What do your teens do for fellowship?
Seriously, have you thought about providing some down time for them and their friends? How do you provide fun in a safe environment? How do you get to know your children's friends? Do they feel comfortable in your home?
Opportunities to spend time with their friends abound for younger children, yet we often need to be intentional about providing time for our teenagers to “just chill” with their friends. Whether or not your teens attend a youth group or participate in sports, they may need you to help them schedule fellowship with and for their friends. Sometimes they're so busy with school, volunteering, and jobs, they struggle to find time for true fellowship.
One great option that friends of ours started a while back was Game Night. In the Fall and Winter it can be difficult for our girls and their friends to get together at the park, or do other outdoor activities, so families take turn hosting Game Night. It is a great opportunity for teens to get some fellowship. I’ve also heard its quite fun! If noise level is an indicator ~ last Friday was fabulous! :)
Kurt and I know it is important for our girls to have time with their friends. We know Emily and Arlene have some great friends, and we were happy to host Game Night this past weekend. The group of friends for Game Night varies some based upon who is hosting, and how much room they have to fit in all those teens and young twenties. We have two daughters, but last Friday we had 18 - that’s right - EIGHTEEN lively and loud teens and twenties in our home! The guidelines are simple: pick a date, check with your parents, and tell your friends. Our group has a 13 and up age requirement…the oldest are usually around 23-24, but there is no up limit, just depends on who you want to invite.
Other families have invited more people, but we’re realistic in that our home can only hold about 20-25 people at a time if they actually want to sit down. Preparation is simple: clean up the house, buy some paper plates, napkins, and a box or two of plastic forks. Every family that attends bring some sort of snack (or drink.)
Fun, food, and fellowship.
We have plenty of board games at our house, but often the teens will bring their favorites with them when they come. With our group of teens you can be pretty sure that there will be an euchre game or two . . . or perhaps three break out sometime during the night!
Kurt and I retreated upstairs when it was time for game night. The parents are always available if a need should arise, but the teens run their own show. We do check in sometime during the night . . . usually to raid the snack table!!!
I want to give kudos to the other parents of the girls’ friends. We set a timeframe for 6-10 p.m. I’ll be honest, I love their friends, but I didn’t want to stay up until 11 p.m. At 10:10 p.m. Arlene came upstairs to let us know that Game Night was over and their friends had all gone home. When Kurt and I came downstairs, the only evidence of the 16 extra kids was a full trash can in the kitchen. They had cleaned up after themselves and put all the furniture back before they left.
Moms and Dads, let us encourage you to host a Game Night for your teens and their friends. It doesn’t matter if its just your family and one or two other friends, or if you invite three dozen teenagers to come over. What matters is providing the time and space for teens to fellowship! If you get the word out now, there is still time to plan for a New Year’s Eve Game Night!