Week 2 Of Don’t Be A Hater

We closed out another week of “Don’t Be A Hater” our anger series for students.  It’s turning out to be a really interesting series because it’s revealing that while many of us are angry at similar things we have different reasons behind this emotion.  For the students the challenge is differentiating between righteous and unrighteous anger.  Over the past week we’ve been asking the students in our programs to track their anger, when they reported back this weekend many of them stated that the people or things that cause them the most anger are:

  1. People Who Act Dumb (Drama queens, class clowns, bullies, etc.)
  2. Parents 
  3. Homework

I found the list interesting but not too surprising.  It would make sense that People Who Act Dumb would be an anger trigger.  Most of the conversations I have with students (especially in my 7th grade guys group) is how difficult it is to get along with certain people at school.  That’s why small groups can be so important because you can bring teenagers who are different together in a non threatening environment.
When it comes to Parents it’s understandable considering many of us have rebelled against our parents.  The important discussion with the teens is about respect.  A danger in youth ministry is when a minister sides with a teenager instead of supporting a parent.  Many times the anger we hear about parents is unrighteous because it’s about an inconvenience in a students life.  As youth workers we should aim to help students respect their parents.  This isn’t to say parents can’t be wrong or even abusive, but a lot of the time a teens anger is geared towards not understanding a parent’s judgment.
When I talked to the guys in my 7th grade group about Homework they felt that it was unfair and an injustice to how much homework schools were giving out.  I can’t blame them, it does seem like a lot.  Our discussion did develop into one about priorities.  Many of them because of sports, television, video games, wanting to just relax, leave homework until Sunday (especially Sunday night).  This lead into a discussion about God and so I asked, “When do you all have time for God?”  Now I’m not innocent on the issue, but what our group discovered is that we don’t give any time to God, which offsets our priorities, which leaves us restless and cranky.
It’s amazing how much anger reveals about our priorities, our comfort level with people and our perspective on life.  I think doing a series on emotion from time to time is a good exercise for student ministries.  Many times it’ll bring up an array of subjectsl; however, it really targets the heart.  Not sure if you’ve ever done a series on anger, if so I would love to hear what it is you’ve discovered.