As you know, if you’ve been reading, for quite some time, I’ve occasionally been running little installments called “Mama’s K.I.S.S.” I know that lots of readers could give many more and far more creative ideas than I can offer, but these installments are just a few tried and true and mostly old-fashioned ideas for putting service hearts in our kids. This is number 57 of a list of one hundred ways we train our kids to serve. K.I.S.S. is an acronym for “Kids In Service Suggestions”.
It’s a rich and busy time of life when you’re raising teens. Girls can be more challenging than boys. If you’re doing girls right now, that assessment is not a news flash. Hormones, emotions, temptations of today and peer dependence/comparisons are all a part of the day-to-day challenges of parenting teen girls. One of the most rewarding projects for our daughter was her participation in planning a girls’ day hosted by our congregation, but opened up to community teen girls. Moms in our community loved this opportunity to have somebody else tell their girls what they had been trying to tell them at home—about respect, purity, hard work and perseverance.
Here are some quick guidelines you plan:
- Get permission from your elders and a budget, so you can pay your speaker and buy supplies.
- Find a speaker who is sound, wise and relatable and engage her for your planned date.
- Come up with about three themes that the girls will like and let them pick. Try to think of whimsical lines from the culture that could have deep spiritual applications. Some popular ones have been “Whatever” (from Phil. 4:8 —we used flower-power 70’s decor), “Don’t Kiss Toads” (We used cute frogs), F.R.O.G. (Fully Respecting our God), and “Someday My Prince Will Come” (princess decor). You get the idea.
- Plan a schedule for the day. Include time for a group game (preferably related to your theme), time for singing, time for two 45 minute lessons from your speaker, time for a question and answer session with the speaker, and time for a fun meal.
- Gather supplies: folders or notebooks with pockets, pens, cute favors, t-shirts with the theme on them for your planning team. Parents are always happy to buy these.
- Enlist the helpers. Make sure teen girls get to read scripture and lead singing, introduce your speaker, run a registration table and run any tech for Powerpoint presentations, and decorate, etc…
- Choose songs and scriptures that go with your theme.
- Let the girls plan and prepare the menu. If they want to buy sandwich bags from Chik-Fila or pizza, collect money from donors within the church and let them go with it. Let THEM do the work. They grow more when they are invested. If you are cooking, let THEM do that, too.
- Have them buy and/make gifts for the visitors or for those who win the games, etc…
- Let them design flyers, bulletin boards and emails to get the word out to area congregations and to girls in the community.
- On the week of the event, gather at the building for any cleaning, for pizza and for decorating/cooking. Try to make this fun!
- Make sure you talk to the planners ahead of time about what to wear. The t-shirts you designed are great, but stress your requirements for modesty prior to the day. Stress the need to be friendly and sit with people who are visitors.
- For Q and A, have everyone write something on an index card and place it in the question box. They can choose between a favorite verse or words of encouragement or a question. This way, those with questions will feel more at ease putting a card in the box. Don’t skip this most important part. Anonymous questions target the real needs.
- At lunch, have fun theme-related music playing in the background, if possible.
- Take lots of pictures. Maybe even include a photo booth. Make memories!
- Follow-up after the day with letters to all visitors. Let the girls write the letters (Get those addresses at the registration table) Thank them for coming and include a good tract for teen girls in this correspondence.