This article [Goldilocks in Our Midst: Ministry With Young Adolescents (by Mary Lee Becker)] from Reimagine Faith Formation includes all kinds of helpful, practical, theoretical, theological, and missional truths about working with middle-schoolers. Though the intended context is a church or parish setting, you’ll find that almost everything translates to a WyldLife context.
A few highlights:
When working with middle schoolers, always keep in mind –
- They lack judgment because of development “brain freeze” – be patient
- They are primarily (still) concrete thinkers – be clear in your teaching
- They are active, not passive – make things real and relevant
- They are social beings – tap into the spiritual essence of friendship and relationship
- They are gifted and growing – engage their interests and strengths
Young adolescents want and need –
- To be accepted and respected for who they are now.
- To be involved and active (physically, mentally, socially).
- To know clear, concrete expectations and guidelines.
- To understand “why” behind new ideas and concepts.
- To be challenged to grow with the help and support of a caring adult.
- To know they matter to someone.
- To be acknowledged and valued for who they are, not just what they can do.
- To contribute in positive ways.
- To be affirmed and appreciated in their attempts, whether successful or not.
- To express their dreams, questions, opinions, and doubts.
This can be summarized as: young adolescents want a voice, a choice, and a chance.
Read the whole article. You’ll be glad you did!