Calvary Students – Parent Resource – May 3
This week your student started a new Bible study entitled “Pressure Points: Overcome Regret, Stress, and Worry”. Over the next few weeks we are going to be taking an up close look at what the Bible has to say about things like worry, burdens, finding peace, and trusting God. You may want to read Luke 12:22-33, the verses your student studied this week. This series will last for four weeks and each week you will get a note from me detailing what was studied and how you can help carry on that learning throughout the week.
We looked at the following Scripture passage:
As you have time this week, maybe you could read it as well.
Next Steps . . .
As your teenager begins learning about what the Bible has to say about stress, consider examining the effects of stress in your life. While the stressors may be different compared to your teenagers’, the feelings of stress are usually quite similar. Try to think back to your teen years and remember some of the things you stressed over like grades, fitting in, peer pressure, and relationships. Try to find some common ground in order to open up your lines of communication.
- Remember to ask your student about the lesson and what things stuck in their minds.
- Ask questions that will allow your student the freedom to answer without feeling like they are being quizzed on the lesson. We want you to feel like a vital part of the learning process.
Please let us know if we can ever help you and remember we are always here to answer any questions you may have.
Parent Resource of the Week:
Since we are leaning into the biblical mandate to avoid stressing over life issues, I figured it would be timely to talk about the stress our students are facing. Every parent understands the reality of stress. Parenting children is stressful by itself, let alone work stress, athletic stress, future stress, etc. Honestly, all of us adults struggle with stress and worry, but here is the scary part. Research is showing that students in the current culture are undergoing the same levels, if not higher levels, of stress as adults do. Research done in 2014 by the American Psychological Association backs up these findings – read article here.
So, what has changed? Why are our 15, 16, and 17 year olds facing unhealthy levels of stress? Why are so many students dealing with a legitimate struggle with depression, eating disorders, self-harm, and the like? While I don’t know that there is one clear answer, I do think it leads back to overwhelming levels of stress, anxiety and worry. Before you go and use an awful “parentism” and tell them to just “quit being so dramatic” or “learn to deal with it”, let’s not forget that we could be some of the problem.
Our culture has as powerful, yet unspoken, paradigm. There is a push to be better, go farther, do more than we have ever seen. While there is a sense in which we can look at life biblically and socially and agree with this, I don’t think we understand what we may be doing in the process. The mindset that pushes our children/teenagers to perform can give a convoluted picture of the Gospel. This forceful performance can cause undue stress and anxiety on our student’s shoulders. Not every student is shaped to win a Nobel Peace Prize. Not every teenager has the potential to be president – although the standards seem to be increasingly widening the playing field. Not every student-athlete is going to make it the professional level – or semi-professional or intramural level. Not every high school graduate is going to go to college.
We have a paradigm in this culture that demands for us to push our students to places, they may not be shaped to go. In this process, we not only cause them to endure unhealthy levels of stress and worry because they are striving for something they just can’t do or become; we also cause them to loose the opportunity to be a child. I constantly hear from students that are in competitive leagues for sports teams and dance troops. Most of the conversations are that the students no longer enjoy the activity, yet the parents are the ones that are pushing them to continue. There is a fine line between pushing students to achieve their God-given potential and dictating students to rise to a parent’s unrealistic expectation.
So, through the societal rat race that we find ourselves in, we may be doing more damage psychologically, emotionally, physically, and spiritually to our students than we think. We all understand the health concerns of stress on our adult bodies as it increases blood pressure, affects our ability to rest, and creates tension in relationships. Why would we think it is okay to shift that burden onto our kids? They have enough to deal with apart from the crazy schedule and expectations we throw on them.
I would encourage you to sit down with your family and have a real discussion on what is stressing everyone out. This could be eye-opening and life-giving in your family. Learn to acknowledge where a source of stress is, and then create a plan to work through it. Instead of adding stress to your student, look for ways to help them process and navigate the waters of anxiety. Sometimes, we may be coming in the game a little too late, and it would be wise to speak with your doctor about the burdens your student is bearing. The purpose of this article was to encourage you as a parent to see the stress our students are walking with and encourage you to begin doing something to help.