. They are capable of so much. They 'get' what it means to be an example of their own faith. They have a courage about their actions I never figured out until I had several kids of my own.

When I was in high school I couldn't stand watching the 'popular' cheerleader types pick on the poor unfortunate chicks. The girl who didn't shower a lot or wear nice clothes. (I could only imagine what her life must have been like at home.) But the thing is. I didn't do anything about it. Instead. I gave those popular types a lot of grief. I made fun of them, I pointed out when they had a piece of tissue on their foot from the restroom, I 'accidentally' tripped and knocked over their books. But I never invited that same poor girl over for a weekend get-together with my girlfriends. Imagine what I could have done for her self-esteem. I didn't have the skills to help her, and I didn't have the courage to even take the first step.

I want my own daughters to have that courage. And to act on it. Can I be an example myself to my own kids?

This post is for Deb. She asked for it.



Kristina P. said...

You know, working with at-risk, punk ass kids for 10 years, makes me forget about all the really great teenagers out there who are doing the right thing.

We don't have a YM/YW progam in our branch, which I wish we did. I would love to work with them.

Mikki said...

I want the same thing for my kids. I wish I had been a better example growing up, I wish I were a better example for them right now. Things I need to work on.
Great post! thanks.

Robin said...

Your experience in NYC was pretty cool, right? I love the diversity here. That said, it's still freaking hard to be a teenager. Wouldn't do it again for all the moola in the world! Good luck with your chat! :)

MommyWizdom said...

That was a great post. I see kids at our church demonstrating faith and courage that I couldn't even conceive when I was their age. It's like our youth are becoming wiser sooner than we did. I can't decide if that's good or bad.

BTW, what's LDS? I couldn't figure it out :-|

Jenni Jiggety said...

That was a really GREAT post, Carissa! Seems to me they would be hard pressed to find someone better qualified to speak to the teens!

jill jill bo bill said...

Your post was great and the great thing is that it is not too late to be an example for your daughter.
Now that you know you won't be ridiculed by snotty peers, it will be much easier.

Deb said...

yay! thank you! great lesson with lots to think about. i know your talk is going to be great tonight.

oh there's so much i wish i could go back and re-do from my teen years... i do hope my kids have better "tools" to do the right, good thing, than i did.

Melissa Ann Browning said...

I LOVE church chat!

Good reminder for me to live more like an example, as well ... After all, children truly do do what we do and not what we say....

I like the bible citation as well...

angie said...

I love hearing about truly great teenagers! I know I wasn't one!

Oh my heck! I was featured. And it didn't hurt or anything!