From the Student Ministry….

Transition is growth

Right now life feels like one big frustrating transition. That season of change that feels a little more like limbo than anything productive. Life, the day to day, our routines, none of them are what they will be, but in the meantime, they still have to be something. We can’t just pause until the new things show up because communities still have to function; we still have to work and interact with some capacity or society erodes.

The big boy and girl truths are that this is where the most growth can occur. This season is about new opportunities hidden under uncertainty. It can feel hard and unfair. Hard, because there isn’t an instruction manual. Unfair, because we have to figure it out as we go and pen the instructions for those behind us, knowing they won’t have to struggle as much! But in times like these, I am forced to be humble and acknowledge all the hard-working people who went before me into the unknown and made my life a little easier. I am thankful to be at Parkway where I have been given nothing but support and the encouragement that we are all having to figure this out together.

In the spirit of growth and opportunity (and humility) I need to get creative in how I address the new challenges: the loss felt from bygone routines and empty spaces left by our needed practice of social distancing. So, I wanted to tell you about a few things we will be doing. Some of these things you may find helpful and can copy for yourself. Maybe they will also spark some ideas for yourself or your family! Here are a couple of areas I am looking at.

The first thing I am planning is focused on addressing our need to connect face to face but in a safe way. We are bringing back a modified Youth lunch. We call it “Take-out tailgate.” Youth come with their favorite take-out, or meal from home, their own lawn chair, and a mask. We fellowship and eat together, masked face to masked face, then after lunch, we play a game or activity before we go. Of course, it is still not the same. Greetings are composed of muffled hellos and air fives. I wish there could be more, but so does everyone else. My hope, along with other church staff, is that this helps meet some of the need for community and ministers to the feeling of isolation. It also models what safe and responsible behavior is during this hard time.

The second involves providing different ways to spend our time together virtually. Most, if not all, of us, are aware of what Zoom fatigue is by now. It is tough to only have Zoom meetings as the way to connect online. So I have gathered a couple of different ideas and suggestions from youth and parents that we will start implementing. I wanted to give you two.

Online games through Nintendo or Zoom. We have already had a group game day where we all hopped on and played a popular Nintendo Switch Game called Smash Brothers Ultimate. It was suggested and organized by one of our very own youth, Kaelie Samp! I also have a couple of simple party games that can be played over Zoom while using a smartphone as a kind of “controller.” They are made by a company called Jack Box games, and I highly recommend them if you are looking for something easy and fun to do with your family too! Just Youtube what the most popular ones are first because they have made quite a few. My favorite is called Quippage.

Netflix party. It’s a neat little way to sync up your movies on Netflix and watch them together from different locations. It lets us chat and comment in a little “chat” section to the side so you can interact with each other! But once you do, you are all set to have a virtual party! The biggest issue tends to be selecting the movie to watch.

I hope some of these ideas are helpful to you and your family.